The meaning of life?

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

What is the meaning of existence?

Postby EnglishSpirit on March 6th, 2017, 7:57 pm 

I’m conducting an experiment through social media regarding the ‘meaning of life’. I want to know; what you think your purpose is? What you think is beyond the universe? And so forth…
I’m collating thousands of responses. Your response is anonymous; however, you can provide your first name if you wish. It’s a random conversation topic I know, but your opinion is extremely valuable
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby RoccoR on March 7th, 2017, 1:55 pm 

Re: What is the meaning of existence?
EnglishSpirit, et al,

•∆• The context: ‘meaning of life’

    Q1: What you think your purpose is?

      § "Purpose" implies two important concepts:

        • There is an intelligent creator:

          This raises the question as the the capabilities and powers of this first level of "creator."
        • The intelligent creator either has:

          No specific intention; but is experimenting.

          A specific intention or objective in the creation:

      § The question also suggests (but not specifically addressed) that there might be more than one order of creation. That is, IF we (a sentient being, supported by a host of other non-sentient life-forms) were created, THEN we must be open to the possibility that the intelligent entity that created us we itself created by yet another, more capable, Superior Being; which may or may not be the Ultimate Cosmic Creator (UCC) or Supreme Being having sovereignty over the entirety of the Universe.
    Q2: What you think is beyond the universe?

      § By definition, there is no such place as "Beyond the Universe." This concept (Heaven or the Multi-verse) is merely a figment of man's imagination. The "universe" is NOT expanding; merely our ability to observe deeper (with the arrival of new ancient light and energy) and farther into space-time (the fabric of space). We can detect distant objects as far away as 46+ billion light-years.

The concept that we are here for a purpose is just an over exaggerated sense of importance of our species. It is a low level --- but shared --- borderline symptom of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It substantiates the common hierarchy of societal value and coupled with a lack of empathy for other cultures. The greater this Narcissistic lack of empathy and exaggerated sense of importance, the more likely will be conflict and political struggle.

No person has some higher purpose than any other on the scale of humanity, at the planetary system level, the galactic level, or the observable universe. In fact, the we observe of the universe, the less important our species is relative to the course set by the constituents of the universe. No member of humanity, as yet, can alter the path and destiny of the planetary system, let alone effect anything beyond the planetary level. That being the case, even if there was a Supreme Being/UCC lurking behind the observable horizon of the universe, of what important could our existence be (other than for the possibly amusement of ZEUS).

Most Respectfully,
R
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby Braininvat on March 7th, 2017, 4:46 pm 

My primary purpose is to transmit genes and memes. The first part seems to require a lot of money. The second part requires a lot of work, unless I happen to be surrounded by very impressionable minds. I once persuaded an impressionable young mind that, if they stood right in front of a microwave, it would bake their heart. Among my successful meme transmissions, that one stands out.

Secondarily, to open doors for cats who cannot manipulate doorknobs.

Time allocation for primary and secondary is about the same.
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby Lomax on March 7th, 2017, 8:20 pm 

Braininvat » March 7th, 2017, 9:46 pm wrote:My primary purpose is to transmit genes

Really? A lot of the time I'm purposeful about not accidentally doing that.

EnglishSpirit » March 7th, 2017, 12:57 am wrote:I’m conducting an experiment through social media regarding the ‘meaning of life’. I want to know; what you think your purpose is? What you think is beyond the universe? And so forth…

My purpose changes depending on circumstances. Sometimes I want to write a good song, or only play one, or only listen to one. Or to read a good book. I want to develop and maintain friendships with certain people. Sex is good. Irony and dark humour are good. Pizza. Cats. Freedom and truth. Winning arguments.

It's tempting to say the common factor is "happiness", but I think that puts the cart before the horse.

As for what's "beyond" the universe, I only posit abstracts (numbers, sets and so forth) and it's debatable whether they're really beyond it. Anything else we can do away with. As Nelson Goodman said: "there should not be more things dreamt of in my philosophy than there are in heaven or earth".
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby Forest_Dump on March 7th, 2017, 8:54 pm 

Braininvat wrote: I once persuaded an impressionable young mind that, if they stood right in front of a microwave, it would bake their heart. Among my successful meme transmissions, that one stands out.


Sounds more like the kind I used to prefer for the transmission of genes.

I suppose my purpose in life might have become the transmission of memes by way of my publications. However, I also wonder how common it is to believe we want or need some purpose in life. Sometimes I think my purpose in life is to live life. (I decided to deliberately leave out "just".)
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby doogles on March 8th, 2017, 5:12 am 

EnglishSpirit » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:57 pm wrote:I’m conducting an experiment through social media regarding the ‘meaning of life’. I want to know; what you think your purpose is? What you think is beyond the universe? And so forth…
I’m collating thousands of responses. Your response is anonymous; however, you can provide your first name if you wish. It’s a random conversation topic I know, but your opinion is extremely valuable


The question of course assumes we have a PURPOSE for being on this planet.

One could be forgiven for believing that all life forms on our planet have the single purpose of perpetuating and possibly improving DNA. We all compete to some extent within and between species for survival. You could almost think that DNA is the deity we all attempt to please. But this does not imply a purpose.

Life could just be a RANDOM chemical accident.

In fact, it seems to me that the further we delve into the microcosm, the more its components appear to become random (Quantum behaviour) and meaningless. And the more we delve outwards into the macrocosm (Universe) the more we discover new variations of its components and the more heterogeneous and meaningless it appears to become. (Yes, I know there are some identifiable patterns, but a heterogeneous conglomerate remains)

And then take a minute to ponder your own insignificant existence. You are reading this only because your biological mother and biological father had what was most probably a pleasant interlude with one another on one timely occasion. You then resulted from the fusion of one human ovum that happened to be present at the time with one of billions of sperm competing to be the first to fuse with that ovum. Think about the odds involved in becoming who you are as a result of such a chance fusion. And then multiply that by the number of eligible females that your biological father could have dallied with at that time. Given the number of births annually on this planet, put your insignificant self into that perspective and then tell me you have been endowed with a purpose.

One could lose all personal perspective of life (‘go nuts’) if one ponders such matters too much.

Omar Khayyam must have felt this when he drafted his Rubaiyat centuries ago and to some extent concluded that instead of pondering such matters we should get on with life the way we find it –
“Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness -
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.”


As one wit pointed out, he did not include a blanket in his picnic list.

Or as the plebs in my area of upbringing used to say – “You’ve got it made if you have three meals a day, a roof over your head and half a bed”.

Forget any notion of being born with a purpose in life. You are just a biochemical accident. But if you believe you have the opportunity in the life you've been endowed with to improve the lot of others, or to make our planet a better place in a small or large way, go for it.

Sadly, many of our kind have seriously manifested such misguided senses of purpose in the past that have resulted in a multitude of ideological pursuits. Zealots who've followed those ideologies have achieved nothing but conflicts over those ideologies. And that seems to be the status quo of interpersonal, intergroup, and international antagonisms on our planet at the moment.
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 9th, 2017, 2:07 pm 

The maxim of existentialism is that existence precedes essence. What it means is, in so far as human existence is concerned, first we exist and only afterwards by our experience of it do find meaning and purpose. It means that human beings are not tools created for an end but rather children who are an end in themselves, learning our own values and choosing our own goals.

This is an objection to the misguided dogma of many sorts psychologically unhealthy ideologies which try to hijack this issue for the purpose of taking a side on unconnected issues such as theism. Whether we are created by God or are a product of natural laws does not imply either one of these approaches to human meaning and purpose however much a particular formulation may fit such things together. We can deny that natural law means our purpose is only survival and procreation just as we can deny that a god created us a means to an end of his own (such as heaping praises on the god, as is usually favored by the holier-than-thou suck-ups).
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby someguy1 on March 9th, 2017, 8:06 pm 

EnglishSpirit » March 6th, 2017, 5:57 pm wrote:I’m conducting an experiment through social media regarding the ‘meaning of life’. I want to know; what you think your purpose is? What you think is beyond the universe? And so forth…
I’m collating thousands of responses. Your response is anonymous; however, you can provide your first name if you wish. It’s a random conversation topic I know, but your opinion is extremely valuable


I'm an ant on a leaf on a tree in a forest on a planet. It's turtles all the way down, and turtles all the way up. We're all a part of the infinite chain of being.

And at the same time, we have responsibility for ourselves! How we react to things, how we treat people, what we do with our lives.

There's no meaning in life yet the greats among us spend their lives making every moment count.

Meaning and meaninglessness are two aspects of the same thing. It's the Yin and the Yang. A little drop of each in the other.

EnglishSpirit » March 6th, 2017, 5:57 pm wrote:but your opinion is extremely valuable


I wouldn't put that to a vote around here :-)
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby SciameriKen on March 9th, 2017, 10:49 pm 

Time destroys all purpose - effort/infinity = 0. Most accomplishments are forgotten within 100 years - let alone a billion or a billion billion
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby Braininvat on March 10th, 2017, 10:41 am 

I always liked Woody Allen's answer to an interviewer who asked him, "How would you like people to think of you in a 100 years?" Allen replied, "I'd like them to think, my but he looks good for his age!"
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby Cugoano on March 16th, 2017, 2:04 am 

There is no meaning....it is just made up as it goes along.......humans infer meaning on everything, because we have a big fore brain that likes to fill in the gaps of an existence that is basically unintelligible. It is a mystery why we exist. even as we get closer with quantum physics in describing the makeup of things/reality we still do not know why...

“It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists” Ludwig Wittgenstein
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby Don Juan on April 4th, 2017, 9:20 am 

One cannot NOT have purpose - everything has a purpose as long as the observer exist. When the observer ceases to exist, then 'it cannot be known anymore'. The same applies to 'meaning'.

There are at least four parts about my purpose, but these are sets I choose to chunk down a continuous evolving nature of I-am-in-an-environment. There are those in the past, in the present and in the future as well as those beyond my awareness as a whole.
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby kevinandrew on April 30th, 2017, 4:21 pm 

If we have a purpose, its likely to be something which we don't need to perceive in order to fulfil it. For example, the purpose of plant like might be to capture and store energy from the sun, to enable us to fulfil our purpose. Plants do not necessarily perceive that that is their purpose, but the fulfil it just the same.
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby webplodder on May 1st, 2017, 4:27 am 

I think the meaning of existence is to discover ourselves, others, the universe.

This is an ongoing process and we (ie Home-sapiens) are at a very early stage and if we manage not to destroy ourselves will go on to evolve to higher levels (at least I hope so).

If you look at the history of the earth, simple life came about at first then gradually evolved to become more aware, often through violence and cruelty, but with the development of 'civilization' has developed wisdom. Yes, there are many places in the world where injustice and cruelty still happen but, hopefully, this is being addressed by more 'enlightened' societies.

Perhaps, in the portrayal of a 'Jesus' figure we are looking at what we eventually hope to become.
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby webplodder on May 1st, 2017, 4:31 am 

Don Juan » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:20 pm wrote:One cannot NOT have purpose - everything has a purpose as long as the observer exist. When the observer ceases to exist, then 'it cannot be known anymore'. The same applies to 'meaning'.

There are at least four parts about my purpose, but these are sets I choose to chunk down a continuous evolving nature of I-am-in-an-environment. There are those in the past, in the present and in the future as well as those beyond my awareness as a whole.


What would you say constitutes an 'observer?'
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The meaning of life?

Postby skakos on June 30th, 2017, 6:48 pm 

A rather simple question, but the most difficult of them all: What is the meaning of life? I prefer the answer of Rilke: The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.

What do you think?
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Re: The meaning of life?

Postby Braininvat on June 30th, 2017, 8:05 pm 

Skakos, your thread was merged with the one we already have on the topic. As you see, some members have offered their answers or non-answers. Cheers.
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Re: The meaning of life?

Postby BadgerJelly on June 30th, 2017, 11:12 pm 

Camsplelenflop de babbleson wit ante lapoon dommy wom nutar a wenny wee.

I think somewhere in that expression there is some meaning ... I don't know where it really came from but there is rhythm to it and it resembles something that looks like meaningful language.

All I think I know is this is probably no the kind of answer you expected and that you'll probably take it as a joke (the truth is only for me to know how serious this answer is. I cannot convince you completely.)
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Re: The meaning of life?

Postby Braininvat on June 30th, 2017, 11:33 pm 

Carbuncle of epistolary, forfend oesophagus and decline porpentine, saith the atomized chowder vestibule!
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Re: What is the meaning of existence?

Postby Sivad on July 1st, 2017, 1:04 pm 

SciameriKen » March 9th, 2017, 7:49 pm wrote:Time destroys all purpose - effort/infinity = 0. Most accomplishments are forgotten within 100 years - let alone a billion or a billion billion


Forgotten maybe, but not necessarily erased. All happenings have some impact on the shape of the world and it's the nature of chaos that slight perturbations can lead to profound consequences which perpetuate for eons. So while most accomplishments may not be remembered, many have left a lasting impact that will continue to be felt long after they're forgotten.
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Re: The meaning of life?

Postby Sivad on July 1st, 2017, 1:15 pm 

For me the meaning of a thing is found in its potential, and life is endless potential. The purpose is to realize and fulfill that potential. It's the Great Work.
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