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The meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything

Discussion in 'Small Talk' started by Tatile, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. Disclaimer: This is to talk about one's own beliefs and to compare/contrast with those that come before you. It's an exercise in fun and discussion - NOT a place to bring one's prejudices about anything and everything.

    Weird thoughts tend to come when making sandwiches - I had one such this morning, but it's a 'belief', I suppose, that I've been having for a while. Obviously, it's a bit of an odd one.

    I'm an agnostic, for the most part through apathy, coupling this with the will to ask one-to-many questions, my belief system (if you want to call it that) is probably quite at odds with 'most people's'.

    So, onto meaning, or rather, the lack thereof? It's my personal opinion that there is more majesty to existance if it were random happenstance - an occurence of this and that being 'just right' for the building blocks of life to click and for everything to tumble down into what we have here, today. I suppose also this means I don't believe in their being an over arching meaning of-and-to life - I have no problems with this, in fact, I prefer it. The idea that everything does and should have purpose and meaning is, to me, a rather depressing one; it implies a lack of freedom and the possibility of not being able to achieve that goal? all the more damaging for it is the reason of your existance!

    I wouldn't call myself a Nihilist - there is a 'truth' to our selves, but I don't believe it to something external and all encompassing - more that it's something that we define by ourselves for ourselves; a meaning and a purpose that comes from within.

    Well, what's your opinion? Do you agree or disagree with my fallible assessment of the Everything? What do you think is going on - or not.
     
  2. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    Fourty-two.

    Now, what's the question again?

    (Seriously, Tatile. You start a discussion with that title, you should expect that response from SOMEONE.)

    I'm not even sure what my views on the meaning of everything is. I just know that life as a biological phenomenon is awesome, and I'm here to research the fuck out of it. ^^
     
  3. Geez, Stel, you stole the answer right out of my head.

    42.

    In my opinion, each person creates their own meaning to life, as life has no meaning, unless you count 'reproduce and die.'
     
  4. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    Why do I exist you ask?

    It's because roughly 10 billion years ago give or take matter exploded and created the universe.

    Around 5 billion years ago cosmic dust left over from a super nova spiraled together to form the sun and orbiting planets.

    4.5 billion years ago conditions were ripe for the right molecules to combine just perfectly creating the first cell(s). As the cell(s) multiplied, new species were born over the next several eons.

    After countless Milena, evolution spit out a creature called Homo sapiens. Generations later, two particular members of this species of opposite genders got together for procreation. Nine months later the female gave birth to a psychotic creature that wasn't exactly human.

    Was this thing a new stage in evolution or simply an enlightened monkey? Who knows. What can be ascertained is that this creature, granted the name Psycho Monkey, will do everything he can to change the world for the better.

    That is the reason I exist and the meaning of life.
     
  5. Magpie

    Magpie Feathered Overseer
    Staff Member Moderator

    In my humble opinion, the meaning of life is to live it to the best of your ability. It doesn't need any other meaning, nor should it have one. Life's one of those things that shouldn't need a meaning or explanation, it should just be. The way I see it, only humans question 'what they are', 'why are we here', 'what's my purpose?'. Everything else just gets on with things and just 'is'. In a way, we prevent ourselves from freedom because we get so bogged down with questions that we forget to just be and live.

    I've always liked the idea that we're here to learn something, like say the meaning of this lifetime is to learn 'hardship' or something. I also through my love for Egyptian mythology love some of their explanations as to the Universe and beyond. Egyptian mythology is very linked to the stars and when you look into it they had some pretty nifty and accurate information on how this planet works and it's place in everything.

    [The idea that everything does and should have purpose and meaning is, to me, a rather depressing one; it implies a lack of freedom and the possibility of not being able to achieve that goal? all the more damaging for it is the reason of your existance![/quote]

    I wouldn't say having a purpose takes away freedom. I look at it as if we all have a path, with a beginning and an end. If no choice or freedom existed, you'd walk in a straight line and everything would be 'perfect'. However, we have choice. Even small ones can have life-changing effects. No one walks straight, we hit crossroads and forks and some people wander off all together. My purpose in life is to reach the end, but the route is up to me and the choices I make. One could argue that choice is an illusion but I really can't be bothered to go all Matrix-ish on the subject.
     
  6. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    There is no spoon.

    Sporks, however, are in relative abundance.
     
  7. Cogito egro sum. I defy you to prove there is anything but me :p Naive Realism is just that and Berkley's 'because God' isn't all that much of a reason, rather an excuse.
     
  8. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    Finally in a good mindset to answer this thread. I've been wanting to since it was first posted.

    Magpie, your answer is lovely. I think it closely matches my own in certain ways. I also agree with that statement that if everything does indeed have meaning and purpose, it wouldn't necessarily take away our "freedom" because within our scope of existence this IS our freedom. It's beyond our understanding. Still, even with a predestined outlook on life I'd believe choices come into play, too. Maybe everything we do is destined to occur, but several destinies along the "path" (as Magpie put it) could exist as well. Every major choice could lead you down a different path, but all were possible futures for yourself. Even in most organized religions there's a belief about how choices ultimately shape one's life, isn't there? If not, I wouldn't be surprised. I'm not a follower of any organized religions.

    Now, for my real answer. I'm very open minded with these sorts of discussions, so while I have views on predestined lives I actually don't deeply believe in any of them myself. Mmm, yes, what I wrote above are not my strict beliefs on anything. If anything, what I said about life being beyond our understanding is the truest sentence.

    The more I learn, the more I see, the more I experience... The more I believe that humans will never fully understand why they exist, what the universe truly is, and everything. You can only work with the tools of knowledge you've been given, and I don't believe we've even been given a sliver of them. I never deny that I believe in something more than this life. Is it God, gods, or just an entity or force that exists in every fiber of the universe itself? I'm not sure. I just know there's something, and I've felt that way since I was a small child without being told such. My family was never religious.

    So this is how I view life, as I've said before in other threads... It's like what Magpie said. Life is meant to be lived. There are ups and downs, and we make our choices based upon them, but that's our life. Statements like "I feel like my life still hasn't even begun" or "I don't have a life..." I usually comment on for different reasons, but in my eyes your life began the moment you were brought into this world. Possibly even earlier than that. It doesn't end until the day you die, and even then... Maybe it continues on even after death. I'd be lying if I said I didn't believe so, I'm just not sure how. But, while you're living, I believe people should live true to themselves. No regrets. Regret is one of the worst things we can have, even moreso than grief. Grief is forced upon us. Regret is a result of our own actions. So, live how you feel is right. Do what makes you happy. Don't let pre-constructed societal stereotypes hold you down and make you believe there's a certain way to live. Most of them exist simply to control people to begin with.

    But even with this "live how you choose" mentality, I believe all life is precious, and I think it's ignorant to view yourself as the most important being on the planet simply because we're trapped alone inside our own minds. Everyone has pain. Everyone experiences sadness. There is no excuse for you intentionally causing someone else grief just to make yourself feel better. So, yes... live how you choose, but treat people as you'd want to be treated... Really, in the end, the morals we give ourselves are the only ones that matter (there is no guiding hand keeping you under control while you live), I'd just hope that's one everyone can appreciate.

    I think I answered the question with this? Maybe? I'll hope so.
     
  9. Rex

    Rex

    I am an Atheist, many people hate me for this fact. My beliefs are similar to Psycho's. The universe was created in the "Big Bang," about 14 billion years ago. about 5 billion years ago the Sun formed. The Earth formed along with the rest of the planets. An event sparked off the creation of single-celled life. These evolved into the creatures we see today, including Humans. As time goes on, many of these creatures will evolve further or die off. Until all life on the planet is extinguished by the Sun, by freak accident, or by Man's own doing. Life is what you make of it. Each person is expected to do what they want with their lives. The Universe is, well, everything. Eventually it too will die, like everything in it.

    Almost every Christian I know makes a habit of bashing my belief and attempting to convert me. So if you don't bash my beliefs I won't bash yours, okay?
     
  10. First poster from an organized religion standpoint! I'm going to look bad or something, but muwhatever... who cares?

    *Pops neck* Alright. *Pops fingers* So. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka the Mormon Church, and to get one thing straight, it's a Christian religion (even has Jesus Christ in the proper name...). So we believe and worship God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Another important doctrine we hold to be true is that of eternal progression, or the Plan of Salvation. Very basically, it's that at one point we were spirits, then God, our Heavenly Father, come and helped us gain bodies so we could get better and hopefully become Gods ourselves. God himself went through this process.
    This point of life on Earth is to test us. When our spirits entered our bodies, we went through a veil of forgetfulness, so we could be tested; if we remembered what it was like to be with our Heavenly Father, it would be much too easy. We have to choose to be good so that we can return to Him and be happy. But you're free to choose what ever you really want to, that's our free agency. I'll elaborate if the thread wants to go there.

    And if you didn't read that wall of text, or got confused along the way, here's a scripture that pretty much sums the whole thing up in one sentence:
    Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy. - 2nd Nephi 2:25 (Book of Mormon)

    Also, 42.
     
  11. Thank you Rayn, that was very insightful. Before now I knew nothing of Mormonism besides it's sobriety?

    I've always found religious points of view on this subject to be interesting, but I probably shouldn't say why as it might offend some, which of course I don't like to do unless it's with good reason.

    Tony - 'do unto others', which some seem to forget.
     
  12. I'm a bit of an agnostic, I think that the fact that everything in our world seems to work so perfectly cannot be by some freak accident, there must be something out there in the great beyond that was responsible.

    As for life, I'm really not sure, but I like Silver Magpies theory that this life is maybe a starting point for us, where we learn hardship or compassion or some rubbish. I'm also one for the parallel realities theory I heard a while back, where that after we die, we live our lives again, though not quite in the same way.

    My Goal? To make sure I have no regrets when I reach the end of my journey.
     
  13. Why must everything have a meaning?

    I think it is human nature to seek out reason and rationalize everything, but once we understand the big questions we will no longer live alongside the wonder of our own existence. Life would be so much less special if you know its purpose, much in the same way that life is meaningless without death.

    42, as was mentioned, is a pretty accurate concept. The numerical value is produced because the question is not defined. We know what we are asking when we say "what is the meaning of life" but the question itself doesn't make any sense whatever. By attempting to answer a flawed question you are just going to end up frustrating yourself.

    In my opinion, why bother trying to find why life exists when you could simply live life to the fullest?
     
  14. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    Because it's fun. Duh.
     
  15. Lol. Well that may be true.

    The fact remains that, though it may be fun to search, in my opinion the search will never reach a conclusion.
     
  16. I honestly think the only meaning of existence is to keep the species alive as long as possible, until the day when some big cataclysmic event occurs and all life perishes.
    In short, my opinion is that you reproduce and then become fertilizer for the plants. As in, you die.
    (And on the topic of faith, I am an atheist.)
     
  17. That is rather the point. It's like all artists (tend, unless you are Tracey Emin) to strive for perfection but know that actually reaching it is a fallacy: once you've written the perfect story, created the perfect sculpture, what more point is there? Improvement? I think not.

    As does the same apply to Philosophy in much that regard; oh? you have found the meaning to the purpose of all and it's the Good? What am I supposed to do now? Question reality - wait you've found that out as well? We can't theorize on i and other imaginary numbers, maths isn't quite like morality.

    *slaps Plato*

    Good thing we don't believe him :)
     
  18. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    On that subject, Douglas Adams once said that there is a theory that if anyone ever discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will immediately disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable... and that there is another theory which states that this has already happened.

    Indeed, in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (to those few poor unfortunate souls among you who haven't read it yet), the story goes that a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings decided that they had enough of the uncertainties of life, and decided that they were going to find the answer. And so they built a gigantic super-computer the size of a small city named Deep Thought to calculate it.

    Once Deep Thought was completed, two technicians were charged with turning it on and asking it to find The Answer. The ultimate answer to the question of Life, the Universe and Everything. Deep Thought claimed it was 'Tricky' but he could do it - he just needed time to think.

    At that point, two representatives of the Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Sages, Luminaries and Other Thinking Persons burst into the room, demanding the immediate shutting down of Deep Thought - because the discovery of the answer would put them out of business, let alone out of things to think about - and threaten a strike.

    Deep Thought responds that it will take him an estimated seven and a half million years to find the answer, and that these philosophers can go speculate what he'll come up with - effectively ending the crisis.

    For seven and a half million years Deep Thought calculated, until finally, the Day of the Answer came, where Deep Thought finally announced triumphantly that the answer to the ultimate question was, indeed, Forty-Two.

    And that they didn't actually say what the question was.

    And so they built ANOTHER computer, one so large and complex that it was often mistaken for a planet - especially to the organic lifeforms living on it who were part of its computation matrix - to calculate what the actual question was.

    Sadly, at the critical moment of readout the planet was demolished to make room for a hyperspace bypass (though that too was a coverup, but that's bureaucracy for you). >>;

    Honestly, it's a good thing no one knows what the universe is for. Would make life a lot less interesting. Kinda hard to contemplate the meaning of life when it's bloody given. XD
     
  19. I'm one of the few (it seems) people who have reconciled scientific and religious beliefs. The easiest way to sum up that belief of mine would be to say that evolution as described by scientific theory is the greatest proof that God exists. So rather then debate evolution vs intelligent design, I believe evolution was God's intelligent design. Religion and science are simply trying to say the same things. One looks at how, the other why. I don't feel the need to put the two in conflict with one and other. I believe in God, but I also have faith in the scientific process.

    Now, why are we here? What's the meaning of life? Well I'm of the opinion that God created the Earth for humanity to live their lives to the fullest. Rather then trying to repent and spend our lives to prepare for an afterlife we should be working to make the life we have now, on Earth, better. That's what the meaning of life is, to me anyway. God has given us this ball of dirt and water floating through space to call our own, and our "meaning" is to make the most out of our lives on it.

    I don't hate anyone simply based on their own religious beliefs, or lack thereof. My people have dealt with enough of that for myself to never wish it on anyone else. As long as we're all tolerant of each other's beliefs, we should all be fine.

    EDIT-
    Also, this is quite an experience. There's a very similar topic on an other forum I visit, and well, it's degenerated into a shouting match. So it's nice to see this topic discussed in a calm, respectful manner.
     
  20. Well agent zero I too believe that science and god and go hand and hand but tatile mentioned Plato what he came up with is the analogy of the cave which is word confusing but what he basically says is that humans will never understand god so stop thinking about because people will kill you if it contradicts what they believe.

    regarding death "Neither the living nor the dead should think about death for the former is not and the latter is no more" - Epicurus


    The meaning of life though is so simple that a mean can see it unfortunately we all are blind hoping to be leaded by a one eyed color blind person
     
  21. The Cave, the analogy of truth... That people who are not true Philosophers cannot see beyond the shadow puppets of this world to the true light of the Sun - the ultimate Form, The Good. This is the point of Plato's Gaurdians - true philosophers, trained from childhood to become people able to understand the Forms, the Good and Truth. True knowledge is not accesible to the layman - whilst the layman is the majority it is certainly not a case of 'never'.

    God, Good, Truth - they are well just different names of the same thing. Finding them is to be done 'disinteresedly' - which I do believe Nietzsche said once upon a time.
     
  22. I'm just going to say fourty two, looks like there are some HHGTTG fans out there.
     

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