Thursday, March 30, 2017

648: Is the meaning of life found in our future....?

When we think about the historical origins and purpose of life, we can become the victim of a  form of , what is called, the genetic fallacy. 
The mistake is to think that an understanding of the historical origins of life automatically says something about the ultimate goal of the current meaning of life. 

But one does not necessarily follow from the other.
A sharp piece of stone appeared on the scene without there being any goal for it. But  later it was given a purpose as a tool in the hands of homo sapiens.
A cottage built for a specific purpose, such as a toll booth, can be futile if the way at which it is located has become a free-access road. 
An initial purpose or its absence does not determine the purpose of the object  for all eternity. 
That's why by dwelling on the origin of life we did not  come up with a clear answer to the question of what the purpose of life is
and why the naturalistic belief that life is not created for a goal does not mean that life can have no purpose.
Also religions didn’t seem the answer to the question Why we are here, unless you accept that we are just servants of some deity, 
which is not my choice of a purpose in life. The fact that I can say this, is of course most significant in relation to the meaning of life too.
Where then can we continue our search? As I said at the beginning, the question "Why are we here?" has two interpretations. 
One the one hand one can look back to our origins, the other approach could be looking for a goal in  our future.

It was 1977. I had graduated and was a professional educator of both philosophy and educational theory and looking for a job.
It took me 13 months and 120 letters of application before I finally got an appointment and got a job.
During these thirteen months there were moments I was thinking; “What difference does it make to this world 
whether I exist or not?” A feeling of complete superfluity after so many years of study.
Don’t worry, it was just a rational wondering about my position. It didn’t depress me. I kept on writing letters of applications.
It shows how a sense of purpose and meaning can give shape to a human life. It reflects the desire that we often feel 
for a clear purpose in the future by which our struggle is meaningful and by which our lives gets a clear direction.
Bejiita has in fact given us already some nice examples of how to define the meaning of life by stating 
that he looks forward to an up coming Breakdance festival and getting together with a lot of friends and fellow dancers.
For other people life goes entirely to earning money, food, drink and sleep, interrupted by periods of rest and relaxation, 
all activities serve no other purpose than to keep us alive and healthy. It is tempting to think that our lives would make more sense if our actions  could serve a higher purpose of destination.
What we are looking for here is what Aristotle already identified as a teleological explanation of life. TELOS means goal in ancient Greek.
According to Aristotle the most characteristic of this goal is, that it is an end in itself.
When I play a game of chess and you ask: Why did you move your rook? , I might answer…because then I can checkmate my opponent in two moves.
Then asking why I”d like to checkmate my opponent would be a silly question within the context of the chess game. The checkmate is a goal in itself.
However, when asked why I want to live on, we really need some time to think about a possible end in itself within the context of our life….can we find one?
To be continued….thank you … ^_^

The Discussion

[13:20] CB Axel: From now on, my goal will be to checkmate my opponents. °͜°
[13:21] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...feel free the floor is yours :-)
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:21] TooEasilyDistracted: (time to comment?)
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:21] herman Bergson: good move CB :-)
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): was thinking of all the young people all over the world that are in the same situation as you were
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and asking themslves
[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): good thing they are young
[13:21] herman Bergson: yes Gemma....
[13:21] CB Axel: Hi, Ciska.
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hi Ciska
[13:22] herman Bergson: Hi Ciska :-)
[13:22] Ciska Riverstone whispers: hi everyone - sorry fo being late
[13:22] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): life
[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Ciska:))
[13:22] herman Bergson: As I was sitting at the dinnertable last weekend with among others a young boy of hardly 16
[13:23] herman Bergson: We were discussing the future...
[13:23] herman Bergson: mine is short...his was still a long way to go....
[13:23] TooEasilyDistracted: When we think about the historical origins of life, it can help us understand why we want what we want.
[13:24] herman Bergson: But the interesting thing was that the young man was quite clear about his future...what he wanted to become and so on...
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is youth for sure
[13:24] TooEasilyDistracted: herman, do you think he will want the same thing in a few years?
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah
[13:24] herman Bergson: and that TED is the genetic fallacy...
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): most people change their goals when they get older
[13:25] TooEasilyDistracted: Are you saying that it is important to ignore one's tropisms?
[13:25] herman Bergson: I dont know TED..
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I have never been really sure about my goals, i have many, but i want all of thm to make me feel good and happy
[13:25] herman Bergson: But when I was 18 I wanted to become an educator...and so I did :-)
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but for ex since i’m technically interested i became an engineer
[13:26] TooEasilyDistracted: In my model, I find it important to pay attention to my tropisms, in the interest of being as much myself as I can be.
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and also now i want to learn as many programming languages i can and make some games with them and let my fantasy flow wild
[13:26] herman Bergson: what is a tropism.......?
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and that streetdance party was totally amazing
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): loved every minute of that weekend
[13:27] TooEasilyDistracted: Ah, Particle, programming can be so engaging
[13:27] herman Bergson: almost read it wrongly as trumpism ^_^
[13:27] CB Axel: A natural inclination or tendency.
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lolI was searching that in google translate
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): biological
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): basically I’m a guy that needs something motivating to do all time
[13:27] TooEasilyDistracted: Tropism is a natural tending toward, for example plants reaching for a light source.  Human male attraction to female pheromones.
[13:28] herman Bergson: Being yourself is a very difficult issue, I'd say....
[13:28] TooEasilyDistracted: Yes indeed.
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): so a lot of the physical
[13:28] herman Bergson: That is a Aristotelian approach TED
[13:28] herman Bergson: I have this problem....
[13:28] herman Bergson: Here I am.....talking to myself.....
[13:29] herman Bergson: but is myself the same as I am or am I thinking bad about myself for instance? :-)
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hmm
[13:29] herman Bergson: and why am I smarter than myself?
[13:30] TooEasilyDistracted: It can be hard to know.  There's a lot going on in our heads that we can't monitor.  I have spent years thinking about uncertainty, and how to cope.
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we do that a lot i think
[13:30] herman Bergson: So to set becoming yourself  as a goal is quite difficult...
[13:30] herman Bergson: who has the knowledge about that self?
[13:31] TooEasilyDistracted: It's not a goal in the sense of expecting to reach it.  My life work is building a model based on experience that helps me be effective.
[13:32] herman Bergson: A philosopher has no problems with uncertainty...he has problems with people who claim to be certain about hings :-)
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:32] TooEasilyDistracted: I like that attitude.  I am only certain about one thing.
[13:32] herman Bergson: don't laugh Gemma :-))))
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i know it is true
[13:32] herman Bergson grins
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what is that thing that you are certain about Ted?
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): as we always come up with new questions
[13:33] TooEasilyDistracted: Thx Beertje, waiting for that... Consciousness IS.
[13:33] herman Bergson: YEs...guess that is the best you can say about it, TED :-)
[13:34] TooEasilyDistracted: Beyond that, I can make choices in how I build my model, but have to know they are choices and there are other possibilities.
[13:34] herman Bergson: And I like that it is, so that we can ask for the purpose and meaning of life
[13:35] TooEasilyDistracted: I find my motivations include supporting other lives...
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we are getting a lot of lectures ad things to consider
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:36] TooEasilyDistracted: I'm a friendly cuss, my genetic heritage contributes and my family/memetic environment has furthered...
[13:36] herman Bergson: And we are almost celebrating out tenth anniversary, Gemma :-))
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): wwo
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i dont feel that much smarter either
[13:37] herman Bergson: Will be September or November this year...2017....:-)
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): just more to think about
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): met lots of philosophers and philosophies
[13:37] herman Bergson: this IS  a proof of being smarter Gemma :-)
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): one one i really really dislike
[13:38] CB Axel: All that time and you still haven't found the meaning of life?
[13:38] herman Bergson: who was that?
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ayn rand
[13:38] herman Bergson: oh my yes....
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): nope cb
[13:38] herman Bergson: I would disagree, found a meaning otherwise your wouldn't be alive, I'd say :-)
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right and she is in my face daily now it seems
[13:39] TooEasilyDistracted: Some people like being lonely.  Sociopathic?  More people than generally realized.
[13:39] herman Bergson: You should make a difference TED....
[13:39] CB Axel: People like being lonely or find that being alone isn't lonely?
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): never lonely
[13:39] TooEasilyDistracted: I understand Ayn influenced many political/corporate leaders, and misery has resulted.
[13:39] herman Bergson: Some people like to be alone, which does not imply that they are lonely...
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:40] TooEasilyDistracted: ? make a difference ?  distinction between x and y, or try to make a difference in society?
[13:40] herman Bergson: to feel lonely is a negative feeling towards your life (situation)
[13:41] herman Bergson: so deal with this negative feeling....
[13:41] TooEasilyDistracted: Sorry, I was unclear.  Some people like to think of themselves as happily isolated; I would be lonely as isolated.
[13:42] CB Axel: I was just thinking about how one can make a difference in a big way or in a small way.
[13:42] TooEasilyDistracted: Example, CB?
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): isolation is negative in my opinion, but beiing alone from time to time is heaven:)
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): me too, at least i need to see all my friends now and then
[13:43] CB Axel: One can make a small donation to, say, a Feed A Smile kiosk. It is a small gesture, but helps to make a difference in a big way to a poor child in Kenya.
[13:43] CB Axel: What's small to me, a couple US$, a pittance, can buy an entire meal or more in Kenya,.
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): even lindens make a difference
[13:44] herman Bergson: this leads to all kinds of discussions CB...ow to define small/big.....
[13:44] herman Bergson: I'd rather not start that discussion now
[13:44] herman Bergson: although it gives purpose to our SLife at the moment :-))
[13:45] herman Bergson: Anyway.....
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hope i can make it Thursday
[13:45] TooEasilyDistracted: It is easy to find way more worthy causes to donate to than I have spare money to fund.
[13:45] CB Axel: I know what you mean, TED.
[13:46] TooEasilyDistracted: Better to put effort into improving economy for all...
[13:46] herman Bergson: Looking into the past didn’t offer us a clear answer of the question about the menaing of life...
[13:46] CB Axel: The future can't give us a clear answer, either. We don't know the future.
[13:46] herman Bergson: Next step is to see if there is a purpose ...a destination for mankind in the that the meaning of life?
[13:46] TooEasilyDistracted: herman, are you sure there is a meaning of life?  In the abstract?  Or even that each person has one?
[13:46] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): amazing that we go on
[13:47] CB Axel: What does keep us going on?
[13:47] TooEasilyDistracted: Gemma, perfectly natural that the descendents of those who wanted to survive are the ones who are here.
[13:47] herman Bergson: TED...I could give you a clear answer, but then I would spoil all my future lectures :-)
[13:47] herman Bergson: on this subject
[13:47] TooEasilyDistracted: no problemo...
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): almost like lower animals then
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): instinct
[13:48] TooEasilyDistracted: We are animals.
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i know
[13:48] TooEasilyDistracted: What happens if AI wakes up?
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i am now going to a mardi gras party
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): who?
[13:48] TooEasilyDistracted: Have a wonderful time, Gemma
[13:48] herman Bergson: We are indeed, but agian....definitions!
[13:48] Ciska Riverstone: happy partying Gemma
[13:48] CB Axel: Artificial intelligence, Beertje.
[13:49] CB Axel: A.I.
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice
[13:49] TooEasilyDistracted: Beertje, CB is correct
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:49] herman Bergson: Ahh time to conclude our discussion....Gemma's life has gotten another purpose now :-)
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:49] CB Axel: LOL
[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): sorry still need a translation here in class
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): where is that party?
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we all do beertje
[13:49] CB Axel: Ah, the purpose in life is to collect cheap plastic beads.
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): at time
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): dont raly know what to do after this lecture
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): really
[13:50] CB Axel: We have come so far since our early ancestors.
[13:50] herman Bergson: dismissed...and thank you all again for your participation
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye for now
[13:50] TooEasilyDistracted: Does anyone go to Philosophy House?  Or Bobcat Village?
[13:50] CB Axel: See you all on Thursday. °͜°
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye for now
[13:50] TooEasilyDistracted: Thank you for interesting lecture, herman
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time
[13:50] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Gemma:)
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:50] herman Bergson: My pleasure TED :-)
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman:)
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): goodnight everybody
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: good night
[13:51] Joseph Bard (science24): bye everyone , take care :)
[13:52] herman Bergson: Bye Joseph :-)
[13:52] Jeanne Valois (jeannevalois): thanks ... goodnight :)
[13:52] TooEasilyDistracted: Interesting group of people
[13:53] herman Bergson: Yes....for ten years now...
[13:53] herman Bergson: 99% of the meetings are like this
[13:53] TooEasilyDistracted: Same "students"?
[13:53] herman Bergson: Well a few...
[13:53] herman Bergson: Bejiita, Gemma, Ciska, Beertje
[13:53] herman Bergson: and CB


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