Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
popeye1945
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by popeye1945 »

chewybrian,

Point well taken, I've not been up to date on the progress. It is the younger generation that is tipping the scales. I just googled the good news. My apology, but I truely did believe that there hadn't been any progress along this line. They apparently call themselves noners, as believing in none of the religions-----------O' happy days!!
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Sy Borg
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by Sy Borg »

chewybrian wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 9:32 am
Sy Borg wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 2:22 am Agnosticism is the most rational conclusion (to the question - "What is going on with reality?"). There's too much we don't know. I'm not sure how an informed conclusion can be reached. We are in good company - trilobites and dinosaurs know either.

Still, my gut feeling is that reality is not meaningless.
I agree. It is tough to get across in words, but I can't see anything happening without meaning. If nothing has any meaning or purpose, then why is there anything at all, and why does anything happen? Complete emptiness and nothing would confirm meaninglessness. Having anything exist at all hints at meaning, but does not necessarily define it. Maybe the meaning is right there in front of us. Like a monkey looking at a helicopter, we see that something is there, but we are not bright enough to see the purpose.

All the new things that are created by me have a purpose or meaning, even if the meanings are shallow or silly. If I was created from the universe, then perhaps I am just a continuation of the meaning that eludes me. How could a chain of meaning begin from me? Am I a God, then?
I expect you at least would seem like a god to very small organisms :)

It's commonly said that meaning is created by life, by consciousness. Maybe.

However, there was a tremendous amount of evolution of ostensibly nonliving entities before brained organisms emerged. First atoms had to form, and stars and planets. Then the Earth's geology evolved to the point where parts of it came alive. Even then, so the idea goes, there was no meaning because microbes and other simple organisms lack brains, so there can be no meaning for them. Yet they, and everything else is subject to a "drive" towards equilibrium. In that, we humans operate pretty similarly to inanimate objects, only we have more control.

Further, the "people create meaning" trope is based on the idea that humans emerged from the Earth. That we are separate from the Earth. I suggest that we are manifestations within the Earth that appear on its crust, within its atmospheric layer, just as fish live within the earth's hydrous layer. In fact, it could be said that land animals are an extension of the hydrosphere (I just thought of that lol).

So, speaking strictly ontically, causal chains don't begin from you. They run as deep as time. "Godly-Brian-the-Creator" is already billions of years into a chain in which he is but a single link. Faced with such causal depth, it would seem more inevitable than problematic that we humans grasp the nature of reality like, as you say, a monkey observing a helicopter.

chewybrian wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 9:32 amDescartes argued for God along similar lines. If we don't have God-like powers, then we don't really create new things. We only react to our programming and create different permutations of things that were already there. We can think of mermaids, but we already knew of fish and women. We can think of unicorns, but we already knew of horses and animals with horns. So, if we can think of meaning, then there must some spark of meaning existing ahead of this occurring to us. Either we have the God-like power to create meaning from nothing, and so all our creations have meaning, or we are simply becoming aware of meaning that was already there. Either way, it seems like there must be some meaning floating around.
What you refer to here is the human capacity to perceive the flow of time. Unlike other animals, we can recall the past without a triggering event, and we can project possible futures (an interesting look at this in Dr Dan Gilbert's viral TED Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q1dgn_C0AU).
Clearly, one of the ways we project future events is to blend known entities, as per any non-human being of fiction. Even story characters are a blend of characteristics from people we've either met or learned about.

But we can only project so far. The further we project into the future, the more we heap uncertainties upon uncertainties. Faced with this uncertainty, we look for meaning beyond the usual eat, fight 'n breed model. Or we might not. We have a choice: to throw the whole confusing existential situation into the Too Hard Basket, or we try to learn more, accepting that there will never be a definitive answer.
popeye1945
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by popeye1945 »

A good hint to the meaningfulness of the physical world is the fact that it depends upon biological consciousness to bestow it. Evolution would be an indication of meaning, had it had a goal, an aim instead of just aimless change, to which life is in sink with. If we are to consciously create meaning, we might as well do it as if we are conscious, meanings don't drop from the sky. Meaning is how the object affects you/your biology, meaning is relational, the relation of subject to object, without said relation, there simply is no meaning, no something. A further good indication is what physicists tell us about ultimate reality. It being a place of no things, hard to wrap the mind around that one but there you go. The apparent reality is called apparent reality because its apparent to someone, ultimate reality is apparent to no one.
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Jake4020
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by Jake4020 »

Assuming we all agree what meaning is, a desirable or at least a perceived desirable pursuit in some direction. Who can say what direction. Meaning being irrational is not a very fun idea. Pretty negative to. Even as a thought experiment it tears itself apart. It's cool to think we get to decide what Meaning really is and thusly try to even imagine that it's not real. We get to design the game and then manipulate it to the point we ask why we're playing. I think I'd be concerned about the idea we even get to play with toys let alone design there functions. But I do very well understand the psychological impact of these ideas and how I think that trickles down to human action. And I stress that I think I know. And it seems the less questions asked and the more concern with obvious meaning, even at the level of basic animal instinct is vastly more important than diving to much into that trap of meaninglessness. That idea has fanned flames of fires that have burned down societies. I don't think I'd like to go challenging the magical fallacies that are the glue of human consciousness. Can't take away all the skateparks, dam kids will spray graffiti everywhere. And no cool new tricks.
Tegularius
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by Tegularius »

popeye1945 wrote: May 4th, 2021, 1:14 am A further good indication is what physicists tell us about ultimate reality. It being a place of no things, hard to wrap the mind around that one but there you go. The apparent reality is called apparent reality because its apparent to someone, ultimate reality is apparent to no one.
The term ultimate reality is used so often by those who wish to convey an idea or conception they really have no idea or conception of in order to give it a "thing in itself" emphasis which leads to no explanation at all. What it does do is to funnel a pseudo sense of profundity into an idea which has escaped any knowable contextual reference. Not least, should an ultimate reality be any more real than any other reality; being apparent to no one the concept of ultimate reality remains an empty set not containing any element confirmable as reality. Even myth embraces a reality which any ultimate designation fails to describe since we know that myths exist and fairly common.
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by Pattern-chaser »

popeye1945 wrote: May 3rd, 2021, 1:22 pm My answer to where does my topic go next, certainly not to create another fantasy. We are that which experiences, let us not continue to deny our experiences, our very identity is our experiences, and its time to get real. We have already proved how productive our imaginations can be, the imagination just needs a new direction one of self-awareness and self-control, without which our species is bound to perish.
How is this connected to meaning and meaninglessness?
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popeye1945
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by popeye1945 »

Hi Pattern chaser,
The connection is in the absence of a conscious subject the physical world is meaningless. So, meaning is an emergent quality, a relational quality. Meaning arises through the relation of subject and object. The absence of either term negates the other, so, without biological life to interpret the affect of the physical world as object upon itself, there is no meaning. Meaning belongs to the subject as the effect the object has upon it.
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by popeye1945 »

Meaning is the effect upon biology.
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by Pattern-chaser »

popeye1945 wrote: May 4th, 2021, 8:38 am The connection is in the absence of a conscious subject the physical world is meaningless. So, meaning is an emergent quality, a relational quality. Meaning arises through the relation of subject and object. The absence of either term negates the other, so, without biological life to interpret the affect of the physical world as object upon itself, there is no meaning. Meaning belongs to the subject as the effect the object has upon it.
Yes, meaning is in the 'eye' of the 'beholder'. But doesn't your reasoning stop one step short of its destination? As you observe above, "without biological life to interpret the effect [...] there is no meaning". No meaning. Without someone to create meaning, the meaning doesn't exist. So there can be no meaninglessness either, as that also requires a subject to be aware of the lack of meaning. This chain of reasoning is circular and pointless (as far as I can see). I might even describe it as meaningless...

I suggest that the "only rational truthful conclusion" is that meaning is created by the observer, and if there is no observer, there is no meaning. In other words, there is no rational conclusion to be drawn. It's like saying that if I don't exist, my legs don't exist either. Quite true, of course, but it just states something that is clear and obvious, that we all already knew.
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popeye1945
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by popeye1945 »

We are not so far apart of this, the relation between subject and object a the source of meaning is no small insight, good enough for Kant and Schopenhauer. It also seems as simple as it is to be very difficult to get people to understand that meanings are not just found like picking apples of the ground. The understanding also that we create meanings relative to what we are, means we don't necessarily have to accept all the meanings handed down to us. You are playing with a few semantics there when you say that without the subject there is not meaningless either. Of course, this is true in the sense that nothing would be known. Subject and object are mutually interdependent, subtract one term and the other ceases to be and nothingness, meaninglessness are cognitively out of reach. You seem to think it insignificant but it is essential to understanding the reality our standing in.
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by Pattern-chaser »

popeye1945 wrote: May 4th, 2021, 10:33 am We are not so far apart of this, the relation between subject and object a the source of meaning is no small insight, good enough for Kant and Schopenhauer. It also seems as simple as it is to be very difficult to get people to understand that meanings are not just found like picking apples of the ground. The understanding also that we create meanings relative to what we are, means we don't necessarily have to accept all the meanings handed down to us. You are playing with a few semantics there when you say that without the subject there is not meaningless either. Of course, this is true in the sense that nothing would be known. Subject and object are mutually interdependent, subtract one term and the other ceases to be and nothingness, meaninglessness are cognitively out of reach. You seem to think it insignificant but it is essential to understanding the reality our standing in.
No, I don't think it's insignificant. But I do feel it's well-known and understood. Perhaps I am wrong in this? I've been wrong before... 😉
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by Nick_A »

The universe has a purpose originating from the quality of consciousness within its source. When a being within creation and sufficiently evolved witnesses its functions it can interpret what it does into the experience of subjective meaning. The objective purpose and subjective meaning of our universe are not the same.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
Tegularius
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by Tegularius »

popeye1945 wrote: May 4th, 2021, 4:58 am Tegularius,
Quite the pretentious lad yhee are!
If that's what you think then there's no point in responding to any of your posts in the future. I agreed with you and merely put my own emphasis on it; none of it can be claimed as original.
popeye1945
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Re: Meaninglessness Is the Only Rational Truthful Conclusion

Post by popeye1945 »

If that's what you think then there's no point in responding to any of your posts in the future. I agreed with you and merely put my own emphasis on it; none of it can be claimed as original.
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Tegularius, yes I do apologize, I can only hope I am not a fool full time, please, do accept my apology.
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