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The "Purpose" of Life

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Once one reaches the logical conclusion that knowledge of a relevant deity is probably not possible, that humans are just a walking chemical reaction, that all the meaning in the world is simply imposed by our minds, angst is usually the result. But angst does not suit me and is childish. Instead I accepted my fate and started focusing on what is left.

 

Some time ago I reached the conclusion that the seeking of pleasure (balanced between the short and long term) is of the paramount importance. That as long as I am here I might as well seek my own personal ends and run on my proverbial hamster's wheel. The fact that I will die and become nothing usually does not bother me, I view it as something that must be accepted and shows how me must 'seize the day'.

 

That is pretty much my worldview at the moment. The problem is I have an inkling (as one of my limited expereince and philosophical development should) that I am full of bullshit.

 

Comments?

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Once one reaches the logical conclusion that knowledge of a relevant deity is probably not possible, that humans are just a walking chemical reaction, that all the meaning in the world is simply imposed by our minds, angst is usually the result. But angst does not suit me and is childish. Instead I accepted my fate and started focusing on what is left.

 

Some time ago I reached the conclusion that the seeking of pleasure (balanced between the short and long term) is of the paramount importance. That as long as I am here I might as well seek my own personal ends and run on my proverbial hamster's wheel. The fact that I will die and become nothing usually does not bother me, I view it as something that must be accepted and shows how me must 'seize the day'.

 

That is pretty much my worldview at the moment. The problem is I have an inkling (as one of my limited expereince and philosophical development should) that I am full of bullshit.

 

Comments?

 

 

 

I think that you can run a pretty simple flow chart WRT life.

 

1. Are you happy?

 

Yes? ---> 2. Is it sustainable (or mostly so)? ---> Yes--> 4. Keep it up. No---> 5. Go to 3.

 

No? --- > 3. Try something else, then go to 1.

 

 

OTOH, I think that the notion that all of this stuff we call the human experience is the result of "a bunch of chemical reactions" to be pretty goddamn amazing, and awe inspiring.

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But pleasure is fleeting and cannot last; hedonia leads to anhedonia. Perhaps instead, the neurological imperative is seeking happiness and avoiding suffering? Then I suppose you must determine what causes happiness, and what causes suffering. Have you considered meditating under a tree in Deer Park on it? ;)

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When thinking about these types of things, I think it is useful and important to figure out how pleasure, contentment, and happiness are distinct yet interlocked.

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Why does this remind me of my college lit course where we discussed Doestoyeveky...."if there is no god, all is permitted".

 

"But pleasure is fleeting and cannot last"

 

Not only cannot pleasure last, but our seeking it frequently ends up causing us pain.

 

Have you taken a recent philosophy course? Broken up with a girl recently?

 

 

 

 

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When thinking about these types of things, I think it is useful and important to figure out how pleasure, contentment, and happiness are distinct yet interlocked.

 

Pleasure is like a minor manifestation of happiness, connected to something external from ourselves. Discontent, we think "X will bring us happiness", yet even if it does, that pleasure is momentary, fleeting, unfulfilling, not satiating our need for contentment. Just as the nature of whatever external thing we tether our happiness to is subject to change and death, so too is the pleasure arising from it. Therefore, the true nature of pleasure, is pain; pain in the inability to fill our need for contentment, and pain in the change and cessation of pleasure. So contentment is a lack of attachment, of lust for things we think will make us happier but truly will not. Pleasure, like pain, is a fleeting mental state. Happiness arises as a result of abandoning attachment, hatred and anger, and egotism and delusion, as these are the sources of suffering we create for ourselves.

 

Well, that's more or less what the Buddha said, at least ;) It's not too far off from any sort of dopaminergic downregulation theory I could come up with.

 

Why does this remind me of my college lit course where we discussed Doestoyeveky...."if there is no god, all is permitted".

 

But all religions essentially teach the same thing-- love, good deeds, abandoning greed, and ego death. If the lack of these things creates suffering, then perhaps there is something to their philosophy after all.

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Once one reaches the logical conclusion that knowledge of a relevant deity is probably not possible, that humans are just a walking chemical reaction, that all the meaning in the world is simply imposed by our minds, angst is usually the result. But angst does not suit me and is childish. Instead I accepted my fate and started focusing on what is left.

 

Some time ago I reached the conclusion that the seeking of pleasure (balanced between the short and long term) is of the paramount importance. That as long as I am here I might as well seek my own personal ends and run on my proverbial hamster's wheel. The fact that I will die and become nothing usually does not bother me, I view it as something that must be accepted and shows how me must 'seize the day'.

 

That is pretty much my worldview at the moment. The problem is I have an inkling (as one of my limited expereince and philosophical development should) that I am full of bullshit.

 

Comments?

 

This is why God invented Nietszche.

 

And, beer/scotch.

 

 

 

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This is why God invented Nietszche.

 

And, beer/scotch.

 

I guess I should probably go ahead and read Nietszche then. You weren't being facetious were you?

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I would venture a guess and say that no,Par is not being facetious.

 

I also recommend Nietchze's works but be forewarned,much of his philosophy was spurned from angst.He was quite the woman hater in the classical sense but discounting his shitty opinions on women,his was a great mind.

 

 

I am in direct opposition to hedonism as a means to ride through life.The great escape it provides leaves you with nothing,ultimately.I will admit with no trepidation whatsoever that I haven't figured out my own philosophy on life but it surely is not one of the hedonistic nature.One man's pleasure begets another man's pain and existing purely to ride the dopamine snake is the essence of gluttonous self indulgence.

 

 

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Once one reaches the logical conclusion that knowledge of a relevant deity is probably not possible, that humans are just a walking chemical reaction, that all the meaning in the world is simply imposed by our minds, angst is usually the result. But angst does not suit me and is childish. Instead I accepted my fate and started focusing on what is left.

 

Some time ago I reached the conclusion that the seeking of pleasure (balanced between the short and long term) is of the paramount importance. That as long as I am here I might as well seek my own personal ends and run on my proverbial hamster's wheel. The fact that I will die and become nothing usually does not bother me, I view it as something that must be accepted and shows how me must 'seize the day'.

 

That is pretty much my worldview at the moment. The problem is I have an inkling (as one of my limited expereince and philosophical development should) that I am full of bullshit.

 

Comments?

 

I don't find it at all intuitive that the freedom to attribute meaning is a bad thing, in and of itself. It's a bad thing for morons who attribute silly and spurious meaning to things. On the other had, I think that the failure to attribute meaning at all (if that's possible) does result in angst; all of the energies that would otherwise get channeled into goal-oriented behaviors boomerang back upon the psyche. [This also leaves unsettled the matter of whether it's possible. I think Heidegger was right when he said (to paraphrase) that you're either being-there or being lived by the world; if you don't provide your own meaning, das Man will provide them for you. That's a different thread though.]

 

Hedonism is dandy, but in a sense it's also dis-satisfying, as a moral imperative. It can get boring eventually. Personally, I don't work well without some sense of ambition. When does hedonism shift to gross consumerism? I would err more towards a transcendent basis for morality that AFFORDS hedonism in the process of its actualization, like providing knowledge, services, or inventions to society (the caveat being 'that they'll actually pay you for').

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Depends on your particular bend...I found Genealogy of Morals a nice easy read, as well as Twilight of the Idols, and The Anti-Christ.

 

Bonus..you can usually find TOTI/A-C in a combo issue.

 

Of course, you can always start with the beginning, if you want to experience his true genius of insight/mental decline right along with him.

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This is why God invented Nietszche.

 

 

Anyone else get a decent laugh out of this one? No? Aw....

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Hedonism is dandy, but in a sense it's also dis-satisfying, as a moral imperative. It can get boring eventually. Personally, I don't work well without some sense of ambition. When does hedonism shift to gross consumerism? I would err more towards a transcendent basis for morality that AFFORDS hedonism in the process of its actualization, like providing knowledge, services, or inventions to society (the caveat being 'that they'll actually pay you for').

 

 

Bingo and bravo.

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I don't find it at all intuitive that the freedom to attribute meaning is a bad thing, in and of itself. It's a bad thing for morons who attribute silly and spurious meaning to things. On the other had, I think that the failure to attribute meaning at all (if that's possible)

 

Attribution of meaning is intrinsic to our mind; judging, comparing, this all happens automatically. If you are mindful of these thoughts, you will find they arise without any will on your part.

 

does result in angst; all of the energies that would otherwise get channeled into goal-oriented behaviors boomerang back upon the psyche.

 

And what is angst? Anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity. And what is the cause of anxiety, apprehension, and insecurity? Attachment to the outcomes of things that have not come to pass, and attachment to the ego. And what do goal-oriented behaviors require the mind to do? Attachment to outcomes that have not come to pass, and attachment to the self in the scope of it. So angst is intrinsic to goal-oriented behavior. Behavior that has no attachment to the fruit of the action has little anxiety.

 

This also leaves unsettled the matter of whether it's possible. I think Heidegger was right when he said (to paraphrase) that you're either being-there or being lived by the world; if you don't provide your own meaning, das Man will provide them for you. That's a different thread though.

 

And can words convey meaning? Can telling someone what apple juice tastes like convey the taste of apple juice to them, versus experiencing it?

 

Hedonism is dandy, but in a sense it's also dis-satisfying, as a moral imperative. It can get boring eventually. Personally, I don't work well without some sense of ambition.

 

But what is the long term result of ambition?

 

When does hedonism shift to gross consumerism? I would err more towards a transcendent basis for morality that AFFORDS hedonism in the process of its actualization, like providing knowledge, services, or inventions to society (the caveat being 'that they'll actually pay you for').

 

But is that pleasure, is that hedonism? Pleasure arises from the senses. Providing good deeds for society is something different, I think. Regardless of the outcome, the effort alone creates happiness for the doer, and happiness for the recipients.

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Nietzsche could well be right that "all is will to power, and nothing besides" [a notion perhaps finally indistinguishable from the platonic understanding of the eros of the psyche...]. The result of such a pronouncement's truth, if it is or indeed could be true, ought not to be relativism, but rather the recognition of the fundamental importance of the question raised thereby, namely, "What then is power?" To suppose, as many suppose, that Kleitophonic supposition that power is whatever one feels it to be, well, that is one way to solve, or rather to dissolve, the question. It is a rather weak way of doing so, notwithstanding the fact that close to everyone finally accepts this. Supposing for the moment however that Nietzsche could be correct, why should the realization - both the recognition and the making actual - of power not be inherently pleasant? If so, the best life would also be the most pleasant, or what is to say quite more than that, it quite possibly could be even the happiest. But those who suppose happiness or (as they suppose to be indistinguishable) pleasure is whatever they currently imagine it to be, well, they thereby limit even the degree of pleasure they can hope to obtain. There is a higher sort of pursuit, one which entails pleasure, but to discuss it as hedonism, well that in almost every circle will lead to a weak, not even pathetic, and therefore unpleasant to behold attempt to grasp at a fine understanding of human nature.

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What of his should I begin my reading with?
Always begin and end your reading with your self. In between, there is a lot of Nietzsche's that you can read, however. Depending on your situation, the Untimely Essay "Schopenhauer as Educator" can be quite a good place for a non-freshman undergraduate to begin. I say that because by that time a reflective soul should recognize certain problems with the general state of education most likely being proffered. In any case, whatever writing of his you land upon, do remember to read it through in its entirety, and in order. He was a rather smart man, and had some very considered reasons for writing just as he wrote. "The worst readers are those who behave like plundering soldiers: they take away a few things they can use, spoil and confuse the rest, and blaspheme the whole." (a poor translation, yes, but I don't have it at hand and didn't care to paraphrase)

 

Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books, else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things.
Nietzsche is among the few whose books ought to be "chewed and digested," "read wholly, and with diligence and attention." For he sought to say in a paragraph what others say in a book - what others don't say in a book.

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-What is the Best thing in Life?

 

-To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

 

 

That about sums it up for me.

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Anyone else get a decent laugh out of this one? No? Aw....

 

I thought it was very layered and clever for a 6 word sentence.

 

But, I think I get more of a kick out of myself than most.

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Thinking about what I would have become without the advice of people on this board scares me. And I'm not just talking about this. Thank you all.

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Thinking about what I would have become without the advice of people on this board scares me. And I'm not just talking about this. Thank you all.

 

I think quite a few of us could say the same. I certainly do.

 

Really smart people get angst in this world, and it is terribly logical and not that unreasonable to do so. And, it is easy to feel alone in such amongst the happily unthinking and quietly desparate.

 

Lots of great minds here who have figured a lot out, or at least share a similar search and struggle.

 

 

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Why should there be a purpose to life?

 

As in, we are all matter of the universe - we are the eternal energy - you are the godhead. Our conscious is deceptive in the sense that it is a filter for our senses and is a very limited one at best(billions of reactions go undetected by your conscious and are autonomous). "By god, I am seperate from this universe! I am myself! Bliss! Oh how happy I am!" - Well, is this universe in you or are you in the universe or are we all just part of a whole organism? Why should you attach a purpose to this filter of matter? - You will die. Your matter will be recycled. Do you really wish to "will to power," which in and of itself is useless and means absolutely nothing - nothing - you will die - your matter will be recycled. Will anything you want, go read Nietzsche - continue to search for the purpose of life, and when you find it - post it for us all to be enlightened.

 

Thus, what you do is what I am and what I do is what you are.

 

For the creative minds amongst us: come up with some experiments and test this yourself.

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Why should there be a purpose to life?

 

As in, we are all matter of the universe - we are the eternal energy - you are the godhead. Our conscious is deceptive in the sense that it is a filter for our senses and is a very limited one at best(billions of reactions go undetected by your conscious and are autonomous). "By god, I am seperate from this universe! I am myself! Bliss! Oh how happy I am!" - Well, is this universe in you or are you in the universe or are we all just part of a whole organism? Why should you attach a purpose to this filter of matter? - You will die. Your matter will be recycled. Do you really wish to "will to power," which in and of itself is useless and means absolutely nothing - nothing - you will die - your matter will be recycled. Will anything you want, go read Nietzsche - continue to search for the purpose of life, and when you find it - post it for us all to be enlightened.

 

Thus, what you do is what I am and what I do is what you are.

 

For the creative minds amongst us: come up with some experiments and test this yourself.

 

Purpose of life is simple.

If you believe in a religion, it's defined within that belief system (aka BS.)

If you don't believe in a BS, then you are left with some sort of human code such as humanity which is defined by your personal sense of right and wrong developed over your life time influenced by things you value..if nothing else, you eventually fall onto evolution for a purpose. Evolution - survival of the species. It does appear that intelligence was something that man was being developed for. That is, the brain was increasing in size, until recently, it's shruck a little - probably because people who are extremely intelligent were killed off by the masses - burned at the stake, or dunked as a witch. Anyhow, evolution suggests that homo sapiens's huge brain is for the purpose of getting along in larger social groups (tribes.)

 

So then the purpose of life is to get along. I don't quite understand those who believe in evolution and have little or no compassion for others of thier same species - it's called empathy and those who fail to have empathy are called sociopaths. Sociopathic species fail to exist.

 

Nietzche was a (is a) polemic. those who fail to see that are not much different from religious followers.

 

"Those who quote Nietsche have never read Nietzche" is a quote i came across years ago - and have found it to be true in every case I aggresively inquired.

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Why should there be a purpose to life?

 

Because having sex with strangers hasn't been nearly as attractive an option since Foucault succombed to AIDS.

 

As in, we are all matter of the universe - we are the eternal energy - you are the godhead. Our conscious is deceptive in the sense that it is a filter for our senses and is a very limited one at best(billions of reactions go undetected by your conscious and are autonomous).

 

If you say so - er, if the mushrooms tell you so.

 

"By god, I am seperate from this universe! I am myself! Bliss! Oh how happy I am!" - Well, is this universe in you or are you in the universe or are we all just part of a whole organism? Why should you attach a purpose to this filter of matter? - You will die. Your matter will be recycled. Do you really wish to "will to power," which in and of itself is useless and means absolutely nothing - nothing - you will die - your matter will be recycled.

 

How does this have fuck-all to do with anything?

 

Thus, what you do is what I am and what I do is what you are.

 

If you say so - er, if the mushrooms tell you so.

 

...

 

You're thoughts are just as deep, now, as they were when you were arguing for White Supremacy. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you're just a moron, beyond any hope of rehabilitation?

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Nietzche was a (is a) polemic. those who fail to see that are not much different from religious followers.

 

I don't agree with that at all. At least, not in the literal sense. All philosophy has always been seen as an assault on the status quo, but that doesn't delegate it to the realm of polemic. Nietzsce himself said that the first virtue of the philosopher was that he's, "untimely, always untimely," i.e., tied to concerns naturally manifest of the man-in-society condition, not of man-in-a-PARTICULAR-society. Despite some of his remarks about Germanism, etc., Nietzsche said relatively little about his contemporary culture as such; many remarks that seem to be about his own contemporary culture can be abstractly extrapolated to any number of cultures.

 

Granted, I'm not as well read in this department as Ras is. I've read all of Nietzsche that's been translated into English, as well as a good deal of commentary and criticism, but I lack the German fluency necessary to engage the original texts. Suffice it to say, you're going to have to work VERY hard to defend your 'Nietzsche as a polemicist' stance, here, among people who actually HAVE read him.

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Because having sex with strangers hasn't been nearly as attractive an option since Foucault succombed to AIDS.

If you say so - er, if the mushrooms tell you so.

How does this have fuck-all to do with anything?

If you say so - er, if the mushrooms tell you so.

 

...

 

You're thoughts are just as deep, now, as they were when you were arguing for White Supremacy. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you're just a moron, beyond any hope of rehabilitation?

I tend to find that ugly people are angry inside: at themselves, at others, at life. There is a purpose for the hideous - let them have power!

 

We have love.

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You've discovered my secret!!

 

No retort. You've got me. Set, match, love (except for me, as love is a thing that ugly, angry people like me don't get to experience).

 

Sweft, thank you for showing me the Way. I forever bow to your omniscience.

 

I'll go to bed, now ... an angry, sexless mongoloid :(

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If you believe in a religion, it's defined within that belief system (aka BS.)

... So then the purpose of life is to get along.

 

You do realize the deep irony of that statement, do you not?

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I tend to find that ugly people are angry inside: at themselves, at others, at life. There is a purpose for the hideous - let them have power!

 

We have love.

Guess you missed this:

Nietzsche could well be right that "all is will to power, and nothing besides" [a notion perhaps finally indistinguishable from the platonic understanding of the eros of the psyche...].

 

Your understanding of power seems to come from listening to the bad guys in cartoons, or (what is the mirror of the same) Noam Chomsky.

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You've discovered my secret!!

 

No retort. You've got me. Set, match, love (except for me, as love is a thing that ugly, angry people like me don't get to experience).

 

Sweft, thank you for showing me the Way. I forever bow to your omniscience.

 

I'll go to bed, now ... an angry, sexless mongoloid :(

 

 

Don't worry, we still love you, Section 8.

 

 

Gahan,

 

Just my two hundredths of a dollar, here, but I wouldn't get too caught up in philosophy, religion, or any of that. Or at least dont think them ends to themselves. Just take care of your body, find things to do that you enjoy, and dont every let anyone tell you that you arent really happy, or the right kind of happy, when you think that you are. And try not to think about it too much. The times I've been the most miserable have been when I've tried to "figure everything out" and focused intently on trying to be happy When I gave up and decided to move on to another hobby it came back. YMMV, however.

 

 

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