What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

For all things philosophical.

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Greta
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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Greta » Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:21 am

Risto wrote:Physicists generally agree that life doesn't have a purpose, the universe doesn't care what we do, if you will. This allows us to choose our own meaning or not choose a meaning at all. I'm not sure if a sane life is possible without a meaning. Maybe it's another discussion. If everyone can choose their own meaning, what is the best meaning to choose? Surely, not all meanings are equally valuable/meaningful?
Life is incredibly hard. We are all born clueless, screaming and vulnerable, and eventually every single one of us will be cut down - unable to take that next breath. Somewhere between these events we might find meaning.

To me, there is nothing more meaningful than the fact that somewhere around 14 billion years ago reality as we understand it consisted of mostly amorphous, superheated clouds of gas and dust. Today the physical world has cooled down and developed ever more detailed features. It's becoming more able to more eloquently express its nature. Ditto the Earth, a molten ball of rock around 4½ billion years ago. Looking at the trends, it would seem that we denizens of the present are a link in a chain leading to ever greater wonders and hopefully fewer horrors. The universe is cooling and thus seems to be becoming a calmer and gentler place - a dynamic echoed in our own lives. Until we die, of course.

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:09 am

Greta wrote:
Risto wrote:Physicists generally agree that life doesn't have a purpose, the universe doesn't care what we do, if you will. This allows us to choose our own meaning or not choose a meaning at all. I'm not sure if a sane life is possible without a meaning. Maybe it's another discussion. If everyone can choose their own meaning, what is the best meaning to choose? Surely, not all meanings are equally valuable/meaningful?
Life is incredibly hard. We are all born clueless, screaming and vulnerable, and eventually every single one of us will be cut down - unable to take that next breath. Somewhere between these events we might find meaning.

To me, there is nothing more meaningful than the fact that somewhere around 14 billion years ago reality as we understand it consisted of mostly amorphous, superheated clouds of gas and dust. Today the physical world has cooled down and developed ever more detailed features. It's becoming more able to more eloquently express its nature. Ditto the Earth, a molten ball of rock around 4½ billion years ago. Looking at the trends, it would seem that we denizens of the present are a link in a chain leading to ever greater wonders and hopefully fewer horrors. The universe is cooling and thus seems to be becoming a calmer and gentler place - a dynamic echoed in our own lives. Until we die, of course.
Nicely put.

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Dalek Prime » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:24 am

Obvious Leo wrote:
Greta wrote:
Risto wrote:Physicists generally agree that life doesn't have a purpose, the universe doesn't care what we do, if you will. This allows us to choose our own meaning or not choose a meaning at all. I'm not sure if a sane life is possible without a meaning. Maybe it's another discussion. If everyone can choose their own meaning, what is the best meaning to choose? Surely, not all meanings are equally valuable/meaningful?
Life is incredibly hard. We are all born clueless, screaming and vulnerable, and eventually every single one of us will be cut down - unable to take that next breath. Somewhere between these events we might find meaning.

To me, there is nothing more meaningful than the fact that somewhere around 14 billion years ago reality as we understand it consisted of mostly amorphous, superheated clouds of gas and dust. Today the physical world has cooled down and developed ever more detailed features. It's becoming more able to more eloquently express its nature. Ditto the Earth, a molten ball of rock around 4½ billion years ago. Looking at the trends, it would seem that we denizens of the present are a link in a chain leading to ever greater wonders and hopefully fewer horrors. The universe is cooling and thus seems to be becoming a calmer and gentler place - a dynamic echoed in our own lives. Until we die, of course.
Nicely put.
Nicely put, until one realizes there were no horrors experienced in the early universe, until consciousness existed to call them such, and experience them.

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:52 am

Dalek Prime wrote: Nicely put, until one realizes there were no horrors experienced in the early universe, until consciousness existed to call them such, and experience them.
I'll bet you're a barrel of laughs at a piss-up, Dalek. I realise you're going through a tough time of things in your personal life at the moment, which can't be helped by the fact that your overall world-view tends to the dark side, but you're really going to have to lighten up a bit, mate. I won't insult your intelligence or jeopardise our friendship by delivering myself of some pious homily about how wonderful life is because clearly this is not what you're feeling at the moment. Neither will I presume to instruct you on what strategies you should deploy to elevate yourself beyond this gloomy state because you're an intelligent man over the age of 21 and these are things you'll simply have to figure out for yourself. I just want you to know that I care.

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Dalek Prime » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:23 am

Obvious Leo wrote:
Dalek Prime wrote: Nicely put, until one realizes there were no horrors experienced in the early universe, until consciousness existed to call them such, and experience them.
I'll bet you're a barrel of laughs at a piss-up, Dalek. I realise you're going through a tough time of things in your personal life at the moment, which can't be helped by the fact that your overall world-view tends to the dark side, but you're really going to have to lighten up a bit, mate. I won't insult your intelligence or jeopardise our friendship by delivering myself of some pious homily about how wonderful life is because clearly this is not what you're feeling at the moment. Neither will I presume to instruct you on what strategies you should deploy to elevate yourself beyond this gloomy state because you're an intelligent man over the age of 21 and these are things you'll simply have to figure out for yourself. I just want you to know that I care.
I realize you care Leo, and I don't take it personally. Believe it or not, I'm a barrel of laughs in my own way. I'm actually not gloomy sounding one on one. I spend an inordinate amount of time counseling people on their troubles, and how to lighten their load. Even now, I'm doing my utmost to ensure my sister survives our father's upcoming death, reasonably intact.

Now, as to what I stated, it is true. Horror does not exist outside of conciousness. Unless you can show me how it does otherwise, I'll continue to state that as a truism. Don't forget; horror is a perception. No perceiver, no horror.

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Greta
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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Greta » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:45 am

Dalek Prime wrote:
Obvious Leo wrote:
Greta wrote:Life is incredibly hard. We are all born clueless, screaming and vulnerable, and eventually every single one of us will be cut down - unable to take that next breath. Somewhere between these events we might find meaning.

To me, there is nothing more meaningful than the fact that somewhere around 14 billion years ago reality as we understand it consisted of mostly amorphous, superheated clouds of gas and dust. Today the physical world has cooled down and developed ever more detailed features. It's becoming more able to more eloquently express its nature. Ditto the Earth, a molten ball of rock around 4½ billion years ago. Looking at the trends, it would seem that we denizens of the present are a link in a chain leading to ever greater wonders and hopefully fewer horrors. The universe is cooling and thus seems to be becoming a calmer and gentler place - a dynamic echoed in our own lives. Until we die, of course.
Nicely put.
Nicely put, until one realizes there were no horrors experienced in the early universe, until consciousness existed to call them such, and experience them.
They would have been horrors had we been there to experience them - but the destruction was too great for us to exist. Whatever, my intent in the post was to speak of the trends observed in organic life over the past four billion years and throughout human history rather than contemplate the apparent lack of experience of colliding stars and planets.

Put simply: most of us today have a very good chance of seeing out the day without us or our associates having our innards sucked out or chomped on as we writhe in vain. Sadly, the same can't be said for many simpler organisms. So I figure things are getting better.

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:59 am

Greta wrote:Put simply: most of us today have a very good chance of seeing out the day without us or our associates having our innards sucked out or chomped on as we writhe in vain. Sadly, the same can't be said for many simpler organisms.
A rather neat little description of how I manage to get through the day, Greta. No matter how badly it seems to be turning to shit I always manage to comfort myself with the thought that there's bound to be some poor bugger worse off than me. To know this as a fact we only need to turn on the telly and watch the news.

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Greta
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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Greta » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:12 am

Yep, people and other animals, especially those living wild.

As I've said a few time on the other forum - modern middle class and wealthier humans are probably the luckiest creatures to be born in the history of the Earth. There's not a single situation I'd prefer to the modern age. I'm happy with my soft, ergonomic, mite-resistant bed with clean cotton sheets and blankets, reliably clean and pleasant tasting water, efficient plumbing and sewerage systems, running electricity, large solar panels, safety from the elements, societal hygiene systems that control parasites plus a fairly non violent and tolerant culture.

From memory, when we spoke about this at the OPC "What have the Romans ever done for us?" came up.

Our lives dangling in the thin veneer of civilisation are obviously far from perfect, but they're miles better than days / species of yore.

I've also posted this video in the past but it nicely sums up my feelings about my human life as compared with that of simple organisms. Whatever, I find the video and music combination a poignant portrait of life and death: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT8bms2RHe8

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:38 am

Greta wrote: From memory, when we spoke about this at the OPC "What have the Romans ever done for us?" came up.
Indeed it did and the philosophies of this Monty Python masterpiece should be salutary reminders to us all that we've never had it so good. There seems to be something of a spate of "woe is me" threads running in this forum at the moment and I can't help wondering if some people might not be better advised to open their eyes and take a look at what's going on around them rather than pleasuring themselves with such an introspective and masochistic self-indulgence. Sure we've all got problems, the whole fucking world's got problems, but I'm yet to ever see a problem solved by sitting around and whining about it. Drink the cup of joy and rejoice in the wattle's bloom because you're a bloody long time dead, as my father-in-law was fond of saying.

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Greta » Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:40 am

There's widespread worry about the effects humanity has had on the rest of nature, which is understandable. Change is always difficult because we are obviously going to be most adapted to the conditions with which we're familiar. It does seem oddly bleak for those living in perhaps the safest and most comfortable conditions of any creatures that ever lived.

I notice that many people's views are like those of The Matrix's Agent Smith - humanity being "a virus" (to stay with the popular culture theme). Others claim humanity is a cancer. Virus. Cancer. Evil. Scratch the surface of these perspectives and you will probably find the "noble savage" myth, exile from Eden, and other idealised caricatures of nature.

If nature was so wonderful then why have we tried so hard to isolate ourselves from it? If nature is so great, why has the control of nature within our human environments resulted in increased health and lifespan? We're not perfect but we've been worse.

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:49 am

Nature has little to fear from humanity, Greta, and we'd do well to remember that. She'll get along just fine without us for billions of years after we slip off this mortal coil. In all likelihood we are one of the most endangered species on the planet, a sentiment with which you might be inclined to agree. A biological truth we can't escape:

" homo hominis lupus est"....Plautus. "Man is the wolf of man".

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Dubious » Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:54 am

Greta wrote: If nature was so wonderful then why have we tried so hard to isolate ourselves from it? If nature is so great, why has the control of nature within our human environments resulted in increased health and lifespan? We're not perfect but we've been worse.
This seems like the normal conventional view. Yes! Nature is wonderful and creative beyond imagination. Yes! Nature is a disgusting old bitch who can be even meaner than we are appalling even the likes of Darwin who was forced to the conclusion that maybe there was no God after all.

We have never 'controlled' nature only worked to mitigate it's worst consequences. If we actually ever control nature it's us who will be on its assassination list. All it has to do is slowly erode resources essential to life. But it will likely happen much quicker than that since in the nature of things those who have the power to 'take' invariably do when it becomes a matter of 'their' existence at the expense of those less powerful. In this scenario, the most technology can do is to save a very small slice of the population which becomes a decision process over which the elite also have control.

Will it happen? We all hope not. Are humans stupid enough to let it happen to the point where it can no-longer be stopped and cry about it afterwords? History does not give one much reason to hope when the nitty comes down to gritty.

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Obvious Leo » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:28 am

There is certainly a significant argument which could be put that any species which develops the capacity to destroy itself will almost certainly do so. It's hard not to be persuaded by this argument on the balance of the evidence but "almost" certainly is not the same as certainly. I reckon this very century is the clincher. If we manage to get through this one we could theoretically keep going all the way up to the big crunch.

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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Dubious » Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:32 am

Obvious Leo wrote: If we manage to get through this one we could theoretically keep going all the way up to the big crunch.
...unless there's another inhabitable Universe around the corner somewhere that we can fold our tents and silently move into. I suspect we'd welcome a big crunch then as much as we would welcome being crunched now. Leaches like to keep on leeching.

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Greta
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Re: What Life Meaning Is The Most Valuable?

Post by Greta » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:21 am

Dubious wrote:
Obvious Leo wrote: If we manage to get through this one we could theoretically keep going all the way up to the big crunch.
...unless there's another inhabitable Universe around the corner somewhere that we can fold our tents and silently move into. I suspect we'd welcome a big crunch then as much as we would welcome being crunched now. Leaches like to keep on leeching.
Yes Leo, I suspect that this coming period will be pivotal.

Dubious, we aren't like leeches, at least not exclusively so. We are behaving like any other animal with our level of empowerment. Other animals don't fall short of world domination through decency and restraint - they fall short because they have more limited powers.

In fact, our animal nature is exactly the problem. We need to become more distinctly human - less inclined to fearfully and thoughtlessly take more than we needed or than is prudent, to operate with a "lighter touch". The process is under way so the question is how quickly we adapt and how quickly climate change unfolds.

It is true that technology will probably only save a small proportion of people. The alternative is that we are wiped out altogether. In the end it's our information and stories that must be preserved if this current era isn't to be the pinnacle of human progress. Our history and knowledge is not going to be preserved by wild people.

Other habitable worlds are a pipe dream for now. Rather than terraform Mars it makes more sense to re-green the Earth. One day the descendants of humans will have to find a new home but that time is most likely the best part of a billion years away.

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