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Meaning of our lifes?

  1. Jan 3, 2004 #1
    Hello all,

    This question has been bothering for a while, i never had anyone to talk to about this stuff. But lately i been wondering whats the meaning of our lifes as humans. Why, is the big question. I don't understand the point of our lives. We sleep - go to work - pay bills and sleep. This goes in circles untill the end of our lives. What is the point?? Why where we created?

    Where we plainly created to work in a system of a chain?? Going in circles till the human race ends??

    What is the point??.

    As for myself i believe that in the future i will be something or someone else and will not go by the system. I want to do something big but i don't know what it is or will be. This is kind of hard to say for me. Anyway i would appreciate any feedback, comments.

    Please reply with what you believe or think about this.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2004 #2
    Hello Donkon,

    thats just the question Ive been asking to myself since I started reading physics years ago.
    My technical and mathematical level is very poor, but even with that, I think is not possible to avoid a kind of mental breakdown after reading books like "Tao of Physics" (Capra) and "Schrodinger's Kittens" (Gribbin).

    It seems there is "somebody" who wants to play with us when we make deep questions. It doesn´t matter how you try to analyze reality, the final answer is written in a languaje that cant be red by our brain algorithims. The point is that reality languaje is very well designed at macroscopic scale. Everything looks fine until you go deeper. Then you receive a message that says something like: "Dont keep this way, you will just turn crazy, you don´t even need to look here..."
    As Tipler says, I firmly think that we see the map, but not the territory.

    Some people define Anthropic Principle as God, some as probability. Personally, Im not sure at the moment...
    But again, If you are alone on a desert isle, who is looking at you and collapsing your quantum wave function (you are in Schrodinger's Cat situation)?
    Moreover, Who the hell collapse final quantum wave function of reality? Actually, this is a Feynman question. [?]

    If you think in God as some kind of energy, inteligent and concious, you will have travelled a good distance in life path IMHO. But, in that point, what kind of relationship do we have with him/her? Does God want me to go to Africa to help people? Is that the purposal of my life?

    I think that this subject is probably the one and only that really matters. I dont look at it as something pedantic and metaphysical, is part of the reality, theres nothing strictly magic in it.
    Some people says they only believe in what they see, in regular things...
    Sincerely, I find the idea of been rotating right now at a speed of 1000 mph harder to swallow than God existance; thats why I give a chance to this last question
  4. Jan 3, 2004 #3

    there is no 'meaning' to our lives. we are part of this universe and we just exist. there is no 'meaning' just as there is no 'meaning' to the life of a star. a star is formed and 'lives' its life and it eventually dies. there is no meaning to it, it just exists. the only difference is that we are concious and a star isn't, so we can ask the question 'what is the meaning of life'.

    there is no 'point' to our lives. we can do whatever we want with our lives within the limits of the laws of physics. there is no reason why we were created. there is no reason for anything in the universe; it just is.

    you cannot get out of the 'system'. the 'system' is the universe and the laws of physics, and nothing can break those laws.

    you can decide what the meaning of your life is. you could say that the meaning of yourlife is to try and make the world a better place, or try and improve other people's lives. alternatively you could say that the meaning of life is to enjoy yourself as much as possible, or even to take over the world and be a tyrannical megolmaniac badass. its up to you to decide the meaning of life; don't ask other people because they cannot tell you the meaning of your life.

    that is a very atheistic viewpoint, and i know a lot of people will disagree with it, but it is the most logical viewpoint, as there is nothing that we can observe in the universe that indicates a particular purpose for our being. anything beyond this must invoke 'faith'; i.e. believing in things for which there is no observable evidence e.g. a 'god', whatever a 'god' may be. i'm not trying to say that religions and faiths in gods are wrong. its up to each individual to decide what they believe, and if you believe in a god and believe it created you for some purpose; that's cool. but its not logical, and i'm trying to make a logical explanation of the 'meaning of life', or rather the lack of meaning of life.

    i went through a period (i think most people do) when i wanted to know what the meaning of life was. i didn't see any point in anything and i got really depressed. now i just accept that there is no grand 'point', and we can do what the hell we want, and decide the purpose of our own individual lives for ourselves. that would be my advice: stop asking 'what's the point?' and just accept that there is no point.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2004
  5. Jan 3, 2004 #4
    I find very interesting your point of view Fuego. Maybe its our councious that create our problems. Maybe we dont know how to use it properly. We find hard to accept what we dont understand.

    Your viewpoint, thinking in such pragmatical way of life, makes me think about a very tricky subject: Does it care if we do good or bad things?
    Sometimes I think about what makes a person like Hitler or Pol-Pot to act like that. IMO its not a matter of political ideas, its a matter of human condition. Both showed the same -dark- human side.
    Is this acttitude good or bad? Well, thinking in the same logical-pragmatical way, it is bad. These people generated a lot of human suffering, and we dont like to suffer. So, in a practical way, its logical to stop this kind of people. If we need death penalty to do it, it will be still aceptable, because killing them is going to save all that suffering and deaths.
    I have thinked this way sometimes when hearing about certains killer cases, and about the polemical death penalty. Some people is so dangerous for the rest of us that is not a good decision to kidnapped them into jails, regarding the flaws of our justice system.

    This way of thinking is interesting, because if executing good will is more rewarding (generates more benefits) than being evil, this fact is going to forced us to act like that. We can live happy our meaningless life, without using the help of ethics and religion.
  6. Jan 3, 2004 #5
    when it comes to the matter of good and evil, you have to define what good and evil are. IMO 'good' is simply sacrificing your time/money/whatever for the benefit of other people, and 'evil' is harming other people for your own benefit.

    the difficult question is 'is it wrong to be evil?'. if there is no purpose in life; then there can be no correct and incorrect way to lead your life; thus being evil is just as correct as being good. most people tend to be rather 'neutral' with respect to good and evil. the vast majority of us would not go around harming people for our own benefit, but neither would we make large sacrifices for the benefit of others. everyone likes a good person, because they bring benefits; and everyone hates an evil person, because they cause hardship. because good people are liked, and evil people are disliked, good is seen as right, and evil as wrong. everyone would like the world to be full of good people because it would be beneficial to them. i hope you see where i'm going. the only reason we think good people are right is because they bring benefit to us. to put it bluntly; the only reason we think good people are right is because we're greedy.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2004
  7. Jan 3, 2004 #6
    Re: Re: Meaning of our lifes?

    I highly disagree but this seems more of a religious question than a physics question. However I agree with Einstein on this point
  8. Jan 4, 2004 #7


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    My interpretation of what Fuego wrote was not that he considers life "meaningless" as in having "no value", but that there is no "predetermined meaning" to life. We each decide on what "the meaning of life is" for ourselves.

    Fuego wrote "you can decide what the meaning of your life is". I agree with this.

    How can anyone claim that they know "why we are here"? Or what we should be doing?

    You shouldn't worry about "the meaning of life", or what the point is,(as if everyone else knows it except you). We have to decide these things for ourselves.

    Donkon wrote
    The only thing I can say to you Donkon, is to decide what kind of life would make you happy and pursue that life (unless it hurts others, IMHO). Unfortunately, we all too often get "trapped" into the rut you mentioned because we don't want to disappoint our parents, or be thought to be a failure by other people's standards, or we want material wealth. Sometimes we get trapped into that rut simply to survive, to put food into our mouths or the ones we love. But that brings us to the discussion of "why isn't life fair?" which is a different topic.
  9. Jan 5, 2004 #8
    There is one question which I think is important and also very confising:

    If the very up-building of us and our circumstances is coincidental, can you then say if there is no meaning with our lives or if there is not?

    Now this is a matter of opinions and not truths as far as I'm concerned. My opinion? I believe the complicated structure of the Universe and all that is in it is meant for something - structured the way it is for a purpose. For what purpose? I have no clue. Values and joy are of course the essenses of a Man's existence. Everyone chases a happy life. Perhaps that is the meaning with life, perhaps God wanted to create a people chasing happiness and love, even if that is a very simple reason.
  10. Jan 5, 2004 #9
    The notions of "meaning" and "no value" are very different. Why would you consider them to be the same thing?
  11. Jan 5, 2004 #10


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    Staff: Mentor

    Did you intend to say meaningless & no value? I can change "having no value" to "being insignificant" if you prefer that, but my point is still the same.

    A person's individual life has meaning, and I'm not arguing that. The general "meaning of life" question (to me) is much broader, and yes it becomes very tied to religious belief. The question has no right or wrong answer.

    I think if people focused less on "why am I here?" and focused more on how they live their lives, they might find that "meaning" they're searching for.
  12. Jan 5, 2004 #11
    Sorry. Yes. That was what I meant.

    "Meaning" refers to "purpose" whereas "value" refers to worth.
    I'm not saying that they are not connected. But they do not mean the same thing.
  13. Jan 5, 2004 #12
    I think what is trying to be said here in regards to meaning is this. We percieve the universe as a living breathing entity which requires a "purpose". As human beings we innately seek "meaning" and "purpose" as an explanation to our existence. In actuality, we exist because we were brought into being. Since "meaning" is a human term, we cannot apply it to the universe, because it defies humanity. We must first look inward, not outward for meaning. Purpose is something we definte for ourselves. It's gives us reason to move forward, to exist. In a sense, "purpose" is a subjective term that is determined by the individual. You must find meaning. Everyone from a street sweeper to the leaders of our countries, every single human being can find meaning.

    People look upwards and outwards for the answers to these questions. They think they will find some mythical answer. That someone somewhere out there has a "great plan" for us. That we are all part of a greater prescence. But we define our own meaning. We set our own rules, make our own purpose in life. We are intelligent beings, and this is our path in life. That is the wonderment of humanity. Let your experiences shape you, but don't let them define you.

    Or that's how I see it, IMHO.
  14. Jan 5, 2004 #13
    Dear donkon:

    this is probably the most difficult question for all of us to grapple with. as a child and adolesent, it is easy to accept the traditional explanations. with adulthood and success or failure, we begin to question why? the successes aren't as satisfying as we expected and the failures are more painful than we anticipated.

    damn! what does it all mean? why am i here? what is my purpose??

    since the mid 60's i have visited with many philosophies. thank god for booze! my brain hurt trying to wrap itself around some ideas.

    having had a very catholic background, it was easier for me to liberate my mind by reading and thinking. mitchner's 'the source' was the beginning of doubt. our modern religions are nothing more than a progression of old myths?????????

    once started, a scientific bent led to metaphysics and parapsychology. Cayce was religious and safe to offer a new view. then castenada(don juan) and off to the races. in between were many many debates with a friend that has a philosophy masters.

    why am i writing so much? simple, after 40+ years of exploration, i am just now beginning to understand my role in the universe. i took several detours; career, family, alcoholism, recovery and now playing a very enjoyable game.

    trust me, we are all here for a very valid,important reason. the reasons are as varied as there people in the world. we are each attending to our own personal value fulfillment. my reason is private to me and as i slow down and listen to my inner self, i get more and more insight.

    i will say without equivocation, i am not here to save my soul, or rescue the world or save your soul. there had to be a better solution to terrorism than WAR. unfortunately, we do not accept peace and/or peaceful means as being strong. only weak countries respond with peace. this is NOT an anti-war post! rather, it is an embrace peace, piece. FEAR, allowed us to accept war as a solution. i neither condone nor condemn our actions.

    each day i grow stronger in my belief in the power of 1. as i change so does the world. there is the concept that of the many, many probable threads of reality that coexist simultaneously, i will experience the one that agrees with my current expectations and/or thoughts. with instant mass communication, this maybe the time for us to realize that the world reality is a projection of our inner thoughts and beliefs. i do believe that we create our own reality on many, many levels.

    if going to work, making money, paying bills etc etc is not fulfilling, look within. your contribution (whatever it maybe) is uniquely valuable to the world. for me, the secret is to have fun and enjoy myself while doing and exploring. remember, in all probablity, once we become fully aware of our conciousness within this particular framework, we will move on to new adventures. as long as i'm here, i ain't finished.

    life is a game, let's play it respectfully.
  15. Jan 5, 2004 #14


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    Staff: Mentor

    You made a valid point, I chose my words carelessly. At least "I" knew what I meant! :wink:

    I value constructive criticism, it can only help me grow.

    Zantra & Olde Drunk, both excellent responses!
  16. Jan 6, 2004 #15
    Re: Dear donkon:

    In response to the first line: One could believe so because today we trust science and reason more than anything else. If something is scientifically disprovable or provable then that is the truth. Religions change of course, but I do not believe they are results of ancient myths that go on and on. Personally, I believe in God and it seems unreasonable to me that there was no power in the beginning, whenever that was, that created all this magnificent life and that all components in it are dependable on eachother. Such a complicated system.

    Then to the second paragraph: I agree fully with you. It lies in Man's nature to fight for what their stands. Some people regard physical and or armed struggle unintelligent and a cause of lack of enligthenment and development. That provokes me. What do you think about this, "olde drunk"?
  17. Jan 6, 2004 #16
    an eye for an eye!

    oh yes, lets take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a limb for a limb!!!!!


    my position is, if you believe in war and violence, you will have a world full of war and violence. if you embrace peace, you will experience a peaceful world. NEITHER is greater or lesser.

    some of us want to be adventurous and play war games. some of us would prefer to enjoy loving interaction with our fellow man. Dull! but some would prefer it at this point in time.

    the only enlightenment there can be is that you create the experience (reality) that you have. there is no better, best.

    on another post i suggested that god is an energy gestalt, the focus of all conciousness, that is greater than the sum of its parts. please read and look at how the various 'religions' evolved. invariably, they start with a 'new truth' that gets romanticized and expanded beyond its original intent. example- thou are peter and upon this rock, etc etc became and infallible pope. christianity is the answer so we will slay all north and south ameican heathens that do not convert. were the christian cursaders any different than today's terrorists???

    c'mon, life's too short for me to waste on war and violence. i'd rather play internet poker and fill my time tween hands debating the nature of god.

    besides, the only answer is that there ain't no answer!!!! to each his own!
  18. Jan 6, 2004 #17
    Re: an eye for an eye!

    I quite agree on this. But one can embrace war AND peace, not at the same time of course. Maybe god is romanticised in different religion and the real history of him deformed in all the religious scripts. I do not recognise myself among those who slew heathens through Europe in the old days because they denied the christian God and I am extremely ashamed by it. But I am me, not them.

    However, the reason I believe, why these fanatics did so was that they experienced their relationship to God as restrictive and the church implemented laws that were discriminating and constraint - and they said theese laws were based on the content in the Bible - and this grew in people's minds and made them fanatic. Scared of going to hell and also their fanaticism made them afraid that their religion would go be removed if other groups conquered them. That is a fact.

    Today modern christian people might be fanatic, but they do not have the temper to kill anyone for their belief. Men must, and should have been back in time, careful with how their way of living with God, because so few have and so few have forgot to love their next.

    I like your theory about god. Perhaps he is that way.
  19. Jan 6, 2004 #18


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    Re: Re: an eye for an eye!

    Not true in the good ole USA.

    Here are excerpts from a recent article about a Presbyterian Minister that killed for his Christian beliefs, a nut bag, but fanatics can & will kill, here they bomb clinics and kill people, it's been going on for decades.

    Of course, the overwhelming majority of the "Christian" population is horrified by this, but there is always a lunatic fringe.


    Hill, now 49 and so unrepentant that he said on Tuesday he would kill again, was scheduled to die by injection overnight, Australian time.

    Hill has been labelled a martyr and "true American hero" on websites run by groups such as the militant Army of God.

    "I expect a great reward in heaven," Hill said. "I am looking forward to glory.

    " I don't feel remorse. People have asked me if I would do it again. If I was put in a similar circumstance, I believe I would act similarly."

    How'd we get back to religion?
  20. Jan 6, 2004 #19
    quick PS

    silly christian bible-banging, right to lifers think it is their mission to stop abortions; they bomb clinics, injuring and killing workers and doctors.

    beliefs in violence and justification is a dangerous combination. (our terrorists within)
  21. Jan 7, 2004 #20
    Re: quick PS

    I am no like that. Abortion should be done with a good reason. Not just an excuse for sleeping with someone and forgetting to use prevention.
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