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The secular meaning of life

rousseau

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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.

Doing what you want to do is a conscious choice. But that you have a say in whether you do what you want to do is not your choice. Pursuing purpose is just implied in living, and so debating over meaning is unnecessary. We naturally end up with a purpose and we pursue it, even if we're not conscious of the purpose.

If a purpose ceases to be, life ceases to be meaningful.

- - - Updated - - -

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.

Was following along just fine until this..
 

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.

Was following along just fine until this..

More or less it is saying we live too long so our adaptive systems tend to become chaotic, if not, just useless.
 

rousseau

Contributor
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
12,357
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.

Was following along just fine until this..

More or less it is saying we live too long so our adaptive systems tend to become chaotic, if not, just useless.

Makes sense. So adapting is helpful up until everything is solidified, you've got the garage and kids, but after that point it ceases to have much purpose.
 
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