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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:21 pm  Post subject: The meaning of life  
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to teach yourself enough as possible to come as close as you can to making sense of it all

How about you?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:00 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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gluten wrote:
to teach yourself enough as possible to come as close as you can to making sense of it all

That sounds about right. But you have to look at all sources, all points of view no matter how allegedly radical, and not assume that the authoritative experts really are experts. They only have the status of authoritative experts because they made that very mistake.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:42 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Firstly I would say the grammar of that question has always confused people. In reality there is no 'meaning' of life. A better question would be, 'What is the purpose of life?' To which I would personally answer: It is to progress - to be better (subjective) than that which came before you. As this is subjective, each person can choose their own purpose.

My own personal mission in life goes like this:

Question everything. Always search for more considered answers no matter how radical or inconvenient to your current beliefs. Always be prepared to change and adapt. And when you come to the end of your life, simply be satisfied that you have progressed, because learning is infinite.

I would also say that whilst this approach to life is in my experience the most enriching and satisfying, I cannot stress enough the need to be sensitive to those with lesser cognitive skills. I am no fascist, however I currently believe that some people simply do not possess the mental strength/cognitive ability to lead in the progression of our understanding of our universe. Do not try to force complex ideas on those with weaker minds, however also do not allow yourself to become elitist. Some people are born to be leaders, some followers but that does not mean you should abuse the privilege of having higher cognitive skills. Again however, this is what I currently believe. I may well come across information that compels me to change this belief of mine.

Lastly, I would urge people not to rush in the race to progress. Being too hasty will only make you more vulnerable to being influenced down an ill-conceived and fundamentally flawed path of reason.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:22 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Life is probably the most important word in the world. :yes

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:47 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Lifes hard and then ya die. deal with it.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:10 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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livingsacrifice98 wrote:
Lifes hard and then ya die. deal with it.
The saying is "Life's a bitch & then you die."


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:56 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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The meaning of life, no matter if its an animal, a human, a tree, a planet, a sun or a magellanic cloud - is to go on. For us, a better word should be "to survive".

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:38 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Hi Jonipoon:

When you argue that the "meaning of life" is "to survive," are you viewing the term in question from a secular standpoint, a religious lens, or both? For example, if I examine the "meaning of life" from a wordly perspective, then I would be inclined to concur with your postulation that the "meaning of life" is "to survive" as long as possible. On the other hand, if, for argument's sake, a devout Christian would define the "meaning of life," then I would disagree with your assertion, since the subject in question is not concerned with his or her fate in THIS life, but, rather, his or her perpetual life in the HEREAFTER. This matter becomes even more complicated when we consider that the aforementioned Christian individual would only want to live if he or she ascended to Heaven, a place of insurmountable bliss and comfort. Quite contrarily, anyone descending into Hell would probably choose extinctinction over infinite pain and suffering. I'm not finished yet: some individuals could possibly survive past 100, and care only for their secular welfare. Nevertheless, once on their deathbed, they may have a conversion experience which behooves them to consider their spiritual needs.

So what is the "meaning of life?" Dictionaries are clear that the word "life" means "to survive." But how do we define the term from a philosophical perspective? I am afraid, Jonipoon, that theories attempting to solve this enigma have been formulated since the era of ancient philosophers, namely Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, to the epoch of modern philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant. I, too, have tried to tackle the issue, and my "scratch work" is shown above. Sadly, any attempt to address the "meaning of life"--one which theoretically takes an unlimited amount of time to explain--will lead to reductionism.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:37 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Meaning of life is to create another life and make sure that the new life will create a life too.
and how many times did I say 42?

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:38 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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gluten wrote:
to teach yourself enough as possible to come as close as you can to making sense of it all

How about you?

But what when we do come to the sense of it all?
What next?

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:54 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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QuotidianPerfection wrote:
When you argue that the "meaning of life" is "to survive," are you viewing the term in question from a secular standpoint, a religious lens, or both? For example, if I examine the "meaning of life" from a wordly perspective, then I would be inclined to concur with your postulation that the "meaning of life" is "to survive" as long as possible. On the other hand, if, for argument's sake, a devout Christian would define the "meaning of life," then I would disagree with your assertion, since the subject in question is not concerned with his or her fate in THIS life, but, rather, his or her perpetual life in the HEREAFTER.


The point is that it is not us who can gain immortality, it is our genes. Therefore as Kubi said the point is that we reproduce so that our genes (or a sub-set of them) can continue to exist.

The Christian desire for an afterlife is simply based in fear. If you look at how most Christians behave when either they, a family member or a friend is dying: they don't want it to happen, they go to doctors, wail and moan, cry etc (just like any human or animal). If they really, really, really believed (or knew for certain) in an afterlife, and the person dying had lived within the behavioral requirements of their religion, then why wouldn't they be comfortable with death knowing that they would live forever in heaven?

Perhaps the concept of heaven was created so that people didn't live in paralyzing fear of death (if they decided to think about it), because most people behave like they are never going to die anyway.

Personally heaven sounds boring! No bad stuff, that's baloney!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:26 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Hi crispncruncy:

The term "meaning of life" is ambigious, since it can refer to one of the following points. 1) How does the dictionary define life? 2) What does one think the purpose of life is? While the English lexicon states that the "meaning of life" is "to survive," the second inquiry involves one's goal in life. This particular aim is tempered by faith. Therefore, if you told an atheist or agnostic that life entails genetic survival, they would be more inclined to agree with you than a Christian or Muslim seeking survival in the hereafter. While you are right to point out whether or not one believes the hereafter exists--or is skeptical about it--affects how one defines the etymon "life," one of your flaws is to assume that those who seek perpetuity in the afterlife are not really pursuing a form of survival, but, instead, exhibiting fear over what will happen to them after they die. In other words, you formulate the previously mentioned information thusly: since X is afraid of death, he or she uses the hope of a more pleasant kind of survival in the afterlife to repress his or her fear that after life ends, that is it. This type of thinking is Freudian in nature, and, while certainly acceptable, varies vastly from Dantean philosphy, one of whose books (i.e., The Paradiso) is preoccupied with getting into Heaven, and ascertaining both an infinite and ecstastic type of of survival in the great beyond.

Biological survival is not so simple either. As Jonipoon pointed out, plants, animals, and humans all seek genetic continuation. The only problem is this: humans need at least one of the former elements (i.e., plants) to procure their own survival. If plants could think, they would probably hope that humans (and animals that feed off them) die, so that they can continue their existence without threat of extinction. Hence, even the Darwinian (i.e., genetic) explanation is not so straightforward.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:41 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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QuotidianPerfection wrote:
Hi Jonipoon:

When you argue that the "meaning of life" is "to survive," are you viewing the term in question from a secular standpoint, a religious lens, or both? For example, if I examine the "meaning of life" from a wordly perspective, then I would be inclined to concur with your postulation that the "meaning of life" is "to survive" as long as possible. On the other hand, if, for argument's sake, a devout Christian would define the "meaning of life," then I would disagree with your assertion, since the subject in question is not concerned with his or her fate in THIS life, but, rather, his or her perpetual life in the HEREAFTER. This matter becomes even more complicated when we consider that the aforementioned Christian individual would only want to live if he or she ascended to Heaven, a place of insurmountable bliss and comfort. Quite contrarily, anyone descending into Hell would probably choose extinctinction over infinite pain and suffering. I'm not finished yet: some individuals could possibly survive past 100, and care only for their secular welfare. Nevertheless, once on their deathbed, they may have a conversion experience which behooves them to consider their spiritual needs.

So what is the "meaning of life?" Dictionaries are clear that the word "life" means "to survive." But how do we define the term from a philosophical perspective? I am afraid, Jonipoon, that theories attempting to solve this enigma have been formulated since the era of ancient philosophers, namely Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, to the epoch of modern philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant. I, too, have tried to tackle the issue, and my "scratch work" is shown above. Sadly, any attempt to address the "meaning of life"--one which theoretically takes an unlimited amount of time to explain--will lead to reductionism.


Nah.

I said "go on", and not really "to survive". And go on is more like going on with your life that will ultimately end. Alas, there is no religious aspect of my saying. Neither is there any scientifical side of it.

To go on with life... is the meaning of life. It's simple and covers almost everything, which makes it up to each individual how he or she will decide to go on with life.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:52 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Hi Jonipoon:

Thank you for your response. You have made it clear that, in your view, the term to "go on" has nothing do do with religion or science. Rather, it is just the decisions while one makes while he or she exists. Since you alluded to the word choice, though, I want you to, for argument's sake, assume that God exists. Doing so opens up the debate whether or not humans have agency, or if decision-making is simply an illusion. I have outlined these options--which are part of the never-ending free will versus predestination historical debate--below. Which scenario (i.e., if you were forced to pick one) do you find most believable?

1) Do humans have free will? Roman Catholics profess that every individual has complete control over his or her actions, and God merely judges people based on their conduct.

2) Are humans predestined to act in a certain way? John Calvin argues that individuals are fated to act in a certain way by God, and have no control over their behavior.

3) Is the concept of self-control merely illusory? Arminian hypothesized that, while God possesses foresight of how people will think and act, He does not, in any shape or form, interefere with human actions in order to yield an expected outcome.

I am wondering which one of these scenarios (if any) you find tenable. (I know that, based on your response, your answer would be "none of the above," but, if you HAD to pick one of the three alternatives, which one would it be?)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:11 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Life is meaningless!

This is one of the most liberating ideas you'll ever grok.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:25 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Hi Lord Elevation:

If a person discovers that "life is meaningless," then why doesn't that individual choose to forfeit his or her life rather than continue living? (I do not condone suicide; however, I feel that statements such as "life is meaningless" might make some people feel that killing themselves is the only way to emanicipate themselves from a "meaningless" existence.)


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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 4:31 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Because, once you realize that life is essentially meaningless, you simultaneously realize that you can make it mean whatever you want it to.

It is a book for you to write upon, not a book for you to read.


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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 3:25 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Hi Lord Elevation:

If everyone thought "life is meaningless," they might do what ever they wanted to, irrespective of whether or not their actions might harm another person. This type of environment usually effectuates in chaos, more precisely, a society predicated upon Social Darwinism. In this type of communal infrastructure, there are two type of the individuals--the strong and the weak--and the weak are typically eradicated by the strong.

For example, suppose X and Y want to become CEO of a company, and both hold the conviction that "life is meaningless." X wins the struggle, and makes billions of dollars, while Y ends up boxed inside a cubicle, making under six digits for an annual salary. Nevertheless, Y "pulls a Bill Madoff" on X, and swindles X out of all his or her money. Now X winds up a billionaire, while Y struggles to survive on the city streets. Infuriated, X hires a hitman to "get rid of Y." The hitman comes back, and demands payment for his "deed." Since X is penniless, the hitman "takes care of Y." Afterwards, the police arrive, and arrest the hitman. The jury convicts him of first degree murder, and sentences him to death. Years later, he is executed via lethal injection.

The preceeding scenario demarcates the tragic consequences which could occur if everybody believes that "life is meaningless."


Last edited by QuotidianPerfection on Mon May 02, 2011 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 6:53 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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QuotidianPerfection wrote:
Hi Lord Elevation:

If everyone thought "life is meaningless," they might do what ever they wanted to, irrespective of whether or not their actions might harm another person. This type of environment usually effectuates in chaos, more precisely, a society predicated upon Social Darwinism. In this type of communal infrastructure, there are two type of the individuals--the strong and the weak--and the weak are typically eradicated by the strong.

Your scenario seems so typically the way that life is! Especially in the corporate and military arenas. Yet you obviously don't feel that way about your society.

I suggest that your understanding of strength ignores altruism being an essential component of survival. In fact it's is not your lack of understanding; the term "Social Darwinism" belies a gross misunderstanding of Darwin's theory. You have just appropriated an inappropriate term. The view that Darwinism is about the triumph of the strong over the weak is simplistic. Darwin's theory is simply defined but what aids the survival of a set of genes within a society is governed by many factors. Alturism - the benefit of protecting the group for the individual's (read genes) survival, is just an example.

As far as I am concerned someone who pursues the "dog-eat-dog/strong & weak" mantra in their lives suffers power obsession and has a spiritual void which they can't work out how to fill.

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 9:23 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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crispncrunchy gets it. Everyone already does whatever they want to. Get it?

QP, your simplistic model is based solely on predation. There are other modalities of organization than that. Look at the natural world for what it is (and not just the predators!). All around you is symbiosis. Evolution is a more sophisticated system than one that simply stops at the individual. This is what our biologists are beginning to discover. That just as we see apoptosis in cells, we also see genetically pre-programmed species death as a means of progressing the growth of the overall ecosphere. We see radically different species that emerge together in a complementary, self-reinforcing way. We see a planet that functions as a single organism, embedded in a larger cosmic energetic system.

So, no, not everyone has to act like a psychopath. Most people act with a sense of sympathy and cooperation, with an inherent understanding that working together is a worthy enterprise. It is the psychopathic predators of our society, who have successfully hijacked all our systems of organization, that tell us we need fear and brutality. They tell us this is the only way the world works. Fortunately for us, the lifestyles of the majority of people on this planet prove otherwise.


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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 10:39 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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He crispncrunchy and Lord Elevation:

If we forget about the phrase "life is meaningless," and concentrate upon the following statement instead--"you can make it [life] mean whatever you want it to"--we might be able to make headway in this philosophical conversation.

Before we continue, I would like to make several notes.

1. I perceive the term "life is meaningless" as negative, since it suggests that life is void of any meaning. This begs the following query: if this is so, then why is it important? People who hold such an attitude are likely to be apathetic towards social relations or eager to procure wealth and material comfort, even if the latter goal involves theft and homicide. In the worst case scenarios, individuals will become suicidal, and kill themselves because "there is nothing to live for anyway."

2. The phrase "you can make it [life] mean whatever you want it to," by contrast, implies that "the meaning of life" is nihilistic, and everyone must search what that meaning is for themselves. (I am paraphrasing Lord Elevation in the penultimate clause of my sentence.) Each individual's findings could be positive or negative in nature. This possibly explains why some persons in society pursue endeavors which are beneficial to society whereas others partake in activities that are, from a communal viewpoint, detrimental.

3. Since the phrase "life is meaningless" is negative, and the expression "you can make it [life] mean whatever you want to" is neutral (i.e., neither positive nor negative), the two phrases discussed herein are not interchangable.

Personally, I like Lord Elevation's implication that "the meaning of life" is different for every person. Let us continue this conversation with that particular thought in mind.

As an aside, I am privy to the fact that Social Darwinism is a misapplication of Charles Darwin's evolutionary theories. I am not saying that it is sagacious to compare a finch's social environment to the complex communal infrastractures that cultures all over the globe have carved out for themselves over thousands of years. My raison d' etre for using the Social Darwinism analogy is to point out the inherent problems people run into when they believe that "life is meaningless."

In sum, I guess the use of improper phrasing led me astray from what both of you were saying. Now that I am able to follow your delineations, though, I think this discussion should be very interesting.


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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 10:49 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Out of the void, comes all of creation.

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 11:43 pm  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Hi Lord Elevation:

I like what you did: show, via diagram, your belief that "life is meaningless." I agree that, when the phrase appears in light of other words and phrases which qualify it, it CAN become synonymous to the following expression: "you can make it [life] mean whatever you want it to. However, for reasons stated earlier, both phrases become incongruent the moment the phrase "life is meaningless" is removed from its proper context.

I am trying to be as objective as possible since I believe in creation, rather than evolution. (For discussion's sake, I am ateempting to be open-minded, rather than close-minded.)


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 12:01 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Why do you want life to tell you what it means for you to do with it? Wouldn't you rather be free?

Don't you understand that our very discussion proves my point?


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 5:49 am  Post subject: Re: The meaning of life  
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Hi Lord Elevation:

I will admit that your argument is persuasive; however, you cannot definitely prove that life can mean whatever you want it to mean. In order to do so, you have to first prove that the cosmos operates on free will, when, in fact, there is evidence of fatalistic factors at work in the universe.

Do you really think free will exists? Jacobus Arminius, for example, argued that humans might believe that they have agency, but their choices are actually predetermined. This phenomenon is known as Arminianism, or predestination with a sense of free will. Even quantum physicist Stephen Hawking wrote an article in a book (1988?) where he opined that, while the universe operated on fatalism, one could never predict his or her fate. He provided the following reason for his argument: if one constructs an equation of what will transpire in the future, the equation will be incorrect, even if all the variables are accurate. This is because the equation used to predict the future becomes a variable.

I believe in predestination while you believe in free choice. That might explain why we define life in drastically different ways.


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