Nov 18, 2019 at 4:06 pm #3619334
Listening to a podcast with Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Buddhist monk), he was asked “What is the meaning of all of this? Why are we here? Do we have a purpose?”
With a chuckle he responds:
“Easy questions. To explore the beautiful mysteries of this life!”
I liked that.Nov 18, 2019 at 4:36 pm #3619338
To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.
~Mother TheresaNov 18, 2019 at 4:57 pm #3619344
Yes, exactly where I was hoping to go with this.Nov 18, 2019 at 5:48 pm #3619351
Oh good. I have more.
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how“
~ My barberNov 18, 2019 at 11:47 pm #3619393
No reason Just happened
My question. Why do we need a reason?Nov 19, 2019 at 12:44 am #3619408
“Why do we need a reason?”
What if the reason you chose brought you and those around you great happiness?
“And verily, if life had no sense, and I had to choose nonsense, then I too should consider this the most sensible nonsense.” -Nietzsche, from Thus Spoke ZarathustraNov 19, 2019 at 12:56 am #3619418
Sure we sure we can rationalize just about anything.Nov 19, 2019 at 1:11 am #3619432
Wait I had to edit because my initial statement might have been misunderstood.
I heard a scientist on NPR say that, since there is no God, nothing is sacred and all of nature–including human and animal life–is simply material for scientists to work on. It’s all a meaningless accident after all. And if the experiments go wrong and life comes to an end due to our meddling, it doesn’t matter.
Darwin however discovered the fact of evolution. Some think that spiritual reality is just a step up the evolutionary ladder from our existence. But you have to start somewhere! That’s one reason I find “exploring the beautiful mysteries of life” to be a good idea. It turns out they are very deep and can show us things we would never have imagined or found on our own. And they lead us on into growth.Nov 19, 2019 at 1:32 am #3619439
Oh the self importance argument. All the other animals seem content not knowing or caring. Just are. Sure we can improve ourselves but in the end does it really matter? Humans aren’t forever. Be. Content with happy accidents.Nov 19, 2019 at 1:51 am #3619442
Actually exploring the mysteries of life tends to promote humility rather than self importance. And there’s a difference between humility and the notion that existence is without meaning or worth and all our life has no consequence.
the ‘we could all be wiped out tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter a fig’ argument has its own problems. I think if the sense of the sacred were actually drained from our lives–even the lives of the most hardened “Realists”–the result would be anguish and despair. Not because the sacred is a pretty lie we tell ourselves but because it’s a reality like oxygen that we live within.Nov 19, 2019 at 1:54 am #3619443
‘we could all be wiped out tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter a fig’ argument has its own problems.“
Name one that doesn’t reflect some self importance.Nov 19, 2019 at 1:57 am #3619444
And the question is why are we here. Not what should we do while we are here.Nov 19, 2019 at 2:32 am #3619452
Ken, I’m having trouble understanding what you mean by ‘self importance’. If you mean that being pleased and curious about the existence of our world and the universe smacks of self importance, then I’m not following. Even awe is a natural reaction to what we see and know about the universe. I think we can trust that natural reaction.
I have a friend who says that if global warming causes the human race to go extinct. eh, so what? We’re at best a happy accident. I suggest that when it starts to happen, his emotional reaction will betray that he cares and thinks otherwise after all. Or are we to entirely distrust our sense of compassion, empathy, mourning, et. al. which make us know that existence is deeply meaningful after all.
I think those who claim that our emotions are also pretty lies…are deceived.Nov 19, 2019 at 2:34 am #3619454
I’ve “known” Thich Nhat Hanh for a few decades. What might be lost in his answer here ( and I was paraphrasing him a bit) was his tone: It had the perfect amount of “Who the fuck knows?” mixed with a gem of (IMO) the absolute truth.
Perfect.Nov 19, 2019 at 2:41 am #3619457
Well it’s one of those empty questions that journalists ask that he gets all the time. it sort of trivializes and cheapens his work, if you ask me. who the hell could answer that?
“So Mr, Einstein, tell the watchers of The View exactly what e=mc2 really means, won’t you?” but that’s a clumsy analogy.Nov 19, 2019 at 3:26 am #3619483
Substitute self awareness and the concept of life having value outside of a food source for self importance.Nov 19, 2019 at 3:37 am #3619486
“Well it’s one of those empty questions…”
Oh, definitely a “gotcha” question that was likely inspired by a bit of jackassery. But I thought he handled it well.
Honestly, I’m not really understanding what you’re getting at Ken.Nov 19, 2019 at 4:57 am #3619504
As Ken mentioned, the question is why are we here. Substitute self importance with self interest and his comments aren’t so difficult to understand.
These navel gazing exercises are fun and all, but it’s all probably a very fortunate accident that we’re here. If filling in the voids in our knowledge with superstition and defending mythology as sacred helps someone get through the day, that’s wonderful for them.
I think for many of us, we don’t need to feel like the universe has handed us some great secret mission to find contentment and purpose. We are all our own functional gods in how we create these things for ourselves.Nov 19, 2019 at 1:35 pm #3619520
“These naval gazing exercises are fun and all, but it’s all probably a very fortunate accident that we’re here. If filling in the voids in our knowledge with superstition and defending mythology as sacred helps someone get through the day, that’s wonderful for them.
I think for many of us, we don’t need to feel like the universe has handed us some great secret mission to find contentment and purpose. We are all our own functional gods in how we create these things for ourselves.“
Yes.Nov 19, 2019 at 1:57 pm #3619522
So far as I’m concerned, if you look at what I wrote here, it feels a bit like you guys are trying to create an argument where there is none. Carry-on.Nov 19, 2019 at 2:19 pm #3619524
Oops. Navel gazing not naval gazing.
You’re confusing argument with the discussion of opposing viewpoints Craig. Ken and my responses are on the topic of why we are here. I agree with him that many of us like to think that we are special when it’s probably just a very fortunate accident.
In some ways we are special.
Life at any level is extremely rare in the known universe. The fact that atoms arranged themselves for us to evolve to a point where we’ve become the apex predator on this rock with the capability to create electronic boxes where we can communicate these ideas over great distances on Chaff is pretty remarkable. The answers as to how and what we do with out time here is as varied as the people who answer that question for themselves.Nov 19, 2019 at 3:08 pm #3619532
“You’re confusing argument with the discussion of opposing viewpoints…”
Argument, opposing viewpoints, no matter. I’m actually failing to see the opposition in what we’re saying. In fact, if you extend a little leeway (as opposed to seeking opposition), I think we’re actually saying much of the same thing.Nov 19, 2019 at 3:27 pm #3619535
How about “discussion of varying viewpoints.”Nov 19, 2019 at 4:06 pm #3619542
I tend to believe we create our own meaning, which certainly flies in the face of the notion of cosmic exceptionalism for humans. But then declaring yourself a functional god that creates their own meaning…isn’t that the pinnacle of a sort of humanist/secular exceptionalism? I *think* this is what Jeffrey takes issue with and I can understand why it’s really no better.Nov 19, 2019 at 4:16 pm #3619545
It’s really not exceptionalism at all. Whether I find fulfillment and purpose from work, family, charity, or my Pokémon card collection is for me to determine versus some cosmic wizard, the force, or any other magic.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.