How can life have meaning in a mechanical universe?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

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    Magical Realist

    Another avowed Atheist, you know. Just like I said many posts ago, Spirituality is not the exclusive property of those who believe spirits actually exist. That's what Carl Sagan was saying, just with more eloquence. He was a Positivist just like I am.

    Grumpy

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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    And yet another man of science who finds spiritual meaning in the universe. Imagine that! Stand by for more!
     
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  5. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    OK... Good thing the Marx Brothers never claimed to be scientists.

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    What does any of this have to do with comic (or cosmic) meaning?
     
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  7. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Really, what "meaning" is that?
     
  8. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Absolutely nothing. MR, like most people on the wrong side of these metaphysical discussions, has decided to change the definitions of terms such as "wonder" and "awe" to "meaning" and "design."
     
  9. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

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    Magical Realist
    Spirituality does not necessitate spiritual meaning. It is an emotional connection with the REALITY that is the Universe, accepting it as it is, not as we want it to be. The Spirituality Sagan speaks of is the joy of discovering just how much we are part of the whole thing, as it is part of us. But that says nothing about the universal meaning you keep arguing for. Many scientists feel awe and grandeur in the structure, laws and complexity of the Universe and life, but I would argue that all that is even more awe inspiring knowing that none of it was planned, there are no purposeful actions in the Universe, it strews out myriad environments by chance, we just happen to be in one of the lucky ones that allowed us to evolve and live. Most environments in the Universe are hostile to life as we know it, if the Universe has a inherent purpose it is the creation of Black Holes(homesick for the old Singularity neighborhood, perhaps?).

    Grumpy

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  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    LMAO @ the clueless nihilists scrambling around frantically with redefinitions. "But spirituality isn't cosmic meaning!""But feeling a part of the universe is just an emotion, not meaning!" "But..but..we don't know what the hell we're saying anymore because we've never experienced cosmic meaning."

    Yeah..that about sums it up.
     
  12. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Delusion is a hell of a thing.
     
  13. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

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    Magical Realist
    Why not?
     
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The fact that our thoughts, consciousness higher or otherwise, and other aspects of our mental existence, have a physical substrate supporting them, and that without some physical substrate they nor anything else could exist,

    does not reduce them to that substrate. Our mental events are not chemical processes, but patterns (of patterns) of chemical processes - as a wave is a pattern of water molecule processes, as a water molecule is a pattern of atomic processes, as an atom is a pattern of subatomic entity processes.

    The substrate does not create the pattern, or dictate it, or even predict it - much less cause it.

    Thoughts rest ultimately in a substrate of connected neurons. But they have no mass, volume, temperature, momentum, etc - the neurons do, the thoughts don't. They exist on a different level, they are patterns in different arena of cause and effect and consequence and influence.

    And the thoughts themselves form a substrate, at least in potential.
     
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    At risk that this will get too personal ...


    But - yes. I do believe that whatever symptoms of Asperger's a person may believe to have or be believed to have, those symptoms are secondary, a manifestation of unresolved existential questions.
    This is not to say that people who don't have such symptoms have the existential questions resolved.

    I think that the majority of people who are supposedly mentally ill in some way or another, are actually people who are highly spiritually sensitive, but have not had the opportunity to act on this sensitivity wisely and productively.

    Other times and cultures have provided means for such people - usually in the form of monasticism. But nowadays, this option is not available anywhere as widely as it used to be, so spiritually sensitive people are mostly left to themselves, to try and cope with their sensitivity in any way possible, and sometimes, the results of such coping efforts manifest as what is called "mental illness."


    Other than perhaps people who have been in a coma for many many years, I don't think anyone lacks a sense of morality.
    A person's sense of morality may be in discord with a particular cultural moral norm, but that doesn't mean that this person has no sense of morality.
     
  16. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Talk about clueless. Either your reading comprehension sucks or you're a troll... which is it?

    Doesn't matter, welcome to ignore.
     
  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Spirituality is nothing BUT meaning. It is the awareness that everything is connected and part of a grand overarching narrative that lucky you gets to be a part of. It is the acknowledgement that against all odds a being such as yourself resulted from billions of years of stellar formation, nucleosythesis, planetary and geological turmoil, and evolutionary processes. It is the wonder of knowing yourself part of this reality and a key player in the cosmic surge out of chaos towards ever more complex and mysterious forms of harmony and order.

    That IS the meaning. That we are expressions of a deep cosmic order that started in the Big Bang and continues to unfurl in a trillion manifold forms all around us. If you have no reverance for this amazing situation then you have no grasp of the true spirit of science. You appear only to want to use science more as an excuse not to be theistic, which is fine. Nobody says you need to believe in God. But you've GOTTA believe in reality you observe all around you. This vast transcendent universe teeming with patterns and forms that defy even our imaginations. And knowing yourself part of this infinitely creative exuberance has GOT to give you meaning. How can you deny this? The universe is conscious of itself THRU you. And THAT is something even you might find some purpose in.


    You're still stuck in anti-theistic mode. Noone said any of this was planned. But does that mean it's all random chance? No. There have been laws and principles guiding the events of the universe ever since the Big Bang. Things really do happen for a reason. When you feel a pain in your back there is a reason for that. When you fall in love there is a reason for that too. There are reasons behind everything, most of which we know nothing. Finding meaning in the universe is simply the honest recognition that there is a higher order underlying events, and that our lives are a part of this self-authoring storyline that is heading towards a unknown future.
     
  18. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    I've been through all that spirituality crap. It helped my sense of well being, but didn't cure my autism. If anything, the isolation was of great value to my practice of meditation. And by the way, autism is not a mental illness, it's a developmental disorder.
     
  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I think that MR might be arguing against the idea, seemingly promoted by some of the board's more aggressive atheists, that science and cosmic meaning are mutually exclusive. In other words, if one is going to be loyal to science (maybe more accurately scientism) as an ideology, then one needs to dismiss MR's fundamental question in this thread as nothing more than obscurantist nonsense. MR is trying to find examples of scientists who felt the same kind of thing that he feels. (I think that there are probably countless examples.)
     
  20. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    I think most people have feelings of spirituality at one time or another. Especially when confronted with the knowledge that we are a part of a much larger whole.

    But "spirituality" is not synonymous with "meaning" or "purpose".
     
  21. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

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    Has anyone ever read “On Not Knowing How to Live” by Allen Wheelis? If so, what did you think? I found his work profoundly insightful.
    http://pankajdewan.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/on-not-knowing-how-to-live-allen-wheelis/


    And truly, I love you for not knowing how to live today, you higher men. For thus you live – best! ~Nietzsche
     
  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think you went all the way, or tried everything there is on offer.
     
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Awesome quote! Allen Wheelis eh? And THIS is what I'm talking about. This finding of meaning in REALITY and not mere hope. This visceral understanding that it's all part of one big pattern and we are not only a tiny part of it but are a vital part of it because we are the carriers of the magical flame of consciousness. The universe ACTS like it needs to be conscious of itself. The photons, the atoms, the molecules, the cells. All coming together to become conscious of themselves THRU us. What a serendipitous collaboration of events this IS. Surely we in some sense were meant to be.
     

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