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Old 02-27-2007, 07:18 AM   #1
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Meaning?

Need to know thoughts about life having any meaning; I suppose that I hold a hard existentialist line on the subject (there is no meaning to life; but that doesn't matter) but I need to understand how or why people imbue meaning and purpose to existence.

It's one of the core philisophical problems that humans try to explain; thoughts?
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:46 AM   #2
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Step 1 to understanding the Meaning of Life: IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:01 AM   #3
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Of course, the universe does not revolve around the individual but ones entire concept of reality is predicated upon it. At base terms before theology or religion, perhaps even before belief do we innately have a conception of fate, of some purpose - be it of higher power or order - to the world. What drives this? I wouldn't be surprised if belief is an innate part of our social programming: that regardless of faith the human animal has an innate need for these things, perhaps a biproduct of conciousness - a recognition of self requires some logical justification for existence and for events.

But what steps lead to the idea that there is a meaning to or of life. How does the conciousness always lead the human mind to this idea/ideal (has there been a society in the recorded history of the world that has emerged with a purely materialistic conception of reality?). What conditioning has made some people (such as I) devoid of it.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:27 AM   #4
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I think it's built in us, actually, on small and large scales. We like to know the meaning of things. It's just part of being human.
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:40 PM   #5
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I'd suggest seeing Monty Python's: The Meaning of Life for a full definition.
Otherwise, we're here because the invisible person in the sky has a great sense of humor.
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Old 02-27-2007, 01:01 PM   #6
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this is life. we're just passing through.
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Old 02-27-2007, 01:09 PM   #7
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maybe the life we are living now is our stepping stone to birth, where when we die and our sould leaves it's our actual birth??
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Old 02-27-2007, 05:05 PM   #8
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St. Augustine said the heart of the Christian is heavy because we are all pilgrims, and are looking for a home.
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Old 02-27-2007, 05:50 PM   #9
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I think meaning and purpose are two different things.

The "meaning" of life to me has always been self-defined. It's like the concept of "me" or "I": it is exactly what it is. At the most reductionist aspect of it: existence's value, in the least, is inherent...that it simply is an IS.

The question about "purpose"...hmm. Do you mean a higher "purpose" behind the idea of existence in general? Or do you mean your specific "purpose"? (I think you mean the latter.)

On a subjective basis, "purpose" can obviously be more qualitative and each individual, thank Christ, has some control or say over it (at least i hope so).

To me, the purpose of my life is more a goal. And it is rather easy: to give until you can't give any more [at least to give more than you consume], and then try to give more. More often than not...actually way more often than not...i fall short of the goal.

I guess the question becomes why have a purpose? What's the motivation?

I would say it's fulfilling a natural/inherent drive. You know you need a purpose...you can feel it.
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:54 AM   #10
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We are a conceptual, imaginative, exploring species. While I am not sure we are hardwired for meaning, I think we are hardwired to attempt to make sense of things. Higher intelligence species appear to be able to deal with what, how, when, where. I assume we are the only species that asks "Why?"

When you combine that in a species that has self-awareness, awareness of mortality, and the most highly developed sense of "I", you have the ingredients for a search for meaning. We master our survival in the physical world (or have it mastered for us in a protracted childhood) fairly easily. So that leaves us with the species exclusive combination of "I--Why?" (While it is not a necessary combination--I'm sure there are plenty of "I" people who don't spend much time asking why and I'm sure there are plenty of "why" people who are interested in the why of things outside of themselves more than themselves, but there is a natural logic to it.)
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Old 02-28-2007, 06:59 AM   #11
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Old 02-28-2007, 08:39 AM   #12
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Re: Meaning?

Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Need to know thoughts about life having any meaning; I suppose that I hold a hard existentialist line on the subject (there is no meaning to life; but that doesn't matter) but I need to understand how or why people imbue meaning and purpose to existence.

It's one of the core philisophical problems that humans try to explain; thoughts?
For me, there is no meaning in life, which is not a big deal to me, it's just a fact, love it or hate it. I don't care if there could be meaning or not. It's probably good that there is no meaning, which allows me to do whatever the hell I want without some taskmaster (God?) whipping me into doing whatever he/she wants or expects me to do...

I will say that governments, cultures and religious movements probably do condition us into adopting particular meanings to our lives (because so many people accept what is expected of them in the society/culture/community that they are nurtured within), but they're never necesarily be-all-and-end-all "meanings of living."

The only meaning in my life is that I know what pleasures me and I know what pains me and I will do whatever it takes to immerse myself in pleasure and to avoid experiencing pain. Whatever makes me feel good...

If i accept that my life is a thoroughly pointless activity I have to go through, I suppose I am actually therefore giving meaning to my life by actually pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain, which will do for me.

But for me, there is no "purpose." I'm gonna cark it eventually, big deal, we all do. In keeping with the way I want to give meaning to my life, I just hope that my death is peaceful and devoid of any pain.

I'm getting sleepy now, and staring at computer screens doesn't make me feel good, it pains me in fact. So I'm gonna pleasure myself by going to bed...
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