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A meaningful life in a meaningless universe

xSilverPhinx

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A meaningful life in a meaningless universe
« on: June 02, 2019, 10:52:29 PM »
Of course, what constitutes a meaningful life differs from person to person, but there might be threads in common interweaved in all.

Back when I was a teenager, and especially in my late teens, life was full of impenetrable darkness and I would occasionally peek into the abyss of which I was constantly treading the border. I had suffered a loss and couldn't stop thinking that it was always possible to suffer an even greater one. Added to that, I was always an atheist although I "hadn't come out of the religious closet" at that time, and existential doubt and anxiety were always wedged in my mind somewhere, always waiting to be triggered by some event. There weren't deities that would aid me of give me meaning, no matter how much I wanted to believe there were. If you asked me then, I would have said that life was meaningless.

Now, my perspective has changed somewhat. I now believe though the universe is cold and meaningless, life is not. We don't have a God-given, objective purpose in life, but we make our own. And rarely do we go through life without impacting others. We create all sorts of value, and that gives our lives meaning. Sometimes the things we do can even give other people's lives meaning.

Sometimes all we need to do is pay attention to the fact that we can be agents of positive impact in an uncaring universe. Just really think about that for a while. 

Ever since I started in the lab I'm in and saw results getting published that I had a hand in obtaining, it elates and motivates me. Though small, I helped to create value that might benefit others. Every time I help someone who's going through some difficulty, it feels like I mattered in making their lives better. 

What about you?   
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


Sandra Craft

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Re: A meaningful life in a meaningless universe
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2019, 11:49:04 PM »
Cats.  I tried to think of something more "meaningful" than that, but it really does come down to cats.  Helping cats, both specifically and in general.  I don't mind helping other animals too, even people, but I share a lot of personality flaws with cats and it really creates a bond.
Sandy

  

"Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet."  Sarah Louise Delany

jumbojak

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Re: A meaningful life in a meaningless universe
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2019, 12:00:10 AM »
Meaning is a very fleeting feeling for me. There are rare instances - like buying a family of strangers a battery to fix their car - where I feel a deep meaning in life. Those moments come and go rather quickly though. If I can help someone with something it gives me a great sense of joy but it doesn't last long.

I doubt that any of my contributions will change anyone's life, much less have any impact after I'm gone, but I do try. Sometimes I probably try too hard and wind up pushing people away, but I can't be sure of that.
 

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joeactor

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Re: A meaningful life in a meaningless universe
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2019, 01:09:55 AM »
For me... (as an agnostic theist):

If my life has meaning (to me), and it affects the life of other beings (cats included), then that meaning is passed on through others.

And if many beings live a life of meaning, does that bestow a meaning upon the universe?

And what of our radio and tv broadcasts? Do they change things in the universe? Even a little?

Our actions certainly affect the universe around us. Is it possible that this universe, in turn, affects other universes?

I don't know. But it is an interesting thought.

hermes2015

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Re: A meaningful life in a meaningless universe
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2019, 05:37:41 AM »
I find comfort in the Existentialist world view. The absurdity of life has been obvious to me since my early teens, when I realized that the universe has no grand plan for me and that I would have to write my own script.
“Who is to say that pleasure is useless?”
― Charles Eames

Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: A meaningful life in a meaningless universe
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2019, 06:04:36 PM »
Irrespective of whether there is a larger purpose of the universe, my own daily meaning is drawn from my work, my family, and from the goals and plans I set/make.  Since I draw satisfaction from accomplishing goals or fulfilling plans, and since I perceive that I gain other temporal benefits from same, I'm motivated to continue in this vein. The whole process supplies ample meaning to keep me going day to day.

billy rubin

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Re: A meaningful life in a meaningless universe
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2020, 05:03:26 PM »

1 The wordes of the Preacher, the son of Dauid, King in Ierusalem.

2 Uanitie of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanitie of vanities, all is vanitie.

3 What profite hath a man of all his labour which hee taketh vnder the Sunne?

4 One generation passeth away, and another generation commeth: but the earth abideth for euer.

5 The Sunne also ariseth, and the Sunne goeth downe, and hasteth to the place where he arose.

6 The winde goeth toward the South, and turneth about vnto the North; it whirleth about continually, and the winde returneth againe according to his circuits.

7 All the riuers runne into the sea, yet the Sea is not full: vnto the place from whence the riuers come, thither they returne againe.

8 All things are full of labour, man cannot vtter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the eare filled with hearing.

9 The thing that hath beene, it is that which shall be: and that which is done, is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing vnder the sunne.

10 Is there any thing, whereof it may be sayd, See, this is new? it hath beene already of olde time, which was before vs.

11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there bee any remembrance of things that are to come, with those that shall come after

personally i see no meaning in life, or ultimate value in looking for one. i just muddle through and act as if there were meaning. so long as i dont dwell on it, this works out juzt fine.

moztly i just take exiztence one day at a time. one day it will be over, and i probably wont notice.


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Kusa

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Re: A meaningful life in a meaningless universe
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2020, 05:52:35 PM »

personally i see no meaning in life, or ultimate value in looking for one. i just muddle through and act as if there were meaning. so long as i dont dwell on it, this works out juzt fine.

moztly i just take exiztence one day at a time. one day it will be over, and i probably wont notice.

That sums up how I feel also. In addition, I just try to make the best of it while I’m here. Some days are good and others bad. As long as the good outweigh the bad, I don’t mind hanging around in this existence.

Randy

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Re: A meaningful life in a meaningless universe
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2020, 03:52:01 AM »
I've been asked this time and again throughout my life. Biologically I think we are born to reproduce, nothing else. What we do with our time meanwhile is up to us.

I know this doesn't explain why many have empathy for one another, I include myself. Maybe there is a biological need to help each other. Besides that there is still a lot of time to fill.

I don't think I've accomplished anything that will be remembered two hundred years from now. At most perhaps the next generation.

I've lived a pretty good life all-in-all. I've learned a few things, done a few things, visited places... most importantly, if it made me and others smile then I've done well.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

Magdalena

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Re: A meaningful life in a meaningless universe
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2020, 08:43:46 AM »
...
... most importantly, if it made me and others smile then I've done well.
:beer:

“I've had several "spiritual" or numinous experiences over the years, but never felt that they were the product of anything but the workings of my own mind in reaction to the universe.” ~Recusant