Human Existence?

Human Existence?
Noble6
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Posted Mar 1, 2011 - 8:56 AM:
Subject: Human Existence?
I just want to hear some thoughts about the question, "Why do humans exist?" Scientific views are great, but I'm looking for more of the purpose and a philosophical view.
Fennellinator
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Posted Mar 1, 2011 - 11:09 AM:

Science tells us that there is no purpose, and that we are just random products of evolution. So, what are the implications of that? Should we all just refuse to eat because of how pointless life is, and eventually die? No. Just because there is no OBJECTIVE value to life, that does not mean we cannot find SUBJECTIVE values. In fact, WE HAVE NO CHOICE but to think in terms of subjective values. If we were to refuse to eat and commit suicide, that would itself be a value judgement, the judgement that death is better than life. Humanity can never escape value judgements - they are an intrinsic part of our existence, you might say they DEFINE us as concious beings. In this godless universe, there may well be no objective purposes, but we are subjectively existing beings, and have no choice but to find our own purpose.

Come to think of it, what I have just described is, unless I am mistaken, the philosophy of existentialism in a nutshell.
maclypse
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Posted Mar 1, 2011 - 11:11 AM:

No doubt a subject discussed to no end already, but I can never resist:

This may sound a bit scientific, but the question "why" always need a foundation of some sort, be it God, or something else. The universe strives for a sort of dull average chaos. The word Entropy comes to mind. Walls fall down, not up. Fire consumes complex materials, reducing them to basic remains - never the other way around. Everything tends to be in the process of dissolving - and the entire universe is essentially striving to reach a point where everything is of average heat and a rather dull and unimaginative chemical composition.

Que life, the anti-chaos:

We (life forms in general that is) must really be upsetting the universe. How exactly we got started is less than clear, but it's obvious we are hard to eradicate once we have gotten started. We suck up energy and materials, and essentially perform a local version of anti-chaos. We create more complex structures, not less. We turn the most basic chemical compounds into extremely elaborate molecules, and structures. We form bacteria, cells, and culminate in grand structures like trees and human beings.

And in comes intelligence, and a neat pair of opposable thumbs:

We humans are really (as far as we know anyway) the one species that can truly change our environment, to make something more than ourselves and our offspring - for the sake of doing it. Do we need steel to ensure the survival of the species? No. Can we still use it for neat things? YES!

Our technology is reaching a point where we need machines to make machines to make machines to make machines. We don't need to build things, but yet we do - because we want to. We do it because it makes our lives more comfortable more than anything, but we also do a great deal simply for the sake of doing it. We have yet to meet any other phenomenon in the universe that can do what we do. We are alone in changing the world with such a purpose, and such childish joy.

We have choice every day. We can build, or we can destroy. We can even chose to destroy ourselves every time we get in a car, or pass a bridge, or walk past a high ledge. Destroying is easy; the entire universe is geared towards destruction. Building is hard, but endlessly more rewarding. Perhaps this is a good enough reason to exist? To be the ultimate anti-chaos, the demand for order in a slowly fading universe. To make things, and enjoy what we have made. Human society, great sky scrapers, deep forests, elephants and endlessly more fantastic things are all shining beacons of anti-chaos and defy the natural order of things. With every year, we are able to do even more fantastic things, and create something even better.

That's our purpose, I like to think: to defy the universe, to spread and improve on order everywhere, to make things "better", to childishly jump up and down in the universe screaming "look at me!" - and maybe one day see if the universe notices what we have done.
thickasabrick
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Posted Mar 1, 2011 - 11:23 AM:

Remember, there is a difference between causes and reasons.

Every occurrence has a cause, but not every occurence has a reason.

Hence, something caused life to appear on earth, and it appears that evolution caused this simplistic life to develop into humanity.

However, there is no reason why life/humans exist.
longfun
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Posted Mar 1, 2011 - 11:23 AM:

maclypse wrote:

We (life forms in general that is) must really be upsetting the universe.

What you described is simple deterministic fractal behaviour.
If you take a look at it it's not even special really, the universe is if full of it.

That we are able to observe ourself, is nothing special either. By our ignorance we may find it special though.
We are most probably not alone in this...universe either.
as some already predict (based on measurements of our tools in space) to have +157000 and counting earth-like planets in our galaxy alone.
So what's so special about it, our ignorance is special.

jufa
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Posted Mar 1, 2011 - 12:19 PM:



If I may add my two cent.

Mankind seeks the wisdom of its own intellectual past for answers of fulfillment within itself. There are no answers, for the only questions are from the metaphors, symbols, myth, and intellect of the shaman, witch-doctors, priest, gurus, philosophers, scientist, and intuitive persons who live and die as all others.

So what answers are beneficial to those whose expansion, in this parenthesis, will end when the proverb, "a time to live, and a time to die," overrides all the human tenets which the intellect has applied for or against the meaning of life?

Life has nothing to do with the material world except make the individual living life comprehend the continuum of moment by moment by moment, and the ability to either rise or fall within the repetitive thoughts of self-survival the universal collective mentality of mankind believes is the essential ingredient for living. If this was the truth, then life would not allow its Spirit to move individual consciousness, for self-survival would be the Principle and Patterns followed by the invisible and visible matter which makes up the world of materialism.

Should there be a purpose, or meaning to life, it is for each and every individual to comprehend they are the metaphor of living the metaphor they are seeking as a meaning, or purpose to life. It is the individual who is the light of their domain of awareness, of living, of comprehending, or being and doing. So if there is a question, then one must understand the allegory of the man formed "the dust of the ground," and the planting of "the tree of knowledge," and "the tree of life" are of the elements of the very ground which is mankind.

The question therefore must be the same as the answer for they are not divided from "the dust of the ground" which birthed them from the Spirit of It likeness and image.

The question is not what one is aware of, but how one interpret that which they are aware of. Can one interpret from the depth of the intellect what "In the beginning God created" means?
maclypse
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Posted Mar 1, 2011 - 12:33 PM:

longfun wrote:

What you described is simple deterministic fractal behaviour.
If you take a look at it it's not even special really, the universe is if full of it.

That we are able to observe ourself, is nothing special either. By our ignorance we may find it special though.
We are most probably not alone in this...universe either.
as some already predict (based on measurements of our tools in space) to have +157000 and counting earth-like planets in our galaxy alone.
So what's so special about it, our ignorance is special.



Largely true, albeit cynical.

There are chemical reactions that can create ordered structures, crystals being the obvious example. Life's not the only thing that achieves it.
And yes, the equations suggest that life is to be found in numerous places, even though we haven't been able to find it yet, due to technological restrictions.

Still, we haven't observed anything or any one falling outside of the definition of "human" that can build an oil tanker. The sheer complexity of things we are able to create make us unique at the moment. We may well find life in a few hundred years with even better technology than ours (really hope I live to see it), and that'll certainly make humanity less special. However, it won't make life as a whole any less spectacular though - on the contrary in my opinion. Life is the only thing that we know of that can design and create with such detail and purpose as we can. That really makes life something very special.

To tie a little knot back to the OP, the Noble6 was looking for a philosophical view, rather than a cold scientific one. Even on a foundation of cold science, it's possible to look for a purpose greater than simply being for the sake of being. Mankind have a desire to leave a legacy, something larger than life: works of art, societies, children, buildings, or even just ideas that survive past their own life time.

Maybe the world is a cold uncaring place with no point. This doesn't mean we can't look for a purpose, or even create one for ourselves. As purposes go, leaving a richer and better world for the future isn't a bad one.
jufa
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Posted Mar 1, 2011 - 12:36 PM:

thickasabrick wrote:
Remember, there is a difference between causes and reasons.

Every occurrence has a cause, but not every occurence has a reason.

Hence, something caused life to appear on earth, and it appears that evolution caused this simplistic life to develop into humanity.

However, there is no reason why life/humans exist.


I agree there is a difference. Cause is the unknown reality which is visible and invisible to man untill discovered. which manifest occurrence.

Reasoning is the activity of visible or non-visible evolution of that which takes place in that which has occurred.

Therefore, it is as you say, "there is no reason why life/humans exist," thus there could be no logical reason why that which occur occurs.
transfinite
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Posted Mar 1, 2011 - 1:32 PM:

Human beings invent a purpose for their lives because it makes them feel in control. The fact that we invent purpose doesn't rule out an as yet undiscovered purpose. We could be the product of intelligent designers operating a virtual world like we saw in the movie "Matrix? Although I believe this to be unlikely, it can't be ruled out. I have a problem, of course, with external creators/operators because I believe such agents could have done a better job in making our world.
DesertBrett
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Posted Mar 1, 2011 - 2:53 PM:

A purpose does not exist outside of a consciousness. When you ask what the purpose of human existence might be, to whose consciousness are you referring?
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