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What is the meaning of life?

  1. Oct 17, 2011 #1
    Is it just that you create your own meaning or is it there is no meaning or a different options?

    Also if everything is predetermined does that change the meaning of life? I would assume it would make no difference to the answer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2011 #2


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    what do you mean by "meaning"? Do you mean a kind of definition? Or do you mean "purpose". What do you mean by "life"? Do you mean the biological definition or the human experience?

    If you mean "purpose" of the "human experience" then I think people definitely have shown that they develop and pursue their purposes based on their individual needs and wants, which emerges as a combination of genetics, developmental brain structure, past experience, and dispersive chance.
  4. Oct 17, 2011 #3


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    Hey tim22 and welcome to the forums.

    As far as life goes, in my opinion it is a highly interactive process and the idea of creating meaning as well as discovering meaning is in my view a significant part of that.

    As far as the meaning is concerned, I think that we all have things that we need to learn and discover based on why we actually exist. We have lessons to learn and we also interact with the immediate world around us to help others learn their lessons, just as other people are there to assist us in learning our lessons and making our own discoveries.

    As far as life goes, I follow the idea that consciousness exists and (can) live(s) outside the physical body.

    Also instead of the idea of good and bad, I have the view instead of relativity. I don't think that anything is good or bad per se, only relative to something else. With that perspective, I try and make sense of the world in that way, rather than looking at the world as "right" and "wrong" in a black and white type scenario.

    As far as life being "pre-determined", that is an interesting question.

    This reminds me of a thought experiment I had a while ago that goes like this: imagine you you are in a largely deterministic system and you know all of the rules. Would you then optimize your choices to create the scenario that completely benefits yourself? What would be the consequences of doing so? More importantly would that nullify the idea of free-will?

    Now let us modify the above and say that the system is largely deterministic, but it is just way to complicated to have any kind of control that you would achieve in the first scenario. Would you get frustrated and then say that it is just "random"? What if the system was deterministic, but the system had no locality whatsoever? In other words, what if every part of the system depending on every part?

    As far as that pertains to the meaning of life, you might want to think about whether the meaning of life has anything to do with an obsession to exercise control over yourself and/or other things. Have you ever come across situations where you feel helpless? Have you come across situations where only ten years later did you understand a major choice you made back then which was not made consciously with respect the future fact?

    This kind of thing might help you to make sense in your own way about analyzing the mixture of free-will and determinism. You could of course listen to philosophers and reflections from quantum physicists, but my suggestion is to look at your decisions and what has happened in your own life, because you will have the greater capacity to understand your own experiences and put that into context of your question.
  5. Oct 17, 2011 #4
    its 42
  6. Oct 17, 2011 #5
    Looked at but cannot be seen - it is beneath form;
    Listened to but cannot be heard - it is beneath sound;
    Held but cannot be touched - it is beneath feeling;
    These depthless things evade definition,
    And blend into a single mystery.
    In its rising there is no light,
    In its falling there is no darkness,
    A continuous thread beyond description,
    Lining what can not occur;
    Its form formless,
    Its image nothing,
    Its name silence;
    Follow it, it has no back,
    Meet it, it has no face.
    Attend the present to deal with the past;
    Thus you grasp the continuity of the Way,
    Which is its essence.
    Lao Tzu
  7. Oct 17, 2011 #6


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    Thread doesn't meet posting guidelines.
  8. Oct 17, 2011 #7


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    Have a really wonderful time.

    Make sure the other guy pays/buys [the drinks].
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