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  1. #21
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    I went through an existential crisis a while ago. It's a pretty natural thing to experience, I believe, because of the predicament we, as organisms, find ourselves in: motivated for goals in an environment where goals don't ultimately matter. I think, deep down, that it's a great search that ultimately can bear fruits of wisdom and contentment. If the universe is purpose-less, then why do I create purpose? Why does it feel like it matters when cognitively I know that it doesn't? These questions point to the bigger question of "what am I?" What am I in this universe? What is my role? Great questions.

    My search used to be more on the frantic and intellectual side. I would make conclusions like "life has no meaning" and then do whatever I wanted to do; it became a justification for living like a hedonist. Sloppy living, I'd call it. Nowadays I still ask those questions but I'm not as worried about not having meaning. I worry about self-improvement and self-intimacy, which is more the answer than the question, I s'pose. I'm a bit less intellectual about the process, probably because I've started to see the limits and dangers of living one's life through a philosophy -- sacrificing intimacy with one's feelings, body, and with one's surroundings.

    Anyway, I'm no guru and I'm certainly not satisfied with where I am. Just thought I'd share a few thoughts on the subject.

  2. #22
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    ^What he said. (Every word.)

  3. #23
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    My search used to be more on the frantic and intellectual side. I would make conclusions like "life has no meaning" and then do whatever I wanted to do; it became a justification for living like a hedonist. Sloppy living, I'd call it. Nowadays I still ask those questions but I'm not as worried about not having meaning.
    I think it has nothing to do with an honest intellectual quest that leads them to the "fuck it" conclusion, but depression.

    It seems to me that most people who adopt the "fuck it" "life has no meaning" outlook do it as a rationalization to live for the day, the short-term. A lot of drug addicts have this attitude, which enables them to continue on as they are.

  4. #24
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    I'm curious. What intellectual argument could you give against the statement "life has no meaning"?

    (I do agree that depression is greatly at play in terms of application of this philosophy to life. But I've still never been able to convince myself of any great meaning.)

  5. #25
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    I think it has nothing to do with an honest intellectual quest that leads them to the "fuck it" conclusion, but depression.

    It seems to me that most people who adopt the "fuck it" "life has no meaning" outlook do it as a rationalization to live for the day, the short-term. A lot of drug addicts have this attitude, which enables them to continue on as they are.
    I think depression may play a part, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that an honest intellectual inquiry has nothing to do with it. It seems to be a pretty logical conclusion, no? If the universe has no ultimate purpose, and I am a part of the universe, then my actions and decision have no ultimate purpose. If that's the case, all outcomes (and choices) are equal. If that's true, then I may as well make choices that maximize pleasure.

  6. #26
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dissonance View Post
    I'm curious. What intellectual argument could you give against the statement "life has no meaning"?
    Literally, I would say it's clearly evident that life has meaning, when you look at the definition of "meaning" and "significance":

    Meaning - 1. what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import:

    Significance - 1. important; of consequence.

    Life is obviously important, it is the direct reason for every consequence we experience.

    Less literally, life is worth living because we all have a lifetime to experience pleasure and happiness, no one denies that happiness is an unworthy goal. If someone has no hope of future happiness, and is right (certain medical conditions, daily suffering.. not "my girlfriend broke up with me") than life might not have "meaning" for them.

  7. #27
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I think depression may play a part, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that an honest intellectual inquiry has nothing to do with it. It seems to be a pretty logical conclusion, no? If the universe has no ultimate purpose, and I am a part of the universe, then my actions and decision have no ultimate purpose. If that's the case, all outcomes (and choices) are equal. If that's true, then I may as well make choices that maximize pleasure.
    I think how happy or depressed someone is, especially at the extremes, will have a large effect on that persons outlook and intellectual opinions. How much a person is able to intellectually detach from their feelings and mind state will dictate how much they are effected by whether or not they have enough "feel good" chemical inside them.

    But on the "no meaning" conclusion being a logical one. "The universe has no purpose" is very extreme assumption to make. I'd have to hear the logical explanation as to why the universe is most likely meaningless.

  8. #28
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    Literally, I would say it's clearly evident that life has meaning, when you look at the definition of "meaning" and "significance":

    Meaning - 1. what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import:
    What does intended mean? How do you know what "actually is?"

    Intention is a funny word to use to define meaning, since the definition of intention would probably include meaning or some synonym.

    Significance - 1. important; of consequence.

    Life is obviously important, it is the direct reason for every consequence we experience.
    Again, what does important mean? What does of consequence mean?

    Less literally, life is worth living because we all have a lifetime to experience pleasure and happiness, no one denies that happiness is an unworthy goal. If someone has no hope of future happiness, and is right (certain medical conditions, daily suffering.. not "my girlfriend broke up with me") than life might not have "meaning" for them.
    How can you judge whether or not someone else should decide if their life is worth living? You don't have access to the same information that they do. And you have no idea how they're weighing the present against the future.

    Some people may be just as fucked up over their girlfriend breaking up with them as other people are over being molested for years of their childhood. It's so dependent on subjective experience.

    The word "meaning" is entirely subjective, which is really the point Edahn was trying to make. "Meaning" doesn't mean (heh) anything without a person to have an interpretation of it.

    We define the word meaning and attempt to apply it to a reality that doesn't care about our words. There is no meaning besides the one we create. There is no true meaning (in other words, no way to judge whether something having meaning is true or false).

    Given that there is no meaning without subject, if you aren't attached to your own self (subject), you aren't attached to meaning, which can mean you aren't attached to life.

    Obviously depression is at play here. But isn't depression basically thinking that your short term actions won't change your happiness (sense of meaning)? Depression and not having a sense of meaning sort of go hand in hand.

    (I wonder if anyone followed that...)

  9. #29
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dissonance View Post
    What does intended mean? How do you know what "actually is?"

    Intention is a funny word to use to define meaning, since the definition of intention would probably include meaning or some synonym.



    Again, what does important mean? What does of consequence mean?
    We, humans, invented words. We get to decide what they mean. If someone claims to speak English for instance, they have no excuse to be at a loss concerning definitions, they have the dictionary.



    Quote Originally Posted by dissonance View Post
    How can you judge whether or not someone else should decide if their life is worth living? You don't have access to the same information that they do. And you have no idea how they're weighing the present against the future.

    Some people may be just as fucked up over their girlfriend breaking up with them as other people are over being molested for years of their childhood. It's so dependent on subjective experience.

    The word "meaning" is entirely subjective, which is really the point Edahn was trying to make. "Meaning" doesn't mean (heh) anything without a person to have an interpretation of it.

    We define the word meaning and attempt to apply it to a reality that doesn't care about our words. There is no meaning besides the one we create. There is no true meaning (in other words, no way to judge whether something having meaning is true or false).

    Given that there is no meaning without subject, if you aren't attached to your own self (subject), you aren't attached to meaning, which can mean you aren't attached to life.

    Obviously depression is at play here. But isn't depression basically thinking that your short term actions won't change your happiness (sense of meaning)? Depression and not having a sense of meaning sort of go hand in hand.

    (I wonder if anyone followed that...)
    It's correct that whether someone's life is worth living will most of the time be best estimate by the self. Some who got dumped versus someone who was molested can both have the same level of pain.. but the person who got dumped is more likely to recover. I will make no judgment on their decision to commit suicide was 'right' or 'wrong' however.

    Someone can logically say life isn't worth living. But technically, they can't objectively and logically say the universe has no meaning.

  10. #30
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    We, humans, invented words. We get to decide what they mean. If someone claims to speak English for instance, they have no excuse to be at a loss concerning definitions, they have the dictionary.
    That's kind of my point. We created the term "meaning" and the concept to go with it. It doesn't have to be something that truly exists, it's just a word. Just like 'consciousness'. Or 'one'. Or 'God'.

    Your argument is like Bella's.

    It's correct that whether someone's life is worth living will most of the time be best estimate by the self. Some who got dumped versus someone who was molested can both have the same level of pain.. but the person who got dumped is more likely to recover. I will make no judgment on their decision to commit suicide was 'right' or 'wrong' however.

    Someone can logically say life isn't worth living. But technically, they can't objectively and logically say the universe has no meaning.
    No one can objectively say anything, because we don't have access to objective information.

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