This August will mark Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday. The centenary celebrations started last August and are worldwide. The Bernstein estate counts more than 2,000 events on six continents. And there is plenty to celebrate. But if Bernstein remains a figure of limitless fascination, it is also because his story is archetypal. He embodied a tangled nexus of American challenges, aspirations, and contradictions. And if he in some ways unraveled, so did the America he once courted and extolled.
Walker State Prison, home to about 400 inmates, is unique among Georgia prisons. In 2011, the facility became the testing ground for the Georgia Department of Corrections’ new Faith and Character Based program, which focuses on accountability, responsibility, integrity and faith. Inmates in the Faith and Character Based curriculum have all requested to be there and have gone through a vetting process before being allowed to participate in the two-year program.
What is the meaning of ‘meaning’ in ‘the meaning of life’? We talk about the meaning of words, or linguistic meaning, the meaning of an utterance or of writing in a book. When we ask if human life has meaning, are we asking whether it has meaning in this semantic sense? Could human history be a sentence in some cosmic language? The answer is that it could, in principle, but that this isn’t what we want when we search for the meaning of life.