Why do some believe in a purpose?
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08-05-2013, 04:06 PM (This post was last modified: 09-05-2013 05:54 AM by Luminon.)
RE: Why do some believe in a purpose?
(07-05-2013 09:16 AM)Hennepin Wrote:  I'm hoping that maybe someone with a background in pscychology or neuroscience might be able to help me here, if this question has already been addressed.

From my perspective, I have no reason to believe that we as a species have any purpose. Although I keep seeing and hearing the message of purpose being touted by many religious followers and preechers alike. I used to buy into it thinking that there must be a reason, but I've moved away from that opinion as I've considered the potential outcomes.

I feel that having no universal purpose free's me up to establish my own purposes and reasons for the way I choose to live my life and the decisions I have to make on a daily basis.

But I still wonder what reason there might be that we seem to innately crave a reason for our existence.
Depends on what do you want or don't want to hear. Is or isn't there a purpose? Whatever I say, someone else will ask where's my scientific evidence for that claim.

So let's say, anything goes, we create our own purpose. All right, I say. But HOW? Where's the science of purpose? Where is the laboratory of human motivation, a gallery of inspiration, a school of creativity? Where is the market of ideas? Well, you can always fill out an online questionnaire to tell you what your ideal job is, which usually tells you nothing new.

In my experience, some people have the ability to download various ideas from the universe into their brains and manifest them in practice. Some we call creative, some we call geniuses. Some people bring ideas centuries ahead of their time, others download and manifest the same ideas simultaneously. On all sides of the world, scientists may make the same discovery within days and race to the patent office.

This seems to me a good enough purpose for human race. A function of humanity, download and manifest. The more people will live like that, the better off the world will be. I say download, because in my experience there never was or is invented nothing new. All great ideas seem to "exist" out there hovering on the wings of muses. They may sit on me, but if I don't manifest them, someone else will. I know that, I was in (freeware) game development years ago. So again I must say, there is nothing original. There is the great treasury of nature from which good artists copy and great artists steal.

So, if that means to be truly human, we have a long way to go. And there is lots of social, economic and political shit that needs to go. And of course, we need machines to be truly human, or we'd make machines out of ourselves. We can make no judgement on how most people behave, because they are under existential and cultural pressure since the beginning of history. Download and express, that is our purpose, yet we can choose if and how we do that, our individual contribution.

I'd say that is such a great joy that even exceeds hedonism. And it exceeds "reason and evidence". Yes, I may be a small biologic robot with modular mind and temporary brain - but this robot is connected to something great and magnificent, something that wants to be expressed in the world of biologic robots, so that they reflect the facets of perfection and transform their world as well. I feel firmly directed towards this progress towards perfection, so that I'd be able to pursue it over the course of my life and various fields of study and work. I'm not perfect, but I have the global vision and an urge enough to follow it anywhere I find myself in - or failing that, to suffer and get depressed. Once you get to know it and use it, your soul is your most prized property and you'd think twice before selling it.
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08-05-2013, 04:17 PM
RE: Why do some believe in a purpose?
(08-05-2013 05:59 AM)Dom Wrote:  I am afraid that procreation as a main function is not filling any societal needs anymore.

From a society point of view, prolific procreation was necessary because the generations supported each other as time went.

Parents would raise helpless kids to the point where they could help farming/hunting. Then for a while the family would work as a team, much improving output and nutrition.

Next the kids would take care of their own kids, and lastly they would take care of the old parents.

Today, the family is based on no practical bases, kids do not better the family situation but worsen it by costing tons of money and not contributing. And when it becomes time to care for the aged parents, most of the time they are dropped off at old folks homes and left to their own devices there.

While it is still a stigma to be childless, more and more couples are choosing not to have children, and now you have more and more openly gay couples.

Sorry, but I think procreation will not be life's purpose anymore, societal evolution is going a different direction.

Of course you can still have all the sex you want Tongue

None of what you say causes me any issues, but the genes don't care. As for procreation not beings life's purpose anymore, the human population still seems to growing with no end to that trait in sight.

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09-05-2013, 04:59 AM
RE: Why do some believe in a purpose?
(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  Son, good things take time. My life is like a fine cheese. You make it in like 5minutes of hard pounding, then you let nature run it's course until it reaches perfection.

Think of me as a huge block of cheese sitting on a shelf in a cellar somewhere in Europe. Just you wait until this block of cheese comes out to be eaten, you will see son, you will see...

I have no interest in eating you, let alone thinking of you as anything other than you are. You could tell me to think of you in any way you want, but I would remain skeptical until actually meeting you and getting to know you, if ever.

(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  That's what I'm saying.

No, what I said was not what you were saying. You said people try to give life purpose, and I was contradicting that by pointing out how I've never tried to give life purpose.

(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  You never looked for purpose because your religion had that bit covered.

Apparently you overlooked the part where I said in many ways life is easier without believing in God's purpose. Yes, my beliefs had purpose covered, but the purpose I believed in was an extremely vague and broad abstraction, so I looked for purpose in the sense that there was a near constant question in my mind of how I could fulfill that purpose.

(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  You said it yourself, once you stopped believing in God you started thinking you had no purpose. Proof that God was a "purpose crutch".

A crutch is something one uses intentionally. A purpose as defined by God was not something I used intentionally. My belief in God was not a "purpose crutch", because I wasn't believing in God to overcome any problem. I was exposed to the idea of God at a very young age and just took it as fact.

(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  No no, you misunderstand. That, the work, 9-5, kids, spouse etc.. is everyone else's outlook on life.
I have no intention of any of that because my outlook on life is very different.
That's what I'm saying.

You have misunderstood me. I was saying that, like you, I had observed how mundane and tedious everyone else's lives appeared, and I had no interest in any of that. Your outlook pertaining to the work, 9-5, kids, spouse, etc as you've stated it isn't very different from that of my childhood self, let alone many people who came before us.

(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  [sarcasm]Sure, every life is unique and different, you keep telling yourself that...
You ARE special, you ARE unique, you ARE meaningful...
Yeah, Okay..[/sarcasm]

Never did I say anything about anybody being "special" or "meaningful", nor was I talking about myself particularly. Logic alone can tell us that each life is unique.

(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  It is cookie cutter. Education - Work - Married - Kids - Retire - Die.

Extraordinary lives are extraordinary because they stand out.
ie: Sir Edmund Hillary, the guy on our $5 note. He lived an extraordinary life.
First man to climb Everest (and not die). Did HEAPS of humanitarian work in Nepal (which he got knighted for). He lived an amazing life and he will be remembered for it.
Were you first to climb Mount Everest? What revolutions have you led? What planets have you discovered? What moon were you first to walk on? Why should I even know who you are?

This is the difference.

I didn't say you "should" know who I am, nor that I was first to climb Mount Everest or walk on any moon, nor that I let any revolutions or discovered any planets. Again, I was not talking about myself in particular.

Instead, I was just conveying the fact that ignoring details is what allows us to consider peoples' lives cookie cutter identical. You reduce peoples' lives to "Education - work - married - kids - retire - die". Well, according to Wikipedia, Sir Edmund Hillary received an education, worked, married, had kids, retired, and died. If we ignore all the other events in his life, we can conclude that he led a cookie cutter identical life as defined by you.

(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  People are content with living their average insignificant lives because it's comfortable and easy to them. They have no drive, mediocre is enough for them.

Mediocrity is relative and subjective, dependent on what one compares a subject to, and what aspects of the subject one takes into consideration. You may know your idea of mediocrity, but you don't know that of others. Similarly, you may see others experiencing mediocrity, but you don't know if they consider that mediocrity "enough".

(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  Some of us want more. Some of us wont be happy with anything short of first.

For being such an outstanding person, I find many of your statements quite trite. Many people express a desire for more, as well as a disappointment with anything but first.

(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  I'd rather try and fail miserably then live a cookie cutter life. That's the difference between you and me.

You know nothing about my stance relative to trying and failing miserably vs. living a "cookie cutter life", so you don't know that's the difference between us.

(08-05-2013 08:11 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  It doesn't even matter. What do I care if kids 200 years from now are learning my name in history class? I'd be dead. But hey, that's all part of it. They'll be learning my name, not yours. Take it as you will. I don't expect someone who thinks their average insignificant life actually means anything significant to understand.

You've apparently completely misunderstood me. Not once did I claim that my life "actually means anything significant".

You asked a question, but never answered it. What do you care if people will be learning your name? Also, why do you think they will be learning your name?

(08-05-2013 04:06 PM)Luminon Wrote:  All great ideas seem to "exist" out there hovering on the wings of muses.

I would say all ideas are in there, and by "there" I mean the brain.
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09-05-2013, 06:00 AM
RE: Why do some believe in a purpose?
(09-05-2013 04:59 AM)fat cat Wrote:  
(08-05-2013 04:06 PM)Luminon Wrote:  All great ideas seem to "exist" out there hovering on the wings of muses.

I would say all ideas are in there, and by "there" I mean the brain.
Which brain? Ever heard of the simultaneous independent discoveries of bacteriophag, blood types, or (almost) nuclear weapons? Our brains are not the sources, some are just able to draw ideas from the reality, from the natural laws and phenomena and analyze them.
I love when I get a kiss of a muse, albeit a political/intellectual muse. The artistic ones are prettier I heard, but still better than the scientific muses, unless you dig chicks with glasses! Big Grin Wink
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09-05-2013, 06:42 AM
RE: Why do some believe in a purpose?
Sorry, I meant the brains, as in all existing brains. Drawing ideas from reality consists of observing aspects of reality and associating them with other aspects of reality - an idea is just the juxtaposition of sensory data.
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09-05-2013, 05:15 PM
RE: Why do some believe in a purpose?
Thank you all for your input. I had no idea how large of a thread this might turn into, hehe.

Sadly though most of your posts cited personal experience or opinion and had little if anything scientifically factual to offer.

I found very little through my personal research since the original post, but I'll share it with you so that all might benefit.

The article below is an old one but it has exactly the type of indepth scientific approach I was hoping to find.

I'll most likely be purchasing the book cited in the article along with a newer one that the author, Steven Reiss, has published since then.

I hope this reply helps anyone else who might share my curiousity on the subject and again thank you for replying and sharing your thoughts.

Talent hits the target no one else can hit, while genius hits the target no one knew existed.
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