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What's the point of life

  1. Jun 22, 2006 #1
    Hell i went from being depressed to being normal to being depressed, but one thing keeps bugging me... whatever i do, there is no answer to that question! So? Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Taoism, Hedonism, anything you offer, does it have an everlasting meaning?

    We are born into an unfathomable existence, on a tiny patch of space called earth that is itself a speck of dust in the galaxy that is a speck of dust in the infinite universe, and not only that, but during your entire lifetspan, you will die on an even smaller patch of space on THAT Earth.

    Anyone else thinks human being are just limited and death is "unfair"? Religious people, what's the point of "Heaven", "Hell" or "Brahman" or any other mind-concoctions? That's the one thing I never really got. I don't want to be reincarnated or reunite with any Brahman, i don't want to live a blissful existence that is in itself meaningless (isn't it bound to get repetitive as well or the catch-22 is that i'll experience incessant eternal orgasms and ergo will not have time to consider the meaninglessness of it all?), I have no desire to commit to a life of hedonism here cause that is boring as well.

    So... since life is an inexplicable mystery and a torture chamber, how cruel is that we are alive? The more I think of it, the more I realize that religion does not bring meaning to life but rather, further consolidates the nihilistic meaninglessness of it all!, did it ever happen, that a guy hates Atheism as much as he hates Religion, but reaches that conclusion since in the face of one-sideness and daily monotony of life, there is nothing better to do?

    In short terms, how is it possible for someone like me (don't know if there are any others) to live if two of the biggest alternatives in the world (Atheism, Theism and everything inbetween) are not satisfactory?

    So if I don't belong to any category, then whats the point of waking up every morning? From that point on, it seems as suicide is the best way to cork out your brain, no responsibility, no depression, no aspirations, worries or anything else, isn't that the perfect drug?

    How vain it all is. Every human category. Love, Sex, Art, etc etc. People getting fatter, people getting leaner, hunks & jocks vs pickup artists and the usual joes..., movies, learning... working... why? who asked that "something" to bring me and countless others who wondered about the same question to to that existence? Why did I have to be coaxed? Why not just give it all to us at the outset, at least in that case the meaninglessness could be worth something until you're dead? Why does medicine exist, why do our bodies fail, why is there anything at all, and that magical "anything" created a world that is so far away from being "fun"? Am I ever gonna get the answer to that or should I, as had been advised here countless times, "wizen up" and self-indulge in the mystery? but what would be the point of that?

    Guys, do u understand what i'm trying to say here? Without any appeal to ignorance or pity, why is it that no matter how good you try to think the world is, how optimistic everything is and how purposeful the world is, how everything is going according to plan, how you're gonna end up being successful, with a wonderful career and a great family, how "good" people are and how much happiness you wish everyone would be showered with - the thoughts you try to nail into your brain, the mental masturbation of having to wake up everyday to the same "existence" seem like such an unenticing prospect? (no matter how well-of and high-rolling you are)

    Is suicide really the only option here? Why are the suicide rates so high pretty much in every developed country (Russia, Japan, US, etc)if everyone else gets such an immense kick out of life?

    oh and btw, depression has nothing to do with me writing this post right now. that has been my opinion for a long time, but i've desperately grappled with myself trying to conceal it. Can't do that anymore. Could we please discuss this issue refraining from medical advices or any of the other trite banalities that i've already googled the net for? Philosophically speaking, what's the other emergency exists other than Religion or lack of it?:no:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2006 #2
    I understand exactly how you feel. The first time I heard (when I was very young) that heaven was a place of eternal bliss, I said that heaven would be boring then (this is what my mother told me that I said, I was only 5, and I don't really remember). Basically, if God does exist, and heaven as well, then I don't know if I would even want to go there!

    One of the only reasons people believe in a God is so that they can accept their deaths and live life normally (not all, but most). I can't believe in a God because it "makes me feel better". Reality is reality, regardless of what I believe.

    As for suicide being the only option...I have yet to wake up one morning being glad that I'm going to die sometime in the future, not once. I do feel somehow "cheated" that I am allowed to live for a while and then must die against my will. As for why I want to wake up every morning, I don't really know. I wake up and go out because thats what I feel like doing.

    "Developed" countries try to become so efficient that many people simply lead such dull and boring lives and they see no way out. Being efficient works mathematically, but human beings are not made to be super efficient. This is the job of the unconscious machines that we build (please no arguments about consciousness and machines and the fact that we are machines).

    What is the point of indulging in the mystery of life? It won't change what is going to happen to you nor give your life any meaning. As for life being what you make of it...does it really matter what I make of it? If I become the greatest and most famous person to ever live, what will that change for me?

    I put my faith in science because I see no other place to put it. Perhaps one day death won't be an issue any more, maybe it will be looked upon as an eradicated disease. What if we could resurrect the dead ourselves? Given enough time, who knows what might happen. This won't give your life any meaning, but you will at least have a choice about what happens to you. (I realize that this may be impossible, but no one honestly knows for sure, I'm not trying to start an argument about immortality and why it won't work.)

    You certainly don't need any medication or help, you simply have a cynical outlook on life, as do I. You are a realist. Don't let others tell you that they know the truth and you don't. Nobody on earth knows any more about life than you do, you must either figure out your purpose in life or accept that you have no purpose. I live because it is something to do, I either can live or die, and while it may not really matter, I have made my choice. There is no reason to shorten your already short life. Just play it out and see what happens.
  4. Jun 22, 2006 #3
    Thx for the response Omega-6, you really managed to perk me up!!! I agree with you completely, on every point.

    One question though... the thing about immortality... even if someday we will achieve this (though I personally doubt that, but as you said, that is for another topic), will this mean that our bodies will live forever even if we plan to eradicate them? Isn't it the exact opposite, that if we reach that plateau, people will start tearing their hair out and exit life by their own volition? At least that's what I read in some book, it said that once we reach utopia, where there is no more diseases and life can be prolonged for thousands of years, people will get so bored that they will surely decide to end their lives?

    I don't see immortality giving me any more meaning than mortality does (as you said), but then again, what does then? Isn't there anything at all in the world that can give it any semblance of meaning?
  5. Jun 22, 2006 #4
    Interesting questions you have posed, I have been asking for as long as I can remember. A really short answer would be "the pursuit of happiness" is the meaning of life. But still what's the point of that either?

    From an animalistic point of view, we should be running naked across the savannah hunting saber tooth tigers. No questions asked. Then something happened, and humans started to be more intelligent.

    Humans are the only species that are sensitive to the spiritual realm.

    Is this a product of evolution?

    or a bi-product of intelligence?

    Every society on earth has independently develeoped a system of religion, which is artificial but the belief in a higher power is not.

    Some people misunderstand the belief in God. They think that people are helpless need to believe in God. But that is not entirely ture. True belief in God is spawned by acknowledging the great life you have and the awesomeness of the universe.

    If our evolution has reached a point where your spirit can transcend space and time after you die, that would be great. But if you cease to exist, that would be kind of sad. Therefore for the shortest time you are here on earth, live out your live as best as you can. Because you will be gone forever, ad infinitum. What difference will any of your actions make, as compared to the universe.

    I find my meaning of life through the pursuit of knowledge. And if I really cease to exit when I die, so be it. I'll die knowing I have witnessed the wonders of the universe and I'll die believing in God.

    I will tell you this, if you really knew all the answers to the ultimate questions, what would be the point of that?
  6. Jun 22, 2006 #5
    You are the ultimate god.
    You have full responsibility and power over your own thoughts and emotions.
    Heck it can even be said that we are all individual gods of our own universes, it's only a matter of perspective.

    Thus it is my opinion that you need to stop putting the blame elsewhere.
    You are pushing all responsibility away from yourself, onto something which has no consciousness, namely the universe.
    You are pushing all power that you once had, onto something that will never change; the universe.

    Stop giving away responsibility and power, stop making up excuses, and create your own destiny in life, both before and after death.
  7. Jun 22, 2006 #6
    When you look at the most likely scenario of your existence, then there really is no point in the pursuit of happiness, at the deepest level.
    This "sensitivity" to the spiritual realm is most likely a product of evolution and intelligence, since intelligence is a product of evolution. Like we have been discussing, it really makes no difference if you live or die, but if all humans committed suicide, then evolution of the species will have failed. A belief in a God and a destiny is the perfect (and simple) solution to stop humans from realizing how meaningless their existence is (Does this not make sense?). I am not saying that only weaklings believe in God, but am I wrong to say that the aformentioned reason I gave for a belief in God applies to some people? I don't think so, and at the deepest level, it may be the reason for many. The great life we have...if it was as great as you say it is then we probably wouldn't be having this discussion. I call myself agnostic, I acknowledge that I can not know for sure whether or not there is a god (some kind of god at least, not necessarily the christian god). Do you acknowledge the fact that the universe may very well exist without the existence of a God? It is certainly a possibility, and while not too much is known about the universe, there is no empirical evidence for the existence of a god other than complexity.
    I find joy in the pursuit of knowledge, but it is far from giving my life any real meaning. I want to search for the ultimate answers, but is it fair to only give me 80 years to do it? When you die believing in God, it will make no difference. In all likelyhood, death will be the sad event you speak of.
    ...and when I die and my consciousness fades away, I will no longer be able to accept responsibility or power. What kind of god am I that in fact I have no power over my ultimate destiny? How can I push responsibility that I don't have away from myself? How can I be accused of blaming something else for my power when I have none?
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2006
  8. Jun 22, 2006 #7
    A god cannot have control over his own destiny, it's logically impossible, he will always be a "slave to the system."

    I'm talking about being a god of your own life.

    If others can be happy, so can you.
    It's all a matter of perspective.
  9. Jun 22, 2006 #8
    "there is no empirical evidence for the existence of a god other than complexity."

    Indeed, just like there is no evidence of that the "real meaning" that you speak of can ever be found or understood.

    You seek something that may never have an answer. The universe may not care.

    So the believing in God is no different.
  10. Jun 22, 2006 #9
    Even though I am the god of my life, that still does not change anything. It is just another way of saying I control my life, what is your point? There are of course things that I can do that will make me happy, but there are different kinds of "happiness," and nothing I do can give me that special kind of happiness. The fact that others can be happy has no bearing on whether or not I can be happy. My perspective is different (obviously) from theirs. My perspective is the one which determines whether or not I will be happy. Changing my perspective will only give me a false sense of happiness, while it has no effect on reality. This certainly does not give any meaning to my life.
    I don't hope to find "real meaning," because I know that it doesn't exist. I must have misled you in my earlier post(s)...but I thought that I said that life was meaningless. I would certainly, however, like to have more of a say in things such as death. Please don't get me wrong, you have a right to believe in whatever you want.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2006
  11. Jun 22, 2006 #10
    No biggy, I read fast.

    Life can be meaningless to the core. You have little control over your life, you don't know when an earthquake will happen, or get ran over by a car, or wiped out by an asteroid impact.

    What humans aspire, at least at an unconcoiuss level is to increase one's degrees of freedom. We have come a long way since caveman times, so our lives should have more meaning. When we finally conquer space, and colinize other planets, then we have aquired another degree of freedom. Suddenly asteroid impacts won't seem that scary.
  12. Jun 22, 2006 #11


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    You know, this is certainly a worthwhile question, but it gets asked here every month or so.
  13. Jun 22, 2006 #12
    My point is that life is what you make it. The universe is neutral, it does not know what "purpose" or "meaning" is about.
    Thus all those negative emotions you have come from within, not from the situation you are in.
    You try to put the blame on the universe, calling it a prison and other things, when in reality you are free to do whatever you want, you are free to do whatever your body and mind is capable of doing, and that's all you need.
    If you are looking for something else, if you are saying that you have wishes that the universe cannot fulfill, then I suggest you look harder, or die trying.
    Are you sure about that?
    If you are experiencing some sort of "false happiness" then you're not doing the right thing, and you're not experiencing happiness.
    If you are however experiencing happiness then by default, you will not question it, otherwise it wouldn't be happiness.

    If as I said above you are looking to fulfill something which cannot physically nor mentally be fulfilled, then we have come to a crossroad.

    1. The very possibility that you had this emotion says something bigger about the universe or
    2. We are all just physical matter wobbling around in space, and nothing of what we think or feel has any real bearing on the physical world.
  14. Jun 23, 2006 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    Find what matters to you and make a leap of faith that it really matters. It reaquires a leap of faith in either case - to believe that life has meaning or not - so why not use Pascal's logic to make the choice? Even if life has no meaning, if you choose to believe that it does, you still enjoy the luxury of never knowing that you were wrong. :biggrin:

    I think what really gets people stuck is not the meaning of life or lack thereof, rather it is the inability to accept that we can't know. Some or most of us need to make a choice as to what to believe.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2006
  15. Jun 23, 2006 #14
    If our society seems more nihilistic than that of previous eras, perhaps this is simply a sign of our maturity as a sentient species. As our collective consciousness expands beyond a crucial point, we are at last ready to accept life's fundamental truth: that life's only purpose is life itself.

    (Thank you, Sid Mier.)
  16. Jun 23, 2006 #15
    The real issue is that we can't be Gods, mainly due to the fact that we can't influence our surroundings beyond the things we do on Earth (and even then, not all of us have that kind of influence). No matter what we do, the existence will still rear it's ugly head: every morning/night the same picture, same sky, clouds, stars, cosmos, you name it. That's something I see no solution for.

    In terms of being successful here on Earth, sure, it would be wise to think of everything in positive terms, to follow your dreams and to consider yourself a God for yourself.

    But that is the real subtlety here: if the universe doesn't care, then how is it a worthy life we live? no matter what we do, we are going to die. If a cure is found for Death (if such a thing is possible), then that would only exacerbate the problem because I would personally be unable to enjoy this daily repetitiveness and how exactly would immortality really be immortality if everyone in possession of arms would be able to kill himself? Sure, no physical death, but what about illnesses and about the aforementioned option? There are too many gaping holes to reach a reasonable conclusion

    And then again... even then, the Universe wouldn't care:confused:

    Someone said here, that because we are sentient being, we are so much more meaningful than the universe is as a whole... there is a modicum of truth in that as well, but only insofar as we're alive.
  17. Jun 23, 2006 #16
    My negative emotions do come from the situation I am in. The one thing that I am happy about is being alive. What makes me unhappy is that I won't always be alive. I may be alive for 80 or so years, but I won't be alive for all the rest of the time. I realize that "I" won't "know" that I'm dead, but thats not the point. This point is that life is what it is, not what I make of it. Maybe for you that is not the case, but for me it is. I can't be wrong about what makes me happy and what life means to me (nothing).
    I don't think of the universe as my prison, I like the universe. I understand that I'm free to do what I want, and of course that is all I need, that is all I'm going to get. However, I can't be completely happy with the situation I am in right now, unless I change it to something I like. But for now, I am not completely happy, and will never be happy with this current situation.
    Exactly what I will do.:wink: Although I don't think that my wishes are impossible to fulfill.

    Its not what I do that determines whether I'm happy or not. I have control over what I do. The things that I can't control are the things that make me unhappy. I don't want control over everything, but there are certainly things that I see as unfair. I don't think that the universe is trying to be unfair (I understand that it is "neutral"), but my current situation is definitely unfair in my opinion (by chance, of course). I'm not asking for some kind of heaven here, as I said earlier, I don't want that at all. I am also not asking for something that is impossible to fulfill...what do you think I want?
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2006
  18. Jun 23, 2006 #17
    I like the answer of Joseph Campbell--the point (meaning) of human life is to experience the rapture of being alive.
  19. Jun 24, 2006 #18
    One shouldn't live for a purpose, but to live life because they're able and fortunate to do so

    just take comfort in the fact you exist at all, and you're able to ponder the fact
  20. Jun 24, 2006 #19
    The point of life is not to die.
  21. Jun 24, 2006 #20
    Yeah.. Listen to some music that really draws you in, have sex with someone, view a beautiful sunset, look at the skies and ponder, and then be happy that you are able to do those things at all.

    Being alive rocks.
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