Ambrosio looks at the different explanations that have been provided usually and goes on to deconstruct these explanations. In order to better understand the quest for meaning, he uses two models, that of the hero and that of the saint. …
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According to Ambrosio, these are methods that are employed in order to make sense of the lives that people live (Ambrosio).
The method of the hero is to understand his or her life and the meaning of it is to question the bases of it. The hero seeks to understand his life through posing questions and possibly even changing it. This is also to say that the way of the hero is one that is marked by action. On the other hand, the saint is a passive figure, accepting meaning that is handed down to him or her from a power that he does not question. The saint always sees the absence of his or her situation as having been an alternative for this power. The saint thus, understands his life through not just what is, but also through what could not have been.
However, both these models evolve from the fundamental question of as to whether there is a larger meaning that can be attributed to human life. This question unites these two models in their basic essence of being answers or means employed to come to terms with the meaning of life. The hero is committed to further questioning and the idea of the mystery of life that needs to be unraveled. The saint on the other hand, is committed to his or her version of meaning and reality that the saint shall work according to. The similarities between these models also lie in their commitment to responsibility. The commitment to understanding the meaning of life is what characterizes the philosophical hero and the religious saint. Both sets of people adopt this responsibility for themselves, even though their methods are vastly different. Ambrosio points out several areas where these models are important in the daily lives of common people. The question of death that everyone has to deal with is an example (Ambrosio). The hero and the saint obviously approach these problems differently. However, the fact remains that both these models place great importance on this question as it impinges directly upon the question of the meaning of life. If one takes life to be absurd, the entire question of death takes on a different form though. These models have evolved over time, thus leading one to explore the social and more importantly, communal nature of these models. They have come to occupy a place in what Ambrosio refers to as the “cultural genome” of a particular society. These models thus, enable not just individuals but also communities to make sense of the lives that they lead. The development of this genome then happens on the basis of those very elements that affect human evolution, thereby bringing it closer to the human question (Ambrosio). These models are then based on the idea of the mystery of everyday life that is often steeped in irrationality. The attempts to make sense of these irrational phenomena form a part of the questioning that is engaged in by religion and philosophy. The important thing, according to Ambrosio, is to understand the experiential basis of these issues and
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