How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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The Inglorious One
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by The Inglorious One » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:35 am

The nice thing about a bumper-sticker mentality is that the brain doesn't burn many calories (though that could be a bad thing if you're trying to lose weight).

Philosophy Explorer
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:43 am

The Inglorious One wrote:The nice thing about a bumper-sticker mentality is that the brain doesn't burn many calories (though that could be a bad thing if you're trying to lose weight).
Then I wonder how many calories you burned thinking up that flippant remark?

PhilX

The Inglorious One
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by The Inglorious One » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:20 pm

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
The Inglorious One wrote:The nice thing about a bumper-sticker mentality is that the brain doesn't burn many calories (though that could be a bad thing if you're trying to lose weight).
Then I wonder how many calories you burned thinking up that flippant remark?

PhilX
Zero. I'm on a diet. :mrgreen:

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Lacewing
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Lacewing » Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:27 pm

I am inspired by how animals and nature progress from one moment to the next -- within a much larger flow -- like a giant cosmic dance. There is "meaning" in each moment simply by experiencing it. We humans get to string the moments all together in an unconscious jumble and make up stories... which is very creative of us... but in doing so, I think we become intoxicated with the stories, and don't really dance in the larger flow of moments. A moment of sweetness can be richer than an entire lifetime. There does not need to be a bigger story. Stories trap the characters and the potential. And we even convince ourselves that we need to escape certain stories with other stories. When I get too spun up in the human drama, I remind myself to notice nature... to watch how it flows and doesn't demand or hold on to anything. And that usually sets me free to enjoy the moments again. That's all the meaning I really need. The rest is just a creative comedy/drama on a stage with elaborate costuming, scripts, and set designs until the act is over. I want to be invigorated and entertained by the stage production, without becoming trapped/saturated by it. To me, the larger cosmic dance is much more enjoyable and true.

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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:35 pm

Lacewing wrote:I am inspired by how animals and nature progress from one moment to the next -- within a much larger flow -- like a giant cosmic dance. There is "meaning" in each moment simply by experiencing it. We humans get to string the moments all together in an unconscious jumble and make up stories... which is very creative of us... but in doing so, I think we become intoxicated with the stories, and don't really dance in the larger flow of moments. A moment of sweetness can be richer than an entire lifetime. There does not need to be a bigger story. Stories trap the characters and the potential. And we even convince ourselves that we need to escape certain stories with other stories. When I get too spun up in the human drama, I remind myself to notice nature... to watch how it flows and doesn't demand or hold on to anything. And that usually sets me free to enjoy the moments again. That's all the meaning I really need. The rest is just a creative comedy/drama on a stage with elaborate costuming, scripts, and set designs until the act is over. I want to be invigorated and entertained by the stage production, without becoming trapped/saturated by it. To me, the larger cosmic dance is much more enjoyable and true.
To boil it down, it appears you're saying you live for the moment or moment to moment. How about those bigger moments or time spans?

PhilX

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Lacewing
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Lacewing » Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:36 pm

Philosophy Explorer wrote: To boil it down, it appears you're saying you live for the moment or moment to moment. How about those bigger moments or time spans?
I don't think there's a way for me to define that those exist or what they really are, other than making it up. Which is why I think they're one of the stories on the human stage... which I DO participate in and enjoy and am horrified by. At the same time, I strive to enjoy the moments outside of all the stories.

It's like having a job... where you go to do certain things, and there are certain standards/expectations there, and you gain some sort of value from it. But you still enjoy "quitting time", when you get to focus on something else of a different nature. The human stage is like a job (in that sense) when compared to the freedom of flowing like nature does. (Not sure if that was a good example -- hopefully you can see what I mean.)

Skip
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Skip » Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:28 pm

I was going to respond to the headline question: The same as everyone else - by making up a movie with themselves as the star. But I liked Lacewing's answer better.

Further to that: Humans who feel the need for their lives to have a meaning and purpose organize everything that happens to them, and everything they do, into stories. Since they only know a very small part of everything that happens, only their small, local, personal stories are - in any sense - true.
The inflated egos who need for all of human life to have meaning and purpose extrapolate their own stories onto other people, including those whose real experience they don't know, and insist on the other people accepting their version as true. The ones with the biggest, most fragile egos of all, who need the whole universe to have a meaning and purpose, project their own little stories over all that immensity about which know almost nothing, stretch their own image into a grotesquely distended mask, and demand that absurdity to be worshipped by all.

I'd like to think atheists either can cope without meaning and purpose, or manage with just the meaning they can give to their own lives - but I know that's not always the case.

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Arising_uk
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Arising_uk » Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:19 am

Why do you assume that meaning needs an external source?

What do you mean by this type of 'meaning' in the first place? I.e. what are you referring to?

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:13 am

Skip wrote:I was going to respond to the headline question: The same as everyone else - by making up a movie with themselves as the star. But I liked Lacewing's answer better.

Further to that: Humans who feel the need for their lives to have a meaning and purpose organize everything that happens to them, and everything they do, into stories. Since they only know a very small part of everything that happens, only their small, local, personal stories are - in any sense - true.
The inflated egos who need for all of human life to have meaning and purpose extrapolate their own stories onto other people, including those whose real experience they don't know, and insist on the other people accepting their version as true. The ones with the biggest, most fragile egos of all, who need the whole universe to have a meaning and purpose, project their own little stories over all that immensity about which know almost nothing, stretch their own image into a grotesquely distended mask, and demand that absurdity to be worshipped by all.

I'd like to think atheists either can cope without meaning and purpose, or manage with just the meaning they can give to their own lives - but I know that's not always the case.
Bloody hell - its all about YOU, YOU, YOU!!

Obvious Leo
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Obvious Leo » Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:07 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:Bloody hell - its all about YOU, YOU, YOU!!
In your case it's all about YOU but in my case it's all about ME.

Nobody, but NOBODY, gets to define the meaning of my own existence except ME. This is what I reckon atheism is all about.

Obvious Leo
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Obvious Leo » Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:10 pm

Furthermore I reserve the right to change my mind about this self-defined meaning as often as I fucking well like. So there!!!

Dalek Prime
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Dalek Prime » Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:04 pm

No one is saying the individual can't find and choose whatever meaning that gets one through the day. I'm all for it. But what happens when a crisis or change of life occurs that takes that meaning away, or exposes it as temporary in nature, and leaves one without, and no stop - gap is suitable or available for the vulnerable psyche to anchor on to? Religionists experience the same thing when they lose faith.... which brings me to what we all can suffer; a crisis of faith. I.mean, that's what our beliefs are, no? Simple faith?

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:19 pm

Dalek Prime wrote:No one is saying the individual can't find and choose whatever meaning that gets one through the day. I'm all for it. But what happens when a crisis or change of life occurs that takes that meaning away, or exposes it as temporary in nature, and leaves one without, and no stop - gap is suitable or available for the vulnerable psyche to anchor on to? Religionists experience the same thing when they lose faith.... which brings me to what we all can suffer; a crisis of faith. I.mean, that's what our beliefs are, no? Simple faith?
Don't be such a pussy!! If things change then you change. Why submit to a priests' view of the universe? What do they know?

Dalek Prime
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Re: How do atheists find meaning in a purposeless universe?

Post by Dalek Prime » Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:28 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Dalek Prime wrote:No one is saying the individual can't find and choose whatever meaning that gets one through the day. I'm all for it. But what happens when a crisis or change of life occurs that takes that meaning away, or exposes it as temporary in nature, and leaves one without, and no stop - gap is suitable or available for the vulnerable psyche to anchor on to? Religionists experience the same thing when they lose faith.... which brings me to what we all can suffer; a crisis of faith. I.mean, that's what our beliefs are, no? Simple faith?
Don't be such a pussy!! If things change then you change. Why submit to a priests' view of the universe? What do they know?
Meow! ,,,^..^,,,~ (Yes, I know you meant a vagina lol)

Hobbes, I can believe in a God that I refuse to obey, and never join a religious group.And to my mind, he is a malignant being. So I satisfy being a free thinker to both man and God, whilst requiring neither kitty litter, nor tampons.

Come to think of it, even if I believed God to be good and benificent, I still wouldn't worship him, as I disagree with his plans.
Last edited by Dalek Prime on Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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