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Old 04-02-2011, 08:48 PM
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Default The Meaning of Life

In recent weeks I have spotted posts here and there describing one's struggles with this concept. Some say this is the meaning of life, some say that is the meaning of life, some say there is no meaning of life and some say the meaning of life is whatever you make of it. This thread is not to suggest one particular meaning is the meaning of life, rather, this thread is suggest another way of thinking, another approach to life that is different.

For a while I was back and forth on the idea. I thought and stated in the past that the goal in life was to be happy. Then it was to love. Then it was to grow. Then there was no meaning of life other than what I chose it to be.

It wasn't until recently that I speculated that perhaps the idea of having a meaning to life was more or less a flaw in our language. Language heavily influences the way we think, and our language (perhaps anything coming from a Greek origin) often approaches the world in terms of opposites and meanings, amongst other things. Things are described as "hot" as compared to "cold", and things are labeled by their purpose. Looking around my room, there is a door, a wall, a roof, and a chair. Outside my window I see dirt, a fence, and a shovel lying in the grass. Many of the things I'm seeing and interpreting are heavily associated to their meaning - a shovel isn't an odd-looking collection of iron and tree branch, its a shovel because if I pick it up, I can use it to dig a hole.

What is the significance of this? The significance is this results in a problem for defining life. Because just like so many other things, we want to ascribe a purpose or an end goal to life. We often describe life as a journey to whatever purpose or place it's meaning calls for.

This is not to say, however, that "there is no meaning to life". To say that would to to remain in the same realm of thought that created this perplexity. Rather, I'd like to step back and think of life as something other than a process to an ends, something other than a journey. And perhaps instead, something more musical.

Music & Life
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Last edited by caveman; 04-03-2011 at 03:27 AM.
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:54 PM
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How about: Life itself is a meaning
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:00 PM
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How about: Life itself is a meaning
Now we're thinking!
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:15 AM
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mate feed kill repeat
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:51 AM
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mate feed kill repeat
This is the meaning of life for a Praying Mantis.
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:54 AM
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"What is the meaning of life" looks like one of those questions that any answer immediately becomes inadequate as soon as you formulate it. Enlightenment is perpendicular to reason.

The books of Jed McKenna are great reading in this respect, I recommend them to everyone. I was disappointed to learn that he doesn't really exist, but that doesn't invalidate the ideas in "his" books; after all, Jonathan Livingston Seagull didn't exist either
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:57 AM
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42

Anything "deeper" is just philosophical ego stroking.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fosus View Post
How about: Life itself is a meaning
I like this too. I also like the explanation in "Music & Life." I would try to expand upon this, but I'm afraid that might be futile. Simplicity works best in this case.
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:49 AM
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42
^this
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fosus View Post
How about: Life itself is a meaning
I like it

There is no meaning. Don't take life so seriously, just enjoy it
also, 42

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sempu View Post
This is the meaning of life for a Praying Mantis.
What exactly makes one animal so different from another?
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:18 PM
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I wasn't suggesting there is or is not a meaning to life. I was suggesting that perhaps defining life in terms of "meanings" (or lack of) is inappropriate or ineffective. You wouldn't define music or some other things in terms of "meanings". Rather, the best way to understand music is to just listen to it, feel it, let go of your fears and just sing and dance to it.

The intent of this thread wasn't to debate the meaning of life, or whether one exists. It was more about finding and discussing other ways of understanding life. We shouldn't let our language limit our understanding.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:23 PM
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I don't think there's any meaning to life beyond what you make of it. Simple as that
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Human No More View Post

What exactly makes one animal so different from another?
It's a joke. See Mantis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:44 PM
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Any meaning is contrived from the eyes of the beholder. Good post Caveman, I think the influx of these types of posts you speak of is just a result of a group of people that seek for deeper purpose and meaning. That is a good thing. People do need to "take a step back", but not just in this sense...people need to do this with a LOT of things, if not everything. Understanding one's own cognition requires "taking a step back", and until we can understand ourselves...I think you see where I'm going with that

As for contributing a meaning among 42, mate feed kill repeat, etc... Check my status: "By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe."
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:58 PM
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What you speak of sounds like a very Buddhist interpretation of things (Is this thread influenced by that in any way?)

My own take on it would be that meaning is whatever the creator intends it to be. Some would say that the meaning of life is whatever we make it to be but I would disagree with that from a philosophical perspective. A writer could author a book with the intent of explaining why we should take better care of the environment. Someone else could read that and interpret the book as being supportive of big business but that doesn't change the meaning of the book. Regardless of the reader's view, the original purpose and meaning of the book does not change. The book was originally written with an environmental message.

Likewise if we apply this analogy to life, its meaning is whatever the creator of life intended it to be. Many of us have our own interpretations of what this could be. If there is no creator, then there is no meaning in life.

With this is in mind. An aethiest would say that there is no meaning in life, a theist on the other hand would say that there is.

Disclaimer: this isn't to start a religious debate. We can discuss such things in another thread.

Last edited by Banefull; 04-03-2011 at 06:17 PM.
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