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

Why ask why?

  1. Aug 23, 2004 #1
    Really, who cares? You're going to die anyway.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2004 #2
    Why ask about asking why...

    If you follow your logic why eat... you will die anyway

    If you have a faith or not the point of life is to have a purpose. Often if you truly analize these purposes they are pointless... but the important thing is to believe that you have purpose. Discovering more about the world allows you to "help" other people make life "easier" for other people, and progressive the knowledge of mankind. Of all the manifested purposes of life this is one that I would consider the purest.

    That’s why
  4. Aug 24, 2004 #3
    Exactly. I stopped eating a while ago.

    Why the hell is it important to believe I have purpose? So I don't get depressed? Hah. Why not take some drugs instead. Much easier to believe in them.
  5. Aug 24, 2004 #4
    What would be the purpse of taking drugs? To escape your reality? You should also believe than that your life is meaningless and 'sucks'. I don't think you have to 'believe' you're of any importance. On a total level, of mankind as Tom stated you are important even the slightest degree. You, even if you don't care, are important to your family members, your friends, etc. At an individual level, that you have any reason to ask 'why?', there is no point to asking such. You will die, and never quite fulfill 'why?'. I have a simple analogy of what one being can do to another being, or multiple beings. A simple life is like a candle, wick and wax. The wick can be lit by a single flame, so that this candle burns. This candle can also light another candle, or 2 candles, or 3 candles. The flame one candle has can light all other wicks.
  6. Aug 24, 2004 #5

    Much easier to believe in...

    Drugs become your purpose

    When life has no purpose you die, until then you can't escape the fact that you are living for some sort of purpose at every moment.
  7. Aug 25, 2004 #6
    When life has a purpose you die too. What's the difference?
  8. Aug 25, 2004 #7
    Good thing you stopped by the philosophy section of a physics help forum on your way out.
  9. Aug 25, 2004 #8
    LOL. Much laughter, I have had.
  10. Aug 25, 2004 #9
    Why can't anyone answer this question satisfactorily?
  11. Aug 25, 2004 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'd like to have you for my neighbor. You'd give me all your stuff right? Oh what the heck, you can give it to me anyway. Gimme your email addy and I'll have you send me a check.
  12. Aug 25, 2004 #11
    Dark Philosophy (I love it!)

    Albert Camus described the human condition as “absurd” (because we demand our lives should have significance in an indifferent universe, itself devoid of meaning or purpose). The philosophical problem, therefore, is that of suicide. Camus concludes destroying oneself is a kind of capitulation, and appeals to human pride by calling for leading a life of stoic refusal to accommodate oneself to cosmic meaninglessness. Here’s what I think about that;

    Rebelling against meaninglessness does not, in itself, add meaning. Living and dying are actions, but meaning is not; it involves purpose, and to my thinking, actions don’t seem to cause purpose, although it is common to hold purpose may cause action. Human pride as a will to live does not appeal to me, it isn’t even a reason at all; it is simply an emotion, often an ugly one. To posture against a mindless universe with a show of pride is like a fool beating his chest, not something I can get excited about.

    I’m predisposed to think drudging onward isn’t even principally rooted in rationality; it is simply a core component of animal nature. Therefore, since we are naturally here, and our nature impels us to push on, I suggest true capitulation to cosmic circumstance involves using reason to justify what is in fact already our basic nature, a nature which is indeed our taskmaster, insisting we push on and on and on despite the lack of meaning. Consider a man in the middle of an ocean; all his thrashing of arms and legs will add no meaning to his condition, although it might prolong his life temporarily, it’s simply an innate primitive response any and every unreasoning animal would be under the spell of, attempting to avoid the inevitable. Kick hard and add meaning someone says? What, life needs yet more meaning? Hmmm, try kicking even harder, haha!

    I would argue even immortality would be meaningless. It might, however, give pause for additional consideration before offing oneself, but it could not in itself give meaning. In considering, however, why immortality should give pause I find for myself the key to this mystery; it is found not by searching for meaning but, rather, by recognizing what living provides that death does not; hope. Hope for a more satisfying state of affairs in an indifferent universe, where hope is not mindless but something more tangible. Hope is an idea of how things might be, not of how they are. Hope offers real possibility, pride offers nothing, and when life leaves it takes hope with it, which explains something about despair.

    [edit:]I've rethought part of this and decided that I'm the kind of fool who can get excited about chest beating, but only when combined with howling at the moon! :biggrin: [/edit]
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2004
  13. Aug 25, 2004 #12
    ..bottomline...life goes on dumass!
  14. Aug 25, 2004 #13
    Dschouten, I can hardly add anything upon BoulderHead's post. It contains the the gist of the answer your looking for.

    To summarize his post, in case you aren't one to read longer posts....

    Do you have a better idea? If so, is it a better idea?
  15. Aug 26, 2004 #14
    Out of all the responses in this forum, yours is by far the best, both in terms of effort and in terms of ability.

    However, I can't help but question one of your fundamental assertions in the above response: that it is sheer animal instinct to continue with this drudgery that is called life ad infinitum through endless meaningless generations. The difference is that we (that is humanity) have thus far revealed ourselves as the only beings on this planet, and in the known universe, which have any concept of meaning at all - regardless of how vague our understanding of the term is.

    An example to establish the differences between humans and animals in this regard: imagine a dog questioning the meaning of playing fetch with its master. Reductio ad absurdum, at least.

    So perhaps my original question "Why ask why" can be rephrased: "If we are going to ignore meaning (supress our rationality) and follow our animal instincts why have a philosophy forum?"

    Either we abandon all meaning, or we embrace it and I don't think we can just ignore the dichotomy.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2004
  16. Aug 26, 2004 #15
    Why does dying make a difference in your caring?
  17. Aug 26, 2004 #16
    Some people never ask why. Its not part of their personality. Others have a thirst for knowledge - they are the ones who ask why and it is how they obtain some satisfaction while the are alive.

  18. Aug 26, 2004 #17
    So the question "Why?" is asked to gain satisfaction. Of course. You've simply restated the question.
  19. Aug 26, 2004 #18
    How long is a while ago? It pains me to think we have about 40 more days of this.
  20. Aug 26, 2004 #19
    I suppose there are things to philosophize about besides meaning, and therefore our rationality need not be fully suppressed. Naturally, I hold that any thinking person will need at some point or other to ponder the question your initial post asks, and I hope you will find a satisfactory answer.

    I chose abandonment.

    Anyway, I think Wu Li asks a simple question which upon more than cursory examination can be seen as insightful. Have you an answer for it?
  21. Aug 26, 2004 #20
    :biggrin: :tongue:
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook