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Introduction

The LIFE Institute is always in search of courses. I've had a long-standing interest in the question of “The Meaning of Life”. I even had an initial, tentative answer to that question that made emotionally sense to me. Why not offer to do a LIFE course on “Our Search for Meaning”? I put up my hand, the LIFE Institute accepted my proposal, … and now I need to actually construct the course.

For me, personal meaning comes from my contributions to communities that I value. Some of those communities are close and intimate – my family. Some of them are broad and diffuse – the community of IT Professionals. That answer “works” for me on an emotional level. Is it possible to assemble evidence that would justify such a position? In many ways, this course is an effort to assemble just such evidence.

But there are few absolute or definitive answers to any of the “deep” questions. I would be surprised, and disappointed, if class participants would not be able to use the evidence presented in this course to arrive at different conclusions about the meaning of life. That's the way it should be. Such questions are deeply personal. Answers need to make personal sense. And we're all different.

Discovering the evidence and marshaling it in support of my position is an on-going process. I have taken the first few steps, but the process continues. These notes can and will change as my understanding progresses.
 

My Background - As high school was ending, it was a toss-up about what comes next: music, philosophy or science. At the urging of my father (an ex-musician), I went to Case Institute of Technology. I settled on Mathematics, eventually earning a Ph.D. in the subject. The shift over to Computer Science was natural. In my second academic position, I was the first Chair of Computer Science at York University.  In that position, I came to see that the important challenges were not technical, but social. How we elect to use computers is more important than their technical ability. After some 15 years as an academic, I decided to test what I had been professing - I became a consultant. I had a 30 year run as a consultant and occassional manager. Now, in retirement, I've turned to urban planning, ... and to questions that always interested me but which I had never take the time to consider carefully. This course is one result of such considerations.

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May 6 – June 10 (6 sessions) Time: Wednesdays, 10:10 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. Location