In the discussion after our first lecture on the new theme Ronjaji suggested, that the question of the meaning of life
could be replaced by the question Who am I and that the answer to that question would imply the answer to our first question.
As I said last time, questions can send you into a particular direction. Here is happing the same.
The question What is the meaning of life ? suggests somehow, that this meaning is something outside ourselves.
This relates to a deeply rooted belief that life has or must have a purpose, a goal. This is called the teleological thinking
derived from the Greek word TELOS, which means goal. You find this already in the Ancient Greek philosophies as well as in many religions.
The question Who am I ? sends us inside ourselves. This line of thinking you mainly find in asian philosophies.
It was introduced in Western thinking, when psychology became an independent science. Nowadays you’ll find plenty of books
which explain to you who you are and how this helps to make life a meaningful business.
The main problem with the question “What is the meaning of life?” is, that it is in fact a kind of container of a collection of question.
Not only does it contain the question Who am I? but also questions like “Why am I?”, “Is this all there is?”
“Should I pursue a specific goal in life?”, “Is being happy enough?”, “Am I alone or part of something larger?”
Sometimes you get the impression that the meaning of life is some secret, which only is revealed to a special kind of people,
or what you only can discover with the use of intense meditation, special food or rituals.. I would name this the Prophet - syndrome.
It means, that we won’t find answers by accepting all kinds of beliefs or revelations. We have to use our own common sense here.
The only means we have is evidence, logical argumentation, explanations which can be understood and judged by anyone.
The diagram behind me may explain somewhat the way we are going to try to find some answers.
We have the advantage that we may stand on the shoulders of many thinkers who tried to deal with this question about the meaning of life through the ages.
Nevertheless, this journey into the realm of questions can only be a personal one, where you make your own choices.
We may start by wondering what life is all about. Why are we here? The question is, however, ambiguous.
On the one hand you can look into the past and read “On the Origin of Species” of Darwin, who explains the cause of our existence.
However, you also can read in the question a question about our goal, our purpose, our destiny as humans.
Sometimes cause and purpose explanations sometimes coincide. The road that was built, was meant to give way to traffic between A and B.
But take the apples on a tree, which have been enjoyed by man as food for centuries.
How they are “caused” into existence” doesn’t explain anything about the fact that they have become food for man and animal.
Thus we can look at the cause of human life and ask ourselves if it tells something about the meaning of life
and we can wonder about a purpose, a final goal of human life and wonder about the question
do this cause and whatever purpose coincide or isn’t there any relation between them….?
Thank you…. ^_^
[13:21] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks..plz feel free...the floor is yours
[13:21] CB Axel: I guess that's why people who believe in a god are so smug.
[13:21] Ronjaji: I'll just watch for a bit...
[13:22] herman Bergson: Indeed CB
[13:22] CB Axel: God caused them to exist, and he give them a reason to exist: to worship him.
[13:22] Starr (lynstarr): why?
[13:22] herman Bergson: That is how it is indeed...
[13:22] CB Axel: Personally, I find that to be a pretty narcissistic god.
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and they refuse to believe otherwise
[13:22] herman Bergson: that too is the big difference between theology and philosophy....
[13:23] herman Bergson: Philosophy starts with questions
[13:23] herman Bergson: Theology starts with answers
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:24] herman Bergson: in our search for answers we want real evidence...clear arguments...
[13:24] herman Bergson: not the arguments "I just know it..."
[13:24] CB Axel: Richard Feynman once said, "I'd rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned."
[13:24] Starr (lynstarr): i like that
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I agree
[13:25] herman Bergson: Nice one....CB!
[13:25] CB Axel: Well, physicists are smart, aren't they Bejiita? °͜°
[13:25] Ronjaji: Sometimes.... asking a question may be more important than finding an answer.
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): wow Cb:)
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we try to get as much fact out as possible at least with what we have at moment
[13:27] herman Bergson: Well...let's see how far we'll get with this project :-)
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:27] Ronjaji: I mean... don't throw the question away, but more to live it, it sends you on a quest, a desire....
[13:28] herman Bergson: That's why we are here Ronjaji :-)
[13:29] CB Axel: So, Ronjaji, is that our raison d'etre? To just keep questioning and questing?
[13:29] CB Axel: Sounds tiring. I may need a nap. lol
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:29] herman Bergson: a raison d'etre CB?
[13:30] Ronjaji: Ok... let me make a bold statement that the question "who am I", or "what's the meaning of life" can't be answered by facts, philosophy or concepts....
[13:30] CB Axel: A reason for being.
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): pourqoi CB?
[13:30] herman Bergson: I only can say that nor facts nor philosophy can answer questions, Ronjaji...only we ourselves can
[13:31] Starr (lynstarr): ok... idk where i am going with this, but the other day someone asked if i smelled something, and i got thinking, like what if we didn't have noses... what if no animal had noses... we would never even know about the sense of smell... so it made me wonder about what else we could possibly not be aware of... then i thought about religion and i wondered if religious people believe what they believe only because they were taught to believe it, or if somewhere along the line, they "sensed" it for themselves
[13:32] herman Bergson: I understood the French CB...I just wanted to question the concept of raison/reason :-)
[13:32] CB Axel: I thought we were looking for the reason for our existance.
[13:33] CB Axel: Starr, I think we'd have to find someone who was never taught about any kind of god and see if they come up with one.
[13:33] Starr (lynstarr): i don't think they would
[13:34] herman Bergson: I think they once discovered a tribe which ha dno gods at all....
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): does such a person exist ?
[13:34] CB Axel: But someone did. Once. Long, long ago.
[13:34] Ronjaji: Awareness may be the key indeed, Starr.
[13:34] Starr (lynstarr): but something would have had to point them in that direction
[13:34] CB Axel: I wonder how that godless tribe would answer all our questions here.
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:35] herman Bergson: I don't see any problem there CB :-)
[13:35] CB Axel: Who do they think they are? Why do they think we're here?
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe they never asked the questions
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they just lived their lives
[13:36] Ciska Riverstone: I would bet a nice gatcha gadget of your choice herman that this was a matriarchal one - that tribe without the god ;)
[13:36] Ronjaji: maybe... they didn't need to know.
[13:36] CB Axel: I think maybe ancient humans looked at the beauty of the earth and sky and wondered where we all came from and why we're here. And they decided there must be a god.
[13:36] Starr (lynstarr): nah
[13:36] herman Bergson: Could be Ciska....I once read about it...unfortunately forgot the details
[13:36] Starr (lynstarr): i can't buy that
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no I don't think so CB
[13:37] herman Bergson: yes CB...that is the standard procedure :-))
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: I woulg go with the thesis that god comes from hierarchic thinking
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they had to invent a god first
[13:38] herman Bergson: I'd say a god comes from our animistic phase during early childhood, when we believe that unanimated things live....
[13:38] herman Bergson: as adults we still do in a way ^_^
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: so the line would go: the chief knows best - the chief did not know and something happened so there must be an even better chief who would know better ;)
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that seems a likely start of it
[13:38] herman Bergson: we talk to our computer....kick our car when it malfunstions
[13:39] herman Bergson: all kinds of things like that we do
[13:39] Starr (lynstarr): i honestly don't think i ever thought that inanimate things were alive
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): haha yes a guy at my work swears a long list of curses when solid works refuse to work
[13:39] Ronjaji: Someone said: "God wanted to play a game, so he put on a body and a mask. But he forgot that it was just a game."
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and bangs the keyboard
[13:39] herman Bergson: it shows tat we still have some tendency to believ ethat inanimated objects have a 'soul'
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bangs
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): throwing tools around
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:40] CB Axel: Nice one, Ronjaji.
[13:41] herman Bergson: Wonder which god that was Ronjaji :-)
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): interesting idea ㋡
[13:42] herman Bergson: Ever seen the list of names of gods that went by through history?
[13:42] Ronjaji: It was you! ;-)
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hahaha
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Herman is a god?
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:42] herman Bergson: Interesting...
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: as kids we experience: there is always someone who knows better - knows answers - as adults that belief breaks and to keep it up we need someone else we can put that on - hierarchy
[13:42] Ronjaji: Sorry for becoming a bit spiritual here...
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:43] herman Bergson: Feel free Ronjaji
[13:43] herman Bergson: You may be right Ciska...:-)
[13:43] herman Bergson: Funnything is that gods are always the punishing guys...
[13:44] herman Bergson: so the ultimate daddy :-)
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: just like cooperations? ;)
[13:44] CB Axel: Ciska, if that's the case, then who's above God?
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: yes - hierarchy
[13:44] Ronjaji: Ciska... so it may be only conditioning and programming that is searching here?
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: well for us humans thats not really important
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: because we cannot reach god
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: so hence the belief
[13:44] herman Bergson: that still is the unanswered question CB....who created god :-)
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: when you look at it from a psychological point of view its just avoiding taking responsibility
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: hierarchy provides some sort of fake security
[13:46] Ronjaji: Indeed, Ciska, but taking responsibility is not always part of the upbringing and conditioning of a person.
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: well how do you teach it?
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: sl is pretty good at bringing this up btw
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: due to the nature of the limits of communication
[13:47] Ronjaji: one has to teach himself by making mistakes ;)
[13:47] herman Bergson: taking responsibility is taught by nature itself...
[13:47] Starr (lynstarr): remember when we first were taught about negative numbers... the first thing i thought is... what?... how can you take 5 away from 4?
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: exact
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: mistake and repeat
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): wash rinse repeat ㋡
[13:48] herman Bergson: confronted with the consequences of your actions you HAVE to make decisions...
[13:48] Ronjaji: I learned so much from my mistakes that I decided to make many more ;-)
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): smiles at Ronjaji
[13:49] Ronjaji: In the Advaita tradition, the question "who am I" is the main tool of an inquiry....
[13:50] Ronjaji: First, one starts by recognizing what I am not....
[13:50] Ronjaji: i.e. I am not my name.
[13:50] herman Bergson: No one in SL is :-))
[13:50] Ronjaji: LOL
[13:51] Starr (lynstarr): lol
[13:51] herman Bergson: Well I think we have a lot of digging ahead of us.....:-)
[13:51] Ronjaji: once reconized as 100% truth, it can never change again, never become untrue...
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: ronjaji - u know the film "anger management"?
[13:52] Starr (lynstarr): how do you know when you at 100%?
[13:52] herman Bergson: how do you recognize that Ronjaji?
[13:52] Starr (lynstarr): you're at*
[13:53] Ronjaji: well... if you change your name... do you change?
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: by constantly testing it with the reality
[13:53] herman Bergson: You are mixing up categories Ronjaji....
[13:53] herman Bergson: words aren't the same as persons
[13:54] herman Bergson: changing a name is something different form changing a personality
[13:54] CB Axel: I do think that changing a person's name changes the person at least a little.
[13:54] Starr (lynstarr): but if you have to constantly test it, then isn't that knowing that you are not ever at 100%?
[13:54] Ronjaji: and after eliminating all the things that you are not... name, function, age, gender... the next thing is "I am not MY body"...
[13:54] CB Axel: I was thinking that, too, Starr. °͜°
[13:54] herman Bergson: this sound a biyt like Descartes.....
[13:54] CB Axel: But don't all those things add up to make you you?
[13:55] Ronjaji: You don't haver to constantly test that a flame is hot, Starr... you don't even have to remember...
[13:55] herman Bergson: who ended up with saying...I thing so I am
[13:55] Ronjaji: constantly.
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but does this lead to the question..what is the meaning of life?
[13:55] Ronjaji: "I am, thereafter I think..."
[13:56] herman Bergson: you can't come to the conclusion that you are without thinking first
[13:56] herman Bergson: I am is a thought
[13:56] Ronjaji: hmmm...
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: hence meditation ;) - to not think ;) - and practise to just be
[13:57] herman Bergson: WELL beertje.....the meaning of life has become a little obscured indeed in our discussion....:-)
[13:57] Ronjaji: So you are vanished in the silent space in between two thoughts?
[13:57] CB Axel: Yes.
[13:57] CB Axel: lol
[13:57] herman Bergson: here too you are mixing up categories....ronjaji...
[13:58] herman Bergson: you assume that thoughts are spatial objects...:-)
[13:58] Ronjaji: sorryyy.. I'll stick to the diagram.:)
[13:58] herman Bergson: We still have a long way to go....:-)
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): as usual:)
[13:59] herman Bergson: Let's do that on Thursday :-)
[13:59] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation again :-)
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman :)
[13:59] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): now this got interesting
[13:59] Ronjaji: Thank you, Herman, for being our host.
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well cu next time
[13:59] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman and class.
[13:59] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ㋡
[13:59] Starr (lynstarr): thank you, teacher... and everyone else too
[13:59] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman thanx all
[14:00] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you herman & class:-)