Debate and Discussion

The Purpose of Life
kyupol at 7:36AM, Feb. 6, 2008
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Ok. I understand that this place is secular-atheist territory.

And every time I try to speak my mind about God, and spiritual stuff… I am labeled as someone who is insane.

Ok fine. I will stop with the preachyness.

However, I am also curious on how you people see the purpose of life?

What is the purpose of life? If there is no God, no spiritual realms, and if everything just exists in the physical? How does existence be meaningful with that kind of setup?

Please explain. Thank you.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
Chernobog at 8:28AM, Feb. 6, 2008
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I tend to think of it from not what is the meaning of life, but what is the meaning of one's own life. I find people have a tendency to try to understand ‘everything’ without the significant baby steps of the self's own inflection. Who we are individually is often enough a mystery without trying to simplify the universe into a bite sized package.

This is to say, I advocate asking ‘What is my personal truth?’ rather than leaping ahead and going for ‘What is a universal truth?’.

Then again, coming to a total understanding itself can be a form of stagnation and quitting: I consider philosophy being the search for a truth, not the acquisition.
 
 
“You tell yourself to just
enjoy the process,” he added. “That whether you succeed or fail, win or
lose, it will be fine. You pretend to be Zen. You adopt detachment, and
ironic humor, while secretly praying for a miracle.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:41AM
crazyninny at 1:05PM, Feb. 6, 2008
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To live and belive.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:49AM
spacehamster at 1:19PM, Feb. 6, 2008
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To grow, to learn and to be a positive influence on the world, even if it's at a small scale. Why do I think this? For the same reason you believe in God - because it's the only thing that makes sense to me.

I'm agnostic, by the way, not atheist, although I think as far as this is concerned, it doesn't make much of a difference.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM
alibaba at 1:31PM, Feb. 6, 2008
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life is meaningful in itself, not “outside” it (i.e.: death).

the reason why people keep searching for a (supernatural) purpose in life is because we have a consciousness, intelligence and an ego. it's quite tough for our ego to imagine that it will cease to exist sooner or later, so by means of creativity we came up with all kinds of weird and naive life after death ideas over time, quasi to mask the truth and make it appear more pleasant.
for example take the vikings, who were made to believe that they can live an awesome life after dying on the battle field. lol.

for non-religious people life doesn't have a strict purpose, rather you can choose it yourself (which does NOT mean that we can go breaking laws since nothing happens after death anyways… lmao.)
well, all i can say is that its waaay easier to find meanings in the physical world than the metaphysical XD .
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
Aurora Moon at 1:44PM, Feb. 6, 2008
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spacehamster
To grow, to learn and to be a positive influence on the world, even if it's at a small scale. Why do I think this? For the same reason you believe in God - because it's the only thing that makes sense to me.

I'm agnostic, by the way, not atheist, although I think as far as this is concerned, it doesn't make much of a difference.

I would have to concur with this statement.

There are still too much crap going in the world, And God or the lack of one doesn't seem to affect that much.

You see–The crap that goes on in this world was caused by “bad” humans, and it wasn't caused by anything paranormal. And as the humans that has some goodness in us it's our duty to counteract against that.

Educate others and speak out against violence, etc. Donate your blood during blood drives, etc…. whatever you do, helps a little bit in making the world a better place.
That little bit might seem so insigcfant, but it's better than doing nothing. And sometimes a little bit can go a long way.

And sometimes it's just simple as just doing your best to follow your own goals for yourself that can have a postive impact upon the world.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
DAJB at 4:59AM, Feb. 7, 2008
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The question pre-supposes, of course, that there is a purpose …

Personally I'm of the view that life has simply evolved by way of a happy accident. Not that I disagree with anything others have said about how it should be lived now we've got it, but I see that as a different question all together.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
Dockworker at 9:05AM, Feb. 7, 2008
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I agree with everything that's been said so far, it seems that everyone that has responded to this post, is more or less on the same theosophical page. Life as a whole may or may not have a meaning, but what counts most is the meaning of individual life. I won't restate all of the things that have already been said. but I will add that I don't think your belief structure truly alters the search.

It seems to me, that if your a christian, you say,“God created me for a purpose, and sooner or later I will discover that purpose and fufill it”. This is not a bad belief by any stretch of the imagination, but I've known my fair share of religious people, who are far too content to sit back and let that purpose find them. If God has given you gifts, I would imagine you need to use them in order to seize your meaning.

For the Aetheist/Agnostic group, the idea is essentially the same. we don't know whether or not there is an enormous “book of right and wrong” on God's coffee table. So we too are compelled to discover, to create our own purpose. But,as before, far too many aetheists are content to sit back and wallow in “meaninglessness”.

I won't pretend to know what is, and what isn't, but no matter what you believe you can hopefully still appreciate individual meaning.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
StaceyMontgomery at 11:37AM, Feb. 7, 2008
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Humans are story/narrative based creatures. That means our purpose in life is to find purpose.

Personally, I suggest artistic expression and service to your community.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
Lokidoll at 10:33PM, Feb. 9, 2008
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To me, the meaning of life is simply to live and learn life lessons. I believe you're on earth to grow ( in whatever way you want to take that)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:38PM
zaneeba_slave at 11:22PM, Feb. 9, 2008
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Dont worry, kyupol, you arent the only one.

To reply to the idea of a meaning of life, I find there is no meaning for all people. You can cry to the heavens and scream “WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE” and you would hear nothing. There is no meaning of life.


You have curtain gifts, and you use them. You make your own meaning.

What people dont understand about believers, is that they believe in real life. Just like everyone. There are the same problems for all of us. God doesnt make it easier on Christians than on athiests. God doesnt give you a free ride.

What he does is sits you in the wilderness, points you in a good direction, and makes you walk.

You must make your own destiny. You must fulfill your own purpous. You must help people who are lost of their own meaning, and help them find it.

The point of an afterlife is completely irrelevant. To me, I dont care about the afterlife, to tell you the truth. I'd be perfectly content on dying and just dying.

I indulge my own life, without worrying about what comes after death. I have a meaning, and worrying about an afterlife is too bothersome.



So, to put it bluntly, you have your own meaning.

And… blah blah blah.
I like to imagine myself as a goblin in a tuxedo. -Zaneeba_slave
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:54PM
cartoonprofessor at 2:34AM, Feb. 10, 2008
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To be happy.

If that means creating and sharing for the betterment of humanity, or becoming a hermit andd mastering the mind…
And mate, I for one like your posts and by and large agree wholeheartedly with most, if not all, of what you say.
Everyone is insane, anyway.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
fazz33 at 7:26AM, Feb. 10, 2008
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The purpose is to find our own purposes ^_^ To use our knowledge to give ourselves a purpose, we aren't like computers or machines which are built for a purpose (Thats why I sometimes envy machines, they are prescribed a meaning already and never go against it), where we are here to find it.

So what do you think your purpose is?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
Exzachly at 3:06AM, Feb. 11, 2008
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Life, in the broadest sense (all life and/or all human life), has no meaning at all. It's not organized to achieve any higher goal, or if it is, it's organized rather badly. Life came about randomly, perpetuated itself because that is what it does. It's chaotic, cruel, and haphazard. It exists without foresight or planning of any kind.

Now, if you asked how life, defined that way, can be meaningful, I would say it can't. To some that might sound depressing I suppose. I don't really see it as a bad or good thing either way. To be honest, I don't spend that much time agonizing over the meaning of existence. Like most people, I simply find the things I love to do, then do them as much as I can. Sounds like a pretty good life to me.



last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
an_artist at 5:51AM, Feb. 11, 2008
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A purpose begets a creator.

You can't have meaning or purpose if there was no intent behind the act of creation. You may as well ask what the purpose of existance is for a rock or a piece of dirt.

That said, we're good at surviving. I suppose you could say the purpose of life is to survive, but that's more a reason as to why we're here, not an answer as to what we should do and how we should act, having arrived at this point.

It might not be pleasant to think that there is no purpose to life, but personally I don't remember being promised I would get purpose or meaning when I signed up.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:54AM
rmmanuel at 9:50PM, Feb. 11, 2008
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Meaning is derived. Life has no inherent meaning except to live. My meaning is simply to build, to love and to help those around me. But don't tell my sisters, because they want me to go to church, too.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:08PM
cartoonprofessor at 10:27PM, Feb. 13, 2008
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an_artist
A purpose begets a creator.

You can't have meaning or purpose if there was no intent behind the act of creation. You may as well ask what the purpose of existance is for a rock or a piece of dirt.

I disagree…

You may indeed ask what the purpose is for the rock…

It is to be a rock for the rock's sake.

For the lizard underneath, it is to be a shelter.

For the lichen upon the rock, it is to be an anchor.

For a mason, a keystone.

For the artist, an expression.



last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
alibaba at 4:34AM, Feb. 14, 2008
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cartoonprofessor
an_artist
A purpose begets a creator.

You can't have meaning or purpose if there was no intent behind the act of creation. You may as well ask what the purpose of existance is for a rock or a piece of dirt.

I disagree…

You may indeed ask what the purpose is for the rock…

It is to be a rock for the rock's sake.

For the lizard underneath, it is to be a shelter.

For the lichen upon the rock, it is to be an anchor.

For a mason, a keystone.

For the artist, an expression.

true, but you are actually proving his point by giving the rock a purpose ^^' .
every object in nature has something like a potential for various purposes, simply because it exists, but only intelligent lifeforms can make actual use of them.
some native tribes even eat rocks (they pulpify them) XD !
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
an_artist at 5:12AM, Feb. 14, 2008
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cartoonprofessor
an_artist
A purpose begets a creator.

You can't have meaning or purpose if there was no intent behind the act of creation. You may as well ask what the purpose of existance is for a rock or a piece of dirt.

I disagree…

You may indeed ask what the purpose is for the rock…

It is to be a rock for the rock's sake.

For the lizard underneath, it is to be a shelter.

For the lichen upon the rock, it is to be an anchor.

For a mason, a keystone.

For the artist, an expression.





Well… yeah, as Alibaba said you can give anything a purpose. You can use a pneumatic drill as a toothpick if you want, that doesn't mean it was created for that purpose. And a rock (and life) not having been created by anything, don't have any inherent purpose.

Either answer works, I suppose. The purpose of life is either anything, or nothing. Do whatever you want, because you can use your life for any purpose. Or do whatever you want, because it's not like life has a purpose you should be fufilling anyway.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:54AM
bobhhh at 4:28PM, Feb. 14, 2008
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Ilike to think of life as a gift, a freak of nature. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I feel like I will have done well if I can close my eyes knowing I accomplished some good, realized some of of my potential and left the world richer than when I found it.
My name is Bob and I approved this signature.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
VegaX at 3:24PM, Feb. 15, 2008
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The purpose in life is to reproduce.
Anyone might find their own personal purpose in life but the big purpose is to keep the species alive. There is no higher meaning, we are all animals, although we humans generally think we are better and deserve more, thus inventing god and heaven and all that jazz.

But yeah, personally I don't want kids, so I'll just have to come up with my own purpose. ;)

Agent Smith
You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:39PM
zaneeba_slave at 8:16PM, Feb. 15, 2008
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You actually made me laugh with that one, VegaX. :D
I like to imagine myself as a goblin in a tuxedo. -Zaneeba_slave
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:54PM
TakeshiG at 4:49AM, Feb. 16, 2008
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Hm, some things I agree with and some things I don't.

Personally I believe that the main purpose of life is to create or be part of an eternal family. Also to learn and grow up. To love and serve one another. And to be able to go to paradise when we are done. ^^

I have heard a very nice approach of this matter. (in an anime of course ^^) The purpose of life is to find the way that is right for you. If you have walked a way and found it not to be right, just turn around and start looking again!

Everyone should try keep their conscience happy. If we feel miserable ourselves we have a hard time to make others feel happy.

Btw. I think this matter is not only a playground for atheists as anyone will ask him/herself that question at one point. That is our nature that distinguishes us from animals. (among other features as well)
~Take-ji
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
horseboy at 11:22PM, Feb. 16, 2008
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Never seek for happiness, it will merely allude the seeker. Never strive for knowledge, it is beyond man's scope. Never think, for in though lies all the ills of mankind. The wise man, like the rat, the crocodile, the fly, merely fulfills his natural function.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
spacehamster at 3:49AM, Feb. 17, 2008
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StaceyMontgomery
Humans are story/narrative based creatures.

That's about as close to an absolute truth as this agnostic is ever going to acknowledge.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM
cartoonprofessor at 12:29AM, Feb. 18, 2008
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alibaba
cartoonprofessor
an_artist
A purpose begets a creator.

You can't have meaning or purpose if there was no intent behind the act of creation. You may as well ask what the purpose of existance is for a rock or a piece of dirt.

I disagree…

You may indeed ask what the purpose is for the rock…

It is to be a rock for the rock's sake.

For the lizard underneath, it is to be a shelter.

For the lichen upon the rock, it is to be an anchor.

For a mason, a keystone.

For the artist, an expression.

true, but you are actually proving his point by giving the rock a purpose ^^' .
every object in nature has something like a potential for various purposes, simply because it exists, but only intelligent lifeforms can make actual use of them.
some native tribes even eat rocks (they pulpify them) XD !

(sigh) What is it about humans that make them think everything is there for them? Why should something only have a purpose if ‘intelligent lifeforms’ can make use of them?

Our world is suffering because humans have for too long, considered their world around them as something to be used, regardless of other purposes… the shelter for the lizard, for example.

Everything, ‘lifeless’ planets to microscopic lichen to exploding galaxies, has its purpose, its own reason for being, and that is no more nor less important than us humans. For each of those ‘beings’ are part of the whole, of which we are all a part of.

Everything comes from a source of ‘creation’. It is this source that we are in constant connection with… wether we know it or not.

Every thought you have comes from this source…

After its intial creation, pure and unsullied, it drifts up towards our awareness, collecting the debree of past thoughts and memories along the way.

This debree attaches to the thought, adding more and more until it has reached a size where it becomes conscious.

The clearer your mind, the quicker the thought becomes ‘noticed’ by your conscious.

This is why it is so good to be clear, by noticing the thought sooner, you have more control over its direction… the path of fear, or the path of acceptance… if you choose fear, you create lots of internal (and external) stress.

Even if the fear never eventuates, it might as well have, because you have gone through the fear in your mind anyway.

Woah…
Sorry everyone, got a bit off topic there.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
alibaba at 12:24PM, Feb. 18, 2008
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@cartoonprofessor:
i didn't get the second half of your post, but i want to make clear that by “intelligent lifeforms” i didn't mean (only) humans.
i meant all kinds of animals who are able to use their surroundings for their advantage.
only intelligent* lifeforms can consciously do that, whether humans, insects or microbes.
*i mean intelligence in its relative sense, not the “human intelligence”

i know what you mean by saying that everything has a purpose, but i think that your use of the word “purpose” is not correct.
instead “effect” would fit it much better.

everything that exists in our universe has an effect: mass and gravity, heat and light, etc., no matter how minimal it is.

for example, our sun has incredible effects on our earth, but they are not its purpose. the suns purpose is not to give the earth light, warmth, etc., because it existed before our earth and would continue to exist if earth vanished. the life on earth is what gives the sun a purpose. therefore life is the purpose (no purpose without life; only existence and effects).

another example for what i mean by that: how about an asteroid, it floats through space and basically does nothing. however, sometimes it hits another asteroid or planet and gets destroyed. this is hardly its purpose; this happens by coincidence.

an asteroid could also hit the earth and destroy life, this is not its purpose, it was only an effect.

if suddenly astronomers found out that an asteroid was going to hit the earth, i can very well imagine some folks to think that the purpose of this asteroid is to destroy earth (they would call it armageddon or something like that and probably even praise it, lol).

however, most people wouldn't want that, i guess. so some country would just blow up that piece of rock with a nuclear bomb (the only thing its good for XD) !
now, would the purpose of the asteroid still have been to destroy the earth?

if yes, then we mere humans were able to avoid it. pretty interesting.
if not, then it had no purpose (which honestly was kinda obvious from the start).

and with that i come back to my main point: life is what creates “purpose”, along with things like “significance”, “fairness”, “goodness”, “fear”, etc.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
Sir Penguinbuddha at 2:18PM, Feb. 18, 2008
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To find the meaning of life, one must ask themselves what the purpose of death is, since it's the only thing that takes us away from life. If death didn't exist, there wouldn't be ‘life’, just ‘existance’. So, if the meaning of death is “because I couldn't live anymore,” then the meaning of life is “because I haven't died yet.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:38PM
HippieVan at 6:31PM, March 24, 2008
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The meaning of life(to me, anyways, I'm sure people will disagree) is having fun and dying as happy as possible for you.

Less seriously, chocolate makes me happy so I have come to believe that the meaning of life is CHOCOLATE.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
Marguati at 8:16AM, March 25, 2008
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My mother once said to me, “Garcon, the world is a beautiful place, and you must spread joy and contentment everywhere you go”. And so I became a waiter… Well, I know it is not a great philosophy but…
Well, fuck you. I can live my life in my own way if I want to.
Fuck off! Don't come following me!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM

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