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Old 02-07-2019, 10:06 AM
scarface54345 scarface54345 is offline
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What is the point of living if we're all going to die?

I've started to get this feeling "what is the point of living life if eventually we'll all die"? And furthermore, I got another question. If we die, doesn't everything come to an end? Don't you lose memory of absolutely everything you've done in life? So in other words, what's the point of doing things in life if we're all going to eventually die and never even remember what we've done? Maybe other people might but would you personally have remembered this upon your death? I'm talking in a non-religious point of view. From a scientific logical point of view, everything you've done in life comes to an end and you cannot even backtrack anything to trace your memories or whatnot. I don't believe that scientifically there is a such thing as "afterlife" or whatnot.

So really, I got extremely depressed over the past few days thinking about this question. I mean you can be the richest person in the world right now but in probably ~80 years, you'll completely forget about that. Or otherwise you can live in total misery and poverty but you'll forget about it maybe 50 years later.

So this question has struck my head really hard. I felt like I didn't want to do anything. What is the actual point of life if we're all going to die no matter what we have accomplished?
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:08 AM
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This is like asking "What's the point of playing a pickup game of basketball with friends if the game's eventually going to end?" Something is better than nothing.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:09 AM
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:10 AM
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To enjoy the time between birth and death.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:14 AM
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Does the non-existence preceding life negate it's meaning? Hardly. Then why should the non-existence after? Non-existence is infinitely longer than existence. The point of life is living, because there is so little of it.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:16 AM
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Everyone dies and, in the grand scheme of things, nothing you do will matter. So do the best you can while you're here.

Eat the strawberry.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:29 AM
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To the OP: sometimes I feel that way, too. More often than sometimes, if truth be told. I haven't come up with a good answer. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. My working answer is, "I don't really need a reason right this minute, so I'll just keep on." Also, although I don't have any people in my life who look to me for anything, I do have a dog and three cats (just added a new one to the fambly ), so that will do for today.

To put it in perspective, this question has been asked by human beings ever since there were human beings. It's the basis for creating all religions. No one (IMHO) has come up with a definitive, final, satisfactory answer. So far. It will make you nuts and not help much to dwell on the question. Because you won't find a global answer you can be sure of. You can find temporary answers in isolated meaningful moments. That may have to do.

Peace, friend.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:31 AM
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If joy is transient, so is sorrow. The easy answer to What is the point of living? is What is the point of not living?
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:48 AM
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If you're excluding transcendence, then there is no point. There is no difference between you dying today, tomorrow or having never been born. You're simply a random collection of interacting chemicals that mysteriously happens to know that in some weird way it forms a system. There are trillions of similar systems so your particular system is not particularly unique or important. When your system is no longer able to remain coherent, other systems will react to this dissolution, but their reaction is not unique and they may have similar reactions to the loss of a dog, their shelter or even their favorite book or childhood belonging. They too will cease to be in an extremely short amount of time taking those reactions with them. Eventually, the fact that at one time your particular system existed will have such little impact on the world that your existence or lack thereof is basically the same as throwing a rock in a pond and looking for the ripples two years later.

The end game is always the same, the complete and total destruction of anything and everything that humanity as a whole has ever accomplished. There will be noone admiring our monuments or wondering about our existence. There will be no descendents that at least keep a vanishingly tiny portion of our DNA with them. There will be no highly evolved super humanity. It all ends the same way, eventually if we are unique in the universe and never leave this planet, there will be a 'last life', probably a single celled organism that will be blown apart by the fury of an exploding sun or if we're not alone, it will be supping on the last drop of energy from a long dead planet until there's nothing left to sustain it and then that's it, that's all and the universe becomes a lifeless husk that noone cares about, remembers or even exists in order to care about it.

I think it was Camus who posited that 'suicide is the atheist's problem' (This is paraphrased, he thinks suicide is everyone's ultimate question, but acknowledges that the divine changes the equation) He sees there only being three options, suicide, hope or rebellion. Hope is unreasonable and illogical. Suicide he doesn't want to accept. Rebellion is what he settles on. You reject the absurdity of existence by essentially embracing meaninglessness. He posits Sisyphus as our guide. We push our stones up the hill only to watch them roll down the other side and then start all over again. I personally have always found Camus's answer to be unsatisfying, but it's probably the best answer anyone has come up with.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:50 AM
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The biggest question--really, the only question--humans face. "What's the point?"

As a psychotherapist largely oriented toward existentialism, I would point you toward Victor Frankl as an useful start toward determining the perimeters of the question.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by scarface54345 View Post
"what is the point of living life if eventually we'll all die"
I think most answers fall into three main categories:

1. You might as well enjoy it while you can.

2. Make the world a better place/accomplish something that will remain after you are gone.

3. This earthly life is not all there is, and it can be used to teach us, mature us, and sanctify us to prepare us for eternal life.

And whichever one(s) you devote yourself to, facing the fact that you're going to die reminds you not to waste the limited time you have.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:36 AM
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Scarface54345, meet Machinaforce. Machinaforce, meet scarface54345.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:00 PM
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Well, from a non-religious perspective, the only "point" to life is what you make of it.

From a nihilistic point of view we live on a ball of dirt hurtling through universe. And we just happen to be (imo) the most advanced species on that ball of dirt. It's even possible we're the most advanced species in the entire universe. Presumably you live in a fairly advanced society as well. At a time of unprecedented scientific and social progress.

So you're experiencing an experience that on a cosmological level could be infintisimally rare.

If for nothing else, the "point" would be to experience this rare existence in a way that you enjoy, and pass on beneficial things you can to the people around you. Maybe make this mud ball a little better place than you left it when you're gone.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:03 PM
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The hilarious thing is, nobody really wants to know. If it could be indisputably mathematically proven that the point of life was X, 99.9% of sentient life would say "huh" and unpause their Playstation or resume texting or whatever. When people ask what the point of life is, all they really want is for someone to say "Don't worry, dude - you're nailing it. Really. Keep up the good work."

So don't worry. You're nailing it. And hey, keep up the good work.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:17 PM
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You're having an existential crisis. I've had several in my life, and they're not fun. Many people, myself included, have one early on when they first begin to understand death. It's also common to have one around the age of 40.

I found it helpful to understand that this is a common human experience, and that most people are able to get through it and move on.

As for the actual meaning of life? If you figure it out, let us know. For me personally, it's about finding things that satisfy me. This morning I had a bowl of a new cereal that is really good. I've gotten several compliments this morning on my clothing choices, which always makes me happy. I finished up several work projects by the deadline. Will any of this matter in a week? Probably not. But focusing more on this moment, and making it great, rather than trying to have "accomplishments" can help ground you and make it possible to move forward.

"The tragedy of the human experience is that we are aware of our own mortality."
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:33 PM
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If for nothing else, the "point" would be to experience this rare existence in a way that you enjoy, and pass on beneficial things you can to the people around you. Maybe make this mud ball a little better place than you left it when you're gone.
My problem with this is 'enjoy.' If you posit the point is to experience rarity, why put 'enjoy' in there? We know that joy is just a chemical reaction that is an attempt to maintain the coherence of the system. There is no value to it, any more than there is value in suffering or ennui. If your goal is rarity of experience, then joy is illogical to seek since that's what all the other humans are seeking and their bodies are telling them to do. Rarity would be rebelling against joy. Experiencing the rare might not be a joyful experience. If novelty is the point, then your goal should be mixing drugs for new emotions or doing things that have never been done - and I would posit most of those involve more suffering than joy. Thousands of people have climbed Mount Everest, how many have had their testicals torn off by an anglerfish?
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:41 PM
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I actually have a problem with 'joy' in other contexts as well. It leads to the 'heroin junkie' scenario. If our goal is simply joy, then why not spend our days as high as we can for as long as we can until the money runs out or the highs stop working and then OD in one last glorious orgasmic state? There's nothing that's going to make you as happy as heroin. The body just can't produce that quantity of opiates. It's why addicts ignore their families, their hobbies and everything else in search of their next fix. Heroin is the greatest orgasm you've ever had multiplied by 100, so is heroin the meaning of life? Procure enough money to spend half a decade strung out and then off yourself? You're probably maximizing your 'joy.' So that seems to be where that philosophy leads us.

Last edited by senoy; 02-07-2019 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:41 PM
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Your life is your vacation from the eternal oblivion. Try to enjoy this vacation if you can.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:05 PM
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If joy is transient, so is sorrow. The easy answer to What is the point of living? is What is the point of not living?
I like this answer. A lot.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:10 PM
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My individual self is not the entirety of my identity, it's something I'm doing for the duration of a lifetime. And no, everything I do within it doesn't come to an end; I affect other people (intentionally and unintentionally) and hence the future is something I helped to create.

Last edited by AHunter3; 02-07-2019 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:10 PM
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What would be the point of living if there's an afterlife?

Like, you live and create your memories and personality, and then you die, and go on to some sort of eternal existence.

And what's the point of the eternal existence? You're supposed to sit on a cloud and play a harp? Contemplate God? Experience eternal punishment for your failures?

What's the point of an afterlife? God decreed that there was a point? Who died and made God God? Why does God get to dictate what the purpose of existence is? OK, he's God, but so what?

The good news for me is that if our existence is meaningless, then getting upset about the meaninglessness of life is meaningless. Your depression over the meaninglessness of it all is meaningless. So why bother getting depressed over it? Why bother doing anything?

The real reason people bother to do anything is that we're creatures that evolved over billions of years to survive and reproduce, and the creatures that didn't bother to survive and reproduce didn't. And so we have inherited a complex system of behaviors and internal states because that's what allowed our ancestors to create us. Why does it feel good to eat a nice dinner, have sex, care for your children, look at a sunset? Because those are the things that meant survival. But you don't have to do any of that. You could curl up in a ball and weep, and it would mean just as much as enjoying dinner with your spouse and then getting some snuggle time. It's all meaningless, in a cosmic sense.

But it's not meaningless to me, because I'm on the inside. I have needs and desires that I didn't choose, but were imposed on me by evolution. I don't need to act on those behaviors. I could refuse to eat, refuse to come in out of the rain, refuse to get out of the way of the oncoming traffic, refuse to breathe. And then I'd die, and nothing would happen, because my death would be just as meaningless as my life.

So do whatever you want. You're free! The meaninglessness of life shouldn't make you suffer, because it's meaningless. Your suffering is just as meaningless as your joy. The only thing is, I prefer happiness to suffering, because that's the kind of organism I am. And so I choose the meaningless happiness over the meaningless suffering. You don't have to do that, but don't expect me to get all upset when you deliberately make yourself miserable over something as meaningless as the meaninglessness of life.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:11 PM
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If our goal is simply joy, then why not spend our days as high as we can for as long as we can until the money runs out or the highs stop working and then OD in one last glorious orgasmic state? There's nothing that's going to make you as happy as heroin.
It sounds like you're treating "joy," "happiness," and "pleasure" as synonymous. (As opposed to, for example, C. S. Lewis's use of the word.)
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:17 PM
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Observe your dog for enlightenment on this subject. Dogs of course have no understanding of such existentialist concepts, but that's precisely the point; if they did, their lives would be much the worse for it. Observe your dog: observe his pure joy when you arrive home, his boundless joy at the prospect of a walk or a run in the park, undiminished and untroubled by any thoughts about the purpose of his life.

I love this quote by the wonderful writer Wendell Berry:

“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and I am free.”

I believe that there is actually much wisdom in the way that dogs and other intelligent animals approach life. Not only are they untroubled by existentialist angst and thus well equipped to enjoy life to the fullest, but there is anecdotal evidence that they also have a deeply ingrained primal understanding of death, and will calmly choose that path when they feel it's time, such as in the face of debilitating illness. I've read all the stories, but I've also seen it myself, in a deeply moving way that still brings tears to my eyes.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:36 PM
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He who dies with the most toys, wins.

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Old 02-07-2019, 01:49 PM
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:29 PM
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The point of living is to enjoy the life you have. You only get the one, and that's fine - make it fun while it lasts.
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:43 PM
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Personally I consider it my goal to piss off all the people who have wanted me dead, or its related never-born, for as long as possible.
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:50 PM
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My problem with this is 'enjoy.' If you posit the point is to experience rarity, why put 'enjoy' in there? We know that joy is just a chemical reaction that is an attempt to maintain the coherence of the system. There is no value to it, any more than there is value in suffering or ennui. If your goal is rarity of experience, then joy is illogical to seek since that's what all the other humans are seeking and their bodies are telling them to do. Rarity would be rebelling against joy. Experiencing the rare might not be a joyful experience. If novelty is the point, then your goal should be mixing drugs for new emotions or doing things that have never been done - and I would posit most of those involve more suffering than joy. Thousands of people have climbed Mount Everest, how many have had their testicals torn off by an anglerfish?
I'm not sure I understand your version of rarity. You have never before been you. You have never experienced what you're currently experiencing. No one ever has, and no one ever will. That's not rare, it's unique. And it has nothing at all to do with what other people have experienced.
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:54 PM
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I'm not sure I understand your version of rarity. You have never before been you. You have never experienced what you're currently experiencing. No one ever has, and no one ever will. That's not rare, it's unique. And it has nothing at all to do with what other people have experienced.
I experience the same things over and over all the time.
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:56 PM
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https://www.quora.com/If-we-all-end-...pose-of-living

"Same purpose every creature that has ever live has had… to pass on your genes and ensure the survival of your offspring so the unbroken chain of survivors from the first single celled bacteria to you, continues. Honour the struggle of billions of individual ancestors of yours by contuing the unbroken chain of survivors that has lead to you, right now, right here. This is a fundamental reality written into every single one of the many billions of cells in your body.

You can then also have a good time generally or maybe try to learn a few things about the universe or whatever whilst you are around. But these are optional really and don’t stress too much about these because plenty of creatures from small marsupials to really stupid humans don’t bother with this bit… people tell you stuff like ‘be happy’ but this is just a state of being we use to describe some hormones in the brain. You can hack that shit quite easily, with a line of cocaine for example. It’s not the purpose of your existence, just a pleasant way to get through it."
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:00 PM
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https://www.quora.com/If-we-all-end-...pose-of-living

"Same purpose every creature that has ever live has had… to pass on your genes and ensure the survival of your offspring so the unbroken chain of survivors from the first single celled bacteria to you, continues. Honour the struggle of billions of individual ancestors of yours by contuing the unbroken chain of survivors that has lead to you, right now, right here. This is a fundamental reality written into every single one of the many billions of cells in your body.

You can then also have a good time generally or maybe try to learn a few things about the universe or whatever whilst you are around. But these are optional really and don’t stress too much about these because plenty of creatures from small marsupials to really stupid humans don’t bother with this bit… people tell you stuff like ‘be happy’ but this is just a state of being we use to describe some hormones in the brain. You can hack that shit quite easily, with a line of cocaine for example. It’s not the purpose of your existence, just a pleasant way to get through it."
This makes the rather bold presumption that the propagation of the species matters. Sure, we're around because it does happen and has happened to date, but that's merely a causal chain of events. It doesn't mean that nothing else matters, or even that nothing else is more important.
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:03 PM
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You should really enjoy reading this.
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:07 PM
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I experience the same things over and over all the time.
Respectfully, you don't. Similar, sure. But not the same. You've never before been the precise age you are now, f'rinstance, and never will be again. You've never had the precise set of past experiences you have now, and never will again. Every instant of your life is literally unique in all of space and time.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:03 PM
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I'm not sure I understand your version of rarity. You have never before been you. You have never experienced what you're currently experiencing. No one ever has, and no one ever will. That's not rare, it's unique. And it has nothing at all to do with what other people have experienced.
That's not particularly rare. If i go to the beach, I don't pick up a grain of sand and say, "Ah, what a unique grain of sand." It is the result of processes which behave similarly across a large sample set. There is little about that grain of sand which possesses value and its existence or non-existence is a matter of approximately zero consequence. Humanity is no different. We're simply the result of uncaring processes and our individual value is a matter of approximately zero consequence. Your perceived uniqueness is simply the result of your body sending signals that prioritize your existence over others because that happened to be the way your 'selfish genes' survived. Realistically, your uniqueness in comparison to other people is largely trivial. That's why our behaviour is so predictable.

Here's a thought study. Name your great-grandparents. Some people can, but most of us can't name all 8 and even fewer can say much about them beyond their names and possibly occupations. These are some of the most important people to your existence who likely died only a very short time before your birth and you likely know more about your dog or Megan Markle than you do those people. You are those people. They had the same thoughts, hopes, dreams, etc. as you do now and they mean less to their own descendent than whomever the new Bachelor is. If they had died of smallpox as children, the world would not be appreciably different. Sure, you wouldn't be here, but you also wouldn't be around to complain. There are an infinite number of combinations of people that aren't here and we don't spend much time bemoaning their lack of being. If you were to get hit by a bus ten minutes from now, the implications are basically zero.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:06 PM
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Respectfully, you don't. Similar, sure. But not the same. You've never before been the precise age you are now, f'rinstance, and never will be again. You've never had the precise set of past experiences you have now, and never will again. Every instant of your life is literally unique in all of space and time.
And the differences between the experiences are so inconsequential that they don't matter at all.

Which is not to say that it's a problem that I have repeated experiences - I'm not of the opinion that being unique imparts value. That's actually a silly notion to me - how would it work? No, the closest you could get would be if novelty somehow made you happy for personal reasons - in which case it's not the novelty that has value, it's the happiness it imparts.

And I can get happiness from doing things even if I've done them before, so that's all cool.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:15 PM
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That's not particularly rare. If i go to the beach, I don't pick up a grain of sand and say, "Ah, what a unique grain of sand." It is the result of processes which behave similarly across a large sample set. There is little about that grain of sand which possesses value and its existence or non-existence is a matter of approximately zero consequence. Humanity is no different. We're simply the result of uncaring processes and our individual value is a matter of approximately zero consequence. Your perceived uniqueness is simply the result of your body sending signals that prioritize your existence over others because that happened to be the way your 'selfish genes' survived. Realistically, your uniqueness in comparison to other people is largely trivial. That's why our behaviour is so predictable.

Here's a thought study. Name your great-grandparents. Some people can, but most of us can't name all 8 and even fewer can say much about them beyond their names and possibly occupations. These are some of the most important people to your existence who likely died only a very short time before your birth and you likely know more about your dog or Megan Markle than you do those people. You are those people. They had the same thoughts, hopes, dreams, etc. as you do now and they mean less to their own descendent than whomever the new Bachelor is. If they had died of smallpox as children, the world would not be appreciably different. Sure, you wouldn't be here, but you also wouldn't be around to complain. There are an infinite number of combinations of people that aren't here and we don't spend much time bemoaning their lack of being. If you were to get hit by a bus ten minutes from now, the implications are basically zero.
You have a gift for putting things in perspective.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:54 PM
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That's not particularly rare. If i go to the beach, I don't pick up a grain of sand and say, "Ah, what a unique grain of sand."
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And the differences between the experiences are so inconsequential that they don't matter at all...
You make that choice, certainly. Me, I find the idea of pure uniqueness in all of space and time almost dizzying, and an excellent antidote to the daily grind of meaninglessness. :shrug: Ain't gonna yuck your yum.


That said, however,

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...It is the result of processes which behave similarly across a large sample set. There is little about that grain of sand which possesses value and its existence or non-existence is a matter of approximately zero consequence. Humanity is no different. We're simply the result of uncaring processes and our individual value is a matter of approximately zero consequence. Your perceived uniqueness is simply the result of your body sending signals that prioritize your existence over others because that happened to be the way your 'selfish genes' survived. Realistically, your uniqueness in comparison to other people is largely trivial. That's why our behaviour is so predictable.

Here's a thought study. Name your great-grandparents. Some people can, but most of us can't name all 8 and even fewer can say much about them beyond their names and possibly occupations. These are some of the most important people to your existence who likely died only a very short time before your birth and you likely know more about your dog or Megan Markle than you do those people. You are those people. They had the same thoughts, hopes, dreams, etc. as you do now and they mean less to their own descendent than whomever the new Bachelor is. If they had died of smallpox as children, the world would not be appreciably different. Sure, you wouldn't be here, but you also wouldn't be around to complain. There are an infinite number of combinations of people that aren't here and we don't spend much time bemoaning their lack of being. If you were to get hit by a bus ten minutes from now, the implications are basically zero.
I'm not certain I follow your point. Are you arguing against the idea of individual meaning in an infinite and uncaring universe? I mean, yeah, no shit, we're going to die and it won't matter at all. And?
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:03 PM
bump bump is offline
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Senoy's like the human manifestation of the Total Perspective Vortex...

Last edited by bump; 02-07-2019 at 05:03 PM.
  #39  
Old 02-07-2019, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by senoy View Post
If you're excluding transcendence, then there is no point. There is no difference between you dying today, tomorrow or having never been born. You're simply a random collection of interacting chemicals that mysteriously happens to know that in some weird way it forms a system. There are trillions of similar systems so your particular system is not particularly unique or important. When your system is no longer able to remain coherent, other systems will react to this dissolution, but their reaction is not unique and they may have similar reactions to the loss of a dog, their shelter or even their favorite book or childhood belonging. They too will cease to be in an extremely short amount of time taking those reactions with them. Eventually, the fact that at one time your particular system existed will have such little impact on the world that your existence or lack thereof is basically the same as throwing a rock in a pond and looking for the ripples two years later.
I just finished a 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Every piece I put in was trivial in terms of the whole puzzle, but the whole puzzle could not be finished without me putting in every one of those trivial pieces.
I've worked on big projects. Each person in it might have had a small bit of the project, but the project could not exist without all (or most) of them.
Perhaps some people could vanish without anyone knowing, but I bet most or almost all people add to the world. Having kids definitely changes the world. But you are probably not aware of your influence. I've met people who were influenced by papers I wrote - one of them who was in a secret Soviet project, so it might all be a good influence.
Thinking one has no impact really boils down to solipism.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:14 PM
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I've started to get this feeling "what is the point of living life if eventually we'll all die"? And furthermore, I got another question. If we die, doesn't everything come to an end? Don't you lose memory of absolutely everything you've done in life? So in other words, what's the point of doing things in life if we're all going to eventually die and never even remember what we've done? Maybe other people might but would you personally have remembered this upon your death? I'm talking in a non-religious point of view. From a scientific logical point of view, everything you've done in life comes to an end and you cannot even backtrack anything to trace your memories or whatnot. I don't believe that scientifically there is a such thing as "afterlife" or whatnot.

So really, I got extremely depressed over the past few days thinking about this question. I mean you can be the richest person in the world right now but in probably ~80 years, you'll completely forget about that. Or otherwise you can live in total misery and poverty but you'll forget about it maybe 50 years later.

So this question has struck my head really hard. I felt like I didn't want to do anything. What is the actual point of life if we're all going to die no matter what we have accomplished?
To be part of the glorious circle of life. Not to pick on you, Senoy, but I find this point of view rather egotistical - even when I've felt it. Why should anyone's accomplishments grant them eternal life? From a scientific angle, you won't remember or forget anything. If you want immortality, quit focusing on your ultimately trivial consciousness; as has been said above, it's just one small part of the mechanism of passing on genes. Even if your genes pass without fanfare, your molecules go back to circulating. And when life itself passes and the earth is swallowed by the expanding sun and the sun implodes, that matter becomes energy in the universe. Starstuff we came from, to starstuff we return.

Last edited by don't mind me; 02-07-2019 at 05:15 PM.
  #41  
Old 02-07-2019, 05:19 PM
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A point to life is an unnecessity.

Or "MU!", your choice.
  #42  
Old 02-07-2019, 05:21 PM
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And now I have to cheat and look up the three great-grandparents I can't name. I do know that two of them were murdered, and their killer's sentence was commuted by "Ma" Ferguson.
  #43  
Old 02-07-2019, 05:24 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is online now
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You make that choice, certainly. Me, I find the idea of pure uniqueness in all of space and time almost dizzying, and an excellent antidote to the daily grind of meaninglessness. :shrug: Ain't gonna yuck your yum.
Whereas I find it axiomatic. If you map time as its own dimension then every different point in space and time is unique. This is true utterly independently of what's in the moment and time - the space-time continuum gets all the credit.

It's exactly as fascinating as the fact that if draws a grid, none of the squares in the grid are in the same place.

That said, if it's a choice between marveling about the bog-standard march of time and differentiation of place and experiencing existential despair, then I can see how staring at a wall and admiring its infinite differentation of physical position would seem appealing. For myself though I prefer a more enjoyable antidote to ennui: hedonism!

Quote:
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That said, however,

I'm not certain I follow your point. Are you arguing against the idea of individual meaning in an infinite and uncaring universe? I mean, yeah, no shit, we're going to die and it won't matter at all. And?
I think he's saying we're inconsequential and forgettable, despite uniqueness. Neat!
  #44  
Old 02-07-2019, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
Senoy's like the human manifestation of the Total Perspective Vortex...
Great. Now I'm hungry for a nice piece of fairy cake.
  #45  
Old 02-07-2019, 05:30 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is online now
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Thinking one has no impact really boils down to solipism.
I'm pretty sure it actually doesn't.
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Originally Posted by don't mind me View Post
To be part of the glorious circle of life. Not to pick on you, Senoy, but I find this point of view rather egotistical - even when I've felt it. Why should anyone's accomplishments grant them eternal life? From a scientific angle, you won't remember or forget anything. If you want immortality, quit focusing on your ultimately trivial consciousness; as has been said above, it's just one small part of the mechanism of passing on genes. Even if your genes pass without fanfare, your molecules go back to circulating. And when life itself passes and the earth is swallowed by the expanding sun and the sun implodes, that matter becomes energy in the universe. Starstuff we came from, to starstuff we return.
I've never been able to figure out how "we have molecules" is supposed to be inspiring. Even if those molecules have spent time in outer space.

(Actually our molecules still are in outer space, if you think about it, since the planet we're standing on is. They aren't currently in a star though. Which is probably a good thing.)

Last edited by begbert2; 02-07-2019 at 05:30 PM.
  #46  
Old 02-07-2019, 05:31 PM
senoy senoy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I just finished a 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Every piece I put in was trivial in terms of the whole puzzle, but the whole puzzle could not be finished without me putting in every one of those trivial pieces.
I've worked on big projects. Each person in it might have had a small bit of the project, but the project could not exist without all (or most) of them.
Perhaps some people could vanish without anyone knowing, but I bet most or almost all people add to the world. Having kids definitely changes the world. But you are probably not aware of your influence. I've met people who were influenced by papers I wrote - one of them who was in a secret Soviet project, so it might all be a good influence.
Thinking one has no impact really boils down to solipism.
Not at all. Your problem is that you view the puzzle as an outside viewer. You impart meaning to cardboard and ink. The problem is that given the constraints of the OP, there is no puzzle. There is no viewer. Having kids or beinh on a design team for a nuclear weapon might cause some random chemical releases in your brain, but that's it. Your failure to do those things would result in other random chemical releases. There is no puzzle or goal at the end, You don't fit just right into the world, your actions do not change the value of the end point. If you were to be the father of popes, kings and presidents or if you were to become the architect of the next grear genocide, the universe cares not one wit. You're a gravitational ripple around a small planet around a small sun in a small galaxy in a small corner of the Universe. In the scale of the universe, the bombing of Hiroshima is no different than how we would see a flea biting a vole in Estonia. It's even worse because at least we could conceivably observe and care about a flea, the universe can't even do that to us.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:38 PM
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What is the purpose of mildew?

I have no idea why anyone would think being sentient would give them an intrinsic purpose.
  #48  
Old 02-07-2019, 06:45 PM
F. U. Shakespeare F. U. Shakespeare is offline
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I would answer this by pointing out how miserable most of us alive today would be living in AD 1000.

And considering how these improvements happened: people in the ensuing years worked to make things better.

What more purpose do you need than that?
  #49  
Old 02-07-2019, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F. U. Shakespeare View Post
I would answer this by pointing out how miserable most of us alive today would be living in AD 1000.

And considering how these improvements happened: people in the ensuing years worked to make things better.

What more purpose do you need than that?
Quite a few of us are miserable right now and you really have no idea what the feelings of 1000 AD persons were. Reading their poetry or the Exeter Book or its ilk, their emotions seemed largely like our own. Questioning fate, loving others, pride of their abilities. We certainly have more things and I'm not decrying vaccines and antibiotics, but I question the idea that my purpose is to make sure that some random naked ape 1000 years hence will have a bigger house. I have no more obligation to him than Caedmon had to me. I certainly wouldn't posit that Caedmon's purpose was to make sure I could stare at a screen instead of plough a field.

Last edited by senoy; 02-07-2019 at 06:58 PM.
  #50  
Old 02-07-2019, 07:04 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is online now
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Originally Posted by F. U. Shakespeare View Post
I would answer this by pointing out how miserable most of us alive today would be living in AD 1000.

And considering how these improvements happened: people in the ensuing years worked to make things better.

What more purpose do you need than that?
What interest do you have in the welfare of people 1000 years in the future?

Hmm? That you have empathy? It makes you feel good to contribute to the welfare of others?

Or, wait, that you have pride? It makes you feel good to be important to the future of others?

It makes you feel good?

It all comes down to what makes you feel good.

Hedonism, people. It's the base of all action, and the true purpose of all. To do things that please you, make you feel good, make you feel good about yourself. That's what it's about.
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