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Ever wonder what is your purpose in life?


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159 replies to this topic

#141 of 160 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted August 23 2006 - 03:25 AM

Quote:
My propose my mission was to be a projectionist
andy, I'm not trying to single you out, I just want to elaborate a little on this because it seems like a lot of people think the same way.

I don't think your 'purpose' is to be a projectionist...I think your purpose is to be satisfied and happy with who you are. For you, being a projectionist fulfills this satisfaction. So it's not so much the projectionist being your purpose in life, it's being a projectionist that satisfies you, which allows you to fulfill your purpose (i.e. being at peace with yourself).

Being at peace is what everyones 'purpose' is. Everyone has to deal with death eventually, so we all work hard to reach a point where we are at peace with the world...we come to this "It's ok to die" mentality. It's like preparing yourself for death. As morbid as it sounds, and not to say that we want to die right away, but that is definitely what we strive for...Peace!

Just like with kids and a family, if these things make you happy and at peace with yourself, then you are fulfilling your purpose in life. What I think is bad (which I've alluded to this whole thread) is doing something that you THINK is a purpose because you're afraid.

If your family and kids really put you at peace with yourself, then yes, this is your purpose, but I really do believe that a LOT of people have kids and families because they are afraid of death. Their families give them a sense of mortality that (somehow) means life goes on after their death.

drobbins, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but when you say you couldn't think of anything worse than dying alone, it sounds like what I just described. You fear (while you're alive) that, if you were alone, that your eventual death wouldn't mean anything because nothing would 'live on' after you're gone. What that says is, you'd live your entire life in fear of death and never would be at peace with yourself. I could be totally wrong, but I do know a lot of people who live their lives this way.

For these people, having a family to stop that fear is just hiding what they really do fear. They may not die alone, but I can't imagine they'd die in 'peace' as well. They were never ready to die because they were too afraid of life.

#142 of 160 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted August 23 2006 - 04:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Edens
Nature provides us with challenges that we must overcome in order to continue to exist. At first it was our predators, then other humans (more advanced civilization could wipe out a more primitive one), now we are faced with diseases, natural disasters (meteor impact/supervolcano), and who knows what it will be in the future (a hostile alien race, etc)? We must understand nature to survive its challenges.
Again, you seem to be asserting that intelligence -- rocket-science intelligence -- has arisen solely in service to our species's survival. (I learned that in the ALOT thread. Posted Image) predators are one thing, but asteroids and alien invasions are quite another. Adaptation is reactive, not proactive. "Survival of the fittest" fully explains the rise of intelligence to cope with predators, because predators were encountered on a normal basis. Extinction-level asteroid impacts, however, have not occurred even once in all of human existence. So our current ability (to the extent it exists) to mitigate an extinction-level asteroid impact could not have arisen through the process of survival of the fittest.

In order for a species to adapt to "nature's challenges", the challenges must actually be faced. Dinosaurs faced a handful of extinction-level asteroid impacts, and not once did they develop a space program to deal with the challenge. We, on the other hand, have developed a space program (Hey! Stop snickering!) in the complete absence of any actual challenge of nature I can think of.

To cite a future potential species-sparing application of rocket-science intelligence as evidence that said intelligence has arisen in order to meet the heretofore un-introduced challenge of nature is, I believe, specious.

I contrarily assert that our intelligence far exceeds the level sufficient to "meet nature's challenges", and that its capacity requires some other explanation.

Unfortunately, I'm not intelligent enough to figure out why I'm so damn intelligent. Posted Image
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#143 of 160 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted August 23 2006 - 05:01 AM

I'm with Brian. "Survival" may have required a combination of evolutionary genetic changes and an increase in intelligence that may or may not be genetic. However, somewhere around the time intelligence evolved to the point of self-awareness and intelligent communication, the thinking process evolved from one of instinctual thought on the situation at hand to the evolution of thought passed on from generation to generation. This has absolutely nothing to do with survival and everything to do with the ability to analyze previous situations as referenced by others and use them to solve problems that are at hand or even problems in the future that one may not have encountered yet. We didn't start a space program because we may need it for "survival" one day and we didn't invent calculus because it may help with firing rockets in the distant future (although some had ballistic uses, even back in Newton's time). We did these things not for survival, but for growth in human knowledge. Now the fact that much technical knowledge has arisen from weaponry and warfare may lead some to believe "survival" was a component of that knowledge and that may be true, but that only explains a small portion of the knowledge gained.

#144 of 160 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted August 23 2006 - 06:52 AM

Quote:
I couldn't think of anything worse than dieing alone. This is why I am married with 2 kids.
Guess I need to expand on this more!

I look at life as a gift. When I said "dieing alone" was referring to dieing with out anybody noticing or caring. I know that my life will have had very minimal impact on history as a whole, but by having a family I have shared that gift with others.
Families are not for everyone. If someone doesn't want a wife & kids, I would strongly advise - don't do it. I personaly feel my life would not be complete with out a family.
I am one out of 5 children. My older sister is married but wants nothing to do with kids. She has been very sucessful in high tech R&D.
My brother has never had a meaningful relationship that I know of and live alone.
I have another sister that is married with a child
My youngest sister studies gurillas in Africa. She has been with the same guy now for 20 years and has no intention of marring as far as I know.
They are all content in the life that they have chosen.

#145 of 160 OFFLINE   Josh Edens

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Posted August 23 2006 - 07:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Again, you seem to be asserting that intelligence -- rocket-science intelligence -- has arisen solely in service to our species's survival.

BrianW and Jeff Gatie:

I think you guys failed to notice the part when I referred to “other humans” as nature’s challenges. Humans formed societies not just for protection from their predators, but also for protection from each other. Our “rocket-science” intelligence is a product of our life in society. Exactly how it happened I am not going to go into here. I explain this in detail in my book, so get it from your local library if you want.

#146 of 160 OFFLINE   andySu

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Posted August 23 2006 - 07:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHastings
andy, I'm not trying to single you out, I just want to elaborate a little on this because it seems like a lot of people think the same way.

I don't think your 'purpose' is to be a projectionist...I think your purpose is to be satisfied and happy with who you are. For you, being a projectionist fulfills this satisfaction. So it's not so much the projectionist being your purpose in life, it's being a projectionist that satisfies you, which allows you to fulfill your purpose (i.e. being at peace with yourself).

Mark

That’s exactly what I was trying to say, it somehow eluded me, yes it does make me peaceful well it once did, but there’s plenty of other cinema sites to work for, but for now I’m fairly at peace with myself to a degree.

#147 of 160 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted August 23 2006 - 08:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Edens
BrianW and Jeff Gatie:

I think you guys failed to notice the part when I referred to “other humans” as nature’s challenges. Humans formed societies not just for protection from their predators, but also for protection from each other. Our “rocket-science” intelligence is a product of our life in society. Exactly how it happened I am not going to go into here. I explain this in detail in my book, so get it from your local library if you want.

No I didn't miss it. I fully addressed it with my discussion of military technology vs. full knowledge gained (and you only have to scroll up to see the details; no trip to the library necessary Posted Image ). Eventually, knowledge became a pursuit in itself, not simply a "means for survival", IMHO. You may disagree, but I certainly did address it with regards to other humans being a challenge of nature (unless we have waged war on another species I don't know of?).

#148 of 160 OFFLINE   Josh Edens

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Posted August 23 2006 - 09:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Gatie
...somewhere around the time intelligence evolved to the point of self-awareness and intelligent communication, the thinking process evolved from one of instinctual thought on the situation at hand to the ... thought passed on from generation to generation. This has absolutely nothing to do with survival ...

I have some difficulty understanding you. Are you saying that the evolution of intelligence and awareness had nothing to do with survival? If so, I will only say that the exact opposite it true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Gatie
Eventually, knowledge became a pursuit in itself, not simply a "means for survival", IMHO.

Every bit of knowledge gained granted an advantage to the party that gained it. Because people have always been in competition with each other, they had to seek knowledge to get ahead of their competitors. In other words, humanity has never sought knowledge just for the hell of it, but with the intent to use it to its advantage. Knowledge is power and all that.

Like I said before, we were forced by nature to study it.

#149 of 160 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted August 23 2006 - 11:04 AM

Jon, I do love my job. I hate my employer. And I hate that I never seem to get ahead. I hate that a decent house costs a small fortune. I hate that decent cars cost at least $20,000.

I really hate going to visit family and friends in Dallas and having them wonder if something is wrong because I drive a ten year old Toyota Tacoma instead of some new thing that costs me a huge monthly payment.

I have allowed myself to get caught up in rampant consumerism at times. It was my choice, but it certainly seems to be a common one, and one that lots of folks make. I'm ready to walk away from all of that. There has to be something more to life than this.
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#150 of 160 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted August 23 2006 - 12:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Edens
I have some difficulty understanding you. Are you saying that the evolution of intelligence and awareness had nothing to do with survival? If so, I will only say that the exact opposite it true.



Every bit of knowledge gained granted an advantage to the party that gained it. Because people have always been in competition with each other, they had to seek knowledge to get ahead of their competitors. In other words, humanity has never sought knowledge just for the hell of it, but with the intent to use it to its advantage. Knowledge is power and all that.

Like I said before, we were forced by nature to study it.

Sorry Josh, not every bit of knowledge ever gained was wholly owned by a "party" who used it against another party in competition. Almost all of the mathematics and physics reasearch in the last 20 years or so has been open to the entire world and is truly a universal effort. That is the only example I really must give, but various medical procedures, practically every book printed, and almost everything you find on the internet is also shared equally (although some "parties" do not allow it to be seen by its citizens, the persons who gain and accumulate the knowledge share it freely).

Need I go on?

#151 of 160 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted August 23 2006 - 12:38 PM

Quote:
Humans formed societies not just for protection from their predators, but also for protection from each other. Our “rocket-science” intelligence is a product of our life in society.
Josh, you surprise me. I thought I would come to regret using the term "rocket-science intelligence", but you appear to have indeed taken it as I intended it to be taken, which is as a metaphor for all human intellectual pursuit. Thanks for that. I appreciate that you didn't try to bolster your argument by using my own terminology to narrow the scope of discussion to the Apollo program and how it arose to counter the Communist Threat to invade the western hemisphere and steal our bodily fluids. I must hand it to you: you play fair.
Quote:
Every bit of knowledge gained granted an advantage to the party that gained it.
Ha! Tell that to Socrates! Posted Image

Okay, seriously, I don't think I could ever argue that more knowledge of nature is ever a bad thing. But not all knowledge yields immediate advantage, and some knowledge yields no discernible advantage whatsoever. Superstring theory, prognostications about dark matter, trying to determine the Cosmological Constant, calculating the age of the Universe -- all these intellectual pursuits provide absolutely no advantage in any future conflict that I can imagine.
Quote:
In other words, humanity has never sought knowledge just for the hell of it
Ah, this is where we vehemently disagree. This, then, is the crux of the matter.

Just for the hell of it is precisely why Newton sequestered himself from society for years at a time to reconcile mathematics with observations of nature. Though Einstein had a hand in the development of nuclear physics as it applied to the atomic bomb, his work on relativity was entirely just for the hell of it. In all seriousness, anyone who has ever sat down to calculate the value of pi, determine the fate of the Universe, create a formula that predicts prime numbers, study the cause of retrograde planetary motion, or even try to trisect an angle, has done so strictly, entirely, and most assuredly, just for the hell of it. These are not things nature forces us to do. Honestly, all physicists who have ever lived have devoted themselves to physics because “just for the hell of it” is their one and only passion in life.

Richard Feynman, i think, said it best;
Quote:
”Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that's
not why we do it.” - Richard Feynman

[Edit: Dang it! Jeff beat me to it. I'm not fulfilling my stated purpose in life. Posted Image]
-Brian
Come, Rubidia. Let's blow this epoch.

#152 of 160 OFFLINE   Josh Edens

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Posted August 23 2006 - 02:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Gatie
Sorry Josh, not every bit of knowledge ever gained was wholly owned by a "party" who used it against another party in competition. Almost all of the mathematics and physics reasearch in the last 20 years or so has been open to the entire world and is truly a universal effort. That is the only example I really must give, but various medical procedures, practically every book printed, and almost everything you find on the internet is also shared equally (although some "parties" do not allow it to be seen by its citizens, the persons who gain and accumulate the knowledge share it freely).

Need I go on?

No need to go on. I admit that I made an incorrect statement. That's what happens to me when I hurry. Allow me to put it another way. Everyone studies nature to some extent and everyone does it out of necessity. Newborns, kids, and adults, all try to understand their environment. Everyone is compelled to understand their surroundings because everyone understands how it is related to their existence and survival. Call it a natural curiosity.

Most people become satisfied with their understanding of nature some time in their teens or twenties and cease actively pursuing knowledge. Some people are never satisfied with their understanding of nature and spend their whole lives studying it. They may not feel like their survival is at stake, but they still expect their professions to bring them some money, status, recognition, and authority.

In short, everyone studies nature for their own benefit. For most people it is to satisfy their curiosity - to build an accurate perception of their surroundings. Scientists are simply more curious than others and they still expect to get paid.

#153 of 160 OFFLINE   Brad Porter

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Posted August 23 2006 - 02:17 PM

If I can define individual human "knowledge" as the sum total of all active memes in one's mind, then...

The evolution of memes in a communicative society is analogous to genetic evolution, although the reproductive cycle is far more accelerated. The latter is influenced solely at the conception and death events for each organism. The former is manipulated constantly with each new mind that the meme must be translated into and with each incongruous meme that it encounters. Copying errors are abundant, so memetic variance is extreme.

The basic wetware that we all employ as humans to transact our knowledge doesn't vary profoundly from person to person, but the range and quality of "intelligence" contained within each human vessel is profoundly different. The obvious question is why do all humans have big brains yet use them in such disparate ways to know so many useless things?

In early homo sapiens, the bulk of the active memes were certainly directly related to long term survival (ummm, and fucking, of course) in a competitive and hostile environment (avoid things with sharp teeth, don't eat things that smell bad, etc.) and therefore directly supported genetic propagation of humans with superior abilities to communicate and retain those survival memes. Brains got bigger in successive generations because bigger brains were able to communicate better and remember more useful information and thereby survive to procreate. At some point the brain that everyone was walking around with got big enough to handle just about every obstacle that nature could throw at it and suddenly you couldn't get rid of humans unless you had a really, really, really big rock (or a really, really, really nasty virus). Survival became easier and easier and we began to find other things to occupy our big brains.

However, memes which directly support survival are a very small (and growing smaller) subset of the total memes in circulation today. Although all memes must compete with one another for long term mindspace, the selection criteria for those memes isn't readily reducible to just "survival" or "competition with other humans" these days. I'd observe that titillation seems to be a primary advantage for memes in 21st century brains.

So I agree with Josh that trafficking in more and better memes leads to an advantage in whatever competitive environment one is engaged in ("Knowledge is power"), but I would never suggest that every meme leads to an advantage ("Every bit of knowledge gained granted an advantage to the party that gained it.")

After all, I've got the lyrics to "Muskrat Love" in my head and they're doing me no damn good at all. Posted Image

Edit: And now that I see Josh's post which was posted while I was typing, I see that I can't hang him up with his quote any longer. I would suggest that my (long-winded) interpretation of his last post would be that modern minds seek and accommodate memes that interest them. In the absence of daily life or death decisions, memes regarding "nature" no longer provide as much interest as memes regarding "Star Wars" or "fashion". Social competition is a much stronger influence on meme retention than is the organism's survival to reproductive age.

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#154 of 160 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted August 23 2006 - 02:47 PM

Quote:
Most people become satisfied with their understanding of nature some time in their teens or twenties and cease actively pursuing knowledge.
I also think a lot of people follow a set pattern that they think they are supposed to follow (according to nature)...and by the time they are in their 20's and 30's, they are lost in life because that's where 'nature' seems to stop...or at least when it starts to really slow down.

I know a lot of people who graduated high school, got married, had kids, and now are in their early 30's & 40's and wondering "What now?" - They fell into this "I have to do these things because that's human nature" mindset and now that they've accomplished that, they either don't know what to do with themselves, or they start looking to do the things they should have done years ago (but put off).

That's why there are so many people that go through mid life crisis's (I think that spelling is correct Posted Image).

Why does it seem like nature and the pursuit of knowledge are so separated? You have the young housewife who is stuck at home with the kids thinking "I should have done more with my life" and on the other end, you have the highly successful business man who is sitting in his penthouse (alone) and thinking "Why didn't I ever find the time to meet someone?".

#155 of 160 OFFLINE   Josh Edens

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Posted August 23 2006 - 05:05 PM

MarkHastings, just wanted to tell you that I've enjoyed your posts. Thanks for sharing.

Edited to add that I've enjoyed everyone's posts on this subject, not just Mark's. I know, I know. It's lame of me to say that, so I'll just shut up now.

#156 of 160 OFFLINE   RobLe

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Posted August 23 2006 - 05:58 PM

A few years back I was pondering what the purpose of my life was. Somebody told me this, "I think that a purpose of everybody's life is to touch others. Our lives are governed by our experiences and every single person we meet has an effect on us, whether it be big or small. If at some point you made at least one person happy, then I think you have done something absolutely wonderful with your life. You have changed that person." For the most part, I have adopted that as my own thinking on the subject.

#157 of 160 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted August 24 2006 - 12:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzz
I have allowed myself to get caught up in rampant consumerism at times. It was my choice, but it certainly seems to be a common one, and one that lots of folks make. I'm ready to walk away from all of that. There has to be something more to life than this.

I'm kind of like that too... like my HT, at first, I had to get the best and latest, then it simmers, and now it's like "does it work?" Posted Image Sometimes I feel the happy people are those that are content with what they have rather than those who want it all yet have none.

I'm very content with my small home, even though I paid an arm and a leg for it. I am happy that I can afford a quiver of nice bikes and can go on big mountain trips. Myself, I can't say I am ready to walk away from it all, but it has certainly crossed my mind a lot recently. Not that I think I'll ever stop biking/hiking/kayaking, but just the pressure of having to work to afford the tiny little house I have, etc. Living in a tent keeps sounding nicer every day.

Jay
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#158 of 160 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted August 24 2006 - 01:11 AM

"I have allowed myself to get caught up in rampant consumerism at times. It was my choice, but it certainly seems to be a common one, and one that lots of folks make. I'm ready to walk away from all of that. There has to be something more to life than this."


Years ago I got in the habit of going through my stuff every year and getting rid of some stuff I dont need or havent used.


"They fell into this "I have to do these things because that's human nature"

Ive never felt the need to follow along those lines. I decided at a very young age I wouldnt marry. And Ive seen many guys I knew, met whatever divorced and working 2 or even 3 jobs to support children. As far back as my teens with everyone parents around me divorcing, I was conscious of it and said "no thanks, not for me".

Ive never understood why a relationship HAS to lead to marriage. Theres nothing more certain to fuck up a good relationship than marriage. 2 friends of mine dated their G/Fs for 10 years, got married and were divorced a year later. In one case theres a kid who the mother was more than happy to use against the father to make his life miserable.

#159 of 160 OFFLINE   dany

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Posted August 24 2006 - 01:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHastings
I also think a lot of people follow a set pattern that they think they are supposed to follow (according to nature)...and by the time they are in their 20's and 30's, they are lost in life because that's where 'nature' seems to stop...or at least when it starts to really slow down.

I know a lot of people who graduated high school, got married, had kids, and now are in their early 30's & 40's and wondering "What now?" - They fell into this "I have to do these things because that's human nature" mindset and now that they've accomplished that, they either don't know what to do with themselves, or they start looking to do the things they should have done years ago (but put off).

That's why there are so many people that go through mid life crisis's (I think that spelling is correct Posted Image).

Why does it seem like nature and the pursuit of knowledge are so separated? You have the young housewife who is stuck at home with the kids thinking "I should have done more with my life" and on the other end, you have the highly successful business man who is sitting in his penthouse (alone) and thinking "Why didn't I ever find the time to meet someone?".


If they are saying what now they are as dumb as they come. I cant fricken wait to get rid of my kids,i've had them long enough. If i'm that business man in my penthouse i will have at least 1 or 2 young things keeping me busy.
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#160 of 160 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted August 24 2006 - 02:32 AM

Quote:
If i'm that business man in my penthouse i will have at least 1 or 2 young things keeping me busy.
LMAO! Posted Image

Whenever people ask me about wanting kids, I tell them that I want to adopt a cute 18 year old. Posted Image


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