The purpose of existence

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Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 08:33 pm
Hi everyone,

I'm new, and it's good to be here! I just made this proof that if we have a purpose it must be it's own metapurpose.

Please note that, to save space, I am defining nihilism not in the moral sense, but to mean that we have no purpose and are just accidental robots.

Also note that a metapurpose is the purpose of a purpose, the metametapurpose or meta-2-purpose is the purpose of the purpose of the purpose, etc...

There are different possible purposes for us. Some purposes must be right or wrong, by their definition, if we apply Pascal's wager to them. Specifically, all nihilistic purposes must be wrong, since if they were right then we should bet they are wrong anyway. To find the nihilistic purposes, we have to go meta and find the purpose of the purpose. For instance, let's check to see if our purpose is to feel hedonistic pleasure. We need to find the metapurpose- what is the point of making pleasure-seeking your goal in life? Although I have not found a formal objective method for finding whether or not such a metapurpose exists, I am confident that there does not exist such a metapurpose, though this makes the method for deciding whether or not a purpose is nihilist subjective. In a more complex example, to find whether or not becoming rich is a nihilist goal in life, we need to find the metapurpose- to own valuable things- and then the metametapurpose- to be envied- and then the meta-3-purpose- to feel pleasure- and then look at the meta-4-purpose- which doesn't exist. Since there is no reason for seeking pleasure, meaning it is nihilist, then seeking envy is nihilist, and so on, until you reach the bottom and conclude that becoming rich is a nihilist goal and, therefore, cannot be the purpose of our existence. This means that for any purpose, if there is an end to the metapurposes, then that purpose is nihilist and subsequently false, meaning that the only non-nihilist purposes must have an infinite cascade of metapurposes, which means that the ultimate purpose of our existence must remain infinite for it to remain true. However, since infinity + 1 = infinity, the meta-infinity-purpose must be the same as the meta-infinity+1-purpose, meaning that the meta-infinity-purpose must be it's own metapurpose and it's own object-purpose, meaning that we can cascade downward until we finally reach the bottom, our purpose, which has to be the same as it's metapurpose and metametapurpose and the meta-infinity-purpose. Therefore, our purpose in life must be it's own metapurpose.

So, aside from the lack of a formal decision procedure for determining metapurpose existence, are there any flaws in this argument? Any expansions?

Also, is it even possible for something to be it's own metapurpose? If not, then we have no purpose in life!

(Moderator edit: thread moved to more appropriate forum. jgw)
 
noumenon
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 10:42 pm
@noumenon,
Whoops, I didn't define metapurpose-

metapurpose is the purpose of the purpose, metametapurpose
(meta-2-purpose) is the purpose of the purpose of the purpose, etc...
 
MuseEvolution
 
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 03:41 pm
@noumenon,
And the purpose of a porpoise?
 
ACWaller
 
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 11:00 am
@noumenon,
I think that the argument depends on the assumption that:

if A has the purpose of B and B has no purpose, then neither does A.

Do you agree? If so, could you explain why this is the case?
 
Kolbe
 
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 07:20 pm
@noumenon,
Erm, just one that I can see, and that's a bit of a mathematical one. You can never add one to infinity, to do so would make the product infinity but make one of the additive numbers (infinity - 1). It's just that as infinity is meant to be the largest number by all definitions it is logically impossible to add one to it, as then it would not be infinity.
 
ACWaller
 
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 10:23 am
@Kolbe,
Sounds interesting to try though, so I had a go:

Defining infinity as 1/0:

infinity+1
=1/0+1
=1/0+(1*0)/0
=1/0+0/0
=(1+0)/0
=1/0
=infinity
 
noumenon
 
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 12:19 pm
@ACWaller,
ACWaller wrote:
I think that the argument depends on the assumption that:

if A has the purpose of B and B has no purpose, then neither does A.

Do you agree? If so, could you explain why this is the case?


Yes, I agree. Basically the metapurpose, metametapurpose (and the meta-3-purpose, etc) are parts of the purpose, since it helps define the purpose. For example, if you have the purpose of "To survive" as your goal in life, but cannot justify it with a metapurpose, then there is no point to making "To survive" your purpose either.

Also, aleph-naught(AKA infinity)+1 is aleph-naught, it's a commonly known mathematical rule.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2009 10:50 pm
@noumenon,
When I first read "Pascal's wager", I honestly didn't have a clue what that entailed, so I decided to do some research. For those that didn't have a clue, like me, here's a summation of Blaise Pascal's wager (from wikipedia):

"Even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should "wager" as though God exists, because so living has everything to gain, and nothing to lose"

This doesn't really sit well for me. For one, notionally, anything can exist. Each human can construct their own notion of "God", just as they can construct any other notion. In fact, culturally, the notions of "God" vary sometimes diametrically in their 'being', not even taking into account individual thought. So, to some, "God" can be determined through reason. Why? Because you can meld the notion of "God" the way you see fit, and many do. This means then that Pascal is already applying his notion of "God"; the wager is inherently flawed. Moreover, even if someone did have a notion of "God" that was identical to his, by a long shot, probability theory shouldn't be involved as it appears to be contradictory to his 'wager'. To involve probability theory, which is essentially where the 'wager' is going, puts the basis of "God" on reason (the thing he just said God's existence couldn't be determined by)

Onto purpose...

noumenon wrote:
This means that for any purpose, if there is an end to the metapurposes, then that purpose is nihilist and subsequently false, meaning that the only non-nihilist purposes must have an infinite cascade of metapurposes, which means that the ultimate purpose of our existence must remain infinite for it to remain true


It's impossible to have a meta-infinity-purpose for a mortal being, unless you're making the assumption that we live on in some way past biological existence. If you choose to believe we do not live on, there can most definitely be an end to a metapurpose - and it could the purpose of life. We apply meaning, and have the power to construct purpose to our consciousness. If someone spent their entire existence on this earth striving to become rich because of the aforementioned metapurposes in your post, that would be their purpose. If it wasn't their purpose, then what would you call the life they just led? Not their purpose? So, their existence was purposeless, as opposed to? None of this is even taking into account that you've streamlined the idea of purpose to fit this theory.

If we conclude that every action is made possible by self-intent, even if it's on the most subconscious of cognitive levels (there's a whole other thread on this, if you'd like to check it out), then every single one of those metapurposes has an ending. That is, no matter what one does, it can always lead back to desire, as we are a product of our desires, even if we aren't rationalizing the desire at the moment. And since essentially any desire is considered to be nihilistic and not worthy of purpose in this theory (since there would always be a metapurpose ending), no one is capable of having purpose.

MuseEvolution wrote:

And the purpose of a porpoise?


Very good point, I'm surprised people ignored this. Are you only applying this theory to humans that have a developed frontal lobe, or is every being, even those that may not even be able to rationalize a fraction we can, included? If other beings are, especially those not even capable of having the nihilist metapurposes you suggested, how do they fit into this theory? I mean, if we're trying to deduce the purpose of existence, we can't just begin and stop at humans, right?
 
Kolbe
 
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 04:15 am
@ACWaller,
ACWaller;43613 wrote:
Sounds interesting to try though, so I had a go:

Defining infinity as 1/0:

infinity+1
=1/0+1
=1/0+(1*0)/0
=1/0+0/0
=(1+0)/0
=1/0
=infinity


1/0+1=1/0+(1*0)/0
1=(1*0)/0

???
 
Alexander phil
 
Reply Mon 9 Mar, 2009 04:30 am
@noumenon,
Too much maths for me to contribute to this one Razz. Infinity is a concept and a reality. I don't think its a mathmatical sum.
 
 

 
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