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Existential questions

sushi

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existential questions you ask yourself when you are bored

you know those questions that taunt you endlessly but dont seem have an answer to , when you are lying in bed

what are they?

such as meaning of life, what is time, why do i exist?
 

onesteptwostep

logos, life, love, longsuffering
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I recently bought "The Art of Loving" by Erich Fromm, a German migrant who lived in the US from 1934.

In his book he claims "love" is the answer for our existential questions, and I agree with him to some degree. It's fulfillment of that love, through whatever various means, that gives life our meaning. But I think that, if it's love that we're after, then there could be a grand unifier of that vision, which I think could be God.

Good book by the way, it's short and sweet.
 

Muteki

Existence reflects upon itself
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The meaning of life and why we exist are essentially intertwined questions. I think it's more sensible to extend the thought and ask why anything exists at all, and to observe what little we objectively know to be true about existence, which are it's patterns, and the laws born of those patterns or vice versa.

Universal laws seem to have an extreme element of randomness. Why moving particles can combust in flames or freeze into ice, why substances react to each other only in very specific ways etc.

But then we have nature, which displays a similar effect of randomness. Yet instinctually nature itself is not unlike it's own entity, driving all living things to survive with it's own odd pattern of evolution.
The one thing in common all living things have is an element of sense, even if that sense is extremely limited. Over time this was purposefully evolved into higher echelons into the creation of thought and memory, even despite the obvious success of survival of many limited sensing organisms in the past. One might still call this an accident of chaos, but then consider virtually ecosystem naturally seems to ebb in this odd direction.

It's as if the objective itself is to cultivate experience. The nature of humanity fervently follows this same pattern as well, with our countless possible personalities and individually unique retained experiences. We even now have turned away from physical evolution in favor of mental evolution as a collective. Why any of this is even possible I think is very telling as to the nature of existence itself, to experience.

Why such as a thing as "probability" even conceptually exists only furthers this notion in my mind, and is reason enough for me to find multiverse theory, parallel universes, string theory and so on to be sensible concepts.

It's all rather fascinating and also led to one of my favorite personal philosophies:
"Existence reflects upon itself."
 

Animekitty

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I wonder about my purpose. Doing nothing all day sucks. But it is because I get stuck on doing anything of real value. I just do not see the point in anything.

I have a hard time feeling love because of my physicological condition. I wish it was something I could control but it's not.
 

Cognisant

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Sometimes I think about getting a cat, I like cats, I’d be happier with a pet, but I worry about the opportunity cost of owning a cat, the daily expenses, the eventual medical expenses and would I have enough time to spend with it? When you get a pet cat it’s important to socialize it so it gets used to being handled and in general just being around people. I’m not a very social person and I live in an apartment, I and my apartment and the occasional infrequent visitor would be that cat’s entire world and that seems too small to me. But then again surely any home is better than no home, no doubt there are many animals in shelters that are essentially on death row unless someone adopts them. But then again-again every cat is a cat and the same fate awaits the ones in the stores if they don’t get sold and I’d rather not have a troublesome/feral cat in my small apartment. Indeed the morality of owning a pet at all is highly suspect, it is a perversion of the natural order to artificially satiate one’s desire for companionship. But then again does that really matter, if there is no inherent morality and we are but amalgamations of biological processes is obligating myself to universally applicable (but not universally shared) moral ideals anything but vanity? Realistically the only moral obligation I have is to myself and my own happiness (egoism) and there’s strong evidence to indicate that having a pet improves people’s mental health and wellbeing. But the whole point of getting a pet is to become emotionally attached to it and if I care about its wellbeing then my happiness is in part contingent on its happiness and now I'm back to worrying about whether I can adequately care for one.
 

Muteki

Existence reflects upon itself
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I've considered that same thought process while already owning a cat (always had cats in the family since before I was born). I think having that symbiosis is a valuable experience, to allow oneself to get attached and accepting the reality of eventual loss. Enjoying the time you spend together but knowing that even one's own happiness is a fluid thing that can be bound and rebound from one thing to the next.

Too bad there's not much of a market for philosophical cat salesman.
 

Cognisant

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A salesman that sells philosophical cats.
A salesman that sells cats to philosophers.
A salesman that sells philosophers to cats.
A philosophical salesman that sells cats.
The philosophy of being a cat salesman.
The philosophy of a salesman's cat.
A cat that sells philosophies.
A cat that teaches salesmen philosophy.
 

Muteki

Existence reflects upon itself
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My inklings scatter, I must compose them once again
Such is reality, this corporeal thing demands equivalency
Both internal and chemical, one is not felt without the other
Controlled or uncontrolled, the pull of one spectrum or another
There is no reality for such polarity, everything and nothing
But even this concept of nothing pales in the face of true oblivion
It is against even our being of thought to imagine such an affront to existence
Perhaps this too is enough
I will continue to accept these endless spirals
Finding this calm state
Even this small piece of my world can offer respite
 

Animekitty

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I am High right now so take this with a grain of salt. Love is a feeling. A feeling like the feeling of being high on weed. Feeling is just another word for qualia. That means qualia and feeling are the same things. I feel that love is uncontrollable. The feeling of love. So abstract love is no go. Like weed love just happens As a feeling. The only difference between love and weed is that love is with another as a union, weed is fuzzy Lukewarmness. Weed is good numbness. Love is alive touch. It is not Choice that decides weed or love but of the heart and in the moment. Weed will not make you fall in love. So the same love may or may not exist. Different love exists but feeling love, do or don't. Is, isn't.

So numb to love but still there. That is why weed helps. Revealing the numb we all want to feel. Love with pain. Weed is numb to love because love is also pain. So is alcohol. But love and pain together being numb is weed. Listen I am high but I am not is love, I am numb to love because I do not have a girlfriend so abstract love is not what I personally need, Just because I love my parental family doesn't mean I do not need a girlfriend Loving my mom is totally different. I know it is a fact that everyone needs a best friend but God as a best friend, well you can have many best friends but what weed has taught me is that you should not exercise on low blood pressure.

Mothers love their babies but some get depression and cannot feel that love. So abstract love to them, they are depressed and someone tells then use your will power no pills (Tom Cruise). Physiology matters to feeling to qualia. That is why I need and girlfriend who is as good a person as I am Literally being equal because if not it will be not good for me or her. Not as a maybe connection but as compatibility. And If she or I get depressed and cannot love the way we could we know it was chemical not to do with loyalty. So a best friend is hard to find but maybe we do need pills to keep us in love. But how to love God if your body will not allow it.

Weed taught me that feeling is in the body, without feeling in the body (qualia) love is not felt. You can't love without the body. Stoic love is an extraverted body feeling. I feel things on weed in the body. So it is that I am stuck. A blockage from love. I do not know what. It's not easy, its hard to feel. the brain is tangled. Relationships are not easy for many people. Because of tangled blocked brains. Love is not supportable under those conditions. The functioning body/brain makes a difference in experiencing love.

Love is complicated. You cannot just make love happen. The right conditions must be in place.
 

Animekitty

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For anything to happen the right conditions need to be in place. I do not believe in randomness. Randomness is just statistical noise. It did not pop into existence from nowhere. Everything is conserved. Conservation is the rule. A feather falls just as fast on the moon as a hammer falls on the moon.

From the perspective of scientific possibility, the human being is manipulable. It is only that the conditions are not fully known that optimization is less plausible. And the experimenter is always part of the experiment. Perfect conditions are unknown to the self and collective. But if self-sustaining conditions occur, at any scale, a snowball effect occurs. This is due to physics.

Take the transition phase. Being stoic is a phase that is such that self-sustaining is possible. the confusion of Extravert and Introvert is resolved.


inertial is the energy to change a body in motion. a possible direction is physics understanding. The more is known the greater chance a proper physiology will develop. Follow the transition points and phase transitions.
 

AntaresVII

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I wonder about my purpose. Doing nothing all day sucks. But it is because I get stuck on doing anything of real value. I just do not see the point in anything.

I have a hard time feeling love because of my physicological condition. I wish it was something I could control but it's not.
Wondering what you mean by the "stuck on doing anything of real value" bit.

It sounds similar to my ever prevalent experience of wanting to do something worthwhile but simultaneously being unable to decide what exactly would be worth doing, while also still hating the idea of doing something just because somebody told me to or such without actually believing that it is indeed worth doing.

Basically, being supremely critical of what is worthwhile and loathing doing something without being certain that it is.

Hey, I just realized that discussing these ideas seems pretty valuable, though the circumstances (I should probably be sleeping) factor in.

Maybe Muteki is right about the "existence reflects on itself" thing.

Anyway, is something like that what you're talking about?
 

Animekitty

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Anyway, is something like that what you're talking about?

Existentially everything is pointless unless you give it meaning. I had something I wanted to do of worth to me but I gave up. It was not in my capacity to accomplish. Spent 20 years on it. So here I am doing nothing. I had this problem as a kid. I would fail and not know what to do. I did not get any moral support so was very disappointed in myself. I thought I wasn't smart. I really wanted to complete my projects.
 

AntaresVII

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Anyway, is something like that what you're talking about?

Existentially everything is pointless unless you give it meaning.

I would, respectfully, disagree. I think the exception to your assertion is beauty.

Beauty doesn't have to have "meaning" to be enjoyable and worthwhile. You can enjoy a beautiful sunset or a walk in the woods without having to ask yourself "What does this mean?" In fact, it really makes no sense at all as a question. There is no "meaning" to a sunset. Meaning is not what makes it worthwhile. Appreciating beauty is its own point. — Its worth is self evident. And beyond that I do not see that it has or needs have meaning.

As Oscar Wilde put it:
"Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity." . . . "Love art for its own sake and then all things that you need will be added to you." (From Lectures and Essays).
And in case we ask "What is the point of love, in that we love beauty?" there is also that "Love does not traffic in a marketplace, nor use a hucksters scales. Its joy, like the joy of the intellect, is to feel itself alive. The aim of Love is love, and no less." (From De Profundis), and since we love beauty, the aim and value of loving beauty are both intrinsic in the action.

I would think that the fairest conclusion to draw from this idea is that we should live in such a way as will maximize the amount of beauty we encounter and appreciate. The more we understand, the more we can appreciate the beautiful, so education and learning are given.
Creating beauty ourselves is probably the most meta-beautiful experience there is, and so things like working towards and/or mastering a career you can intrinsically enjoy, or properly raising a family, are in too.
We can fairly make the case that we're surrounded everywhere by beauty and simply fail to appreciate most of it, so much can be said for simply learning to recognize the endless simple wonders around us; which is basically the idea of "being grateful for what you have".
And of course human kindness is something we find incredibly beautiful, both in and of itself and in that its aim is improving each other's lives, which by our definition is an increase in experiencing beauty, which we value intrinsically, which has itself as a point, without any need for an external meaning.

So I think it's clear that experiencing something beautiful defies your assertion, both in that it requires no external "meaning", certainly not provided by ourselves arbitrarily, to have a point, and in that the point itself can be simply to be — to experience the thing as it is.

I think beauty is intrinsically valuable, as experienced, and can thus serve to give "purpose" to our lives.
I think that even if we can't say for sure that "we exist to experience beauty", we can say, with certainty, that beauty is the thing worth existing for.
 

Animekitty

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Very astute. I would add that people have a creative drive, a need to create. A man would not find everything pointless unless he could find nothing creative in it. Man has lived in pointless situations where no creative force exists. This does not negate beauty but obfuscates it. It is what you put your worth into that determines if you have meaning or not. Where does my worth come from? It is hard to tell sometimes. A person that has lost everything has nothing left to live for. Only you can decide if something is worth it in the end.
 

DingusLord

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Every answer I've found to "What is the meaning of life?", has fallen short in some way. Usually in that it lacks intrinsic value. Such as beauty and love only existing in the man's beholding eye.

Any answer that is given is weighed on a different scale. Such as how it improves your life, or allows you to live the most disillusioned. It seems to me, that on any "universal" scale, we really don't know what it is. In part because we don't know how to measure it.

Nihilism seems to be the fall-back after finding no underlying structure. But that is just an excuse for not seeing the structure.

We don't know how big the universe is, where we are in it, how small stuff actually gets, what's at the bottom of the ocean, or even why we sleep.

The most compelling argument for a deity is one that I've devised myself(and likely has been though of before), is that if an omniscient (or orders of magnitude more intelligent) being existed, then any guess at their intentions is just that, guesswork. This being an example of our knowledge to be so limited as to not even glimpse any great truths besides the ones we fabricate and impose to keep a friendly society running.
 

Animekitty

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I know what the meaning of life is. It is the center. The place of most value. The center guides us to what we need. The center knows what is meaningful and what is not. The center is the soul. A base for teleology. It looks for what it knows is meaningful.

The center is the point where everything is connected. The beginning of all subjectivity. Where selective attention emerges. Survival.

Everything in evolution has produced layers of survival navigation units.

meaning is survival, it is the reason we have a center.

meaning is what we need

the center knows our needs

everything converges on that because we seek what we need.
 

Animekitty

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meaning is the balancing into equilibrium
when you are decaying, that is, homeostasis is failing. You must maintain it.
Homeostasis is what must be sustained or death occurs.
meaning is all expressions of balance that continues homeostasis.
eating food is meaningful because it brings balance to the system.
getting praised by peers means you will survival you find praise meaningful.
stagnation is not meaningful that is why you have a creative drive.
creative drive is deep in your system, it balances many things.
death of a loved one deeply imbalances a person.
the meaning of life is balance (homeostasis)
 

AntaresVII

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Homeostasis is what must be sustained or death occurs.

the meaning of life is balance (homeostasis)

Then, if the meaning of life is homeostatic balance, and either the purpose or the nature of homeostasis is maintaining life, the meaning of life is life. Which is to say life, insofar as it is balanced, is intrinsically meaningful. That as long as we are doing that which enables our longest-term possible survival, simply living as such is meaningful.
I think I might agree.

The problem of survival at the expense of morality is, I think, solved by expanding survival to include humanity as a whole, so that acting against the interests of humanity destroys meaning for yourself, since you have the concern of the survival of everyone not just yourself to account for in the balance.

Thus morality and goodness have intrinsic meaning, as they promote survival in the longest term and at the largest scale.

Basically, you're claiming that promoting the survival and benefit of humans is what gives us meaning, in that engaging in activities that best accomplish this is, for whatever reason (presumably our neurological wiring), meaningful.

This sounds similar to the "we only exist to reproduce" idea that we so often find depressing, but I think this concept includes an important point, which is that as long as you live your life so that it benefits humans survivability as a whole, your doing ok, your life can have meaning. It would seem, for good reason, that we find more meaning in actually reproducing and raising children, but such does not condemn those who fail this but still help people survive, which I think is only fair.

I guess I would say that my idea that we find beauty intrinsically valuable fits in this concept in that we find the meaningful beautiful. How art benefits our survival might not be clear, though it's possible that it helps by giving us a vision of a broader balance (since homeostasis must extend to all of nature eventually, since we depend on it for our own homeostasis) that we can look to as a guide to or a hope of beauty to come if we can figure the balance out.
That the main task of our existence is keeping ourselves and humanity as a whole alive does not, I think, mean that it is depressing for its arbitrarity. I think we can fairly say that the pursuit of beauty is entirely compatible with the pursuit of survival. I think all of survival we find beautiful (as long as it isn't violating morality, sacrificing large-scale or long-term survival for your own our short-term survival) and so the two are essentially identical. Which means that even though our purpose may be said to be simply to survive, the fact of that survival is intrinsically beautiful and meaningful, and so there's nothing at all depressing about it, because surviving, done correctly, is precisely what gives us joy and satisfaction.

It's a view of the universe that essentially says "this world is here for me and my kind to survive and enjoy, as best we can". Personally, I find it really heartening. I think I, and everyone, can call that a raison de'etre.

So yes, I agree. And thank you. It's been very good for me to flesh out and realize.
 

Cognisant

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Nihilism seems to be the fall-back after finding no underlying structure. But that is just an excuse for not seeing the structure.
I like this energy.

the meaning of life is life.
I like this too.

Personally I'm of the opinion "what is the meaning of life" is itself a fundamentally flawed question, it's based on the assumption that we were created and that therefore we must have been created for some reason even if that reason is merely to be our creator's entertainment or practice.

If we are in fact simply an emergent property of this universe a more pertinent and frankly far more interesting question would be: now that we're here what are we going to do? Indeed even if we were created on purpose and thus our existence comes with inherent meaning bestowed upon us by our creator that doesn't mean we have abide by our creator's wishes, we have the freedom to choose, the fact that we even have that choice (as opposed to say a factory robot that merely carries out its programming) implies that if we have a creator and we were created for some less-than-obvious purpose then making that decision is part of our purpose.

Or said creator is and idiot :D
 

AntaresVII

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Or said creator is and idiot :D
One can imagine a civilization that finally created sentient A.I., only to find . . . themselves.

Related, heres a somewhat existential thought:
The idea of implanting your brain in a machine isn't actually at all strange, as you are already a brain implanted in a machine made to take care of it and let you move around and stuff, not to mention self-replicate.
So wanting to "become" a cyborg is really just hoping that our technology gets advanced enough that switching machinery will count as an upgrade.
 

Flowerina

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existential questions you ask yourself when you are bored

you know those questions that taunt you endlessly but dont seem have an answer to , when you are lying in bed

what are they?

such as meaning of life, what is time, why do i exist?
One thought followed me for decades. Why am I affraid of dying?
I feel only safe when I am hiding in my husbands arms. All other places are scary.
I did not know I was an INTP enneatype 5 until 3 months ago. Looking for space to be alone was misunderstood by everyone except for my husband who took a highly protective stance that cured by fears.
I have very early memories of terrifying abusive acts by my care givers. I may Have become an introvert to hide away from real danger.
My head is always thinking and I found relief by practicing stoicism.
When I watched Sam Vakning’s Nothingness video on YouTube many of my questions about existence were answered.
 
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