Is life absurd

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Greta
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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Greta » January 1st, 2018, 9:18 pm

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 1:37 pm
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.
You have hit the nail on the head. It all matters so much, but it doesn't seem to matter. Maybe. In truth our lives, usually without our knowing, form complex causal webs of relationships that can resonate far beyond the grave in unexpected ways; just that we are often not much in control of our legacies.

That is post-life, what of pre-life? Each of our lives appear to be a continuation of lines of "certain kinds of people", such as dominants, kingmakers, acolytes, individualists, submissives, creatives etc. To some extent these kinds of archetypes can be found in in any population, human or otherwise, living or nonliving (figuratively with the latter, of course :). It's inevitable because chaos always systematises around zones of concentration that must form simply due to probability.

So, if we live our lives fully immersed in the human bubble without deeply considering huamnity's roots, then life really does appear absurd. The froth a bubble on the surface of life often makes no sense, where the gifted languish in cleaning jobs or unemployment while silly exhibitionists find fame and fortune of reality TV shows, where the ruthless and psychopathic are lauded as exemplars, and so forth. The deeper currents of history and prehistory, underpinning the chaos of current affairs, actually do have patterns and systems.

The chaotic lack of reason within the highly pervasive "newsphere" and social spheres has lead many people to consider all of life to be absurd. Likewise, if one does not know the structure of icebergs, a ship's captain may fatally underestimate what appears to be a small protrusion of ice in the water.

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » January 2nd, 2018, 8:57 am

Greta wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 9:18 pm
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 1:37 pm
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.
You have hit the nail on the head. It all matters so much, but it doesn't seem to matter. Maybe. In truth our lives, usually without our knowing, form complex causal webs of relationships that can resonate far beyond the grave in unexpected ways; just that we are often not much in control of our legacies.

That is post-life, what of pre-life? Each of our lives appear to be a continuation of lines of "certain kinds of people", such as dominants, kingmakers, acolytes, individualists, submissives, creatives etc. To some extent these kinds of archetypes can be found in in any population, human or otherwise, living or nonliving (figuratively with the latter, of course :). It's inevitable because chaos always systematises around zones of concentration that must form simply due to probability.

So, if we live our lives fully immersed in the human bubble without deeply considering huamnity's roots, then life really does appear absurd. The froth a bubble on the surface of life often makes no sense, where the gifted languish in cleaning jobs or unemployment while silly exhibitionists find fame and fortune of reality TV shows, where the ruthless and psychopathic are lauded as exemplars, and so forth. The deeper currents of history and prehistory, underpinning the chaos of current affairs, actually do have patterns and systems.

The chaotic lack of reason within the highly pervasive "newsphere" and social spheres has lead many people to consider all of life to be absurd. Likewise, if one does not know the structure of icebergs, a ship's captain may fatally underestimate what appears to be a small protrusion of ice in the water.
Hm, talk more about newsphere.

Well the other thing that comes to me is a certain paradigm violation. (aren't words fun?) Assumption of teleology. Teleology simply means purpose or end goal. And that's how we operate. Everything we do has a goal, a purpose, and so, a meaning. We build a house to keep the rain off, take certain actions to satisfy urges or to plan for the future, gather fuel because winter is coming. This only makes sense, it's the way things are.

When you realize that existence has no purpose, it's a violation of our teleology assumption, our expectations of the way things are. It doesn't square. Hence absurdity.

This doesn't cause any problems for me personally, I'm happy to be a part of the life project, happy to be here. That seems to be enough purpose to me.
fair to say

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Greta » January 2nd, 2018, 4:33 pm

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
January 2nd, 2018, 8:57 am
Greta wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 9:18 pm

You have hit the nail on the head. It all matters so much, but it doesn't seem to matter. Maybe. In truth our lives, usually without our knowing, form complex causal webs of relationships that can resonate far beyond the grave in unexpected ways; just that we are often not much in control of our legacies.

That is post-life, what of pre-life? Each of our lives appear to be a continuation of lines of "certain kinds of people", such as dominants, kingmakers, acolytes, individualists, submissives, creatives etc. To some extent these kinds of archetypes can be found in in any population, human or otherwise, living or nonliving (figuratively with the latter, of course :). It's inevitable because chaos always systematises around zones of concentration that must form simply due to probability.

So, if we live our lives fully immersed in the human bubble without deeply considering huamnity's roots, then life really does appear absurd. The froth a bubble on the surface of life often makes no sense, where the gifted languish in cleaning jobs or unemployment while silly exhibitionists find fame and fortune of reality TV shows, where the ruthless and psychopathic are lauded as exemplars, and so forth. The deeper currents of history and prehistory, underpinning the chaos of current affairs, actually do have patterns and systems.

The chaotic lack of reason within the highly pervasive "newsphere" and social spheres has lead many people to consider all of life to be absurd. Likewise, if one does not know the structure of icebergs, a ship's captain may fatally underestimate what appears to be a small protrusion of ice in the water.
Hm, talk more about newsphere.

Well the other thing that comes to me is a certain paradigm violation. (aren't words fun?) Assumption of teleology. Teleology simply means purpose or end goal. And that's how we operate. Everything we do has a goal, a purpose, and so, a meaning. We build a house to keep the rain off, take certain actions to satisfy urges or to plan for the future, gather fuel because winter is coming. This only makes sense, it's the way things are.

When you realize that existence has no purpose, it's a violation of our teleology assumption, our expectations of the way things are. It doesn't square. Hence absurdity.

This doesn't cause any problems for me personally, I'm happy to be a part of the life project, happy to be here. That seems to be enough purpose to me.
Okay, about the newsphere. It's the sheen or patina of society, a shallow surface layer of society which, on close inspection, is largely chaotic.

I agree with what you say about meaning, although I personally see meaning in life's and humanity's progression over the last billion years. If everything remained pretty static then it would be less meaningful. Growth and development bring meaning, on the personal scale and on larger scales.

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by LuckyR » January 2nd, 2018, 5:05 pm

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
January 2nd, 2018, 8:57 am
Greta wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 9:18 pm

You have hit the nail on the head. It all matters so much, but it doesn't seem to matter. Maybe. In truth our lives, usually without our knowing, form complex causal webs of relationships that can resonate far beyond the grave in unexpected ways; just that we are often not much in control of our legacies.

That is post-life, what of pre-life? Each of our lives appear to be a continuation of lines of "certain kinds of people", such as dominants, kingmakers, acolytes, individualists, submissives, creatives etc. To some extent these kinds of archetypes can be found in in any population, human or otherwise, living or nonliving (figuratively with the latter, of course :). It's inevitable because chaos always systematises around zones of concentration that must form simply due to probability.

So, if we live our lives fully immersed in the human bubble without deeply considering huamnity's roots, then life really does appear absurd. The froth a bubble on the surface of life often makes no sense, where the gifted languish in cleaning jobs or unemployment while silly exhibitionists find fame and fortune of reality TV shows, where the ruthless and psychopathic are lauded as exemplars, and so forth. The deeper currents of history and prehistory, underpinning the chaos of current affairs, actually do have patterns and systems.

The chaotic lack of reason within the highly pervasive "newsphere" and social spheres has lead many people to consider all of life to be absurd. Likewise, if one does not know the structure of icebergs, a ship's captain may fatally underestimate what appears to be a small protrusion of ice in the water.
Hm, talk more about newsphere.

Well the other thing that comes to me is a certain paradigm violation. (aren't words fun?) Assumption of teleology. Teleology simply means purpose or end goal. And that's how we operate. Everything we do has a goal, a purpose, and so, a meaning. We build a house to keep the rain off, take certain actions to satisfy urges or to plan for the future, gather fuel because winter is coming. This only makes sense, it's the way things are.

When you realize that existence has no purpose, it's a violation of our teleology assumption, our expectations of the way things are. It doesn't square. Hence absurdity.

This doesn't cause any problems for me personally, I'm happy to be a part of the life project, happy to be here. That seems to be enough purpose to me.
Well yes and no. The original purpose of existence has shifted in the Modern era, thus why the current main drivers do not support the original purpose. However, once you clue into the new purpose of existence, then the current picture falls nicely into focus.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » January 3rd, 2018, 11:06 pm

LuckyR wrote:
January 2nd, 2018, 5:05 pm
Well yes and no. The original purpose of existence has shifted in the Modern era, thus why the current main drivers do not support the original purpose. However, once you clue into the new purpose of existence, then the current picture falls nicely into focus.
Yes, the meaning of life that involves a personality being resurrected after dying, or living forever in heaven with God, or reincarnating into eternity -- those are the sort of high impact MOLs which have disappeared.

I recently had a conversation with a Muslim cabdriver (pulled over, off the meter) about how this life on earth is a testing ground for humans, etc., so those meanings haven't disappeared completely.

The subtler Human project, or Life project, Atman project (early Ken Wilbur), are MOLs there for the taking, but aren't nearly as fulfilling/comforting as the Christian salvation package, because they lack the preservation of the self, soul, or things like everlasting life.

There's two very distinct kinds of meaning being discussed here, so I agree, if that's what you're getting at. What do you mean when you say new purpose?
Greta wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 9:18 pm
The chaotic lack of reason within the highly pervasive "newsphere" and social spheres has lead many people to consider all of life to be absurd. Likewise, if one does not know the structure of icebergs, a ship's captain may fatally underestimate what appears to be a small protrusion of ice in the water.
I'm trying to stick with the human-failure-to-find-meaning-in-life absurdity that Camus and Kierkegard and the existentialists came up with.

Garden variety absurdity is rampant, but I'm talking about the absurdity that fills the freekin horizon.
fair to say

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Greta » January 3rd, 2018, 11:40 pm

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
January 3rd, 2018, 11:06 pm
Greta wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 9:18 pm
The chaotic lack of reason within the highly pervasive "newsphere" and social spheres has lead many people to consider all of life to be absurd. Likewise, if one does not know the structure of icebergs, a ship's captain may fatally underestimate what appears to be a small protrusion of ice in the water.
I'm trying to stick with the human-failure-to-find-meaning-in-life absurdity that Camus and Kierkegard and the existentialists came up with.

Garden variety absurdity is rampant, but I'm talking about the absurdity that fills the freekin horizon.
So am I. The absurdity of living, learning, and basically losing the lot as if you'd never lived.

Yet this view doesn't pay attention to the big picture - the portion of the iceberg that lies below, which ultimately shapes the way the visible portion presents. Life is like that too - countless ostensibly pointless lives that somehow create an extraordinary progression of life and intelligent life, from microbe to cyborg.

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by LuckyR » January 4th, 2018, 1:02 pm

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
January 3rd, 2018, 11:06 pm
LuckyR wrote:
January 2nd, 2018, 5:05 pm
Well yes and no. The original purpose of existence has shifted in the Modern era, thus why the current main drivers do not support the original purpose. However, once you clue into the new purpose of existence, then the current picture falls nicely into focus.
Yes, the meaning of life that involves a personality being resurrected after dying, or living forever in heaven with God, or reincarnating into eternity -- those are the sort of high impact MOLs which have disappeared.

I recently had a conversation with a Muslim cabdriver (pulled over, off the meter) about how this life on earth is a testing ground for humans, etc., so those meanings haven't disappeared completely.

The subtler Human project, or Life project, Atman project (early Ken Wilbur), are MOLs there for the taking, but aren't nearly as fulfilling/comforting as the Christian salvation package, because they lack the preservation of the self, soul, or things like everlasting life.

There's two very distinct kinds of meaning being discussed here, so I agree, if that's what you're getting at. What do you mean when you say new purpose?
The original purpose of life (existence for the purposes of this thread), was to broadcast your genetic material as widely as possible. A common early human marker to guide women in whom to choose to breed with, was power and later wealth, since those males would be better providers and they could support more children and those children would have a lower infant/childhood mortality rate. However, in the Modern era due to the contraceptive effect of female education, wealthy and powerful men are producing fewer children. In addition medical advances have cut into infant/childhood mortality rates such that the children of the poor and powerless are taking over the genetic landscape on both of these measures. Thus, the purpose of acquiring power and wealth (the marker for the original purpose of life), is now a marker for increasing the QUALITY (not the quantity) of genetic material (our kids).
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » January 4th, 2018, 2:18 pm

I wouldn't consider those meaning of life. Sure you procreate, survive, and earn, gather resources -- but why in the end, what purpose does it serve? What meaning does it have?
fair to say

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » January 4th, 2018, 2:40 pm

Greta wrote:
January 3rd, 2018, 11:40 pm
So am I. The absurdity of living, learning, and basically losing the lot as if you'd never lived.

Yet this view doesn't pay attention to the big picture - the portion of the iceberg that lies below, which ultimately shapes the way the visible portion presents. Life is like that too - countless ostensibly pointless lives that somehow create an extraordinary progression of life and intelligent life, from microbe to cyborg.
I agree with everything you say here.

Your big picture idea is too subtle for most meaning seekers, the absurdity phobics. It's plenty for me, but I've never expected much meaning. I agree with your idea, but in my opinion it isn't enough to refute the absurdity label Camus slapped onto our situation.
fair to say

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by LuckyR » January 4th, 2018, 2:57 pm

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
January 4th, 2018, 2:18 pm
I wouldn't consider those meaning of life. Sure you procreate, survive, and earn, gather resources -- but why in the end, what purpose does it serve? What meaning does it have?
If you are searching for a second order "meaning" you will likely fail. But there is no disgrace in that. First order meanings/purposes are perfectly fine.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Greta » January 4th, 2018, 5:49 pm

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
January 4th, 2018, 2:40 pm
Greta wrote:
January 3rd, 2018, 11:40 pm
So am I. The absurdity of living, learning, and basically losing the lot as if you'd never lived.

Yet this view doesn't pay attention to the big picture - the portion of the iceberg that lies below, which ultimately shapes the way the visible portion presents. Life is like that too - countless ostensibly pointless lives that somehow create an extraordinary progression of life and intelligent life, from microbe to cyborg.
I agree with everything you say here.

Your big picture idea is too subtle for most meaning seekers, the absurdity phobics. It's plenty for me, but I've never expected much meaning. I agree with your idea, but in my opinion it isn't enough to refute the absurdity label Camus slapped onto our situation.
True. It depends on one's identification. The broader our sphere of concern, the more encouraged we are by the Earth's extraordinary progression of life and sentience. If our concerns are strictly personal, as is the case for many, then this means nothing, in which case they simply take the same stance as other species.

I find this frustrating because they are capable of much more than such blind reactivity, like chess players with high IQs but refuse to think ahead. The fact that our suffering is ultimately part of a grand narrative would ideally help to alleviate that pain, to know that you are doing good in imperceptible ways that do actually make a contribution. Oh well, melancholia can be jolly good fun in its own little Gothic way so I can understand why so many cling to it :)

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Jklint » January 4th, 2018, 9:40 pm

Its' not life per se which is absurd. It's the extremes in the way it plays out; that mildly put, is the absurdity.

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Big Boss » March 1st, 2018, 11:11 pm

Greta wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 9:18 pm
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
January 1st, 2018, 1:37 pm
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.
You have hit the nail on the head. It all matters so much, but it doesn't seem to matter. Maybe. In truth our lives, usually without our knowing, form complex causal webs of relationships that can resonate far beyond the grave in unexpected ways; just that we are often not much in control of our legacies.

That is post-life, what of pre-life? Each of our lives appear to be a continuation of lines of "certain kinds of people", such as dominants, kingmakers, acolytes, individualists, submissives, creatives etc. To some extent these kinds of archetypes can be found in in any population, human or otherwise, living or nonliving (figuratively with the latter, of course :). It's inevitable because chaos always systematises around zones of concentration that must form simply due to probability.

So, if we live our lives fully immersed in the human bubble without deeply considering huamnity's roots, then life really does appear absurd. The froth a bubble on the surface of life often makes no sense, where the gifted languish in cleaning jobs or unemployment while silly exhibitionists find fame and fortune of reality TV shows, where the ruthless and psychopathic are lauded as exemplars, and so forth. The deeper currents of history and prehistory, underpinning the chaos of current affairs, actually do have patterns and systems.

The chaotic lack of reason within the highly pervasive "newsphere" and social spheres has lead many people to consider all of life to be absurd. Likewise, if one does not know the structure of icebergs, a ship's captain may fatally underestimate what appears to be a small protrusion of ice in the water.
I also think the nail is hit on the head there. I don't want to challenge the point made by the original poster but rather change our focus. Life seems absurd to people like myself, you know the godless, one life is all we have people, because it is in our very nature to strive for meaning. This is based on the type of animal we are and how evolution has directed us to our goal.

But is life, the universe, really absurd? Well, it seems without that this absurd is a creation of humanity. The very nature of the universe is just matter in existence. It is only our values that recognise things as absurd or in need of some actual meaning or purpose to it. Purpose is no necessary part of a coherent universe, and it isn't even an important part, it seems. It may seem hard to grasp on to this fact but this is the case, I believe.

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by Greta » March 1st, 2018, 11:32 pm

Big Boss wrote:
March 1st, 2018, 11:11 pm
Life seems absurd to people like myself, you know the godless, one life is all we have people, because it is in our very nature to strive for meaning. This is based on the type of animal we are and how evolution has directed us to our goal.

But is life, the universe, really absurd? Well, it seems without that this absurd is a creation of humanity. The very nature of the universe is just matter in existence. It is only our values that recognise things as absurd or in need of some actual meaning or purpose to it. Purpose is no necessary part of a coherent universe, and it isn't even an important part, it seems. It may seem hard to grasp on to this fact but this is the case, I believe.
It's true that everything simply happens. The easiest analogy is to consider the universe's development from speck to what it is today, and ditto the Sun, the solar system, Earth, and each of us. One doesn't really strive to grow, certainly not at first. It all just happens, being a matter of reflexes, which is a matter of chemical reactions, and so forth. That the "reflexes" of the universe et al lead it from there to here is remarkable.

If I was to plump for any kind of purpose, it would be to reduce suffering and maximise happiness, with the former being ubiquitous in nature for any being capable of feeling, while the latter tends to be much more rare, like oases in a desert. Humans have tried to turn this around, although at the expense of other life's welfare. I am not sure if that results in an overall improvement in the biosphere's suffering/happiness equation, or if it's a zero sum game where there must be winners and losers, or if humanity can find a way of transcending that.

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Re: Is life absurd

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » March 3rd, 2018, 3:31 pm

Greta wrote:
March 1st, 2018, 11:32 pm
Big Boss wrote:
March 1st, 2018, 11:11 pm
Life seems absurd to people like myself, you know the godless, one life is all we have people, because it is in our very nature to strive for meaning. This is based on the type of animal we are and how evolution has directed us to our goal.

But is life, the universe, really absurd? Well, it seems without that this absurd is a creation of humanity. The very nature of the universe is just matter in existence. It is only our values that recognise things as absurd or in need of some actual meaning or purpose to it. Purpose is no necessary part of a coherent universe, and it isn't even an important part, it seems. It may seem hard to grasp on to this fact but this is the case, I believe.
It's true that everything simply happens. The easiest analogy is to consider the universe's development from speck to what it is today, and ditto the Sun, the solar system, Earth, and each of us. One doesn't really strive to grow, certainly not at first. It all just happens, being a matter of reflexes, which is a matter of chemical reactions, and so forth. That the "reflexes" of the universe et al lead it from there to here is remarkable.

If I was to plump for any kind of purpose, it would be to reduce suffering and maximise happiness, with the former being ubiquitous in nature for any being capable of feeling, while the latter tends to be much more rare, like oases in a desert. Humans have tried to turn this around, although at the expense of other life's welfare. I am not sure if that results in an overall improvement in the biosphere's suffering/happiness equation, or if it's a zero sum game where there must be winners and losers, or if humanity can find a way of transcending that.
There is intrinsic meaning, purpose, teleology -- Meaning that life comes with, out of the box. Big meanings like: The earth is the center of the universe, God is in his heaven, humankind is participating in a divine clockwork system with conveyor belts toward different afterlife destinations. Everyone is clear on his/her position and function in life, and the future.

In the 1950s, these absolutes were just going away. Life without them was seen by Camus and others, as absurd. And I think it's true. On that basis, life is absurd. God is dead, no heaven or hell, why go on?

We're also talking about another kind of meaning, meanings that we can make. When intrinsic meaning goes away, it's unsettling, Camus said that suicide was the biggest philosophical problem. But if you get rid of the big meanings, the metanarratives, you're free to dream up your own projects to give your life meaning. So not to worry, the kids will be ok. It's the metanarratives that are absurd. Life is full of possible meaning.

If that's all there is my friend, then let's keep dancing.
fair to say

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