• Mtl4life098
    6
    Been doing some personal searching and growth over the last year and have boiled down to one thing. I feel my issues and lack of self worth or drive for more or better or happiness all stem from being young and thinking hard about death. Like really dwelling on the fact that it’ll all just be over and everything and anything we’ve done gone and eventually forgotten. I feel it’s always been in the back of my head and holding me down. I’m a very realistic logical thinking person so naturally I think ok, well the basic instincts of any life at the core would then be the “point” so to speak. What do we all have in common? What are those basic instincts? I go to consuming energy (“eating”), and reproduction to further the species/life. Other than that any other point or purpose seems purely for self gratification or temporaryily lasting past tour life span at best. Now as humans we are birthed and basically guaranteed life (in the general sense) and our basic instincts have turned into selfish choices rather than survival. Especially with reproducing seeing as the earth is way too over populated as it is. Then my head goes to ok well then the only purpose I could imagine would be to get us and atleast life in some form off this rock before it’s gone but even then enough time and forgotten as well. So I ask you.....what do you think? Is there an actual purpose or point to life or living?

  • Bitter Crank
    9.2k
    I’m a very realistic logical thinking person so naturally I thinkMtl4life098

    Think more.

    I feel my issues and lack of self worth or drive for more or better or happiness all stem from being young and thinking hard about death.Mtl4life098

    You and millions of young people your age feel like you lack worth, or drive, or... something and you all worry about death.

    Should you see a psychiatrist? No. Better self-worth comes from working to achieve worthwhile goals. There are many worthwhile things to do. Everyone has issues. You have issues now; you'll have issues until you drop dead. That's just life, so get on with it.

    The Purpose of Life? You are part of the universe. Does the universe need a purpose?

    Death: Yes, you will die. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe 70 years from now. Take care of yourself: don't smoke; don't drink too much; don't play with guns; eat a balanced diet, get a reasonable amount of exercise, and aim for a good night's sleep. No use killing yourself with bad habits.
  • Judaka
    1.1k

    You're logically minded but the logic you're using, about reproduction and survival, has led you to a depressing conclusion. Your species doesn't need you to reproduce and survival is near-guaranteed and even then again, your species can survive without you anyway. There's no way around your conclusion, it is correct.

    From what you're saying, I think you've misdiagnosed your problem. You are not down because life is meaningless, you are down because the scale of your analysis makes you appear small and insignificant. If you fell in love and said "I'm going to work to make this girl happy" or got competitive with a game and aimed to become really good at it, you can actually make progress, you can actually be important in your own life.

    If your purpose in life is just to reproduce for the species or anything like that, you can't be important, you're expendable and the human species doesn't care about you.

    To answer your question though, I am convinced life has no objective meaning, the intellect can assert whatever it wants though and if someone is convinced their life has a meaning, you can't really say they're objectively wrong.
  • TheMadFoolAccepted Answer
    8.6k
    A question that might be helpful at this juncture is: would you rather have a purpose that you decided for yourself than have a purpose assigned to you by someone else, a god perhaps?

    If the former then you're completely free to choose whatever you want to do with your life and that would be your purpose. If the latter, you'll need to come to terms with the fact that the existence of god is an open question i.e. the divine road to purpose is a blind alley.
  • 180 Proof
    2.3k
    There is no future but the present.180 Proof
    :death: :flower:

    I feel my issues and lack of self worth or drive for more or better or happiness all stem from being young and thinking hard about death. Like really dwelling on the fact that it’ll all just be over and everything and anything we’ve done gone and eventually forgotten. I feel it’s always been in the back of my head and holding me down.Mtl4life098
    And so we feel "nothing matters, nothing ever done, said, made, or valued matters" ... until experience compels us to reflect, recognizing that 'if "nothing matters", then "nothing matters" also does not matter'. :smirk:

    So I ask you.....what do you think? Is there an actual purpose or point to life or living?
    Defiance ("To be" – without ready-made purpose (i.e. create 'eternity')) or denial (i.e. "not to be" – without ready-made purpose (i.e. waste/kill 'time')).

    Or in other words:

    Defy - affirm ("red pill") - what? (fate?)

    Deny - negate ("blue pill") - what? (fate?)

    :point: Amor fati: Life has no (e.g. metaphysical, or "god-given", or necessary-permanent) purpose/s, meaning/s, goal/s ... to live is to play AND struggle, to eat AND to be eaten, to breathe via screams AND laughter ... living learns from failure AND fails to learn, creates AND wastes itself – collectively contributing to the acceleration of cosmic entropy – like countless stars blazing AND THEN burning-out, one by one, in the black ...

    "If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present." ~L.W.

    :fire:
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k


    To a large extent, I would suggest that the purpose of life is not an intrinsic one, but is one which we create. We can find our own meaning and purpose in life.
  • baker
    583
    A question that might be helpful at this juncture is: would you rather have a purpose that you decided for yourself than have a purpose assigned to you by someone else, a god perhaps?TheMadFool
    Or a social worker, a judge, or a parole officer. Or a mob boss. To name a few.

    If the former then you're completely free to choose whatever you want to do with your life and that would be your purpose.
    That's not true, though. It is, for example, not solely within the power of the individual to become a billionaire, a president of a country, or the one who cured cancer.
  • Pfhorrest
    4.1k
    Is there an actual purpose or point to life or living?Mtl4life098

    A purpose is just what something is good for, so the question is "is living good for anything?"

    That hinges on what in general is good. Whatever is good, if life furthers that, then life is good for that, and that's the purpose of life.

    I'd argue that what is good is basically enjoyment, so life is good for the enjoyment of it, and so the purpose of life is to enjoy it.

    I'd argue further that the highest form of enjoyment is a feeling of meaningfulness, of importance, both of the universe being important to you, and of you being important to the universe.

    Part of the universe being important to you is for its ability to help you enjoy it in other ways.

    But another part of it being important to you is for its informing of your understanding of it, and yourself.

    One way you can be important to the rest of the universe is to do good things for it, to help others to enjoy living.

    And another way is to be a source of information, to help others understand it, and themselves.

    So you might flesh all of this out, a bit poetically, as that the meaning of life is to learn, to teach, to love, and to be loved: for both truths and goods to flow through you from as far and wide as possible to as far and wide as possible.

    learning-loving.svg
  • turkeyMan
    119


    see "The meaning of life and greek mythology"
  • TheMadFool
    8.6k
    That's not true, though. It is, for example, not solely within the power of the individual to become a billionaire, a president of a country, or the one who cured cancer.baker

    One would need to work within one's limitations, the constraints that apply to one's circumstance.
  • Rafaelsanchez53
    13
    The idea of goals in a life that has "issues until you drop dead" is too vague. There are worthwhile actions rather than goals, at least they are much more concrete, something to work on. Not very encouraging anyway to say "become Sisyphus and you'll feel better", "jump into a goal and it will take care of your existential problems"... or whatever you had in mind. People sometimes makes everything more complicated than it is and sometimes simpler than it should be. What you said is in the second group.

    No need to dissolve human life into the universe. Life doesn't have a purpose but this emptiness creates the room within itself for it (is "purposeable", if you let me use bad language) Once you find it, you never ever tell anybody that your life has no purpose.

    As for your final paragraph, telling a youngster "be a good and reasonable old man" (like yourself, at least that's what looks like) won't work and you already know it. The good wishes embedded in those words at least are something worthwhile but usually they don't work either.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    Is there an actual purpose or point to life or living?Mtl4life098

    Improving oneself in order to help others.
  • Rafaelsanchez53
    13
    A good illustration for what you have said because your reasoning is as circular as that one at the center (or the bigger ones created by the arrows) but I am afraid this person is not here in search of circles, he wants lines as straight as possible. You'd better show them here if you have them (not me)
  • Rafaelsanchez53
    13
    A good idea indeed but...wait... isn't he now asking for help from others in order to improve himself? Is this as simple for him as turning the screwdriver to the left because he is pushing to the right?
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    A good idea indeed but...wait... isn't he now asking for help from others in order to improve himself?Rafaelsanchez53

    Precisely. It is fundamental to what we are. One strategy for people who are consumed with the depths of their own problems (and I'm not ascribing this to the OP but as a general observation) is to focus on helping others. And the best way to help others is to improve yourself, since your new capabilities can be applied to the universal benefit.
  • Rafaelsanchez53
    13
    OK, one won't find the solution but could at least start to figure out how to tackle this kind of problems by discussing about them with others, I guess we both agree about this and I also share with you the good intentions. Your reasoning is of course correct but in the real world we both know the fate of saying to people "don't do this, do the opposite".
  • counterpunch
    744
    I disagree with the assertion that the earth is over-populated. Rather, technology is misapplied. In fact, resources are a function of the energy available to create them. Harness limitless clean energy from the core of the earth - we could capture carbon and bury it, desalinate water to irrigate land, produce hydrogen fuel, recycle everything, farm fish etc - and so support human population, at high levels of welfare, even while protecting forests and natural water sources from over exploitation. The climate and ecological crisis is not a matter of how many people there are, but rather, that we have applied the wrong technologies, because we use science as a tool of ideology, but ignore science as an understanding of reality in its own right.

    That so, it is not merely reproduction that furthers the interests of the species, but also - knowing what's true. By knowing what's true and acting accordingly we could secure a sustainable, long term future for humankind in the universe - and after that, who knows? It might be travel to other stars, other dimensions, time travel, uploading our minds into machines and living forever. It might even be God; but whatever it is, if we survive our technological adolescence, if our species lives long enough, we will find it.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    OK, one won't find the solution but could at least start to figure out how to tackle this kind of problems by discussing about them with others, I guess we both agree about this and I also share with you the good intentions. Your reasoning is of course correct but in the real world we both know the fate of saying to people "don't do this, do the opposite".Rafaelsanchez53

    Aristotle says people are wise who undertake to learn what is difficult. I think this is literally true in an existential sense. Each of us has capabilities and weaknesses. For someone with a great mathematical skill, learning advanced math and physics may be relatively easy, although, collectively, this might be regarded as relatively difficult, owing to the relative rarity of such gifts. I think the great challenge for each of us is to use what gifts we do possess for the collective good, but also to learn to recognize what are our own greatest weaknesses, and to work hard in those areas until those become strengths.

    Everybody loves to enjoy rewards, but what is gotten without effort can never be more than superficially enjoyed. The harder something is to achieve, the greater the enjoyment when it is.
  • Rafaelsanchez53
    13
    Well, you could also say that people learn what is difficult because they are wise, it works both ways. Yes, we all have pros and cons and this person is trying to figure them out, I don't think his problem is knowing how to use his gifts for the collective good.
    Your last equation doesn't work in real life, I can eat chocolate, have sex, have a drink... and get lots and lots of pleasure with little or no effort.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    Your last equation doesn't work in real life, I can eat chocolate, have sex, have a drink... and get lots and lots of pleasure with little or no effort.Rafaelsanchez53

    I disagree. Hence the distinctions between hedonism, eudaimonism, and agathism. I'm not unfamiliar with sensual pleasures, they eventually wear thin.
  • counterpunch
    744
    I think the great challenge for each of us is to use what gifts we do possess for the collective good,Pantagruel

    200 years of capitalism suggests otherwise. The repeated, and often genocidal failures of communism, suggests otherwise. Man tends his own garden best. In 1776, Adam Smith explained that the self interested actions of rational economic actors are coordinated "as if by an invisible hand" - not by some conscious intention to serve the common good.
  • Rafaelsanchez53
    13
    find then a bon-vivant, a sybarite, a pornographer... and tell them that their sensual pleasures will "eventually wear thin" (when they die will be so, sure, but they have plenty to enjoy meanwhile).

    The question of the youngster here (the main thing under discussion) was more or less "if I am going to die, why I was born" (Ionesco) The answer is within himself, not written here or in any other place and it is not something to be done as you and Bitter Crank say, a kind of task or homework that you do and, voilá, you find the purpose of your life. If that's the solution, the film "Soul" has done a heck of a better job than you guys. He just logged into a phylosophy forum and asked a +30000 years old question with no answer. Do I need to explain further what's going on here?
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.2k
    I'm not unfamiliar with sensual pleasures, they eventually wear thin.Pantagruel

    Indeed. The distinction between pleasure and craving.



    I dig the quandary, but I feel like you're conflating two overlapping but distinct questions: what am I for?; how best to live? The latter does not presume the former. Not reproducing because the planet is overpopulated is fine, but it's not a purpose. Likewise, reproducing because your body tells you to is fine, but not a purpose. Both are reactions to what is, as far as the mind is concerned, an external environment. There's no need to rationalise them at all, and certainly no need to rationalise them teleologically and egocentrically.

    But if you want to go down that route... my view in a crowded nutshell: We generally identify "I" as our mind, and your problem is about decision-making. What is the mind for? It's a thing that 1) takes facts (bodily stimuli, external stimuli, memories, etc.), 2) projects outcomes based on those, 3) algorithmically determines which outcomes are optimal, and 4) determines which facts to change to realise those outcomes.

    (1) is inevitable, (2&4) take practice, (3) takes ethics. Deciding how the world should be is pretty much what constitutes our moral character. Do you maximise your personal advantage or gratification? Do you prioritise your sister over a stranger? Do you absent yourself as much as possible from effecting the world?

    Whatever your ethics, if this is what the mind ("I") is for, it makes sense to optimise it's performance. (1) means being vigilant. (2) means thinking things through based on as much information as possible: learn what you can about the consequences of our actions and take your own actions seriously. (4) means competence: try your best.

    (3) means knowing what the best outcomes are, which means knowing oneself well. Question your beliefs and culture, familiarise yourself with diverse moral philosophy to consider multiple arguments for and against an given ethics.

    The mind is a small part of us. There's more to the brain, and much more to the body, than an algorithmic decision-making machine. You have capacities for empathy, for altruism. You have instinctive ideas of injustice. What are these for? These can advise what sort of outcomes are best.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    200 years of capitalism suggests otherwise. The repeated, and often genocidal failures of communism, suggests otherwise. Man tends his own garden best. In 1776, Adam Smith explained that the self interested actions of rational economic actors are coordinated "as if by an invisible hand" - not by some conscious intention to serve the common good.counterpunch

    And this is the age-old question. Since we are nearing the tipping point of our global system, the intrinsic superiority of one or the other perspective will undoubtedly be empirically validated before long.
  • counterpunch
    744
    It's not an age old question. Communism has failed. It came into the world around 1900 - basically just another form of slavery; committed several mass genocides and died on its arse in the 1990's.
  • elucid
    77
    I am not sure what's the purpose/point of life, but I think that there is no greater purpose/point to life than being happy, and having dignity.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    The age old question of selfishness versus altruism. There are plenty of examples of altruistic behaviour in the world. It remains to be seen whether the attitude gains wider acceptance as society gets more chaotic. I for one hope for a restoration of belief in the value of ideals.
  • synthesis
    348
    Stop thinking. Start doing.
  • LuckyR
    58
    I classic example of paralysis by over-analysis. Not uncommon in youth where there is an abundance of intelligence and a lack of wisdom. One benefits from the appreciation that there is just the present, not a future (what appears to be the "future" is just what the present will be in the future, it is not a separate thing). Thus contemplating what you will leave behind after you are no longer here, has no actual meaning for you, let alone a reason to change your present outlook.
  • counterpunch
    744
    Capitalism and communism are systems of political economy. Reducing those to a distinction between selfishness and altruism is a caricature unworthy of a serious philosophical discussion.

    There's a natural justice to the idea that a person owns themselves, and uses their talents and their capital to further their own interest - and an injustice to the idea they should be denied the opportunity to pursue their own interest for sake of someone else's idea of "the common good."

    It's not merely a matter of economic freedom, but personal and political freedom allowed for by economics based in liberty. Collective ownership and a command economy does not allow for political opposition. The state owns everything, produces everything. The common good cannot be opposed. So communism not only deprives man of property, but his personal and political freedom. He becomes a factor of production. Individuality itself is inimical to the common good. So I ask you: what good?

    Communism has failed every country that ever adopted it, and repeatedly committed genocide on a scale that makes Hitler look like a rank amateur - so if you advocate this system of political economy you really should be able to explain: what good?
  • unenlightened
    5.5k
    to learn, to teach, to love, and to be lovedPfhorrest

    :up: That'll do. Life is for living, games are for playing.

    I feel my issues and lack of self worth or drive for more or better or happiness all stem from being young and thinking hard about death.Mtl4life098

bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment