Peter Wessel Zapffe was a Norwegian metaphysician, author and mountaineer. He was born 18 December 1899 Tromso, Norway and died 12 October 1990 Asker, Norway at age 90.
On Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Wessel_Zapffe
Here are quotes from To Be A Human Being: The Philosopher Peter Wessel Zapffe In His 90th Year.
Each new generation asks what is the meaning of life?
A more fertile way of putting the question would be why does man need a meaning to life?
Man is a tragic animal. Not because of his smallness, but because he is too well endowed. Man has longings and spiritual demands that reality cannot fulfil. We have expectations of a just and moral world. Man requires meaning in a meaningless world.
The seed of a metaphysical or religious defeat is in us all. For the honest questioner, however, who doesn't seek refuge in some faith or fantasy, there will never be an answer.
We come from an inconceivable nothingness, we stay a while in something which seems equally inconceivable, only to vanish, again into the inconceivable nothingness.
The immediate facts are what we must relate to. Darkness and light. Beginning and end.
Death is a terrible provocation. It appears almost everywhere presenting a stern, but effective, scale for both values and ethical standards.
Death is the most certain and the most uncertain event there is.
In accordance with my conception of life, I have chosen not to bring children into the world. A coin is examined and only after careful deliberation given to a beggar whereas a child is flung out into the cosmic brutality without hesitation.
Mankind ought to end its existence of its own will.
I myself am no longer very much afflicted by the thought of my own death. The synthesis Peter Wessel Zapffe did not originate until 1899, it was spared from immediate participation in the horrors of the previous years and it will not miss what awaits Mankind at the end of its vertiginous madness.
If one regards life and death as natural processes the metaphysical dread vanishes and one obtains peace of mind.
Dear all of you who have come to say goodbye to the incarnation that was made available as an abode for my spiritual life. Say goodbye to the inscrutable synthesis that emerged in 1899 and kept together for 90 years, before it again disintegrated back into its inorganic elements.
Thank you for coming, all of you, and each specifically, each with his own perspective on this that has happened, in part foreseeably and in part as a fruit of pure happenstance. This, which we partly owe gratitude and must partly consider our perfidious foe – if we imagine a governing consciousness behind it all.
And if we do not, then we have in part been lucky in the great lottery, and in part drawn blanks or actual harm. But it often feels as though some consciousness is waiting in ambush to strike us in our vulnerable moments. In any case, we come from nothing and go to nothing and that is nothing to worry about.
Evolution overdid its act when creating the human brain.