Teleology states life has meaning and purpose. All things serve a purpose and strive to meet that purpose. This is done by design rather than by chance. If there is design, therefore there is a designer, a god. Things happen for a reason, being first assigned by its need or its desired end state. It begins with human-centered existence and works backwards-through myths and fables to a creature that created us for a purpose. What is that purpose, you may ask? It is to love god and obey him forever.
This perspective exists exactly the opposite from how I perceive life. It is about as parochial an idea as I can imagine. It puts Homo sapiens at the core of the universe and places humans above everything that swims, crawls, flies, and even over the Earth, and universe. It is blind, ignorant, egotism to its very foundation.
I see no evidence that I was created for a purpose or have particular meaning in my life. I do have evidence that I have interest in nature and natural processes, and that I have the tools I need to pursue these interests. I am the author of my meaning and purpose. No one has the right or responsibility to define these for me; nor I for them. Just as a robin has to fly out of the nest and do the work necessary to feed herself and her family, I have to do the work necessary to tend to my affairs. I have all I need to do that. Just as a robin can’t depend on another bird, I can’t depend on another human. Life and how I live it is up to me.
I guess it's one of the more difficult things to understand that Homo Sapiens (SAPIENS??) is not at the core of the universe and not above everything else. And to place yourself next to others instead of above others is far too difficult for some. Most people are constantly trying to capitalize on unimportant differences and I often feel that it's such an uphill job when I treat other people as equals and they don't even understand why. At that point I often get the bad treatment: "A short, unbeautiful, elderly woman - she must be stupid or something..." It doesn't really hurt me, but it takes my appreciation of some people a few points down. And I won't change my behaviour, because I feel it's right, and it's how I find the people that really matter to me.
Thanks Joan, that's beautiful! I wrote the post above when I came home tired...
A few weeksbefore Ihad posted a discussion on this subject in the Universe group, stating clearly that as far as the Universe is concerned, our existence serves no purpose that we are not its deliberate and meaningful creations. Many replies stated that human race attaches meaning to its life and makes it meaningful. Very few accepted the fact that there is no meaning to our lives.
There are billions upon billions of fire balls of absolutely wasted material in the universe and we are just a small part, like a grain of dust on our earth, of this wasted materaial in the universe. That we try to make most of our lives is a credit to the human race, the universe has no part in it.
MADHUKAR KULKARNI, I like reading your posts and it is fun to delve into the belief systems to take them apart, piece by piece. For me, it is like being the fourth generation and the first to peek outside the tent into the much bigger scene of the universe. At first it is scary, then intriguing and then full of so much wonder it takes my breath away.
When you say
I see no evidence that I was created for a purpose or have particular meaning in my life.
together like that, you give religionists exclusive rights to define "meaning of life" for their own purposes. Order can evolve, through evolution, complex systems exhibit emergent properties. The ancient idea of a needing a creator with a purpose of his own in order for people to find meaning is a logical error.
By our nature we create meaning. When you express your feelings and ideas, Joan, you create and share meaning - no spooks required. Every time we write a poem, paint a picture, or create a video mashup, we are creators. Check out We're Creators to the tune of Hallelujah chorus. How about this title instead:
"Atheism states life has meaning and purpose."