The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

What really matters?

Use this philosophy forum to discuss and debate general philosophy topics that don't fit into one of the other categories.

This forum is NOT for factual, informational or scientific questions about philosophy (e.g. "What year was Socrates born?"); such homework-help-style questions can be asked and answered on PhiloPedia: The Philosophy Wiki. If your question is not already answered on the appropriate PhiloPedia page, then see How to Request Content on PhiloPedia to see how to ask your informational question using the wiki.
User avatar
KiraGM
New Trial Member
Posts: 1
Joined: May 15th, 2012, 9:39 am

Re: What really matters?

Post by KiraGM » May 15th, 2012, 11:47 am

What really matters? Well, nothing matters. You were born to die. Everything on earth eventually becomes victim of a natural decay. Living with a thought such as this can be very tiring. But one must find a reason for living, whether it is the simple fact that you were born to die that gives you the motivational power to appreciate each day, because why waste it when you have only been given one chance? I think the subject of the meaning of life arises when one does not have a life with somekind of meaning, then the simple enjoyment of each day becomes unclear and invisible. At one point in time one needs to find something that gives one a thrill and affects the core of ones nature. Then the question of what really matters, won't be such a heavy burden anymore. Find the spark that starts the flame.

User avatar
Prismatic
Posts: 514
Joined: April 22nd, 2012, 4:30 pm
Favorite Philosopher: John Stuart Mill

Re: What really matters?

Post by Prismatic » May 15th, 2012, 12:20 pm

Scott wrote: What do you think? Why does it matter?
One good thing this picture does: it relieves us of any responsibility to any mythical creator. In the grand scheme of things, none of us matter; in our own personal scheme, each of us is the main event.
Everywhere I have sought peace and never found it except in a corner with a book. —Thomas à Kempis

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: What really matters?

Post by Belinda » May 18th, 2012, 2:25 am

Everything matters to the smallest speck of dust because everything is necessary.It is human responsibility to evaluate which specks of dust should get more care than other specks of dust.
Socialist

User avatar
PaulNZ
Posts: 597
Joined: January 27th, 2011, 3:56 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Marcus Aurelius

Re: What really matters?

Post by PaulNZ » May 18th, 2012, 5:01 am

Everything matters. That picture shows me that we are universe and we are in the process of becoming. We are part of the dance of creation itself. We are an expression of the universe which has been gifted with self awareness. I think that's pretty meaningful and we are obliged to do the best we can with this gift.

:D

Philobot
Posts: 370
Joined: October 27th, 2009, 6:45 pm

Re: What really matters?

Post by Philobot » May 18th, 2012, 5:58 am

PaulNZ wrote:Everything matters. That picture shows me that we are universe and we are in the process of becoming. We are part of the dance of creation itself. We are an expression of the universe which has been gifted with self awareness. I think that's pretty meaningful and we are obliged to do the best we can with this gift.

:D
:D

That does have quite the modern flavor in it. But as for me, that still sounds like the poor believer from the past. What you do is to substitute the out-of-fashion old all-mighty white man with beard picture with the more trendy all-mighty universe without beard picture. Now where is progress in that? That thought is still pre-enlightenment era if you ask me.

:twisted:

User avatar
PaulNZ
Posts: 597
Joined: January 27th, 2011, 3:56 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Marcus Aurelius

Re: What really matters?

Post by PaulNZ » May 18th, 2012, 4:14 pm

Philobot wrote:
PaulNZ wrote:Everything matters. That picture shows me that we are universe and we are in the process of becoming. We are part of the dance of creation itself. We are an expression of the universe which has been gifted with self awareness. I think that's pretty meaningful and we are obliged to do the best we can with this gift.

:D
:D

That does have quite the modern flavor in it. But as for me, that still sounds like the poor believer from the past. What you do is to substitute the out-of-fashion old all-mighty white man with beard picture with the more trendy all-mighty universe without beard picture. Now where is progress in that? That thought is still pre-enlightenment era if you ask me.

:twisted:
:lol:

No, an atheist household as a kid, very much the Newtonian clockwork universe world view with science as king, with the dualist view thrown in. I can see why you think that though. I think that there is a convergence taking place in the field of quantum theory and spirituality - I steer clear of organised religions when I say spirituality. Organised religion became the opposite of what it was intended to do and is now so inward and defensive it has no real relevance today. Some balance is needed and we need to start acknowledging who we really are, stop thinking that we rule the roost and realise we are the roost along with everything else.

The man with the white beard has never existed but we have, and we are aware of our existence. We don't fully appreciate it but we are aware. Since awareness came on the scene, so did our need to find meaning. Traditionally we have done that through myth, story, metaphor and symbol and beardy guy is part of that story.

That doesn't mean that there isn't a creating force in the form of a field, or benign engergy, permiating the entire universe at the quantum level. Some might say that force was creative and was infact " god" evolving and creating alongside and within us, and not outside time and space.

There are lots of differing views out there about what we know and what we don't know. In the end you have to keep reading, learning and thinking and work out what fits for you by yourself.

I have come to realise in recent years that I have neglected my feeling/spiritual side for many years. How I right that is another question but I'm trying to find my way and it feels good.

:wink:

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: What really matters?

Post by Belinda » May 18th, 2012, 4:21 pm

Philobot wrote:
That does have quite the modern flavor in it. But as for me, that still sounds like the poor believer from the past. What you do is to substitute the out-of-fashion old all-mighty white man with beard picture with the more trendy all-mighty universe without beard picture. Now where is progress in that? That thought is still pre-enlightenment era if you ask me.
The difference between the transcendent God and nature, or even Nature, is that the transcendent God not only made it all in the beginning, to a plan (or A Plan if you like) but the Abrahamic God is also miraculously intervenes in nature , and revealed his commands to humans. Nature does not do the last two and arguably does not have laws at all.

Another thing the usual Christian God does, which nature doesn't, is that God provides ultimate safety for us, even if it is only safety after death, in Heaven. And yet another thing that the Christian God does which nature doesn't is judge and punish for wrongdoing.
Socialist

User avatar
Prismatic
Posts: 514
Joined: April 22nd, 2012, 4:30 pm
Favorite Philosopher: John Stuart Mill

Re: What really matters?

Post by Prismatic » May 18th, 2012, 5:08 pm

Perhaps a bit off topic as it has developed here, but my experience is that individuals only discover what matters to them as they age. Of course it is not at all the same for everyone. In part life is a process of discarding things that you find don't matter and clinging to those that do—and you can't discard or cling to things you've never had. That's why it is important to develop interests earlier in life and to pursue them to the point of depth—otherwise they won't carry you through.

Old victories and defeats cease to be of real concern and small pleasures increase their appeal. The time you devote to staying well and fit is extremely important and it is crucial to deal with troubles as soon as they manifest themselves. Old age is not the time for letting discomforts grow into insurmountable debilities.

For most people as they age friendships become more important, especially longstanding friendships, and love affairs less. Although love itself remains supremely important, the passionate love affair is just too much bother. Comfort becomes a much greater necessity. Making yourself comfortable at home is essential. Travel is still interesting, but you don't feel in a hurry to see everything. For me at least a connection to nature has become far more important than I ever imagined it would and nature photography has, rather unexpectedly, become one of my hobbies.
Everywhere I have sought peace and never found it except in a corner with a book. —Thomas à Kempis

Philobot
Posts: 370
Joined: October 27th, 2009, 6:45 pm

Re: What really matters?

Post by Philobot » May 18th, 2012, 6:03 pm

PaulNZ wrote:I steer clear of organised religions when I say spirituality.
That might be a wise thing to do. But you better steer clear of whatever human endeavour tries to organize if you ask me. Religion is one but not the only name to it.
it has no real relevance today
I for my part are not so sure about that. Actually, what goes for science (and philosophy) these days oftentimes does remind me of organised religion much more than modern-day christianity.
PaulNZ wrote:The man with the white beard has never existed but we have, and we are aware of our existence.
The latter was Descartes line, but ironically he still ended up proving the existence of the holy other as you might know.
PaulNZ wrote:I have come to realise in recent years that I have neglected my feeling/spiritual side for many years. How I right that is another question but I'm trying to find my way and it feels good.
If it feels good, keep on doing it! ;)

Belinda, The history of Western religion, and all strands of moralists in general (e.g. socialist moralists), was the history of systematically making everybody feel small and guilty of something he has not done and therefore cannot be held responsible for. I will not argue that there are differences. Nobody dares to deny that. There is like white chocolate, black chocolate or even chocolate with almond splinters in it. As is said, the flavor is different but it is still eating chocolate or, in the present case, a story to believe in. First, we supposedly had obligations to the old man or the king, now we owe it to mother nature, planet earth or the universe in toto. First, we have been told to be the puny little sinners with respect to the all-perfect white bearded father figure, now we are told to be the mote of dust in the infinite universe which has brought us into existence all the same. As for me, this Carl Sagan guy is venting hot air at best. Reminds me of a modern priest who cautions us to play nice cause he feels like... a speck of dust, all alone and scared of the dire cosmic vacuum cleaner.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: What really matters?

Post by Belinda » May 19th, 2012, 4:11 am

Philobot, I can see a connection between the puritanism of Christianity and the puritanism of environmentalism. Both God and nature make demands on us. It is not illogical that Christianity got simple living and altruism right, and still was wrong about the existence of a supernatural law-giver and all that.
Socialist

Philobot
Posts: 370
Joined: October 27th, 2009, 6:45 pm

Re: What really matters?

Post by Philobot » May 19th, 2012, 5:03 am

Belinda wrote: It is not illogical that Christianity got simple living and altruism right, and still was wrong about the existence of a supernatural law-giver and all that.
I grant you that. Of course I was generalizing a great deal about christianity. But it is not all wrong too, because the rotten bits and pieces of christianity were always more visible than the saner aspects of it* and therefore had more influence on the psychology of the masses who did not understand esoteric theology. Alas, It was and still is the compulsive need of the moralists to 'organize the sane parts to death', those parts that are not meant to be organized by so called rational human beings.

*read your newspaper/news media of choice and it will be evident that bad news really is good news.

WJW
Posts: 12
Joined: September 23rd, 2011, 10:24 am

Re: What really matters?

Post by WJW » May 19th, 2012, 3:04 pm

One of my favorite books is by the naturalist Henry Beston, whose book The Outermost House has become a literary classic. The book is about his sojourn in a small isolated cottage (the "Fo’castle") at the end of the dunes on the great beach of Cape Cod. The book is filled with the most evocative descriptions of nature; and in the first edition published in 1928 there are haunting photographs of shipwrecks and seabirds. Of all writers, I think he comes closest to defining man’s place in the natural world. Here is a quote from this wonderful book:

"Whatever attitude to human existence you fashion for yourself, know that it is valid only if it be the shadow of an attitude to Nature. A human life, so often likened to a spectacle upon a stage, is more justly a ritual. The ancient values of dignity, beauty, and poetry which sustain it are of Nature’s inspiration; they are born of the mystery and beauty of the world. Do no dishonour to the earth lest you dishonour the spirit of man. Hold your hands out over the earth as over a flame. To all who love her, who open to her the doors of their veins, she gives of her strength, sustaining them with her own measureless tremor of dark life. Touch the earth, love the earth, honour the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places. For the gifts of life are the earth’s and they are given to all, and they are the songs of birds at daybreak, Orion and the Bear, and the dawn seen over the ocean from the beach."

- Henry Beston, The Outermost House (1928)

User avatar
Prismatic
Posts: 514
Joined: April 22nd, 2012, 4:30 pm
Favorite Philosopher: John Stuart Mill

Re: What really matters?

Post by Prismatic » May 19th, 2012, 3:26 pm

WJW wrote:One of my favorite books is by the naturalist Henry Beston, whose book The Outermost House has become a literary classic.
It has been a favorite of mine for many years. I also like the nature writing of W. H. Hudson and Richard Jeffries.
Everywhere I have sought peace and never found it except in a corner with a book. —Thomas à Kempis

User avatar
Max1128
New Trial Member
Posts: 6
Joined: May 28th, 2012, 7:46 pm

Re: What really matters?

Post by Max1128 » May 29th, 2012, 6:14 pm

Getting back to the main topic at hand...

I read in a book that one famous philosophical saying is that "Life would be best lived if it were meaningless." That's because while each individual feels there's meaning in their lives; but since they are just the smallest speck in the universe (like the starting picture), a person's existence is actually meaningless.

If a person feels their life has meaning when it's actually meaningless, then it creates a contradiction in their lives that will frustrate them and make them miserable. So in order to resolve this conflict, a person must accept that life is meaningless.

I think it's a part of human nature to feel like one's life has a greater meaning. If we walk around thinking life is pointless, then it invalidates the reason for living at all for so many people. And to be honest, in the scheme of the universe, nothing does really matter at all. The meaning that exists for people is the meaning they create in their own life, so they have a reason to keep going. And it's an acceptable flaw in people, since if people thought that life had no meaning, whether in the universe or just in their own life, then they would never do anything in their lives. Why would they?

Nothing does really matter, but people need to feel that at least something does. Even if they know the truth of their true role in all this.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: What really matters?

Post by Belinda » May 30th, 2012, 2:00 am

Max1128 wrote:
I read in a book that one famous philosophical saying is that "Life would be best lived if it were meaningless."
To be sure. But although life itself is meaningless individuals' lives have meaning because individuals make their own meanings from what they have to hand to make meanings from.The more choice of materials they have for making their meanings the better their meanings are.
Socialist

Post Reply