What is the purpose of life if there is no inherent meaning?

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In summary, the author suggests that if you don't feel motivated to do anything, there may be a reason for that. The purpose of life is to have a wonderfully good time, and if you don't feel like you're living life to its fullest, it may be because you're not trying to find your purpose.
  • #1
david90
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I suddenly realize that my life has no purpose. Is this how slackers feel because now I don't feel motivated to anything since it will lead me nowhere.

Don't get me wrong I'm not suicidal or depressed.
 
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  • #2
Well you life won't have a purpose until you give it one, IMO.

How old are you?
 
  • #3
25. From an evolutionary point of view, I guess my purpose in life is to make babies. I'm not married though.
 
  • #4
Sure, our reptile brains want us to breed like rabbits.

But as far as life's purpose, well, I think our grey matter has more say in that decision :smile:.
 
  • #5
lisab said:
Sure, our reptile brains want us to breed like rabbits.
I'll have to think about that for a while. The purpose of all life is to eat, reproduce and be eaten. Humans have the added need to avoid boredom and this provides most with a purpose.
 
  • #6
Why does there have to be a purpose?

Well, from an evolutionary point of view, the gray matter inside the head developed into a one giant pattern finding system. Humans continually seek patterns and try to make sense of them, even if the conception is irrational.
 
  • #7
david90 said:
I suddenly realize that my life has no purpose. Is this how slackers feel because now I don't feel motivated to anything since it will lead me nowhere.
Don't worry - be happy.

and

Don't Panic.

"The basic business of one's life is to have a wonderfully good time." source: Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Don't forget your towel.
 
  • #8
We have a nihilist in the making, here. :P

All jokes aside, I understand how huge of point in your life this is. I'm actually younger than you (24) but have gone through what you've just begun. In some ways, that point in my life still lingers, mostly in memory, but sometimes it manifests in some form or another.

What helped me? Someone recommended a book named "The Virtue of Selfishness" to me. It's a book by Ayn Rand that many here will likely be familiar with. I've probably guaranteed myself a few pages of criticism by even alluding to the Objectivist philosophy, but I really would like to emphasize the importance if it. While you may not agree with everything she has to say, Rand's ideas are very affecting, if not just incredibly important. Don't be confused by the the title of the book, either. It's probably not what you're thinking.

If you're interested in it, shoot be a PM and I can give you a hand on where to begin. You may have read either "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged". If you liked them, I'd be more than happy to help you expand on the philosophy the books fictionalize.
 
  • #9
david90 said:
... don't feel motivated to anything since it will lead me nowhere.

... I'm not... depressed.

Wanna make a bet?

1). Go do something that you've never done before [you don't have to feel like it].
2). Figure out what is important or appealing to you and pursue it [doesn't have to be important, and you don't have to feel like it]
3). Change your attitude by force of will
 
  • #10
david90 is expressing an experience with acedia more than depression.
 
  • #11
Astronuc said:
david90 is expressing an experience with acedia more than depression.

After reading the wikipdia, I think I have that too. Does acedia need clinical treatment? or just reading some inspirational books would be enough?
 
  • #12
david90 said:
25. From an evolutionary point of view, I guess my purpose in life is to make babies. I'm not married though.

I could be wrong, but I think the latter has no impact on the former. :-p
 
  • #13
Welcome to my clinic.

You have acedia? Terrible, just terrible. I think I have just the thing for you. I'm going to prescribe that you force yourself to try something new, maybe something you've always found interesting. Also, I'd like you to go out with friends, regardless of how much you'd like to stay home and be anti-social.

Take two and call me in the morning.
 
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  • #14
David, didn't you have a lot of plans to go into business for yourself? If those did not pan out, don't give up.
 
  • #15
"We don't know". I think that's the answer you're looking for. I'm not sure any more needs to be said. There's no great answer that I know of that says you have to have a purpose. If you don't feel motivated, I guess you don't feel motivated. I'm not going to give you any sugar-coated crap about cheering up and how wonderful everything is and how much purpose there really is if you look underneath it all because that would just be opinion.

If you need cheering up, that's a different request. But for purpose, no one here can give you a correct answer.
 
  • #16
My purpose in life is what life's purpose is in me.
 
  • #17
I Don't let go of life even when I have multiple chances to do so.
 
  • #18
tony134340 said:
"We don't know". I think that's the answer you're looking for. I'm not sure any more needs to be said. There's no great answer that I know of that says you have to have a purpose. If you don't feel motivated, I guess you don't feel motivated. I'm not going to give you any sugar-coated crap about cheering up and how wonderful everything is and how much purpose there really is if you look underneath it all because that would just be opinion.

If you need cheering up, that's a different request. But for purpose, no one here can give you a correct answer.

I'm not looking for any cheering up. It is what it is. My current teacher told me that he's not a pessimist or an optimist, but instead a realist. It is a great mindset and I adopted it.

Maybe it's just a phase.
 
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  • #19
david90 said:
I'm looking for any cheering up. It is what it is. My current teacher told me that he's not a pessimist or an optimist, but instead a realist. It is a great mindset and I adopted it.

Maybe it's just a phase.

I like to call this "pragmatic." I think it's a good thing.

But remember: Chance and probability even will sometimes swing good things your way... and while you don't think your actions have larger purpose, they can perhaps increase the probability of good things coming your way.
 
  • #20
david90 said:
I don't feel motivated to anything since it will lead me nowhere.

That sounds more like fortune-telling than pragmatism. Pragmatism tells me that one person, and sometimes the least likely, can change the world.

Case in point: A black guy named Hussein...

However, if you are just using this as an excuse because you don't care about anything, that is another matter.
 
  • #21
Astronuc said:
Don't worry - be happy.

and

Don't Panic.

"The basic business of one's life is to have a wonderfully good time." source: Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Don't forget your towel.
I totally agree, and those are the things I try to live by. Easier said than done though, I have to constantly remind myself of those simple words. But every time I find my doing things in a haste I stop and think: "forget about that deadline/missed appointment/whatever and get cool again". Being cool is the only thing really worth caring about, because once you regain a calm mind the problem of the day will work itself out a lot more efficiently. It's like trying to use a bulldozer to break down a brick wall rather than walk around it.
 
  • #22
david90 said:
I'm not looking for any cheering up. It is what it is. My current teacher told me that he's not a pessimist or an optimist, but instead a realist. It is a great mindset and I adopted it.

Maybe it's just a phase.
Like I said before, you're on the nihilist track. Don't confuse it for the realist track.

Realistically speaking, you can control your own happiness.

And yeah, it probably is a phase.
 
  • #23
david90 said:
25. From an evolutionary point of view, I guess my purpose in life is to make babies. I'm not married though.

:bugeye:
OMG! Honestly I think 1 shouldn't start a family before clearing things with himself/herself and life, since I'm not sure that children with parents like that , grow up as happy and successful people. I mean they are very likely to face the same problem(have no purpose in life) as their parents:wink: But well I guess yo can find some purpose for your life if you think about it more.:smile:
 
  • #24
I find it hard to understand why the meaning of life is to have children unless you actually find that meaningful. It'd make as much sense to say that the meaning of life is to breath or walk, i.e. things we do because they are "physiologically convenient".
 
  • #25
david90 said:
From an evolutionary point of view, I guess my purpose in life is to make babies. I'm not married though.

I disagree. Yes, evolution has imbued us with the urge to see to the propogation of our genes, but there are multiple ways to achieve this.

The worker bees in a hive will never have offspring, but they slave over the eggs of their sister the queen, and they lay down their lives if needed to defend the hive.

A life can have purpose - even absent offspring - by working for leaving the world a better habitat for future generations. In fact, we can use our brains and recognize that the strains of overpopulation threaten everyone's offspring.

However you perceive a need and fill it, that's your purpose. I work for peace, human rights, and rational thought, because without these the stable society that future generations will need to thrive on this over-taxed ecosystem is not possible.

-Ron
 
  • #26
I'd disagree too about having children but that's just my opinion. If our purpose is to take our code and hand it down to more generations, then taking different forms of code which are handed down, such as information, all that we learn, is essentially the same.

Our verbal codes are handed down, written codes, etc. We take information or energy and exchange them. At the root, that seems to be going on with everything in the universe. Energy being converted. We're all converting energy, or information (form of energy) and exchanging it, handing it to other people or things. The universe seems one big energetic daisy chain. Now what is the end of all this energy, the culmination, or the beginning, we just don't know. All this seems to lead to nowhere we know of and came from nowhere we can be sure of.

If you feel you have to find motivation to keep going, to me, it's nothing wrong with it. And if you don't feel motivated and want to end your life, I don't see anything wrong with it either. Of course, most people fear this view because truth is human-centric. It would be a view deemed disadvantageous for survival. The DNA code, you, couldn't be transferred anymore if you maintain negative views. If you want to think with reason, this tells me that. If I want to think with emotion, I'd say find motivation and try to stick it out. I think reason tells me my emotional side is just as valid and valuable as my logical side.

I think we all try to listen to our logical side here a lot and try to oversaturate ourselves with it to make it harder to listen to our emotional side. I try to downplay my emotional side a lot but I do realize that, although it's a primitive instinct, it came from somewhere valid just as well.

I see all opinions as realist, or deserving of validation that it's purveying a real view. If you view the purpose to have children, that's all fine and valid to me, I just disagree in that it's too specific to be universally true.
 
  • #27
david90 said:
I suddenly realize that my life has no purpose. Is this how slackers feel because now I don't feel motivated to anything since it will lead me nowhere.

Don't get me wrong I'm not suicidal or depressed.
Go to the library and check out a book. I recommend "Be Here Now" by Baba Ram Dass. Self-realization is an effective cure for nihilism and helplessness. You won't feel so alone and helpless once you internalize your responsibility for yourself and accept your potentials as well as your shortcomings. It's a great book. I have bought several copies and still don't have a permanent one in my library because I give them away to others who might benefit from reading it, and encourage them to pass it on instead of returning it.
 
  • #28
My purpose in life is to live. And that's what I plan on doing.

Spontaneity and Self-recklessness. It makes for good memories and no regrets.

Don't hold back either. But have the patient to let bigger things develop.
 
  • #29
  • #30
That's a nice video of Feynman!

Anyway, I'm 20 and have been wondering about this question all my life. But in the end, it never gets me anywhere. I wondered if I really like physics, I wondered if going into the academia is really meaningful, I wondered if I'd be happier to just leave everything and start from scratch... I wondered... but when I take a better look, I realize that life goes on, whether I know the answer or not. Come to think of it, perhaps my life already has a meaning. It's just that my insatiable brain doesn't know how to appreciate it, and perhaps, doesn't want to accept the most obvious answer there is.

Just keep doing what you do, but perhaps find some time to appreciate things you've already done. If you feel a warm sensation in your head, after thinking about how far you've come, and how much you've experienced after all these years...perhaps you are already doing what one would consider "meaningful".
 
  • #31
What is my(our) purpose?

It's to survive this POS world and die painlessly (natural death). And this means:

- Academic Success to open up the availability of secure jobs/careers. Satisfy the need for food and shelter.
- All else is less; as you can pay for hookers... nah just kidding. Satisfy the biological needs.
- At worst case scenario, put a bullet in your head to skip the 60 year "grind".
- The rest requires 4000 years of human evolution in the consciousness.

Einstein still has it right... "ignorance is bliss" Be ignorant of your miserable existence, and play Dungeons and Dragons all day, or shoot cocaine.
 
  • #32
The purpose of life is to find a way to be slightly less miserable than you were before. Eventually you give up and die. The end.
 
  • #33
There is always this conversation that I'll cherish forever.

Lucy van Pelt: "Why are we on Earth?"

Charley Brown: "Geeh, dunno...perhaps to make somebody else happy"

Lucy van Pelt: "happy? Happy? I'm not happy" - crying- "Somebody is not doing his job".
 
  • #34
I always liked Dennis Leary's view on happiness

Happiness comes in small doses folks. It's a cigarette, or a chocolate cookie, or a five second orgasm. That's it, ok! You cum, you eat the cookie, you smoke the butt, you go to sleep, you get up in the morning and go to ****ing work, ok!? That is it! End of ****ing list!
 
  • #35
Greg Bernhardt said:
I always liked Dennis Leary's view on happiness
When I read the part of the quote about "small doses", I conflated Dennis with Timothy. :smile:
 

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