Greta wrote:Nothing can grow without destruction; the child must die to make room for the adult. The young Earth must be supplanted by a matured version. The hot young, chaotic and energetic universe made way for our cooler, calmer and more complex reality. Entropy is necessary for growth but I see it as part of a larger process of ordered change rather than an important quality in itself.
I see it differently. I think the chaos in the universe is too prevalent to be dismissed as peripheral to the order. You are approaching this issue from a human point of view. You see order as the real issue because, as a human, you like order, beauty, meaningfulness, progress, etc. As a human, these things are understandably appealing to you. But the universe is not a human. We did not create ourselves but were created by the cosmos, so to ask the reason why we exist is to ask a cosmic question. The answer to a cosmic question cannot be understood through a human mindset. To understand the cosmos we must think like the cosmos.
It's not my thinking, just an observation. Once the universe was a mess of hot plasma and now there is order. My human thinking didn't produce that.
Mysterio448 wrote:But the question here was "why do we exist?" So it seems your response would be that we exist in order to survive – we exist to keep existing. This goal seems circular.
Agreed, but only from our simple perspective. Clearer and broader meanings may become apparent to beings much more intelligent and aware than us, be they our descendants or life on other worlds. My optimism is based on what I've observed and learned so far about the changes in the cosmos, Earth and life.
Absurdity would seem more a by-product of entropic challenges coupled with mental resilience. Where the mentally naive and fragile may respond with issues with fear, the more experienced may see absurdity.
Mysterio448 wrote:I think you may have misunderstood my point. What I was trying to say was that the absurdity or pointlessness that we may perceive in life is not just a passive quality of life but is a dynamic component that contributes in defining what life is. Life itself is like everything else – an intermingled soup of order and chaos, sense and nonsense.
I'd agree that chaos and apparent
pointlessness seem to have always featured in reality, but the universe is young with a long way to go. The sheer scale of time ahead and the extraordinary changes so far in only 13.8b years make it difficult to know what's really going on. Maybe there's a point to it all (or part of it) that we don't know? Maybe absurdity and pointlessness will reduce?
Mysterio448 wrote:It is important to keep in mind that biological evolution is not about progress. It is not about becoming "better." Evolution is about adaptation, adapting to one's changing environment and circumstances in the interest of survival. As such, it is not a meaningful process in itself.
Evolution actually is
about progress. Gould was demonstrably wrong in that regard. Much is made of examples of evolutionary regression by advocates of "evolution is a bush, not a ladder", where species lose more complex features due to changes in environment.
However, the journey of life itself makes clear that, failing utter catastrophe, there is a buildup of information and complexity generally in the biosphere over time. After each extinction event life has emerged more complex and intelligent than before. Importantly, an increasing number of life forms have come to conduct their affairs in such a way that they often live to old age without being ambushed be a predator as they go about their daily business. I think of it as "the gentrification of life" :)
Note that the emergence of novel, complex forms usually comes in addition to most of the existing species rather than replacing them. So we modern humans live with modern microbes, plants, bugs and other organisms, usually more complex than their ancestors (aside from the less frequent cases of simplification), following their own line towards ever greater complexity and flexibility unless conditions go awry.
... modern humanity is so nascent and formative that the only likelihoods I can see are either progress to cognitive states that are now unknown or a failure to survive. Humanity will not be as clumsy and foolish as it is today i...
Mysterio448 wrote:You put a lot of emphasis on the evolution of mankind. Yet, as I've said before, evolution is not a goal in itself. We do not live to evolve, we evolve because we live. Evolution cannot be our purpose in life or the reason why we exist.
I emphasise humans because we appear to be the future. Aside from the migratory AI/cyborgs humans may become, only underground microbes have any hope of surviving the Sun's expansion. Still, if our descendants manage to successfully resettle on another world, they will surely take the Earth's genetic information with them. The journey could start again.
You would then rightly ask, "but what's the point"? Is a world with a small amount of reactive material on its surface (aka life) preferable to worlds without surface slime? I think so but, as you rightly pointed out, I'm biased :)