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The meaning of life..... meaning of life, metaphysics
Old 10-17-2007, 06:43 PM   #1
mattbau43
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Hello,
Im new to this forum, and am an INTJ. I am at a point in my life where my needs are met with a wife, child on the way, a new home, a new business, and financial security. I find new challenges from time to time, but i am haunted with trying to answer the biggest question of all. I am an atheist, so I do not try to fool myself into thinking about afterlife. I feel like the question of the meaning of life is a shadow over my daily life. I am happy with who I am, but ask myself if decisions matter. Does buying something new,or having an extra drink really matter in the end? It is a sad thought that we serve no real purpose outside of making orselves and possibly others happy. How do all of you deal with this question?
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:09 PM   #2
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Hmm, that is a very good question. Let's see here, I am Christian does that means I have to pick fights with an Atheist no. Why is that, my fellow online buddy is also an Atheist. In this other forum:
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there is quite amount of atheists. Maybe they can glad to help answer your question. Oh BTW, welcome. Please note in da-forums, do not take things literally majority of them is just have plain old fun, in the end are great friends.
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:15 PM   #3
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The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is 42.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:37 PM   #4
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As a fellow INTJ athiest, I identify with your questioning, as I too have been "haunted" by these issues. I believe the universe and life itself neither has nor lacks meaning, as meaning is a human construction. It simply IS. Therefore, it is meaningful if you make it meaningful, but it is not inherently meaningful in and of itself. I don't see this as sad. Would life have any more meaning if we lived forever? What would be the point? To me, awareness of the finality of death IS what drives me and inspires me to appreciate and fully live my life as it is, right now. I also find a great deal of comfort in knowing that in the end, nothing really matters- it helps put things into perspective and I find myself worrying about things less.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:30 PM   #5
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Isn't the meaning of life, merely something that we determine ourselves?
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:35 PM   #6
Evalind
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  Originally Posted by mattbau43
It is a sad thought that we serve no real purpose outside of making orselves and possibly others happy. How do all of you deal with this question?

I struggle with this too. I'm somewhat curious about Epicureanism as an answer to this, but haven't delved deep enough into it yet.

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Old 10-18-2007, 01:06 AM   #7
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I'm okay with the purpose being making ourselves and others happy. I honestly don't understand why there needs to be a higher purpose than that. All that really matters to me is finding ways to achieve the happiness.
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:45 AM   #8
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The meaning of life is to have as many kids as possible and teach them the same in order to win the genetic proportionality game!
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Old 10-18-2007, 05:18 AM   #9
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I think the problem is in the question - it presupposes that there is a meaning in the first place and we, as sentient beings, are somehow meant to try to find some great hidden purpose - to come up with the ultimate explanation. I guess 42 is as good an answer as any and I think Douglas Adams probably thought along these lines.

It is a bit like the believer asking the atheist 'do you believe in god?' - I, as an atheist, alway come back with :'wrong question - now ask me if I believe that a god exists in the first place'. From their point of view, for the believer, god exists and you just don't believe in him/her/it/them.

For me, life is a natural process and has many forms - it just 'is'. You may as well ask what is the meaning of eathquakes / hurricanes / tsunamis or any other natural phenomenon. It is just nature doing what needs to be done, without intent - nothing more.

If a big lump of rockite falls out of the sky and destroys all life, the last people alive may still be asking why, what is the meaning of the mass destruction - quite simply, there isn't one. Sometimes, things just happen because they happen: no reason, no higher plan. Big lumps of spacey rockite stuff just fall out of the sky and hit the planet from time to time.

You could just console yourself that you are the product of billions of years of naturally evolved biochemical processes, living in the here and now. Ultimatley, 'now' is all you have got. It is what you do with it that matters - the choice is entirely up to you (within reason).
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Old 10-18-2007, 07:42 AM   #10
mattbau43
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Thanks everyone for your replies. You have all basically reinforced what I have known. I guess life is subject to perspective. I have my days where my perspective of life contains limitless outlets of wonder and happiness, and other days where everything seems so final and un-important. I guess the trick is to change the perspective that I have on those down days.
Being an INTJ, and trying to squeeze meaning out of everything, makes it hard some days.
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Old 10-19-2007, 06:50 AM   #11
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The meaning of is to reproduce. There's no questioning that.
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Old 10-19-2007, 08:13 AM   #12
Ian
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My wife and I have been together for 20 years this year - we decided at the outset that we did not want kids and as a result we are a child-free couple, both now in our 40's (not childless, as some people label us). Happy with our lot, free to come and go as we please without the burden of arranging things for the family first.

Over the years we have been told (usually by people with the traditional 2.4 children, or is it 1.8 now?) that we are being selfish. They then go on to ask who will look after us when we are old and grey if we don't have kids.

Well, if that is a reason for them having kids, who is the more selfish?

Dib says:

 
The meaning of {life} is to reproduce. There's no questioning that.

I would question that. As I put in a previous posting, I think it is the question that is fundamentally flawed.

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Old 10-19-2007, 04:37 PM   #13
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  Originally Posted by Ian
I would question that. As I put in a previous posting, I think it is the question that is fundamentally flawed.

I have to agree with Ian here.

But why is the question flawed? Try asking "What is the meaning of a solar flare?". There is no meaning, its just the consequence of the internal activity of the sun.

The word "meaning" actually implies that there is some kind of "intend". So if you rephrase you get "What is the intention of life?", which implies that there is some thing deliberately causing "life". :-?

I personally don't believe there is something deliberately causing life.

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Old 10-19-2007, 04:49 PM   #14
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  Originally Posted by IjzerenHein

  Originally Posted by Ian
I would question that. As I put in a previous posting, I think it is the question that is fundamentally flawed.

I have to agree with Ian here.

But why is the question flawed? Try asking "What is the meaning of a solar flare?". There is no meaning, its just the consequence of the internal activity of the sun.

The word "meaning" actually implies that there is some kind of "intend". So if you rephrase you get "What is the intention of life?", which implies that there is some thing deliberately causing "life". * :-?

I personally don't believe there is something deliberately causing life.

If the question were rephrased, "Does life serve any purpose?", would that be a more effective starting point?

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Old 10-19-2007, 05:07 PM   #15
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  Originally Posted by rwyatt365

  Originally Posted by IjzerenHein

  Originally Posted by Ian
I would question that. As I put in a previous posting, I think it is the question that is fundamentally flawed.

I have to agree with Ian here.

But why is the question flawed? Try asking "What is the meaning of a solar flare?". There is no meaning, its just the consequence of the internal activity of the sun.

The word "meaning" actually implies that there is some kind of "intend". So if you rephrase you get "What is the intention of life?", which implies that there is some thing deliberately causing "life". :-?

I personally don't believe there is something deliberately causing life.

If the question were rephrased, "Does life serve any purpose?", would that be a more effective starting point?

Hi Rwyatt, well I guess it depends on what the "intend" was of the person initially asking the question :-)

Actually the word "purpose" also implies there is some kind of "intend" :P

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Old 10-19-2007, 07:06 PM   #16
GOD
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  Originally Posted by Dib
The meaning of is to reproduce. There's no questioning that.

Everyone is assuming that there needs to be a meaning.

If people want to be an atheist and believe that their lives are "relevant" then think of your life as just a leaf on a huge tree. You only die when the tree dies, even if you are shed. The only difference is that you as a "leaf" have individual self awareness.

I like to think of death as the ultimate snooze button on a Sunday morning. *
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Old 10-19-2007, 07:10 PM   #17
Evalind
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  Originally Posted by Ian
Over the years we have been told (usually by people with the traditional 2.4 children, or is it 1.8 now?) that we are being selfish. They then go on to ask who will look after us when we are old and grey if we don't have kids.

Well, if that is a reason for them having kids, who is the more selfish?

Off topic, but, I agree soooo much! Except perhaps in the case of surprise pregnancies, it is a very very rare person who chooses to have kids without some selfish motive.

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Old 10-19-2007, 07:40 PM   #18
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  Originally Posted by Evalind
Off topic, but, I agree soooo much! Except perhaps in the case of surprise pregnancies, it is a very very rare person who chooses to have kids without some selfish motive.

Hmm... Its only selfish if you believe "life" is wrong. If you actually believe life is great, then you will want to produce so that other life forms may experience it. Therefore it would not be selfish.

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