is there a meaning of

Let's find out

My name is Stefani, and I began having panic attacks about dying and the meaning of life when I was four years old.

I’ve been looking for answers ever since:

First I jumped off Venetian yachts. I walked the Rockies barefoot. I danced til dawn on bar tops in Taiwan. 

I also studied biogeochemistry at Dartmouth College, theology at Boston University, and have a PhD in religion from the University of Oxford.

After decades of searching, I know my shit. I know what gurus get wrong and why millions of people today are needlessly tortured by existential anxiety.

Is there a meaning to life? Oh, let me tell you.

Stefani Ruper
Bonus Episode: Finding Meaning in Coronavirus

Bonus Episode: Finding Meaning in Coronavirus

Here are the notes for the coronavirus bonus episode of Naked Humanity. I have taken a pause from our regular programming to respond to the flood of people asking me to talk about coronavirus. In the beginning of this episode I briefly address anxiety and coping...

#57: What Makes Things Funny with Alex Farrow

#57: What Makes Things Funny with Alex Farrow

Here are the notes for episode #57 of Naked Humanity. Alex Farrow is both a philosophy teacher AND a really extraordinary stand up comedian (I’ve seen his show live!) so this is a heck of a podcast. Alex and I chat about what he learned teaching philosophy to high...

#56x: If I were Emperor for a Day…

#56x: If I were Emperor for a Day…

Here are the notes for episode #56 of Naked Humanity. A listener wrote in and asked me: Stefani, if you were Emperor of the World for a day, what would you do? I sat down and put some thought into the question, and came up with a list of four things involving...

Existential Crisis

Once, long ago, humans had spiritual peace. They made sense of the world with myths that gave them comfort and meaning. They navigated life with beauty, goodness, purpose, and hope.

But in our world, God is dead. And all that good stuff died along with Him.

Western culture today is full of existential pain: anomie, alienation, distress, aimlessness, futility, hopelessness. 

Is there a way to reclaim the existential peacefulness and joy that we once had? Is there a way to overcome the existential crisis of our modern world?


The book is currently being written alongside several articles, podcast episodes, and the final chapters of a dissertation. It will likely be published in 2022. Many excerpts and related philosophical ramblings will be published on this website as they are completed. You can find those under the tag “Existential Crisis.”


Have you ever wondered why people today are always so angry, so afraid, so anxious?  While there are various answers to these questions—and many of them very important—in this book I argue that a key component to these problems is the amount of what I call existential ambiguity we are forced to live with every day. Modern humans in the West have to live with the greatest amount of uncertainty—and specifically uncertainty about life’s biggest, most pressing questions, such as what is a good life? How do we be moral? Is there a soul? Does God exist? What happens when we die?—that has ever existed in the history of the human species. This has enormous consequences for the ways in which we feel, live, and relate to one another. We can collapse into fear and nihilism, or we can use this as an opportunity to create new and beautiful things. 

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The Destructive Side of Science

The Destructive Side of Science

Just before his death in 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus argued that the Earth revolves around the Sun in a book called On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres. This moment is often heralded as the birth of modern science. Now, theories and experiments that we would...

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How Scientists Stole the Philosopher’s Job

How Scientists Stole the Philosopher’s Job

Neil de Grasse Tyson’s most recent book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry has been on the New York Times bestseller list for twenty-five weeks. You might think this achievement means there is something new or exciting about the book, but there isn’t, really. What...

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