Chapter 51 – An Actual Solution to the Meaningless Afterlife

In Chapter 51, The Good Place is not the paradise people expected. Instead, people have been turned into pleasure zombies. Pleasure zombies people who are constantly experiencing pleasure, but who do not have a pleasurable response. It is just the normal state of affair for them. They are bored, indecisive, and nearly incapable of thought. One would likely think that instant pleasure and wish fulfillment is the problem, but that is not the case.

The reason the inhabitants of The Good Place are pleasure zombies is because existence in The Good Place goes on for infinity. Once those in The Good Place are given the option of nonexistence, somehow that makes all of them happy again. Patty indicates that she can now start to think and will stick around for a while. The episode is simply a repeat of the same mistaken view from Chapter 18 that is it death that gives life meaning. See

If it were mere immortality that gives rise to the problem, then we would have to accept that all of the immortal beings running the afterlife also do not have meaningful existence. While Season 4 has explored some of the boredom these immortals face, it has not gone into arguing that these beings existence lack meaning nor have they desired nonexistence. I believe that the fact we can still see the immortal’s existence as having meaning points not only to a fault with death gives life meaning view, put points us towards a better account of the meaning of life.

Susan Wolf puts forward the view that having a meaningful life constitutes a life of active engagement in projects of worth. A project of worth must be something that objectively has meaning but it also must be something the person doing finds meaningful. As Wolf puts it, “meaning arises when subjective attraction meets objective attractiveness.”

Let us consider a demon architect. We shall assume that punishing bad people is something that is objectively worthy. We accept that bad people, especially the very bad, deserve punishment. Demons also want to design ways to punish people. They enjoy doing it as well as the act of punishment. This would be an example of subjective attraction meeting objective attractiveness. Thus, the demon’s existence has meaning because it is actively engaged in a project of worth.

The real problem with The Good Place is that none of the residents can actively participate in projects of worth. The solution is not nonexistence. Rather, it is to find projects of worth for them to do. There is a door that will take the residents to any place, real or imaginary. It seems as though that should enable the residents to find meaning. Perhaps if they would take some of those philosophers out of The Bad Place a long time ago they would have solved the problem the a long time ago.