On the 4th of January, 1960, at the age of forty six, Camus had planned to take a train back to Paris after a Christmas holiday with his wife and kids. At the last minute, Camus changed his mind and decided to travel instead with his publisher Michel Gallimard. During the journey, Gallimard's car slipped off the icy roads and smashed into a tree, immediately killing Camus.
The Assisted Dying Bill is long overdue because we can't keep forcing people to die in pain and misery against their will, or pressuring the terminally ill into committing gruesome acts of suicide as a last resort. We must realise that the right to life includes the right for individuals to make an informed decision to die in the way that they perceive to be the most dignified.
I learnt a new word during a yoga class this week: 'Yama'. Devoted yogis will probably point out that it's hardly a new word, having been around for centuries and centuries, but I'm an occasional yogi, and it's been going round and round in my head ever since. According to the yoga teacher who introduced me to it, Yama means not pushing yourself too far. In a world when we're constantly told to strive for more, to push our limits and test our boundaries, the idea of it being ok - and not just ok, but actually wonderful - to find a comfortable spot and just sit there for a while resonated.
Recognising the role of evolution and having a meaningful life are not mutually exclusive, and learning about the origins of our species should not strip modern people of our sense of meaning and significance, wherever we derive it from. At the very least, it should make us thankful that nature and evolution have instilled us with brains that let us even contemplate meaning at all.
To a great number of people, philosophy has become obsolete; to others it's mind-numbingly boring; to others it's incredibly confusing and too hard a subject to get around. The latter two may certainly be correct, depending on your own opinion; however the first one, the idea that philosophy has lost its purpose, most certainly isn't.
Why does anything exist at all? Or to put it another way "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Or to put it another way still "Why this form of existence as opposed to another?" The three different ways of presenting this question demonstrates the complexity regarding the very notion of existence and the philosophical considerations that accompany it...
We've learnt that just as understanding what constitutes a sublime piece of music is central to appreciating it anywhere, knowing what constitutes a good argument is vital to deciding whether Nick Clegg or Nigel Farage has made the better case for their position, regardless of how we personally feel about them or their politics.
In a stunningly ironic way it is the political equivalent of survival of the fittest that seeks shelter under a religious cannon. The religious Americans have there ultimate dream cake and eat it: the pre-eminence of self-regard on this earth is the right thing to do for yourself, others and God and as a consequence you are spiritually rewarded for it in the afterlife.