Why do we live?

Why do we live?
ornella
Newbie

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Oct 07, 2011

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 10
#1 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 7, 2011 - 8:10 AM:
Subject: Why do we live?
We know life is meaningless, so why do we live? There's no rational basis to prefer life over death.
If life has no inherent meaning how can self-preservation be fundamentally judged superior to self-destruction?

We know are emotions not reason that lead our preference for life. If science is to continue its purposeless advance, then curiosity, wonder, and happiness must be disenchanted and vivisected. Science and philosophy might be motivated by a sense of poetic wonder, but what happens when wonder, curiosity, and the joy of understanding have been reduced and explained in terms of chemical reactions of the brain. Is it possible to synthesize this knowledge with the experience of it? How far is one willing to lie to one's self in the belief of the goodness of the truth when science has conquered the non-scientific behaviors that motivate science?

If we have a technical understanding of the biochemical basis of the experience of curiosity, wonder, amazement, awe, and mystery themselves, does this diminish our experience of them? Do these experiences fall into the same category as myths, lies, and illusions? What rational basis is there to treat them any differently? What then, does it mean to lead a "rational life"? If science and knowledge are supposedly pursued for its own sake, then how about the knowledge that life has no discernable purpose, knowledge that happiness, wonder, and curiosity are based in material organizations that were likely selected for their evolutionary survival value, and knowledge that there is no fundamentally rational basis for choosing life over death.
Legion
Unmoderated Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Unmoderated Member
Joined: Apr 25, 2008
Location: somewhere in between

Total Topics: 79
Total Posts: 2175
#2 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 7, 2011 - 8:18 AM:

"The long habit of living indisposeth us for dying" - Sir Thomas Brown

I think in some appropriate sense each of us is 4 billion years old. Evolution does not favor those who do not want to live.

Welcome to philosophy forums Ornella.

Edited by Legion on Oct 7, 2011 - 10:00 AM
wuliheron
Resident
Avatar

Usergroup: Sponsors
Joined: Jun 02, 2003
Location: Chesapeake, VA

Total Topics: 49
Total Posts: 466
#3 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 7, 2011 - 8:54 AM:

ornella wrote:
We know life is meaningless, so why do we live? There's no rational basis to prefer life over death.
If life has no inherent meaning how can self-preservation be fundamentally judged superior to self-destruction?



If life is meaningless then why should you care enough to ask the question?

Usually if you logic appears to contradict reality it means something is wrong with your basic assumptions or logic. What can be demonstrated in this case is that statements about life, the universe, and everything are themselves so vague as to be meaningless and anyone can interpret them anyway they prefer.

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
William Blake

Its nice poetry, but does it really say anything rational? Likewise, just because something sounds rational doesn't make it so.
deronmoped
Initiate

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Sep 29, 2011

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 47
#4 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 7, 2011 - 11:58 AM:

"Why do we Live"?

I though about the outcome of our existence, what will be our purpose in a million years. Well one idea popped into my head. If you take a look around, what is one fundamental thing we are always trying to do? It's organize our surroundings. We clean things up, we fix things, we take raw materials and make them into something...

I figure if we keep this up, a million years from now we may be able to organize solar systems, galaxies, maybe even the universe.

In other words, we become the care takers of the Universe, in a word, God.

Deron.
jsidelko
PF Addict
Avatar

Usergroup: Sponsors
Joined: Jun 08, 2009

Total Topics: 121
Total Posts: 1421
#5 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 7, 2011 - 12:42 PM:

Life may be meaningless to people who think they need to discover it but I believe it can be very purposeful to people who are willing to invent their own meaning.
truth55
Newbie

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Oct 10, 2010

Total Topics: 5
Total Posts: 11
#6 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 7, 2011 - 1:22 PM:

Well, I sincerely hope not to derive too much. Don't like talking about any sensation, behavior without focusing on brain's circuits. When I talk about influxes, I talk about downward influxes from the motor cortex.

1) Cerebral influxes live and die depending on the stimulating/non-stimulating environment.

2) Newly made influxes leads to a sensation of acting categorically or acting without purpose

3) Purpose and interest are the result of a strong synchronous influxes.

4) A purposeful behavior is structure in such a way as to provide a runup, dynamical inertia to influx generation.

5) Influxes easily die (e.g during the night). And therefore we have to live "categorically" if we want to behave. Amplify an influx = acting by love.

6) Acting by love is what make existence possible. Such a choice (should I act or not) makes sense only when you exist.

"There's no rational basis to prefer life over death. "

What about: "We better be sure to be able to act to know why we are acting." ?


Derick
Initiate

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Jul 06, 2011

Total Topics: 6
Total Posts: 28
#7 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 7, 2011 - 1:46 PM:

We live to seek truth and to control chaos.
freeborough
Newbie

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Oct 06, 2011

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 9
#8 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 7, 2011 - 3:41 PM:

Life strives to live simply because it's built to do so. Knowing that fact doesn't change it.

Why you or I as individuals choose to live is up to us, but it's hard to overcome our hard-wired desire for life. I read a book where the author described working on a ward for suicidal patients; one day it caught fire and burnt down, yet everyone escaped unharmed.

- Andy.
brianjones
Initiate

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Jul 01, 2009

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 28
#9 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 9, 2011 - 1:41 AM:

freeborough wrote:
Life strives to live simply because it's built to do so. Knowing that fact doesn't change it.

Why you or I as individuals choose to live is up to us, but it's hard to overcome our hard-wired desire for life. I read a book where the author described working on a ward for suicidal patients; one day it caught fire and burnt down, yet everyone escaped unharmed.

- Andy.



That's uncanny. I've always thought the best way to help people who are clinically depressed and suicidal is to throw them in the Amazon jungle without food and water and force them to survive.

ok anyways

here's the analogy frank jackson used that I got from wikipedia--probably will make you think about physicalism a bit differently.

Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like ‘red’, ‘blue’, and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence ‘The sky is blue’. (…) What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color television monitor? Will she learn anything or not? It seems just obvious that she will learn something about the world and our visual experience of it. But then is it inescapable that her previous knowledge was incomplete. But she had all the physical information. Ergo there is more to have than that, and Physicalism is false.

I should also add, he recanted on the final sentence.

Now why to live? Consider the opposite. Why kill yourself? Camus says that to kill your self is to confess. A confession to the world that shows them you cannot handle existence. Just know that. If the lack of meaning in life tormented you so much, than that wouldn't compel you to end your existence. Your inability to deal with that lack of meaning would compel you. And maybe you might be able to find meaning by battling through this.





Edited by brianjones on Oct 9, 2011 - 1:47 AM
freeborough
Newbie

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Oct 06, 2011

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 9
#10 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 9, 2011 - 9:46 AM:

brianjones wrote:
I've always thought the best way to help people who are clinically depressed and suicidal is to throw them in the Amazon jungle without food and water and force them to survive.

I once came too close to overcoming my inherent desire to live. Interestingly, it was the realisation that at any point I could leave society and fend for myself in the wild that prevented me from doing so. It was an empowering thought that put control of my life firmly back in my hands. It made me ask the question, why wouldn't I want to live on my own in the wild? The answers to that question set me on the right path.

- Andy.
locked
Download thread as
  • 80/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5


Recent Internal Replies
On Oct 12, 2011 - 7:27 AM, Gulnara replied internally to Gulnara's Then again, death is....

This thread is closed, so you cannot post a reply.