What is the point?

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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 06:39 am
Why do we live? Why do we decide to continue, to strive, to accomplish, and to fail. What is the point when thousands, maybe even hundreds of years from now, noone will be around to remember our accomplishments and failures, short of geographical failures. But even then, those will have no meaning and are finite. Why do we try?
 
Khethil
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 06:53 am
@gotmilk9991,
gotmilk9991;94562 wrote:
... What is the point when thousands, maybe even hundreds of years from now, noone will be around to remember our accomplishments and failures, short of geographical failures. But even then, those will have no meaning and are finite. Why do we try?


These are good questions. To me the short answer is: If there's any point, we have to find and give it that value ourselves (nothing external is going to give that to us). But another way to look at it is this: How might future generations remembering our accomplishments and failures give it a point? In what way, if any, might it give value - or a point?

I think that no matter how we slice and dice it, we end up giving our own existence value - or a point - or not.

.... just my take
 
gotmilk9991
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 06:56 am
@gotmilk9991,
Very true. I'm just torn between the two points. I feel that eventually it won't matter. for example we don't remember the little people [the ones who we've never heard of] from the past. The mesopatamians, the greeks, the average joe of the past. But i also feel that leading a life of meaninglessness makes everything bleak. So it's neccesary to create our own meaning from chaos and meaninglessness.
 
The Jester phil
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 06:57 am
@gotmilk9991,
I live to eat, to survive I go to the toilette.

I truly care not what will be when I will be forever gone. Why then, focusing on a future far away and not that yonder? I have decide to strive, to fail, to accomplish because it was granted to me; for the reason I decided to have duties: to love, to help, to care. The far future is not my concern.

You are right claiming that there will be none to remember our accomplishment, but you with your work, can try to make a better world, and in the far future, your seeds may grow, or may not.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 07:25 am
@gotmilk9991,
For every failure, one could point to a success. Michelangelo could have suggested to the Pope that the Cistene Chapel be wallpapered, Ghandi could have said, "Three cheers for the Raj," and Orville and Wilbur could have enlarged their bicycle shop.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 07:48 am
@gotmilk9991,
gotmilk9991;94562 wrote:
Why do we live? Why do we decide to continue, to strive, to accomplish, and to fail. What is the point when thousands, maybe even hundreds of years from now, noone will be around to remember our accomplishments and failures, short of geographical failures. But even then, those will have no meaning and are finite. Why do we try?



When in usual circumstance, we ask the question, "What is the point of doing Y?"we ask that question in a context; we contrast that question with something we believe has a point. For instance, if I ask, "What is the point of getting married (it is the loss of freedom, and you will probably be divorced) we also believe there is a point in doing other things: for instance, discovering a cure for polio, or listening to a great piece of music.
But your question, "What is the point of doing anything at all?" removes the "What is the point of doing Y?" out of any context, whatsoever. And if, as it seems, you have no answer to the question, "Well, what would you say there is a point in doing?" it is no longer clear what you are asking. In fact, I might now asking you, what is the point of your asking the question, "what is the point of anything?". Do you have an answer to that question?
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:52 am
@gotmilk9991,
gotmilk9991;94562 wrote:
Why do we live? Why do we try?


Hi,

Do you have a favorite game that you play and enjoy playing? I have several. I enjoy playing the games with other people. Is it enough for you to just play the game? Maybe a game of Scrabble, chess, or Hide-and-Seek? Do you enjoy learning how to play the game better? Is that enough?

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:57 am
@richrf,
richrf;94583 wrote:
Hi,

Do you have a favorite game that you play and enjoy playing? I have several. I enjoy playing the games with other people. Is it enough for you to just play the game? Maybe a game of Scrabble, chess, or Hide-and-Seek? Do you enjoy learning how to play the game better? Is that enough?

Rich

And, if you asks, "What is the point of enjoying anything?". What would be your reply?
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 09:01 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;94585 wrote:
And, if you asks, "What is the point of enjoying anything?". What would be your reply?


I don't want to presuppose any replies.

Rich
 
gotmilk9991
 
Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 05:21 am
@gotmilk9991,
MY reply would be for the sake of a reply. I ask my question out of curiousity. For if i really felt like doing so, I could end my life and be done with it all, [ not that i am planning on doing so]. I am merely questioning the values of our values. What does it matter that I enjoy Scrabble, or poetry? In the end of it all, it doesn't matter. The sake of our reason to live, is to allow me or you to feel like we had a reason, when all it is, our lives, are chaos and disorder. No rhyme or reason to our actions except a justification of our lives. Why justify our lives?
 
richrf
 
Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 07:11 am
@gotmilk9991,
gotmilk9991;94740 wrote:
What does it matter that I enjoy Scrabble, or poetry? In the end of it all, it doesn't matter.


For me, it does matter. I enjoy learning new things. It is better than lying around being bored. So I explore with other people in a game-like format (e.g. the stock market, hobbies, sports, etc.).

Where you and I might differ is that I believe these things I learn carry-on for multiple physical. We call these innate, inherited capabilities and instincts. So, whatever I learn (memory) is carried forward into the next physical life. That is why we see some extraordinary talents in each person.

So, if one is strictly materialistic, life becomes a bit of an issue. But I think that materialism is artificially constraining. There is no reason to take this stance. We can observe that people do enter each life with unique capabilities which will be augmented during their life.

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 07:12 am
@richrf,
richrf;94587 wrote:
I don't want to presuppose any replies.

Rich


What would that mean?

---------- Post added 10-02-2009 at 09:23 AM ----------

gotmilk9991;94740 wrote:
MY reply would be for the sake of a reply. I ask my question out of curiousity. For if i really felt like doing so, I could end my life and be done with it all, [ not that i am planning on doing so]. I am merely questioning the values of our values. What does it matter that I enjoy Scrabble, or poetry? In the end of it all, it doesn't matter. The sake of our reason to live, is to allow me or you to feel like we had a reason, when all it is, our lives, are chaos and disorder. No rhyme or reason to our actions except a justification of our lives. Why justify our lives?


My question was, what is the point of enjoying anything. What you say here does not seem to address that question. It was suggested that the point of anything is enjoyment. But the question, what is the point, can be asked about enjoyment too. As I already suggested in an earlier post, the question, what is the point of anything, descends into a mere whine of complaint because it is contextless. There is no context in which to place it. It is like the cry of a baby whose diaper has not yet been changed. Albert Camus suggested in his The Myth of Sisyphus that his answer to the question, why not just commit suicide, was that since there was no point in doing anything, there was no point in committing suicide, either. That is the consequence of committing the fallacy of asking about nothing in particular. It is a good rule of thumb that in philosophy, we should examine the questions before trying to give an answer, for it might very well turn out that no answer is needed or is possible because the question itself is the result of confusion.
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 07:38 am
@gotmilk9991,
gotmilk9991;94740 wrote:
MY reply would be for the sake of a reply. I ask my question out of curiousity. For if i really felt like doing so, I could end my life and be done with it all, [ not that i am planning on doing so]. I am merely questioning the values of our values. What does it matter that I enjoy Scrabble, or poetry? In the end of it all, it doesn't matter. The sake of our reason to live, is to allow me or you to feel like we had a reason, when all it is, our lives, are chaos and disorder. No rhyme or reason to our actions except a justification of our lives. Why justify our lives?


i like this question better, why justify our lives. why indeed? i suppose it is a habit-we have the ability to justify so we feel compelled to do so.

do you feel the need to justify your life? do you feel if you were remembered generations and millenia after your death that would be justification for your life? do you feel something in particular is expected of you?
 
gotmilk9991
 
Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 11:17 am
@gotmilk9991,
WHat man does not feel that he expected great things. From religion to philosphy, there are many topics which say that we owe it to ourselfs, others, the great beyond, whatever, that we owe everyone else. But as our lives are controlled by society, I am a nurture person, I think we all feel, atleast ingeritently feel that we are obligated to do great things.

AS for kennethamy, because you ask a question that you already think you know the answer to, which may not be entirely correct, is because you wish to know others opinions. The sake of enjoyment is an illusion. What we perceive as enjoyment may not actually be enjoyment. So when we are not controlling ourselves, why is there a point to enjoyment. All enjoyment is subjective.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 01:54 am
@gotmilk9991,
gotmilk9991;94790 wrote:
WHat man does not feel that he expected great things. From religion to philosphy, there are many topics which say that we owe it to ourselfs, others, the great beyond, whatever, that we owe everyone else. But as our lives are controlled by society, I am a nurture person, I think we all feel, atleast ingeritently feel that we are obligated to do great things.

AS for kennethamy, because you ask a question that you already think you know the answer to, which may not be entirely correct, is because you wish to know others opinions. The sake of enjoyment is an illusion. What we perceive as enjoyment may not actually be enjoyment. So when we are not controlling ourselves, why is there a point to enjoyment. All enjoyment is subjective.


There is a sense, I suppose, in which we may think we are enjoying something, when we actually are not. For instance, we may be trying to enjoy what people tell us is great music to please those people, and to join them in what they like. But, of course, such things are pretty rare. For the most part, when we think we are enjoying something, we really are enjoying it. That is why we call enjoyment, "subjective". Pain is subjective too, in the same sense, because when we think we are in pain, we really are in pain. In other words, we cannot make a mistake about whether or not we are enjoying something, or whether or not we are in pain. It is that which we mean by calling enjoyment or pain, "subjective". So, of course, all enjoyment (like the feeling of pain) is subjective. What else would it be? Both pain and enjoyments are feelings or sensations, and, of course, all feelings and sensations are subjective.
 
gotmilk9991
 
Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 05:58 am
@gotmilk9991,
Feelings and sensations can be controlled though. In a psychological study, a boy, named Little Albert, was paired with a rabbit. When he stroked the rabbit, bells were slammed behind him, scaring him, he eventually came to fear the rabbit, when in fact he did not fear the rabbit. The sensation of loud noises coupled with stroking the rabbit created association with pain. So therefore it can be assumed that such things can also be done with feelings such as pleasure or enjoyment.
 
melonkali
 
Reply Sun 8 Nov, 2009 02:11 pm
@salima,
salima;94761 wrote:
i like this question better, why justify our lives. why indeed? i suppose it is a habit-we have the ability to justify so we feel compelled to do so.

do you feel the need to justify your life? do you feel if you were remembered generations and millenia after your death that would be justification for your life? do you feel something in particular is expected of you?


Salima,

I think you're spot-on regarding our habit of "justifying" -- our actions, our feelings, our intuitions, and ultimately our lives.

Your question about being remembered generations after one's death as sufficient for "justifying" one's life is an excellent one. Is there really any sufficient answer to the question of what "justifies" one's life, or, referring back to the OP, a sufficient answer about the reason for living, a reason for trying, a "point" to human endeavor? Is there any answer anyone can imagine which would possibly suffice as the "meaning or reason for living"?

Secondly, I wonder even if we could find a personally sufficient answer to these questions, how would it change our present obvious circumstances, responsibilities and actions? Would we cease endeavoring to improve the tragic state of humanity, to lessen the mass suffering in this world we live in, or to lessen the damage we humans increasingly inflict on the very earth that sustains us?

Would we suddenly transform into "great and famous world changers", or would we simply continue as average people, making whatever small difference circumstances allow us for the benefit of "the good", helping others as best we can (even if all we have to offer is a kind word of encouragement, a listening ear, or respect for another's dignity)?

Since I'm at the place where probably 90% of my life is behind me, not before me, I examine my own life's meaning on a smaller, daily basis now. If I've somehow made someone or something or some place a little better, it's been a wonderful, meaningful day!

rebecca
 
IntoTheLight
 
Reply Sat 21 Nov, 2009 06:25 am
@gotmilk9991,
gotmilk9991;94562 wrote:
Why do we live? Why do we decide to continue, to strive, to accomplish, and to fail. What is the point when thousands, maybe even hundreds of years from now, noone will be around to remember our accomplishments and failures, short of geographical failures. But even then, those will have no meaning and are finite. Why do we try?


Sounds like someone has been drinking Nihilism Cola again... =)

Seriously, I think humanity tends to define itself through it's accomplishments, regardless of the finite nature of them.

Also, while we are here, some of the things we do do have value to us. Most people don't look at reality on a cosmic scale.

--IntoTheLight--
 
Camerama
 
Reply Sat 21 Nov, 2009 05:15 pm
@gotmilk9991,
You dont live for your ancestors, friends, family, country, or the future. You live for yourself. What is the point? The point is happiness. Your purpose in life is the achievement of the highest form of happiness
 
IntoTheLight
 
Reply Sat 21 Nov, 2009 05:19 pm
@Camerama,
Camerama;104991 wrote:
You dont live for your ancestors, friends, family, country, or the future. You live for yourself. What is the point? The point is happiness. Your purpose in life is the achievement of the highest form of happiness


That may be your purpose in life, but it's not mine. I'm honestly not sure what my purpose in life is yet, but I am sure it's not Hedonism.

--IntoTheLight--
 
 

 
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