Is life absurd

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Synthesis
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Synthesis » November 25th, 2017, 12:09 pm

Papus79 wrote: I'm at least glad we're starting to wake up to the understanding that human beings are primarily symbolic creatures, Jonathan Haidt and Jordan Peterson have pushed that issue quite successfully considering current events, and that our use of symbols and social organization matters.
As long as man believes he can understand His world, He will perpetually gyrate between Heaven and Hell [mostly the later]. Merely accepting things as they are is not only the way out, but is, The Way, itself.

Man has a very limited grasp on Reality and must assume His proper place besides the rest of the organic matter on this planet. To believe we are any better [or worse] than any other carbon-based form is really missing the point, as the passage of time undeniably illustrates.

Jklint
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Jklint » November 25th, 2017, 5:27 pm

Yes! To the point of farce.

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Papus79
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Papus79 » November 25th, 2017, 5:39 pm

Synthesis wrote: As long as man believes he can understand His world, He will perpetually gyrate between Heaven and Hell [mostly the later]. Merely accepting things as they are is not only the way out, but is, The Way, itself.
I wouldn't say that unconditionally. There are plenty of times when we struggle to solve a problem and make matters much worse. On the other hand I think of millions of Buddhists put to death as Communism spread across Asia in the 20th century. I don't think equanimity was particularly helpful in that later instance.
Synthesis wrote:Man has a very limited grasp on Reality and must assume His proper place besides the rest of the organic matter on this planet. To believe we are any better [or worse] than any other carbon-based form is really missing the point, as the passage of time undeniably illustrates.
That's part of why you have to have competing ideas in the public sphere - lots of them and in the highest quality possible.

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Greta
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Greta » November 25th, 2017, 5:49 pm

Synthesis wrote:
Greta wrote:I like to think that, rather than personifying nature I am attempting (seemingly not very well) to "naturise" persons, so to speak - to regain human context that was lost in our delusional dreams of divinity. The dinosaurs were gods amongst flatworms once. Now we are the "gods", but actually just dominant and using that dominance to increase the gap between humans and other species.
I guess if we choose to keep score using malfeasance and treachery as markers, perhaps you are correct, but using nearly any other system of measure, I believe we are likely near the bottom of the pack.
:lol: You're a hard marker. I prefer your later comment about humans not being especially different to other life, since we are all doing more or less the same thing - surviving - achieved in different ways. If a different species was the one to become abstractly intelligent and dominant as humans have done, I expect they would make the same kinds of mistakes, including delusions of grandeur. Why wouldn't they? There's been no precedent on Earth for human abstract self awareness and there continues to be much trial and error in the way we do things, and enormous uncertainty about the future.

I see notions of human divinity as akin to a teenager bragging about not being a child any more, while of course being closer to childhood to adulthood.

Synthesis
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Synthesis » November 26th, 2017, 2:36 pm

Greta wrote: If a different species was the one to become abstractly intelligent and dominant as humans have done, I expect they would make the same kinds of mistakes, including delusions of grandeur. Why wouldn't they? There's been no precedent on Earth for human abstract self awareness and there continues to be much trial and error in the way we do things, and enormous uncertainty about the future.
Why do you assume that there are not other species that are "intelligent?"

The egoistic yardstick we humans almost always apply can only measure that which we feel is worthy. If you observe how most species are doing out there, it seems as if they might be considerably more "intelligent" than are we who seem to believe that we can out think a Universe that spawned us.

Who among us does not [deep down] believe that we are but a temporary surface nuisance on this planet?

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Greta
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Greta » November 26th, 2017, 11:06 pm

Synthesis wrote:
Greta wrote: If a different species was the one to become abstractly intelligent and dominant as humans have done, I expect they would make the same kinds of mistakes, including delusions of grandeur. Why wouldn't they? There's been no precedent on Earth for human abstract self awareness and there continues to be much trial and error in the way we do things, and enormous uncertainty about the future.
Why do you assume that there are not other species that are "intelligent?"

The egoistic yardstick we humans almost always apply can only measure that which we feel is worthy. If you observe how most species are doing out there, it seems as if they might be considerably more "intelligent" than are we who seem to believe that we can out think a Universe that spawned us.

Who among us does not [deep down] believe that we are but a temporary surface nuisance on this planet?
You seem eager to make the point that humans big note themselves; ideally you will save your ammunition for those who don't agree with you. That is why the qualifier "abstractly intelligent" was used rather than just "intelligent".

However, let's not be postmodern about this, just because some very noisy people are either amoral or rather stupid, or both. We humans truly are more intelligent than other animals in the same way as mammals are smarter than reptiles, which are smarter than (non-mullusc) invertebrates, which are smarter than microbes. The evidence is not only in brain structures, with our extra cortical folds and brain structures devoted to higher mental functions, but also in technological achievement.

What confuses people is "domestication". An example: while it's often assumed that wolves are smarter than dogs, this is wrong. Wolves are smarter when it comes to dealing with seeking, hunting and other skills required for the wild, things they have had genetically ingrained and practised. Dogs are smarter than wolves in terms of communication with humans and capacity to adapt to human weirdness (which is how it must surely seem to them) - again, ingrained and practiced attributes. I suspect that we take for granted just how skilled we all are in "operating the machinery" of our societies, and what a complex and daunting thing this would be to those unfamiliar with the concepts.

"Domestication" in humans has similar effects, and it's happening quickly. Thus, each individual is less "complete" than individuals in the past (and many wild animals). This is because we, like our dogs, live in a eusocial society, an arrangement unique amongst chordates, aside from naked mole rats. In eusocial societies - most famously ants and bees - members have a much narrower range of abilities than free living individuals. Instead the have the ability to coordinate with human societies, and it's the total society that grows in intelligence and capacity rather than individualists. The except is specialists so, while much of the population remains functionally mediocre, eusocial societies produce "experts", specialised individuals with ever greater capacities, eg. science, sport.

In a sense we humans are akin to mitochondria, which lost their ability to live independently but, in becoming a crucial part of eukaryotic cells, they came to effectively dominate the globe.

Synthesis
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Synthesis » November 27th, 2017, 4:18 pm

Greta wrote: We humans truly are more intelligent than other animals in the same way as mammals are smarter than reptiles, which are smarter than (non-mullusc) invertebrates, which are smarter than microbes. The evidence is not only in brain structures, with our extra cortical folds and brain structures devoted to higher mental functions, but also in technological achievement.

In a sense we humans are akin to mitochondria, which lost their ability to live independently but, in becoming a crucial part of eukaryotic cells, they came to effectively dominate the globe.
Again, if you choose to measure intelligence based on how we believe we think, then I guess you might be able to make a weak case, but, a better way of judging such might be observing how each species is doing, no? I would like to suggest that if human intelligence is about attempting to improve on that which Nature provides, then we are considerably less intelligent than we believe. Living in harmony with ones environment [moment to moment] is as good as it gets.

And you really don't believe that we dominate the globe, do you? Seems to me that we are merely inconsequential bystanders to the ongoing battle between the insects and the weeds.

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Greta
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Greta » November 27th, 2017, 5:29 pm

Synthesis wrote:
Greta wrote: We humans truly are more intelligent than other animals in the same way as mammals are smarter than reptiles, which are smarter than (non-mullusc) invertebrates, which are smarter than microbes. The evidence is not only in brain structures, with our extra cortical folds and brain structures devoted to higher mental functions, but also in technological achievement.

In a sense we humans are akin to mitochondria, which lost their ability to live independently but, in becoming a crucial part of eukaryotic cells, they came to effectively dominate the globe.
Again, if you choose to measure intelligence based on how we believe we think, then I guess you might be able to make a weak case, but, a better way of judging such might be observing how each species is doing, no? I would like to suggest that if human intelligence is about attempting to improve on that which Nature provides, then we are considerably less intelligent than we believe. Living in harmony with ones environment [moment to moment] is as good as it gets.

And you really don't believe that we dominate the globe, do you? Seems to me that we are merely inconsequential bystanders to the ongoing battle between the insects and the weeds.
Aside from confusing intelligence with wisdom, that is not how nature works.

Do you really think that all lions work for lionkind, or buffaloes for buffalokind? Individuals do not tend to act on behalf of the species, just as your cells don't act on behalf of you. Your cells do what they do for themselves and the sum of their interactions is you. Organisms' most pressing concerns are much narrower than the notion of species-wide prosperity. Even those who abstractly favour prosperity for all often ironically don't favour policies that might bring greater equality.

Synthesis
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Synthesis » November 27th, 2017, 6:04 pm

Greta wrote:Aside from confusing intelligence with wisdom, that is not how nature works.

Do you really think that all lions work for lionkind, or buffaloes for buffalokind? Individuals do not tend to act on behalf of the species, just as your cells don't act on behalf of you. Your cells do what they do for themselves and the sum of their interactions is you. Organisms' most pressing concerns are much narrower than the notion of species-wide prosperity. Even those who abstractly favour prosperity for all often ironically don't favour policies that might bring greater equality.
Greta, you mis-understand. What I am saying is that the best any organism can do is be in harmony [or, as close as possible] with their environment moment to moment [no interpretation necessary].

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Greta
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Greta » November 27th, 2017, 6:30 pm

Sorry. The notion did seem daft so I'm glad I misunderstood.

That depends on both the environment and one's attitude. The human environment appears to be more geared towards functionality than the happiness of the functionaries, the latter being seen as important on insofar as it aids productivity.

Synthesis
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Synthesis » November 27th, 2017, 8:12 pm

Greta wrote:Sorry. The notion did seem daft so I'm glad I misunderstood.

That depends on both the environment and one's attitude. The human environment appears to be more geared towards functionality than the happiness of the functionaries, the latter being seen as important on insofar as it aids productivity.
What's with the insults? I thought this was an, "oasis of open discussion without personal attacks." I don't get a lot of what people have to say on this list, as well, but never feel the need qualify their statements.

Greta, if your yardstick be functionality, are you not in amazement observing the plethora of species that accomplish super-human tasks on a regular basis?

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Greta
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Greta » November 27th, 2017, 8:45 pm

Synthesis wrote:
Greta wrote:Sorry. The notion did seem daft so I'm glad I misunderstood.

That depends on both the environment and one's attitude. The human environment appears to be more geared towards functionality than the happiness of the functionaries, the latter being seen as important on insofar as it aids productivity.
What's with the insults? I thought this was an, "oasis of open discussion without personal attacks." I don't get a lot of what people have to say on this list, as well, but never feel the need qualify their statements.

Greta, if your yardstick be functionality, are you not in amazement observing the plethora of species that accomplish super-human tasks on a regular basis?
It was not a personal attack, which is obvious enough to require neither explanation nor qualification.

I'm out.

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SimpleGuy
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by SimpleGuy » November 28th, 2017, 3:35 am

The problem is to find sense in something that from the outer viewpoint of your life is mere coincedence or even senseless conflict without reason. But if you choose the group of people interacting with you well, this will somehow turn out to be endowed with sense previously hidden for you. Once you take this into consideration, you can make the correct steps to clear these conflicts and to lead a happier life. This can mean to restict the group of people you want to have contact with or talk frankly with people playing unpersuaded for you about their inner motivation. Real absurdity comes from your cessation and the attitude of the group of people interacting with you.

Judaka
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Judaka » November 28th, 2017, 3:55 am

Geta,

When talking about nature and reality in philosophy, I find people conflate their values, interpretations and desires with what actually, truly exists or in this case, existed is included. Most of the concepts you are talking about don't even exist without humanity, the concept of "the divine" or "problems" and really I think if you look carefully you'll recognise that so long as you're talking about philosophy, you are likely not talking about something that really exists, just interpretation. There is nothing wrong with interpretation, I believe in its value and that is not my criticism, it's that instead of identifying your preferences or ideals for what they are, you masquerade them off as being scientifically minded observations and logical deductions.

As I said before, if your comments are off-topic then I don't have any problems, it is an interesting debate - to what extent the nature of man or the issues we face as humans have been caused by our origins, whether we are an impossible miracle or a component in a trend existing long before us and perhaps long after. However whatever your arguments may be, about how this understanding ought to influence our behaviour, with regards to Absurdism or otherwise are arguments based in interpretation, to an individual who does not even hold that understanding to begin with, they are and ought to be, completely irrelevant to that individual. There is no greater understanding to be divined that transcends your preferences and interpretation that ought to be understood by others, if only it were explained to them.

It is an irrelevance but I personally do not believe any understanding of our history as non-humans is needed to understand ourselves as humans, I do not believe meagre origins despoil future triumphs - some might say that context glorifies any achievements. I don't believe in objectively valid purposes, my brain exists for a reason that can be explained through causality - i.e evolution, this does not make my brain ideal, the design of evolution is not inherently superior to how an individual chooses to use it, I actually hold a rather low opinion of the human mind relative to the perfect ideal and I believe in something in between that can be strived for by compensating for the shortcomings of the human mind. If nothing else, my views demonstrate how varied and unassimilable our interpretations our to each other and those we speak with.

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » January 1st, 2018, 1:37 pm

Synthesis wrote:
November 25th, 2017, 12:09 pm
Man has a very limited grasp on Reality and must assume His proper place besides the rest of the organic matter on this planet. To believe we are any better [or worse] than any other carbon-based form is really missing the point, as the passage of time undeniably illustrates.
I agree that the real mover here is life and we're just another thing life is trying. Life will try anything. The jury is out on whether consciousness and big brains were advantageous for the life project, maybe, maybe not.

One thing that might make our lives seem absurd may be the intensity of the emotional environment we all walk around in. Love and jealousy, and yah, family and motherhood, relationships, the longing, then struggle and pain and illness and death, war for gods sake, and the thrilling vital joy of life, anyway, it's huge. The volume is turned up pretty high, everything matters so much for each life.

Then we realize that ten years after we die we live on in a few memories and in a hundred years we're completely erased.

Hmm, absurdity would be a matter of degree instead of a go/no go situation, that doesn't seem right, and Camus' Meursault didn't seem all that concerned. Just a thought.
fair to say

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