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The secular meaning of life

Speakpigeon

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So maybe what you called "the world" here just is whatever it is we seem to understand. In this case, no need to assume knowledge. Some hallucinations may give you the certainty that you understand how the world works.

What about tangible evidence that your understanding leads to consistent, positive outcomes and a more enjoyable, flourishing life?

Hallucinations.

Hallucinations look just like tangible evidence. And you just can't ignore them.

I'm not sure how "positive outcomes and a more enjoyable, flourishing life" is necessary for understanding the world. But anyway, hallucinations can make your life looks enjoyable and flourishing.
EB
 

fromderinside

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Is anything changed in your chant if you exchange hat for hallucination? On the other hand if something consistent results from doing things a certain way don't we at least have verifiable evidence of that. Just trying to separate phenomenon from verifiable instance. Actually I'm trying to put your hallucination in a cocked hat.
 

Lion IRC

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Secular = atheistic = life is short then you die.
Yeah. Really 'meaningful'
 

PyramidHead

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Secular = atheistic = life is short then you die.
Yeah. Really 'meaningful'

To be fair, atheists don't claim that life has cosmic meaning, or even meaning that survives past our fixation on it, but terrestrial meaning is not a bad consolation prize.
 

rousseau

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Secular = atheistic = life is short then you die.
Yeah. Really 'meaningful'

To be fair, atheists don't claim that life has cosmic meaning, or even meaning that survives past our fixation on it, but terrestrial meaning is not a bad consolation prize.

These arguments that 'religion provides more meaning than secularism' are also stale and nauseating.

Spending your entire life in delusion is not a meaningful way to live your life. It might feel good, but it's a placebo and doesn't strike me as something one would want to strive toward.
 

steve_bank

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Secular = atheistic = life is short then you die.
Yeah. Really 'meaningful'

You like many Christians derive meaning and a sense of personal power and glory by denigrating others in the name of a god, to us imaginary. You see yourself as a personal emissary of a god empowered to bring us all to Jesus. Historically not a new tale, my god is better and more powerful than yours, lets fight it out.


Evangelicals seem to get a boost emotionally by speaking Biblical names loudly and using Old English translations, thee and thou. Reciting scripture loudly in Old English seems to have some special effect, religious theater. Evangelicals seem to think they are biblical prophets reborn, more of he illusion of power and empowerment.

Several times Christians I have known without warning reared up with fire and brimstone thinking it would somehow convert me. More of the delusion of supernatural power.

I do have an imaginary friend, a cat. My imaginary cat doesn't have to be fed, no cat litter, doesn't scratch, and comes when I call. I call him Spot. He walks beside me through thick and thin, he is my salvation.
 

Speakpigeon

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Is anything changed in your chant if you exchange hat for hallucination? On the other hand if something consistent results from doing things a certain way don't we at least have verifiable evidence of that. Just trying to separate phenomenon from verifiable instance. Actually I'm trying to put your hallucination in a cocked hat.

Are you suggesting we could prove that it's not possible to have hallucinations that remain consistent?

Me, I think the human mind is just that. Hallucinations that happens to work. That would work, obviously. Perfectly logical.

I'm no expert on Lewis Carroll's memorabilia but I suspect he must has slipped something about that in Alice. Look at "hatter". "Mad hatter", I think.
EB
 

Speakpigeon

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Secular = atheistic = life is short then you die.
Yeah. Really 'meaningful'

Religious = life is short = you believe in life after death = then you die.
Yeah. Really "meaningful".
EB
 

Speakpigeon

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Secular = atheistic = life is short then you die.
Yeah. Really 'meaningful'

To be fair, atheists don't claim that life has cosmic meaning, or even meaning that survives past our fixation on it, but terrestrial meaning is not a bad consolation prize.

Well, David Deutsch's book "The beginning of infinity" may be regarded as suggesting a non-religious cosmic meaning to life. We may be on the road to infinity. Potentially boundless possibilities. Understanding without limit. Life itself without limit. We probably can't really understand the idea very well right now, but we may be on our way to understand it!
EB
 

PyramidHead

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Secular = atheistic = life is short then you die.
Yeah. Really 'meaningful'

To be fair, atheists don't claim that life has cosmic meaning, or even meaning that survives past our fixation on it, but terrestrial meaning is not a bad consolation prize.

Well, David Deutsch's book "The beginning of infinity" may be regarded as suggesting a non-religious cosmic meaning to life. We may be on the road to infinity. Potentially boundless possibilities. Understanding without limit. Life itself without limit. We probably can't really understand the idea very well right now, but we may be on our way to understand it!
EB

I haven't read his book, but I would suggest that there is nothing inherently, objectively meaningful about infinity, or anything else for that matter. It may be nice to have unlimited understanding if there is someday the means to achieve it, but I maintain such an outcome would be a man-made pursuit of meaning.

Some scientists say similar things about the survival of our species, as if it imbues us with a solid basis for our lives that is more fundamental than emotional. But this too is mistaken. Just because something has been happening for a long time doesn't mean it needs to keep happening, and just because something is very big doesn't mean it's worth working towards.

By the same token, all of this would still be true even if there was a God. Being maximally powerful and intelligent does not grant God the ability to dictate the meaning of everyone else's life. We would all still be free to invent and follow our own values, and they would be no less meaningful than God's values.
 

rousseau

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So maybe what you called "the world" here just is whatever it is we seem to understand. In this case, no need to assume knowledge. Some hallucinations may give you the certainty that you understand how the world works.

What about tangible evidence that your understanding leads to consistent, positive outcomes and a more enjoyable, flourishing life?

Hallucinations.

Hallucinations look just like tangible evidence. And you just can't ignore them.

I'm not sure how "positive outcomes and a more enjoyable, flourishing life" is necessary for understanding the world. But anyway, hallucinations can make your life looks enjoyable and flourishing.
EB

Not sure what you're trying to say here. Is seeing a car drive down the road just a hallucination, and not evidence that someone figured out how to build a motor? Obtaining the outcomes that you desire is evidence that your understanding of how to reach those outcomes was correct. And so positive outcomes, and an enjoyable flourishing life for a person is evidence that they know how to get what they want out of life.

Granted, yes people only know what they know, but that's the whole point. Enlightened naturalism would assume the world is knowable and that increasing one's knowledge about it would lead to a better life.

What is that part of the Buddhist eight-fold path? Right understanding.

Or in Taoism: wu-wei
 

Speakpigeon

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Well, David Deutsch's book "The beginning of infinity" may be regarded as suggesting a non-religious cosmic meaning to life. We may be on the road to infinity. Potentially boundless possibilities. Understanding without limit. Life itself without limit. We probably can't really understand the idea very well right now, but we may be on our way to understand it!
EB

I haven't read his book, but I would suggest that there is nothing inherently, objectively meaningful about infinity, or anything else for that matter. It may be nice to have unlimited understanding if there is someday the means to achieve it, but I maintain such an outcome would be a man-made pursuit of meaning.

Some scientists say similar things about the survival of our species, as if it imbues us with a solid basis for our lives that is more fundamental than emotional. But this too is mistaken. Just because something has been happening for a long time doesn't mean it needs to keep happening, and just because something is very big doesn't mean it's worth working towards.

By the same token, all of this would still be true even if there was a God. Being maximally powerful and intelligent does not grant God the ability to dictate the meaning of everyone else's life. We would all still be free to invent and follow our own values, and they would be no less meaningful than God's values.

I wasn't trying to suggest infinity could be meaningful in itself. Meaning is an idea inside our heads that happens to give a focus to our lives. I thought we all agreed here on that.

We are largely autonomous for a good chunk of our schedule, short term to long term, so we naturally think in terms of what it is we should do of it, which leads to the idea of what we should do with our lives. Whatever we come to think we should do long term, possibly across generations, is what we see as meaningful, what gives meaning to our lives. Nothing mysterious. It's just like being busy but long term.

Now, since we also generally tend to think in terms of how a function evolves if pushed to the limit, we also come to have the idea of something meaningful beyond just our own life and even that of humanity itself, leading us to the idea of a metaphysically absolute meaning. And that's where we may get stuck. Some people invent a god or something spiritual to fill this gap. Probably not a very good idea.

So, seeing our life and humanity itself as being at the beginning of infinity I think does the same job. And it seems trying to understand what reality is certainly seems an interesting journey. And one that makes sense if we think we might well have an infinite amount of time to do it. It seems to me we're already spending a lot of energy to understand the universe and human nature. And we're not done yet. It seems to me we're only at the beginning of it. So, I suspect may come a time when we try to stop competing with each other and get serious about understanding reality. If we don't self-destruct before.
EB
 

Speakpigeon

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Not sure what you're trying to say here. Is seeing a car drive down the road just a hallucination, and not evidence that someone figured out how to build a motor?

I grant you t's a particular kind of hallucination, but definitely one you take as evidence that someone figured out how to build a motor.
EB
 

fromderinside

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Is anything changed in your chant if you exchange hat for hallucination? On the other hand if something consistent results from doing things a certain way don't we at least have verifiable evidence of that. Just trying to separate phenomenon from verifiable instance. Actually I'm trying to put your hallucination in a cocked hat.

Are you suggesting we could prove that it's not possible to have hallucinations that remain consistent?

Me, I think the human mind is just that. Hallucinations that happens to work. That would work, obviously. Perfectly logical.

I'm no expert on Lewis Carroll's memorabilia but I suspect he must has slipped something about that in Alice. Look at "hatter". "Mad hatter", I think.
EB

You probably shouldn't. Think that is. Things are clear for some that Berkeley's conjectures begat Carroll's stories that begat Burton's movies. Like I said, "In a cocked hat".
 

Lion IRC

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Secular = atheistic = life is short then you die.
Yeah. Really 'meaningful'

Religious = life is short = you believe in life after death = then you die.
Yeah. Really "meaningful".
EB

Except you left out the actual afterlife.
And I know why you deliberately did that.
Because it would in fact constitute a huge difference between one worldview - atheism - and the opposite of atheism.

The permanent end of conscious awareness versus enduring existence. We aren't debating which belief is true. We're debating which would be more meaningful/significant if true.
 

rousseau

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Honestly, the endless debate about Christianity at this forum is nauseatingly boring. I get that it leads to conversions in an indirect way, but it's just so fucking boring to talk and hear about.

Religion and the afterlife are nonsense. Can we talk about something interesting now?
 

Juma

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Secular = atheistic = life is short then you die.
Yeah. Really 'meaningful'

Religious = life is short = you believe in life after death = then you die.
Yeah. Really "meaningful".
EB

Except you left out the actual afterlife.
And I know why you deliberately did that.
Because it would in fact constitute a huge difference between one worldview - atheism - and the opposite of atheism.

The permanent end of conscious awareness versus enduring existence. We aren't debating which belief is true. We're debating which would be more meaningful/significant if true.
It is totally meaningless to discuss which of two beliefs that would me most meaningful/significant if true since the most important factor to be significant/meaningful is that it IS true...

But then there really isnt an issue since we KNOW that there isnt an afterlife.
 

Lion IRC

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Why so many instances of the expression "we all [insert trope here]" on a Freethought board?
I would expect that on a fundy board.
Here, it just comes across as herd mentality group-think
...or multiple personality disorder
 

steve_bank

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Except you left out the actual afterlife.
And I know why you deliberately did that.
Because it would in fact constitute a huge difference between one worldview - atheism - and the opposite of atheism.

The permanent end of conscious awareness versus enduring existence. We aren't debating which belief is true. We're debating which would be more meaningful/significant if true.
It is totally meaningless to discuss which of two beliefs that would me most meaningful/significant if true since the most important factor to be significant/meaningful is that it IS true...

But then there really isnt an issue since we KNOW that there isnt an afterlife.

We know there is no Santa, we can trace the history of the myth. We can not know there is no afterlife, we can say is we see no evidence.
 

steve_bank

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Why so many instances of the expression "we all [insert trope here]" on a Freethought board?
I would expect that on a fundy board.
Here, it just comes across as herd mentality group-think
...or multiple personality disorder

Because all us unbelievers feel the same pressure of the majority Christians who presume to act out random quotes in scripture on others. We are demeaned as less than moral. And so on.

Is that not clear to you after all this time on this forum, or do you simply ignore what it is like on the receiving end of your religion?

As to a real afterlife, I take great comfort in the company of my imaginary cat, but I know it is imaginary. Perhaps your afterlife is but a comfort while living?
 

Lion IRC

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Some atheist billboards declare that it's the existence of the afterlife which should cause worry.
They say stop worrying, there's probably no afterlife, enjoy your hedonistic life free from fear.
 

steve_bank

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Some atheist billboards declare that it's the existence of the afterlife which should cause worry.
They say stop worrying, there's probably no afterlife, enjoy your hedonistic life free from fear.

One of those nasty characterizations by Christians. Without Christian morality all atheist are out of control wanton hedonists consumed by lust and pleasure. See what I mean by being on the receiving end of religion?

Some people are hedonist as a philosophy of life, Hugh Hefner surrounded himself with sex and lived in a bathrobe. One can be hedonist and be moral, it depends on what moral means. Clearly many Christians to me are not moral. It is Christianity in Europe that turned sex pleasure into something to be treated as a corruption..
 

Koyaanisqatsi

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Some atheist billboards declare that it's the existence of the afterlife which should cause worry.

Not a single one (and there are probably only about five “atheist billboards” in the entire world) says anything like that.

They say stop worrying, there's probably no afterlife, enjoy your hedonistic life free from fear.

What a sad existence you must lead to always see everyone else having fun—free from fear—which evidently is the only thing keeping you from enjoying your own “hedonistic” life. You will have lived your only existence in fear all because some ignorant sheep herders from thousands of years ago told their children a magical boogeyman will get them if they don’t obey their parents.

You are a grown man who is literally afraid that Santa Claus will bring you a lump of coal for being “naughty.” That’s one of the most tragic things I can possibly imagine. A completely wasted life based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales..
 

Lion IRC

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So if Santa isn't real I don't have to worry about a lump of coal for being naughty?

Man that atheism/hedonism thingy is looking better by the minute.
 

untermensche

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One can live as a free entity.

One can choose how one will live.

One can choose to do good or harm.

Or one can live as a slave to an invisible tyrant.

And do harm because it is commanded.

Persecute homosexuals and witches because it is commanded.
 

Jobar

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Secular = atheistic = life is short then you die.
Yeah. Really 'meaningful'

It depends on how you define your self, your life.

[YOUTUBE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwDNXgrNECw[/YOUTUBE]
 

steve_bank

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" What is life but ti dance" From the movie Zorba The Greek. An entire philosophy in a few words.
 

Speakpigeon

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Except you left out the actual afterlife.
And I know why you deliberately did that.
Because it would in fact constitute a huge difference between one worldview - atheism - and the opposite of atheism.

The permanent end of conscious awareness versus enduring existence. We aren't debating which belief is true. We're debating which would be more meaningful/significant if true.
It is totally meaningless to discuss which of two beliefs that would me most meaningful/significant if true since the most important factor to be significant/meaningful is that it IS true...

But then there really isnt an issue since we KNOW that there isnt an afterlife.

Maybe we are in the afterlife.

And yet we still wouldn't know?!

I have a sense of déjà vu*, not you?
EB

(*) Please try to pronounce with a French accent if you can.

Also,

On a gagné! Allez les Bleus!!!
(again, French accent here.)

 

Juma

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Except you left out the actual afterlife.
And I know why you deliberately did that.
Because it would in fact constitute a huge difference between one worldview - atheism - and the opposite of atheism.

The permanent end of conscious awareness versus enduring existence. We aren't debating which belief is true. We're debating which would be more meaningful/significant if true.
It is totally meaningless to discuss which of two beliefs that would me most meaningful/significant if true since the most important factor to be significant/meaningful is that it IS true...

But then there really isnt an issue since we KNOW that there isnt an afterlife.

Maybe we are in the afterlife.

And yet we still wouldn't know?!

I have a sense of déjà vu*, not you?
EB

(*) Please try to pronounce with a French accent if you can.

Also,

On a gagné! Allez les Bleus!!!
(again, French accent here.)

Dream on...
 

bilby

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Except you left out the actual afterlife.
And I know why you deliberately did that.
Because it would in fact constitute a huge difference between one worldview - atheism - and the opposite of atheism.

The permanent end of conscious awareness versus enduring existence. We aren't debating which belief is true. We're debating which would be more meaningful/significant if true.
It is totally meaningless to discuss which of two beliefs that would me most meaningful/significant if true since the most important factor to be significant/meaningful is that it IS true...

But then there really isnt an issue since we KNOW that there isnt an afterlife.

Maybe we are in the afterlife.

And yet we still wouldn't know?!

I have a sense of déjà vu*, not you?
EB

(*) Please try to pronounce with a French accent if you can.

Also,

On a gagné! Allez les Bleus!!!
(again, French accent here.)


Or maybe we are all incarnations of a single soul, so that whenever a person dies, he returns to life as someone else.

That could explain my sense of déjà vous. ;)
 

Speakpigeon

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Maybe we are in the afterlife.

And yet we still wouldn't know?!

I have a sense of déjà vu*, not you?
EB

(*) Please try to pronounce with a French accent if you can.

Also,

On a gagné! Allez les Bleus!!!
(again, French accent here.)

Dream on...

Not a dream! Not at all!

We really won the World Cup! On a gagné! Allez les Bleus!!!


EB
 

Speakpigeon

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Maybe we are in the afterlife.

And yet we still wouldn't know?!

I have a sense of déjà vu*, not you?
EB

(*) Please try to pronounce with a French accent if you can.

Also,

On a gagné! Allez les Bleus!!!
(again, French accent here.)


Or maybe we are all incarnations of a single soul, so that whenever a person dies, he returns to life as someone else.

That could explain my sense of déjà vous. ;)

Yes, we're all like a single soul! Would explain how we all get along with each other like a dream!
EB
 

PyramidHead

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Maybe we are in the afterlife.

And yet we still wouldn't know?!

I have a sense of déjà vu*, not you?
EB

(*) Please try to pronounce with a French accent if you can.

Also,

On a gagné! Allez les Bleus!!!
(again, French accent here.)


Or maybe we are all incarnations of a single soul, so that whenever a person dies, he returns to life as someone else.

That could explain my sense of déjà vous. ;)

Yes, we're all like a single soul! Would explain how we all get along with each other like a dream!
EB

My view is that there is only one person, me, but I have an extremely compartmentalized mind.
 

Speakpigeon

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Yes, we're all like a single soul! Would explain how we all get along with each other like a dream!
EB

My view is that there is only one person, me, but I have an extremely compartmentalized mind.

Ah, that's right, I had all but forgotten about your "view". Me, I'm already two. I talk to myself to understand things and it works beautifully. One part of me argues one thing and another part scoffs and point out the flaws. You move faster this way. Just like humanity. Plurality is the way of the natural world. Life.

So, yes, I agree, there's only ever one person, but...

plenty of people. Just a grammatical thing. :D


EB
 

Coleman Smith

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I believe that meaning is a thought process creation and since thought processes cease at death for the individual the attribution of meaning ends at death.
 

Jobar

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I believe that meaning is a thought process creation and since thought processes cease at death for the individual the attribution of meaning ends at death.

Is meaning only a subjective phenomenon? Is there such a thing as objective, or intersubjective, meaning?

In one sense, of course there is; if our words didn't have closely similar meanings to all of us, language would be ineffective as a means of communication. But is that the sense of the word 'meaning' we are discussing here?
 

Coleman Smith

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I believe that meaning is a thought process creation and since thought processes cease at death for the individual the attribution of meaning ends at death.

Is meaning only a subjective phenomenon? Is there such a thing as objective, or intersubjective, meaning?

In one sense, of course there is; if our words didn't have closely similar meanings to all of us, language would be ineffective as a means of communication. But is that the sense of the word 'meaning' we are discussing here?

Meaning is obviously not only subjective as communication and learning demonstrate.

I believe that from the individuals point of view all that has been learned is erased when neural activity ceases.
 

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It's not unreasonable for someone, who believes there's no such thing as discarnate consciousness, to argue that the meaning of life only lasts three score and ten years.
But reducing it to strict biology leads to questions about whether the short lives of other species have any 'meaning'.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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It's not unreasonable for someone, who believes there's no such thing as discarnate consciousness, to argue that the meaning of life only lasts three score and ten years.
But reducing it to strict biology leads to questions about whether the short lives of other species have any 'meaning'.

What is a short life? Compared to the lives of stars there's little or no difference between 60 years and 60 hours. Some trees live for thousands of years. To them a human life is one summer leaf.
 

abaddon

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It's not unreasonable for someone, who believes there's no such thing as discarnate consciousness, to argue that the meaning of life only lasts three score and ten years.
But reducing it to strict biology leads to questions about whether the short lives of other species have any 'meaning'.

It's not a reduction to strict biology, it's a reduction to subjectivity.

"Short" is relative as T.G.G. Moogly noted. You seem to think the meaning has to last a long time. If someone lived 30 years, what's not meaningful about it (brief as it seems relative to the average life expectancy) if they felt their experiences and achievements were worthwhile and significant to them and maybe some others? Does their life have to be cosmically significant, or else it has no significance at all?

People will wonder "What's it all for if I'm going to die? If all my experiences, everything I learn, will be wiped out?" But if experience feels purposeful and significant while it's being lived, the future loss doesn't negate that.
 

Treedbear

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It's not unreasonable for someone, who believes there's no such thing as discarnate consciousness, to argue that the meaning of life only lasts three score and ten years.
But reducing it to strict biology leads to questions about whether the short lives of other species have any 'meaning'.

What is a short life? Compared to the lives of stars there's little or no difference between 60 years and 60 hours. Some trees live for thousands of years. To them a human life is one summer leaf.

Exactly how would living for eternity equate with meaning anyway? A life will always only have been lived over a finite amount of time.
 

rousseau

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Ever think that meaning for people is actually irrelevant, and the reason we persist is because most of us find everyday life enjoyable in of itself?

Most of us have purpose, but I think you could re-define purpose as a thing we desire to do. Because we have no choice but to do something, this just implies an end goal or purpose.

And so 'meaning' is really nothing but an abstract conversation point that we dwell on because we have too much time on our hands, while we're otherwise busy living and enjoying the experiences of every day life.
 

Treedbear

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Ever think that meaning for people is actually irrelevant, and the reason we persist is because most of us find everyday life enjoyable in of itself?

Most of us have purpose, but I think you could re-define purpose as a thing we desire to do. Because we have no choice but to do something, this just implies an end goal or purpose.

And so 'meaning' is really nothing but an abstract conversation point that we dwell on because we have too much time on our hands, while we're otherwise busy living and enjoying the experiences of every day life.

What do you think the difference is between meaning and purpose, as you use the terms?
 

rousseau

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Ever think that meaning for people is actually irrelevant, and the reason we persist is because most of us find everyday life enjoyable in of itself?

Most of us have purpose, but I think you could re-define purpose as a thing we desire to do. Because we have no choice but to do something, this just implies an end goal or purpose.

And so 'meaning' is really nothing but an abstract conversation point that we dwell on because we have too much time on our hands, while we're otherwise busy living and enjoying the experiences of every day life.

What do you think the difference is between meaning and purpose, as you use the terms?

People use them interchangeably, but I'd say meaning is derived from purpose. But since purpose is just implied in living, then the 'meaning' of life reduces to 'do what you want to do, and enjoy doing it'.
 

Treedbear

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Ever think that meaning for people is actually irrelevant, and the reason we persist is because most of us find everyday life enjoyable in of itself?

Most of us have purpose, but I think you could re-define purpose as a thing we desire to do. Because we have no choice but to do something, this just implies an end goal or purpose.

And so 'meaning' is really nothing but an abstract conversation point that we dwell on because we have too much time on our hands, while we're otherwise busy living and enjoying the experiences of every day life.

What do you think the difference is between meaning and purpose, as you use the terms?

People use them interchangeably, but I'd say meaning is derived from purpose. But since purpose is just implied in living, then the 'meaning' of life reduces to 'do what you want to do, and enjoy doing it'.

That's reasonable. It would be so much less confusing if people wouldn't use them interchangeably though. But I'd define meaning as everything that makes me me. Everything from biology and heredity to past and present relationships. That's how the word is used in every other instance so what's the mystery when used in the 1st person context? It's what makes a thing what it is. And purpose is derived from meaning. You can focus on any particular context, such as biological purpose and survival. But to just leave it at "to enjoy life" is too subjective for me. It works for many people (the so called "free spirits"), but there are many who would benefit from a more objective examination of where they've been in order to better choose where they are going. In my opinion one is only free to be what one is, and free will describes the state of knowing what that is. And nothing more. That might lead to more enjoyment, but not necessarily. I'd say more contentment though. In the long run.
 

rousseau

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People use them interchangeably, but I'd say meaning is derived from purpose. But since purpose is just implied in living, then the 'meaning' of life reduces to 'do what you want to do, and enjoy doing it'.

That's reasonable. It would be so much less confusing if people wouldn't use them interchangeably though. But I'd define meaning as everything that makes me me. Everything from biology and heredity to past and present relationships. That's how the word is used in every other instance so what's the mystery when used in the 1st person context? It's what makes a thing what it is. And purpose is derived from meaning. You can focus on any particular context, such as biological purpose and survival. But to just leave it at "to enjoy life" is too subjective for me. It works for many people (the so called "free spirits"), but there are many who would benefit from a more objective examination of where they've been in order to better choose where they are going. In my opinion one is only free to be what one is, and free will describes the state of knowing what that is. And nothing more. That might lead to more enjoyment, but not necessarily. I'd say more contentment though. In the long run.

I'm only breaking it down logically into it's essential parts, not prescribing a particular meaning.

The idea is that regardless of how much awareness someone has, almost every living person has something they care about. Something that justifies their continued existence. This isn't a conscious choice they make to have a justification, it's just inherent in being alive. And when people cease to care about anything they typically lose their will to be alive.

So it's not a prescription that someone's meaning ought to be 'do what you want and enjoy life', it's that 'purpose' is synonymous with 'doing what it is that you want to do'. And because 'doing what you want to do' isn't really a conscious choice, the topic of meaning is arbitrary. You have a purpose, this gives you meaning.

The purpose can be as reflective, deep, and complex as you want it to be.

That's how the word is used in every other instance so what's the mystery when used in the 1st person context?

On this, I'm using meaning in reference to the experience of my life, not me. And so it's having a purpose that gives my experience of life substance (meaning). Without a purpose or goal, whatever it may be, one's life is meaningless.
 

Treedbear

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I'm only breaking it down logically into it's essential parts, not prescribing a particular meaning.

The idea is that regardless of how much awareness someone has, almost every living person has something they care about. Something that justifies their continued existence. This isn't a conscious choice they make to have a justification, it's just inherent in being alive. And when people cease to care about anything they typically lose their will to be alive.

So it's not a prescription that someone's meaning ought to be 'do what you want and enjoy life', it's that 'purpose' is synonymous with 'doing what it is that you want to do'. And because 'doing what you want to do' isn't really a conscious choice, the topic of meaning is arbitrary. You have a purpose, this gives you meaning.

The purpose can be as reflective, deep, and complex as you want it to be.

That's how the word is used in every other instance so what's the mystery when used in the 1st person context?

On this, I'm using meaning in reference to the experience of my life, not me. And so it's having a purpose that gives my experience of life substance (meaning). Without a purpose or goal, whatever it may be, one's life is meaningless.

We are to a large extend what we have experienced. The more experience, the more to draw meaning from. And purpose tends to lead to more varied and richer experience. So I think we agree in that having purpose leads to a more meaningful life. And lack of purpose produces less in the way of meaning from which to draw on. It's just that people don't seem to differentiate the two terms as such. I need to do that. Also I think that 'doing what you want to do' is pretty much the definition of conscious choice. I can't imagine meaning as arbitrary. To me that's simply incongruous.
 

fromderinside

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Most of what we are are conditioned by interaction with what we are with to that which we are exposed. There is a decreasing return from this interaction since what we become is fairly rapidly tuned to be inline with what we are designed to adapt toward. As we grow older our hubris of rationales become ever more important in our expressed beliefs. A case of becoming face value versus reality operative as the result of how we are designed.
 
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