On Purpose, After the Fact (my bad)

Question from Yui:
Hello, this topic I searched but seem to find no direct answer.

What is the purpose/meaning of life for a person who the supreme law is reason? How can we rationally explain life as a human species? If we can, what is our objective purpose as a whole?

Answer by SmartLX:
I just covered purpose yesterday here, but you did write this two days ago. Do check the previous answer, but here I’ll apply my perspective to the specifics of your wording.

To someone who values reason and doesn’t think an intelligent supreme being handed out any laws governing human behaviour, a human being is a product of what has happened before rather than a means to any predetermined end. Without a prescribed purpose one is free to choose one’s own, and that can vary greatly depending on the person but many come out roughly the same based on our shared human desires and empathy for other humans. That about covers it. If you don’t like that a prime universal goal like “please your god” is not replaced with something similarly monolithic, consider that your preferences for the nature of reality do not affect reality itself beyond your own actions.

3 thoughts on “On Purpose, After the Fact (my bad)”

  1. neither do you religious people have any other purpose of life, than that what you decide, as individuals, that you live for, or if even no such thing, then life is nice, find my argument about the sense and purpose of life of an atheist, of a few days ago. example is that i now live to help my son in his dire circumstances with an autistic child and no money to do what needs to be done with it… it fulfills me, otherwise my life would be kinda selfish, thou i had done my life circle. but i continue, so this is one of the top life purpose a human can have, help other people. but take MOZART, his wive’s purpose was to keep their 6 children alive, only two survived infancy, karl and fanz. but MOZART himself, his purpose of life was THE greatest possible. he gave humanity a gift no other human ever did or will. HIS MUSIC. how about THAT as purpose of life…
    but the religious folks are ungrateful little shits, they want to live forever, which would render impossible other people to have space and resources to live. so, they invent eternal ‘after-death-hlife’. hahaha

  2. Yui asks: [What is the purpose/meaning of life for a person who the supreme law is reason?]

    There is two answers here, one on a personal level and one on a much grander level.

    For individuals, the meaning and/or purpose of your life is whatever you decide it to be. We each have different dreams, desires, and goals, and those things are what gives us our purpose and meaning in life. There is no right or wrong way to go about it (assuming you aren’t infringing on other people’s rights of course). It’s the ultimate personal choice.

    From a purely scientific view it appears that the universe will eventually experience a heat death, which means maximum entropy will be reached and no usable energy will be left. That means life will be impossible, and anything that might still be alive will die. All humans that will ever exist are destined to die, even if we figure out how to make ourselves “immortal”, if maximum entropy does indeed occur. (I say “does indeed occur” because I never assume the current scientific explanation will end up being the right one). Assuming max entropy, that means every single piece of artwork, literary work, and bundle of personal experiences in each and every brain will be lost. Time has no memory, and the universe doesn’t care. While this seems sad on one level, this should be a motivating factor for each one of us to live full lives and find our personal meanings and purposes while we are alive. We didn’t ask to be born, but here we are, so you might as well do something with it while you have it.

    Yui asks: {How can we rationally explain life as a human species? If we can, what is our objective purpose as a whole?}

    The scientific theory of evolution is the rational explanation. Humans weren’t guaranteed to occur, but the right combination of genetic mutations and selective pressures led to our species of ape becoming who we collectively are today. Biologically our purpose it to continue the species. Above that our purpose is left to the desire and wants of the individual…

  3. I’ve been deliberately trying to stop thinking about meaning and purpose.
    Its a rabbit hole … and this particular alice doesn’t want to go down it anymore πŸ™‚

    Overall, I agree with what SmartLX and Tim have written above.

    I’d like to add that asking the purpose of life is sort of like asking the purpose of nuclear reactions in the sun.
    Its just a process that seems to occur in the universe … why should there be any purpose?
    Just because evolution has led to conscious, intelligent minds that are free to get bewildered about why have they been put in the universe doesn’t mean that there is/ must be a purpose.

    What should a conscious mind do in such a scenario –
    Let itself be driven by evolutionarily programmed impulses (emotional and physical)?
    Try to control these impulses through reason?
    Mix the impulses with reason and forge a balanced existence ?
    Work with other conscious minds to reduce the harshness of the environment it finds itself in through use of technology, by creating societies, cultures and civilization(s)?
    I guess each conscious mind decides what to do … as per its tastes, preferences and its inherent base-level biochemistry/ neuro-chemistry πŸ™‚

    I think the desire for purpose stems from us humans taking ourselves too seriously.
    We do need to take ourselves seriously in order to progress – to create order and comfort in a harsh(ish) environment. At the same time, we are just a part of one process (or a set of processes) occurring on a pale blue dot and any hankerings for purpose are probably wishful thinking.
    I don’t know … whenever my mind wanders towards purpose nowadays I prefer to switch on some western classical music and just watch some traffic outside (much like my pet cat) till the thought fades away.

    The incredible amount of energy that we need to put in, in order to create and maintain our particular oasis of order makes us wonder about purpose maybe.
    Minds that keep putting in energy to maintain and create order without being bothered about purpose are lucky in some sense and lacking in some sense (!)

    Its a rabbit hole as I said … I prefer classical music and traffic watching to thinking about purpose.
    I just seek to eke out a reasonably comfortable, reasonably informed existence while being reasonably productive in whatever amounts to productivity in our current context and also suits my tastes and preferences πŸ™‚

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