Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does Life Have Long Term Value?

  1. Aug 27, 2006 #1
    This is my first topic post here so be gentle.

    I have a problem with the meaning of life. I don't mean my life, I know that my life on its own is pretty pointless anyway. What I am talking about is the meaning of the string of lives that make the intelligent existance of our universe throughout time.

    One day the universe will expand and burn out, or maybe scientists were wrong and it will collapse on itself. Either way all life will cease to exist.

    I can think of a few ways where life may have long term value:

    1. Time travel is proven possible and intelligent life in our universe can figure it out.

    2. Intelligent life within our universe can create self perpetuating power generation sources.

    3. An afterlife universe exists (eg: heaven).
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    I think life leading to intelligent intervention in the universe can be said to make a difference in the universe over the alternative, a lifeless universe evolving mechanically to burnout. But the nature and degree of that differnce remains to be seen, and we are not currently in a position to speculate intelligently.

    Think of Plato or Aristotle trying to envision our present circumstances; and they're only 2300 years back, scarcely a tick on the clock of human existence, which itself is scarcely a tick on the clock of the universe's age.
  4. Aug 28, 2006 #3
    Hi. I'm also new here, and I guess I understand how relevant it is to be treated gently. My first two posts were deleted because I was pointing an abstract concept, and hey, do I have to make tangible what is intangible? Anyway, I exhausted my rocket booster on one thread, making random tantrums about life but making sure I get to hit very specific targets, on bull's eyes.

    But I get to understand some points, since this is a science forum, then I guess I'll try to speak the language, although I'm more inclined into art, but I had found myself becoming a physics enthusiast. I somehow view physics visually, rather than mathematically.

    I once browsed along a 2nd hand book shelf sale in this "3rd world" country, and found an old book by Roszak entitled Unfinished Animal.

    I was intrigued by what was termed as "Evolution of Consciousness" in the book. Considering this I do not think that our life may to be pointless anyway, where we were told that we came from dust and from dust thou shalt return by some Creationist biased religion. I'm still in the process of retrieving the book, but I wonder why in the West it had not made much impact after decades more, except perhaps with the so called "hippie" or the "flower power" generation.

    Empower that with the Eastern philosophy of reincarnation, nirvana, or other concepts like paradise, heaven (though it may seem mediocre) and things could brighten up. I remembered someone (was it Gandhi?) who said something like: "Live as if you only have one day to live, and read as if you will live forever".

    I guess there is indeed reason that we will continue to read, paint, create, invent, debate because no matter how 'evil' attempts to make our lives 'pointless', or relegate us to drone like mentality lacking in creativity, we will continue to do so because we humans are continuing the Evolution of our Consciousness.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2006
  5. Aug 28, 2006 #4
    Hold the phone.

    It's "existence."

    Wise men say, "only when you learn how to spell existence can you begin to understand it." o:)
  6. Aug 28, 2006 #5
    The purpose of life and hence the meaning of it, is to live. Value is subjective, so if you think living isn't worth anything then thats your call.
  7. Aug 29, 2006 #6
    cornernote You seem to be focusing on, survival = a reason for life. In addition to your list I propose that instead of survival of the individual, species there is survival of knowledge. i.e. even if it were certain that life could not survive the end of the universe, would the safe transition of all our accumulated knowledge, to whatever comes after, have value?
  8. Aug 29, 2006 #7
    Of value to whom ? Does not the life of the flower have value to the bee ? Life is an end unto itself, that is its long term value.
  9. Aug 30, 2006 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    How can a blind process (evolution of life in a non-theistic universe) have an "end" (in the sense of "purpose" of course. Life could all to easily have an end in the other sense!:eek: )?
  10. Aug 31, 2006 #9
    It seems the primary goal of life is survival to reproduce. From a theological viewpoint, in my humble opinion, it seems the universe is organizing (evolving) more self-aware beings.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?