Why do we exist?

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Bebelle
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Why do we exist?

Post by Bebelle » November 24th, 2017, 6:52 pm

Have you ever felt that everything you do and will do is meaningless? That no matter how great you are at something you will never be truly important, and that's when you are good at something, because most of the time you are just average. So why should we live if our existence has no importance, if it is not going to make any difference in the world? No big changes, you are just one more person like many others.

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Greta
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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Greta » November 25th, 2017, 8:54 pm

Then again, while we rely on society to survive, our sense of self worth need have nothing whatsoever to do with our societal interactions or dynamics. Walk in nature - just be a living thing amongst other living things, drawing in the same air, absorbing the same solar radiation as part of this extraordinary edifice of life on Earth.

Rather than feeling pointless, you can feel glad and privileged to part of these extraordinary things - the body of humanity, the biosphere, the Earth, the solar system. You are ultimately a tiny part of the expression of each of these entities. The nice aspect of this is that, since you (like me) are apparently not especially good at anything or capable of making much of a needed contribution to the world, we can sit back and enjoy watching it unfold without undue pressure of responsibility. Personal and local level assistance rendered to others is always an option and often happens naturally through the usual interactions of life anyway.

Being a major influence, mover or shaker is only for the few. Many prefer, or at least settle for, a pleasant life that only includes little victories. The beauty is that one may be thoroughly mediocre - say, only gaining fame by twerking on reality TV - and still be one of the most complex and extraordinary things in the galaxy for trillions of kms, and still be part of this incredible evolving biosphere.

Enjoy the show :)

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Count Lucanor
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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Count Lucanor » November 25th, 2017, 10:43 pm

Bebelle wrote:Have you ever felt that everything you do and will do is meaningless? That no matter how great you are at something you will never be truly important, and that's when you are good at something, because most of the time you are just average. So why should we live if our existence has no importance, if it is not going to make any difference in the world? No big changes, you are just one more person like many others.
Looking back at the more nihilistic periods of my life, I don't think that even then everything was meaningless. There was a high unbalance, perhaps, between what was not worth living for and the little rewards.

So you're deep down in a hole and what do you do? A Spanish philosopher said that once you find yourself lost, you have begun to find the way. Your mission is to climb up and leave the damn hole. The strength you gain in doing so will help you make the difference.

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Newme
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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Newme » November 25th, 2017, 10:54 pm

Count Lucanor wrote: Looking back at the more nihilistic periods of my life, I don't think that even then everything was meaningless. There was a high unbalance, perhaps, between what was not worth living for and the little rewards.

So you're deep down in a hole and what do you do? A Spanish philosopher said that once you find yourself lost, you have begun to find the way. Your mission is to climb up and leave the damn hole. The strength you gain in doing so will help you make the difference.
I like how you put that. Like a chick breaking out of its shell... & the psychologically heretical positive disintegration. Depression and similar ideally serve purposes of getting our attention that something isn’t right so there’s a disintegration of that in order to regroup in better ways.

Life is temporary and relatively short. And I’ve come to ask “why” enough to realize for so long my reasoning wasn’t meaningful enough. I’m working on focusing on appreciation as well as well-directed hope.

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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Spectrum » November 26th, 2017, 12:15 am

Bebelle wrote:Have you ever felt that everything you do and will do is meaningless? That no matter how great you are at something you will never be truly important, and that's when you are good at something, because most of the time you are just average. So why should we live if our existence has no importance, if it is not going to make any difference in the world? No big changes, you are just one more person like many others.
When one has the thought 'life is meaningless', then one is one of those small percentile of people who are caught in a eddy [a circular movement of wind, fog, or smoke.] of turbulence of life forces in premature sense.

Since you are in a philosophical forum, it would be wiser to hitch onto the maxim 'Know Thyself' [Socrates].

If we observed [as exhaustive as possible] and carefully, based on empirical evidence we can infer there is a 'purpose' and 'meaning' to life and human beings are endowed with all the necessary elements to strive to survive with 'purpose' and 'meaning'.

Thus to be human is to align oneself and strive with the best of one's ability with this universal survival, purpose and meaning of life.

The fact is there is a small % who [no matter how hard they try even with medical assistance] are unable to get into alignment with the main river of life, so they will eventually surrender life prematurely.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Albert Tatlock
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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Albert Tatlock » November 26th, 2017, 5:33 pm

Bebelle wrote:Have you ever felt that everything you do and will do is meaningless?
Yes I have and it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Steve3007 » November 26th, 2017, 5:42 pm

Bebelle:

Yes, I have thought that. It's an endless source of amusement to me: being a not very skilled stage-hand watching the poor players that strut and fret their hours upon the stage and then are heard no more. My advice is to have a large gin and tonic, or a spliff (if that's your thing), and laugh at it all. Be the little Lebowski, not the big one.
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."

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Bebelle
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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Bebelle » November 27th, 2017, 12:15 am

Greta wrote:Then again, while we rely on society to survive, our sense of self worth need have nothing whatsoever to do with our societal interactions or dynamics. Walk in nature - just be a living thing amongst other living things, drawing in the same air, absorbing the same solar radiation as part of this extraordinary edifice of life on Earth.

Rather than feeling pointless, you can feel glad and privileged to part of these extraordinary things - the body of humanity, the biosphere, the Earth, the solar system. You are ultimately a tiny part of the expression of each of these entities. The nice aspect of this is that, since you (like me) are apparently not especially good at anything or capable of making much of a needed contribution to the world, we can sit back and enjoy watching it unfold without undue pressure of responsibility. Personal and local level assistance rendered to others is always an option and often happens naturally through the usual interactions of life anyway.

Being a major influence, mover or shaker is only for the few. Many prefer, or at least settle for, a pleasant life that only includes little victories. The beauty is that one may be thoroughly mediocre - say, only gaining fame by twerking on reality TV - and still be one of the most complex and extraordinary things in the galaxy for trillions of kms, and still be part of this incredible evolving biosphere.

Enjoy the show :)

But if being a major influence is only for the few and you and me are only gonna be spectators our whole lives, than what is this all for? Even if we are part of this big universe, if you don't have a purpose it is almost the same as being dead, since you will be living a life without meaning being lived just because that is the way it is supposed to be. Going to school, and then to college, starting in a job, getting a girlfriend/boyfriend, getting married, having kids, getting a divorce, and then finally dying. All this "journey" and we will go back to the same place that we came from: The earth. So, if in all your life you didn't do anything to leave a mark or to make a change, living a ordinary life like many others, then you basically lived to die, to go back to the same place from where you came. Wouldn't it be easier if we weren't born at all?

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Greta
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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Greta » November 27th, 2017, 1:38 am

Bebelle wrote:But if being a major influence is only for the few and you and me are only gonna be spectators our whole lives, than what is this all for? Even if we are part of this big universe, if you don't have a purpose it is almost the same as being dead, since you will be living a life without meaning being lived just because that is the way it is supposed to be. Going to school, and then to college, starting in a job, getting a girlfriend/boyfriend, getting married, having kids, getting a divorce, and then finally dying. All this "journey" and we will go back to the same place that we came from: The earth. So, if in all your life you didn't do anything to leave a mark or to make a change, living a ordinary life like many others, then you basically lived to die, to go back to the same place from where you came. Wouldn't it be easier if we weren't born at all?
Certainly we are very small in the realm where the main discourses, such as environment and political policies, take place. Institutions are like steamrollers and we are like rats scuttling away from the roller.

However, in our own realm we have plenty of influence - family, friends, pets, neighbours, workmates, acquaintances, gardens, house plants and so on.

Consider that an inventory of the effects of your life was held afterwards. Not the things that people know about, but everything. Every time you touched another's life. Every time your showed or failed to show kindness to those who are at your mercy. The web of influence of every long-lived being is necessarily huge - but it will never be fully noticed, understood or acknowledged (unless AI archaeologists find a way of teasing out and understanding all of the connections of life). Even when you sneeze, millions of beings will find a home in your stray droplets of watery mucous. Countless unknown knock on effects occurring daily that perhaps no one will ever know. What we do know is that if no one was born at all, life would never have progressed from microbe to mammal.

We are part of all this progression, links in the chain. Maybe we live in a difficult "immature" reality, where life is difficult until a more mature, stable and relaxed state is achieved, at which time life will make more sense.

I have boiled the point of life down to having fun, trying to make yourself useful and avoiding causing harm as much as practicable. Life is mysterious and no one really knows what's going on, despite bravura from some, so it makes more sense to try to make the best of this life than the alternative.

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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Burning ghost » November 27th, 2017, 1:39 am

Bebelle -

Humility is the first step beyond nihilism.

Ask yourself WHY you're asking this question in the first place. Ask yourself what you mean by "exist" and what "meaning" is?

After that it may be useful to think about what you imagine a good and bad future could be for you. Decide whether you want a good future or and bad future and then decide if you're willing to suffer and strive toward the good or simply lie back and surrender all responsibility.

You were born. You are here now. Go explore. Go find out what other people are out there, what other opinions people have, how far you can push yourself. Discover your limits and you'll discover "meaning".

-- Updated November 27th, 2017, 1:40 am to add the following --

I would add ... judging by your pic I gather you understand beauty. That is a place to start right?
AKA badgerjelly

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Razblo
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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Razblo » November 27th, 2017, 1:48 am

Bebelle wrote:Have you ever felt that everything you do and will do is meaningless? That no matter how great you are at something you will never be truly important, and that's when you are good at something, because most of the time you are just average. So why should we live if our existence has no importance, if it is not going to make any difference in the world? No big changes, you are just one more person like many others.
No importance to who? Important people? If so I think one should then ask themselves why one deems the important people important and whether these so-deemed important people must also notice one's own importance in order to self-deem one's importance.

-- Updated November 27th, 2017, 1:50 am to add the following --
Albert Tatlock wrote:
Bebelle wrote:Have you ever felt that everything you do and will do is meaningless?
Yes I have and it doesn't bother me in the slightest.
Yeah I've noticed that about you too. Good nickname and pic though.

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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Jan Sand » November 27th, 2017, 10:41 am

There is a great deal of discussion about the meaning of life as if that word "meaning" signifies something everybody understands. I can be useful to many people in different ways. I can be useful to a hamburger joint if I eat their hamburgers and I can be useful to a squirrel if I give it a peanut but does that satisfy my meaning in life? No matter how useful I prove to all sorts of creatures is my main purpose in being alive to serve squirrels? If not, then what determines my usefulness?

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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Steve3007 » November 27th, 2017, 10:55 am

Bebelle (to Greta):
But if being a major influence is only for the few and you and me are only gonna be spectators our whole lives, than what is this all for?
A major influence on what? Spectators of what? As others have already pointed out, the answers to these questions are entirely dependant on scale. At some scales we're all (even the most influential people in the world) "just" spectators. At other scales, you and I are both major influences.

What is it that leads you to pick a particular scale? Is it determined by the amount of the world you can see on TV?
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."

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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Chili » November 27th, 2017, 1:16 pm

Count Lucanor wrote: So you're deep down in a hole and what do you do? A Spanish philosopher said that once you find yourself lost, you have begun to find the way. Your mission is to climb up and leave the damn hole. The strength you gain in doing so will help you make the difference.
For a scientifically-minded observer, watching you climb up, he will decide this is merely chains of cause-and-effect leading back to the big bang. There is no "agency" involved. Do you agree or disagree?

-- Updated November 27th, 2017, 1:19 pm to add the following --

The human is a very social creature and sometimes that sense of meaninglessness will be ameliorated by doing something which others find meaningful.

Also, sometimes it is surprising how mood can be altered by getting better food, more sunshine, enough sleep.

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Re: Why do we exist?

Post by Jan Sand » November 27th, 2017, 1:19 pm

Whether or not I decide to climb out of the hole makes me the agency.

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