Friday, July 08, 2011

THE MEANING OF LIFE----MY BEST GUESS--PART 3--CONCLUSION

To briefly review our cosmic situation: A mysterious big bang began our universe---energy condensed itself into matter and matter complexified itself to life---which evolved itself into ----US---self aware beings----who now understand much of the scientific WHAT of our origin and none of the emotional WHY of our destiny.----And thus we individually are--- forced to deal with the certainty of our own death--- our personal shortcomings--- and our hunger for meaning.

Those are the facts and that is the mystery that surrounds us. Courageous, thinking people deal with it every day---living lives of self-generated meaning. They are enlivened by the joys of CREATIVELY RESPONDING to our situation---somewhat like a unicycle rider who must forever adjust his balance, but loves and appreciates the challenge.

The unthinking and the cowardly live sheep-like lives. Four billion of them have swallowed their childhood indoctrination and doomed themselves to assorted miseries. They believe life is about OBEDIENCE to ancient laws--that ethics is REVEALED--not created by humans. We must deal with or dodge their doings.

HOW TO GENERATE PERSONAL MEANING: (the mental state of energized focus, full involvement and success in the process of the activity) Here is a better explanation than I can give. Click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology))

IS THERE ANY COSMIC MEANING?? Any grand plan?? What is the overall point of the whole process?? No one knows---but millions guess. I'll share a few with you:

1. Christians generally suppose that God created the cosmos and us to express his love.

2. Islam says God creates as an act of mercy. sustains, guides and will someday judge us.

3. Jews don't know but are sure they play a special role in whatever God is up to.

4. Mormons think there may be millions of Gods and that we may become one too; creating planets and people like the God that created us. (i.e. creating worlds is a fun thing to do) I remind you that two presidential candidates actually believe this story. (God help us!)

5. Buddha boldly said he didn't know. (God bless him--the only honest religious founder) His disciples are not nearly so modest however---they speculate a desire for adventure was the reason.

MODERN GUESSES:

EXISTENTIALISM: Life has only the meaning you give it. You are free to create your own personality and happiness---or misery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism

ATHEISM: Life has no grand meaning. There is no convincing evidence of Cosmic intent. Meaning is personally generated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

MYSTICISM: It is possible to experience direct contact with the ground of being itself------- exhilerating beyond description and to receive subtle guidance for a wonderous life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysticism
My friend Wayne Wirs is the best spokesman and embodiment of this position that I know:
http://waynewirs.com/2011/the-sequel-to-fading-toward-enlightenment/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheBlogOfWayneWirs+%28Wayne+%28Wirs%29%3A+Down-To-Earth+Enlightenment%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

Teilard de Chardin: the cosmos is a grand process where spirit condenses into matter and then evolves itself into spirit again. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Point Click here and be inspired with his vision.

Ray Kurtzweil: Inventor--futurist--hailed as the successor to Thomas Edison---sees an accellerating spiral of technology that is headed very quickly toward a wonderful "singularity". Let him tell you about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PWXrnsSrf0




F M Esfandiary: Futurist---Author of Upwingers---along with Chardin, one of my early mentors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM-2030

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I like these three visions and I urge my readers to give radical optimism a look. I think it is useful and inspiring to carry around in your head the very finest theory/vision of the future that thinkers have promulgated. I'd be interested in hearing about visionaries that inspire you.




And P.S. this wraps up my philosophical jag for awhile--I've been adventuring on the ground and will do a catch up report next.

27 comments:

mohave rat said...

The RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES paragraph starts every sentence with I.

My self awareness began a second after the doctor slapped my ass and handed me to the nurse to get cleaned up. I wasn't around for the big bang and can only take your word for it. It is a belief you have chosen to embrace.

Our minds assign us way more importance than the universe does. the truth is probably way less exciting than our fantasy.

It is not my intent to challenge you, just point out that thinking takes less courage than non thinking. Just close your eyes and let the universe wash over you and just be.

Boring said...

Randy

Your spending way to much time in FOOD Kitchens for the POOR listening to voices that are coming at you, from nowhere. Get back on your medication and stay out of the food kitchens, maybe even try gardening or something ? You have failed miserable with your meaning of life.

Red meador said...

And with that we have Randy's version of the meaning of life. Sounds as good as any to me. It is not my version but how can he be wrong when there is no right and wrong.

Life was meant to be joyous and for us to fulfill our dreams, not dreams of others.

The universe will fulfill our each and every desire if we will only get our vibrations in alignment with the source..... Life was meant to be fun

Anonymous said...

I, for one, would love to see you get back to some real MEAT AND POTATOES about life on the road. EVERYONE has an opinion on religion. You, however, are in a unique position to help many of us planning the rv lifestyle with your blog. You know, things like boondocking spots, choice of rigs, your top 5 choices of places to boondock, how not to stay lonely on the road, ways to cut expenses, some pitfalls to living on the road, etc.

With 30+ years on the road, I hope you return to this strong point of yours in your blog soon. Thank you

Grace said...

Kudos kiddo.
Here’s my thoughts on the meaning of life. What I know is that we are here merely to choose heaven or hell. Assuming we’d prefer heaven, our only obligation beyond that is to have fun, as long as it's not at someone else's expense. We should never interfere with another's ability to experience joy or contentment.
Please don’t buy into the notion that any one organized religion is the only one that will get you into Heaven. Accept the world’s differences. Anyone who wants to can go to Heaven. Heaven is NOT a club. Treat each person the way you wish that person would treat you.
Love yourself. Honor yourself. Respect yourself.
Show kindness and respect always, with no thought of reward or even gratitude. Do it for your contentment. Show love because that’s what you want to do. Karma works! Your reward will be within you. -- That is the key to happiness.

coupe2u said...

Good job Randy - stay on the meds and in the soup kitchen - there is something to be learned everywhere.
In many ways the blind belief in religion is akin to the blind belief in the American Dream (that hard work will pay off, support us financially, and allow us to achieve our goals - that America is the land of opportunity.) We no longer live in a land where effort applied to opportunity produces a better life. It is important to understand that religion, just like the American Dream, is not something to put your faith in, to pray for, to embrace blindly, and hope that everything turns out okay. You must fashion your own dream that suits you -- not one based on false premises and the expectations of others. The problem is that this requires work as well as thought that many people fear engaging in and thus they stay mired in meaningless and wonder why they are not happy and content. Each one of us (in spite of what the church and rules may tell us) can and should envision our own religion and our own "American Dream" - rooted in reality - not illusion and falsehood.
Just get off your ass and do it!

Anonymous said...

I was driving out to the Grand Canyon, taking in the sites and enjoying the different views. That type of driving gives one time to think... part of that was about your lifestyle as you often advocate it as the best one.

Anyone can live the way you live but everyone cannot.

Somebody has to do the work so can pick the ripe fruit as you drive by.
I always thought it was kind of sad making fun of the people working on the roads or farming the fruit as you drive by to pick it, but that's your chosen life. Who am I to question it?

Boonie said...

I appreciated your efforts and the commenters', except for those of "anonymous."

The blogosphere does not need one more "RV 101" blog. No matter how important practical subjects are to an individual, they are deadly dull to read about, and they seldom carry over to somebody else who has different circumstances in their life.

It would also be completely unfair to you to write for FREE on dreary practical subjects. Let that be the domain of people who are making a little bit of income from it.

(I hope I haven't offended Anonymous.)

Jim said...

==========
GRACE: "What I know is that we are here merely to choose heaven or hell."
==========
And how can you possibly "know" that -- with any level of certainty whatsoever -- when there is absolutely NO proof or evidence that either one actually exists? So we are to spend our lives making a choice between TWO non-entities? Could there possibly be a more worthless way to spend one's life?
==========
" . . . we believe in the "truths" of holy books that are so stupid . . . and so fabricated . . . that a child can -- and all children do (as you can tell by their questions) -- actually see through them. And I think it should be (religion) treated with ridicule and hatred and contempt. And I claim that right!"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22fvEPsI2JA&playnext=1&list=PL3EC216E8B93349C2
==========
sail4free
==========

Paxie said...

No, we don't know anything...that's why it's called faith.

I have it, but fully welcome anyone's point of view and others are free to choose their own way.

I believe in God and do not feel I'm a cowardly sheep!

Randy said...

Paxie: We largely agree: We do not KNOW anything metaphysical----our origin and destiny---yet must live as though SOMETHING were true. We call that faith. But agree with me that it is the clash of faiths that largely upsets world peace. Believing there may be a God is not the harmful part. Believing in MESSAGES from God is what does the harm. Respectable minds have believed in God but not messages from him. Please read the previous blog on this topic: http://mobilecodgers.blogspot.com/2011/05/whats-so-terribly-wrong-about-religion.html

Randy said...

Preacher: I appreciate comments from across the spectrum including yours---but I delete repetetive, offensive stuff. and P.S. if I were a secret CIA agent, don't you fear that with all "our" resources we could find you? LOL

Grace said...

I also know God didn’t write the Bible and God doesn’t like organized religion.
I know we have angels and demons guiding us. I know we are happier when we listen to our angels.
I know there are those who choose the confines of hate over the liberation of love.
I know there are those who live in a fortress of fear and are even afraid to have fun.
I know 2+2 is 4; Carson City is the capital of Nevada; and George Washington was the first president.

Anonymous said...

Good series here, Randy. I enjoy your musings. You go on with your carefree, adventurous liefstyle.

A couple of questions:

Do you ever worry about that/ have a contingency plan for old age?

What about never having kids/wife (I am making the big assumption that you do not)? Any regrets?

Anyway, if you are ever in Los Angeles, look me up. You can park your rig at the house for a night, come for dinner, meet the fam.

Jason Riddick
Bevery Hills, CA

Randy said...

Thanks Jason for the kind words--high praise coming from you: (I googled you)
Re: old age---No, I don't worry about it financially--I have a modest Nest egg and a modest income stream that should see me to the end. As Thoreau said: "my greatest skill is to want but little". This lifestyle is ridiculously inexpensive. When I get seriously old and feeble, or begin to lose my mind--I plan to arrange my affairs and bid life farewell. I have end-game agreements with friends.
Re: wife/kids regrets---not really--I've had perhaps 6 longish term relationships that were very satisfying and when they had exhausted themselves--we parted--often as friends. The futurist F.M. Esfandiary in his book Upwingers reflects my view of relationships.(too complicated for this reply)
Thanks for the invite---a long shot--but who knows? Would like to exchange views with you.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt you will find some interesting things to write about Beverly Hills. I see that as a very entertaining post or series of posts from a man like you. Anyway, the offer is a standing offer. Best way to contact me is through the state bar website. calbar.org.

Jason

Anonymous said...

With the awareness of a human being we have certain instinct to survive and procreate and certain instinct to look beyond just existence and pleasure. Both are there and has its purpose. When the looking beyond aspect strengthens the question arises , what is the purpose of life. That is the first purpose, to look for an answer. Problem is that the answer does not come quick enough and the restlessness prompts us to define the answer and conclude something. And then we get stuck in beliefs , thoughts and other things and some defend some oppose it and no progress happens.

If we stick to the question and keep searching we will get the meaning, time and again people have got the meaning. The other problem is that the meaning can not be explained, it is like I know what eating candy feels like let me explain you. That explanation has no other value than just to inspire you to wake up and eat the candy. But if you assume that is the ultimate truth then you will never taste the candy for yourself. That is what all the religion is about. they inspire you and gives pointers to attain something and no one has patience, so they take a short cut. They first make them belief that those few words are the ultimate meaning and then start imposing or doubting that.

But those who have been there all have said one thing, you are caught up in a limited identity about your self and you are limited by your body and small ego. When that shell breaks you will see that you are infinite and you are pure bliss who seeks nothing and who gains nothing. You were perfect always and be perfect always. All small identity was just a play a part of journey, a part of you.

So the question is what is the meaning, the meaning is that life is guiding you, be with the search, listen to every knowledge and keep moving. Do not be in hurry to conclude, life will reveal it to you.

Randy said...

Thank you---thank you---thank you anonymous. You have supplied the missing piece of the puzzle for me.
Meaning can be found but not transmitted-----brilliant. And so: :"LIFE IS GUIDING YOU---BE WITH THE SEARCH".
I wish you would write me at randythepoet@yahoo.com so I could personally thank you for taking the time to provide the perfect
conclusion to my efforts.

Dr satish said...

Rsndy!
i will advice u to learn more about how your mind works before u go for meaning of anything. You should know your instrument before u start measuring anything with it.
its not necessary but almost necessary that,when u are stripped of everything from your life, then only can u face questions like life head-on, & then know what is meaning of "meaning" is for you.

Dr satish said...

Randy!
"flow" is only one thing of what we long. others are relations, happiness, goal setting & achieving them, etc.
we love to have them & when we have them then we don't look for meaning but when we lack them we look for meaning of life.

But the real question is "I" want to know about life?
am i sure who "I " am?
if i am not sure what "I" am then how can i know what i really want to know.

so a good way to start is to ask who you are ? and the follow and examine the answers that come in mind with the knowledge of "how the mind works". then kick out the biases of mind in those answers ( that's what they teach in meditation or now in modern psychology)& then what remains in the answers (if anything) that will guide you forward on going with the search.

also consider these questions:

* How do u define yourself?
* What are religions for you now?
* what makes you human? what makes us human- our pre-frontal cortex or/and something else?
* what science says about universe, humanity and human mind?
* how do you see death & pain?
* what is culture & society? is it separate than you?
* what are flaws of mind you? can you know when your mind makes you believe something that's not there? is everything that is justified by your mind is true? if not then how do you know it? can you make sure that while thinking about life, you will bypass the flaws of mind? if not then how will you keep on thinking about life?
* what is god for you now?
* what are the limitations of language & words? can one convey with words, exactly what he/she feels? if not then what is the true significance of language & words? its important because without language its almost impossible to think on "meaning of life" and discuss it with anyone else. so know the limitations of language. its also important because when someone says something to you or when you read something about life you should know its limitations so that you don't get trapped in belief.
* what do you understand by "meaning" when you say "meaning of life"? Does word "meaning" has only one meaning or it changes with the context?
* does "meaning of life" means only "purpose" or there are other thing to consider such as Value, Goals, Self efficacy and Self-worth?
* what the significance of fulfilling your survival needs is for you in relation to your desire to know meaning of life?

Have a look on this:

“ I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. ”

— Henry David Thoreau, Walden, "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For"

Dr satish said...

& one more thing Randy, knowing Meaning is a kind of understanding. and any kind of knowledge can be transferred but understanding can not be transferred.
as movie matrix says:
you have to see it for yourself
(though it does say that for understanding- it says for understanding matrix)

Understanding can not be transferred because of limitations of language.
understanding is a network of thousands of thoughts in our mind related in a particular order and position (i hate using word position but cant find a better one- a limitation of language.I hope word "position" points you in right direction) that can not be transferred as such.
Its like transferring the understanding of a kilometer long & wide jig-saw puzzle solution.

but words and language work like "pointers" in recreating that network all-over again in new mind who are keen to learn. so sometimes understanding redevelop in learners mind. but it is not necessarily the same always.

Randy said...

Thank you Dr. Satish for your thoughtful contribution---especially appreciate the distinction between knowledge and understanding---(the latter being non transferable) I urge my readers to read all you have said.
I think humans live in a "middle zone" in which the foundations of existence are mysterious as well as the "grand intent" (if any)of it. Too often my metaphysical friends do not appreciate the mystery of the grand design----they teach and preach with an unwarranted confidence. I know that I do not know and I celebrate my humility.
I also think that life is more richly lived when one adopts or creates a (tentative) metaphysic that fits his disposition---living AS THOUGH it were true---and TWEAKING it when necessary to make it correlate with experience.

Dr satish said...

Hi Mr Randy!
I am sorry for making you feel that way. I accept my mistake. Though it wasn’t my intention at all.
I advised you to know your mind, as I myself have discovered its flaws & shocked the way it plays tricks. As I am not a native English speaker, you may get flaws in my sentences.
That day I was doing a quick search on meaning of life & one of results were your conclusions. Since I was in hurry I didn’t even looked at your photographs. I mistook you for some young boy who have just found out “flow” but as I scrolled down the discussion prompted me to write something. Today when I looked on your photos, I came to know that you are much elder to me. & that became another reason for my being sorry.

Dr satish said...

I think there are two different things:
1. What is good life? Life that makes us happy & content and thus is a life well lived & that includes understanding your “self” & meaning of “your life”.
&
2. A meaning of “life” itself taking into account the grand design of universe/multiverses that explains the whole creation, still fitting into the human understanding.
AS FAR AS THE GOOD LIFE IS CONCERNED, there are possibilities for many ways to live richly and a more accepted & simple (& thus one of the best) way is what you mentioned- “life is more richly lived when one adopts or creates a (tentative) metaphysic that fits his disposition---living AS THOUGH it were true---and TWEAKING it when necessary to make it correlate with experience”.
Earlier only philosophy used to consider the question of good life/ life/value/happiness, but now in last 5-6 decades enormous research has been conducted by science to know what constitutes good life & what place “knowing meaning of life” has in good life. They also consider philosophical views from Aristotle till date.

Dr satish said...

But when we are looking for “A MEANING OF “LIFE” ITSELF TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE GRAND DESIGN OF UNIVERSE/MULTIVERSES THAT EXPLAINS THE WHOLE CREATION, STILL FITTING INTO THE HUMAN UNDERSTANDING”:
I respectfully disagree to “one adopts or creates a (tentative) metaphysic that fits his disposition” because then one misses few questions such as-
Why one should have a disposition at all in the first place?
& when we go further in that question, we get more questions like- why we find it difficult to live without a disposition or a mental path that connects future with present? Why we seek meaning in the first place? Why animals seem to just live without seeking meaning? If life can go on without meaning then why we humans seek meaning?

Dr satish said...

Then there are other things such as:
We understand meaning of life/ life/ universe/ metaphysics with thought. How can we proceed without first knowing –“what is thought?” as everything we see/feel/think/know/experience is thought, even desire to have a “tentative disposition”.
Thought comes into being by 2 processes- first we perceive (with our senses) a thing separate from the rest of the universe & then name it. So most of our thought is sense dependent (that we call knowledge). But there are other thoughts that are not directly depend on sense such as those of “understanding”.
Where does this understanding come from? That’s why I find it impossible to go any further without examining “how the mind works?” because if we go any further without knowing how mind works, we will end up with belief (as our evolution of brain tells us that in order to protect us from anxiety & other negative emotions; our central ancient brain will suggest us the most plausible belief, (be it a concept of metaphysics or anything else) & force our newly evolved conscious thinking part of brain to justify that suggestion. & while it does so it don’t even let us know that we are not filtering our intuition through reason.

Dr satish said...

& when we go into functioning of brain & mind we come to know the brain/mind is either the window to the "middle zone" that you mentioned or the "middle zone" itself.
On one side of this "middle zone” is human understanding on the other side is the absolute reality, the same way as on one side of microscope is human eye & on the other side is a biological slide. The problem is that; if our mind can’t translate a part of that reality we can never know what it is, till we figure out a way to get it translated.
For example: earlier in human history we perceived a thought that earth and sun move, based on our perception our ancient mind gave an obvious suggestion to our modern mind- sun revolves around earth. Then we started living this AS THOUGH it is true, only to later find out that – its earth that revolves around sun (until we found a way to translate the reality).
& now we know that there is something called dark energy & dark matter that we know nothing about. There are almost unanimity on more than 10 dimensions of existence. There is “no consensus” on “what life is & what biological life is.” There are growing evidence for multiverses. Now we know that Matter is a condensed form of energy- that means atom is 100% empty & so are we.
The points I am trying to make are:
• Whatever human theory/disposition we develop, it will be relative. Absolute understanding (even if we found it) will have to get translated to fit into human thought & thus making it relative. & limitation of language will make it either impossible to communicate or will lead to formation of belief. That’s what has happened to religious teachings conveyed through literature.
• Good life is no longer away from masses. Science has laid down its basics, though further studies will always go on.
What I wrote, have more questions than answers. But that’s the way it is- Answers will add or subtract our “knowledge” but the questions will make us think and thus help us “understand”.
And about confidence:
When there is question of understanding God/Life/Death then only “confidence” can help us, since even if you believe someone or something you ultimately “have to see it yourself”. Even if it costs your life (after all; it’s already a matter of life).
How can I identify someone’s “unwarranted confidence” and at the same time “celebrate my humility”- That’s how our ancient fast thinking mind; makes our modern slow thinking mind, believe its quick suggestions (intuitions). I myself become pray to this, but we should keep trying to be mindful of this.