As An Atheist Can Your Life Have Purpose and Meaning?

I was wondering what other people thought about this.

I realize we weren't born with a purpose. No creator or "higher calling".

But as a non believer can your life have meaning and purpose without god?

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We don't need to buy into the religious notion that there is an absolute purpose undergirding all life to choose an existential purposes for our lives individually (eg. helping the needy).

Thank you Dana. I would agree.

No fairsies, TNT snippets make him or her appear to be prolific responder, when a couple of paragraphs would have limited those numbers. Maybe is it a special purpose. One which gives meaning to the life of TNT, a person who has seen it all and done it all. And has fantasies of extra human imagination.

Glen, a sillygism:

TNT has found a purpose: to provide snippets for readers here.

Purpose is religious.

TNT has a non-Buddhist religion.

Well, at least I stuck to the subject of the person I was responding to... which I think was neither of you two. Sorry if I missed the memo stating we're not allowed to address more than one person, have I stepped on your pinkie toe? hmmm. Anywho, I also didn't go ad hominem as you and your respondent are doing, so why aren't you's sticking to the subject instead of attacking my character... Could it be that you're not living up to your own mantra of "the importance of pursuing happiness and good deeds"? (rollseyes)

TNT666 you can address as many people as you like. I am pleased you are here to add to the discussion. I value your intelligence.

I like how this discussion keeps coming back to life -like a zombie that wont lay down :).  I'll say it again, that there's a simple purpose to life.

1. You're an animal and have the same purpose as every animal: To reproduce and raise you young to survivablility.
2. You're new "big brain" compels you to search for purpose: Find any'ol purpose that means something to you and follow it.  This will bring you happiness -especially if it helps people.  But it comes FROM you.
3. If there's a reason for life to EXIST at all, it is to evolve (refine towards specialization), to witness & experience the universe WHILE YOU'RE HERE -So literally, go have the time of your life.

Meaning is different than purpose.  If purpose is your job, then meaning is the value of that job. -Everyone's life has a meaning when they influence those around them (positively).  A life of negative influence means you're just an ape, flinging crap at the progress-train as we go whizzing by.

1. Not all individuals in animal species breed, breeding is not an individual biological urge, breeding is simply the result of each specie's reproductive strategy.

2. It's not your brain that compels you to search for purpose, it is your parental

3. That's not a purpose, it's a consequence. In biology there is not "big" WHY?

trains... or you're the train thrashing through everything...

#1 as you said, it's only a reproductive strategy in some (most) animals -like cows, primates, and humans.

#2 "Modern" humans, as opposed to "early" humans, came on the scene around 75k-100k years ago.  Language and abstract thought were the big advancement.  A pandora's box of questions were opened: Where did we come from? What happens when I die? Why are we here?  are some of the really big questions we had -and they weren't going to wait for an answer -hence religion.  "what's my purpose" also arrived with our "big-brains".

#3 I'm wondering why life exists at all. It didn't have to -did it? A big universe with no one in it.  Actually, Quantum Physics has fished out some interesting results such as the observer affects reality simply by observing.  That the experiment results will change when some one is watching it (search double slit experiment).  This leads some to question, is an observer NEEDED for reality to exist.  Therefor MAYBE we truly are here to witness & observe.

#1 and #3 are descriptive, so I wonder how you bridged the gap to make them prescriptive statements. Something that we do is not the same as something we should do.

#2 is, on the surface, sagely advice, but beyond the platitude it seems to replace purpose with happiness or meaning as a purpose, which is to say that the problem has not been solved, but only reframed from "X" is my purpose into "X if it is meaningful" is my purpose. But if we were to define meaning as the value of a purpose, then in order to find the value of a purpose, you must first define the purpose (and yet with this new approach, you cannot define purpose without first finding the value).

The Deux Ex Machina of your previous post, if I may suggest, lies in these lines:

Everyone's life has a meaning when they influence those around them (positively).  A life of negative influence means you're just an ape, flinging crap at the progress-train as we go whizzing by.

It seems to suggest some kind of an objective value scale for "meaning" -- the value of purpose -- thereby, once again, pushing an ultimate meaning back outside of one's control, replacing presumably God with secular humanism and "progress". The irony of this suggestion is that purpose may be within your control, but the value of the purpose you've chosen is not within your control.

Is there a direction that we are heading in? The history of life's evolution would suggest from the first progenitor, a single celled organism, a multi-celled organism, specialized multi-celled organism, multi-cell with nervous system (eventually mammals)...

From animals now, we have consciousness & cognition.  Are we actually, at this point, FRACTAL examples of those specialized celled organisms -gaining a nervous system (ie communications, and group thoughts and direction). 

So yes, I do think there's a NATURAL direction WE SHOULD be heading.  We are mad children born without parents, and we're about to dust ourselves off and start our great work (the lucid ones).  Now, if one does not rise (strays and brutes), and continues to wallow -they would in effect be left behind.  That's up to them.

On #2, the best purpose of all. Truthfully there is no reason for YOU to be here (another unsavory truth to the religious).  But you are here, and you're asking the big questions.  Big questions one may think have big answers, but this one does not.  Finding 'A' purpose with that beautiful big-brain is the best purpose of all. You can choose to do something besides just live.

I would like to believe in spirits and ghost -but as of now I can not...  BUT, I do have a definition for a 'soul' that matters while we're alive and even a bit after we're dead.  This "enrichment of the soul" is all that matters since you can't take anything with you.  It was important to Socrates and it's important to me now that there's reasoning behind it.

therefor 'good' matters. 'positive direction' matters.

Then let me ask you: Is the enrichment of the soul, or the natural direction, subject to #2, that it is merely one such purpose that you have chosen; or is #2 subject to the natural direction and enrichment of the soul, such that we should all work towards this positive direction you describe out of our own will?




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