Objective pointlessness - subjective meaning

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Reflected light reflection in Zurich Oerlikon; a photograph from my light & shadow collection. I really enjoy searching, seeing and photographing new subjects and overlooked details of beauty in deserts of concrete and asphalt (despite the fact that I much prefer nature). In this photograph, taken at the skyscrapers at Hagenholzstrasse (already shown in a very different photograph a long time ago), I like how the beam of reflected light in the foreground and its reflection lead straight into the frame and add depth to the composition - ironically in a direction where there was no depth at all; I was just a step away from the glass window.

It has been a (long) while since I have written about my philosophical thoughts; not because I have stopped thinking, but rather because I have hesitated if to write at all and which thoughts to share. Often, I have the impression that too much is being written by too many people and that all I can add are platitudes.

Today's truism is following me since a long time: The nagging awareness that there is no higher, objective meaning of my life, of life in general, or of anything at all. In moments when I become aware of this objective pointlessness, a feeling of vast, all-encompassing emptiness and discouragement may overcome me. Most attempts to fill this void with meaning, for example by objective reasoning, are doomed. However, the antidote to the venomous influence of objectivity is a subjective, inward look at life.

Meaning is by definition subjective; inherently linked to the person, the subject, who seeks meaning. The meaning of my life are thus my experiences and the lasting, happy and appreciative memories they create in my brain. Such a subjective view is also comforting for less fundamental questions than the one about the meaning of life. I often pondered decisions at length because I sought the "right" decision, not realizing that it was not a question about right or wrong, but rather about personal preference.

Please do not misinterpret and conclude that all I advocate is subjectivity. This is not at all my point; after all, I am a scientist! All I am saying is that life without meaning is really quite miserable. It is my objective conclusion that the only way life can have any meaning is with a good shot of subjectivity. I think the label "subjective objectivity" would be a funny, but fitting concoction for this point of view.

It seems to me that photography may actually exemplify the quest for meaning and the importance of objectivity and subjectivity. I believe that many people photograph so that they get an object - the photograph - of their experiences. It is an attempt to attach an objective meaning to their experiences by collecting objects (pictures). On the other hand, the activity of searching, seeing, creating and capturing a photograph may be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding to photographers - to photograph, not the photograph itself, gives (subjective) meaning to their lives.

I wish yo

2014/09/14 by Florian Freimoser
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