Risalat al-Tayr: the Symbolic Metanarrative of the Meaning of Life

Avicennian Philosophy Journal 20 (56):103-118 (2016)

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Abstract
Risalat-al-Tayr is the symbolic story of the fall of the soul/intellect from the heavenly world, its being captivated in the mundane world, and its effort for liberation and eternal unification with intellectus agens. There are many symbols in the story including bird, hunter, trap, homesickness, journey, captivity, mountain etc. In this treatise, Avicenna proposes a supernaturalistic theory of the meaning of life, according to which the life will be meaningful only if a person discovers an essential goal in her life and tries to reach it. It is necessary for the goal to be actually valuable and for the person to be actually successful in achieving that goal. The only choice for such a goal is God. For Avicenna, the meaning of life is tied to immortality of the soul, existence of God, the epistemic ability of intellect, and the possibility of human evolution to the extent that she will be eternally unified with intellectus agens.
Keywords Risalat-al-Tayr. Avicenna, The meaning of life, soul, zupernaturalism
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Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life.Susan Wolf - 1997 - Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (1):207.

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