What is the point of life?

For all things philosophical.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Matt24
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:15 pm

What is the point of life?

Post by Matt24 »

This question has been on my mind the past few years. I had been capable of ignoring it before, or fooling me with short-term goals that would ultimately leave me feeling empty.

But the issue just keeps coming back to me, and I feel I can't ignore it anymore. Because really, what is the purpose of our lives? Is studying, getting a job, getting married, settling down, having children, spending my money on superflous goods and then dying all there is to life? People I interact with seem to be ok with this; however, I find it to be a miserable prospect. So I shall spend my life working at some job (which I might or might not like) just to be able to satisfy my basic needs and buy stuff I don't even need (because after all, food and bed is all you really instinctively need)? And I shall get married with a person I probably picked as I would pick an apple from the greengrocer's: focusing on the external features, just to be able to have sex and satisfy my sexual needs AND/OR have children? Children who will eventually leave your house and repeat the same steps you did? And so I will age with my wife living every day without an objective, just to later die.. alone? It sounds absolutely deplorable to me.

You could say, hey! What about friends and family? What about true love? Aren't those the things worth living for? Well, in my mind, they're not. First of all, how frequent are those hangouts with friends? Probably like once a month, and even less as everyone ages. It's like everyone's too busy living their own lives. And most of the time it becomes a rather dreadful and superficial thing: "Did I tell you about what my son did yesterday?"; "Would you believe what happened at the workplace yesterday?"; "Have you heard that X (a mutual friend) got divorced?".

The very same thing happens with the family. It gets me sad, for example, that my parents practically don't see their siblings much. When I was growing up, my brother was a big part of my life, and I don't really want to lose that (it looks I eventually will). You could say, "hey, but you will have a wife/husband to take care of you! You will have children to raise!". Indeed, but... How do you know you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody you've known for two/three years (in most cases!)? What if you "lose" your love for that person? Because honestly, even if you say "Well, I don't love him/her just because of his/her beauty... it's his/her heart and personality I love", how can you be so sure you know that person's heart? And what is your purpose to get married? To have children? Well, why exactly would you want to have children in the first place? I sometimes feel like having children basically means "Nothing's interesting with my life, so I guess we'll give ourselves the task to raise kids just to have something to do".

Others find meaning in doing pleasing activities. Partying, getting drunk or taking drugs (because you could argue that since there is no meaning, then there's no point in preserving your health)... yet that's just a way to ignore the suffering and the distress of life, and you'll eventually have to face the "downs" that come with the abuse of these substances/activities.

This whole analysis can basically be summed up as people doing things with others so as not to realize their life is meaningless and they're eventually going to die like everybody else (without being sure if that's the final end to their life).


I'm not sure if I'm strange or normal; smart or dumb for thinking about this. What is it I'm seeing that nobody else does? Or am I wicked/depressed and need psychological help?

Thanks in advance for your contributions, I would really appreciate somebody talking about this with me.
User avatar
The Voice of Time
Posts: 2234
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: Norway

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by The Voice of Time »

You've totally missed the picture... you do what the fuck you want in life... There's no setups, any seemingly pre-arrangements are just there to give you incentives if you are to follow more traditional roles. But that's only if you want to do that.

As long as you're not afraid of losing things, you can take step outside your door this very morning and just walk and walk and walk aiming to see whatever you find interesting. In the western world you'll never suffer too much from hunger or dehydration in this manner, I know, I've done this exact thing. Two times in my short life I'm stepped out my door and just walked and walked and walked, from town to town, from city to city, from country to country.

There's always water and food somewhere for you, no reason to steal. People are friendly, and the world is open. If you don't want to do a thing, you can just lie down on the beach the whole day... take a bath in the ocean while you're at it.

If you are afraid of anything, you'll just have to realize that your fear comes from affection, and as such you must pursue with the greatest courage the stabilizing of that affection into something you can be at peace with.

As for women or children or anything of that kind. You are also missing the picture. You are with people you enjoy being with, and you are not with people you do not like being with. Meaning, that you choose how to spend every hour of your day. I have no girlfriend, and although my life has many things I'd like to have, and I would like to have somebody I could do emotional-positive things with, I don't really see the purpose of girlfriends, or boyfriends for that matter if you like that. Why not just be with people when you want to be with people? Forget the whole notion of family-life and girlfriends and worklife and all that... just do things as they become fit to your moments of being alive, to your presence.
Skip
Posts: 2553
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:34 pm

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by Skip »

It doesn't have a point or purpose: life just happened, and then kept on replicating and multiplying.
For 99.9% of all living things, not wanting to die is motivation and purpose enough.
Only humans - and not all of those - look for meaning in their existence. If they want to, they can find one - there are plenty to choose from. Dig a well. Cure cancer. Build a root cellar. Feed a bird. Pick up some garbage. Paint a picture. Make a balloon animal.

If you enjoy doing something or think something is worth doing, as long that activity lasts, you might feel okay. Of course, if you are truly depressed, you might not have the energy to do things; you might have to give yourself some down time and maybe sleep through the last part of this long winter. But getting control is better. Nudging your brain into a more positive groove takes effert and maybe outside help (I'm thinking support group, rather than therapy.)

Then, too, you might use a little more imagination than: get job, party, have kids. You don't have to do any of those things if they bore you. Invent your own independent work; think up another kind of life for yourself.
User avatar
HexHammer
Posts: 3347
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:19 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by HexHammer »

It's not to ask silly questions.
Matt24
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:15 pm

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by Matt24 »

The Voice of Time wrote:You've totally missed the picture... you do what the fuck you want in life... There's no setups, any seemingly pre-arrangements are just there to give you incentives if you are to follow more traditional roles. But that's only if you want to do that.

As long as you're not afraid of losing things, you can take step outside your door this very morning and just walk and walk and walk aiming to see whatever you find interesting. In the western world you'll never suffer too much from hunger or dehydration in this manner, I know, I've done this exact thing. Two times in my short life I'm stepped out my door and just walked and walked and walked, from town to town, from city to city, from country to country.

There's always water and food somewhere for you, no reason to steal. People are friendly, and the world is open. If you don't want to do a thing, you can just lie down on the beach the whole day... take a bath in the ocean while you're at it.

If you are afraid of anything, you'll just have to realize that your fear comes from affection, and as such you must pursue with the greatest courage the stabilizing of that affection into something you can be at peace with.

As for women or children or anything of that kind. You are also missing the picture. You are with people you enjoy being with, and you are not with people you do not like being with. Meaning, that you choose how to spend every hour of your day. I have no girlfriend, and although my life has many things I'd like to have, and I would like to have somebody I could do emotional-positive things with, I don't really see the purpose of girlfriends, or boyfriends for that matter if you like that. Why not just be with people when you want to be with people? Forget the whole notion of family-life and girlfriends and worklife and all that... just do things as they become fit to your moments of being alive, to your presence.
Well, I do like travelling and meeting new places! Thing is, I don't know if it's so great to do it all alone. For one thing, there's the money issue. It's true you don't need to be a millionaire (one can travel cheaply) but it's not like you can do it without any money at all. And the other thing is that you're doing everything on your own. I'm a bit of a loner, but after spending too much time alone I crave for the company of other people.

Anyhow, it's a great suggestion to leave it all behind and go on an adventure. It wouldn't directly solve my concern about finding meaning in my life... but maybe it could open my mind a bit and show me different lifestyles I can take.

Regarding being with people you like, that's not the matter. Actually, it's the fact that people aren't all that willing to share their time with me. That's what I meant when I said that "they were too busy living their own lives". Maybe I am too "possessive" of my friends, but it's not a life motivator to think I'm going to see my friends only like two hours a month. I would be ok with hanging out more but it just isn't so. Actually, maybe it's my fault too, because one becomes a by-product of society and ends up living the same way others do (so I'm as busy as them).
Matt24
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:15 pm

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by Matt24 »

Skip wrote:It doesn't have a point or purpose: life just happened, and then kept on replicating and multiplying.
For 99.9% of all living things, not wanting to die is motivation and purpose enough.
Only humans - and not all of those - look for meaning in their existence. If they want to, they can find one - there are plenty to choose from. Dig a well. Cure cancer. Build a root cellar. Feed a bird. Pick up some garbage. Paint a picture. Make a balloon animal.

If you enjoy doing something or think something is worth doing, as long that activity lasts, you might feel okay. Of course, if you are truly depressed, you might not have the energy to do things; you might have to give yourself some down time and maybe sleep through the last part of this long winter. But getting control is better. Nudging your brain into a more positive groove takes effert and maybe outside help (I'm thinking support group, rather than therapy.)

Then, too, you might use a little more imagination than: get job, party, have kids. You don't have to do any of those things if they bore you. Invent your own independent work; think up another kind of life for yourself.
Yeah, exactly, but only as long as it lasts. So they're in my opinion "distractors" from the question that troubles me. I liked when you mentioned a meaning like "curing cancer". I've had an ideal before (to somehow eradicate economic inequality), yet the complexity of the task is such, that I wonder if I won't spend all my life chasing something impossible to achieve (because evidently, I'm probably not the first one to have had such an ideal). Not only that, but there's also the fact that as we usually work for money, capitalism drives scientists (in our example) to more profitable tasks.

True, I could just ignore that and work for less money and for something more meaningful. It's a possibility.

About thinking up a different kind of life, is that really possible? I could travel (as I was discussing above with another poster) with my wife all around the world to avoid living a normal purposeless life. But what would we do after, say, two/three years of doing this? Will I have found meaning in my new lifestyle? I'm not sure.
HexHammer wrote:It's not to ask silly questions.
If this is a silly question, then I wonder what is a smart question to you. This is a philosophy forum, and I think the discussion about what is the role of man is an important one to have.
User avatar
The Voice of Time
Posts: 2234
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: Norway

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by The Voice of Time »

Matt24 wrote:but it's not like you can do it without any money at all.
I did it without money ;)

Although I also had a part-time job as a beggar x)
User avatar
The Voice of Time
Posts: 2234
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: Norway

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by The Voice of Time »

Matt24 wrote:And the other thing is that you're doing everything on your own.
Well not really. When you walk into cities with thousands or millions of people, you sooner or later find people who will socialize with you. Loneliness is not really that much of a problem. Especially at night when everyone's drunk.
User avatar
The Voice of Time
Posts: 2234
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: Norway

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by The Voice of Time »

Matt24 wrote:Regarding being with people you like, that's not the matter. Actually, it's the fact that people aren't all that willing to share their time with me. That's what I meant when I said that "they were too busy living their own lives". Maybe I am too "possessive" of my friends, but it's not a life motivator to think I'm going to see my friends only like two hours a month. I would be ok with hanging out more but it just isn't so. Actually, maybe it's my fault too, because one becomes a by-product of society and ends up living the same way others do (so I'm as busy as them).
Well yes it sounds like you are possessive. And although it's great to have somebody to associate with, I have one such dude which I talk with on facebook and skype and associate with in the weekends playing multiplayer games. But you really have to base the life you live each day on what is available to you. If you don't have people who wants to associate with you sufficiently, then you are basing yourself on a doomed cause, and you must alter yourself to focus on other things.

Inwardly for instance, not in an obsessive way of course because that just leads to mental problems (ego-problems, or obsessive thinking)... but for instance in a Buddhist way. Focusing on yourself and just lifting the burdens of your life off your shoulders, focusing on what you have instead of what you do not have. Sounds, sights, feelings... make the most out of what is there already.

And then you can take a chance to get what you want, when the chance presents itself, but in the meantime, you must base yourself on what there is already, and if there is just you, then that's fine, you can't enforce better friendships, just don't think that you need it, and you can find peace in what's in front of you.
User avatar
hammock
Posts: 232
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:21 pm
Location: Heckville, Dorado; Republic of Lostanglia

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by hammock »

Matt24 wrote:What is the point of life?
What life is and where it points was succinctly revealed back in the October 10, 1982 issue of the Washington Post.
Blaggard
Posts: 2246
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:17 pm

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by Blaggard »

HexHammer wrote:It's not to ask silly questions.
Another triumphant contentless one liner from the resident forum troll.
If this is a silly question, then I wonder what is a smart question to you. This is a philosophy forum, and I think the discussion about what is the role of man is an important one to have.
Hex has confessed he suffers from ADHD and NPD so trying to reason with his illness is like trying to make spaceships out of mars bars. Just do what everyone else does and put him on ignore.

He gets his jollies from proclaiming how fantastic he is and how stupid everyone else is without ever actually explaining anything, it's rather boring but let the baby have his bottle.
uwot
Posts: 5027
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by uwot »

Matt24 wrote:This question has been on my mind the past few years. I had been capable of ignoring it before, or fooling me with short-term goals that would ultimately leave me feeling empty.
Matt24, a lot of people waste their lives searching for meaning. Others waste their lives on long term goals, getting into heaven for example, which demand ridiculous sacrifices and for which there is no guarantee of success. If you want there to be a point to your life, I wouldn't listen to anyone else, make up your own and pursue that. Personally, I very much doubt there is any point to life, but what a trip!
Blaggard
Posts: 2246
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:17 pm

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by Blaggard »

I think Camus said it best:

"For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life."
Skip
Posts: 2553
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:34 pm

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by Skip »

Yeah, exactly, but only as long as it lasts.
Yes. An orgasm is only as long as it lasts. A beer is only as long as it lasts. Is that any reason not enjoy the hell out of them while you can? Life is as long as it lasts. The universe is as long as it lasts. Why should duration pose a problem?
So they're in my opinion "distractors" from the question that troubles me.
Being distracted from something you can't solve or escape seems like a good idea. Maybe enjoyable and useful activities are not so much distractors from the pointlessness of life as delayers of pointlessness of death.
I've had an ideal before (to somehow eradicate economic inequality), yet the complexity of the task is such, that I wonder if I won't spend all my life chasing something impossible to achieve (because evidently, I'm probably not the first one to have had such an ideal).
So, you work toward something you can't finish. If you enjoy the effort and it gives you hope and purpose, that's more than you came in with. Join the Zeitgeist movement (advocates of Resource Based Economy); meet other dreamers who can't possibly achieve what they intend. Or not.... just teach a slum kid to read, organize a community vegetable garden or help your cousin move. Any work you do, however big or small, without financial motivation, is a step toward your ideal.
Not only that, but there's also the fact that as we usually work for money, capitalism drives scientists (in our example) to more profitable tasks.
Capitalism is a mere hiccup in history. There was no money for 100,000 years of human societies; there was money for 5,000 or so years, during which it precipitated a lot of very bad shit, including this latest manifestation. It will go away again, if we survive this bout of hiccups.
Meanwhile, learn more about human psychology. You may be surprised to discover what-all motivates people underneath the appearance. Lots of times, money is mere wallpaper on a much more interesting structure.
Nikolai
Posts: 232
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:36 pm
Location: Finland

Re: What is the point of life?

Post by Nikolai »

All the best people think like this...it is the beginning of wisdom and maturity. It forces the person to seek deeper more robust levels of purpose than most people are capable of. Get through it and you'll be an inspiration to others, because most people unconsciously feel the truth of what you are saying. It strikes a chord with all human beings.
Post Reply