Stanley Kubrick’s response to the question…is life worth living?

Stanley Kubrick’s response to the question…is life worth living?


In 1968, 40-year-old Stanley Kubrick was interviewed by Playboy magazine. 

It’s hard to know what Playboy was expecting from the interview, but I suspect they were unprepared for a full-fledged existential meditation on the meaning(lessness) of human existence.

At one point, Playboy asked Kubrick if he felt life was worth living. What followed was one of the most unforgettable responses in the history of interviewing.

Kubrick’s off-the-cuff answer is disarming in its frankness, in its willingness to “stare long into the abyss,” as Friedrich Nietzsche put it. 

Simply reading these words puts me in a kind of reverie — a surreal and dream-like state in which the vast emptiness of the void seems to breathe down my neck.

And yet, by the end, I feel I’ve come along with Stanley to a place of courage and acceptance, a space in which I feel content to generate my own candle-flicker of meaning in an ocean of black. 

Ultimately, for me, his words are vindicating, life-affirming, beautiful. Savor them.

Stanley Kubrick’s Unforgettable Answer

Playboy:If life is so purposeless, do you feel its worth living?

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