What's the meaning of life? What's the point?
I think this question has been asked over the ages but what the hell.
My viewpoint on this is that there is no overall meaning to life. I'm talking about how the universe doesn't care
that we care. Feelings are a biological system that only makes us want to care for the sake of evolution.
Since our bodies make us feel, we must think that there is a purpose to our lives (giving our lives meaning by attaching value to actions and memories).
The issue with that is, everyone is constantly pursuing goals to create a sense of happiness.
But doesn't that just mean we are always trying to blind ourselves from the truth that there is no point?
We pursue happiness so that we don't feel like there is no meaning.
Basically, we are always getting high (in some form) to keep ourselves from looking at the facts. Obviously, if you are religious....you will think there's a plan for everything.
That won't give me any explanation, so you can keep that line of thinking to yourself (no offense).
What I'm looking for is a perspective that will give me insight.
If you're happy, you don't feel the need to think about this sort of thing because you feel as though it doesn't matter.
But when you're feeling down or just speculating "what's the point?", you start to look at the bigger picture and you begin to attach value to every aspect of your life (even though that value is subjective). And in the end, that isn't a universal value
that other people can relate to.
I believe some people will say:
You give your life meaning = the search for happiness is the point = happiness is not the end goal but the journey is
The issue with that is.... all that says is that you want to feel good. If you feel good, you believe your life has value/meaning. Doesn't that just mean that everyone wants to get high (naturally or unnaturally)?
It seems to be a continuous cycle of getting high without receiving physical/mental damage from those actions.
Is that all life is about??? Getting high and attaching a vague value to every action?
Or do you think there is some other point that I have missed?
If you have any thoughts, I would like to hear them...
@karan11singh "This also makes me wonder if the holy grail of physics, the unified theory, even exists. Is it our ape brain making us oversimplify things when they really might be complex and discrete? Just wondering, of course. Still, it's an idea worth pursuing even if we possibly disprove it later, because that's how science works." That sounds very ... dumb because you're suggesting that there might be a better way to explain how the world functions than physics, do you know what a new explanation of a function preserved in the world is called... Research in the discipline of physics.
@miranda21 why TF did you down vote my comment about existentialism. It's true?!!?!
@saunders-tom Fully agree with you too, especially what you said about our lives being meaningful or meaningless depending on our perspective and the scale of things we look at.
And as for 'the truth'... I was thinking about it, and got caught up in a circular argument. But I think the questions we ask about the supposed 'truth' itself are numerous, so there might not be a single answer. "What's the truth?" ...but about what exactly? Existence, consciousness, the nature of reality...? So answers might differ. (But of course, they still might or might not be pointing to a single 'truth'...) I invite further discussion on this point, if you and anyone else is interested.
This also makes me wonder if the holy grail of physics, the unified theory, even exists. Is it our ape brain making us oversimplify things when they really might be complex and discrete? Just wondering, of course. Still, it's an idea worth pursuing even if we possibly disprove it later, because that's how science works.
PS - So glad that you liked my answer :)
@miranda21 well if you have any personal questions dm me
ill be happy to answer them
@miranda21 the fact that different people have different opinions on the matter proves existentialism
Everyone's opinions differentiate with one another, but i'm intrigued. I know just the person to ask.
@Sky i'm looking at you.
@saunders-tom i hate the idea of "healthy level of skepticism" because no amount of skepticism is too much for a stoic
I do agree with you. Just to be clear, I'm also an atheist so when I write "faith", I don't mean it in the religious way.
I was using the word "faith" in a completely non-religious way (It looks like that word can only be used for religion nowadays).
I think that people should always have a healthy level of skepticism and challenge what they believe to be true and figure out what the unknown. That's why I threw this question out there. Bringing god into the equation will ruin any kind of conversation. The god of the gaps is always shrinking.
I'm also not saying that once you believe that your existence has meaning, it has meaning.
Within the realm of your own existence, you determine (in a subjective way) what has meaning.
So all I way saying is that since we are locked within ourselves, there's no way to determine a universal value to life itself.
That is why I wrote at the end that it depends on what scale your looking at.
Since we are on the same page there, I don't see any more reason to delve into why god shouldn't be apart of this conversation.
I will also agree with how existential nihilism explains that there is no meaning.
To put my words from my previous post in another light, I will say that we believe our lives have meaning so that we can indulge in what life offers us. Basically, we're lying to ourselves so that we can enjoy ourselves (sounds negative but I do believe this to be true). This kinda puts my answer closer to my first post which was all about getting high without consequences. So to conjoin my two posts, the more you believe (convincingly lie to yourself) your life has meaning, that in-turn will make your life more valuable (in a subjective way).
The fact that we cannot verify that there is no meaning means that it is still just a hypothesis.
Your answer is the most logical one, but it still doesn't answer the question.
Even if we humans are compelled to find meaning and thus create meaning from nothing,
we are still left with a gap of knowledge due to our primitive minds (I'm comparing us to something that would be able to comprehend things beyond current human capabilities).
If the answer was that there is no meaning, I would be happy with that answer. It would also make sense :D
Still...the quest for the answer intrigues me.
@how-to-make-a i hate faith. I'm an anti-thiest
@saunders-tom yes actually. A LOT of things in your second comment are very well thought out. Buttttttt you're saying that when it comes to religious topics that everyone believes what they believe with use of faith so it doesn't matter. And it is there where i have to abrupt you and tell you that actually you're surprisingly very wrong about this one became you're saying that belief on faith is a guess and since nobody is going to actually find out the truth therefore we shouldn't worry about the question so much. But there is something you are sadly blocking out of your brain just because you don't want to think about the WITMOL question, and that thing is... do you actually think that faith is a good thing expecially if you realise how much bullshit is claimed in the name of faith, i think that religion is the only place where people act like it's noble to PRETEND to be certain about things you actually can't possibly be certain about. P.S. when nearly all religious arguments fall to billions of logical fallacies and actually have invalid statements about the universe that go against science i think it would be fair to say that faith is just a suspension of logic so that people can believe ridiculous but comforting claims
I do agree with you.
My second answer doesn't contradict that.
Do you disagree with anything I said in the second comment?
That was a good answer. I do agree with your answer and I found another way to look at it.
I will agree that being positive about life and being productive is an essential part of it.
But as I was pondering this question again in my mind, I came to one conclusion which gave me satisfaction.
We as human being are currently limited in the ways of thought and we are still slaves to fundamental laws of physics.
I do not believe we are capable of seeing the underlying truth (if there is such a thing).
This may not pertain to future human beings.
Anyway, my point is that I think we cannot find the answer for now. It might be hidden for a millennia.
That being said, I do think that there may be no overlaying reason/point, but we assign meaning to our own lives don't we.
So doesn't it come down to faith? I don't mean that in a religious way (sorry for getting anyone's' hopes up that are religious).
Let me explain.
You can look at your own life like this:
- You were created within this universe and you are apart of the universe (quite literally).
- Even if you believe that your life has meaning or not, you play a part of entropy.
- So if you are apart of this ever developing system, that means your life (no matter what you think) has meaning in the sense that your actions affect the stream of the timeline.
(You could argue that your actions are predetermined, and I will agree with you. But I will say in return that you are sentient, meaning that you can understand how your actions have affected everything around you).
- The molecules that make your body have been passed down the ages to you, and even if you die, they will be passed on. This will have an everlasting change on the space time continuum.
- If you think that no matter what you do, it doesn't mean anything because taking action and not taking action doesn't change the fact that time will continue on and that the universe doesn't care what you think, you will also be correct.
So......... that is why I think it comes down to belief/faith. Once you sincerely believe that your actions in your life have meaning no matter how small or big, that in-turn gives meaning.
And as you said, it's human nature to attach meaning to everything. If you do not attach meaning, that is that.
Put simply, there is no meaning to life (as we know).
BUT, your life has value if you believe it. Sounds contradictory doesn't it. lol.
Depending on what scale your looking at, your life is meaningful and meaningless at the same time.
It also sounds weird when you can say that every action/non-action you take has meaning.
The power of belief also sounds wiffy, but then again.... it may be all we have.
Thank you for your reply. The story you gave as a link was also interesting.
I feel as though it has relevance to what I have spurted out here as a response.
It is interesting to see how people perceive their own existence.
I look forward to seeing what other people write.
@karan11singh i think my answer is the most logical one.
@saunders-tom "If you feel good, you believe that your life has value/meaning."
Not necessarily; we simply can't draw any such conclusions. One can feel good despite knowing that life has no inherent meaning. People can be happy just for the sake of being happy (I hope that makes sense), because it feels good to be happy. Just like how some people learn something for the sake of learning, to satisfy their curiosity, even though that knowledge might not bring them any gain, monetary or otherwise.
It's human nature to attach meaning to (and find utility in) everything, and to refuse to acknowledge the utter chaos of nature and its indifference towards everything. Perhaps this is why the concept of God was invented - to give people an ideal to strive towards, so that they lived a noble life, rather than drown in misery about how meaningless their lives were. It fuels our single most powerful instinct - that of survival. Speaking in terms of evolution, procreation is the most important goal of all organisms, because it ensures that the species doesn't die out (why the instinct to live is so strong, though, is a totally different question that is open for philosophical debate).
So, to answer your question - life has no meaning by itself, but we give it meaning, probably because it helps our species to survive.
Live for the sake of living, enjoy yourself, do your job well, try your best to help others at every opportunity, and be happy. That's all there is really, isn't it? :)
I'll leave you with a story that offers some food for thought :
There is no point for killing yourself too by the way. Death and life are equally meaningless
Research existential nihilism
There is no point to anything BTW
The meaning of life is the thing/ are the things that make you not want to commit suicide
Oh and by the way, if someone says "the pursuit of meaning gives meaning...." kudos to you for being paradoxical :D