Wednesday, September 6, 2017

669: The concluding lecture......

“My life has no purpose, no direction, no destination, no sense and yet I'm happy. I do not understand. What am I doing right?”
These are the words of the cartoonist, Charles Schulz, creator of Snoopy.
Albert Camus (1913 -1960) chooses another approach. Confronted with the meaninglessness of life he asks himself: 
why don’t we commit suicide? He points out, however, that there is no more meaning in death than there is in life, 
and that it simply evades the problem yet again. Camus concludes that we must instead "entertain" both death and the absurd, while never agreeing to their terms.
Meaning is used in these contexts as referring to something outside  or beyond our actual life.
In previous lectures we have seen, that neither in the past, not in our  future we can find the meaning of our existence.
Almost all those who deny that life seems to be meaningful, actually seem to reject the idea that it has a specific kind of meaning: 
a meaning that is determined by forces, goals and principles that are in some way outside of this World.  
What is lacking is the recognition that life can be meaningful, if we find it worthwhile to live as such, without the need of other goals or destinations.   
Whatever you think of Descartes, he made perfectly clear where human life begins: in the awareness that we EXIST.
And we exist in time and history. It means that the question “Has life a meaning?” is totally different from the same question in, say 1890.
Social and historical factors play a role. For example, when thinkers such as Nietzsche expressed the idea of the death of God for the first time, 
it was against the background of an all-embraced assumption, that the existence of God was needed as the basis for the meaning of life and morality. 
After the confrontation with the so-called realization that the universe has no purpose and just is there, feelings of displacement and existential panic did not come unexpectedly. 
If you assume that the universe has a purpose, then  a completely undermining of that assumption must create a feeling of fear.
I, myself, am repeatedly surprised, however, by such remarks as that realizing that life has no meaning HAS TO BE frightening,
can drive people to despair, make you feel lost and unhappy. On the one hand philosophically I have no clue why, 
on the other hand from a neurobiological perspective I would suggest it is caused by fear, created by what some people (want to) believe in.
My point is, that language can fool us. Every grammatical correct sentence is not by definition a meaningful sentence.
This is expressed in the characteristic response of A.J. Ayer on a critical note made during a television debate by Hugh Montefiore, the then bishop of Birmingham.
Ayer had said that only people could give meaning to life. When the bishop objected,
saying that if this were true, life could not have an ultimate meaning, Ayer replied, "I do not know what ultimate meaning means!"
What has meaning are our actions. This means, that we do things with a purpose which lays beyond the action.
So the question “Why do you do this?” could be translated into the question “What is the meaning of the existence of your action?”
From that point of view you can see that the question “What is the meaning of the existence of earth, or life?” looks meaningful but is not.
If you are looking for a meaning of life, then look at your actions and ask yourself why you do what you do.
And in addition, if you also are willing to accept the observation that homo sapiens is a social animal, which only can survive by cooperation,
then the meaning of life is obvious. The fact, that we put children in this world, implies that we think, life is worth living
and we need generations  to continue our actions to make this world a better place for everyone to live.
Not the slogan “America first” should be on our banners but “Earth first”. I guess that is enough for finding some meaning of life.
This concludes my project and this semester. Time for a good vacation. I wish you all the best for this summertime
and love to see you again September 6. Thank you all again for this wonderful time together ….

The Discussion

[13:19] CB Axel: This has been a good project. Very interesting.
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): good one
[13:19] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:19] herman Bergson: Thank you :-)
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)
[13:19] Laila Schuman: well said....
[13:20] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:20] bergfrau Apfelbaum: Thank you herman!!!!
[13:20] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
[13:20] herman Bergson: You stil may have some questions or remarks :-)
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed it is our actions that are meaningful, for ex today i have celebrated our national day which use to include some nice spectacle at a place nearby, then some grilling and football just before now and now im on the balcony just having a nice time
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so this day have been really meaningful to me
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cause i have done nice fun things
[13:22] herman Bergson: You really have an understanding of the meaning of life Bejiita :-)
[13:22] herman Bergson: You live it...
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): do what i like to do
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what meaning has a life if one can't do what they want to do?
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its a drive we have
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a very important one
[13:24] herman Bergson: Good question Beertje.....
[13:24] Laila Schuman: going to Washington DC for about 5 days to join others in lobbying congress about climate change
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): for instance, all those people suffering
[13:24] CB Axel: Good for you, Laila. Good luck.
[13:25] herman Bergson: This is the world we live in indeed....and you already sense the injustice
[13:25] Laila Schuman: crossing fingers
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): smack trump on the head from me
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:25] Laila Schuman: smiles
[13:25] Laila Schuman: i wish
[13:25] herman Bergson: Dont spoil his hair Laila!
[13:25] Laila Schuman: lol
[13:26] herman Bergson: So kick his ass :-)
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or blast him with coal fumes and lets see if he still think it is good for the environment
[13:26] Laila Schuman: lololol
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:26] bergfrau Apfelbaum: hihi
[13:26] Laila Schuman: i should take you guys along
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:26] herman Bergson: As you all have your meaning of life at hand :-)
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): guess so
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:27] Laila Schuman: also preparing my class for this fall... and enjoying that very much
[13:27] herman Bergson: Me too Laila :-)
[13:27] Laila Schuman: smiles
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i stopped using showerfoam in a plastic bottle
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): only use soap in a paper
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that is what I can do for the earth
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): less plastic
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i use to refill mine, less plastics to make the refills
[13:28] Laila Schuman: good idea
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then i don’t use that much either but on the other hand i often stand in the shower a bit long cause feels good
[13:29] Laila Schuman: mmmmmm it really does
[13:30] herman Bergson: Well..I guess we now all deserve a nice vacation....
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone APPLAUDS!!!
[13:31] Laila Schuman: what will you do for vacation, Herman
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako) ♪♥♪APPLAUDS!!!♪♥♪
[13:31] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
[13:31] herman Bergson: So ..thank you all and Class dismissed :-))
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone APPLAUDS!!!
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone APPLAUDS!!!
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): enjoy the meaning of life and grill and bbq a lot!
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:31] CB Axel: What will the next project be?
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): puh still stuffed with halloumi even after playing football
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: u too bejiita
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): love the stuff
[13:31] herman Bergson: Is on the poster outside CB :-)
[13:31] herman Bergson: Guess you missed it :-)))
[13:32] CB Axel: OK. I'll take a look.
[[13:32] herman Bergson: lol...sorry..I missed it to put it up :-)
[13:33] herman Bergson: thought I had already :-)
[13:33] CB Axel: I remember seeing that now.
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): seems u did , i see no poster
[13:33] CB Axel: I'll start looking for myself now and get a jump on it.
[13:33] herman Bergson: I showed it in a previous lecture though
[13:33] herman Bergson: It is outside ..on the wall of the lighthouse
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): looking for yourself?
[13:34] CB Axel: I may go down to the river again and see if myself is there.
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes
[13:34] CB Axel: I may have left it the last time I was down there.
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that seems interesting
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone must sneak out a bit - have a great summer folks
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you too
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:35] Laila Schuman: be well Ciska
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I wonder if we are all happy when we find ourself:))
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:35] CB Axel: I have a really cool picture of a girl holding a mirror that your poster reminds me of.
[13:36] CB Axel: I'll have to look for it before September. °͜°
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:36] herman Bergson: Well Beertje it also can be nice to finde someone else :-)
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I already have:))
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not sure i have to look for myself really
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:37] CB Axel: I'll see you all in the autumn then. Bye, bye.
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu sb
[13:37] Laila Schuman: baiee CB
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cb
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): tc CB
[13:37] herman Bergson: ok CB..:-)
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and everyone else
[13:37] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebye class:-)) see you
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): have a nice summer
[13:37] Laila Schuman: be well Bergfrau
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Bergie:)
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): have a goodnight all
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye bye
[13:38] bergfrau Apfelbaum: beertje :-) see you soon


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