The University Record recently asked What Makes Life Worth Living: http://ur.umich.edu/1011/Sep20_10/1512-question-of-the

A theme semester on “What Makes Life Worth Living?” runs the risk of seeming so absorbed with abstract, eternal, and universal questions (What is the good life? What is our nature as humans? What is the nature of happiness?) that connections with concrete, here-and-now things that make life worth living on a daily basis will get overshadowed.

That would be unfortunate, since what makes life worth living is often local … richly so. Thinking of the concrete daily experiences and events that make your own life worthwhile is an important exercise, one that will allow you to know if you are on your way to a worthwhile life. For, as Annie Dillard (The Writing Life) notes: “How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

To stimulate your thinking about things that make life worth living for you, below is a brief clip from Woody Allen’s film Manhattan in which he tackles this question. We would like to hear from you about your list. You can either post a comment below, or upload a video to YouTube of yourself stretched out on your couch—a la Woody Allen—telling us what’s on your list and email it to us at ethics@umich.edu.

Every week or so we’ll pick some names from the list of people who have responded and send them one of the theme semester t-shirts, giving them the opportunity to show folks around them what makes life worth living for them.

Here’s Woody Allen’s take on What Makes Life Worth Living:

[flashvideo file=woody-allen-wmlwl.flv image=preview.jpg /]

Let us know what you think below!

55 REASONS
Aerial
August 5, 2010
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LOVE

Anne
August 5, 2010
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seasonal berry pie.

Melissa
August 10, 2010
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Other People

Andy
August 21, 2010
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RUNNING

john
August 23, 2010
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1. nightly dinner with my wife
2. a family vacation with all five grandkids
3. Zingerman’s
4. Bach’s cello suites
5. Beethoven’s chamber music
6. Thelonius Monk’s ‘Round Midnight
7. Ellington’s Blanton-Webster Band
8. Jerry Garcia guitar solos
9. Philip Roth
10. Ernie Harwell’s broadcasts of Tiger games
11. Leonard Baskin’s prints
12. Fly fishing on the Au Sable

JON
August 24, 2010
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creme brulee.

Jeff
August 24, 2010
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Others

Mariam
September 1, 2010
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Compassion
Faith
Love

Lisa
September 3, 2010
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Great Friends

Lisa
September 3, 2010
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Family

Karen
September 3, 2010
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Community

Alex
September 3, 2010
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Free Stuff

Lisa
September 4, 2010
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Medical Mission trips to Panama!

Mike
September 7, 2010
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Life

Danielle
September 7, 2010
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Weekends

Calvin McCarter
September 8, 2010
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God’s Love

Jessi
September 8, 2010
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Funky techno music

Eric
September 9, 2010
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Eloquence

Vivian
September 9, 2010
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The future

Gwen
September 10, 2010
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Jake.

Saran
September 10, 2010
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The sacrifices made by my parents
Listening to Matthew Bellamy
Tandoori Chicken with Aloo Gobi at Madras Masala
Running
My grandfather and grandmother
Sweet Potatoes
Learning
Science
Experiments with life
Potential
Saving Lives

Lisa
September 10, 2010
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The Pursuit of Happiness

John
September 11, 2010
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abundent curiosity books movies good food and dinner with friends family my daughter being happy my wife sex (which now sometimes reminds me I’m alive) the garden exercise and riding my bike travel seeing new places and things and looking forward to being retired!

Lauren
September 12, 2010
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Jesus

Liana
September 12, 2010
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Music
Sunrises with your partner
Laying under the stars
Being alive

Emily
September 13, 2010
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Connection
Love
Feeling Alive

Dave
September 15, 2010
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being loved & trying to love others the way family, friends and God has loved me

Tim
September 15, 2010
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Good Food and travel

Eric
September 16, 2010
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Other People.

Ute
September 17, 2010
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Loving, learning, helping!

Flora
September 18, 2010
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The world!

Shannon
September 19, 2010
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Tomorrow

April
September 22, 2010
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cheese, a swim in the lake on a sunny day, movies, hugs from my nieces, fresh snow, a good meal with family and friends.

Trisha
September 22, 2010
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People

Ann
September 27, 2010
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Angelo’s Deep Fried French Toast and Love

Sally Schmall
September 28, 2010
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Come visit the School of Social Work on Wed Septmeber 29th to see what the students in SW 617 “Death,Loss and Grief” think makes life worth living. Posters and essays displayed on the first floor of the school as a part of their class with Sally Schmall and Kathy Wade.

Jessi
October 11, 2010
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funky house music

CICY
October 11, 2010
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Love
Faith & Passion
Holidays

gu
October 12, 2010
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relationships

Lauren
October 13, 2010
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love, faith and good food

Emily Puckett Rodgers
October 13, 2010
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open licensing of learning resources

jenna
October 14, 2010
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inspiration and passion

Hans
October 18, 2010
Susan
October 19, 2010
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poetry
my ipod with all my music
my grandchildren
dinner with my friends
that I have helped someone
a fire in the fireplace

Emily
October 20, 2010
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Laughter

Gail Farley
October 21, 2010
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Raising service dogs…

Layton
October 28, 2010
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Making a Difference

Koral Skeen
November 1, 2010
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Inspiration

Elinor Riley
November 2, 2010
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sending out cards

Jennifer
November 2, 2010
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working to make the world a better place for all to live

Megan
November 3, 2010
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Peace
Love
Hope
Second Chances

Ruhee Momin
November 10, 2010
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Spontaneity
Snail Mail
Gummy Bears
Books
Mom’s Cooking
Dance

Natalie
November 13, 2010
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Faith

Cristina
November 14, 2010
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Argentine Tango

Tom Corwin
December 13, 2010
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Four categories:
(1) Agency: the enjoyment of being able to do things.
(2) Relationships
(3) Pleasurable experiences: food, drink, etc
(4) Accomplishments

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