• 180 Proof
    2.3k
    The latter. After all, I quoted a film director, not a philosopher. :smirk:
  • MondoR
    120
    The purpose of life is precisely this thread,: to create, to explore, to share, to enjoy.
  • counterpunch
    744
    The purpose of life is make good on the struggles of all previous generations, by using what is thereby gained to secure the future for all subsequent generations; to know what's true, and act morally with regard to what's true - to live, to know, to live!
  • Nikolas
    95
    Before deciding on the purpose of human life it seems we have to decide if the universe is here to serve Man's needs or does Man exist to serve the universal necessity of our universe?
  • MondoR
    120
    Before deciding on the purpose of human life it seems we have to decide if the universe is here to serve Man's needs or does Man exist to serve the universal necessity of our universe?Nikolas

    One doesn't serve the other. It is continuous and whole. It creates and shares as waves.
  • Outlander
    1k
    Is there an actual purpose or point to life or living?Mtl4life098

    How bad do you want to know. You have your answer.
  • Darkneos
    197
    That's not really an answer as a self generate purpose is no different from nihilism. I mean...it's sort of like saying "it's true for me" in an argument (depending on the subject) it renders all discussion meaningless.

    But to correctly answer the question, there is no purpose to life. Even generating a purpose yourself is little more than just avoiding the inevitable and ignoring the void we live in. It's a band-aid solution but not a long lasting one as once you glimpse the void attempts to patch it again continue to fail. No philosopher has successfully conquered it either without giving into the desperation to make meaning.

    The purpose of life is precisely this thread,: to create, to explore, to share, to enjoy.MondoR

    No it isn't.

    The purpose of life is make good on the struggles of all previous generations, by using what is thereby gained to secure the future for all subsequent generations; to know what's true, and act morally with regard to what's true - to live, to know, to live!counterpunch

    Also no.
  • MondoR
    120
    No it isn'tDarkneos

    To create, explore, share, enjoy is to create warmth like a Shining Star. The opposite is a cold, dark, Black Hole.
  • Darkneos
    197
    To correct you, no it isn't.

    None of that is to create warm or a star, it's to delude yourself into thinking such things exist in the universe and ignore what IS.
  • GLEN willows
    93
    Sorry to interject, but has anyone else argued that there's no meaning or purpose to life? That both those words imply an outside creator or force that imbues us with purpose. What is that thing (I'm an atheist? IMO there's no proof of any purpose or meanng (or God...but that's another discussion).

    The only purpose we have is that which evolution shackled us with. Or else a purpose we have created for ourselves which is not saying that we "have a purpose" but that we created a purpose.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    The only purpose we have is that evolution shackled us with. Or else a purpose we have created for ourselves which is not saying that we "have a purpose" but that we created a purpose.GLEN willows

    If we are capable of creating a purpose, doesn't that imply that we have a purpose? To create purpose?
  • GLEN willows
    93
    It's an option to create purpose, but it's not a "purpose" in itself. But yes you can create a purpose, I think you should, but that's a lot different from saying "what is my purpose in life?" or "what's the meaning of life?" both of which are non-starters for me.
  • GLEN willows
    93
    So people who haven't got time for those things, who have 3 jobs, 2 1/5 kids and crushing debt, have no purpose?
  • GLEN willows
    93
    . "Before deciding on the purpose of human life it seems we have to decide if the universe is here to serve Man's needs or does Man exist to serve the universal necessity of our universe?"

    I agree.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    It's an option to create purpose, but it's not a "purpose" in itself. But yes you can create a purpose, I think you should, but that's a lot different from saying "what is my purpose in life?" or "what's the meaning of life?" both of which are non-starters for me.GLEN willows

    A purpose is a reason for which something is done. If it is possible NOT to have a purpose, that implies that what is done without purpose happens because of no reason, i.e. it just happens. So having a purpose is the same as "conferring meaning". If something is capable of conferring meaning, then that thing has a purpose, viz., to confer meaning. So if something which is capable of conferring meaning does not confer meaning, then it simply does not fulfill its purpose.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    Something I'm just reading. Mannheim talks about the "utopian" faculty as that in mankind which transcends the mere factuality of historical determinism in order to create a better reality, essentially the meaning-giving function we are discussing:

    But the complete elimination of reality-transcending elements from our world would lead us to a “ matter-of-factness ” which ultimately would mean the decay of the human will...The disappearance of Utopia brings about a static state of affairs in which man himself becomes no more than a thing. We would be faced then with the greatest paradox imaginable, namely, that man, who has achieved the highest degree of rational mastery of existence, left without any ideals, becomes a mere creature of impulses. Thus, after a long tortuous, but heroic development, just at the highest stage of awareness, when history is ceasing to be blind fate, and is becoming more and more man's own creation, with the relinquishment of utopias, man would lose his will to shape history and therewith his ability to understand it. (Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia, p. 236)

    Make of it what you will....
  • MondoR
    120
    So people who haven't got time for those things, who have 3 jobs, 2 1/5 kids and crushing debt, have no purpose?GLEN willows

    That is what they are doing.
  • GLEN willows
    93
    I agree. My point is when someone says "what is the meaning in life" or "what is my purpose" I think they mean a metaphysical thing that was there when you were born.

    People talk about "finding my purpose" as opposed to "creating a purpose" which is really about creating a life that fulfills you. I think it's an importan distinction because I know people who spend their lives trying to "discover" what their purpose in life is, or "discover" what the "meaning in life" is. They're searching for things that aren't there.

    But we agree - creating goals and behaviours in life (like helping others) are what give you purpose. But everyone has different ways of achieving that.
  • GLEN willows
    93
    "I'm not saying a job and kids isn't fulfilling, my comment was directed at the comment

    "...to create, to explore, to share, to enjoy."

    At least some of those things require a (privileged?) life free from a draining job, and crushing debt. Some people don;t have the luxury to do those things. That's my point. And kids are great, but if you have any you know that it can leave you little time for going on philosophy forums (I have none).
  • GLEN willows
    93
    what is your definition of "reality-transcending elements." For instance I write music, and that is a reality-transcending element for me. Or are you talking about more extreme reality-transcending? Not arguing, just curious...I get what you're saying.
  • MondoR
    120
    At least some of those things require a (privileged?) life free from a draining job, and crushing debt. Some people don;t have the luxury to do those things. That's my point. And kids are great, but if you have any you know that it can leave you little time for going on philosophy forums (I have none).GLEN willows

    Not at all. A baby is doing it in a crib.
  • MondoR
    120
    Doing what?GLEN willows

    What I said is the purpose of life.
  • GLEN willows
    93
    And I said that when the baby grows up she/he may not have as much time to do those things. Anyway I feel like I've beaten it to death now, cheers.
  • MondoR
    120
    And I said that when the baby grows up she/he may not have as much time to do those things. Anyway I feel like I've beaten it to death now, cheers.GLEN willows

    Make something out of Life. And if not this one, the next.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    In the context Mannheim uses it, "reality transcending" is everything which goes against the current "objectively construed" state of affairs as historically determined and works towards something better (specifically the Utopian ideal). Aspiration to a higher purpose, as I've construed it to apply to this discussion.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.2k
    Life is just dealing with one thing after another. It was best never to have been. De facto choices are your only option.

    For humans, the purpose is to survive, get comfortable, and find entertainment. Repeat. Along the way suffer various things great and small.
  • GLEN willows
    93


    I think there's confusion here between the concepts of "find" and "create. Our purpose, to answer the topic question, is to spread our genes, nurture our young and die. Clearly that isn't the way people in this discussion mean it.

    A can opener has a purpose, but we don't want to think of our purpose like that. A human being doesn't have any other purpose besides our evolutionary imperatives. But no one wants to thinks that's our ONLY purpose. But it is.

    I'm not being a downer, just trying to clarify language. And my conclusion is actually a happy one, and very freeing. DON'T try to "find" a purpose that something (God? Society?) has told you you should find. Create your own.

    If the question was stated as "what is a good way to live your life?" I would have no issue here. And it's a good discussion to have. But using the terms "purpose" and "meaning" used the way they are here, are problematic.
  • GLEN willows
    93
    In my philosophy I only have one life, so I'd better get moving on it right now! :wink:
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