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The "Purpose" of Life


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#31 Frangible

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 01:05 PM

QUOTE
dont every let anyone tell you that you arent really happy, or the right kind of happy


Especially yourself.
"In short, self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy; let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection-- or compassionate action." -Daniel Goleman, "Social Intelligence"

"But the unfortunate monkeys had lost all sense of how to respond emotionally to other monkeys in their band. Even when one made a friendly approach, they would run away, and eventually lived as isolates, shunning contact with their own troop." -Daniel Goleman, "Emotional Intelligence"

#32 steppen_wolf

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 02:21 PM

QUOTE(Strateg0s @ Nov 9 2006, 09:57 AM) View Post

Guess you missed this:

Your understanding of power seems to come from listening to the bad guys in cartoons, or (what is the mirror of the same) Noam Chomsky.


OT, but..well...

Bad guys in the cartoons. Did you notice the issue ..the driving force in the movie "The incredibles" ?It came down to what..being special. This very successful, highly entertaining movie took time, effort and great attention to detail in both the artistic drawing as well as the script. It was not an idle choice for that "message." It's been a few years of course, but it was a one liner that summed that movie.

The bad character in effect became evil because the special people would not include him and...the incredibles wanted to maintain their specialness.

Nice story and all, but realize all that occured in the movie ..to maintain being special, one has to have those that are not special and they have to treat them less than nicely. Nice message to feed children.
..........
Chomsky? The only argument (on this board) I've heard against chomsky is S8's. And it seemed to lack muster (he stated that chomsky had to believe something, whereas in reading any of his books, it's clear that is simply untrue.)

But..what the hell.




Little boys on the playground take things they want from others and are punished for doing so. Little girls convince others to give up thier things and are not punished. We reward the feminine way and punish the natural male tendacy. Are we not then, in civilized societies feminizing the beast known as man? Who is it that gets to make that ruling that negotiating is better than physical aggresion, when they both have the same result? Why is negotiating better? -- From a movie "dragon" - touch me, and i'll touch you back.

#33 Strateg0s

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 03:54 PM

QUOTE
to maintain being special, one has to have those that are not special and they have to treat them less than nicely. Nice message to feed children.
I must admit that I haven't seen the movie, but it doesn't sound like such a bad message... at least if children are simultaneously informed that the belittlement or derision of one's inferiors is simply the mirror of leveling and resentful egalitarianism - and that both are ignoble, vulgar, and unjust.

To put it in simpler terms, Nietzsche was rather of the "pick on someone your own size" school of thought, finding aesthetically repulsive ignobility whether it were to come from the weak or the strong (here understood in the most rudimentary, or political, way). Kalos (beautiful/noble) behaviour, something evidencing power, is by no means exclusive to the troglodytically strong, indeed victory in that realm rarely fails to summon corruption and embasement.
"The difficulty lies elsewhere. It is not easy to free one's mind from the impact of any apparently beneficient authority, for such freeing requires that one step outside of the circle warmed and charmed by the authority to be questioned. Yet it is necessary to make the effort."

#34 steppen_wolf

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 11:04 PM

QUOTE(Strateg0s @ Nov 10 2006, 03:54 PM) View Post

I must admit that I haven't seen the movie, but it doesn't sound like such a bad message... at least if children are simultaneously informed that the belittlement or derision of one's inferiors is simply the mirror of leveling and resentful egalitarianism - and that both are ignoble, vulgar, and unjust.

To put it in simpler terms, Nietzsche was rather of the "pick on someone your own size" school of thought, finding aesthetically repulsive ignobility whether it were to come from the weak or the strong (here understood in the most rudimentary, or political, way). Kalos (beautiful/noble) behaviour, something evidencing power, is by no means exclusive to the troglodytically strong, indeed victory in that realm rarely fails to summon corruption and embasement.


I'm thoroughly interested in Nietzche's socio-political recommendation. If a disciple of Nietzche were granted full authority to design a government consistent to Nietzche what would it look like?
Little boys on the playground take things they want from others and are punished for doing so. Little girls convince others to give up thier things and are not punished. We reward the feminine way and punish the natural male tendacy. Are we not then, in civilized societies feminizing the beast known as man? Who is it that gets to make that ruling that negotiating is better than physical aggresion, when they both have the same result? Why is negotiating better? -- From a movie "dragon" - touch me, and i'll touch you back.

#35 Strateg0s

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 10:55 AM

QUOTE(steppen_wolf @ Nov 11 2006, 12:04 AM) View Post
I'm thoroughly interested in Nietzche's socio-political recommendation. If a disciple of Nietzche were granted full authority to design a government consistent to Nietzche what would it look like?

Difficult to explain with the brevity of a forum post. Go and read Rousseau's "Considerations on the Government of Poland." Nietzsche would not be in disagreement with most of Rousseau's presentation as to the best kind of political arrangement. That said, Nietzsche would (as did Rousseau) recognize this as being almost utterly unachieveable, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances, and in any case, something which could simply not be maintained. For one thing, it would require limited size, isolation, and 'a fresh start'. Nietzsche, Rousseau, and Plato are in agreement at least about the limitations of politics. Enjoying the fruits of a stable and prosperous political system are things to be desired, but beyond that, highly active political involvement if it is ironically for the betterment of the inferior, it is to the detriment of the superior. Consider, likewise, the reasons Descartes gives, in Discourse on Method, for situating himself in Holland. People can learn to live freely, even under despotism, as from Tacitus, but it is obviously greatly to be preferred to live in the most pleasant and free circumstances - America today is not unlike Tocqueville's described "soft despotism." In short, there are those who require politics to do things for them, and they are in fact benefited by having these things done; there are others who enjoy "the wages of the best," which is to not be ruled by (or obligated to and in service of) their inferiors. For these, they can still contribute to the betterment of "their" society, but it is more to be understood in the sense of a gift to strangers.
"The difficulty lies elsewhere. It is not easy to free one's mind from the impact of any apparently beneficient authority, for such freeing requires that one step outside of the circle warmed and charmed by the authority to be questioned. Yet it is necessary to make the effort."

#36 Colin

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 04:50 PM

QUOTE(Gahan @ Nov 7 2006, 05:06 PM) View Post

What of his should I begin my reading with?


If you haven;t already picked some of Niezche's works up yet,I'd start with Beyond Good & Evil.

Contrary to what D Sade has said,the Geanology Of Morals is hardly a "nice,easy read".

All of his works should be read and read again to glean a better understanding of his philoposhy,nothing should be glossed over without full comprehension.

To further my first point,Nietzche essentially assumed the reader was familiar with Beyond Good & Evil before reading Geanology.

IMHO/FWIW,the former is virtually a prerequisite for the latter.


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#37 Gahan

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 12:03 PM

QUOTE(Colin @ Nov 14 2006, 01:50 PM) View Post

If you haven;t already picked some of Niezche's works up yet,I'd start with Beyond Good & Evil.

Contrary to what D Sade has said,the Geanology Of Morals is hardly a "nice,easy read".

All of his works should be read and read again to glean a better understanding of his philoposhy,nothing should be glossed over without full comprehension.

To further my first point,Nietzche essentially assumed the reader was familiar with Beyond Good & Evil before reading Geanology.

IMHO/FWIW,the former is virtually a prerequisite for the latter.



I bought Beyond Good and Evil and am currently going through my first reading.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread.

#38 DaRooster

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 01:33 PM

QUOTE(Gahan @ Nov 6 2006, 12:38 PM) View Post

Once one reaches the logical conclusion that knowledge of a relevant deity is probably not possible, that humans are just a walking chemical reaction, that all the meaning in the world is simply imposed by our minds, angst is usually the result. But angst does not suit me and is childish. Instead I accepted my fate and started focusing on what is left.

Some time ago I reached the conclusion that the seeking of pleasure (balanced between the short and long term) is of the paramount importance. That as long as I am here I might as well seek my own personal ends and run on my proverbial hamster's wheel. The fact that I will die and become nothing usually does not bother me, I view it as something that must be accepted and shows how me must 'seize the day'.

That is pretty much my worldview at the moment. The problem is I have an inkling (as one of my limited expereince and philosophical development should) that I am full of bullshit.

Comments?

Pleasure to you may be, molesting 4 year olds(sorry just an example,nothing personal) but to a higher evolved being, pleasure may be selfless life of service to his own kind. You have not defined pleasure for everyone.


#39 D Sade

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 02:32 PM

QUOTE(DaRooster @ Dec 17 2006, 10:33 AM) View Post

Pleasure to you may be, molesting 4 year olds(sorry just an example,nothing personal) but to a higher evolved being, pleasure may be selfless life of service to his own kind. You have not defined pleasure for everyone.

Define "higher evolved" in relation to you your odd choice of using "pleasure" and "selfless service."

If it is pleasurable, then it is not selfless.
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#40 Strateg0s

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 03:23 PM

"Selfless" is a very concise encapsulation of an extremely deep and seemingly close to ineradicable confusion in the minds of humans. It involves deep hopes tied to fundamental fears, convictions of deserving confused with grace given worth, and a natural desire for domination next to the angst of known impotence.
"The difficulty lies elsewhere. It is not easy to free one's mind from the impact of any apparently beneficient authority, for such freeing requires that one step outside of the circle warmed and charmed by the authority to be questioned. Yet it is necessary to make the effort."

#41 urbanachiever

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 07:39 PM

QUOTE(DaRooster @ Dec 17 2006, 01:33 PM) View Post

selfless life of service to


I cant remember who said it, but I thought there was no such thing as selfless service. In fact you said it defines pleasure for "higher evolved", meaning that in fact it isnt selfless, but for the self.

#42 steppen_wolf

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 01:38 AM

QUOTE(urbanachiever @ Dec 17 2006, 07:39 PM) View Post

I cant remember who said it, but I thought there was no such thing as selfless service. In fact you said it defines pleasure for "higher evolved", meaning that in fact it isnt selfless, but for the self.


are you stating that everything done by humans is "self?" I have no problem with strat's post, but you state something a little different.
Little boys on the playground take things they want from others and are punished for doing so. Little girls convince others to give up thier things and are not punished. We reward the feminine way and punish the natural male tendacy. Are we not then, in civilized societies feminizing the beast known as man? Who is it that gets to make that ruling that negotiating is better than physical aggresion, when they both have the same result? Why is negotiating better? -- From a movie "dragon" - touch me, and i'll touch you back.

#43 urbanachiever

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 06:34 PM

QUOTE(steppen_wolf @ Dec 18 2006, 01:38 AM) View Post

are you stating that everything done by humans is "self?" I have no problem with strat's post, but you state something a little different.


Im not sure, but what is there that is truely selfless? Helping sick my well be in all appearances selfless, but one most probably wouldnt do it if they werent feeling good about it. Hummm, Im thinking I need to go back and read Foucault, which is probably where I read the argument..

#44 steppen_wolf

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 08:45 PM

QUOTE(urbanachiever @ Dec 18 2006, 06:34 PM) View Post

Im not sure, but what is there that is truely selfless? Helping sick my well be in all appearances selfless, but one most probably wouldnt do it if they werent feeling good about it. Hummm, Im thinking I need to go back and read Foucault, which is probably where I read the argument..



I think things like duty and obligation arise that go beyond self and selfish.
Some leadership training leds me to this thinking.


In the end, our choices satisfy something - some rule, some feeling - - we make decisions to satisfy some "thing." If one simply maintains that the act of satisfying is pleasurable than yeah, it's all selfishness. and doing good for others in most cases is selfish. For me doing what i consider good things for others to my apparent detriment, satisfies peace of mind for me - it allows me to sleep better thinking I am not the monster that can ignore and or do nothing about the problems that are so apparent.

It's hard to make that same pleasure argument when a mother smoothers her child in a combat zone knowing that eveyone including the child will die if she does not. That is very difficult to argue as "pleasurable."

Another case is - consider this scenario:
you are trained army ranger - if anyone can live off the scarity of the land you now find yourself in, it is you. You are also accompanied by your wife and infant child. After several days of no food and bare minimum water, you find a small but significant soure of nutrition. Consider for illustrative purposes only 1 person gets that nutrition. who will that be?

But mostly when, in the original context where selfless was used in a post of two above, it was a misunderstanding. Pure altruism is a concept that is very difficult to prove if ever occured. Doing good for others, in the context above again, can always be shown to be doing good for you.
Little boys on the playground take things they want from others and are punished for doing so. Little girls convince others to give up thier things and are not punished. We reward the feminine way and punish the natural male tendacy. Are we not then, in civilized societies feminizing the beast known as man? Who is it that gets to make that ruling that negotiating is better than physical aggresion, when they both have the same result? Why is negotiating better? -- From a movie "dragon" - touch me, and i'll touch you back.

#45 urbanachiever

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 11:30 PM

QUOTE(steppen_wolf @ Dec 18 2006, 08:45 PM) View Post

I think things like duty and obligation arise that go beyond self and selfish.
Some leadership training leds me to this thinking.
In the end, our choices satisfy something - some rule, some feeling - - we make decisions to satisfy some "thing." If one simply maintains that the act of satisfying is pleasurable than yeah, it's all selfishness. and doing good for others in most cases is selfish. For me doing what i consider good things for others to my apparent detriment, satisfies peace of mind for me - it allows me to sleep better thinking I am not the monster that can ignore and or do nothing about the problems that are so apparent.

It's hard to make that same pleasure argument when a mother smoothers her child in a combat zone knowing that eveyone including the child will die if she does not. That is very difficult to argue as "pleasurable."

Another case is - consider this scenario:
you are trained army ranger - if anyone can live off the scarity of the land you now find yourself in, it is you. You are also accompanied by your wife and infant child. After several days of no food and bare minimum water, you find a small but significant soure of nutrition. Consider for illustrative purposes only 1 person gets that nutrition. who will that be?

But mostly when, in the original context where selfless was used in a post of two above, it was a misunderstanding. Pure altruism is a concept that is very difficult to prove if ever occured. Doing good for others, in the context above again, can always be shown to be doing good for you.


Could it be that saving the child will mean your DNA will survive? Im not sure if there is a complete seperation between mother and child.

"duty and obligation" could very well bring you pleasure, it seems that these words bring in the reciprical relationship of above and below. In the case of a war, if you thought it was a worthless cause, you probably wouldnt go. What exactly are duty and obligation? If one believes in these, one may well receive pleasure of somesort in following through. Being remembered a good man probably motivates more than a few.


"Some leadership training leds me to this thinking."
Training helps one to make decisions. The structure of it helps rationalize. Following can make one feel good about the self.
As you said-
"Pure altruism is a concept that is very difficult to prove if ever occured. Doing good for others, in the context above again, can always be shown to be doing good for you."




#46 Frangible

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 12:17 AM

QUOTE(urbanachiever @ Dec 18 2006, 09:30 PM) View Post

"Pure altruism is a concept that is very difficult to prove if ever occured. Doing good for others, in the context above again, can always be shown to be doing good for you."


The Dalai Lama has said it's basically "enlightened self interest". Self interest is easy. It's the enlightened part that's hard wink.gif
"In short, self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy; let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection-- or compassionate action." -Daniel Goleman, "Social Intelligence"

"But the unfortunate monkeys had lost all sense of how to respond emotionally to other monkeys in their band. Even when one made a friendly approach, they would run away, and eventually lived as isolates, shunning contact with their own troop." -Daniel Goleman, "Emotional Intelligence"

#47 geigertube

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 07:51 PM

QUOTE(Frangible @ Jan 16 2007, 09:17 PM) View Post

The Dalai Lama has said it's basically "enlightened self interest". Self interest is easy. It's the enlightened part that's hard wink.gif



Wasn't delayed gratification used as a EQ metric?
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#48 Frangible

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 11:09 AM

QUOTE(geigertube @ Jan 17 2007, 05:51 PM) View Post

Wasn't delayed gratification used as a EQ metric?


Dunno, but it's certainly a manifestation of the mPFC or OFC suppressing limbic system impulsiveness, a marker of the benefit of the large human frontal lobe. Speaking of which, I think my mPFC/OFC could do a better job suppressing my impulsive web browsing and forum whoring wink.gif
"In short, self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy; let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection-- or compassionate action." -Daniel Goleman, "Social Intelligence"

"But the unfortunate monkeys had lost all sense of how to respond emotionally to other monkeys in their band. Even when one made a friendly approach, they would run away, and eventually lived as isolates, shunning contact with their own troop." -Daniel Goleman, "Emotional Intelligence"

#49 BKPRICE

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 01:44 PM

Cool points made by all. This question is like the dog chasing the tail, great mental exercise and is a fun way to expand thinking in general. I think its really a two part question though, if you did find the meaning of life by chance, would it make a difference?

Personaly, the meaning of life is pretty simple in my book, you observe, think and evolve. Sense we are the Universe, if you do the three mentioned then they Universe is also doing it. We are the eyes and ears of the Universe, it needs info and we as Humans are just a tool for a expanding Universe.

In fact, chaos is good. Humans run different versions of Morals and beliefs systems which of course is like running millions of Beta versions of every event. Moral or unmoral is really a Human question that the Universe doesnt care about.

So, the second part of the part of the questions is, does it matter? For me it doesnt, if the meaning of life is something that I am already doing, even before I knew it, then finding it wouldnt really make a difference. If I am wrong and happy, then what purpose would there be to even look for it. If I am sad and look for it, I will never know if am right, nobody there to approve it for me but another person who thinks he is right that never got it appoved either. Chasing the tail gets old and will make you insane. Just pick one and make the best of it.

#50 Loki

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 01:41 PM

rather ironic that for the vast majority of the introspectively attuned Nietzsche is the pitch black night right before a majestic dawn, and yet the man could never contribute enough for/to himself to overcome the encumbrance of his own gifts.

genius is a long, drawn-out struggle...


I wrote this post a long time ago, a real long time ago (back in '94)

#51 Section 8

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 11:14 PM

QUOTE(Loki @ Apr 29 2007, 11:41 AM) View Post
rather ironic that for the vast majority of the introspectively attuned Nietzsche is the pitch black night right before a majestic dawn, and yet the man could never contribute enough for/to himself to overcome the encumbrance of his own gifts.

genius is a long, drawn-out struggle...


The dude DID suffer from a progressive ailment that left him incapable of enjoying more or less anything, mind you.
Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.
Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think:
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world's not.

#52 Loki

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 05:18 PM

QUOTE(Section 8 @ Apr 29 2007, 08:14 PM) View Post
The dude DID suffer from a progressive ailment that left him incapable of enjoying more or less anything, mind you.



Right, but the real deterioration didn't set on until he was in his 30s, and he was full-blown suicidal and misanthropic by then, and yet was still in passable enough health to write prolifically. Health & happiness seem far more parallax than parallel for our boy Friedrich.

I would argue he psychologically unraveled far before the actual neurobiology was really coming apart. That is my interpretation, although you may be more versed in the biographical bits and pieces of his life than I...


I wrote this post a long time ago, a real long time ago (back in '94)

#53 Miramar

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 11:18 PM

I sometimes wish that I were a Christian, they know you simply live to suffer, but believe there is a heaven at the end, I sometimes wonder if with that mentality you are somehow enjoying your suffering with the knowledge that, the more you suffer and react accordingly, the greater you're "heavenly" reward will be? Ignorance is bliss they say. Anyway if you’re content most of your life, you've succeeded in my book. By all means gather all the fleeting pleasures you can, that's all we've got in this shit life.

#54 neuron

neuron

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 11:22 PM

42=Happiness, for Homo Sapiens, I concur.




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