The meaning of life

DavidCaldwell

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To me, life has clear meaning and value.

I would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may prove useful to someone out there burdened by the thought that life is meaningless. I will state what I think, but I realise that it is just one person’s opinion and that your differing opinions may be closer to reality.

The simple answer of the catechism – “"God made me to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next." – is close to the truth, but makes the over-simplification that God is a person and that each of us is just a person, an individual.

My understanding is that God, the First Cause, the Creator is the order and structure that exists and cannot not exist – the properties of the number 1, the structures described by mathematics and all the similar structure that are beyond mathematics (whose existence is proven by Godel’s theorem).

The origin of the physical universe – from nothing or, rather, nothing physical - then seems (I am told) to follow from quantum effects. See Centre for Theoretical Cosmology: The Origins of the Universe: Quantum gravity

Life then arose from the workings of evolution on self-replicating molecules. The principles underlying evolution are an example of the structures that make up “God”. So you could say that evolution is an aspect of “God” and rephrase and simplify the catechism answer as

“Evolution made me to serve evolution” or “Life made me to serve life”.

At this point, many people react by saying that this would show life to be meaningless.

However, to me, there is a final step in the reasoning that leads to the conclusion that there is meaning. This step is to recognise that meaning (like time or matter) is not a fundamental property of reality, but a property of a particular life-form (or indeed computational structure). So we should talk not about “meaning” but “human meaning” – the meaning to humans - or “dolphin meaning” etc etc.

We should recognise that we are not looking for a meaning for reality as a whole. (It would be rather grandiose if our existence and lives were significant to the universe as a whole, but this is unrealistic – we are a single species on a small planet in a obscure solar system in a middling galaxy). Instead, we are looking for meaning for us, for our minds. But what created our minds? Obviously, evolution and it is clear that evolution has shaped our minds to see value in human life and its continuation.

You might respond that this results in a shallow, counterfeit meaning of life. But I would argue that this meaning of life exists at the level of any meaning – i.e. at the level of the computations of mind. Deeper reality is independent of meaning, just as it is independent of time. Deeper reality is “1 + 1 = 2”.

Recognising that human meaning and value are determined by the good functioning of human minds (as laid down by the process of evolution) has a secondary advantage. We can continue to value human life as we do without being species-centric in our reasoning – humans value human life above all (though we can give value to other life), dolphins value dolphin life about all, etc, as is right and proper.

So, in summary, science and reason tells us that our instinctive feelings of the value and sacredness of human life are correct to us as humans.
 
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Morgellons

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Phew! Spain were really lucky to get away with a draw tonight.
 

DavidCaldwell

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Yes, I do realise that "Catch yourself on" is a legitimate response to the OP, that there is an element of pomposity inevitable in putting forward such arguments. I promise you this is a one-off.
 

Notachipanoaktree

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Clearly the meaning of life is to have a great one and fu*ck anyone who gets in your way.

C'est mektoub dans le vade-mecum des neoliberaux, des Radical féministes militantes, et les fonctionnaires.
 
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Morgellons

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Clearly the meaning of life is to have a great one and fu*ck anyone who gets in your way.

C'est mektoub dans les annales des neoliberaux, des Radical féministes militantes, et les fonctionnaires.
You could sum it up best thus: Moi, ca va bien Jacques!
 

GDPR

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Oh another thread about how Big Nobodaddy will give you the reason to get out of bed in the morning.
 

fergal1790

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Lost the op after
I would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may prove useful to someone out there burdened by the thought that life is meaningless.
Unless you are charging for these thoughts then they aint worth didley squat.(Just another Jesus Freak).
 

CatullusV

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First demonstrate that life must have meaning.

To posit that it does reduces existence to a mechanistic experience which is inimical to free will.
 

enuffisenuff

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42
 

DavidCaldwell

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Lost the op after Unless you are charging for these thoughts then they aint worth didley squat.(Just another Jesus Freak).
You could describe me as an "atheist Jesus Freak", who thinks that atheism is more or less right (but incomplete by itself) and that religion is more or less right (but incomplete by itself).
 

Niall996

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Same as all species, go forth and multiply. As the Bible tell us. Simple.
 

Man or Mouse

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Oh another thread about how Big Nobodaddy will give you the reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Hmmmm. I would say that I have a different reason to get out of bed in the morning now, that I did five years ago. Did He do that or was it something I did myself? I'm glad I'm pondering that now. I had just been taking it all for granted as if it was natural, like. I might post the content of my ruminations tomorrow morning for the enlightenment of all. I bet ye're dying to know.
 

OrderoftheDragon

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Clearly the meaning of life is to have a great one and fu*ck anyone who gets in your way.

C'est mektoub dans le vade-mecum des neoliberaux, des Radical féministes militantes, et les fonctionnaires.
The meaning of life ? Just as you've made yourself that savage lunch you'd been longing for, and kid 1 goes " that looks lovely da, can I have a bit", Kid 2 looks up and comes over " ah yea, da can I have a bit"

Now you have no sandwich and your not even angry..........
 

DavidCaldwell

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First demonstrate that life must have meaning.

To posit that it does reduces existence to a mechanistic experience which is inimical to free will.
I would argue that the mechanical nature of the operation of our brains is not in contradiction to free will - to the idea that we genuinely decide and make choices about our actions.


The key to resolving the dilemma is, again, evolution. It is the evolution of our minds that causes the particular pattern of firing of the neurons - and that pattern has evolved to enable us to decide and make choices. So the mechanical, causal chain does not stop with the firing of the neurons, but has to spiral back all the way to hundreds of millions of years ago when our brains started evolving. And in that huge spiral, the logic of decision making appears long before ourselves and our current neurons.
 

The Field Marshal

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First demonstrate that life must have meaning.

To posit that it does reduces existence to a mechanistic experience which is inimical to free will.
Horsepiss.
 

GDPR

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Hmmmm. I would say that I have a different reason to get out of bed in the morning now, that I did five years ago. Did He do that or was it something I did myself? I'm glad I'm pondering that now. I had just been taking it all for granted as if it was natural, like. I might post the content of my ruminations tomorrow morning for the enlightenment of all. I bet ye're dying to know.
Um I get up because I need a pee. How bout you?
 

che schifo

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For the answer to the meaning of life, best turn to viv savage...


[video=youtube;WrhzX3dRRiI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrhzX3dRRiI[/video]
 

GDPR

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This will do for me.

[video=youtube;dvwH8Qij0JY]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvwH8Qij0JY[/video]
 

Notachipanoaktree

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Hmmmm. I would say that I have a different reason to get out of bed in the morning now, that I did five years ago. Did He do that or was it something I did myself? I'm glad I'm pondering that now. I had just been taking it all for granted as if it was natural, like. I might post the content of my ruminations tomorrow morning for the enlightenment of all. I bet ye're dying to know.
No! you miss the point. She's just looking for a cheap sh*ag.
 


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