What is the Purpose of Life?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by jtwhite, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. jtwhite

    jtwhite Community Advocate Community Support

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    I recently read a post on the forum which got me interested in the subject. I know this is a philosophical question but I hope everybody can find some common ground.

    I believe the purpose of life is to expand our knowledge and search for answers to unanswered questions.

    Humans are the only beings who have the ability to search for knowledge and carry out complicated tasks. (E.g. A dog cannot do 3x+ 6 = -46 + 4x). We've come very far and we are living in exponential times where information and intelligence is rapidly growing. We are the only beings who can search for this intellect, I feel that is enough reason to pursue the search for information.

    I know not everybody will agree with the following statement but that's okay. I also believe we were all placed on Earth to serve and bring glory to God.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. ah-blabla

    ah-blabla New Member

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    How can we prove our superiority to say, a dog, or other animal? They do not speak a speech like ours, yet how do we know they have a speech yet more complicated than ours? There is the argument that because animals can only imitate our speech, but do not know it's meaning, therefore they are not intelligent (possess no reasoning). However I would counter this with the fact that we too sometimes attempt to imitate animals communications, while it sounds similar, we don't know what it means for an animal either, so we can't really claim to be more intelligent on basis of speech.

    Having said all that, I still believe we humans are superior in terms of possessing reasoning (which many humans however fail to use).

    As to our purpose: I haven't made up my mind on that one yet, but your answer is one I would tend to agree with. I do wonder what atheists believe is the purpose in their life though (and what more, what came before the big bang?).
     
  3. jtwhite

    jtwhite Community Advocate Community Support

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    I believe humans are superior because we use more reasoning than instinct. Animals use very little reasoning, if any, and almost pure instinct. Example: Dog hungry, dog eat. Dog need to urinate, dog urinates.

    Here's what I don't understand about the Big Bang Theory: where did the material that smashed together come from? People who believe in the Big Bang could also throw back: where did God come from? I guess it's more of personal beliefs than reality.
     
  4. Twinkie

    Twinkie Banned

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    42 :p

    I believe that the purpose of life is to impact the world in a way that you live through your accomplishments long after you have died. Not necessarily to become famous, but to serve a purpose greater than yourself. To some people, this is God, to me, this is humanity.

    If you mean the purpose humans have been put on this Earth, then who said there was a purpose in the first place?
     
  5. Kayos

    Kayos Community Advocate Community Support

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    I've always thought that the purpose of life is what you make of it. For some it could be a religious journey and others might have no purpose. This of course can vary between individuals.

    As for me I'm not sure what the purpose of my life is. I don't even know if I have one. It doesn't bother me as in the grand scheme of things we are a very insignificant life form even if we do have some intelligence. However, at the end of the day the human race will die off, as will the universe and whatever else is out there.

    I've always said to live your life to the fullest as we're not around for very long. If you think you have a purpose or not that philosophy should be followed.
     
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  6. allofus

    allofus New Member

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    If a dog is starving it will chase an empty food bowl around and never get fed.

    A human will go to the shop and get some food.

    This suggests to me that humans have an intellectual edge over a dog. All be it a small edge if you happen to win an election.

    The quest to discover the meaning of life is a human trait, I dare say a man made trait.

    There are and indeed have been billions of species on planet earth and we are the only one with the ability to do many things to any real degree. A chimp can use tools, but it will not be opening a tool store any time soon. Squirrels store food for the winter months, but they do not buy bonds. Cats can catch a mouse but they have not realised that a bit of cheese and a spring (mouse trap) will do it for you and likely never will.

    We are unique as a species, well we are on this planet anyway. 1 in billions and billions.

    Abraham lineage religions suggest the cloud dweller (God, Allah, Jehovah) made all things great and small for our benefit.

    Darwinian thoughts suggest a random series of events gradually formed the basics and intracity eventually followed. Just add heat, water, minerals and billions of years.

    Either God spoke to some old guy on top of a hill or the old guy made it up.

    Maybe Darwin thought his hypothesis to be rational, but of course he made it up.

    Darwin never saw primordial soup, but suspected it was.

    I think the search for the meaning of life is a fine demonstration of our ability to create, wonder, invent and be who or whatever we want to be. I think it likely we want to know because we do not yet. The unknown is a threat to life in general.

    Probably another invention of humanity. I also think it likely if there is other life in our universe they too have creation myths, stories of olde and similar unanswered questions.

    Christian, Jew, Muslim or whatever think they have the answer and seem to live this life as a means to getting to the next one. Blind faith.

    Atheists seem to decide life is for living and have heir own unique purpose.

    Both however are given the same question and the answer can only work for them.

    What I conclude from this is that the meaning if life is whatever you determine it to be.
    It is yours and yours alone. Maybe we all only get one, maybe we are all destined for life after life after life? But alas this life is yours, may be the only one you get and only you can decide what best to do with it.

    I spend much of my time and effort trying to make my own impact on the planet. I think we all do in our own way. Hitler went for a legacy, as did Elvis. Both of the same species. Amazing contrast.

    My answer to the question, Q. What is the meaning of life?
    A. Positive

    To elaborate...
    If I think it is positive, good, beneficial, interesting, exciting, worth my time then I think it gives meaning to my life.


    If the question is ever to be answered with any surety we have other even more outlandish questions that need to be answered.

    Where did the universe come from?
    sub questions;
    What is the universe made of? Creator? God? Always here? What happens when you die? Soul?


    Example;
    What is the meaning of life for a lab rat?
    It was created of sorts, bred in a lab, it has a purpose and it will probably have a lasting effect on the direction of humanity...

    This poses yet more questions though. The lab technician is not a god, nor a creator? or are they, is this a matter of scale?

    We have little true understanding of the very big or the very small and it is rather romantic to think that we are somehow significant.

    Imagine we find the answer;
    We are just walking, talking bags of food, a delicacy for some alien super race. Bit like cows, but sweeter meat.

    Then what?

    We can still be romantic about it all I suppose, after all we are tastier than cows.
     
  7. wmalexander

    wmalexander New Member

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    OK. I'm ready--I updated my thesaurus.
    Superiority (intelligence??) can't be the only criteria to define the Purpose of Life otherwise dinosaurs would not have lasted as long as they did--and humans have not been here long enough to prove that IQ is really a survival factor.
    Will this discussion boil down to Philosophy verses Survivability. After all, the only real purpose any life form has to exist is to pass along its RNA and DNA to its offspring.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  8. whitebus

    whitebus New Member

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    although, we have hypothesized that if we used our intelligence then we could leave this place before it was destroyed and outlive everything else here except the bacteria and viruses (and anything else that tickles our fancy) that we'd take with us.

    i suppose that it is really imagination that is our greatest gift. without it we would not be able to dream up solutions of any of the problems we face to survive. even reason requires a leap of faith to bring about it's logical conclusions.

    but, for me, i'm here for the beer.
     
  9. compass

    compass New Member

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    I think that there is no such thing as purpose for life in general in the sense that life just is.
    It has trends (it appears to be the reverse of entropy, life really seems to tend to increase complexity), it has rules, it (still) has some unknowns but IMO no purpose.

    As for what purpose a human's life has then this is pretty much at the latitude of that human.
    I'm an atheist so cannot use the answer: "I don't need to think of a purpose as God has that for me already".
    Despite many dire predictions of some religious people that atheists are sad, suicidal mental wrecks because they realize they have no (divine) purpose I am quite happy to define my own purpose.

    For me it has to do first with ensuring material, moral and mental comfort for my family, especially my children.
    Then, a distant second, trying my best to behave well or at least not to have a bad effect on the people around me, while getting on with my life and, where possible, enjoying what little pleasures are available (including but not limited to beer).
     
  10. noerrorsfound

    noerrorsfound New Member

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  11. wmalexander

    wmalexander New Member

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    OK. First a note concerning 'Whitebus': I may disagree but the guy definitely has his priorities sorted out.

    Now I will try to extend the life of this thread, if not the purpose.
    Human intelligence(IQ) has not increased noticebly in the last few thousand years, however human knowledge has increased at a rate that is impossible to calculate. (If you were born a thousand years ago you would not know any more than everyone else--unless, of course, you were a really freaky genius--then you probably wouldn't survive.)
     
  12. psgalaxy91

    psgalaxy91 New Member

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    This is the easiest question ever.... We're here to BE AWESOME!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
     

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