• 0af
    44


    If we need a reason to live, we might as well need a reason to die. I'm neutral on this issue, really. Is it always better to live than to sleep? I don't think so. If life becomes sufficiently unpleasant (think chronic or terminal disease that threatens the personality itself), then it seems "rational" to end it. But hope springs eternal for most of us. We're curious. We live people. They love us. Might as well play the game for another day. If we are one of the lucky ones, we want another day and will face great temporary suffering for the stretch of time that follows. One thing I'm sure of is that many people live without any "metaphysical" reason or justification for slogging around in this beautiful/terrible absurdity. "Nihilism" or whatever nice name you want for it is perhaps more common than you suspect. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the happier people in your orbit are discretely "nihilists." Just listen to the popular comedians. Maybe it's even the "secret truth" of our lifestyle these days. That's why we laugh with real pleasure at Louis C. K.
  • szardosszemagad
    82
    I wouldn't be surprised if some of the happier people in your orbit are discretely "nihilists." Just listen to the popular comedians. Maybe it's even the "secret truth" of our lifestyle these days.0af

    Latest theory of happiness is "having success beyond expectations."

    And please cross this with "A pessimist can never be unpleasantly disappointed."

    The lower the expectations of life, the higher the probability that you will find happiness.

    Nihilism, by definition, means "no expectations whatsoever". Therefore anything that happens to a nihilist, which is not nothing, and not negative like pain, is a very joyful event and source of happiness for the nihilist.

    But wait! If you buy this now, there is more!!

    We can say if your expectations are BELOW the base line, or below no expectations whatsoever, then you are really in the "zone".

    For instance, you could expect every day that you will be hanged, or strung up by your tongue or toe; severely burned; hot lead would be poured into your ear canal; at work every day starts with a three-hour calculus exam; your daughter will sue you (and win) for sexual abuse; police will raid your apartment and confiscate all pieces of porn and a judge will issue an order for you never to look on the Internet; god may turn you o'ernight into a pedophile; your wife will give aids, Hep C and a left hook. etc. You may even turn instantaneously into a (ghasp!!) evangelist.

    The people who wake up with deep and unsettling, let's say torturous paranoid fears or phobias then are the happiest people of the entire lot.
  • Jake Tarragon
    151
    I can't believe what passes for philosophy around here.szardosszemagad

    hehe I thought you had Sapientia on the rails but he pulled a draw out of the bag when he said that people's point in living is to enjoy their lives. Such a "purpose" is not very high fallutin' of course, but you never asked for that.
  • Jake Tarragon
    151
    The lower the expectations of life, the higher the probability that you will find happiness.szardosszemagad

    It's nice when one becomes distraught at losing one's keys/purse etc because of the joy of finding it again. Not sure how quickly it is a repeatable experience though ...
  • 0af
    44


    Interesting post. I'd define happiness differently. I'd say it's generally feeling good or at least OK. Let's say 1 is great pleasure, 0 is neutrality, and -1 is great pain. Then I'd say happiness is the needle spending about 80+% percent hopping between 0 and 1. Of course we want the needle far away from -1, except for brief traumatic moments that are more or less to be expected in the long run.

    I strongly associate wisdom and happiness. If the wise man isn't happy, what's so great about wisdom? So the wise man (or woman) builds a life (which is largely the construction of a perspective on life) in which the needle behaves as described above on the pleasure-pain-o-meter.
  • Sapientia
    3.3k
    I wasn't going to reply to that, but I'll give you a brief reply and then converse with you no more. I did give you an example, I also explained that it could be virtually anything - use your imagination - and, finally, hedonism has a very long history in philosophy, with the earliest discovered recorded advocacy of such a philosophy stemming all the way back at least to the 18th century BC, in the "Old Babylonian" version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is regarded by some to be the earliest surviving great work of literature. So your dismissal, to be honest, strikes me as rash and uninformed.
  • Jake Tarragon
    151
    If the wise man isn't happy, what's so great about wisdom?0af
    He might realize that many others aren't happy...
  • 0af
    44

    Respectfully, that doesn't answer my question.
  • Nelson
    8
    There is no objective universal meaning to existence. The only only supreme authority on issues like these is the self and therefore the only objective meaning to life is the one you choose.
  • Nelson
    8
    Have you ever been happy? That feeling is by definition good, and good is by definition better than nothing (which I believe death feels like). Just because things don't have meaning, doesn't mean you shouldn't do them.
  • intrapersona
    529
    After reading this thread the only idea that appeals to me is that of our lives being as meaningless as other animals including insects. Although I feel as if consciousness or self-awareness alone gives me reason enough to ask for a meaning, for we are the only animal with the self-awareness combined capacity to ask such a thing, therefore shouldn't i be justified in asking such a thing?

    If I am not justified in doing that, then consciousness is a disease that clearly bears no identical representation on ultimate truth (which isn't the case because consciousness has built us great bridges,buildings, particle accelerators, plant gene alterations.) So if we can do all those things then we must have some bearing on ultimate truth (apriori, mathematical etc.) in order to work with concepts that allow us to change nature in such ways, if that wernt so then it wouldnt be possible for us to do those things... So then we must be somewhat justified in asking for a purpose to all of this, if we have come this far with our minds.
  • schopenhauer1
    1.1k
    If I am not, then consciousness is a disease that clearly offers no value on ultimate truth (which isn't the case because consciousness has built us great bridges,buildings, particle accelerators, plant gene alterations.) So then we must be somewhat justified in asking for a purpose to all of this.intrapersona

    Again, we are born into the world and we cannot stand boredom. We survive and get bored- our two great motivations. This wells up in the form of goal-seeking activities of all kinds. It's that simple. Life is just "there" but we cannot be just "there". We must move around, entertain ourselves, make goals, and essentially find ways to use our time and keep ourselves from discomfort. The result is a mostly repetitious existence of doing but for the sake of doing.
  • intrapersona
    529
    The only only supreme authority on issues like these is the self and therefore the only objective meaning to life is the one you choose.Nelson

    I am so sick of people saying "You choose your owning meaning". What a crock of shit, that doesn't even make sense. Everything anyone ever does is always meaningless, and always will be. Sure, things have value to people (liked loved ones) but to say they are the meaning of your life is absurd. If i told you my toothbrush was the meaning of my life, would that make sense? If not then how is it different from a person? Because they have extra properties like communication or the capacity to elicit hormones in states of intimacy? Nay! To call a meaningless process meaningful is to put the cart before the horse.
  • intrapersona
    529
    Again, we are born into the world and we cannot stand boredom. We survive and get bored- our two great motivations. This wells up in the form of goal-seeking activities of all kinds. It's that simple. Life is just "there" but we cannot be just "there". We must move around, entertain ourselves, make goals, and essentially find ways to use our time and keep ourselves from discomfort. The result is a mostly repetitious existence of doing but for the sake of doing.schopenhauer1

    Fantastic post, 10/10 agree. This is why I find buddhist views on boredom and attachment so vanguard. I have had moments in meditation where I completely happy with just existing and what a present that is to have. Not having to rush around every second of the day, only to come home and ask philosophy forums "y r we here bro?".

    Freud said we only ever do things to seek bodily pleasure. And much like the ID,Ego,Super EGO there was Plato's tripartite conception of ourselves. 1 to produce and seek pleasure. 2 to gently rule through the love of learning. 3 to obey the directions of 2 while ferociously defending the whole from external invasion and internal disorder. With all of this considered though, it still doesn't intrude on whether or not our reasoning has any iota of resemblance on ultimate truth or meaning if such a thing exists (but i feel it is somewhat self-evident).
  • Agustino
    7.1k
    Again, we are born into the world and we cannot stand boredom. We survive and get bored- our two great motivations.schopenhauer1
    Of course, you're omitting and forgetting about eros. Eros draws us out of ourselves. The object of our love acts - at a distance as it were - and draws us to it. It is by far a truly motivating factor - so motivating that many have even died for it. And the object of Eros can be God, another person, and so on.

    Survival and boredom aren't very good motivators in the first place. It's not very difficult to survive in society. So that problem, for most of the time at least, isn't a problem for the majority of us in the West.

    Boredom is not strong enough to motivate one to withstand pain. And all great achievement entails great pain. Boredom may motivate someone to hit the club for example. But it won't motivate them to write Bethoveen's 5th Symphony.

    Self-affirmation is another source of motivation that is generally stronger than survival and boredom but weaker than eros.

    I have had moments in meditation where I completely happy with just existing and what a present that is to have.intrapersona
    But you can't stay "in meditation" your whole life, just existing. You have to do things. So that apathetic state, as far as I'm concerned, is not good. It's like taking drugs. If meditation, on the other hand, is a limited practice that you undertake in order to better exist in the world, that is a different story.

    1 to produce and seek pleasure. 2 to gently rule through the love of learning. 3 to obey the directions of 2 while ferociously defending the whole from external invasion and internal disorder.intrapersona
    That's not Plato's conception.
  • intrapersona
    529
    But you can't stay "in meditation" your whole life, just existing. You have to do things. So that apathetic state, as far as I'm concerned, is not good.Agustino

    You misunderstand what it is like. It carries over into real world much like the relief from sex carries over. It doesn't breed apathy, it's the exact opposite.

    apathetic:
    showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern.

    Meditation renews your interest, enthusiasm and concern for the most mundane things you took for granted before.

    The issue is that it is like going for a run, its an effort and hard to sustain unless you have "that" kind of personality. It's far too easy to just fall into what is easy and not give any effort (even if you know it will bring you contentment).
  • intrapersona
    529
    That's not Plato's conception.Agustino

    Then argue it with wikipedia, its the first paragraph. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato%27s_tripartite_theory_of_soul
  • intrapersona
    529
    Self-affirmation is another source of motivation that is generally stronger than survival and boredom but weaker than eros.Agustino

    wouldnt self affirmation be weaker than survival?

    maslow.jpg
  • Agustino
    7.1k
    You misunderstand what it is like.intrapersona
    If meditation, on the other hand, is a limited practice that you undertake in order to better exist in the world, that is a different story.Agustino
    It seems like you fall under this latter category that I was describing.

    It carries over into real world much like the relief from sex carries over.intrapersona
    I don't follow this. It hasn't been my experience that 'relief' from sex carries over.

    It doesn't breed apathy, it's the exact opposite.intrapersona
    When I do it (meditation), it often does because I feel I should be spending my time doing something different. I always have so much to do...

    The issue is that it is like going for a run, its an effort and hard to sustain unless you have "that" kind of personality.intrapersona
    Well I often go running, so I do enjoy effort that is productive. But by running you get results in terms of better fitness, better vitality, and just feeling stronger in your will and your body. It teaches you not to give up - it's an essential training for the will.

    I guess meditation would be similar with regards to boredom?

    Then argue it with wikipedia, its the first paragraph.intrapersona
    I see. Have you read Plato? Plato's theory is quite different from what I understand it from the Republic. Wikipedia and secondary sources give misleading information, generally, not just about Plato. I can't remember for how many philosophers I've read Wikipedia, and then read their works and was like :-O 'what was that summary even about?! This is totally different'. Plato's tripartite conception is introduced to show how different drives of the psyche can be brought into harmony with each other. And for example, Plato does address this, which you claim he doesn't:

    it still doesn't intrude on whether or not our reasoning has any iota of resemblance on ultimate truth or meaning if such a thing exists (but i feel it is somewhat self-evident).intrapersona
    It's right towards the beginning of the Republic when Socrates proves that the God does not lie or deceive. He calls the real lie - the lie in the soul which affects our reasoning and prevents us from seeing reality as it is - as the true falsehood. And since our faculty of reason - in-so-far as it is reason - is from the God and shares with the divine - then it cannot induce us into error in and of itself.

    wouldnt self affirmation be weaker than survival?intrapersona
    No. You don't self-affirm in order to survive, rather you survive in order to self-affirm. Self-affirmation, the top of the pyramid, is much stronger than the bottom in terms of motivating factors. The higher your rise in the pyramid, the stronger the motivating factors become. I would even invert the pyramid upside down actually, just rotate it 180 degrees. Because having the top done, enables you to more easily take care of the bottom.

    I wrote an essay about this actually. People who are at the lowest stages aren't very motivated at all. They're merely getting by, but they live in a kind of "depressed" state, where they don't have much energy in life. The kind of energy they have at that stage, disappears once they get to the food.

    You can even see this from suicide. Suicide, as Schopenhauer says, is an attempt at self-affirmation, and definitely not at survival. If survival was stronger, then suicide would be impossible. But it's not. So when other means of self-affirmation become impossible, most non-religious people at least will look towards suicide. For example, if they become paralysed for their whole life, I'm sure many people will choose euthanasia over living that way. Clearly survival at any costs is not their goal - something matters more than survival.

    Maslow's hierarchy is anyway just another relic of modernity. You should read my post here. This reconception of the human being that subordinates eros - erotic longing - to thymos - the will and self-affirmation - is a modern reconception of the human. Eros and thymos are, by the way, part of the Platonic tripartite conception of the soul.

    to obey the directions of 2 while ferociously defending the whole from external invasion and internal disorderintrapersona
    This is thymos. But it's not described very well...
  • schopenhauer1
    1.1k
    Of course, you're omitting and forgetting about eros. Eros draws us out of ourselves.Agustino

    Nope, this is all romanticization. It's layers upon layers of obfuscation. It obfuscates the Real. The Real is the survival and boredom. All desires are essentially to run from one of the other. I usually add discomfort too, so that's in there as well.. No one like's discomfort either, hence suicide.

    Boredom is not strong enough to motivate one to withstand pain. And all great achievement entails great pain. Boredom may motivate someone to hit the club for example. But it won't motivate them to write Bethoveen's 5th Symphony.Agustino

    No, producing works of intricate art is one of the most engrossing activities you can do. Engrossing means absorbing all one's attention and interest. Why wouldn't one want to find the best way to alleviate boredom? This sounds like a great way to me.

    I mean don't get me wrong Agustino- your view SOUNDS better. You mention self-affirmation, eros, productivity, all buzz words that will please a certain audience in a rhetorical way. No one wants to hear survival and boredom. That just depresses people, so you can go on with your rhetorical romanticizations and throw more pleasant sounding buzz words, I just don't buy it.

    You can also discuss Nietzsche and is idea of ubermensch and overcoming oneself and living as if your life is a work of art, or using pain to overcome oneself, but this is also just more romanticizations and obfuscation. It covers up the pretty simple idea that we are not content just existing, but we must flit about in our pursuits of goals due to desires stemming from pursuing survival and fleeing boredom. It's what animals with self-reflective minds do.
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