The meaning of life

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Number 9 Bus Shelter, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, I know.

    So given this event will happen in a few billion years time, everyone alive today is only a switch operator.
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  3. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Playing Tetris.
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  5. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    And, Fraggle....

    70, huh.
    When you're dead, won't mean a goddamn thing to you. But thanks for what you contributed while you were here. Means more for you, I'm sure, that I can say this while you're alive.
    Take it with you, as far as it goes.

    Know the funny thing? You might yet outlive me... hehe.

    (I was reading some other post of yours some time ago)
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  7. hansda Valued Senior Member

    I think the purpose or meaning of our life is to know the Truth.
  8. elusive Registered Member

    The what you believe at this time ......thats all

  9. Motor Daddy ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ Valued Senior Member

    Truth and belief are separate concepts, not to be confused with each other. What you believe to be true now may be different than what you believed to be true in the past, but that just shows that your beliefs changed from then until now. The truth, however, never changed, it just eluded you, or at the very least, you have a truth and an untruth, but you don't know which one to believe is the truth, or for that matter if either is true.
  10. Empty Cup Registered Member

    I really hope we don't do out into space at this juncture in our evolution. We can't even take care of the planet we live on currently.
  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Our venturing into outer space and the required technological advancements to achieve that, will greatly aid in the care of Earth.
  12. Empty Cup Registered Member


    Yes, true but technology is a tool. The user directs the intent. I could use a hammer to smash in someones skull or to frame a house. Not every user is going to frame the house. The most advanced technology is in the hands of the US government. We already have feasible lasers, high power/high fire rate pneumatic projectiles, and space based weapons. And that's just what you can find out on google. Look at Raytheon, Marotta Controls, and Bae Systems, then do the deduction keeping in mind that the stealth bomber is 70's technology. They also own many patents on alternative electrical generation methods. Sure some are "green" weapons, but the destructive power is immense. Combine that with the fact that our cognitive architecture hasn't changed since we came out of the caves and world with dwindling morality. It's a recipe for a galactic nightmare. Do you trust the US, operating under "perpetual war footing," to be responsible with this tech? (Obama, 2012).
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    The meaning of life might be inferred if we can understand why life formed in the first place. The purpose of the original life might extrapolate all through life, with the same basic purpose scaling up all the way to humans.

    One way to answer this purpose of life is to compare life with inanimate matter. Inanimate matter, like dead leaves, will head toward lower energy and higher entropy. The leaves will oxidize to lower energy and break down to smaller pieces all the way to gases and dust. Life assists this natural process, in that metabolism takes inanimate matter, like sugar and protein, and releases the energy and breaks it down to higher entropy gases and minerals. Life allows this to happen much faster.

    Life helps to speed up the first and second laws. If we place a piece of meat on the ground, it may take months to break down as it slowly oxidizes. But if we add it to our stomach it only takes days. Humans burning oil and other fossil fuels, does the same thing (speeds up first and second law) and would have been expected to evolve. It helps to speed up the break down of higher energy and lower entropy inanimate matter into lower energy and higher entropy.

    If you look at our body, life will also grow and expand. This amplifies the above. Growth also means we add or increase the energy value of our body (protein and fats) as we grow and we cause broken down materials (metabolized materials) to become turned into the higher order of our integrated body systems.

    The materials that make up our physical bodies go the opposite way of inanimate matter, building energy value (growing) and lowering entropy (forming ordered structures with elaborate order). This reversal of the first and second law is why life become food for other life.

    This very general push would also create an analogy in that humans will also build and create order, such as cities, to emulate life itself. It will need to burn energy and then use that energy and raw materials (break down a mountain side into small pieces) to build even higher order structure like sky scrapers.

    If we keep on extrapolating, life will metabolize more and more potent energy sources to speed up the first and second and second laws for the universe, and then use energy and raw materials to do the opposite, building potential energy while creating higher and higher level order. The net effect always helps the first and second laws. Humans turn the speed of processing into a partial reversal.
  14. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

    As for the reason why life formed in the first place, surely it was just a random event? There's nothing mysterious about life, it's just a series of chemical reactions?

    Surely any process which creates order just does so at the expense of even greater disorder somewhere else? So you need energy to make stuff, but generating that energy leads to a net increase in entropy? Or did I miss what you're saying?
  15. RussellCrawford Banned Banned

    Of course any answer is simply personal opinion and not "science."

    My belief is based upon the probability that the universe and man are one. We are a part of the universe.

    Therefore, if the universe is "open" our purpose is to take energy at a higher density and convert it to a lower density where e=mc^2.

    If the universe is "closed" then our purpose is to take energy from a higher density to a lower density and then reverse the process and take energy from a lower density to a higher density.

    Your idea that the purpose of life is to make more life is interesting, but begs the question of what happened before our existence and what will happen when there is no possibility of life in the totally red shifted universe or the black hole universe.
  16. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Quite taken into account or subsumed under what I wrote. They don't break out of or add to their own "innate programming", so to speak. I wouldn't be surprised if a chimpanzee could garner a license and get a job truck-driving with the aid it received from humans (also including a dash of genetic engineering). But animals [everyday usage] aren't going to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps as our primitive ancestors did. I.E., the latter didn't even need helpful, natural "gods" around at the time to condition and direct them beyond their apparent limitations, or encourage / develop interests that might otherwise be alien or seemingly unnecessary for a specific species.

    Given extraordinary environmental / adaptive luck, absence of human domination, and millions of years of future evolution: Descendents of wolves or swine might have planted a flag on the Moon someday (that is, via a fortuitous "difficult route" like us). But multicellular life has been around for over half a billion years and only one set of agents popped out of that branching horde of diversity that had a penchant for storytelling, creating their own "meanings of life", formulating their own goals, etc. If raygun-toting reptiles or cold-fusion inventing insect superorganisms once existed on Earth, evidence of them has certainly been elusive up till now.
  17. siledre Registered Senior Member

    I think our purpose is in part a natural order, as life on this planet evolves nature too has to evolve and what better way for nature to evolve than to take on an actual form, humans, it's my opinion that humans are the embodiment of nature and we can be every bit as chaotic as nature has and still can be.
  18. Dazz Registered Senior Member

    That's a really interesting theory. But if we are going to consider such an approach, what could have been the meaning of our criation in the first place? Life will always exist a way or another, just because we are sentient doesn't really mean a lot if we consider some other species (Consider what Fraggle Rocker has posted).
    The 'meaning of life' you say might just be 'meaning of the sentient life of ours', as we have reached an evolutionary level that few species recorded have reached. Still, whenever you say "never let life cease to exist", are you talking about "human/sentient life" or life in general?
    And, if we are going to find a meaning for our life (which i consider as random as any other occurrence you might find in the universe), it would also be fiting to find a "meaning" for any other occurrence in this universe.
    The theory you are presenting might have some root in Theology i feel inclined to say. It just feels so familiar to every theology/religion/philosophy to find a meaning for our life or life itself.
  19. Amine Registered Member

    Lots of crazy answers in this topic when the answer is so obvious... the meaning of life is to enjoy it. In the absence of any higher being that created us with some purpose, all we can really do with life is what makes us happy.

    Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins give a good talk (entitled: who says science has nothing to say about morality?) on the subject here: Mm2Jrr0tRXk (youtube it)

    Morality is established by the meaning of well-being. To those who argue that morality is subjective, Harris compares this to someone saying medical health is subjective, and that someone can equally claim to be healthy while suffering from cancer if that is "his definition" of what it means to be healthy. Which, as we know, is utterly ridiculous.
  20. wellwisher Banned Banned

    If life formed by a random event, then there is no meaning to life beyond random events; eat drink and be merry.

    Life formed as a result of energy and entropy acting on inanimate matter. But not just any matter, but water plus organics. Water and oil (organics) do not mix but wish to separate. As such, although the phase separation will lower energy, it will cause entropy to decrease. Rather than remain a solution we get two separated phases which creates order. On the other hand, if we mix the two phases, to increase entropy to form a lotion, the energy will go up due to surface tension.

    This created a first-second law paradox. The formation of life became the resolution to the paradox. Life combines lower energy and increasing energy on inanimate matter while increasing energy and lower entropy on life itself. It represents the paradox and solution. To begin the resolution, this meant organics needed to become more polar; hydrogen bonding. Hydrogen bonding is the basis for protein and DNA ordering. The increasing order found in life also meant also suggest the need for a crude metabolism of sorts, early, to prevent entropy from increasing within the inanimate precursors. The metabolism will take the slack for the entropy, so order is not thermodynamically contradictory. If we gut a cell of its metabolism, it will decompose.

    The meaning of life is connected to the paradox and the resolution of paradox (four in a cross). Energy decrease, entropy increase, energy increase and entropy decrease, all at the same time.
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I guess that's one of the reasons people invented the concept of Heaven. They can't stand the thought that this will all end. It really doesn't bother me. My aches and pains and do's and don'ts will continue to pile up so that life becomes less enjoyable.

    Making a difference is what it's all about. If you can leave this place a little nicer than you found it (or simply try your best, we can't all be successful), then your life has been worthwhile.

    My parents lived into their late 80s. My grandfathers might still be around, except for their quintessentially American deaths: road accidents.

    There are clearly no inhabited planets within ten light-years, and with today's technology that's a full-lifetime round trip. Accelerating at one G for the first half, then decelerating, provides a healthy environment for the occupants.

    There's nobody in our neighborhood that we could bother. If we attempt to terraform Mars, Venus, a moon of one of the gas giants, or the nearest barren exoplanet, we can't really hurt anything. But the experience will help us develop the technology we'll need if some day we build generation-starships that can keep traveling until they find something.

    The word "purpose" in this context implies an intelligence that is in at least partial control of the universe. That hypothesis belongs in the Religion or Comparative Religion subforum.

    Frankly, the word "meaning" implies the same thing. There is no meaning in nature. It just happens, the only constraints being the natural laws.

    The Second Law clearly allows for spatially and/or temporally local reversals of entropy--and does not even impose a limit on their size and scope. The Big Bang itself can be seen as nothing more than a local reversal of entropy. Life is also a (much smaller) local reversal of entropy, sucking the organization out of its immediate surroundings and using it to increase its own organization, yet the entropy in the total system (life and its immediate surroundings) continues to grow since the magnitude of the decrease is much greater than the magnitude of the increase.

    This is simply an extension of the phenomenon of life as a local reversal of entropy. We keep getting better at this so we suck even greater amounts of organization out of our surroundings and create greater amounts of organization within our own artificial environment. Yet the unbalance is still there: the organization we produce pales in comparison to the organization we destroy.

    We will have a lot more answers when we finally discover life on another planet--presumably an exoplanet although we might find something very primitive on Mars. Studying the way lifeforms outside of our own biosphere "live" will be quite instructive.

    Our own definition of life is clearly biased for terrestrial life. It "must" have most of these attributes: homeostasis, organization, metabolism, growth, adaptation, response to stimuli and reproduction. I think organization and metabolism are the only two attributes on this list that will probably characterize life everwhere. Which means that when we find it we'll probably trip over it without even realizing that it's alive!

    There ain't gonna be no Klingons.

    Yes, that is correct. The simplest example is killing a living organism in order to use the substances in its dead body for nutrition. We have caused a massive increase in entropy in the dead animal or plant, while providing merely a slight decrease in entropy in our own bodies. The plant or animal is dead forever, but we have only enough food to last until our next meal!

    I regard civilization as a new kind of organism that humans have been creating and expanding since we stopped wandering and built the first farming villages around 10,000BCE. We are its cells. Perhaps it can be satisfying to see that we are creating something greater than ourselves. I'm sure most composers, painters, authors and other artists, as well as scientists, teachers, etc., die satisfied, content that they helped humanity rise to a higher level. Why can't we all feel that way? There's nothing wrong with growing food, building houses, cleaning the streets, managing the internet, etc., for those creative people.

    If we accept my definition of civilization as a macro-organism of which we are the cells, then morality becomes easier to define. Anything that promotes the survival and advancement of civilization is moral; anything that attempts to weaken it, revert it to a more primitive state, or destroy it, is immoral.
  22. Amine Registered Member

    Helping others makes some people very happy. I'm not advocating hedonism. I see other people's experiences as real and the idea that others suffer concerns me--even though I've said the point of life is to enjoy it. It is still possible to think globally and long-term within this framework. In fact, I'd be willing to sacrifice quite a bit if I thought it would have a large enough effect on the future to ensure lasting happiness for many. Nonetheless, the only possible "point" or "meaning" to life is enjoyment. Sometimes, though, enjoyment is a goal to be worked for rather than an immediate gratification.

    I think (and agree with Steven Pinker) that our well-being today is greatly improved over what it was in the past, and I think it will continue to improve at the same exponential rate that technology allows for. The future holds immense possibility for happiness. Our current brains are still mostly (for those who don't take anti-depressants, anyway) Darwinian and are prone to vestigial negative states that can severely reduce our well-being AND hurt our chances for success. Depression, bipolar, etc. are crippling conditions. In the future, there will be 3 remedies, the first and most important of which is genetic therapy. For one, we will be able to select embryos for many traits including that of a higher emotional set point (and I think that's a fairly rational choice for a parent to make). We also may be use things like CRISPR and its successors for therapies for those who were not designer babies to edit out undesirable emotions like envy, should we choose to. And we eventually will.

    If drugs like weed, alcohol, and heroin were phase 0 anti-depressants, then phase 1 anti-depressants like Prozac haven't been around for very long in terms of civilization, and you can bet on their accelerating improvement. The next generation is already being spoken of and put through trials, and we may get to see better mood enhancing capabilities along with improved cognitive function. In the more distant future (a few decades?) we should start seeing high influence by the 3 E's--entheogens, empathogens, and entactogens (greatly improve introspection and self-solidarity), but without the lasting negative side effects. We will be able to choose our own bliss - whether it be lasting whole body orgasm, empathetic and euphoric productivity, or spiritual visions of god(s) and nirvana that make our current Darwinian consciousness seem like delusional, depressive psychopathy. All the time. The final option comes from DBS - deep brain stimulation. It is already being done--the implantation of a "brain pacemaker" that keeps depression away and keeps you in a state of bliss while not knocking you out or turning you into a shell.

    In this kind of world, achievement and productivity could be based on gradients of bliss, and suffering itself will be fully eradicated, or at least optional. Including for animals - with in vitro meat production, who needs to slaughter them? We should even be able to prevent them from maiming and eating each other while keeping all satisfied.

    As for the hypothesis that the world is a living organism, I don't think much can be said about it. Maybe--especially with the birth of the internet--but that's one of those things that is fun to think about and not much else.
  23. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Right life is about achieving love, peace, and happiness. Try writing music, or taking a long walk in the sunshine. Learn something new and interesting, that will inspire popular emotions.

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