The Meaning of Life - What's Yours?

 

Ultimate Meaning

Death

Religion

Sustainablity - Our Environment

Personal Happiness and Contentment - Is that the ultimate goal?

 

OK I have something that I'd like to get off my chest.  I don't have a lot of real meaning in person adult friends at the moment - I've moved cities and haven't been out much - although that is changing - so being able to write on here - in a dear diary way - but get some feed back would be really great - as I don't get time to research my theories as much as I would like - and so some grounding from others always helps me not to get too far off reality.

 

I suppose it relates to meaning of life.  What is your meaning of life?

 

I've worked a lot of getting rid of mythology and have been left with not much really - although I am quite liking the humanist perspective - or what I know of it - in terms of it's natural and science base.

 

I figure due to the heat death of the universe there isn't much point to life.  Only that we are here and that is amazing in itself.  But we aren't perfect - we only find ourselves here because in our current form we are well adapted to reproduce - but it isn't without flaws.

 

Death is something that many fear and I think it is a main driving forse of religious belief - behind the cultural and social benefits people gain from involvement.  I think a good death is quite an amazing experience according to people who've come back from death to tell the tale - so now a days I'm not so scard of death - although who knows how I'll be at the time.  I feel sad thinking about it - but then again I'm only 34 and hope to live until I'm at least 80 - so perhaps by the time I've had another 46 years I'll be in a very different head space about it all.  Here's hoping anyhow.  In fact I think a good way of dealing with death in general is to accept it's going to happen and know that it is quite amazing for a few minutes once you've died technically, until you're brain fades out.  Of course there is nothing after that, so I'm not worried about that bit - it's the leaving that is really sad - leaving all your family and friends behind - my husband put it quite well when he said it's a bit like leaving a really great party before it's finished.

 

So once we've dealt with death - and meaning - ultimately there isn't any - what are we left with?  We're left with what to do with our time?

 

Morals have come up quite a bit.  I didn't used to like them much - but Sam Harris book changed that - and now I can see the value in morals in terms of it's wrong to cause children harm through sexually abuse or physical mutalation - through cutting off their clitorises.  So on an extreme end of things I can see the value of moral values of right and wrong.  I can see also that we have these values because we have empathy and don't like to see others hurt.

 

But can we stop all pain?  Would it be good to stop all pain?

 

Pain is part of life - it is helpful in some ways - it would be nice if we didn't need to have it, but it has a value by way of keeping us alive.

 

I like nonviolent communication - not because I think we ought to be nonviolent in our communication, but because I think it is a useful tool in communicating with others about our feelings and needs, so as to get our needs met in a way that isn't harmful to others.  I think this is a useful way of being.

 

We are lucky in our society generally that we don't have to make decisions about harming others.  I'm not convised that total nonviolence would work.  When thinking about the major religions in the world the ones that are most nonviolent are quite contained and small - although Hinduism has a lot of members.  It's the violent ones that are prospering - christianity and islam.  In fact Islam seems to have picked wars with all of them - Pakistain and India - Palastine and Israel - Islam and the West - I don't think they've attacked the Buddhists yet - perhaps there is something in that!

 

Christians seem good at fighting Islam currently and historically - I'm thinking of the crusaides.

 

Buddhists aren't agressive, but they don't seem to be growing either - in fact China has put quite a stop to their leadership also.

 

The other main issue I think is our sustainablity on planet earth.  I don't think that waiting for technology to get us safely to another planet is the key to this.  I think we'll be waiting a long time and in fact I think the human race will die out and take out most other species with it, before we work out how to get a group of humans safely to another habitable planet using science.

 

I think that the evolution of dealing with climate change will be gradual and we will slowly adapt to less food and less material things.  Although I also think that much pain will come too and I think that we will have more people starving or getting sick due to malnurishment - the food quality is already going down - due to our farming practices - we relay on synthetic vitamins - which I'm skeptical about - and also fossil fuel based fertilisers - I'm not sure how sustainable they are either - and I believe that crops are reducing due to poor quality of soils.  Although Israel and Australia are leading the way with using poor soils to grow food - due to their need based on poor soils.  American on the other hand seems to have rich deep soils.  India is running out of water in parts to successfully irrigate food.

 

Is it OK that humans clear the land to make food for themselves at the expense of so many other species?  I heard that at least 5 species are lost every day mainly due to human food production.  We haven't even found all the species in the world - there are just so many.  Does it even matter, when the universe will die a heat death in the end any way?  What's it all worth?

 

Perhaps it matters to our quality of life and our survival as a species.  But you wouldn't know, when most people are more concerned about entertainment - once they've done their day's work to get their basic needs met.  Switching their brains off in favour of someone elses imagined theatre on TV or you tube.

 

It seems perhaps that I missed the point here.  Isn't life about enjoying yourself?  Does it really matter about the planet and long term sustainability and saving other species or our own for that matter?

 

Perhaps it doesn't really matter what we do at all.  Perhaps everyone should just life the life that makes them the most happy - and that is the best thing we can all do.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Views: 210

Replies to This Discussion

Well that's a relief - glad to hear it - sorry to be so anxious and serious about it - but it was a real problem for me for years and so I always like to mention that in case it' of help to others - because there are so many who do suffer - I wonder also if it's more prevalent in long term vegan and vegetarians - as I was...
Vitomama - not having a guinness - perhaps that's my problem! LOL

The earth will take care care of itself - meaning that life will go on and thrive without humans - as human's are now getting the most they can out of the world, so does all life - and so I'm not concerned about if life will go on. You've probably seen that show about what would happen if all humans died today. I think it was only 50 years before most cities would be covered with plants and unrecognisable to us. This issue for the environment for us is to save it for us, not for itself. In a way I feel quite confident that we'll slow down and adapt before we die out because of it - although we will die out at some point - but I tend to think that it will be something more sudden that we can't adapt to such as asteroid hit or extreme weather - too hot or cold... but pockets will probably remain for a while yet I would say - when you think about how long the dinosaurs lasted on earth - but then again they didn't exploit the earth to the extent that we are with our technology - so who knows perhaps we are accelerating our life as a race to a quicker end.

Sure - we are all the centre of our lives...

I enjoyed painting as a teenager - but didn't keep it up - I have dreams of being an amazing artists one day - LOL - it's not going to happen if I don't do anything about it - when my kids leave home or get older I think i'd like to set up a studio somewhere and let it all out and hopefully create something beautiful enough that others will also appreciate and want to own it...
Alysn - I found that there are many men in Atheist chat rooms and when I've brought up touchy feely topics before - or any sort of feelings I've been trounced - It's been good in a way because I've eradicated a lot of supernatural thinking from my dialogue - but at the same time, I got to a point when I wanted to have more interaction with women due to their more feeling nature - which I have been perhaps missing. It's all good - I'm not complaining at all - more just observing how different people have different influences on me.

Alysn - I really don't know if 'men' changed their view points after discussing things with me - I suppose it's not really a valid concept as such lumping all men together like that - I would say that we all have an influence on each other and that some of the men I've spoken to liked what I said and some didn't.  It's a bit of a taboo subject - as it brings up things such as sexism, stereotyping and political correctness.

 

I think that it's useful to be able to sometimes just get something off your chest - in that it's not about truth, it's about expressing your frustrations in the way that they are coming up - and if it turns out to be false allegations - then perhaps you wouldn't have been able to identify them and change them if you hadn't spoken your mind to someone openly with the trust that they would want to help you find the truth of the matter, rather than feel the need to punish you for expressing an untruth.

I agree, I can't dispel my own ignorance if I'm not able to speak freely about what I feel and think - even if it's incorrect, offensive or largely skewed by my over emotionality on a topic...  I think it's all about the intention of wanting to know the truth and being open to hearing that things are different to how we might imagine...
I find people are quite backward in coming forward with this stuff...  it takes courage to express your true beliefs publicly with the knowledge that you might be wrong and risk ridicule...  we all fear rejection.
John D - thanks for clearing that up re selfish genes and anthropomorphizing them - because I had been confused about that since being told about it 20 years ago... it makes sense that genes aren't actually driven as such - but is a good metaphor and being careful not to anthropomorphise them.
John D - pantheist - is that about nature having it's own mind? Well not that I know much about this - but I did read one book on consciousness - so as far as I can work out our 'mind' is just something that we call consciousness - which is a collection of our thoughts - that aren't connected as such - therefore isn't it also plausible that nature as a whole might have a 'mind'? Or not? A friend told me about a show he saw about plants that are communicated with each other through their roots - he's not a flower fairy guy - so I trust that there was a good science behind the idea...

Alysn - I very much agree with your take on life - in terms of meaning.

 

I was disappointed with Harris' book on Morals because I wanted him to give me some clever answers - but I like that he has opened up the ideas to scientific discussion - I didn't really realise that it was a new topic to science in that sense.  I'm glad to that he wasn't arrogant about knowing all the answers and so gives us some things to get started and think about.

 

I think that Morality is something that can be agreed upon in a universal sense - but in a sense that is evolving all the time in order to keep up with our evolution.  Eg having slaves would have been find 200 years ago - but now in our society it's not acceptable morally - so we change and I think that moral values should too - but the idea of having a committee that could deliberate and provide advice and considerations regarding morality would be valuable - even if it didn't have any power as such - it is always good to provide information as it all has cause and effect and can be used and quoted and also would mean that they would be actively doing scientific research to keep up to date with moral values.  We have this happen already in some senses though our law creation and judgements made in courts all over the world - but this would be more personal I think and broad reaching.

 

There is a danger I think though that we can idealise moral values - and think humans are capable of changing into something there aren't or acting perfectly when they can't but follow their natures to a large extent - although culture can effect and change that - as can working towards creating a researched moral group that would give advice and direction to others.

Alysn - I very much agree with your take on life - in terms of meaning.

 

I was disappointed with Harris' book on Morals because I wanted him to give me some clever answers - but I like that he has opened up the ideas to scientific discussion - I didn't really realise that it was a new topic to science in that sense.  I'm glad to that he wasn't arrogant about knowing all the answers and so gives us some things to get started and think about.

 

I think that Morality is something that can be agreed upon in a universal sense - but in a sense that is evolving all the time in order to keep up with our evolution.  Eg having slaves would have been find 200 years ago - but now in our society it's not acceptable morally - so we change and I think that moral values should too - but the idea of having a committee that could deliberate and provide advice and considerations regarding morality would be valuable - even if it didn't have any power as such - it is always good to provide information as it all has cause and effect and can be used and quoted and also would mean that they would be actively doing scientific research to keep up to date with moral values.  We have this happen already in some senses though our law creation and judgements made in courts all over the world - but this would be more personal I think and broad reaching.

 

There is a danger I think though that we can idealise moral values - and think humans are capable of changing into something there aren't or acting perfectly when they can't but follow their natures to a large extent - although culture can effect and change that - as can working towards creating a researched moral group that would give advice and direction to others.

John D - so Harris is a spiritual Buddhist wanna be hey!  I'm not sure - I think that it might be useful for us to have an external model for ethics or morals - to help prevent things like child abuse via mutilation of genitals or other such cultural practices that are protected by which middle class westerners in the name of political correctness... or freedom of speech or something...  I don't agree that we need another 'war' on something - war on drugs, war on homelessness etc - in fact I don't support a war on anything really - well I might - but what I mean is that I think we can talk about right and wrong and set up dialogue to gain better conditions for everyone around the world... I kind of think that is how its going to go as globalisation takes over - until our civilisations fails we'll go to more centralised running of the whole world.
John D - I think that Harris brings the beginnings of a conversations that takes morals away from religion - and let's face it, religion loves bashing us with their moral stick - so anyone who looks likely to be able to wrestle it off them is fab in my books.

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