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Purpose, Or Lack Thereof

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furiou5
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Purpose, Or Lack Thereof

Post by furiou5 » February 26th, 2019, 5:32 pm

I think it's important to ask if "purpose" is a discovery or merely another invention by the human mind? The purpose of survival, which is one of the strongest known to our existence, is a primal instinct that is no longer a necessity in day-to-day life for many. Have we locked ourselves in our ivory towers to ponder something that we've systematically removed from our existence?

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Re: Purpose, Or Lack Thereof

Post by Burning ghost » February 28th, 2019, 5:27 am

On the basic level on analysis brains map the world so we can navigate through it and deal with new experiences. Our sense of “purpose” is probably best viewed as a manifestation of our innate exploratory function - meaning we create end goals in order to direct our exploration/investigation of the universe we find ourselves in/of/entwine within.

Semnatically it is a term that expresses our personal desires and goals in life. Psychologically it is a term that roughly frames the collection of our wishes, wants, needs, fears and responsibilities we’ve taken on as meaningful to us (for whatever the reason).

I wouldn’t say we invent or discover purpose/s. We experience the world and move through it. Along the way certain patterns become apparent to us and we pursue them - this is in itself “purposeful” yet we are certainly able to adjust what we subjectively view as a “good” or “bad” purpose. I’d also say that “survival” is not really a purpose but that it gives rise to a sense of purpose. Purpose seems to have arisen once we’ve come to attune ourselves with our existence beyond mere physical survival. In a land of plenty we have the opportunity to examine life beyond the pursuit of sustenance, reproduction and spacial comfort (home/community).

From a human behavioral perspective we’ve somewhat outgrown our baser instincts, but we’re also most certainly what we are because of them. Generally speaking though we don’t go around with violent force, feeding ourselves in to a stupor whilst constantly fornicating. Reprocity is a base driving force base instinctual pursuit of these goals which natural selection has shaped us to either get on board with or become a genetic footnote in biological history. On top of this there is the Dawkin termed “memetic” cultural influences that are a means of extending this sense of “reprocity” through cultural norms shaped by our biological substrates (our instinctual desires and the balances needed to maximize positive feedback).

Our “primal instincts” will always be just under the surface of everything we do. We’ve layered on so many explanations and theories that it just appears that they are not “necessary” for day-to-day life. We have certainly altered the circuitry but we’ve not destroyed the drives created by them - for sugar, fat, salt, sex and knowledge/ignorance. These are means of both exploring painful situations and avoiding them. Given the cognitive capacity we’ve developed over time it makes viewing this contradictory circuitry all the most baffling and confusing because we’re always in a position where we can question what we do and understand that every benefit has a possible/probable detrimental effect too.

We’re very much temporal beings able to extend ourselves hypothetically through time, yet we’ve not quite developed the mental training on a large societal scale to maximise this boo effectively - hence dogma, prejudice, dreams, wishful thinking, and resolute attitudes that often fly in the face of basic reasoning. Our emotional boon gives us the measn to want to explore and also gives us trepidation. It’s almost liek some kind of sadistic joke, but at least we’re partly capable of recognising it from time to time and when we do it seems to me a great deal of potential good pops its head above the parapet of closemindedness.
AKA badgerjelly

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jonathan
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Re: Purpose, Or Lack Thereof

Post by jonathan » February 28th, 2019, 10:50 am

furiou5 wrote:
February 26th, 2019, 5:32 pm
I think it's important to ask if "purpose" is a discovery or merely another invention by the human mind? The purpose of survival, which is one of the strongest known to our existence, is a primal instinct that is no longer a necessity in day-to-day life for many. Have we locked ourselves in our ivory towers to ponder something that we've systematically removed from our existence?
I think that purpose and instinct are two separate things. I'd say that usually instincts help an organism to achieve its purpose, which is its flourishing/well-being. And I emphasize usually, and there I think is where you can see the distinction: sometimes an organism will act according to instinct in a way that is actually not beneficial to its well-being -- like a dog instinctively licking a wound repeatedly or eating its own vomit, even though that is actually contrary to its overall flourishing/well-being. As rational animals, we humans can supersede our instincts in the interests of our flourishing when we recognize our instincts to be contrary to it, or what we understand it to be. So, I take the survival instinct to be one among a bundle of instincts that we rationally evaluate (in our best moments) in light of our understanding of our own flourishing.

Is flourishing/well-being/purpose real or just a mental construct? I'd say first that the world seems almost unintelligible without references to real "purposes" at least in a basic sense. E.g., it's hard to talk about a spider's web without noting that it is for catching flies, and that this purpose seems to exist in the thing itself, not something mental that we project out onto it. And it is hard to say that a dog licking its wound or eating its own vomit is "bad" for it without reference to what is ultimately "good" for the dog, i.e., some idea of its flourishing.

But whether or not human flourishing is a real thing, especially when it comes to particulars, is up for debate. I've been basically rehashing Aristotle here. Aristotle's own ideas about human "flourshing" have been subject to a lot of criticism. But point being, there's a long tradition that says that "purpose" is quite real, and quite knowable.

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Re: Purpose, Or Lack Thereof

Post by Intellectual_Savnot » February 28th, 2019, 1:37 pm

I have no opinion on the subject, but to speak for my sister, nothing has intended purpose which it inherits or accumulates or is granted by any means which give its core existence any meaning or reason that is not the relativity of the item to all else. Have a goody day!

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Re: Purpose, Or Lack Thereof

Post by Alias » February 28th, 2019, 11:00 pm

furiou5 wrote:
February 26th, 2019, 5:32 pm
I think it's important to ask if "purpose" is a discovery or merely another invention by the human mind?
How would you go about discovering a concept that only exists in minds? Not the human mind; lots of other minds conceive of purposes, too.
Of course, you need to cut the word 'purpose' down to the size of purposeful activity and plans, rather than treat it a single big thing, such as the purpose of life or the purpose of the universe - those questions make no human-scale sense.
The purpose of the fluoride stuff I have on my teeth right now is to keep the enamel strong; my purpose in putting it on is to keep my teeth as long as possible. My purpose in typing this is to communicate about something minimally interesting with invisible people whom I'll never meet. The cat Scruffy is purposefully striding across the room; his intention is to leap up on the windowsill and look outside. Creatures with brains have all kinds of purposes for their activities - some vital, many practical, some trivial.
The purpose of survival, which is one of the strongest known to our existence,
Avoiding death isn't a purpose; it's a primal drive. In order to avoid death, we perform many purposeful actions, each one directed at some specific immediate result that is expected to contribute to our survival, but survival itself isn't one of them.
is a primal instinct that is no longer a necessity in day-to-day life for many.
Really? How many? What made them stop caring whether they live or die? Even the suicidal take some purposeful action, day to day, either to go on living (they eat, drink, walk around, go to the toilet, probably get dressed, maybe even go to work) or to hasten death (refuse food, go out in the cold, drink alcohol to excess). It's hard for a creature with a body and a brain to stop doing purposeful things.
Have we locked ourselves in our ivory towers to ponder something that we've systematically removed from our existence?
Er... no.

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Re: Purpose, Or Lack Thereof

Post by Jklint » March 1st, 2019, 8:45 pm

There is no Purpose only autonomic trends which gives the illusion of Purpose.

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jonathan
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Re: Purpose, Or Lack Thereof

Post by jonathan » March 1st, 2019, 10:21 pm

Jklint wrote:
March 1st, 2019, 8:45 pm
There is no Purpose only autonomic trends which gives the illusion of Purpose.
Brilliant, do you have any argument / reasons / evidence for this?

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Re: Purpose, Or Lack Thereof

Post by Jklint » March 2nd, 2019, 4:32 am

jonathan wrote:
March 1st, 2019, 10:21 pm
Jklint wrote:
March 1st, 2019, 8:45 pm
There is no Purpose only autonomic trends which gives the illusion of Purpose.
Brilliant, do you have any argument / reasons / evidence for this?
Is there one or do we only speak as if there were one? We can only speak of purpose generically never specifically having never come to any conclusions as to what that may be...or do you know something no one else knows?

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jonathan
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Re: Purpose, Or Lack Thereof

Post by jonathan » March 2nd, 2019, 10:55 am

Jklint wrote:
March 2nd, 2019, 4:32 am
jonathan wrote:
March 1st, 2019, 10:21 pm


Brilliant, do you have any argument / reasons / evidence for this?
Is there one or do we only speak as if there were one? We can only speak of purpose generically never specifically having never come to any conclusions as to what that may be...or do you know something no one else knows?
You're shifting the burden of proof - you introduced the claims that (1) there is no purpose and (2) that autonomic trends are what provide the illusion of purpose. I'm wondering what led you to believe that. The burden is on you to defend those. By shifting the burden of proof you are also implicitly arguing from ignorance - assuming you're right unless someone proves you wrong. To address the one point you do make: plenty of people can and do speak of purpose specifically. And furthermore just because there is no consensus doesn't mean that one can never be reached, that some of us aren't right and others wrong. We can't agree what purpose is; therefore there is no purpose ... we can't agree on the answer to this math problem; therefore there is no answer?

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