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Thread: What is the Meaning of Life?

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    Others have already said it well: Life has no inherent meaning. To ascribe deeper meaning is a strictly human ability, and we can't be wrong by our own standards. But just as surely we can't be right. We can look at why we exist, how we came to exist and how we can continue to exist, but this isn't meaning imparted by some higher consciousness: it's just happenstance. Reproduction is the means by which we can create more biological units with the capacity to invent meaning, but it's not 'meaning' in itself. Reproduction is no more the meaning of our existence than to stick to things is the 'meaning' of the existence of blu-tack, and that's despite blu-tack being created with a distinct intention in mind, which we weren't. Meaning would die with the last human, and nothing else would care -- least of all the abstraction and metaphor 'Nature'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhe View Post
    Your opinion doesn't count for much. Ever spent time to think about women and men who are physically unable to have children?
    You already answered this yourself. They can't reproduce, thus nature eliminates their bloodline automatically, because they have no biological purpose.

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    'Purpose' is another way of saying 'meaning', but it differs somewhat in its place and import in one's worldview. Ascribing purpose to an inherently purposeless, insentient process is to create it in our image, to make logical, self-mirroring sense of it that necessarily comes from us. Purpose is not dependent on an inscrutable higher consciousness, it is a meaning with which we imbue our existence and the reproductive mechanism upon which it is contingent. Because of this, the idea of the transmission of genes as a purpose is valid and essential for us.

    To deny the purposefulness that we impart to phenomena is to become passive Alices in a world of illogic and happenstance. (Though most people have acknowledged the projected nature of purpose, which is not to reject its validity.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ingvaeonic View Post
    I don't know. Do you? Perhaps you should ask why sensations such as pain and pleasure exist at all. Ditto reward and punishment. Nature exists and doesn't have to have a meaning or purpose. For human beings, meaning and purpose in one's life must be found, or produced, within one, not without.
    I find no truth in accidentals. Children are always using this excuse and it doesn't fly with me. I find that pain and pleasure exist for the purpose of developing our senses and that these senses exist so we can react to those causes which tend toward one or the other. In this regard, nature is the catalyst which prods us along to complete consciousness regardless of what we think, want or do; we can neither speed it along nor resist it.

    Posted by Sigurd:

    Some people feel no pain, others feel no dizziness. At some point they are left wondering what pain or dizziness feels like, as they have no way of explaining how other people feel them. They're not usually nice sensations (well, pain arguably isn't always unpleasant, I suppose ) but they are part of life, and those who cannot experience them will find that something's missing from their lives.
    Even more interesting is the tolerances that some build up toward pain and pleasure proving that man is neither directed purely towards pleasure anymore than he is purely directed to forgo pain. Yet there are definite limits where the infliction or the pursuit of pain and pleasure can lead to bodily harm. Surly that not only must we find these limits but must also have the ability to recognize and react to them, tends to indicate at least some sort of directive.

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    I know you're a Hegelian, so I'm interpreting the following through that lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vindefense View Post
    I find no truth in accidentals. Children are always using this excuse and it doesn't fly with me. I find that pain and pleasure exist for the purpose of developing our senses and that these senses exist so we can react to those causes which tend toward one or the other. In this regard, nature is the catalyst which prods us along to complete consciousness regardless of what we think, want or do; we can neither speed it along nor resist it.
    What common features there are in nature stem from the fact that life, for the most part, has acclimatised itself to a common reality, under common laws. I say for the most part because the survival of a housefly depends on different factors than a human. But in essence, reality is the mold that trims the fat of all the possibilities of what we could be, and urges us down a recognisable path -- the path of maximising reproductive success, for example through, as you say, the development of keen senses and safeguards against threat or injury. This isn't conscious design, however. It's also not a universal striving toward a point of absolute oneness (As I believe Hegel states, but I haven't read much of his work). Think of it like clay in a mold. You could start with a big amorphous chunk of clay, but when you push it inside the mold, it takes a definite form and the excess is disposed of, it's redundant. The clay now has a shape, but it wasn't in the nature of the clay to be that shape, but in the nature of the mold. Nature is our mold.

    You might want to argue that something still designed the mold and pushed the clay into it. Well, that was just my analogy. You can use any natural process as an example. The curve of the river depends on the valley it's in. The shape of ice in a rock takes the shape of the hole the water was in, etc. etc. Nobody would argue this was design. I should also say that natural law doesn't lead inexorably to togetherness and completeness. The millions of species that have existed on Earth all originated from a single cell. It also doesn't lead to higher complexity, or higher comprehensive ability (which, again, I believe Hegel states is the vehicle of oneness -- the ability to unite all things in concept), since the simplest most ancient organic forms also remain the most successful. They've had no need to change. Natural law has required it.

    Basically, you mistake the regimentation of life for evidence of will and purpose, when in truth it's simply statistical inevitability realised over millennia. The organisms that felt no pain and threw themselves into bonfires (not that I don't know pain evolved long before an organism was capable of throwing itself into fire, it's just a analogy) are long gone. They were the clay that didn't fit the mold and ended up in the dustbin. Maybe children are wiser than you think.

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    Is to remain content

    Do anything which makes you happy and believe me, the world and society will surely gain through anything you put your mind upon

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    I think William Pierce does a pretty good job with this one. Too bad this library computer blocks the article at solargeneral.com on cosmotheism. Apparently truth isn't communist enough.

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    Life sucks and then you die...
    All things must come to the soul from it's roots, from where it is planted. The that is beside the running water is fresher, and gives more fruit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamar Fox View Post
    I know you're a Hegelian, so I'm interpreting the following through that lens.
    Your response is interesting to me and quite thought provoking. A few problems arose in trying to understand your position though.

    In your nature as mold example you seem to ignore that a mold by definition is a form and that form by necessity is order and order exists within definite parameters and structural boundaries and laws which define the shape, texture and size of the object. I admit, I am confused as to how you can observe this and still believe that nature is purposeless and chaotic with no intended end.


    Since the simplest most ancient organic forms also remain the most successful. They've had no need to change. Natural law has required it.
    Is it proper to say that species are de-evolving? The wolf for instance is far superior to any breed of dog in both ability and intelligence yet it is the mutt, nature's throw away, being dependent and loyal to man which has proliferated his kind.

    Basically, you mistake the regimentation of life for evidence of will and purpose, when in truth it's simply statistical inevitability realized over millennia.
    Well yes, if the universe is comprised of infinite time and space eventually all things that can be- will be and I really fail to see how you can reject one explanation that you see as fantastic and incredible and accept another just as.

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