The purpose of life

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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 2nd, 2012, 1:34 pm 

You may not like this guy or agree with lots of things he said and neither do I. BUT I do think this is a very good way to approach life and the part I have highlighted is I believe a very well thought out and valid point.

The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal. - Aleister Crowley


Obviously I don't see the point in having a "goal". I just want to ask questions o find more questions without getting too hung up on possible answers.

Don't take this as aggression or criticism, I'm just looking at it.


:) Don't worry about that. I learn nothing if people don't oppose my views and opinions ... god knows I do it too myself enough and have yet to meet a critic harsher than myself. That could be because I see the criticism of others as coming directly from me anyway in a round about kind of way :P

I find the most puzzling thing in life to be why I bother doing anything at all and why other people bother too? Everything people seem to do in their day to day lives looks to me like a distraction from the reality of their condition.

Is it wiser to be an idiot or to know you are an idiot?

Does anyone else ever get that feeling that they may have thought so much that they understand things better simply because they realise how much they don't understand anything really? Why is it a blissfully happy experience to have awareness of your own ignorance that seems to be wrapped up in a profound "understanding"? (I seriously have no idea to express what I mean by "understanding" here ... sorry!)

There seems to me to be a deep underlying contradiction in every aspect of perceived reality and yet it makes sense? Why is that? More to the point why is it so damn beautiful? XD
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 2nd, 2012, 7:02 pm 

neuro


My suggestion is that all life is not moving toward any spiritual goal, but simply toward life itself.


I'm not sure I understand this, especially when you talk about motivational drives.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 2nd, 2012, 7:10 pm 

BadgerJelly

I find the most puzzling thing in life to be why I bother doing anything at all


Try doing nothing. It's not easy :)

There seems to me to be a deep underlying contradiction in every aspect of perceived reality


What contradiction?
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 2nd, 2012, 10:20 pm 

EVERYTHING is a contradiction.

Life needs death and death needs life. Nothing cannot be nothing, in order to be happy we need to suffer to experience it, people talk about reality without actually understanding what it means, people go to work and do things they don't like to earn money to live longer and continue doing things they don't like, language and communication and interaction is something that develops more in lifeforms YET we can never truly interact and understand everything without becoming everything and therefore nothing ... I can go on and on and to what end? How can time exist at all other than in our own narrow field of perception? How can anything that happens be said to have happen or be going to happen when time is intangible and vapid? How can there be one step after the first without a step before the first step? I could ramble on so please don't bother replying to any specific part of this rant :)

More to the point why does this all make me smile? Why do I feel I understand because I do not understand?
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 3rd, 2012, 5:39 am 

BadgerJelly

I think you're getting carried away with your words.

There's certainly life and death but I wouldn't call it a contradiction. The contradiction exists in our own minds, in the way we think about reality.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 3rd, 2012, 8:43 am 

Yeah I was :P

I do that sometimes. My head was a bit full when I wrote that and I was in a stupidly happy mood.

It does seem to me though that in order to have a good understanding of any given subject we have to ignore the subject at some point and try to understand other things better instead and then use that understanding to better understand the original subject.

The thing about reality is it is. Therefore our minds are reality in part or in totality (depending on your own personal view). The simple presence of our existence, or non-existence, is intrinsic to the universe/nature as much as it is extrinsic.

I guess my stance, if I have one, is close to an existentialist outlook.

If we can agree up to now that we generally believe that the purpose of life is to have self-realisation. Also take this for all life to be true. Life form interact with their surrounding in the same way gravity holds the Earth in orbit around the sun. If you can follow me with this line of thinking then is it not correct to say that the purpose of life comes down to interacting with our environment to have any form of self-realisation?
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby neuro on May 3rd, 2012, 9:26 am 

charon wrote:neuro
My suggestion is that all life is not moving toward any spiritual goal, but simply toward life itself.

I'm not sure I understand this, especially when you talk about motivational drives.


actually, charon, mine is a stupid statement if taken out of context: it was an observation in response to your question
charon wrote:Now is it the truth, as a natural fact independent of ourselves, that all life is moving toward a spiritual goal or is it only something we assume and accept?


When you talk about "all life, as a natural fact and independent of ourselves", I understand you are talking about "Life" (capital L) in the biological sense, i.e. the force that drives living organisms. And that simply moves toward persistence, expansiona and reproduction of life itself.

My referring to motivational drives implies that whereas simple organisms do not need complex behavior evaluation systems in order to survive, higher organisms most often have to choose among several possible behavioral responses, and their central nervous system is organized in such a way to translate positive and negative aspects and prospects into motivational drives, which can be compared to orient behavior.

As regards my opinion about the purpose of (our, human) life, that I think is quite different, and I hope my position is clear from the several posts I contributed to this same thread.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby neuro on May 3rd, 2012, 9:36 am 

BadgerJelly wrote:Does anyone else ever get that feeling that they may have thought so much that they understand things better simply because they realise how much they don't understand anything really?


Well, that happens to me, and as far as I can recall, It also used to happen to an old friend of mine: his name, if I'm not wrong, was something like Socrates...

Actually, the most interesting aspect of our knowledge is that it always consists in a multifaceted view, in that different "modules" of our brain simultaneously simplify, schematize and interpret reality from several different perspectives, and the more we "understand" something, the clearer it becomes to us that something is escaping our grasp, that many more perspectives can be taken, and that we are not going to be able to reconcile all possible views and aspects.

Which is a pretty nice sensation, kind of feeling the wind on your face while you are running.
The nice thing, in running, certainly is not having arrived.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby sponge on May 3rd, 2012, 11:49 am 

BadgerJelly wrote:Does anyone else ever get that feeling that they may have thought so much that they understand things better simply because they realise how much they don't understand anything really? Why is it a blissfully happy experience to have awareness of your own ignorance that seems to be wrapped up in a profound "understanding"? (I seriously have no idea to express what I mean by "understanding" here ... sorry!)There seems to me to be a deep underlying contradiction in every aspect of perceived reality and yet it makes sense? Why is that? More to the point why is it so damn beautiful? XD


Tell me, Badger, have you been studying Carlos Castaneda?

Carlos Cesar Arana Castaneda, according to scholar Benjamin Epstein in his 1996 Psychology Today journal interview, was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Christmas Day in 1931. However immigration records show an earlier date of December 25, 1925 in Cajamarca, Peru.[1] Castaneda earned his B.A. in 1962 and Ph.D. in 1970 from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Anthropologist Carlos Castaneda was a controversial author of a series of books that recounted his training in traditional Native American Shamanism. (covering)... the mystical Toltec teachings of Yaquai Shaman don Juan Matus, which "exposed a world view of an aspect of human consciousness independent of time and space and susceptible to control." [3] The teachings of Matus expounded on the "interconnection between all life forms, and to be properly understood, the human connection and spirituality, it must mature."

[Google] Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan's Teachings
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 3rd, 2012, 12:15 pm 

Never heard of him.

I have studied various bits and pieces about shamanism in my search for the origins of religion and can see how it has run into Occutism ... another interest of mine for the same reason.

I am more interested in shamanism from a neurological point of view tbh. I do believe there is something in shamanic initiation that tells us about the human psyche so I'll read his stuff when I have time and see if there is anything useful to me there. Thanks
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 3rd, 2012, 2:06 pm 

BadgerJelly

If we can agree up to now that we generally believe that the purpose of life is to have self-realisation


No, I'm querying all 'purposes of life'. That's my point.

I don't think life has any other purpose than being what it is. It's its own purpose, its own raison d'etre, if you like. The point is that, not seeing this, that we invent purposes for ourselves and those purposes vary from person to person, religion to religion, and so on.

I think the real question is why we want a purpose at all. Is it because we're lost and confused? If so, then clear up the confusion, not seek a purpose.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 3rd, 2012, 2:07 pm 

neuro

When you talk about "all life, as a natural fact and independent of ourselves", I understand you are talking about "Life" (capital L) in the biological sense, i.e. the force that drives living organisms. And that simply moves toward persistence, expansion and reproduction of life itself.


No, I'm talking about our life, daily life. I doubt if biological life has a goal. It simply changes endlessly. Change is the constant.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby mtbturtle on May 3rd, 2012, 2:36 pm 

Stanford - The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life
First published Tue May 15, 2007

Many major historical figures in philosophy have provided an answer to the question of what, if anything, makes life meaningful, although they typically have not put it in these terms. Consider, for instance, Aristotle on the human function, Aquinas on the beatific vision, and Kant on the highest good. While these concepts have some bearing on happiness and morality, they are straightforwardly construed as accounts of which final ends a person ought to realize in order to have a significant existence. Despite the venerable pedigree, it is only in the last 50 years or so that something approaching a distinct field on the meaning of life has been established in analytic philosophy, and it is only in the last 25 years that debate with real depth has appeared. Concomitant with the demise of positivism and of utilitarianism in the post-war era has been the rise of analytical enquiry into non-hedonistic conceptions of value grounded on relatively uncontroversial (but not universally shared) judgments or “intuitions,” including conceptions of meaning in life. English-speaking philosophers can be expected to continue to find life's meaning of interest as they increasingly realize that it is a distinct line of enquiry that admits of rational enquiry to no less a degree than more familiar normative categories such as well-being, right action, and distributive justice.

This survey critically discusses approaches to meaning in life that are prominent in contemporary English-speaking philosophical literature. To provide context, sometimes it mentions other texts, e.g., in Continental philosophy or from before the 20th century. However, the central aim is to acquaint the reader with recent analytic work on life's meaning and to pose questions about it that are currently worthy of consideration.

When the topic of the meaning of life comes up, people often pose one of two questions: “So, what is the meaning of life?” and “What are you talking about?” The literature can be divided in terms of which question it seeks to answer. This discussion begins by addressing works that discuss the latter, abstract question regarding the sense of talk of “life's meaning,” i.e., that aim to clarify what we are asking when we pose the question of what, if anything, makes life meaningful. Then it considers texts that provide answers to the more substantive question.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 4th, 2012, 1:41 am 

Charon I guess I mean process rather than purpose. You are right that purpose is a human thing ... but my point about purpose is the concept exists as a possibility and seems to be an evolution from the concept of communication/interaction which is intrinsic to existence and non-existence.

I am personally not looking for purpose other than to try and understand as I have stated above which you agree with. I am not referring to purpose from an emotional perspective at this moment because I don't believe I "exist".

As for biological life it only came into being from no biological life I just don't see the difference; other than now there appears to be more possibilities for communication/interaction at a biological level. Change is the product of interactions so I do not see it as a constant if it is a product of something else. Nature is the only constant I can think of by human definition.

Anyway as the concept of purpose exists in the human condition it exists for the reason that it is a possibility; that randomly, or not, came to be. We do not have a choice to stop being here as if we were not nothing would be here just like if you took a cog out of a machine the process would cease at that point in time but other machinations would likely continue ... this obviously brings up the issue of time itself and where it evolved from.

Also a point to consider is that as humans we have a mind set for a beginning and an end due to the process of life and death. This micro view of nature gives us the ability to see how beginnings and ends work in nature itself and therefore in ourselves as well as we are part of nature and possibly all of it if you wish to think off the board a little.

So what do we see? We see stars form and explode and form new stars and repeat ... until we get elements to have a possibility of "life" and then we get species existing forever in respect to the existence of the possibilities they produce. Because we only see life and death and have such ephemeral lives it is not so obvious to see that everything always "exists" and doesn't "exist" in tandem.

Think of any species now extinct. You would instantly say they are gone, finished, no more, void. That is not the case though because if it were nature could not be what it is and would never have been.

To bring this down/up/across/inside/outside to a human perspective and see what concepts have evolved and where they have come from we can look at things like purpose, right and wrong etc... From this perspective morally everything is right and good because it is. What has gone before is also right and good because it is. It is not that opinions are relative to each other from humans they are just compartmentalised pieces of right and good and although it seems like they oppose each other they are the same thing and exist as one not just as pieces of pieces of pieces.

If we want to understand we have to understand we understand everything and nothing because they are the same thing. Complete and utter ignorance is the same as complete enlightenment (whatever they both mean?). The answers are in the concepts we make ... more to the point WE don't MAKE them they are nature and nature is what it is.

Every tendril of possibility through the concept of the perspective we call time is expanding at a phenomenal and endless rate and the faster we run the quicker it gets. To step back though it is clear it can not possibly be "moving" at all through time when you think about it.

And to bring this back to the human person me and you and everyone else ... what does this mean for our concept of purpose in life? It means maybe nature has ZERO free will or that maybe in not being the totality of nature, because we are both in it and of it, that we do have a certain amount of free will. We have the concept of free will that has evolved from the concept of hope which is intrinsic to the existence of life or life would not be. So this possible "illusion" of hope is real because nature made it so even though as a species we could be running into a brick wall of what we call extinction. This has no consequence to us though right now but what does is how we be. I now am writing this not because I think anyone will listen or should listen but because nature is writing this not "me". The idea of individual can almost be conceptualised as a conceptualisation of nature.

Everyone is a genius and everyone is good and right. Even those we regard in our mistaken human way as "bad" and "wrong" are in fact good and right because they push the comfort zones of the human perception of reality to breaking point to keep the species adaptable and communicative.

Maybe my words are those of an idiot but I believe they are the words of a genius just as I believe the words of every human being are genius. Whether the masses would want to agree with me or not is another thing but I know nature does because I am nature. You don't have to like it but you would be humanly foolish to deny it.

The purpose of life is to communicate, interact and understand. We all do it automatically. If you want to slow the process you may only help to speed it and if you want to speed the process you may only help to slow it. Do what nature tells you ...or more to the point do what you tell you after all you have no choice but to be what you are and the hope is you have the choice to be something better if you have the will and determination of nature.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 4th, 2012, 6:48 am 

BadgerJelly

Change is the product of interactions so I do not see it as a constant if it is a product of something else


There's only change because there's nothing permanant. That's the beauty of life.

the concept of purpose exists in the human condition it exists for the reason that it is a possibility


I agree, it's possible that life is moving toward a goal and if we knew that goal we would have a purpose in living. But that's speculation, isn't it?

a point to consider is that as humans we have a mind set for a beginning and an end due to the process of life and death


But death may not be the end. It may only be a change.

Think of any species now extinct. You would instantly say they are gone, finished, no more, void


Absolutely, there are extinct species which have vanished. Again, that is change. Some of it is natural, some of it is the carelessness of man.

The answers are in the concepts we make ... more to the point WE don't MAKE them they are nature and nature is what it is


We do make concepts but those concepts only have a conceptual reality. I could invent a concept of you but it wouldn't be you.

It means maybe nature has ZERO free will or that maybe in not being the totality of nature, because we are both in it and of it, that we do have a certain amount of free will


We do have a certain amount of free will. I can choose to a limited extent what I do although that choice is inevitably based on knowledge, experience, and other factors.

We have the concept of free will that has evolved from the concept of hope which is intrinsic to the existence of life or life would not be. So this possible "illusion" of hope is real because nature made it so even though as a species we could be running into a brick wall of what we call extinction


We might have the concept of absolute free will but it wouldn't be accurate. Hope indeed can be an illusion but it does exist.

The idea of individual can almost be conceptualised as a conceptualisation of nature


I have to ask why you're constantly dealing so much with concepts? Do concepts have importance? They might have some value in practical issues like design or art but I wouldn't say they had any if we want to understand life. There we have to deal with facts, realities, not concepts.

Maybe my words are those of an idiot but I believe they are the words of a genius just as I believe the words of every human being are genius. Whether the masses would want to agree with me or not is another thing but I know nature does because I am nature. You don't have to like it but you would be humanly foolish to deny it


The words of every human being are not genius at all. That's a concept! Are the rantings of some hate-filled lunatic genius? Of course not.

I know what you're saying, that everything is all part of nature and that nature is ineffable. That may be so but only to the mind which is itself ineffable. It must be in that state otherwise it becomes just words, a meaningless conceptual idea.

Do what nature tells you ...or more to the point do what you tell you after all you have no choice but to be what you are and the hope is you have the choice to be something better if you have the will and determination of nature


A killer could say it was his nature. After all, terrible violence is a fact in the world. No rational person is going to accept that though. It's generally accepted that killing another human being is the greatest crime and for good reason.

I agree we have no choice than to be what we are but the point is we're constantly denying what we are. We're ambitious, we want to be other than we are. We think in terms of the more and the better. We want to become and becoming is endless. We think comparatively and in terms of advancement.

If only we were content to be what we are! That doesn't mean accepting violence or greed but it means we're no longer in conflict with these things. Not being in conflict with them we can examine them, see if they have value, and if not, end them.

The intelligent mind looks at the fact and seeks to understand it. It doesn't look at the fact and want to change it into something else.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby Whut on May 5th, 2012, 12:36 am 

I'm on a bit of on all nighter but I wana share sumthing profound

Basically philosophers say this n that

philosophers beat around the bush alot

morality, though, is pretty simple

you set a goal

and anything which furthers that goal is good, anything which goes againt it is bad. thats' all there is too it

charon,

and yeah, we can talk about the problems of such things as "idealism" ect, but that frankly misses the point; everything we do is goal dependant

even if you type on a forum your skepticism of goal oriented thinking, you have to set a goal to do that. humans are goal making creatures; regardless of the way some other people might handle their goals. or the goals they set up
-----

what i say is profound is because metaethics is the question of questions, it's the WHOLE POINT OF PHILOSOPHY

yet it's so simple, and philosophers are full of shit.

The purpose of life is to thrive.

anyone who tries to refute that is practicing an excersize in futility.

think about politics

and how stupid it is, how unscientific....

yet furthering a goal is a matter of empiricism.

this is important, because politics atm is BS polarized opinion mungering; when it can become aSCIENCE

it's so EASY, and LAZY to argue for "moral relativism" ect..............., moreover it's WRONG.

g2g





when you solve morality you solve a lot

and morality is solved
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 5th, 2012, 2:02 am 

Whut you bore me! You make too much sense :P

Nothing is WRONG though. That word doesn't really mean anything anymore than the word YELLOW.

Whether goals are pointless or not it is our nature. MORE to the point WE ARE NATURE so it is not just us pursuing goals NATURE is because we are of it and maybe we are IT.

I like that people beat around the bush because it means I don't have to :D

My goal is to understand everything! I will quote Aleister Crowley again here because I feel his words are sometimes VERY cutting and to the point :

The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.


This is what I do not do. I can never understand everything but I will try because that for me is the pleasure of life. Contentment will make you static and vapid and lifeless if you dwell in it IMO.

Whut you make me think of the question I asked you about the meaning of the Tao Te Ching ... LOVED your reply and how you handled my dogged questioning :)
Do you believe the author understood himself fully or was his words just an expression of the deeper nature of nature expressed as best he could through his/her limited perceptions?

charon

Hope indeed can be an illusion but it does exist.


Everything exists just as much as nothing does. If you know what I mean by this you are probably as puzzled as every Physicist who knows anything about the micro and the macro.

We do have a certain amount of free will.


This I have yet to verbalise. In short yes and no but more likely no ... not that it matters in day to day life as far as I can see ... well other than my own and how my brain functions that is! :P
I will be starting a thread about this when I have a way to communicate my thoughts.


the concept of purpose exists in the human condition it exists for the reason that it is a possibility



I agree, it's possible that life is moving toward a goal and if we knew that goal we would have a purpose in living. But that's speculation, isn't it?


If you want it to be it is for you. That is kind of my point though if you know what I mean?
Nature is a matrix of possibilities and nature is not speculation if you believe you exist or not. The very question of existence is a contradiction to nature itself. If you like we are a faculty of natures inner ignorance to itself. No idea what this means but that is the way it is.

Our ignorance is a blessing and the more stones we look under the more ignorance we find. What I do think is important for the purpose of life in the recognition of philosophies to be applied to freethinking and science to better understand the purpose of our own ignorance through becoming more ignorance ... this is the contradiction and beauty of life IMO.

We do make concepts but those concepts only have a conceptual reality. I could invent a concept of you but it wouldn't be you.


There is no COULD about it. You do have a concept of me and everything and nothing. The realisation of these concepts is I believe essential to understanding what nature is and the pursue of WHY it is is almost a moot point but one great thinkers like to push into endlessly like scientists do too beyond their realms of understanding into scary and undefined territories. Fear of ignorance is the biggest ignorance I see in humans. It is both our greatest ally and strongest foe in day to day activities of every person ever.

I have to ask why you're constantly dealing so much with concepts? Do concepts have importance?


Think about what you are saying here I cannot do that for you. Maybe I sound patronising but it is not my intent because I feel we enough of a understanding and interest in each others concepts of existence ;)

The words of every human being are not genius at all. That's a concept! Are the rantings of some hate-filled lunatic genius? Of course not.



Genius is what humans believe to be intelligent and correct. By the very nature of nature there is no right or wrong only the illusion of the pursuit of betterment. Murderers existence makes non murderers existence all the more "perfect" (for want of a better word!?!?). We are murderous but when human life is taken it is more noticeable than when we break a stone or take a breath. Existence relies on destruction and is because of destruction. Every particle, molecule, thought can be murdered or murderous. Again this is the contradiction I refer to.


It's generally accepted that killing another human being is the greatest crime and for good reason.


I agree it is. Nature is what it is. In some cultures taken a life is a very noble and just thing to do. To kill a killer is ok and generally accepted (Hitler, Bin Laden, Bush ... couldn't resist :P). Crime comes from law and law from ideology and ideology from morality. Morality is nature and in nature death beckons life's call.

We want to become and becoming is endless. We think comparatively and in terms of advancement.


Agreed. This is the joy of life and the essence of existence. We seem to be driven to pursue anything we can oblivious to the "end result" and so we set manageable targets to keep "sane" and "in control" rather than accept we are boundlessly stupid and boundlessly capable of almost anything. We can be a speck of dust or a God but in our humility we waver somewhere in between hoping the latter to be true without the courage to see we many in fact be a speck of dust ... if you have not gathered by now I am inclined to accept we are both.

The intelligent mind looks at the fact and seeks to understand it. It doesn't look at the fact and want to change it into something else.


This needs editing to this IMO :

The closed mind looks at the "fact" and seeks to understand it. It doesn't look at the "fact" and want to change it into something else.

Don't get me wrong! I am being picky. Scientific fact is there to be built upon but the realisation that the entire construct of knowledge may be slightly off since Newton and therefore our entire line of pursuit has been close to the "fact" but just parallel to it and heading for a brick wall of extinction just like our species may be. HIGHLY unlikely and I do not believe Physics today has gone down the wrong track because it predicts so accurately observations in nature.

Quantum is the best example there is for human knowledge. It works but we have no idea WHY it works and no idea what anything IS. This is the beautiful pursuit of life.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 5th, 2012, 4:56 am 

whut

charon,

and yeah, we can talk about the problems of such things as "idealism" ect, but that frankly misses the point; everything we do is goal dependant

even if you type on a forum your skepticism of goal oriented thinking, you have to set a goal to do that. humans are goal making creatures; regardless of the way some other people might handle their goals. or the goals they set up


Get some sleep :)

Seriously, the brain doesn't work well at night even if we think it does. It's not geared for it.

I'm only talking inwardly about the thinking that says 'this is my goal'. We construct goals for ourselves psychologically and then work towards them as an achievement. Gaining them is success, not doing so is failure.

The point is it narrows down thought, it binds the mind to a particular pattern. The mind becomes conditioned in that pattern; any pattern at all is conditioning. All conditioning is limiting and divisive, thus there's always your goal, my goal, and somebody else's goal. So goals never lead to freedom, a mind bound by its own invented ideas and aims will never be free.

If one goes behind all that and looks at what causes it you'll see that such thinking is itself a reaction to being conditioned. The mind, because it's already narrowed down by various influences, is struggling. Goals and their achievement are an escape from that because they give the feeling that one is going somewhere, moving toward something better, and one day everything will be all right. The conditioned mind is inevitably grounded in pleasure and satisfaction because they are numbing, comforting, and goals are a means to further satisfaction.

So, if one looks at it, the whole thing is moving in a vicious circle. To break that circle is to see it clearly. As long as one doesn't see it one goes on with it. One may agree intellectually that it's deleterious but that doesn't change it. What changes it, ends it, is seeing the whole thing as it is, and that seeing is not conditioned, thus freedom is not at the end but right from the start. Freedom is in in the looking without bias, without judgement, without choice.

Such looking or seeing isn't determined, it's not a goal the mind has set up. If it is, one is back in the circle. To see that circle is to end that circle, then there's great relief, the shedding of a great burden, there's a release of tremendous energy. That energy then finds its own way of living, its own action in life.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 5th, 2012, 6:05 am 

BadgerJelly

"I agree, it's possible that life is moving toward a goal and if we knew that goal we would have a purpose in living. But that's speculation, isn't it?"

If you want it to be it is for you


Not at all, it is definitely speculation. If it wasn't we'd all know about life's goal. It wouldn't be a matter of debate. The mere fact of saying 'If you want it to be it is for you' implies it's self-created.

Our ignorance is a blessing and the more stones we look under the more ignorance we find. What I do think is important for the purpose of life in the recognition of philosophies to be applied to freethinking and science to better understand the purpose of our own ignorance through becoming more ignorance


It depends what you mean by ignorance. In one sense you're right because it means there's no end to learning, which is a good thing, but ignorance itself is not a good thing. It's ignorance which has led to cruelty and suffering, thus the importance of education. Education is not just the acquisition of knowledge and skill, it's in the knowing of ourselves.

You do have a concept of me and everything and nothing


Actually I don't. I only have impressions from how you present yourself here. Your presentation here is factual. I don't make a concept of you from that, I stay with the fact.

As an example, you don't really check your posts before you publish them, do you? There are missed out words, all kinds of things. That may be hastiness, carelessness, or because you just enjoy dashing something off to give your mind a spin. What it doesn't do is consider the poor reader who has to sort it out. And why should he bother if you don't?

But I don't reach any conclusion about you from that fact. It's simply the case, there's no judgement of why. I don't leave the fact and make a concept of it. That's quite an art actually, to stay with the fact and not leap away from that into conclusions, opinions, and judgements. If we knew how to do that we'd resolve most of our problems. Facts by themselves aren't a problem, they're just there. It's how we think about them that makes for problems.

Genius is what humans believe to be intelligent and correct.


Not at all, the word means high ability, it has nothing to do with beliefs.

To kill a killer is ok and generally accepted


That's doubtful. Two wrongs don't make a right.

"We want to become and becoming is endless. We think comparatively and in terms of advancement"

Agreed. This is the joy of life and the essence of existence.


Is it? Or does it lead to ruthlessness? Wanting to become something is silly because we'll always only be what we are.

The closed mind looks at the "fact" and seeks to understand it. It doesn't look at the "fact" and want to change it into something else


A closed mind is incapable of looking freely at anything. A closed mind is one that has reached certain conclusions and views everything through them. It doesn't see them 'as is' but sees them through the screen of its prejudices. To see things as they are there must surely be no prejudice, either for or against.

As long as one is struggling against the fact there can be no understanding. It's understanding that brings change, not the effort to change. Effort is noise, conflict, and there's only understanding in silence. Out of silence comes love, understanding, and that understanding changes everything.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby sponge on May 5th, 2012, 9:28 am 

Seems to me you guys are looking at the same argument from different perspectives. I can’t see a problem with either point of view. Charon is, I think, looking at life from within (as most of us do) and Badger is looking from outside of life inwards (as a removed observer might.)

This is just how it seems to me, though. I could be looking at the whole thing from the wrong place. :)
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 6th, 2012, 3:30 am 

I don't think we're looking at the same thing at all. I feel like 50% of the time I am hitting my head against a brick wall talking to Charon. THAT is why I like talking to him :)
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 7th, 2012, 7:11 am 

The last big post did take me about 30mins to write and I did proof read it ... I am just not very good at it! :P
Anyway thank you for your understanding. Glad you got the gist and persisted.

Charon NOW you are speaking my language! :

Not at all, it is definitely speculation.


:P

The mere fact of saying 'If you want it to be it is for you' implies it's self-created.


Well it IS self created. BUT what the question is is what are the commonalities between humans in these mental creations? How do we sift through the delusions to find the essence?

Taking this line of thinking the delusions have to hold some sway in whatever "reality" is.

It depends what you mean by ignorance. In one sense you're right because it means there's no end to learning, which is a good thing, but ignorance itself is not a good thing. It's ignorance which has led to cruelty and suffering, thus the importance of education. Education is not just the acquisition of knowledge and skill, it's in the knowing of ourselves.


Boring! I agree :(

You do have a concept of me and everything and nothing


Actually I don't. I only have impressions from how you present yourself here. Your presentation here is factual. I don't make a concept of you from that, I stay with the fact.


But you go on to give your conceptual ideas of me? Maybe I am misusing the word concept or are you?

con·cept   [kon-sept]
noun
1.
a general notion or idea; conception.
2.
an idea of something formed by mentally combining all its characteristics or particulars; a construct.
3.
a directly conceived or intuited object of thought.


Everything in your head is a concept by this definition is it not?


Genius is what humans believe to be intelligent and correct.


Not at all, the word means high ability, it has nothing to do with beliefs.


Genius is not a rigidly defined concept. I am sure many people would give different answers and the definition is based quite highly on intellect and creativity. This is what I mean by belief. People are told Genius means "very intelligent" without any real idea of what intellect means.

It boils down to a very sketchy definition based on knowledge that is something relative to social conditioning. People say they believe in God and some say they don't believe because they have the "facts" of science ... yet science is based on the creative and abstract reasoning of the human brain.

I would say because of this that Genius is about conceptualisation of the environment. Everyone is a genius in this respect.

That's doubtful. Two wrongs don't make a right.


"wrong" ? We need to get into Ethics more I think?

Wanting to become something is silly because we'll always only be what we are.


I agreed with you here? You said we are always becoming there is no choice in the matter ...

A closed mind is incapable of looking freely at anything. A closed mind is one that has reached certain conclusions and views everything through them. It doesn't see them 'as is' but sees them through the screen of its prejudices. To see things as they are there must surely be no prejudice, either for or against.

As long as one is struggling against the fact there can be no understanding. It's understanding that brings change, not the effort to change. Effort is noise, conflict, and there's only understanding in silence. Out of silence comes love, understanding, and that understanding changes everything.


I think we sort of agree here too? I did say "fact" not fact meaning that there are no actual facts just scientific facts which are a different thing altogether. I find fact to be a very confusing word because it is so absolute in its connotation.

This may be pedantic but it is still a fact that a fact is not actually a fact!??!? :P

My point about the closed mind is that reaching certain conclusions may be the wrong conclusions but the ability to address this possibility is important I believe. Think of Seduko (Stealing from someone elses argument). You may think you have the factual answer right up until the last minute then you have to back track your reasoning and locate the mistake ... mathematically this is easy enough. To backtrack through reasoning and logic to reconstruct them is MUCH more difficult. In this sense I see the value of being open to ignorance. Obviously I believe what I see and feel BUT I am aware that my memories can be false as can my senses. With so much information bombarding us it is amazing we can comprehend anything much at all.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 7th, 2012, 11:08 am 

BadgerJelly

How do we sift through the delusions to find the essence?


By seeing things as they are, which means not having any delusion. It's the mind which creates delusions, delusions are the result of a thought process. Watch those thoughts carefully and you'll see what is delusion and what isn't.

But you go on to give your conceptual ideas of me?


Which do you consider my conceptual ideas?

Everything in your head is a concept by this definition is it not?


I wouldn't say that. In a way it's true but I think we'll get thoroughy confused going down that route. When we know something definite it's not conceptual. When we don't know and start to speculate, guess, opinionate, then we're into the conceptual realm. That's the way I'd see it. We don't have a concept of rain, for instance, because we know perfectly well what rain is.

Genius is not a rigidly defined concept. I am sure many people would give different answers and the definition is based quite highly on intellect and creativity. This is what I mean by belief. People are told Genius means "very intelligent" without any real idea of what intellect means


Are you saying we don't really know what genius is so we have concepts of it?

"wrong" ? We need to get into Ethics more I think?


Do you think murder is right? Do we really need to study Ethics to know right from wrong?

I find fact to be a very confusing word


Why? A fact is a fact. It's something which exists, not something which is only thought to exist. Darkness and light are facts, hot and cold are facts, violence is a fact, war is a fact.

Obviously I believe what I see and feel BUT I am aware that my memories can be false as can my senses


Quite, so one has to be watchful. Obviously we can't doubt everything otherwise we'd quickly go loopy so there must be a certain alertness, discernement. That is intelligence.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby neuro on May 8th, 2012, 4:40 pm 

here, people,
since nobody was particularly impressed by my suggestions about a purpose for life, what about looking for a purpose for a purpose of life (this is not a typo :°)?

Take a look at this: Purpose in Life May Protect Against Harmful Changes in the Brain Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease

Sorry, just joking!
I apologize with serious philosophers...
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 8th, 2012, 7:58 pm 

neuro

I saw the same story in another (UK) paper.

Strangely those who think they have purpose tend to be the religious types but I see the article doesn't actually go into what they think purpose in this context means.

I don't think wandering directionless in life is a good idea for anyone. If you have a job you enjoy, a good family and social life, are able to make good relationships generally because you're not an inhibited human being, then one tends to be happier and last longer.

But this is basic psychology and I don't think there's anything revolutionary about it. In fact, since there are doubtless lots of exceptions, even that's probably not true. They don't actually know what causes it (although many studies link it to heart disease).

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 083707.htm

.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 8th, 2012, 11:19 pm 

In a way it's true but I think we'll get thoroughy confused going down that route.


I've been going down this route for practically all of my adult life. It is thoroughly confusing but I have persisted and discovered clarity of thought. My issue is expressing it.


Are you saying we don't really know what genius is so we have concepts of it?


Of course. Words are concepts. All words are just interpretations of sensory data and no two people look at the world in the same way or they would have to be the same person. It may seem like I am just splitting hairs but the more you think about this the more you see how strong this is in human society. Just think of any political/religious/scientific movement to have ever taken place in human history. The evidence is everywhere if you open your eyes and look.

Quite, so one has to be watchful. Obviously we can't doubt everything otherwise we'd quickly go loopy so there must be a certain alertness, discernement. That is intelligence.


I have started to realise that almost everyone else is loopy and I am sane. I think you know what I mean when I say this? Or rather I hope you do or I'll just sound like a pretentious fool :P (It is certainly a possibility I am!)
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 9th, 2012, 5:43 am 

BadgerJelly

Words are concepts. All words are just interpretations of sensory data and no two people look at the world in the same way or they would have to be the same person. It may seem like I am just splitting hairs but the more you think about this the more you see how strong this is in human society. Just think of any political/religious/scientific movement to have ever taken place in human history.


Words are symbols, they're sounds which indicate certain things - like rain, bread, death, and so on. To communicate we have to use words and it's understood that the word is not the same as the thing it refers to. But we were talking about concepts:

con·cept   [kon-sept]
noun
1.
a general notion or idea; conception.
2.
an idea of something formed by mentally combining all its characteristics or particulars; a construct.
3.
a directly conceived or intuited object of thought.


A concept, by your own posted definition, is not just any word or series of words. It's an idea, as defined above. An idea is something constructed by the mind, by thought. As you say, the various political/religious/scientific movements are based on ideas. Those ideas and ideologies have divided us and created massive disagreement to the point of bloodshed.

Everything in your head is a concept by this definition is it not?


I wouldn't say that. If the sun is shining and we all agree it's a nice day I wouldn't call that an idea. I don't think we can reduce everything to a concept.

There's a tendency on forums to conflate various ideas and get thoroughly confused. I know the science about language, sense impressions, and all that. On its own level that's quite correct but in normal parlance we don't refer to concepts unless they are actually concepts. An advertising person can talk about having a concept for a new campaign. But when he says he's tired and needs something to eat he's not talking about concepts.

Let's keep the two clear and separate.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby charon on May 9th, 2012, 6:24 am 

BadgerJelly - or anyone else.

Since we're supposed to be discussing the purpose of life, is that a concept?

I would say it was. After all, it's certainly not an undisputed fact. If it was this thread wouldn't have gone on for 5 pages!

If it is a concept why has it arisen? I'd say, fairly obviously, it's arisen because we don't know what life is for. We're confused about the whole thing and ask what the point of it all is.

Next question: why are we confused? Do facts produce confusion? Or is it ideas which produce confusion?

If we just stuck to facts, daily realities, is there confusion? What is there to be confused about? It's when we leave facts and go off into ideas that the confusion starts. Isn't that true?

Our hopeless confusion is in our own minds, our own thinking. It's not 'out there'.

Is there confusion in escape? If we stick to fact, to what actually is, is there confusion? But when we escape from facts there's confusion. Confusion means choice, not seeing clearly, having to decide between things. Desire creates confusion. The moment I want something confusion begins. There's confusion when I want to change something into something else of my own desiring.

Now if there's no confusion at all, and we look at life, has it a purpose? What do we mean by life? Just breathing in and out or the whole phenomenon of existence?

Life is everything, right? Not just the natural world but our own human life with its miseries and joys, sufferings and pleasures. And also there is death which is part of life.

If we look at that without any escape, without any desire to change it, has it a purpose? An actual purpose, not invented by us, not put into our minds by someone.

What do you say? It's very difficult to look that way, isn't it? It's very hard to look without imposing our ideas or wants on what is there. But that's what we have to do to discover the truth of the question.
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 9th, 2012, 6:58 am 

It is probably going to take me a few hours to reply to all this :D

I LOVE YOU!! I am SO SO happy you have posted all of this :D

Will get to it tomorrow REALLY need to catch up on some studying first. Really looking forward to this.

Thank you!
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Re: The purpose of life

Postby BadgerJelly on May 10th, 2012, 4:01 am 

This will be a long one I think ...

For starters an idea is a concept, a concept is not an idea it is the construct of thoughts to assess the information given by the senses. Ideas are also pretty much consciously defined and expressed whereas a concept is something hardwired due to experience. I see it as something between intuition and rational thought. Something we are aware of but pay no direct attention to unless we want to.

When I say you have a concept of me I mean MORE than just an idea. You have a mental construct pieced together by the words I write and your previous allotted experiences and memories in relation to them. You are rational enough not to take them at face value but sometimes you will because its human nature to do so and this is where we drift from being in the moment and losing concentration.

I guess it is filtering. The hardest trick is learning how to stop filtering and deconstruct our concepts to see the raw data and obtain a different point of view to compare to our own prefiltered perceptions.

As you say, the various political/religious/scientific movements are based on ideas. Those ideas and ideologies have divided us and created massive disagreement to the point of bloodshed.


I would chose to say these consciously constructed thoughts, or ideas, are from conceptualisation of the environment (note the environment is nature and involves the brain and its thoughts conscious or subconscious). The ideologies formed in humanity through the concepts of religion/politics/science have given rise to greater diversity and interactions.

A good example I can think of is to think of sitting on a rock. You don't think of the rock as a chair you just sit because you have the concept of sitting. You don't have an idea to sit down you simply have the concept of sitting and have no need to come up with the idea.

If you think concept means idea then WHY do we have two words instead of one? If I meant idea I would for the most part say idea. I have been talking about concepts because I mean concepts and everything is a concept even the word concept itself.

Every word we have is defined by other words these words did not come into existence they existed already as concepts. If we take away the word pain we will still feel pain because the concept is still there through the interpretation of the environment.

Anyway I'll post this and then get onto the next post you made that I cannot wait to respond to :D
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