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What is the Meaning of Meaning? Options
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2021 3:56:33 AM

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In the question, "What is the meaning of life?", what do you think is being asked? I'm not asking for an answer to the question. I want to know what people think the question means?
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2021 4:28:19 AM

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What's the idea of life?
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2021 12:48:31 PM

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Asking for "The Meaning of Life"

I think it is similar to someone asking another, “What’s the meaning of this?” when it concerns something that has happened or is happening. The desire is to receive an explanation, a reason, or understanding, for what is experienced in the event.

In asking about the meaning of life, which usually occurs after about 20 to 30 years of living, it indicates a similar request for an explanation, a reason, or some understanding for what they see around them and are experiencing/have experienced. It’s often worded as, “Is this all there is?” I asked myself that question at around 24 or 25 years of age.

Because we have consciousness and are aware of our place in the environment, and because we most often have a reason or purpose for the things we do, we project that onto life itself, and wonder about a reason or purpose for life itself.

We study the life of the planet and try to understand what we see all around us. In doing so, we find the reasons and purposes for the things we examine. So it makes sense that we would do the same for our own species. I think that’s the foundation for religions. It’s a way to explain and give a reason and purpose for our existence, and the kind of existence we experience.

For those who don’t accept the explanation religions give, science stands in that stead. But science hasn’t yet been able to explain everything, and many questions remain, which leaves many of us unsatisfied. This is especially difficult for anyone who hasn’t created a strong sense of self and a sense of self-fulfillment.

By that I mean the person has not yet realized that all they need in the way of understanding is already within them, and they simply have to uncover and recognize that. Therefore, asking the question about the meaning of life means they haven’t yet reached that stage and are still experiencing the emptiness that results from failing to understand that. Simply put, your existence is the meaning of life.
Hope123
Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2021 5:46:49 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
In the question, "What is the meaning of life?", what do you think is being asked? I'm not asking for an answer to the question. I want to know what people think the question means?



They are asking - What am I supposed to be doing with my life to give it meaning? Why are we here? What is the purpose of us being here? (PS - There is no purpose. It's all random.)

Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2021 4:26:59 AM

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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
What's the idea of life?


Interesting notion JJ but I'm not sure what that means.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2021 4:52:31 AM

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Idea in the meaning of a plan, purpose, or goal. Also, like in music, the theme or motif. Isn't all this like an endless symphony?
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2021 5:08:53 AM

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FounDit wrote:
It’s often worded as, “Is this all there is?”

Yeah I'm not sure that's the same question; however, and I literally mean I am unsure, it seems to me that may be corally to the question. I think your proposed answer later in your post nullifies this question, but again, I am not certain of that.

FounDit wrote:
I think that’s the foundation for religions.It’s a way to explain and give a reason and purpose for our existence.
\
Along with the fear of death, I entirely agree.

FounDit wrote:
This is especially difficult for anyone who hasn’t created a strong sense of self and a sense of self-fulfillment.
I do suspect that the discovery of something like self-fulfillment actually nullifies the question. Part of my thinking on this issue involves that something, as well as the conjecture that the question as asked doesn't make any sense. I am very early in the process though of delineating these points.

FounDit wrote:
Simply put, your existence is the meaning of life.

On this I would only, seem to only, agree if we are talking about all life; however, once we come to conscious life that answer is insufficient. I would hazard to guess that you would agree it is not merely your existence but your response to that existence as well. This may be what you meant anyway but I tend to be extremely nitpicky when attempting to develop a formal answer to an issue.
The eventual answer, I am currently considering, would involve the necessity of incorporation of the sense of self within whatever one considers the answer to the other weighty question, "Why are there things that are rather than no things?"
Lotje1000
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2021 8:39:50 AM

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I think a crucial aspect to how we've evolved as a species has been pattern-recognition and problem solving. We look at causality, choice and consequence. We learned to associate things happening in nature and make plans around it. I think the meaning of life is an extension of that. Once you look beyond merely surviving, you have room to start looking at the patterns in life and the world.

Practically, we have learned that a seed sprouts into a plant, but will only do that in a particular soil or under particular circumstances. Abstractly, we learn to look from a point of origin that, under certain circumstances, leads to an end. Understanding that allows us to predict other aspects of life, which brings us a measure of control.

Asking about the meaning of life is an extrapolation from that basic urge of understanding. So what is being asked with "what is the meaning of life" is "Unravel this mystery for me because I need to understand the pattern and gain a measure of control". 'Meaning' could be synonymous with purpose, reason or cause, or something else. That depends on the individual and how they understand the world.
FounDit
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2021 11:15:58 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:
It’s often worded as, “Is this all there is?”

Yeah I'm not sure that's the same question; however, and I literally mean I am unsure, it seems to me that may be corally to the question. I think your proposed answer later in your post nullifies this question, but again, I am not certain of that.

FounDit wrote:
I think that’s the foundation for religions.It’s a way to explain and give a reason and purpose for our existence.
\
Along with the fear of death, I entirely agree.

FounDit wrote:
This is especially difficult for anyone who hasn’t created a strong sense of self and a sense of self-fulfillment.
I do suspect that the discovery of something like self-fulfillment actually nullifies the question. Part of my thinking on this issue involves that something, as well as the conjecture that the question as asked doesn't make any sense. I am very early in the process though of delineating these points.

FounDit wrote:
Simply put, your existence is the meaning of life.

On this I would only, seem to only, agree if we are talking about all life; however, once we come to conscious life that answer is insufficient. I would hazard to guess that you would agree it is not merely your existence but your response to that existence as well. This may be what you meant anyway but I tend to be extremely nitpicky when attempting to develop a formal answer to an issue.

The eventual answer, I am currently considering, would involve the necessity of incorporation of the sense of self within whatever one considers the answer to the other weighty question, "Why are there things that are rather than no things?"
So it would seem that the real question is why does a conscious being ask for a meaning for life. Wouldn't that go back to my earlier observation that because we study the life around us and seek to understand it, we then apply that same curiosity to ourselves? This is why asking the question would make sense, and why we invented a scenario to explain it. And because we obtain great satisfaction in discovering answers to our questions, what greater satisfaction can there be than discovering the source of the meaning of our own lives?

But that meaning must be important because we need to feel important. This is tied in to our need for self-fulfillment, our ego-centric nature. This, again, comes back to the need to understand that all that is necessary is already within us, but few recognize that and therefore constantly seek fulfillment in the external things of life, e.g., wealth, fame, power, prestige, accoutrements, etc. But in seeking these things, they neglect the inner self and what it needs. This leads to a continual sense of emptiness and the subsequent asking of the question.

Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2021 12:10:51 PM

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We, the humans, are just in the half-way to consciousness. We barely know some fragments of our surroundings.
Maybe some day we understand more. Would it take another ten thousand years, we don't know yet.

Time to go to sauna and meditate...
FounDit
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2021 2:03:44 PM

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I realized later that I neglected the other weighty question: “Why are there things that are, rather than no things?”

I would respond with, “Why does that matter?” We are the only creature we know of that can ask the question. Why is that? Because we can explore our environment and seek to understand the reasons things happen as they do in that environment. This again leads us to question why we or anything else happens to exist.

The question only matters to a creature that can comprehend that fact. But the answer is simple: The reason there are no things is because there ARE things. But must there be a reason why there are things? Only to a creature that can ask the question and wonder about it. Without us, there is no one we know of who cares whether things exist.

So once again, our ego-centric selves seek an answer to a question only we can ask or wonder about. Whether things exist or not is of no importance to anyone but us.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, September 24, 2021 2:18:03 PM

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We humans are just one branch of this geo/bio/noo genesis. We don't know how high we are on that tree of life.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2021 3:35:02 AM

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Hope wrote:
What am I supposed to be doing with my life to give it meaning?


High Hope, Exactly, but what is that meaning?

Hope wrote:
What is the purpose of us being here?

I'm glad you mentioned this, I think this is a separate question but I suspect that for many it isn't and I think that is unfortunate. I think there is another denotation of meaning in this context and that I'm currently trying to work that out is why I asked this here.

Hope wrote:
(PS - There is no purpose. It's all random.)

Oh I think there is an objective purpose in life, at its most base level that purpose is to replicate. Once that mandate came into being and with the result of the evolutionary paradigm all life can said to have purpose and that purpose gets increasingly complex until you have things like culture and, so called, civilization.

But yeah purely objectively nihilism is almost certainly a fact.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2021 3:43:11 AM

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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
Idea in the meaning of a plan, purpose, or goal.
Ah but I think this is a separate question, please see my response to Hope where address that.

Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
Also, like in music, the theme or motif. Isn't all this like an endless symphony?


This is an excellent point JJ and thanks this could be extremely useful. Recognition of this aspect of "what is" would seem to be requisite to finding meaning.
Hope123
Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2021 10:32:55 AM

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Epi, I'm afraid I am not on your esoteric wave length. Purpose and meaning are used as synonyms in TFD. I don't see purpose as being a separate question. Are you trying to get at a religious theme?

I like JJ's endless symphony where the circle of life is for humanity but individual life ends. And of course at the biological level all life, even an insect scurrying away from a human, wants to live and procreate. But when people ask that 'meaning of life' question I doubt that is what they have in mind. Although I must admit in my old age that the thought has crossed my mind that with giving birth and having grandchildren, I have fulfilled Nature's purpose, but I still want to live as long as I'm healthy.

What to do with my life to give it meaning means what I as an individual do to make ME feel good about myself. Become a CEO of a hospital or doctor or nurse to help people? Volunteer? Become wealthy? Be good at what I'm good at?

People feeling unfulfilled with their lives and wanting more "meaning" or purpose beyond daily living to their life are asking a useless question because it is an unanswerable question. Same as saying, "I wish", or "if only" or "if" which are useless in reality.

After I stopped trying hard to believe in God 40-50 years ago, I stopped asking that ’meaning' question and became content with what is, with reality, with living and loving and enjoying.

I'm afraid in trying to answer your question as to what people mean cannot be answered without talking about the meaning of life itself, although I tried at first.

(Edited - I have another saying people use that I don't understand what they mean. I've heard people say "they've lost themselves" and I don't know how you can lose yourself.)
Russell Oxendine
Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2021 6:05:14 PM
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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
We humans are just one branch of this geo/bio/noo genesis. We don't know how high we are on that tree of life.




Nice thought, friend! Angel....According to the Bible (and please correct if I'm wrong), I believe it (Bible) eludes to earth as being mankind's domain?...Man is regarded as the highest form of creature?...Yet, outside of earth (the scriptres mentions multiple dimensions in space-time)...The angels are said to be "higher" than man?....Interestingly enough, they (scriptures) don't make mention of any other intelligent life outside of man and angels?...

What's your take on that, Jyrkka Jatka?...Angel


.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2021 5:07:59 AM

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Lotje1000 wrote:
I think a crucial aspect to how we've evolved as a species has been pattern-recognition and problem solving. We look at causality, choice and consequence. We learned to associate things happening in nature and make plans around it. I think the meaning of life is an extension of that. Once you look beyond merely surviving, you have room to start looking at the patterns in life and the world.

I really appreciate this perspective Lotje and I think you've nailed a good portion of why we end up asking the question. Of course whereas your, "you have room to start..." seems to imply we have a choice in the matter and I don't think we really do. The more I pursue the issue in my post "I is not Me" post the more I've become convinced of the validity of the assertion. What I find amusing in that pursuit is that once again my mind is insisting on thinking I may have come across a possibility that consciousness may in fact have some influence on behavior. If you have any thoughts on that issue I'd be happy to discuss them there.


Lotje1000 wrote:
Asking about the meaning of life is an extrapolation from that basic urge of understanding. So what is being asked with "what is the meaning of life" is "Unravel this mystery for me because I need to understand the pattern and gain a measure of control". 'Meaning' could be synonymous with purpose, reason or cause, or something else. That depends on the individual and how they understand the world.

Yeah, it's the "something else" I'm trying to pin down. Well, not the subject of this post but why I asked this question here. I'm really trying to get a sense of what people mean by the question besides purpose.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2021 5:18:55 AM

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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
We, the humans, are just in the half-way to consciousness. We barely know some fragments of our surroundings.
Maybe some day we understand more. Would it take another ten thousand years, we don't know yet.

I agree JJ but I would not use consciousness that way, I express this concept as We are not human, we are homo sapiens in a race for human, human is an ideal which we have not yet achieved.


Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
We humans are just one branch of this geo/bio/noo genesis. We don't know how high we are on that tree of life.


First, "noo"? Now?
Second The tree of life is horizontal. ;)
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2021 5:21:34 AM

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Russell Oxendine wrote:
Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
We humans are just one branch of this geo/bio/noo genesis. We don't know how high we are on that tree of life.




Nice thought, friend! Angel....According to the Bible (and please correct if I'm wrong), I believe it (Bible) eludes to earth as being mankind's domain?...Man is regarded as the highest form of creature?...Yet, outside of earth (the scriptres mentions multiple dimensions in space-time)...The angels are said to be "higher" than man?....Interestingly enough, they (scriptures) don't make mention of any other intelligent life outside of man and angels?...

What's your take on that, Jyrkka Jatka?...Angel


.


Hi Russel that's a good question and would make an interesting topic, try posting it as a separate discussion though please.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2021 5:35:46 AM

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Hope123 wrote:
Epi, I'm afraid I am not on your esoteric wave length. Purpose and meaning are used as synonyms in TFD. I don't see purpose as being a separate question. Are you trying to get at a religious theme?

Yes Hope you're right as far as far as the issue I'm pursuing that led to my asking this question here. That issue would qualify, by my definition of it, in "The Spirituality of Atheism" as a spiritual question.

Hope123 wrote:
After I stopped trying hard to believe in God 40-50 years ago, I stopped asking that ’meaning' question and became content with what is, with reality, with living and loving and enjoying.

...asking a useless question because it is an unanswerable question


Actually Hope I would assert that you answered the question for you.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2021 6:41:39 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:

Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
We humans are just one branch of this geo/bio/noo genesis. We don't know how high we are on that tree of life.


First, "noo"? Now?
Second The tree of life is horizontal. ;)


Noo, from the ancient Greek νόος: mind, intellect, reason...

Noosphere
Noogenesis
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2021 11:10:18 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
Hope123 wrote:
Epi, I'm afraid I am not on your esoteric wave length. Purpose and meaning are used as synonyms in TFD. I don't see purpose as being a separate question. Are you trying to get at a religious theme?

Yes Hope you're right as far as far as the issue I'm pursuing that led to my asking this question here. That issue would qualify, by my definition of it, in "The Spirituality of Atheism" as a spiritual question.

Hope123 wrote:
After I stopped trying hard to believe in God 40-50 years ago, I stopped asking that ’meaning' question and became content with what is, with reality, with living and loving and enjoying.

...asking a useless question because it is an unanswerable question


Actually Hope I would assert that you answered the question for you.

I would agree. This is what I meant by existence is the meaning of life. Do not seek meaning, each of us is the meaning.
Russell Oxendine
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2021 12:34:51 PM
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As I was dwelling on this question further, the thought of "relativity" flew into my mind?...For me personally, "purpose"/"meaning" of life is relative to the entity living life?....

For instance, hypothetically speaking, if angels do exist and we (humans) are lower than them, it would seem logical that their(angels) "meaning"/"purpose" would be on a whole other level (higher) of what we could understand?...In other words, what has "meaning"/"purpose" to one, will be mute to another!....

I tend to agree with FoundIt when he says, "the "Meaning"/"purpose" of life is simply to LIVE"!...For me, the question is "HOW" should I live?....


.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2021 1:40:53 PM

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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:

Noo, from the ancient Greek νόος: mind, intellect, reason...

Noosphere
Noogenesis

Thanks JJ, I knew I'd heard it but and had a vague notion of it but when I put it in the search bar I made it two words so I got no hits.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2021 3:12:14 PM

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Vernadsky and de Chardin were not only true scientist, but also metaphysics, pseudo-scientists, and alternative philosophers. De Chardin was also thought to be heretic by his Jesuit society.

Although not given much appreciation today, I think there might be something behind this Noosphere idea.

If you think THIS society, TFD forum members; this is not only for sharing knowledge about English, or other languages, but for thoughts. I can write here something, that might ignite some other soul myriad kilometres away to think alike. We all carry that Noo inside us. That makes us human. Hope we can eventually unite, whether it takes another ten or thirty thousand years.

I'm not sure if this had nothing to do with your meaning of meaning. Just my thought.

FounDit
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2021 5:21:23 PM

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Russell Oxendine wrote:

As I was dwelling on this question further, the thought of "relativity" flew into my mind?...For me personally, "purpose"/"meaning" of life is relative to the entity living life?....

For instance, hypothetically speaking, if angels do exist and we (humans) are lower than them, it would seem logical that their(angels) "meaning"/"purpose" would be on a whole other level (higher) of what we could understand?...In other words, what has "meaning"/"purpose" to one, will be mute to another!....

I tend to agree with FoundIt when he says, "the "Meaning"/"purpose" of life is simply to LIVE"!...For me, the question is "HOW" should I live?....


.

Really only two things from which to choose: Selfishly, which can be defined as evil, and potentially harmful to self and others, or Selflessly, which can be defined as good, and potentially beneficial to self and to others. Most people select a combination of the two, acting selfishly when it harms no others and selflessly when it is beneficial to both self and others. But some people take each to an extreme (Mother Theresa and Genocidal Dictators, e.g.) .
Lotje1000
Posted: Monday, September 27, 2021 4:17:40 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
I really appreciate this perspective Lotje and I think you've nailed a good portion of why we end up asking the question. Of course whereas your, "you have room to start..." seems to imply we have a choice in the matter and I don't think we really do. The more I pursue the issue in my post "I is not Me" post the more I've become convinced of the validity of the assertion. What I find amusing in that pursuit is that once again my mind is insisting on thinking I may have come across a possibility that consciousness may in fact have some influence on behavior. If you have any thoughts on that issue I'd be happy to discuss them there.
[...]
Yeah, it's the "something else" I'm trying to pin down. Well, not the subject of this post but why I asked this question here. I'm really trying to get a sense of what people mean by the question besides purpose.


I used "you have room to start" mainly because I think we need the mental capacity to ask these kind of questions. If you're locked into trying to survive from day to day, your brain doesn't have the bandwidth to look much beyond that.

As for the "something else", I believe it's mainly purpose. We can look at things very objectively and see the pattern of how something gets from A to B, but I feel like, as a species, we're storytellers at heart and nothing settles our minds more than having a narrative. For example:
- Covid-19: I feel like people are less equipped to deal with a mindless virus spreading and are more likely to cling to narratives that turn it into a conspiracy or a deliberate weapon etc.
- Evolution theory: We have trouble looking at our own evolution, motivated by opportunity and coincidence, without automatically wanting to attribute a purpose to it.
- Social darwinism: We look at societies as if they're on a developmental ladder and feel like the 'other' nations are a few rungs below us, but will ultimately follow the same path to get to where we are, as opposed to realising we all evolve in our own ways as the necessity of our circumstances demands.
- Our own career paths/romantic partners: I believe a lot of people stumble upon things they want to do in life and people we want to be with, but we like to motivate our life story in retrospect, as if we were always meant to become a teacher/politician/etc and were always meant to fall in love with this person.

We have a habit of teleological thinking where, in retrospect, we see the line from A to B and are tempted to think that is the one way this could have gone. Finding this one line is like finding one simple answer - the 'right' answer that settles our mind: a diety's plan, a karmic reincarnation, an evolution to the 'perfect' sentient species of humankind...

That sort of purpose gives us a sense of control, that if we just live the right way, everything is as it's meant to be.

Note, I haven't read many of the other posts in this thread, so it's possible I've just repeated what someone else has said already.
Epiphileon
Posted: Monday, September 27, 2021 4:43:22 AM

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FounDit wrote:
...I meant by existence is the meaning of life. Do not seek meaning, each of us is the meaning.


I'm not sure that is an option for anyone actively conscious of consciousness. As you have said it is a naturally arising question therefore to not seek an answer would cause dissonance. I also think that coming up with a wrong answer, or indeed even not understanding the question could be limiting to the individual and by extension to the species in general. The question marks an evolutionary aspect of consciousness and therefore how it is answered may affect that development.
Hope123
Posted: Monday, September 27, 2021 10:18:08 AM

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Some excellent points there, Lotje.

An excellent thread I am enjoying as it is making us think.

:::

Meaning happens through cognition and changes as we grow and changes with age as we use introspection. Our ideas of value change as we grow older.

If they are asking what makes ALL life have meaning or value, that's a philosophical or religious question. To me, people, myself included, tend to overthink and make easy things hard, especially in this area. Maybe they even misunderstand what "meaning" is or means to them.

If they are asking what makes MY life have meaning or value, that's a different question. If you feel you have not accomplished much in one area, you can still feel life has purpose in other areas to make up for it. Perhaps then accomplishment is what some mean by the meaning of life. In other words, what is my sense of worth of my life. What direction do I want to go now?

And that is why they ask the first the question.

I happened to see a video this morning after a question was asked if humour at funerals is appropriate (yes it is) and saw one about John McCain's funeral. It made me think about him and other prisoners of war of what gave him such strength and purpose to come back as resilient as ever to continue serving his country as a senator. What is the difference between him and those who came back embittered and defeated? What kept him going those years of imprisonment? Since he would not take release ahead of his men, I can guess his purpose was the value he gave others, especially 'his' men. The responsibility he felt.

So we all have different meanings to our lives.

Right now each morning the purpose of life is being on this side of the lawn. 😀 Only half joking.
FounDit
Posted: Monday, September 27, 2021 10:49:46 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:
...I meant by existence is the meaning of life. Do not seek meaning, each of us is the meaning.


I'm not sure that is an option for anyone actively conscious of consciousness. As you have said it is a naturally arising question therefore to not seek an answer would cause dissonance. I also think that coming up with a wrong answer, or indeed even not understanding the question could be limiting to the individual and by extension to the species in general. The question marks an evolutionary aspect of consciousness and therefore how it is answered may affect that development.


It seems to me you are attaching too much significance to the act of forming the question. I don't see it as significantly influencing our evolutionary development. There is, of course, a difference between asking the meaning of an individual life, and the meaning of life itself. But your query was an investigation of what is meant by "meaning", and that would differ when examined from the individual to the collective.

My view is to the collective and posits that in asking the question, we seek a reason, a purpose, a goal for the existence of life, but I think the very existence of life is itself the only meaning there is to be found. We are. That is enough. However, our natural curiosity prompts us to investigate and search for a reason, a purpose, or goal. But this may be a case where Occam's Razor applies.
Hope123
Posted: Monday, September 27, 2021 11:03:13 AM

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FounDit wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:
...I meant by existence is the meaning of life. Do not seek meaning, each of us is the meaning.


I'm not sure that is an option for anyone actively conscious of consciousness. As you have said it is a naturally arising question therefore to not seek an answer would cause dissonance. I also think that coming up with a wrong answer, or indeed even not understanding the question could be limiting to the individual and by extension to the species in general. The question marks an evolutionary aspect of consciousness and therefore how it is answered may affect that development.


It seems to me you are attaching too much significance to the act of forming the question. I don't see it as significantly influencing our evolutionary development. There is, of course, a difference between asking the meaning of an individual life, and the meaning of life itself. But your query was an investigation of what is meant by "meaning", and that would differ when examined from the individual to the collective.

My view is to the collective and posits that in asking the question, we seek a reason, a purpose, a goal for the existence of life, but I think the very existence of life is itself the only meaning there is to be found. We are. That is enough. However, our natural curiosity prompts us to investigate and search for a reason, a purpose, or goal. But this may be a case where Occam's Razor applies.


Well said.

Edited - perhaps FD and I have said much the same thing (individual vs meaning for all being different) and overthinking plus Occam's Razor, because we are both atheists or agnostics?
Russell Oxendine
Posted: Monday, September 27, 2021 11:19:55 AM
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Should we be asking, "What *meaning*/*purpose*" does life have?" or perehaps, "What value does life have?"?...Just thinking out loud!...



.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Monday, September 27, 2021 3:29:57 PM

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For us, everyone.



But how about the humankind, or this planet, or the whole universe?
Lotje1000
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 2:14:11 AM

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Hope123 wrote:
If they are asking what makes MY life have meaning or value, that's a different question. If you feel you have not accomplished much in one area, you can still feel life has purpose in other areas to make up for it. Perhaps then accomplishment is what some mean by the meaning of life. In other words, what is my sense of worth of my life. What direction do I want to go now?


That is an interesting aspect I hadn't considered. On the one hand, we search for ways to feel in control of our lives. On the other hand, we strive to find a sense of identity, recognition and belonging. It is soothing that we have a purpose within the narrative, that we have value and that we can belong to something.
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 4:22:43 AM

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Lotje wrote:
I used "you have room to start" mainly because I think we need the mental capacity to ask these kind of questions. If you're locked into trying to survive from day to day, your brain doesn't have the bandwidth to look much beyond that.

It seems to me this is a complex point, offhand it seems obvious. I think it has definitely been true if we take the long view and look for when the question first arose in history. I am nearly certain I recall this as a theme in the study of the coevolution of mind and culture, not for the specific question but for esoteric questions in general. At the current point in that evolution though I think that even among those who are struggling for survival such questions still come to mind and are given some attention. Probably not so much if things are severe like in a constant war zone, but on the streets of cities with large homeless populations I think you'll find plenty of people who are giving such questions consideration.

Lotje wrote:
As for the "something else", I believe it's mainly purpose. We can look at things very objectively and see the pattern of how something gets from A to B, but I feel like, as a species, we're storytellers at heart and nothing settles our minds more than having a narrative.


It's beginning to look like purpose is the prevailing opinion of what the question refers to. I'm going to have to make a serious attempt at remembering what I thought about this question when I was younger. It seems to me this other aspect of the question, the one I was hoping to find some help in elucidating when I started this thread either isn't as prevalent as I thought, or is asked some other way. Think
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