The Meaning of Life (An AI Collaboration in Second Person)
You sit at your desk, staring at the blank page in front of you. You’ve been tasked with writing an essay about the meaning of life, but you have no idea where to begin. You tap the desk with your pen, feeling a growing sense of frustration.
Maybe you should go for a walk, you think. Perhaps the breeze will clear your head. Then again, you decide to sit and commit to staying in place till something strikes you. Sure enough, a black-capped chickadee flies into the room through the open window and strikes you on the side of the head.
No, that doesn’t happen. But imagining that, you do decide to stand up to go see what the ruckus is outside. A small crowd has gathered on the sidewalk and a young red-faced man is screaming at what appears to be two older women, one of them wearing a light blue shawl. You watch to see what will happen next, but nothing comes of it and the crowd disperses.
Suddenly, you hear a knock at the door. Turning, you find an old man standing in the doorway, a wise look in his glistening grey eyes. He introduces himself as a philosopher.
“I’ve come to help you find the answer you seek,” he says. His voice is hoarse and he’s winded from climbing the flight of stairs to your apartment.
You invite him in, and he takes a seat across from you. When he begins to speak, his words are slow and measured. “The meaning of life is different for everyone,” he says. “Some people find it in their work, others in their relationships or their hobbies.”
As he talks, you begin to see the world in a new way. You realize that the meaning of life is not something that can be found in a book or a lecture. It’s something that you have to discover for yourself, through your own experiences and reflections.
The whole time he’s talking, though, you are distracted by your own inner dialogue. Who is this guy? Why is he here? Why did I invite him in? It takes an effort but you manage to dismiss these thoughts and give him your full attention.