Existence: What is the point?

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by usfan, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    It is the philosophical question of the ages. Yet in all this time, we have not arrived at a definitive answer, or even a consensus. Our instincts are pretty basic:

    1. Survival.
    2. Reproduction.
    3. Play.

    These 3 things are the central motivations for most of the things we do. ..at least they are the first things we are focused on. If we're hungry, wet, or cold, we tend to address those things, first. After that, we engage in other things that do not necessarily fit into the first two basic goals. We can call it play, or amusements, or hobbies.. some are physical things, some mental. Many of us have hobbies that are simply extensions of the base instincts. Hunting, fishing, & cooking are big hobbies for humans. We do not do it simply for survival, but for fun. Then there are the house hobbies.. decorating, setting up a 'nest', home remodeling.. i suppose clothes & fashion hobbies are in the same vein, though they also cross over into the other 'hobby' of reproduction.

    Reproduction is the base instinct, but sex is also a hobby or pastime.. it also becomes something we do for play & amusement. Obviously, we do not procreate everytime we pursue or engage in sex.. many times, if not most, we want to avoid that aspect of it. But interaction with the opposite sex is a major motivation for much of our lives.

    Then there are the other things we do that do not directly relate to either survival or reproduction. Travel, games, reading, mental or physical challenges, sports & competition.. these kinds of things we do for fun.

    But some times in our lives, we stop & ask ourselves: Is this it? Is that all there is?

    That question usually brings up more philosophical reasons for our existence. And this usually includes the question of a supreme being. Is there a god? Is there something or someone beyond our sensory realm? It is very ironic that this most basic question for our existence remains in such dispute. But it brings up an observation that should be evident.

    If there is a god, he has hidden himself so as to remain a mystery.

    Humans have argued for millinea over his nature, traits, & even existence. The central reason we search for god is we want to know if our existence here is all there is, or is there an afterlife? The survival instinct is great, & the prospect of eternal death & non-existence is unsettling. We want to live. So then the question arises:

    Is there a god, or have we 'created' him in response to our fear of death?

    We cannot empirically prove there is a god, nor can we disprove him. Some people have claimed contact with god, but those are personal anecdotes & are not empirically verifiable by the rest of us. Logically, we do not know. Subjectively, based on our life experiences, background, & information we've received, we might have a belief. Many others will share & corroborate that belief. But it is a logical conclusion & simple observation that we do not know. There is not even a consensus, even if truth depended on that, which it does not.

    Now, from their philosophical basis, people have concluded duties or purposes for their lives, beyond the basics. Some have concluded that helping other people.. giving of their labor to meet other's basic needs is something 'good'. Most people give from their abundance, if they have enough to share, but some give altruistically, even sacrificing their own basic needs to help others. Some have concluded that others can be exploited for personal ambition or their pursuit of 'more'. They don't mind taking advantage of others, or using them to meet or exceed their basic needs. Generally, we call this 'bad'. While there are extremes, most people fall in the middle somewhere. They give & help others, but they will also take advantage at times. Few, if any, are all one or the other. Somewhere in the middle is also the instinct to coexist with others.. a herd instinct for mutual survival & preservation.

    I hope no one is expecting me to answer this question, or to provide deep insight into the meaning of life. I'm only providing a perspective.. an overview of our existence. I also think our instincts AND beliefs motivate us more than we realize.

    Think about your life.. your thoughts & actions. What are your basic motivations for the things you do, say, & even think? Why do you believe the way you do, & how much do those beliefs provide the basis for your thoughts & actions?
     
  2. Bishadi

    Bishadi Banned

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    yep. We are right now, if awake, in the heaven of being aware of our very existence.

    You're there, right now.



    yes.... instinct, is huge as the life, just wants to continue (to live). ie..... life: purposed to continue (once started, it intends to continue)

    Now 'we' the conscious life, wake up and know we are here. We are just a life, within nature, capable of conscious awareness.

    The greatest quest of mankind has been felt by each and everyone of us at some point in our lives; understanding.

    The reason is to understand what is the absolute in right and wrong. Many don't see this, but that is where the 'understanding' that is sought, is derived from within each of us. We come to a spot where we wonder, "did I do the right thing?"

    I have an opinion and have yet to find fault in the philosophical applications.

    life: purposed to continue

    good (actions a conscious life can cause to exist): support life to continue. In such that you (I/we) are light upon mass, capable of causing actions within the universe, that can exist beyond our days of conscious awareness (awake). I can water a tree, that begins a whole group of living processes to live far longer than my days of heaven (awake). I can procreate and live into the next generation.

    by choice.


    bad: loss to the common . Easy to verify. Measure a lie, a murder, adultery.. etc. A false witness, can mislead people to war (as an example).


    Measure the philosophical approach by applying yourself to system.







    .
     
  3. stig42

    stig42 New Member

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    because




    and that's as close as you get every time you come up with something that to can be asked the same question what's the point
     
  4. clarkatticus

    clarkatticus New Member

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    we exist, that is real. why must there be a reason to drive us? of course curiosity often compels us to ask why we exist but assigning a deity to everything we don't fully comprehend is pointless and often counter productive. there are so many simple joys in life from a good steak to hot monkey sex I cannot imagine dwelling and fighting on unprovable fantasies. try believing in yourself, take responsibility to that which you can affect. Pick up that bag on the street, tell your neighbor her new hair-do is great (even though you are looking at her breasts), read your grandchild to sleep, sling some hash at a local homeless shelter, you'd be surprised how good you feel later. all without a thought of existence.
     
  5. mutmekep

    mutmekep New Member

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    Intelligence is a by-product of our evolutionary traits , we are built for energy efficiency and reproduction and this is all . Human perception is usually based in reason rather than instinct , we don't have those large energy hungry brains for nothing.
    Life is pointless but short so we have to strive to give it a meaning and a purpose , a personal meaning and a personal purpose . Under this concept i have my own set of morals / ethics and i act accordingly not because of some punishment / reward in the afterlife but because this is me and how my personality has grown to react .
    There is no good and evil in the universe and in like 99% (or more) of it you would die instantly . Human societies rely in cooperation much more than they rely in competition so the concepts of good and bad were created to signify acceptable and unacceptable behaviours ; in reality such thing isn't needed. For example humans had almost identical brains with us 200.000 years ago but only put them into action after Toba erupted and most of them died out , only the strongest ~20000 survived and they started our civilisation .
    Potentially by going "evil" you can eradicate "the fat" of mankind giving a new boost to the species through the strongest survivors .
    Potentially by banning war , defeating all diseases and spread cooperation and tolerance we can create a big genetic pool that will give birth to more advanced species one day.
    See that good and evil are two sides of the same coin and as in the universe so in earth no way is better from another.
     
  6. Prof_Sarcastic

    Prof_Sarcastic New Member

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    Is there necessarily an intrinsic point? Maybe the point that we ascribe to it is the only point it has.
     
  7. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    .. a little vague, but i get some of what you're saying.. i think. :)

    But why this 'quest for understanding?' Why are humans blessed/cursed with this longing for something, if it isn't there? Why are we 'capable of conscious awareness?' It serves no purpose, other than to depress us & drive us to madness.. how did something like this evolve? How & why did we evolve a conscience? If it is all, 'the strongest survive', it seems to me the strongest would not be fettered with a lot of imagined moral views or a sense of absolutes, IF morals are only something from a herd instinct.

    So 'good & bad' are merely things that that promote or injure the herd? What about justice? Most cultures see that as something necessary for society. Thievery is tolerated in most animal societies, as well as murder. Why is it not in humans? Humans seem to have a broader view, calling it good & evil. A chimp that kills another can stay in the group. But with humans, if a fellow human is killed by another, there are complex procedures for determining the morality of the death. If it was in self defense, or to defend another, it is ok, & the person is not punished. If the group decides that someone is 'evil' they are punished or put to death. We have acquired very complex systems to provide justice. I wonder why. Why do we have an obsession with justice? Even (or especially!) among atheists, there is moral outrage over injustice. How & why did this trait become so central to the human condition?

    I understand the argument that humans have created god(s) to evade uncomfortable truth about death & eternity. If you start with the assumption of 'no god', then you are left with moral relativity. How did we arrive at the keen sense of justice & moral absolutes? Why would that have evolved?
     
  8. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Well, of course. 'Because it is', is always the obvious answer. But to humans, this has not been adequate. We do not accept reality, but agonize over it, questioning & theorizing for millenea for deeper meaning. Why do we do that? We stay up nights, filled with dread & angst over the insignificance of our lives, rather than being content with our existence. Some people avoid the issue, or take someone else's word for the meaning of their existence. But the deep question always is there.. gnawing at our inner being. Why are we obsessed with finding an explanation?
     
  9. Steady Pie

    Steady Pie Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    We haven't reached an answer because people are looking for an objective purpose. None exists. We exist, period.

    Make your own purpose.
     
  10. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Good points. Many assumptions, but the reasoning is sound. But this brings up another question: Where & why did we develop, 'reason?' The ability to process information abstractly seems to have no function in our survival. You noted, 'we are built for energy efficiency and reproduction and this is all'. This ability to reason in the abstract does not come from either of those motivations, unless you are making the argument that 'babes dig philosophers'. :D It is not only inefficient, it is a negative in our survival. How many people have ended their lives over angst & depression?

    If 'life is pointless & short', which i tend to agree, WHY do we 'have to strive to give it a meaning and a purpose'? This is not something that other animals do.. they seem content living their lives instinctively.. why do we have to find 'meaning & purpose?' I agree with you that this is what we do, but i don't get why.. it does not follow, logically.

    You do bring up another good point about good & evil. If it is all about the herd, then why do we not extol the virtues of 'eradicating the fat' of mankind? This seems to be the motivation of many despots & tyrants over the millennia, why are they not appreciated as heroes of mankind, instead of being vilified as evil?

    If we were more concerned about the overall health of the herd, & the genetic improvement of the species, why do we allow & even encourage uncontrolled breeding by those in 3rd world countries? Why are their genes allowed to procreate & dominate the planet?

    Something is fishy.. there seems to me to be something else at work here.. some other factors that we cannot define.
     
  11. mutmekep

    mutmekep New Member

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    I promise to keep this as short as possible .

    Reason is something imprinted to all mammals (and possible other animals) , there is cause and effect for example a young cat may disturb a bee in her water stand while an older cat will not because it knows that bees have a stink , this is basic reasoning.
    Planning for the future appeared as a combination of effects a) we are built to adapt quickly b) we were forced to adapt even faster than we could genetically , so post Toba water and food became scarce and people had to store and ration resources . Ability to plan for something as abstract as the future enhanced our ability to reason . Angst & depression are modern phenomena and probably results of social pressure , life is a long distance running and some people are built for sprints .
    TL;DR : Reasoning both in base mammalian level and enhanced human level was crucial for our survival , we are always driven by our needs and the urgency to cover them.

    Because we are aware of our incoming death and approximately the time it will occur , given that humans live longer than most other mammals we have all the time to to make plans and value our desires in accordance with our personality and cultural traditions. Some will chose to leave something behind , others will like to mark an era and others just to have fun . This is giving life meaning .Our brain capacity effectively eliminated any reliance in instinct .
    TL;DR : We have big lifespan and we are aware of death from a very young age , giving meaning and purpose to life makes it less mundane , it may also have to do with our brain designed to search for patterns / reason behind everything .


    Like all mammals we are protective of our family / herd , if someone starts exterminating the herd red bells start clinging "this is wrong". Heck some mammals are even protective of other mammals....
    My previous post was mostly about revoking the "good" vs "evil" struggle , neither concept exists in the universe but our social trends ( norms, bonds etc) are pushing us towards cooperation (good) rather than ruthless competition (evil) , maybe there is a point in this or maybe it is not , some may like the Eloi as an outcome of evolution some may like the Morlocks .


    Because evolution a) is not a ladder b) it is random c) humans have minimum genetic diversity so the more mixing and the greatest the population the biggest the chances for some beneficial mutations to kick in . The new homo sapient sapient "B" will probably be born in a third world country where the absence of medical care& the harsh conditions exterminate the weaker genes faster.
     
  12. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I would call that conditioned reflexes, not reasoning. I'm talking about human reasoning in the abstract, not pavlov's dogs. Instincts for food storage, or shelter seeking, or preservation are fine, but where does this abstract reasoning come from? It has no function in our survival, & can be argued that it is counter productive.

    Now you interject another motivation: Boredom. You say we look for 'something else', to make life less mundane. But why do people feel 'mundane'? Animals can sleep or laze about with no anxiety at all.

    gotta go.. more later. Good discussion!
     
  13. Bishadi

    Bishadi Banned

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    life: purposed to continue

    Instinct is the perfect example to note this fact.

    or just note that you breath on auto. The mass/energy (the body-life) intends to continue, whether you like it or not.
     
  14. Bishadi

    Bishadi Banned

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    comprehending why instinct has a purpose (to continue living), is based on the fact that mankind can use words to describe.

    . Defining this into words to offer an abstract point of view, is just a human concept, since we are the species that created 'the word' to articulate what is experienced to another.


    Mankind is learning and has been learning, and people like you are here but not being honest with themselves as to why he/she is even reading these threads; you want to know, yourself.

    Otherwise, you wouldn't be here posting!

    ALL of consciousness, have and do seek to comprehend

    or just give up because the 'truths' previously claimed have been found to be incorrect or simply lacking the full scope of understanding and many begin to deny anything that is not mainstream accepted.
     
  15. Zo0tie

    Zo0tie New Member

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    You are a fluke
    Of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.....
    Deteriorata! Deteriorata!

    Go placidly
    Amid the noise and waste.
    And remember what comfort there may be
    In owning a piece thereof.

    Avoid quiet and passive persons
    Unless you are in need of sleep.

    Ro-tate your tires.

    Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself
    And heed well their advice,
    Even though they be turkeys.

    Know what to kiss.....and when!

    Consider that two wrongs never make a right
    But that THREE.........do.

    Wherever possible, put people on hold.

    Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
    And despite the changing fortunes of time,
    There is always a big future in computer main-te-nance.

    Chorus

    You are a fluke
    Of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    And whether you can hear it or not
    The universe is laughing behind your back.

    Remember the Pueblo.

    Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mu-ti-late.

    Know yourself.
    If you need help, call the FBI.

    Exercise caution in your daily affairs,
    Especially with those persons closest to you.
    That lemon on your left, for instance.

    Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls
    Would scarcely get your feet wet.

    Fall not in love therefore;
    It will stick to your face.

    Gracefully surrender the things of youth:
    The birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan
    And let not the sands of time
    Get in your lunch.

    Hire people with hooks.

    For a good time call 606-4311;
    Ask for "Ken."

    Take heart amid the deepening gloom
    That your dog is finally getting enough cheese.

    And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot
    It could only be worse in Milwaukee.

    Chorus

    You are a fluke
    Of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    And whether you can hear it or not
    The universe is laughing behind your back.

    Therefore, make peace with your god
    Whatever you conceive him to be---
    Hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin.

    With all its hopes, dreams, promises and urban renewal
    The world continues to deteriorate.

    GIVE UP!
     
  16. Iolo

    Iolo Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    The purpose is to get free of illusion and cease to exist. Everyone really knows that.
     
  17. Bishadi

    Bishadi Banned

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    this is the giving up style.


    life's instinct shares the purpose

    mankind is still learning what 'itself' is and writing the words to articulate.

    I have learned the purpose of life, the universal quest of mankind (to understand) and then love to point out that mankind is an evolved life, within nature (the garden) describing itself.

    We are 'it' defining to understand itself.

    What is cool, is to comprehend what life is, the purpose and then our capabilities, conscious man can live beyond the grave, know it and it be by choice.

    ie....... the last word, is the 'name' defining the process.
     
  18. Steady Pie

    Steady Pie Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I can off myself at any time. How is this capacity any less purposeful?

    I'm not saying that we don't have a purpose, necessarily, just that we can never know what it is - because of the characteristics inherent to our nature.
     
  19. Bishadi

    Bishadi Banned

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    At least you can. The rock don't have the choice. That capacity to even know this, is purposeful as now you personally understand.

    you are making it seem as if you are importance when your life, is the important, not your belief

    But, in absolute, with certainty .... the inherent purpose of your life to continue, is proven by instinct, which can be applied directly to you, as your heart beat is on auto, to keep your mass alive. your 'life' has no care as to what you think your purpose is.
     
  20. Steady Pie

    Steady Pie Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    My instinct to reproduce is just as strong as my instinct to continue living. To any extent that my purpose is to continue living my purpose is also to reproduce.

    By purpose I take it to mean the road I should be taking. Do you mean something different?

    There are many cases when I would desire death. My will is a higher purpose than any continuance of my life.
     

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