Jump to content

Welcome Guest!

Welcome to UK Pagan; The Valley

Like most online communities we require you to register for an account before we give you access to read and post.

Only a small number of our forum areas can be read without registering for an account.

The Magick Shop
Please consider visiting our kind sponsor: The Magick Shop
Veggie dancer

Is there a point?

Recommended Posts

Earthdragon
23 hours ago, Ellinas said:

nothing more than an idea which can be copied, and amended, in the minds of others

I'd contrast that with another version which could be

"A set of uniquely experienced outcomes based on a shared purpose which enlivens, empowers and inspires" 

23 hours ago, Ellinas said:

fact remains that it is a "purpose" only in the context of the assumptions and the limited circumstances found acceptable in each mind that receives it without further questioning

I think I understand what you're saying Ellinas. Just to be sure can you give a couple of examples? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ad from Google

Earthdragon
On 10/3/2018 at 4:54 PM, Moonsmith said:

I have not posted this link for a few months, time that I did again.

A lecturer at University recommended me to read Richard Feynman. I loaned Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character to my brother who laughed as hard as I did over it. I was a bit shocked at the way he described his treatment of women though.

The lecturer quoted Feynman in his reply to my question about the philosophical angle of the choice of axioms in certain branches of mathematics. "No no no" he said " don't get into philosophy - stick to maths. Philosophy won't get you anywhere. Maths is useful"

Hehe I think he sensed my wayward proclivities.... 

Edited by Earthdragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonsmith
2 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

I loaned Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character to my brother who laughed as hard as I did over it. I was a bit shocked at the way he described his treatment of women though. 

I still have that book.  His flirtations were typical of the hot house atmosphere of Los Alamos at the time, similar in many ways to Bletchley. 

I took several lessons from it:-  If you want it, ask for it [in any situation] and no matter how simple a task, if you are performing in public, rehearse, rehearse and rehearse.  I learned the concept of fuzzy logic and fuzzy mathematics from reading Feynman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ellinas
On 10/4/2018 at 10:03 PM, Earthdragon said:

I think I understand what you're saying Ellinas. Just to be sure can you give a couple of examples? 

Hmm...  Examples...

Well, let's take Veggie's idea that the purpose of her lungs is the breathe air.  Let's assume "purpose" rather than "function".

A person (let's call this person "X") may say: "The purpose of my lungs is to breathe air".  X may stop there and find that a perfectly sound description of a purposive rationale for having lungs, if X assumes that the existence of lungs is an end in itself.

Alternatively, X may then say: "So, whats the purpose of breathing air?"

In answer, X may say "I breathe air that I might live".  And X may find that a perfectly sound description of a purposive rationale for breathing air if X assumes that life is an end in itself.

Alternatively, X may then say: "So, what's the point in living?"

In answer, X may then say: "People live in order than humanity may continue".  And X may find that a perfectly sound description of a purposive rationale for living if X assumes that the survival of the species is an end in itself.

Alternatively, X may then say: "So, what's the point of the survival of humanity?"

X could give various answers.  If an Abrahamic monotheist, X might say "Humanity must survive because that is what god willed".  Perhaps, if X takes a view like Moonsmith, X might say "Humanity is the most rationally advanced of the known sense organs of the universe".  From a purely materialistic standpoint, X might simply say "self interest".

The latter reply would close down further enquiry - because it is a statement that "this is where the boundary is set and I conceive of no further legitimate enquiry".  Self interest, in fact, is the single most effective answer to this reasoning, and possibly the only honest representation of the rationale for closing down the enquiry process at any stage.  As regards the other two viewpoints, X could enquire after whether there is any point to the will of god, or whether there is any point to the universe investigating itself.  Whatever answer X finds, X may accept - thereby setting the limit on further enquiry and establishing "purpose" within the boundaries X has decided to adopt.  Or X may carry on - until, conceivably, X reaches the point where no further purpose can be identified.  Of course, X may identify such with further thought.  At that point, X either accepts that as the ultimate purpose sufficient to provide the rationale that is sought, or may decide to question further still.

Bottom line, I can conceive of no answer that is beyond further questioning save where it is followed by: "I choose to question no further" - an answer which will often, if not always, come down to "This is where my self interest tells me it is time to stop".  That will, generally, be before the point where the identifiable answers run out and the conclusion that the question "What's the point?" either has no answer or, at least, no identifiable answer, becomes a serious possibility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Veggie dancer

Maybe the ultimate point is not the point. Maybe the reason is the asking. 

I mean maybe the asking, the wondering, the enquiring, the exploration, the journey: maybe that is the reason for the destination not the other way around.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
On 10/6/2018 at 12:59 AM, Moonsmith said:
On 10/5/2018 at 10:39 PM, Earthdragon said:

loaned Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character to my brother who laughed as hard as I did over it. I was a bit shocked at the way he described his treatment of women though. 

I still have that book.  His flirtations were typical of the hot house atmosphere of Los Alamos at the time, similar in many ways to Bletchley. 

I think things went a lot deeper though for Feynman in this area. Almost to the level of dissociation ( making a bridge over to spectacular of the Multiple Personality Disorder thread relevant), Feynman , although apparently of high morals violently attacked his wife and she divorced him for this. The background being that he worked on calculus problems in his head at all times of the day and repeatedly flew into a rage if she interrupted him. 

How I tend to think of this is- It brings up the issue of balance and how being overfocussed on one aspect of life can squeeze one into splitting away from one's personal morals or conscience. Feynman clearly lived too much in his head s d his rationality in order to being a stable relationship and ended up objectifying his wife in the process...

That doesn't take anything away from what he achieved in physics research but is part of the context of that though...

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
10 hours ago, Ellinas said:

.  As regards the other two viewpoints, X could enquire after whether there is any point to the will of god, or whether there is any point to the universe investigating itself.  Whatever answer X finds, X may accept - thereby setting the limit on further enquiry and establishing "purpose" within the boundaries X has decided to adopt.  Or X may carry on - until, conceivably, X reaches the point where no further purpose can be identified.  Of course, X may identify such with further thought.  At that point, X either accepts that as the ultimate purpose sufficient to provide the rationale that is sought, or may decide to question further still.

That fills out what you were saying in a really clear way, Ellinas, thank you taking the time to write that.

I knew someone a long time ago who used to occasionally use this sort of approach an ask someone reasonably "clever" , in a social setting as a joke, to answer a question or a problem and then ask them why that was the answer. Then, whatever they said , she would ask them why that also was the case. As this went on the answers got shorter until the usual end point was - "because that's the way it is!" at which point she and everyone else would roll with laughter!

If we are looking to represent reality with concepts in order to understand ultimate meaning then yes I see it that we may carry on questioning  in the way you depict. 

The answer to a mathematical problem for example is static ( though there can of course be multiple approaches to acquiring a solution and repeatedly questioning those solutions gives rise to the ultimate need to invoke the axioms that the methods are relaxing upon ) .

My issue and take on it is that conceptual understanding will always be partial as regards true or full meaning because the  rational mind is only part of our faculties for experiencing and relating to world and our own selves.

In short to actually understand the Abrahamic meaning as following the will of god one would have to actually experience that, to understand the self exploration of the universe one would have to go into that and experience it. 

So knowledge of meaning in this way is dynamic and  is in the experiencing and the outcome of that experiencing. And this then will likely produce a new sense of self and a growth in one's capacities so that going through it again will be a different experience. It won't be a fixed outcome. We are in a state of becoming.

Edited by Earthdragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
26 minutes ago, Earthdragon said:

making a bridge over to spectacular of the Multiple Personality Disorder thread relevant), Feynman , although apparently of high morals

Meant "subject of multiple Personality Disorder (DID)" .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
On 9/25/2018 at 12:57 PM, Moonsmith said:

Each to their own but I prefer to look at this in the way nature has been demonstrated to work its systems, rather that force myself to have faith in something for which I can find no evidence at all.

Does this count as evidence in  your view, Moonsmith?

From https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/life-after-death/

“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” Dr. Parnia told National Post. “But in this case conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.”

Although only 2% of patients could explicitly recall ‘seeing’ or ‘hearing’ actual events, because the details were consistent with verified events, it is impossible to discredit them at this stage and more work is needed."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonsmith
3 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

Meant "subject of multiple Personality Disorder (DID)" .

He helped to build and saw the effects of the first atomic bomb.

I shall not condone but perhaps I can view with understanding.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonsmith
3 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

Does this count as evidence in  your view, Moonsmith?

From https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/life-after-death/

No ED, not yet.

First and foremost ED, if you seek or anticipate life after death then I have no intention of disrespecting your hopes or certainties.

For me the Earth is my home.  It is not a waiting room for the next stage.  I value every moment of now that I have been gifted and bear no resentment that my share of it is limited.  If I have a point to my existence it is here in the life in which I sit typing.

We have been getting better at diagnosing death over the last 150 years but we haven't got it right yet.  From this article I do not know what is going on but clearly the respondents had not died.  We do know that the brain floods with endorphins around the time of death [as we currently define it].

 

3 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” Dr. Parnia told National Post. “But in this case conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.”

My own heart has been stopped and restarted in a process called cardioversion.  There are several different procedures, in my case they chose cardiac arrest and restart - three times.  It didn't change my heart rythm and I am now battery powered!    An excitable friend was alarmed saying "They are going to kill you!"  Someone else has asked how I know that I am the same person that had their heart stopped 🙂   I do not know how long my heart was stopped but operating the paddles takes about twenty seconds.  That I have no memories is not evidence of anything.

There are many factors around surviving cardiac arrest but 20 - 30 seconds is a serious underestimate of a  time limit on survival. Even at room temperature a more typical time would be a minute.  Abnormal cases two standard deviations from the norm are not unimaginable. At much lower temperatures I understand that 45 minutes has been recorded but that isn't evidence either.

3 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

Although only 2% of patients could explicitly recall ‘seeing’ or ‘hearing’ actual events, because the details were consistent with verified events, it is impossible to discredit them at this stage and more work is needed."

I totally agree and shall be very interested in any follow up research whether its aim is to discover something beyond this life or to better define death.  One thing that science knows is that it is wrong - but mostly less wrong that other systems.

I'm enjoying my now.  It is a beautiful day with a liquid golden sunlight slanting through leaves which are still bright green but today tinged with gilding.  There is a nest of hornets somewhere around.  Viewed normally they look like giant wasps but in this light the stripes disappear and the whole body glows coppery gold.  Yes, I still have a little now in which I might discover the point. [See Piet Hein in my signature 🙂 ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ellinas
9 hours ago, Veggie dancer said:

Maybe the ultimate point is not the point. Maybe the reason is the asking. 

I mean maybe the asking, the wondering, the enquiring, the exploration, the journey: maybe that is the reason for the destination not the other way around.

Indeed, that is a perfectly reasonable response to "what's the point?", and one with which I have some sympathy.

But it still assumes that the process of searching is a justified end in itself and the place where you draw the boundary of enquiry.  There is nothing to stop you then asking "what is the point of seeking to understand...?", at which point the implied answer to your "maybe" becomes "that is not sufficient". 

8 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

...

I knew someone a long time ago who used to occasionally use this sort of approach an ask someone reasonably "clever" , in a social setting as a joke, to answer a question or a problem and then ask them why that was the answer. Then, whatever they said , she would ask them why that also was the case. As this went on the answers got shorter until the usual end point was - "because that's the way it is!" at which point she and everyone else would roll with laughter!

...

My issue and take on it is that conceptual understanding will always be partial as regards true or full meaning because the  rational mind is only part of our faculties for experiencing and relating to world and our own selves.

In short to actually understand the Abrahamic meaning as following the will of god one would have to actually experience that, to understand the self exploration of the universe one would have to go into that and experience it. 

So knowledge of meaning in this way is dynamic and  is in the experiencing and the outcome of that experiencing. And this then will likely produce a new sense of self and a growth in one's capacities so that going through it again will be a different experience. It won't be a fixed outcome. We are in a state of becoming.

As an amusing intellectual trick, yes this is a method that could be used.  However, the process of your acquaintance's questioning illustrates my point.  "That's the way it is" is the point at which my putative X would say: "I am satisfied with that answer and no further enquiry is warranted".

Experience has it's place but, for me, it feeds into the rational process.  I cannot understand the experience or analyse the effect without reason.  In fact, having been on the Abrahamic path in my time, and having experienced that "will of god" stuff, I have to say that the prime difference between me and those of my acquaintance that remain in that fold is that I continued to question and think beyond the boundaries that the religion would impose.  They exercise their reason within those boundaries.

Perhaps that's why I see this as a process of continual questioning and setting of boundaries, even if it is process that, taken to it's extreme, results in the acknowledgement that the "point" may not be identifiable even if it exists.

Edited by Ellinas
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
On 10/7/2018 at 5:20 PM, Ellinas said:

 I continued to question and think beyond the boundaries that the religion would impose.

I think this is one the things that I most respect about a healthy spiritual framework - that it doesn't impose restrictions on thinking but rather encourages free thinking.

Thank you for going into your thoughts on this , Ellinas, I understand more about your view on things and have enjoyed our exchanges 🙂

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nomis
On 9/4/2018 at 3:09 PM, Veggie dancer said:

So a conversation about crows took quite a tangent when we got onto 'what is the meaning of life?' Ha ha. So I thought it might be time to start a new thread...

is there any point to life? To the universe's existence? Is it all a fluke with no purpose? Or is there a reason everything is here? Do we ourselves decide the purpose of our existence or is there a pre-existing reason to be? 

 

The answer that has never been bettered is of course 42 - "Answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything"

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonsmith
4 hours ago, Nomis said:

The answer that has never been bettered is of course 42 - "Answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything"

Only if you understand the ultimate answer in the context of the ultimate question which was: "What do you get if you multiply six by nine?"  Life, The Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams.

If you have masted that then:-

:o_hail::o_hail::o_hail::o_hail::o_hail::o_hail::o_hail::o_hail::o_hail:

Edited by Moonsmith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Earthdragon
On 10/7/2018 at 7:53 AM, Veggie dancer said:

Maybe the ultimate point is not the point. Maybe the reason is the asking. 

I mean maybe the asking, the wondering, the enquiring, the exploration, the journey: maybe that is the reason for the destination not the other way around.

Hi VD,

Just scrolling through this interesting thread that you started. 

Looking at your conjecture above-mentioned if one goes down that line of thought what is the implication for the qualities of the destination. 

It brings up an analogy of looking for truth as being like holding a torch and walking around the interior of a dark building. What we see depends on the torch and where we point it. 

In Buddhism there is the saying that happiness is the path we walk not at the destination.

I think there is a reply I made on the this thread where I describe the point as engaging in a process of becoming. I think we humans try to find constants and hold on to them but another intrinsic aspect of our nature is to look ahead and grow in the process. Maybe the point of it all is what we find amidst how we do that (rather in the destination). 

And, Moonsmith, I like your contrast to clinical enquiry regarding possible evidence for life after death. Being in the here and now is, for me, a feature of spiritual practice and life - this is where the experience of meaning exists: in the here and now. 

The Druidic framework that I'm familiar with, of seeing one's essence as a soul and , on dying, making the journey to the Otherworld is less a belief than an open concept that invites a way of relating to one's sense of self and capacities. If there turns out to be no soul then that doesn't remove the observable outcomes  of working with the concept ( just like a placebo demonstrably works )

And turning things around further, VD, maybe working with the concept of soul ( or belief in one if one prefers that word) might actually create a deeper aspect of one's self that may even become "a soul"... somehow that sounds heretical - how weird lol.

This all links back to the view that the  ultimate point is perhaps found in the asking and the enquiry.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonsmith

 

 

On 10/7/2018 at 7:53 AM, Veggie dancer said:

I mean maybe the asking, the wondering, the enquiring, the exploration, the journey: maybe that is the reason for the destination not the other way around.

 

3 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

this all links back to the view that the  ultimate point is perhaps found in the asking and the enquiry.

As stated above; in my view this is very definitely the point.

We are "the cosmos made conscious", we are the cosmos discovering itself,  baryonic matter can think - and that's us! [in my opinion!]

Have I linked to "Further Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion"?  Sorry if I'm repeating myself.  No no it's not Hume's virtually impenetrable treatise, its a very readable and very short subversion of Hume.

Edited by Moonsmith
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×