Friday, July 01, 2011

THE MEANING OF LIFE----MY BEST GUESS

WHY IS THIS WORTH TALKING ABOUT?
Because it's the greatest of all mysteries. And because every sentient being on the planet to some degree is concerned about it. Humans have evolved a very big brain that is self aware and reflective---it ponders its own origin, purpose and destiny----and consequently suffers three fundamental ANXIETIES: DEATH----GUILT---MEANINGLESSNESS.

ANXIETY: a deep uneasiness of our being---(different from fear--which has an object--like fear of a snake or failure) ( humans cannot bear pure anxiety--they morph it into fear--inventing an object if necessary--to make it bearable)

ANXIETY OF DEATH: Knowing we are temporary--unease about our end.
ANXIETY OF GUILT: Knowing there is a gap between what we are and what we could be.
ANXIETY OF MEANINGLESSNESS: Feeling a need for something----around which to orient our lives----in terms of which to define ourselves----to which to give our energies.

WHAT IS LIFE?
Things that metabolize, replicate and evolve.

WHAT IS MEANING?
Significance, importance, intent, value. But that's not much help! What people are really asking is: 1. What, if anything, is the overall purpose of the universe? (metaphysics)
2. What, if anything, is expected/asked of me? (Ethics)

HOW HAS HUMANITY DEALT WITH ANXIETY?
By inventing religion: Mythical stories about our origin and destiny---Rituals that ease our guilt---and codes of conduct to ease our anxiety of meaninglessness.

HAS IT "WORKED"? WILL IT CONTINUE TO "WORK"? IF NOT---WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?
To some degree, yes, it has worked: Humans coped with their anxieties---survived--multiplied---created elaborate cultures and eventually science. And no, it no longer "works" and even threatens to destroy our planet. (over population---war--ecocide) Science has shattered the myths---- and ethical codes need radical revision. The major world religions, Islam, Judiaism, Christianity---all pretend to have access to CERTAINTY. It is the CLASH OF "CERTAINTIES" that account for most of the current wars.

SO WHAT ARE YOU RECOMMENDING? AND WHAT'S YOUR METAPHYSIC AND ETHIC OF CHOICE?
I'm recommending humility---to all the religions of the world---STOP PRETENDING THAT YOU HAVE MYTHICAL AND ETHICAL CERTAINTY!

I'm recommending: 1. That we create new myths---BASED ON OUR BEST SCIENCE.
2. That we take responsibility for our ethics---admit that we are making it up as we go---that it may always need tweaking---free ourselves from cruel and outdated "holy book ethics."
That's enough for now---I'll complete my theory later.

9 comments:

Steve said...

kudos on tackling this koan!

Steve

Michael said...

Glad you're doing this. Everyone could benefit from doing this. I've written my meaning of life. So far no one including you has contradicted or proposed ideas which have caused me to amend it. I think I've posted it here before but if not here it is:

http://theperplexity.blogspot.com/2009/12/theory-of-almost-everything.html

Many of the other essays on my blog give example and shed more light as to what I'm proposing. I hope you find time to peruse the the whole thing. I've not added much to it over the years and don't expect to.

I often reference my "Origins of Thought" pdf.
http://www.motionista.com/wp-content/files_mf/origins_of_thought_03_150dpi.pdf

It was the first of all of written pieces. It's the most well developed in that it's all laid out like a magazine article with illustrations, typesetting etc....

I'm currently viewing, at my local non-denominational church, another Christian based theory of everything called "The Truth Project."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hff0pgCCbqA

After 3 weeks it hasn't challenged my theories. It seems to be conservatives trying to organize an argument against science so they can regain their foothold in politics. So far they keep skirting the issue of their own over-consumption which is a key issue if they're going to sway me.

Finally, the most learned and credible man on this issue you're trying to tackle I think is Daniel Suelo. I would participate in his blos and maybe try to meet him in Moab, UT. He is well known and featured in a number of documentaries for living without money for over 10 years.

Boonie said...

"I'm recommending: 1. That we create new myths---BASED ON OUR BEST SCIENCE."

Hmmm. Maybe Junk Science would be better suited to create new myths. At least that's what has been tried so far.

NEer said...

Boonie, there is also 'soft' science, which is what much of health (concept) care is based on....talk about ethical dilemmas/myth making.

michael ultra said...

Seems to me that you can distill it down to...."Is life real" or "Is life make believe?" I have been asking and contemplating that since 7th grade.(1963)

Spokes... said...

"I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark, though the witches are all hung, and Christianity and candles have been introduced."

farmlady said...

I have been questioning this religion aspect my whole life. Don't be too quick to condemn the believers. Think about the bigger picture and keep on truckin'

Jim said...

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"Do I -- who [has] read Freud -- and know what the future of an illusion really is; and know that religious belief is an irrevocable as long as we remain a stupid, poor-evolved, mammalian species think that some Canadian law is gonna' solve this problem? Please! No . . . our problem is this. Our pre-frontal lobes are too small; and our adrenaline glands are too big; and our thumb/finger opposition isn't all that it might be. And we're afraid of the dark. And we're afraid to die. And 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
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sail4free
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Ed said...

Humans have evolved a very big brain that is self aware and reflective---it ponders its own origin, purpose and destiny----and consequently suffers three fundamental ANXIETIES: DEATH----GUILT---MEANINGLESSNESS.

WOW, I didn't even know that I was suffering from the three fundamental ANXIETIES.

Your Deep Thinking and Philosophizing seems to me to be just another religion with a different name. But, I'm not a Deep Thinker, have no religious beliefs and will soon be dead without suffering the ANXIETIES.