What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Discussion of articles that appear in the magazine.

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Belinda
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Belinda »

Spheres of Balance wrote:


Y
ou're not paying attention, the answer is "reciprocity."

Here so it's easier for you:
reciprocity [res-uh-pros-i-tee]
noun
1. a reciprocal state or relation.
2. reciprocation; mutual exchange.
3. the relation or policy in commercial dealings between countries by which corresponding advantages or privileges are granted by each country to the citizens of the other.
Is that better?
May I refine that a little? A liberal religion would have it that reciprocity becomes universal to the extent that one scatters one's bread upon the waters. This is taking reciprocity even further from the narrowly tribal reciprocal than socialism; if there ever was such as the "narrowly tribal "reciprocal. Isn't is well known that generous hospitality to strangers and travellers is practised by all societies?

Many important stories I have ever heard, the betrayal of Jesus, the tragedy of Glencoe, the sin of Shakespeare's Macbeth, and so on, have been in the theme of mutual reciprocal trust, even between strangers, and how betrayal of that reciprocal trust is a sin against mankind.
Adriana
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Adriana »

Scientific views on the meaning of life tend to focus more on the grand scale of the existence of the universe and how the existence of life fits in with that. Right from the Big Bang through the development of the universe as we know it, the nature of the universe has been studied.

Of specific interest is how life began in a universe that otherwise seems vast and lifeless. Many in the scientific community feel that the meaning of life is nothing more than to replicate DNA and pass on genetics.

Others have the view that life and humanity don’t exist for any particular reason, but is simply a product of evolution. That doesn’t leave us with much to strive for.

But while the laws of physics guide the existence of the universe and life within it, there is still the question of consciousness and free will. It is that consciousness that allows us to contemplate our existence and exert free will. It is that consciousness that allows us to consider the meaning of life. But how did that consciousness come to live inside our brains?

Neuroscientists have suggested consciousness is somehow the product of the workings of the brain and its neurons. Theoretical physicists have suggested consciousness is related to spacetime and is held in place by the electromagnetic field generated by the brain.

When it comes down to it, no one really knows how the consciousness came to exist. Science has not been able to determine the meaning of life—at least not yet. And it is for just this reason that many religious and philosophical views have been brought to life over the millennia

https://haptips.com/meaning-life-what-i ... g-of-life/
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

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Dubious wrote: Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:03 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:36 amBut even though you would surely insist humans are just a kind of animal, you seem to feel some special responsibility devolves upon us to care.... :shock:
...absolutely! As a mind which has retreated behind a 2000 year old text when morality was dictated by local customs, I’m not in the least surprised this would shock you!
Disingenuous. Ad hominem and rhetorical. We can do without that. I'm not attacking you.

But you're dodging the problem, not answering it. The problem is that there is no basis on which to tell us mere human "animals" that they have moral obligations. What is your warrant for doing so?
Interesting. You seem to imagine we're "so much more important" that you can expect us to have a sense of moral duty not to harm things. But you don't expect that from anything else.
While we are indeed human and another “kind of animal” we shouldn’t forget the meaning of “humanity” inherent in the word. It’s obvious there is a vast difference between us and the rest of creation and it is precisely this which invokes the responsibility to acknowledge the suffering we inflict on other lesser compatriots which accompany our existence on this planet. It is a difference which forces a gratuitous duty into one that is absolute. [/quote]
I agree, essentially. But now no one can any longer say we are just animals. Whatever else we are, it's far more and far different than any other entity on the planet. If it's not, then such responsibilities simply do not devolve upon us.

I agree.
I realize this must sound foreign to you but in fact, you and others who have subordinated themselves to God for the last 2000 years have been operating precisely on this principle in your claim that god loves us, cares for us, has mercy on us, etc.

Somewhat one-sided of you that you’re not willing to pass the favor!
Not foreign at all. I just don't think it's a terribly good point. I "pass on the favours" because God exists; what obligation does an Atheist have to do the same?
Omnipotence does not have the option of compassion as if it were a mere decision to be merciful.
This is self-contradiction: if "omnipotence" has anything, it would surely be all the options. If it weren't, it wouldn't be "omni" at all, nor "potence."

But "omnipotence" when applied to God, cannot be offered as an unexplained concept. The Biblical God specifies things He will not do, and thus cannot do (not by a lack of power, but by nature of His faithfulness to His own character). What we should rather say is "omnipotence in all godly- consistent enterprises," not blank omnipotence. However, let that be.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Immanuel Can »

SpheresOfBalance wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:23 am
if we're Atheists? Nobody's ever been able to give me a reason. Maybe you can.
You're not paying attention, the answer is "reciprocity."
Non-answer. You forgot the follow-up question.

Why is any Atheist morally obligated to reciprocate anything?
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Vendetta
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Vendetta »

Sure, reciprocity may exist
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:11 pm
SpheresOfBalance wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:23 am
if we're Atheists? Nobody's ever been able to give me a reason. Maybe you can.
You're not paying attention, the answer is "reciprocity."
Non-answer. You forgot the follow-up question.

Why is any Atheist morally obligated to reciprocate anything?
Sure, reciprocity may exist within the realm of Atheists as a means of self-preservation, but there is no moral obligation or standard that they are held to.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Harbal wrote: Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:51 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:25 pm And yet, if "in compliance with their conscience" means "automatically morally good,"
I'm not making any claims about the quality of the morality that stems from the conscience, but neither would I accept that anything claimed to be the will of God is automatically morally creditworthy.
What code or moral facts sheet would you refer to in order to establish what, about God, was "creditworthy" or not? Where would you get such a thing?
there's no difference between the claim that self-esteem makes people conscientious, and the claim that it makes them good.
I am citing self-esteem, or the attainment of it, as an incentive. It could well be an incentive to do something bad, but, in the case that I am making, it's the incentive to follow the conscience. You said an atheist had no reason to act in accordance with his conscience, I am putting forward self-esteem as the reason.
No, I said no such thing. Nor would I.

Atheists can be very conscientious, or not. But how do we establish that what their consciences are telling them is "good," if "good" and "conscientious" are not identical? And we have established that they are not necessarily so. I doubt it would be much consolation to the victims of a genocide, embezzlement or rape if their oppressor said, "Well, I felt they deserved it, so I did it in good conscience?"
I am neither saying that self-esteem, per se, is a good nor a bad thing or that it can tell us anything about a person's moral standards.
Okay, I agree. But then, why mention it? It's not telling us anything about the moral situation, apparently.
But if the implication is that conscientiousness is not associated with good,
I'm sorry, IC, I don't know where this particular implication that you have identified has actually come from.
I wasn't saying you would make it. I only wanted to indicate what would happen, or what would follow logically, IF someone went that way.
It might be a bad conscience that they are motivated to follow.
That is true, this is just a fact of life that we have to accept, just as we have to accept that there will always be those who do bad things in the name of God.
Why would we accept evil? It may be that some kind of evil will always be around; but this is surely no argument for ignoring the evil that we can identify and address, no?

But yes, people do bad stuff "in the name of God." Right you are. Just like, if I were cunning, I could get into your bank account by doing it "in your name." That's not to say I'd have any right to do it, or that if you caught me I wouldn't be just as culpable as the scoundrel who robbed you at gunpoint.

There isn't much to say about someone who does evil "in the name of God," except that he isn't acting in the name of God.
for we know that high-self-esteem people are often very bad. And their consciences may be too.
Well, actually, I don't know that high-self-esteem people are often very bad, I'll have to take your word for that and trust you, I'm sure your conscience wouldn't let you say it if it weren't true. However, it doesn't alter the fact that there are those with a good conscience who will feel obliged to adhere to it out of their need to maintain their sense of self-esteem.
Maybe. But they're never a worry. The worry is those who have a good conscience but don't obey it, or those who have a bad conscience that needs correcting. If everyone was good all the time, we wouldn't even have fields like Ethics or Moral Philosophy. We would never need them.
I suppose we could argue that conscience never misleads. But I don't think that's an easy claim to sustain. There seem to be plenty of people who feel very self-certain about very wrong or bad attitudes and behaviours.
Yes and there are people who are very certain that God wants them to do things that you and I would consider abominable.
That word "abominable" is a very strong moral pejorative. And while I agree you are right to use it (in the case, say, of jihadis or conquistadors), I can't see where an Atheist or agnostic would find the legitimative basis to show it was warranted.

After all, in an Atheist world, "abominable" is just a synonym for "not my preference, but not intrinsically or objectively bad". But I doubt you want to say that the abuses occasioned under God's name are all limited to being merely "not my preference." I think you want to assert them as very, very bad...with the implication, as well, that there would be something morally deficient about anyone who failed to understand them as such.

And I agree. But how would you justify that word?
Last edited by Immanuel Can on Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

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Vendetta wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:42 pm Sure, reciprocity may exist
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:11 pm
SpheresOfBalance wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:23 am
You're not paying attention, the answer is "reciprocity."
Non-answer. You forgot the follow-up question.

Why is any Atheist morally obligated to reciprocate anything?
Sure, reciprocity may exist within the realm of Atheists as a means of self-preservation, but there is no moral obligation or standard that they are held to.
Right. And if one of those Atheists decides his "self-preservation" is made better by not having to "reciprocate" kindnesses he has received from others, but rather from exploiting their beneficence while having none to perform of his own, who is there who will say he's "wrong"?
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Vendetta
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Vendetta »

Harbal wrote: Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:51 pm Yes and there are people who are very certain that God wants them to do things that you and I would consider abominable.
Just because one believes that God wants them to do one thing, doesn't mean that's what God wants them to do, or that it's morally right by God's standards.
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Harbal
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Harbal »

Vendetta wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:07 pm Just because one believes that God wants them to do one thing, doesn't mean that's what God wants them to do, or that it's morally right by God's standards.
You are missing the point.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Harbal wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:52 pm
Vendetta wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:07 pm Just because one believes that God wants them to do one thing, doesn't mean that's what God wants them to do, or that it's morally right by God's standards.
You are missing the point.
I must be too. It seems to me that that is exactly the point.

If God exists, why would we assume that everybody who pulls out the "God" card does so legitimately? I'd need to see that shown.
Belinda
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Belinda »

Immanuel Can wrote:
Right. And if one of those Atheists decides his "self-preservation" is made better by not having to "reciprocate" kindnesses he has received from others, but rather from exploiting their beneficence while having none to perform of his own, who is there who will say he's "wrong"?
Top
The leaders of the society, the common people, all people who rely upon others in communal efforts such as trading, professional services, selling one's labour for reward and so on, will say that the antisocial man is wrong. Immanuel Can, a society is a group of people who trust each other to work together. Antisocial people are either nuisances or criminals.

The punishing and rewarding deity is useful for rulers who need to keep the status quo either for selfish reasons or when the society is threatened by another society.
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Harbal
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Harbal »

Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:54 pm That word "abominable" is a very strong moral pejorative. And while I agree you are right to use it (in the case, say, of jihadis or conquistadors), I can't see where an Atheist or agnostic would find the legitimative basis to show it was warranted.
You say that the conscience is not a reliable provider of moral standards, I agree, it isn't, but it's all we've got. The jihadi, who's acts you say I am justified in describing as abominable, is acting out what he believes to be the wishes of God. He believes he is morally justified in his actions because it is God's will. So, I would say that following your own conscience is no more prone to lead you astray than following God.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Belinda wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:59 pm Immanuel Can wrote:
Right. And if one of those Atheists decides his "self-preservation" is made better by not having to "reciprocate" kindnesses he has received from others, but rather from exploiting their beneficence while having none to perform of his own, who is there who will say he's "wrong"?
Top
The leaders of the society, the common people, all people who rely upon others in communal efforts such as trading, professional services, selling one's labour for reward and so on, will say that the antisocial man is wrong.


So what? If you'll pardon me, what is it about having a cluster of people agreeing with you that makes you "better" than the rugged individual who goes his own way and breaks the demands of the herd, or of the total egoist who spits at the rest and says, "Society be damned." All three are "good" as Atheists...or at least, not "bad," for Atheism warrants no such terms.

There's not a thing in Atheist suppositions that imply that the one is a stitch better than the other.
Immanuel Can, a society is a group of people who trust each other to work together. Antisocial people are either nuisances or criminals.
Foucault (following Nietzsche) would say such things are just power-moves by larger groups of people to enforce their will on others by de-normalizing them. How do you know he's not right about that? Maybe "antisocial" or "nuisance" is just an Atheist word for "someone we want to disempower, sideline or eliminate."

At one time, the majority of society agreed that women who wanted to vote were just such "nuisances," and regarded them as "antisocial." Aren't you glad their judgment wasn't the final one?
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Harbal
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Harbal »

Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:57 pm
Harbal wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:52 pm
Vendetta wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:07 pm Just because one believes that God wants them to do one thing, doesn't mean that's what God wants them to do, or that it's morally right by God's standards.
You are missing the point.
I must be too.
Yes you are.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Harbal wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:06 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:54 pm That word "abominable" is a very strong moral pejorative. And while I agree you are right to use it (in the case, say, of jihadis or conquistadors), I can't see where an Atheist or agnostic would find the legitimative basis to show it was warranted.
You say that the conscience is not a reliable provider of moral standards, I agree, it isn't, but it's all we've got. The jihadi, who's acts you say I am justified in describing as abominable, is acting out what he believes to be the wishes of God. He believes he is morally justified in his actions because it is God's will. So, I would say that following your own conscience is no more prone to lead you astray than following God.
That would be a good argument, IF you could show that the jihadi was actually following God. Otherwise, all you've shown is that misguided people are quite dangerous sometimes. And as much as I deplore Islam, I'd have to say that statistically it cannot hold a candle to the atrocities perpetrated by Atheist regimes...not even close, actually.

So let me suggest an axiom a very wise Person once said: "By their fruits you shall know them." (Matt. 7:16) It's not who SAYS he follows God who does; it's the person who actually obeys God.
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