The Meaning of Life

Photo credit: Daniel Weinand,

Join us for this Weekend Retreat where we will discuss the meaning of life. Surely few things are more important than the meaning in our lives. We will draw on classic and contemporary philosophers as we have discussions in some of Sedona’s most beautiful spaces.

Stay with us at Sedona’s gems. Registration includes course materials, admission and two lunches at Red Rock State Park, three guided hikes with lessons and discussions at Red Rock State Park, as well as a lovely Saturday evening wine and cheese reception.


The "answer to the question of the meaning of life" according to the stupendous super computer, Deep Thought, from the movie based on Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

What is the Meaning of Life?

In this 3-day exploration we will discuss the perennial philosophical question: what is the meaning of life? In Douglas Adams’ comic science fiction novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a "stupendous supercomputer" solves the question with the seemingly simple answer with the number 42, raising the question of whether we really understand the question to begin with.

Some may laugh at the question of the meaning of life because it seems unanswerable. But the meaning of life is one of the most important questions to understand if we are to be happy and successful. The meaning of life is directly connected to other key questions we will consider: Why am I here? What is true? What can I know? And, how should I behave?

In this course we will examine and evaluate famous philosophical attempts to answer these questions. You will come to know the ideas of Socrates, Aristotle, Diogenes of Sinope,  the Stoics, Epicurus, Voltaire, Schopenhauer, and Camus. You may be surprised to find some of their views seem remarkably up to date. You will learn new strategies for thinking about the nature of philosophical inquiry, truth, subjectivity, objectivity, and become acquainted with different worldviews, including pessimism, optimism, and realism. Best of all, you will have fun doing it in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

See the itinerary

Friday Afternoon September 22, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. We will meet at the Smoke Trail Parking area of Red Rock State Park. (The Twin Cypress Ramada, which precedes the Smoke Trail Parking area has restroom facilities if needed.)

2:30 – 4:30 p.m. We will take the Smoke Trail to the outdoor classroom. Overview of weekend experience including key philosophical concepts and themes. (20-30 minutes)

We will hike trails that include breathtaking views and access to pristine Oak Creek. We will introduce the ideas of Socrates, Aristotle, Diogenes of Sinope,  the Stoics, Epicurus, Voltaire, Schopenhauer, and Camus, among others.

Saturday Morning (9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. We will meet at the Miller Visitor Center at Red Rock State Park.

9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. We will hike trails and discuss more advanced topics in outdoor seating areas by overlooks.

We will walk around the historic House of Apache Fire and reflect on the human presence in nature.

We will continue back to the Visitor Center where we will have a picnic lunch.

Reflection and Preparation

Tour the Red Rock State Park Visitor Center to learn about the local flaura, fauna, and geology.

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Wine and cheese reception at Enchantment Resort.


Sunday Morning 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. We will meet at the Miller Visitor Center at Red Rock State Park

Hikes and discussions in outdoor classroom and along creek.

We will conclude with reflection and discussion over a picnic lunch at the Cypress Ramada

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