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#1
Hello all,

[KD1] Introduction:
I am taking a freshman writing class (as all freshmen must). At my university (Furman University) we sign up for a "seminar" class in which we learn to make arguments coherently while examining a specific subject. At the end of the year we write a final paper combining what we've learned on how to make a arguments with the information and viewpoints we've attained. The topic of my seminar class was "The Meaning in Life" (on reviewing my choice, I probably could have chosen something easier).

In that class we have been examining both theistic and non-theistic answers to the question. One problem that I have found with every "answer" to the question we examined was that not a single answer gave a SATISFACTORY answer to the problem of death. In writing my final paper, I plan to confront this problem and would like to present you guys with a ROUGH OUTLINE of my ideas on this subject that I'm about to start expanding into coherent arguments for the paper. So, I hope you guys will give me some feedback on the strengths / weaknesses of my points. Before reading, I am not outlining my ideas on the meaning of life, that will come after I have dealt with death. The ideas presented here are ONLY about death. Here we go:

EDIT: Due to the unintended length of this, here is a TOC for those who want to skip the evaluation of other people's ideas and get to what MY views about the subject are. Please note finally that when I say "my views" I mean only my compilation of ideas (most, if not all, individually formed by other thinkers) and not that I'm some great philosopher. I do not pretend to be profound in the least, and I REALLY hope I don't come off sounding that way.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
[KD1] Introduction
[KD2] On Defining the Problem of Death
[KD3] The "Traditional Theistic" Counter
[KD4] The "Non-Theistic" Alternative
[KD5] Summation of Existing Arguments
[KD6] Killing Death (My Argument)
[KD7] Conclusion
[KD8] Other Thoughts and Goodbye

[KD2] On Defining the Problem of Death:
- Tolstoy, "I hold on to the branch of life, knowing that the dragon of death is waiting inevitably for me, ready to tear me to pieces" (From "My Confession")
- Death seems to destroy attempts to define the meaning of life because it says, "you will die. Everything you do is therefore meaningless because in the end, all your achievements will lie rotting in the ground."
- This problem effectively says that you will one day cease to EXIST entirely, therefore all of your achievements are worthless.

[KD3] The "Traditional Theistic" Counter:
- The theistic counter is "faith based" but more satisfying - Because your soul is not a physical entity it cannot die. Therefore, your actions (or more importantly, your morals) effect this "spiritual" side of you, which does not die. Thus, your actions on earth do have meaning.
- Another interpretation of this argument is that because your soul does not die, your actions will never STOP having an effect because they will continue to effect this spiritual side of you after your body is gone.
- The Problem: It is based on the CONDITION that the soul is immortal. Since this concept is not self-evident, the argument does not completely satisfy. If God did not exist, or if the soul was not immortal, then this particular answer to the meaning of life would be invalid.

[KD4] The "Non-Theistic" Alternative:
- Seeks a "meaning" to life that does not depend of the condition of an immortal soul.
- Greater diversity in what that meaning might be:
-----Schoppenhaur's "youthful enthusiasm"
-----Carpe Diestic answers: ie Albert Camus's glorification of work in his commentary on the "Myth of Sisyphus" or the "seize the day" attitudes in movies like "Dead Poets Society"
-----Richard Dawkins's "Be a douche to everyone who disagrees with you" idea.
(^That’s a joke, I won't actually write that in the formal paper^)
-----Love (Golden Rule) as discussed by Kurt Baier or as shown in works such as "Death of a Salesman"
-----Nietzsche's "overman" or "will to power" ideas.
- Problem A: These ideas about the meaning of life from a non-theistic standpoint depend on yet another condition - That the effects of your actions will never cease to have an effect.
- While this may appear to be immediately sensible, a problem arises effectively saying, "If everyone I effect dies too, where does that leave us?" Some would say "those people turn to affect others, which will transfer your immediate effects to others. This will go on indefinitely." So where then, is the condition I talked about above? This idea of the meaning of life is based on the CONDITION that there will always be someone to see the results of your actions (even if they do not know who it was who performed said actions)
- Therefore, this particular idea is lackluster as the human race is not an immortal being. So, (it would seem that) either there is an eternal "Perceiver" or the effects we have on people are superficial, because the effects will "run out" essentially. Eventually, the human race will perish, and our effects will ultimately be worth nothing.
- Problem B: Many non-theistic arguments will therefore reject the idea that there is a meaning of life. Such arguments then turn to Carpe Diem or to Epicureanism, saying “well, we don’t have an ultimate meaning in life, might as well just have as much fun as you can!” (I realize that Carpe Diestic arguments sometimes go deeper then this). Yet this philosophy is torn apart by thinkers such as Schopenhauer and his pessimistic idea that life is all about Suffering. That joy is rare and when we find it, we become bored and therefore, miserable yet again.

[KD5] Summation of Existing Arguments:
- Theistic arguments (with the exception of some) provide satisfactory meanings of life ONLY IF their condition of the immortal soul is met.
- Non-theistic alternatives, heralding a condition-free answer that follows the laws of nature, fall short of accounting for death in their philosophies, or else reject a “meaning” in favor of an Epicurean-style philosophy.

So, what are we to do about death?

[KD6] Killing Death (My Argument):
- Death in this sense is defined as “ceasing to exist”
- If the theistic argument held true, as discussed above, then the soul is immortal and we never cease to exist.
- Without God, then, the “soul” or, in other words, what we “are:” ie our personalities, feelings, emotions, etc., “are but the outcome of accidental collocation of atoms.” (Bertrard Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship&rdquo
- The Law of Conservation of Matter is a well-known idea saying, “Matter is neither created nor destroyed.” (I don’t want to get too technical about this)
- What then is death? If we look at the world from a materialistic standpoint, who we “are” will never be destroyed, because the atoms that make up our “soul” cannot be destroyed.
- The problem that many have with this idea is that it creates a very impersonal idea of the universe, but does it really have to? Does the fact that we are all just collections of atoms really mean that humans are not “special” or that our “thoughts and feelings” are meaningless?
- MAIN ANALOGY: Think of life as music. In real time our actions, our feelings, who we are play out; eventually coming to an end. After we have finished our lives, the atoms that make us up go out into the universe and become the building blocks for countless other types of objects, organic or otherwise. In the same way, music plays, ends, but the “substance” of what music is, (which we will take in a materialistic sense, i.e. the notes and rhythms) does not “go away,” but rather goes on to be the building blocks for other types of music. Each incarnation of music (or particular arrangement of atoms in the case of life) is equally as beautiful, equally as important.
- ALTERNATE ANALOGY: Life is like a dance (think dance as in professional dancers or at least a group of people dancing to the same thing); our atoms and our actions are like the dancers. While the music is playing and the dance is going on, it’s wonderful. When the music ends, the dancers disperse for a while before the music begins again and the dancers will come back together (or maybe it’s a completely different set of dancers) and form something that is just a beautiful as the previous dance.
- The notes or dancers in this case will never be destroyed. Why? Because they are material, and the universe will never have any more or any less material.


[KD7] Conclusion:
- Death does not exist if we have an immortal soul
- Death still does not exist if we do not have an immortal soul. Because the soul is therefore a collection of atoms and “death” cannot destroy the atoms that form who we are, it merely disperses them to come together with other atoms in a different way. Since our souls therefore never “die” (or cease to exist) after death, we “exist” in other things in the Universe, we are obviously not conscious of it, but what we “are” is still there, still existing in other things.
- Please note that I do not reject theistic arguments: I have simply provided an alternative to the “immortal soul” concept that gives me comfort should I ever begin to doubt my theistic views.


[KD8] Other Thoughts and Goodbye:
Wow, that was long. Please look it over, tell me what you think of my points. Tell me what other points I should consider, what points I should leave out, etc. PLEASE NOTE: I am planning on using EITHER the music analogy OR the dancing analogy, so please tell me which one is better (I like the music idea better, as a musician, but I think the dancing idea makes more sense)

Thank you SO much for the time you took in reading this!
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Nov 4, 2009,
#4
Too long to read it all for me, but your organs shut down thats why you die...
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#5
To summarize, I do not criticize that evenutally, "your organs shut down," I criticize whether or not "your organs shutting down" means that you CEASE TO EXIST ALLTOGETHER.

And most of the bulk of this is a summary of other people's views on it, I just edited it to indicate that. i didn't intend it to be this long when I first posted, but I guess I thought maybe some things needed to be clarified to see where I was comming from
#6
music analog > dance analogy.

...thanks iguess. im not as afraidd now. although i never want to be parted from my soulmate.

does UG think its possible to find other immortal souls or entities after death? I hope me and my wife find each other. I really couldn't imagine existing without her, let alone living without her.

thoughts? i think that Love is the only real force
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#7
Once your brain is gone you are gone. That is all that makes you 'you'.

edit: "This life is but a doomed journey of misery and loneliness, punctuated by moments of suffering, and ending in total annihilation." -gc
Last edited by Zoot Allures at Nov 4, 2009,
#8
I didn't read that, but you can't die if burn the mortal out of yourself.
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#10
Quote by nmitchell076
...you will one day cease to EXIST entirely, therefore all of your achievements are worthless.
I don't understand how you get to that conclusion.

Quote by nmitchell076
- Death still does not exist if we do not have an immortal soul. Because the soul is therefore a collection of atoms and since “death” does not destroy the atoms that form who we are, it merely disperses them to come together with other atoms in a different way. Since our souls therefore never “die,” (or cease to exist), after death, we “exist” in other things in the Universe, we are obviously not conscious of it, but what we “are” is still there, still existing in other things.
Sure, if you completely ignore that the structure of things is important.
#11
Quote by Zoot Allures
Once your brain is gone you are gone. That is all that makes you 'you'.

edit: "This life is but a doomed journey of misery and loneliness, punctuated by moments of suffering, and ending in total annihilation." -gc


Yes, but your brain can be broken down further and further and further until we get to atoms, and since these atoms cannot be destroyed, doesn't that (in a sense) mean that your brain is never "gone?" Instead what makes up your brain goes on to form other things which die, then those atoms go on to form something else, etc etc. Therefore, your "brain" never ceases to exist because the atoms that make it up are never destroyed.

Quote by Traktor
I don't understand how you get to that conclusion.

Its not a conclusion, its just a statement of what death "appears" to do to arguments, the kind of things we have to deal with when examining such a problem. The statement I used was not a "this is what death is" statement, it was a "this is what death MIGHT appear to be to some people," I was using it only as an example to help some people see what kind of problems death presents to some thinkers.


Quote by Traktor
Sure, if you completely ignore that the structure of things is important.

I am not saying that the structure of things isn't important, I'm saying that ONE structure is no more important then ANOTHER. By this i mean why should we fear death if our current structure is just going to eventually give rise to another structure that is equally as good?
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Nov 4, 2009,
#12
Quote by nmitchell076
Yes, but your brain can be broken down further and further and further until we get to atoms, and since these atoms cannot be destroyed, doesn't that (in a sense) mean that your brain is never "gone?" Instead what makes up your brain goes on to form other things which die, then those atoms go on to form something else, etc etc. Therefore, your "brain" never ceases to exist because the atoms that make it up are never destroyed.


That makes no sense. When the atoms that make up your brain are no longer ordered in a fashion recognisable in any way as your brain then they no longer form part of your brain.
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Last edited by Nietsche at Nov 4, 2009,
#13
When I read the dancers analogy, it reminded of this...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moksha

I think that would go under the Theistic arguments though.

Maybe you could give an example of fossil fuels formed as a result of the organisms that died millions of years ago and how it is useful to us today.

I don't know if any of this will help but anyways good luck with your assignment.
#15
Read through the whole thing. I think you missed the thing that was glaring you in the face the whole time. There is no meaning to life apart from what you choose to make of it.
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Last edited by Nietsche at Nov 4, 2009,
#16
Quote by Nietsche
Read through the whole thing. I think you missed the thing that was glaring you in the face the whole time. There is no meaning to life apart from what you choose to make of it.


(before you reply to this, please read the final paragraph so I do not come off sounding accusing)

What I think at the moment is that there is no substance in a meaning that ceases when you die. You can make what you want of life, but if you cease to exist when its over, why bother? Why not just end it now, "quit while your ahead?" After all, in death, we can no longer feel pain or sorrow or any of the other miserable emotions we have.

It was Arthur Schopenhauer in his essay "On the Sufferings of the World" that truely made me reject such a viewpoint. Schopenhauer argues that life only has meaning in trying to avoid suffering, and in the end, we all suffer in old age, in that time when all we can say is "it is bad to-day, and it will be worse to-morrow; and so on till the worst of all."

"If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist? Would not a man rather have so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence? Or at any rate not take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?"

His conclusion is therefore, that life is not worth living if it is just "what you make of it," it is "a task to be done." But this is not an idea that any of us accept, because to do so would justify, PROMOTE suicide. And since we are still here to talk about it, it is obvious that no one can actually accept life like this. And, rather then just outright deny the very clever argument set up by Schopenhauer, the only option I saw was to account for the effects of your life. And the only way I saw how to do that was to deny that anything can "cease to exist" (the problem between ceasing to exist and the meaning of your effects on ppl was in the first post, so I won't repeat them). And now you can see how I was led to such an approach to the question.

Therefore, while I know full well this is not the only way to view such an argument as "Life is what you make it;" it was these same arguments from Schopenhauer that made me feel that a meaning that ends with death is useless. Maybe if you counter these arguments of his, you can help me to accept "life is what you make of it" arguments as well. Believe me, I was happy with that kind of meaning before Schopenhauer came along lol.
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Nov 4, 2009,
#17
Holy dicking long OP, Batman!
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#18
Quote by Zoot Allures
Once your brain is gone you are gone. That is all that makes you 'you'.

edit: "This life is but a doomed journey of misery and loneliness, punctuated by moments of suffering, and ending in total annihilation." -gc

pretty much
#19
Quote by nmitchell076
What I think at the moment is that there is no substance in a meaning that ceases when you die. You can make what you want of life, but if you cease to exist when its over, why bother? Why not just end it now, "quit while your ahead?" After all, in death, we can no longer feel pain or sorrow or any of the other miserable emotions we have.


But why would a 'meaning of life' need to retain meaning after death?

As for 'quite while you're ahead', I think there's always a possibility of moving further ahead.

It was Arthur Schopenhauer in his essay "On the Sufferings of the World" that truely made me reject such a viewpoint. Schopenhauer argues that life only has meaning in trying to avoid suffering, and in the end, we all suffer in old age, in that time when all we can say is "it is bad to-day, and it will be worse to-morrow; and so on till the worst of all."


Seems very pessimistic and on the face of it patently absurd. I mean life doesn't get increasingly worse it goes up and down and at some points it gets happier and happier and at other points sadder and more depressing. I personally think that it doesn't matter that you can't completely avoid suffering. Just that you can at least act in such a way that your life will contain less suffering.

"If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist? Would not a man rather have so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence? Or at any rate not take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?"


I happen to think that there is nothing rational about childbirth but for different reasons to Schoppenhauer. But if children could be rationally decided upon by wether or not they would live good lives then surely it would be rational to have children since humanity is constantly improving.

His conclusion is therefore, that life is not worth living if it is just "what you make of it," it is "a task to be done." But this is not an idea that any of us accept, because to do so would justify, PROMOTE suicide. And since we are still here to talk about it, it is obvious that no one can actually accept life like this. And, rather then just outright deny the very clever argument set up by Schopenhauer, the only option I saw was to account for the effects of your life. And the only way I saw how to do that was to deny that anything can "cease to exist" (the problem between ceasing to exist and the meaning of your effects on ppl was in the first post, so I won't repeat them). And now you can see how I was led to such an approach to the question.


I can see how you were led to it although I think the way you framed it in your original post as having to do with the soul was a bit misleading.
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#20
the only reason you die is because your brain ceases to function. this is the only reason.
when your heart stops you can still be revived. the reason why you die when your heart stops during some accident is because no blood reaches your brain and so brain cells die. same applies to the liver and kidney, once those fail you still haven't died, it isn't until, once again, a lack of blood reaches your brain or toxins reach your brain and your brain cells die.


Therefore: death = brain death
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#22
The meaning of life is 42. Trust me on this one.
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#24
the problem with brain death theory for me is the problem of identity. If the ceasing of brain functions is death then your brain is what defines your identity. So then if it were possible to simply recreate your brain with all your experiences and memories and put it in another body would there be two of you? of course not.
are we our physical self then? what if there were two exact copies of you. would there be two of you? most people would say no.
so then what we are are temporal parts existing in a specific form for instantaneous moments of time. that doesn't change when your body ceases to function
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#25
Quote by gallagher2006
How can you reject the inevitable? I'm having trouble grasping what you're wanting us to think.

"death" in this sense is referring to "ceasing to exist." IE that when your brain ceases to function, and your body decays, have you stopped "existing?" The argument I've put forth sayes no, but its a rough idea that I'm wanting perspectives on.

Quote by Craigo

You've invented a fictional problem and attempted to solve it. That's ridiculous.

There is no problem of death.

it's not an invented problem, at least, not one that I'VE invented. It is a problem because the idea that something or someone can "cease to exist" is a direct obstacle for those who see life as having a meaning that goes beyond their own thoughts about their life or that continues AFTER they are "dead"


Quote by Nietsche
But why would a 'meaning of life' need to retain meaning after death?

because "meaning" is not something that objects have in themselves. For example, Oxygen is meaningless in and of itself. Oxygen has meaning only because it reacts with nutrients to produce energy durring respiration, or that it must be present in order to have fire, or any number of it's uses. It can only be deemed to have meaning by humans (or by rational thought in general) and it can only have meaning in relationship to its uses with other objects, chemicals, or processes.

The same can be said about anything we assign meaning to: a picture only has meaning because you relate it to a particular person or event that effected you, a chair only has meaning because you can sit in it, milk only has meaning because of its nutritional value. Therefore, in this sense of the word meaning, a life cannot have meaning in and of itself, any sort of meaning it has therefore must be in relation to something else.

Even things which do not "exist" today have meaning. Dinosaurs have meaning because they are the ancestral species of many of the animals on earth today. The last ice age has meaning because it led directly to the world as we know it right now. But it is all in relationship to cause and effect. Therefore, if an object or concept ceases to have an effect on anything at all, it is "meaningless." (assuming, of course that it cannot begin to have an effect again)

So, if your "life" disappears when you die and eventually the human race dies, doesn't that mean that since there will be nothing left of your effect on the Universe, that your life is (and always was) meaningless?

look at our discussion for example.

Eventually this discussion will influence SOMETHING, be it my outlook on the meaning of life when I write my paper, my ability to look at questions in a different way, the avoidance of the swine flu outside; or something negative, like that its taking away from my major (which is music) or that I could be talking to my girlfriend which might lead to any number of things, etc. etc.

The point is, that being on here right now is influincing either me (as the writer) or the person who reads this. Therefore we may deem it "meaningful" in a sense. But if I decided to post this, and then a meteor came and destroyed life on earth the second I clicked submit, it would not have any meaning at all, because at that very instant my entire life became meaningless. The instant all rationally thinking beings (ie, humans) die, not only does my life cease to have further meaning, but doesn't all that I've worked for in my life therefore BECOME meaningless?

As Dr. Philip Quinn (Professor of Philosophy at Brown University) says, "The bearers of meaning are linguistic entities such as texts or utterances [which we may also interpret as rational relationships]... though a human life is not itself a text or an utterance, the events of which it is composed can be narrated, and narratives of human lives are meaningful linguistic entities."

Therefore, wouldn't that mean if the human race were suddenly wiped out, then there would be no one to read the narrative of human life, thereby making all of our lives meaningless?

(this is yet another issue that led me to approach the question from the standpoint that I did)
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Nov 4, 2009,
#26
Quote by TheBlessed Dead
the problem with brain death theory for me is the problem of identity. If the ceasing of brain functions is death then your brain is what defines your identity. So then if it were possible to simply recreate your brain with all your experiences and memories and put it in another body would there be two of you? Of course not.


Some would disagree, however. Some (as I do) believe that the brain is what is really "us" in a sense. Read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintinence" it has some VERY interesting ideas in it (presented in fiction, but the ideas are the important thing, not whether or not its plausable). The book argues like many "idealists" that the body is nothing, and that what happens in the mind is litterally EVERYTHING. So that if a mind were put in a different body, it would not matter, the mind would be what is important.

Quote by TheBlessed Dead
so then what we are are temporal parts existing in a specific form for instantaneous moments of time. that doesn't change when your body ceases to function


I would agree with this in a way, But I think that the "parts" that make up our "form" go on indefinately to make up various other "forms."
#27
Quote by nmitchell076
it's not an invented problem, at least, not one that I'VE invented. It is a problem because the idea that something or someone can "cease to exist" is a direct obstacle for those who see life as having a meaning that goes beyond their own thoughts about their life or that continues AFTER they are "dead"

Let's have a discourse. Let's keep this simple, I may strike at the rest of the Philosophy above later.

Why do you need a meaning for life? What was your original meaning in life did you think?
#28
Quote by Craigo
Let's have a discourse. Let's keep this simple, I may strike at the rest of the Philosophy above later.

Why do you need a meaning for life? What was your original meaning in life did you think?


personally? I need a meaning of life for the grade in my "meaning of life" seminar class lmao.

But, the SEARCH for the meaning of life (not necessarily the answer) allows me to discover what values are important to me.

That is why I think the search is important. Even if we take the existential answer and say that meanings of life are subjective, we can examine our own personal meaning of life and throw off what is frivolous in order to "Live dileberately... and not, when I come to die, find that I have not lived" (Whitman).

That is why personally we need meanings of life, we need the search, not necessarily the answer. But, while we're searching, we might as well try to get SOMEWHERE with the answers.

So, enough about WHY I need the meaning of life and more onto your second question, what my meaning of life is. This is all personal opinion, I will state it, not justify it, we'll get into that if we continue talking about this. But as for now, I think human life has two purposes. The first is to attempt to continue human development (IE, reproduction or adoption / science / medicine) and to push human development and consciousness in a positive direction (via philosophy, music, art, etc.).

Now, I know we can get into the specifics of what a "positive" direction for humanity is. Thats were I think the "meaning of life" search comes in. Its ultimately the search for what is positive, what SHOULD we do with our lives.
#29
Quote by nmitchell076
I would agree with this in a way, But I think that the "parts" that make up our "form" go on indefinately to make up various other "forms."

similar to what i believe in a sense. I like to think of things as kind of a big picture, not that they go on to make up other forms but that all the matter in universe (the parts that make us up as well as make up everything else) is all part of the same giant temporal state that exists only for instantaneous moments
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#30
Quote by TheBlessed Dead
similar to what i believe in a sense. I like to think of things as kind of a big picture, not that they go on to make up other forms but that all the matter in universe (the parts that make us up as well as make up everything else) is all part of the same giant temporal state that exists only for instantaneous moments


Maybe I'm not getting you here, but are you making the case that the present is the only real truth? That we cannot know the future and the past is deceptive? Are you even going so far as to say that the future is so uncertain and the past so deceptive that this instantaneous moment right now is the only thing that is "real?"

Or are you using "instantaneous moments" in more of a grand scale, at least to us. By this I mean, are you saying that what seems like all of eternity to us is merely an instant when compared to the overall scheme of reality?
#31
Quote by nmitchell076
Maybe I'm not getting you here, but are you making the case that the present is the only real truth? That we cannot know the future and the past is deceptive? Are you even going so far as to say that the future is so uncertain and the past so deceptive that this instantaneous moment right now is the only thing that is "real?"

Or are you using "instantaneous moments" in more of a grand scale, at least to us. By this I mean, are you saying that what seems like all of eternity to us is merely an instant when compared to the overall scheme of reality?


the second option i think. I'd argue that past/present/future are only created because of limited perception. if it was possible to know the location of every piece of matter in the universe, and matter being governed by certain laws of interaction i.e. gravity, electromagnetic and nuclear forces, wouldn't it be then possible to know the next location of every piece of matter or the future. or you could reverse engineer the past the same way. pretty much the Laplace's demon thought experiment
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#32
Quote by TheBlessed Dead
the second option i think. I'd argue that past/present/future are only created because of limited perception. if it was possible to know the location of every piece of matter in the universe, and matter being governed by certain laws of interaction i.e. gravity, electromagnetic and nuclear forces, wouldn't it be then possible to know the next location of every piece of matter or the future. or you could reverse engineer the past the same way. pretty much the Laplace's demon thought experiment


Yes, i know there is a school of thought which says that the present is the only valid knowledge. I can't think of who said it, but there was a philosopher who said that it is possible that the Universe was created at this various moment and that in the instantaneous moment it existed in (we'll use instantaneous in a more pragmatic sense here) it created you with every memory that you have ever had and made you believe you experienced what you have, but in fact you only existed for a split second, neither the past nor the future exists.

Certainly not a theory I subscribe to, but its interesting none the less.

Following the logic of the argument u put forth tho (especially if you subscribe to determinism) wouldn't you also then be able to know all events past and future as well? Including the future of humanity and all the choices we make?
#34
Quote by nmitchell076
Yes, i know there is a school of thought which says that the present is the only valid knowledge. I can't think of who said it, but there was a philosopher who said that it is possible that the Universe was created at this various moment and that in the instantaneous moment it existed in (we'll use instantaneous in a more pragmatic sense here) it created you with every memory that you have ever had and made you believe you experienced what you have, but in fact you only existed for a split second, neither the past nor the future exists.

Certainly not a theory I subscribe to, but its interesting none the less.

Following the logic of the argument u put forth tho (especially if you subscribe to determinism) wouldn't you also then be able to know all events past and future as well? Including the future of humanity and all the choices we make?

yes if any being had that sort of computing power they would be able to know every choice of every person, and every event that would occur
Quote by The Kush
This should be put in the ****ing Bible.


Quote by Våd Hamster
You are an inspiration.


Quote by Blackwaterson89
Listen to TheBlessed Dead. The man is a genius. There should be a man of genius song about him. Stephen Hawking has nothing on TheBlessed Dead.
#35
You're making this unnecessarily complicated.
Quote by nmitchell076
personally? I need a meaning of life for the grade in my "meaning of life" seminar class lmao.

That is not what I asked.

Do you feel that you need a meaning in order to live? Yes or no?

If yes, what was or is what reason?

Just answer those.
#36
So... like souls and stuff?
D-U-F-R-A-I-S


Quote by darkstar2466
WRONG.

The only reason it exists is because drugs get people fucked up, and people love getting fucked up.

#37
Quote by Papercut...


Yeah, I'd reject this guy. He's a dick, and I'm straight anyway.

I don't know, that's one of the only episodes of Family Guy i would call "good" and he was voiced by Norm McDonald.
#38
Quote by TheBlessed Dead
yes if any being had that sort of computing power they would be able to know every choice of every person, and every event that would occur


reminds me of a futurama episode


Bender: so, you know everything I'm going to do.
God: Yes.
Bender: But what if I do something different?
God: Then i don't know that.


Questions like that which challenge the freedom of the will are not ones that I tend to take too much interest in. I don't see free will as being "important" really. Because accepting or denying free will doesn't necessarily influence how a person lives his or her life (it has the capacity to, but it doesn't require a different life outlook). On the other hand, the meaning of life and our search for it produces man ideas that we can take and apply productively to our every-day lives.
#39
Quote by nmitchell076
reminds me of a futurama episode


Bender: so, you know everything I'm going to do.
God: Yes.
Bender: But what if I do something different?
God: Then i don't know that.


Questions like that which challenge the freedom of the will are not ones that I tend to take too much interest in. I don't see free will as being "important" really. Because accepting or denying free will doesn't necessarily influence how a person lives his or her life (it has the capacity to, but it doesn't require a different life outlook). On the other hand, the meaning of life and our search for it produces man ideas that we can take and apply productively to our every-day lives.


whether free will exists is ultimately an irrelevant side not to the conclusion. the important note was that death doesn't really exist for me. the body ceases to function but if you stop looking at your consciousness as separate from the universe as a whole and see yourself as a part of the flow of matter in the universe you simply continue to flow after your body breaks down

edit: futurama is ****ing awesome
Quote by The Kush
This should be put in the ****ing Bible.


Quote by Våd Hamster
You are an inspiration.


Quote by Blackwaterson89
Listen to TheBlessed Dead. The man is a genius. There should be a man of genius song about him. Stephen Hawking has nothing on TheBlessed Dead.
#40
Quote by Craigo
You're making this unnecessarily complicated.

That is not what I asked.

Do you feel that you need a meaning in order to live? Yes or no?

If yes, what was or is what reason?

Just answer those.


oh, I see what your asking now. my apologies.

Yes, I do.

I judge life to be worth living, that is, I judge life to be better then death. Therefore, there is something that is making me cling as I do to life. Our will to live presents a need for our lives to be "worth" living. I believe if life were truly judged meaningless in every sense (and all counter arguments were effectively refuted), then the human race would not survive much longer. I do not believe that we must know the meaning of our lives in order to live well or to keep living, but I do believe that human lives must be meaningful (or at least judged so by the person who lives it) in order for us to contain the will to live.
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