• Albert Keirkenhaur
    37
    Accepting that there is no inherent meaning, and living in spite of the fact.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.5k
    The universe didn't provide us with meaning, but it DID provide us with the means to provide meaning. Absurdism is as much your imposition on a meaningless universe as any other philosophical or religious meaning-system is.

    Perhaps there is some remotely distant meaning inherent in the universe; I can't claim any knowledge about such a convenience. But neither Nihilism nor Absurdism are the necessary system you must land on once you decided there isn't any meaning built in to the universe.

    Spread your wings, gird up thy loins, pull yourself up by your bootstraps -- whatever metaphor you like, engage the search for meaning. You are a smart young man; but settling on meaning requires more than thought; it also requires life-experience. So... live, study, love, enjoy, suffer, bore and be bored, suffer, work, play, etc. There is no rush to settle the meaning problem.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    Accepting that there is no inherent meaning, and living in spite of the fact.Albert Keirkenhaur

    There are two things here: 1) Deprivation and 2) Instrumental nature of existence

    1) Deprivation- We are in a way, this "Will" that keeps needing and wanting. At the least, it is the nature of being an animal. This will becomes more complex with the human animal with our nuanced cognition and psychology. Some (like Schopenhauer) might say this is a principle of existence itself. Anyways, at the least you must deal with your own need for things like survival and boredom. Also, note you must deal with intrusive and external pain that is unwanted and contingent to dealing with various experiences in the world.

    2.) Instrumentality- We are in a way, striving-for-nothing. This means that besides our natural fear of death, and attachment to our wants and needs (which present themselves in a specific linguistic-cultural construct), we are simply doing to do to do. We have the sun goes up and down, the world turns, space ever so perceptively expands, time moves forward, and entropy increases, you (the individual organism) produce your enthalpy to keep your system alive in the world. We have a consciousness that knows our own situation. Perhaps at some point in our species' evolution- when we were more tribal and much of our general processor brains were involved in keeping alive by understanding our environmental surroundings- perhaps it was not as much a problem. It is the case though, that humans can think beyond this, or provide for cultural circumstances which break out of this more "in the moment" mode of thought. Thus, we are more self-aware of instrumentality perhaps than any other time in history.. or at least those in more technologically "advanced" civilizations have had this self-awareness since it started from the first major agricultural societies.

    You can take the acceptance or rebellious stance on this. The acceptance stance is the Camus way of somehow trying to look at our life a tragi-comedy. The rebellious stance is confronting this fact and not accepting it. Instead, one is allowed to bitch about the situation, and keep in mind how everything is related to being instrumental in nature. We are all world-sufferers, dealing with deprivation and instrumentality. If everything was resolved, there would be no need for this striving. If everything was resolved, there would be a unity which is effectively the same as non-being.
  • mcdoodle
    995
    We came up with this word 'meaning' so I'm sure we can still find something useful to do with it, inherent or not.
  • hunterkf5732
    73


    "Search for meaning" is a rather weird phrase to use since you concede in your first paragraph that life doesn't have any meaning built into it.

    Thus then the search for meaning you refer to, would be the equivalent of groping around in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there.

    I think therefore that the solution lies not in ''searching'',but in thinking.Surely some amount of thought would lead you to some conclusion as to what you want your life to be like and this should be the meaning you subsequently ascribe to your life.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    Perhaps there is some remotely distant meaning inherent in the universe; I can't claim any knowledge about such a convenience. But neither Nihilism nor Absurdism are the necessary system you must land on once you decided there isn't any meaning built in to the universe.

    In so far as we are in the universe, and we are aware of it, meaning is inherent in the Universe.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.5k
    It is a paradox that we find meaning within the meaningless universe. There are no meanings hidden under rocks--or within our heads. We have to create meaning out of meaningless stuff. And, by and large, we do.

    So yes, we think.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.5k
    Are you saying that thinking beings make the universe a meaningful place? But we didn't exist not so very long ago. When did we make the universe meaningful?
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    What difference does it make how long ago we came into existence?

    We exist, and if we are the result of a long natural process, then we are inherent in that system. As such we represent a fragment of that system....the meaningful fragment, that can relate to and be related to the whole.
  • jkop
    533
    Accepting that there is no inherent meaning. . .Albert Keirkenhaur

    Accepting that "..there is no inherent meaning..." with words assumed to mean something seems kind of stupid or fake.
  • Janus
    5.9k


    What is the universe prior to it being experienced? I say that as soon as there is experience there is meaning, because meaning is given in signs; it consist in significance.

    Until thought is applied, even if it is only the very most basic kind of thought that consists in re-cognition, what would be experienced would be nothing more than ever-changing patterns that have no significance. Significance comes through recognition; through the re-membering of signs. So, meaning is always already inherent in any experience that involves recognition.

    The idea that the universe is meaningless is an illusion created by artificially trying to imagine an object which is equivalent to the object that as thought and experienced is suffused with meaning, and yet not equivalent insofar as it is meaningless; that is trying to imagine an object of thought and experience as being both not an object of thought and experience and yet somehow the same thing; which seems incoherent.
  • andrewk
    1.6k

    It sounds reasonable to me. I take 'inherent meaning' to suggest some sort of 'global meaning'. If there is no global meaning there can still be local meaning, which is just what we mean by 'meaning'. There are plenty of other things that work locally but not globally.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.5k
    If when we became sentient doesn't matter, only that we are part of the process, that would suggest that the universe was striving toward meaning. Reminds me of the teleology of people like Teilhard de Chardin, for example.
  • Wayfarer
    6.6k
    'In spite of' is a bit strong. I think you have to become more thoroughly detached than that. Kind of robotic. If that doesn't work, then expect trouble.
  • hunterkf5732
    73


    the meaningful fragment, that can relate to and be related to the whole.Cavacava

    The things you say before the above quote seem quite reasonable.It is at this point that unintelligible phrases start creeping in.

    For starters,why does the fact that we can attribute meanings to meaningless things make us the "meaningful'' fragment?

    And then again it seems much too far fetched to say we relate to "the whole". How,for example,would you relate to,or attribute any meaning to,say,a random asteroid hurtling around in some distant galaxy?

    It seems only reasonable to say that we "relate to" merely things that are closer to us in the course of our lives.We may for an example,"relate to" the people we interact with,in this manner.To say that we possess some sort of cosmic "relatability" that helps us "relate to" the whole of the universe would be taking the point too far.
  • hunterkf5732
    73


    Would you then,suggest being detached to such an extent that you no longer care if the universe possesses any sort of meaning?
  • Wayfarer
    6.6k
    That's what 'robot-like' suggests. But the problem is, humans are not really capable of that; humans are meaning-seeking-beings. The idea that the Universe is meaningless is a very 20th century meme, redolent of existentialism, communism and scientific materialism, the aftermath of the so-called and much-hyped 'death of God'.
  • OglopTo
    121
    A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.

    What seems to be the problem with living in a seemingly meaningless universe? : )
  • mcdoodle
    995
    I was reading about how songbirds probably originated in Australia, from the evolutionary point of view. For songbirds, I guess that meaning began with the first Australian song, though them rob-rob-robins don't call it meaning, I gather. They think a trill around middle C does the trick.
  • jkop
    533
    It sounds reasonable to me. I take 'inherent meaning' to suggest some sort of 'global meaning'. If there is no global meaning there can still be local meaning, which is just what we mean by 'meaning'. There are plenty of other things that work locally but not globally.andrewk
    I take 'inherent meaning' to suggest some sort of presence of meaning, for example, in the use of words. To use words for rejecting the presence of meaning seems just stupid or fake (as in posturing or trolling by making seemingly hopeless, paradoxical, or perplexing claims).
  • Hoo
    415
    Perhaps the craving for "meaning" is just the desire to be told what to do in so convincing a way that the burden of deciding what to do and who to be vanishes. This is also mixed with a desire for absolute community. Everyone is told to do and be the same thing. So there is no more "hell is other people" in the collision of incompatible notions of virtue. It's a noisy world. It's bad to eat meat, be white, be black, be male, be female, be X, Y, Z. Everyone's a critic, an accuser, a spiritual rival singing a song about their own investment's "co-incidental" superiority. I think we can learn to manage this noise and be sufficiently confident about our own choices, but it's not a short cut like Universal Absolute Meaning of Life.
  • Janus
    5.9k
    Accepting that there is no inherent meaning, and living in spite of the fact.Albert Keirkenhaur



    Does 'inherent meaning' here mean something like 'no precisely formulated preordained purpose' or something stronger and/or more comprehensive than that?
  • Albert Keirkenhaur
    37
    Yeah you got it, the emptiness of predetermined prophecy or purpose
  • Janus
    5.9k
    So, there could well be other dimensions of inherent meaning then?
  • Albert Keirkenhaur
    37
    I don't know about other dimensions, all i'm referring to is the existence/inexistence of any sort of objective doctrine
  • jkop
    533
    i'm referring to is the existence/inexistence of any sort of objective doctrineAlbert Keirkenhaur
    Many objective doctrines are assumed in our talk. For example, that we exist, talk, occupy space, share a network of things to talk about that have properties, behave according to laws of nature and so on. These are objective in the sense that anyone can check their truths: e.g. that we exist, talk, occupy space, share things to talk about etc..

    So what makes you think that the existence of objective doctrines would be an issue even?
  • hunterkf5732
    73


    Accepting that there is no inherent meaning, and living in spite of the fact.Albert Keirkenhaur

    "In spite of" seems to be unnecessarily rebellious. It appears to suggest that we, as humans, should somehow rise in mutiny against this lack of meaning and live, simply for the sake of mocking nature for what little effect the lack of meaning had on us.

    I'd suggest a gentler, more accepting approach where you come to understand that life has no inherent meaning, and then attribute your own subjective meaning to your life and subsequently, live beneath this banner of hope you've woven for yourself.
  • Janus
    5.9k


    I was referring to dimensions of inherent human meaning.
  • anonymous66
    626
    Perhaps there is some remotely distant meaning inherent in the universe; I can't claim any knowledge about such a convenience. But neither Nihilism nor Absurdism are the necessary system you must land on once you decided there isn't any meaning built in to the universe.

    Spread your wings, gird up thy loins, pull yourself up by your bootstraps -- whatever metaphor you like, engage the search for meaning. You are a smart young man; but settling on meaning requires more than thought; it also requires life-experience. So... live, study, love, enjoy, suffer, bore and be bored, suffer, work, play, etc. There is no rush to settle the meaning problem.
    Bitter Crank
    Well said.

    What I find amusing is the assumption that any meaning-rejecting system is the status quo, along with the denial that it needs any kind of defense. It's fair to ask, "why choose Nihilism or Absurdism?" and "What is appealing about meaning-rejecting systems?"
  • jkop
    533
    The rejection of meaning has some illegitimate benefits which might explain its appeal. Without meaning anything goes, and any criticism can be dismissed as "meaningless" and so on.
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