I kind of like to think that studying philosophy can help--e.g. by taking my class on the meaning of life, students can actually think better about life decisions, head in a better direction, etc. Well, maybe ... at least some of the class has "helping" potential. The trouble is, alongside my desire to think about real life issues and help, I also have a strong interest in puzzles, paradoxes, and philosophy just of the sake of philosophy. We have done a lot of that this semester--lately entertaining three puzzles of existence that are just fun, if you have a slightly twisted sense of fun. What's so bad about being dead? What's so good about coming into existence? Would it really be all that great to live forever? People have to tackle these questions with a large helping of Woody Allen-esque black humor (see "Love and Death"). The problem is, Real Life can step in and at least temporarily exclude the possibility of that kind of humor. The life of a college student isn't always quite the carefree thing you'd want it to be. (Enough said...)
For philosophy in a very, very helping key, here's a new book by Mark Vernon. It comes with a quiz. I haven't seen the book, but the chapter titles are enticing. Cheerful too. Not one chapter about death!
Right, there's a joke in there, relating to my poll. My blog evidently doesn't have a lot of superatheist readers, but it's hard to say for sure. Over a thousand people visited the blog in the last week, but just 27 took the poll.