What's the meaning of life?

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LuckyR
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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by LuckyR » March 6th, 2020, 2:02 pm

musicgold wrote:
March 5th, 2020, 2:47 pm
Hello all,

Here is what I think is the meaning of life. Please feel free to point errors/gaps in my thinking.

Humans along with the rest of life on Earth are nothing but the result of the chemical processes that began on Earth’s surface about 4 billion years ago. The products of this biochemical process (i.e. all living things we see around us) know only one thing: survive to replicate. All our raw desires (fornicate, survive) are distilled in us by this process.

The ape ancestors of humans caught a lucky break and potentially a mutation in their genes allowed them to evolve a better brain. This slightly better brain allows us to think and reflect. With the help of this advantage, humans united together and created societies, a society offered a relatively easier life than living alone (first tribes, then villages, and then civilizations). However to be allowed to live in a society, you have to be willing to follow its customs. A society chooses customs that would allow it to survive and thrive as a group. Here an individual’s preferences become secondary to those of the overall group. Living in such social setups, for about two million years, have also impacted our genetic makeup. That’s why we care about social customs and our social status (this is good, that is bad, pride, shame, guilt, suspicion, jealousy, etc.)

As a result, we are a sum total of our raw desires and the social pressures ingrained in us. The majority of humans, unaware of these two sets of rules controlling their lives, lead a life in this world. They come up with the meaning of their lives as a child looks at clouds in the sky and sees different shapes - some people take refuge in the idea of God or destiny and some people give credit to their hard work, etc.

So what do I think is the meaning of life? Firstly, I don’t think there is meaning to our lives. We are a momentary bubble in an infinite time and infinite space. After the bubble bursts, the atoms constituting our bodies will merge back with the rest of the universe, just like a rain drop merges with the sea. As simple as that. We should not try to add a divine will or any other meaning to that.

Then the next question comes, why or how should we lead our lives? Why not just end it now and avoid going through the miseries of life for a few more decades? I think that this is a fair question. And the reason I am not going to take that route is as follows: the atoms in my body have been part of the universe and will continue to part of the universe whether I am alive or not. My current life bubble is a lucky coincidence to enjoy this rare and special state in which I could think about and understand the universe. And I think that should be the object of everyone’s life: think about and understand the universe while you can and help your fellow human beings to enjoy it too.
A perfectly reasonable and thoughtful analysis of the question. Though the question is vague enough that different folks will address different facets of the issue depending on how they look at this Rorschach of a question.
"As usual... it depends."

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fionaimmodest
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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by fionaimmodest » March 25th, 2020, 2:38 am

Life is given by God and we live with a purpose.

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by creation » March 25th, 2020, 9:39 am

fionaimmodest wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 2:38 am
Life is given by God and we live with a purpose.
How does God give Life?

Who and/or what is 'we'?

And, what is this 'purpose' supposed to be that this 'we' lives with?

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by LuckyR » March 25th, 2020, 11:24 am

creation wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 9:39 am
fionaimmodest wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 2:38 am
Life is given by God and we live with a purpose.
How does God give Life?

Who and/or what is 'we'?

And, what is this 'purpose' supposed to be that this 'we' lives with?
You seem to be asking a lot of a bumper sticker opinion...
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by creation » March 26th, 2020, 4:54 am

LuckyR wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 11:24 am
creation wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 9:39 am


How does God give Life?

Who and/or what is 'we'?

And, what is this 'purpose' supposed to be that this 'we' lives with?
You seem to be asking a lot of a bumper sticker opinion...
What seems to you here is not what I am asking.

I am just asking very simply, open clarifying questions to see how the answers given, if any, match with my view on things here.

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by noahmahoney21 » April 29th, 2020, 9:03 pm

From a Christian's view, and one who's pursued a relationship with God (that can be a completely different discussion), the meaning of life is to simply love. In my belief, my God created the universe in order to love us first. We were created in His image, thus we are created to love. Although this is easier said than done, and the Church, as a whole, has failed miserably at this throughout history, we are still called to be like Christ.

Think about the people who have had the biggest positive impact on your life. Think about the people who's funerals are filled with people, wanting to pay their respects. I'm gonna bet that both answers contain people who loved you regardless of how you acted. That unconditional love creates an amazing life, because of the impact it has on people. That's just my simple thought on the question; the meaning of life is to love.

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by Greta » April 29th, 2020, 11:19 pm

I am an agnostic but maybe you are right, Noah. However, "love" in a broader existential sense is merely one way to connect. Predation, exploitation, even hate - are also ways that entities bind their fates.

It would seem that forming connections, one way or another, is inevitable. A loving approach means minimising one's etnropic effects on other entities in those interactions.

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by Mark_Lee » May 1st, 2020, 6:36 pm

Hello folks.

Let me start off by saying I'm posting this "blindly", meaning I'm only reading the original post and nothing else. After I post this though, I might read other posts in this thread. I'm not sure yet if I have the time. But please comment on this post of mine. I'd love to hear your thoughts or arguments for/against it.

I think the purpose of life is to be in communion with Yahweh, the one and only God, the Judeo-Christian God. But the question is so incredibly tricky. Because even though we fulfill said purpose, God will have something in store for us beyond that basic fulfillment. And this varies person-by-person.

But I will maintain that the first and most important objective of men and women in this globe is to, first of all, be in communion with God. The alternative would be living in a materialistic belief-system where food, sex, and avoidance of ostracism is all there is to human life.

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by Belindi » May 2nd, 2020, 4:11 am

Mark_Lee wrote:
May 1st, 2020, 6:36 pm
Hello folks.

Let me start off by saying I'm posting this "blindly", meaning I'm only reading the original post and nothing else. After I post this though, I might read other posts in this thread. I'm not sure yet if I have the time. But please comment on this post of mine. I'd love to hear your thoughts or arguments for/against it.

I think the purpose of life is to be in communion with Yahweh, the one and only God, the Judeo-Christian God. But the question is so incredibly tricky. Because even though we fulfill said purpose, God will have something in store for us beyond that basic fulfillment. And this varies person-by-person.

But I will maintain that the first and most important objective of men and women in this globe is to, first of all, be in communion with God. The alternative would be living in a materialistic belief-system where food, sex, and avoidance of ostracism is all there is to human life.
Is it not possible God has enlightened Buddhists, Hindus , Pagans, and Muslims too?

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by NukeBan » May 2nd, 2020, 9:17 am

Greta wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 11:19 pm
It would seem that forming connections, one way or another, is inevitable.
Connection implies the existence of things, which in turn imply boundaries between one thing and another. Are boundaries real? Here's an experiment...

When does the glass of water that you drink become you? It seems we could reasonably draw the boundary between the water and you in a number of places. I could say the mouth, and you could say the stomach, the bloodstream, or the cells, and there would be truth in all these boundary claims. Does this perhaps illustrate that boundaries are convenient inventions of the human mind?

If there are no boundaries in the real world beyond our minds, then there are no things, no separation or division, and instead there is a single unified reality.
From a Christian's view, and one who's pursued a relationship with God (that can be a completely different discussion), the meaning of life is to simply love.
Pursuing a relationship with God, or anything else, implies there is a division which creates the existence of things. In this case it implies "me" is one thing, and "God" is another thing, which then makes it possible for a relationship.

The oldest Christian religion claims that God is ever present in every time and place at every scale. It seems interesting to observe that the very same thing can be said of space.

What if division, and thus things, and thus relationship, are not properties of reality but are instead properties of the tool through which we observe reality, that is, thought? Here's an example...

Imagine that you are wearing tinted sunglasses. Everywhere you look in any direction reality will appear to be tinted, right? If you were born wearing these sunglasses, and so was everyone else, the notion that reality is tinted would be a very compelling illusion validated by a universal group consensus. The apparent tint color of reality would seem so obvious we would take it for granted and never question it.

Division, things and relationship might be like that, a compelling illusion generated by the inherently divisive nature of thought, by the way it operates.

If the meaning of life is to love, perhaps that could be because by loving we align ourselves with the unified nature of reality. Love tends to erase boundaries, right?

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by Belindi » May 2nd, 2020, 9:55 am

NukeBan wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 9:17 am
Greta wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 11:19 pm
It would seem that forming connections, one way or another, is inevitable.
Connection implies the existence of things, which in turn imply boundaries between one thing and another. Are boundaries real? Here's an experiment...

When does the glass of water that you drink become you? It seems we could reasonably draw the boundary between the water and you in a number of places. I could say the mouth, and you could say the stomach, the bloodstream, or the cells, and there would be truth in all these boundary claims. Does this perhaps illustrate that boundaries are convenient inventions of the human mind?

If there are no boundaries in the real world beyond our minds, then there are no things, no separation or division, and instead there is a single unified reality.
From a Christian's view, and one who's pursued a relationship with God (that can be a completely different discussion), the meaning of life is to simply love.
Pursuing a relationship with God, or anything else, implies there is a division which creates the existence of things. In this case it implies "me" is one thing, and "God" is another thing, which then makes it possible for a relationship.

The oldest Christian religion claims that God is ever present in every time and place at every scale. It seems interesting to observe that the very same thing can be said of space.

What if division, and thus things, and thus relationship, are not properties of reality but are instead properties of the tool through which we observe reality, that is, thought? Here's an example...

Imagine that you are wearing tinted sunglasses. Everywhere you look in any direction reality will appear to be tinted, right? If you were born wearing these sunglasses, and so was everyone else, the notion that reality is tinted would be a very compelling illusion validated by a universal group consensus. The apparent tint color of reality would seem so obvious we would take it for granted and never question it.

Division, things and relationship might be like that, a compelling illusion generated by the inherently divisive nature of thought, by the way it operates.

If the meaning of life is to love, perhaps that could be because by loving we align ourselves with the unified nature of reality. Love tends to erase boundaries, right?

I agree, NukeBan. We understand the world as an aggregate of entities and we invent narratives that link entities. We do so in order to predict. We, and other animals that can learn, need to predict in order to eat.

There are several usages of 'love'. Obviously you are referring to agape. I see that you link agape to eternity which is that field 'where' competing values don't exist.

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by NukeBan » May 2nd, 2020, 11:04 am

Hi there Belindi,
We understand the world as an aggregate of entities
Yes, that's how we understand and experience reality, as a collection of parts. Is that how reality really is, or is that just how we experience it?

The question itself may offer somewhat of an answer. My mind instinctively posed the question in an either/or manner. But if I look at say, my body, it can reasonably be labeled both a single thing and a collection of parts. The either/or division my mind was attempting to create between "unified" vs. "parts" may exist only conceptually.
I see that you link agape to eternity which is that field 'where' competing values don't exist.
Can you expand on this perhaps?

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by Greta » May 2nd, 2020, 6:35 pm

NukeBan wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 9:17 am
Greta wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 11:19 pm
It would seem that forming connections, one way or another, is inevitable.
Connection implies the existence of things, which in turn imply boundaries between one thing and another. Are boundaries real? Here's an experiment...

When does the glass of water that you drink become you? It seems we could reasonably draw the boundary between the water and you in a number of places. I could say the mouth, and you could say the stomach, the bloodstream, or the cells, and there would be truth in all these boundary claims. Does this perhaps illustrate that boundaries are convenient inventions of the human mind?

If there are no boundaries in the real world beyond our minds, then there are no things, no separation or division, and instead there is a single unified reality.
True. Everything is one. However, oneness does not render difference and separation moot. If reality was strictly as you described then it would have no features at all, being a completely homogeneous entity like the hypothesised ultra hot and dense state of the universe during the first Planck second of inflation.

If reality was strictly as you described, if I stubbed a toe, then your entire family would at the same time suddenly fall to the floor, holding a toe and grumbling and swearing. But no, we are both one and separate, layered in loose fractal relationships. So entire galaxies are all one thing. The Earth is one thing. The biosphere, too, is one thing. Yet also consisting of disparate, rather than homogeneous, smaller entities. Nabokov's "cells within cells within cells".

Some links are strong but others are vanishingly weak, which is why you won't wince when I stub my toe. So the glass of water will start with weak connections to us, based on proximity and the fact that we are already mostly water, but it will rapidly become more connected to us, once consumed. Deciding an actual transition point would either be highly technical, perhaps better expressed in math, but otherwise, as you say, a human invention (like all abstract thought).

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by Belindi » May 3rd, 2020, 3:21 am

Greta wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 6:35 pm
NukeBan wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 9:17 am


Connection implies the existence of things, which in turn imply boundaries between one thing and another. Are boundaries real? Here's an experiment...

When does the glass of water that you drink become you? It seems we could reasonably draw the boundary between the water and you in a number of places. I could say the mouth, and you could say the stomach, the bloodstream, or the cells, and there would be truth in all these boundary claims. Does this perhaps illustrate that boundaries are convenient inventions of the human mind?

If there are no boundaries in the real world beyond our minds, then there are no things, no separation or division, and instead there is a single unified reality.
True. Everything is one. However, oneness does not render difference and separation moot. If reality was strictly as you described then it would have no features at all, being a completely homogeneous entity like the hypothesised ultra hot and dense state of the universe during the first Planck second of inflation.

If reality was strictly as you described, if I stubbed a toe, then your entire family would at the same time suddenly fall to the floor, holding a toe and grumbling and swearing. But no, we are both one and separate, layered in loose fractal relationships. So entire galaxies are all one thing. The Earth is one thing. The biosphere, too, is one thing. Yet also consisting of disparate, rather than homogeneous, smaller entities. Nabokov's "cells within cells within cells".

Some links are strong but others are vanishingly weak, which is why you won't wince when I stub my toe. So the glass of water will start with weak connections to us, based on proximity and the fact that we are already mostly water, but it will rapidly become more connected to us, once consumed. Deciding an actual transition point would either be highly technical, perhaps better expressed in math, but otherwise, as you say, a human invention (like all abstract thought).
I think reality would be not only
a completely homogeneous entity like the hypothesised ultra hot and dense state of the universe during the first Planck second of inflation.
but also the sum of all human concepts of differentiated things.And not only human concepts but also the differentiated things themselves even when the differentiated things have no concept of self. And not only human concepts and experiences but also the experiences of other animals.

I think the single unified reality i.e. 'eternity' .is not only undifferentiated, it's also differentiated. I think there are at least two aspects of reality . One, this relatively differentiated world we inhabit and understand pretty well. And two, eternity which we understand and know only by means of analogies or fleeting half-seen glimpses.There may be other aspects of reality we can't even guess at.

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Re: What's the meaning of life?

Post by NukeBan » May 3rd, 2020, 8:09 am

True. Everything is one. However, oneness does not render difference and separation moot.
Greta, how would this strike you? Could we say that reality is neither unified, nor a collection of parts, but both at the same time? As example, space can not be said to either exist, or not exist, but instead seems to inhabit some realm which encompasses both definitions.

To the degree this is true, perhaps it reveals that while the neat and tidy, black/white, yes/no dualistic definitions that thought creates are useful, they are not really an accurate description of reality? If this is so, or to the degree it is, it might explain a good bit of what goes on in philosophy?

As example, the God debate assumes that a God either exists or not, yes or no, one or the other. There is remarkably wide, nearly universal agreement that this is how the question should be posed, even among passionate partisans who vehemently disagree about nearly everything else.

What if our mind's built-in inclination to create neat and tidy conceptual divisions is so out of step with the nature of reality that it often causes us to frame such poor questions that the competing answers game becomes somewhat meaningless?

As example, does space exist or not, yes or no? Does such a question so misrepresent the nature of space as to make either a yes or no answer largely useless?

To what degree is the nature of thought imposing a pattern of division distortion upon our observations of reality? To what degree are the divisions we see a property of reality, and to what degree are they a property of the lens through which we observe reality?

If the price tag for the power of thought is the introduction of some level of distortion, this would seem to be a matter meriting closer inspection. Any distortion that is introduced could form a very compelling illusion, given that both the philosopher and their philosophy is made of thought.

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