Why is "meaning" good?

#1
I've noticed a trend on this forum where anytime anything or anyone suggests that existence is objectively meaningless people just reject it. Often citing that it paints a bleak picture of reality and generally makes them feel bad when they think about it. I just can't understand why people would want to resit such an idea beyond some childish fear to grow up and be an independant person making their own decisions in life and/or a narcicisstic desire to be told you're special and every little thing you do matters.

So first I'll explain where I'm coming from on this. Here's why I reject any notion that I or anything I do has any importance or relevance to anything ever.

Nothingness allows for complete freedom, complete abilty to be "myself" whatever that even means. The moment something else comes in and says that existence has some sort of intrinsic value to it, I can only assume this means moral value, I become nothing but a slave. I am no longer allowed to be myself, there are limits. Lines that, if I cross, will presumably lead to punishment. My life is no longer my own, I become nothing more than a tool to something or someone else. I would much rather not exist at all than live that way.

I have no problem dealing with the prospect that there might not be any free will and that even my desire to attain free willl itself may just be a predetermined outcome that I'm experiencing in the moment. But if someone's going to tell me that the universe has meaning, that my life has meaning, a meaning that exists regardless of whether I believe it or not then they're going to need to demonstrate how it can have that meaning without putting restrictions on my choices, regardless of whether those choices exist or not.

I personally see no way to do this, thus I believe there can be no possible meaning to anything. As any restriction brings up the question chain "But why that restriction? Why not a different one? Why not no restrictions at all?" ending with the conclusion that there isn't a reason and thus there are no restrictions.

I would rather people be completely free, I would rather respect teh choices they make even if those choices go against everything I personally value. I would rather existence be messy and chaotic where the full specturm of possible experiences can exist. Where the only thing that truly exists is the interplay between what I can do and what I want to do.

Yeah, maybe things might not turn out so well for me sometimes, maybe things might turn out downright horrific. But that's better than living in some prison cell where everything is regulated, everything is "safe," everything is just part of some prescribed spiritual lesson that I never signe up to learn but who's classrom I'm forced to sit in anyways. I rebel against meaning for the same reason I rebel against determinism. Objective meaning makes any subjective meaning meaningless.

I choose myself over reality.
 
B

Baccarat

#3
I've noticed a trend on this forum where anytime anything or anyone suggests that existence is objectively meaningless people just reject it. Often citing that it paints a bleak picture of reality and generally makes them feel bad when they think about it. I just can't understand why people would want to resit such an idea beyond some childish fear to grow up and be an independant person making their own decisions in life and/or a narcicisstic desire to be told you're special and every little thing you do matters.

So first I'll explain where I'm coming from on this. Here's why I reject any notion that I or anything I do has any importance or relevance to anything ever.

Nothingness allows for complete freedom, complete abilty to be "myself" whatever that even means. The moment something else comes in and says that existence has some sort of intrinsic value to it, I can only assume this means moral value, I become nothing but a slave. I am no longer allowed to be myself, there are limits. Lines that, if I cross, will presumably lead to punishment. My life is no longer my own, I become nothing more than a tool to something or someone else. I would much rather not exist at all than live that way.

I have no problem dealing with the prospect that there might not be any free will and that even my desire to attain free willl itself may just be a predetermined outcome that I'm experiencing in the moment. But if someone's going to tell me that the universe has meaning, that my life has meaning, a meaning that exists regardless of whether I believe it or not then they're going to need to demonstrate how it can have that meaning without putting restrictions on my choices, regardless of whether those choices exist or not.

I personally see no way to do this, thus I believe there can be no possible meaning to anything. As any restriction brings up the question chain "But why that restriction? Why not a different one? Why not no restrictions at all?" ending with the conclusion that there isn't a reason and thus there are no restrictions.

I would rather people be completely free, I would rather respect teh choices they make even if those choices go against everything I personally value. I would rather existence be messy and chaotic where the full specturm of possible experiences can exist. Where the only thing that truly exists is the interplay between what I can do and what I want to do.

Yeah, maybe things might not turn out so well for me sometimes, maybe things might turn out downright horrific. But that's better than living in some prison cell where everything is regulated, everything is "safe," everything is just part of some prescribed spiritual lesson that I never signe up to learn but who's classrom I'm forced to sit in anyways. I rebel against meaning for the same reason I rebel against determinism. Objective meaning makes any subjective meaning meaningless.

I choose myself over reality.
Sounds like you are too caught up in your head with words and perceived boundaries. If you want to look at life that way that's fine. For others they want if they want to subjectively view there life as more positive and meaningful and vibrant, that's also fine. Some enjoy the up and downs that come with life, some live in a Ned Flanders neurotic state there is no right or wrong way to experience, feel or perceive this reality. My personal belief is you give your life the meaning you want, you are the artist
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#4
Often, the meaning issue is used as an argument against materialism, but as an argument, it is like saying "If Father Christmas doesn't exist, why do you celebrate Christmas?" Having said that, however, meaning is what keeps all of us going in life, whether we view it as something objective or something we have to create ourselves. As Jung said, "Man cannot stand a meaningless existence"
 
#5
Yeah, maybe things might not turn out so well for me sometimes, maybe things might turn out downright horrific. But that's better than living in some prison cell where everything is regulated, everything is "safe," everything is just part of some prescribed spiritual lesson that I never signe up to learn but who's classrom I'm forced to sit in anyways. I rebel against meaning for the same reason I rebel against determinism. Objective meaning makes any subjective meaning meaningless.

I choose myself over reality.
Your approach on this forum also makes me wary of getting into a dialogue with you and therefore I will try to restrict myself to a single observation which I am hoping doesn't cause offence because none is intended.

I wonder if you have considered that there might, after all, be a spiritual lesson and that you did indeed sign up for it. Perhaps the self that you choose is only a fraction of the whole self. Maybe there's more to you than the ego you identify as your self?

I'm guessing that might seem all too New Agey for your stomach but a different worldview might suggest that the spiritual evolution that you rebel against provides the meaning that you claim is not there. If the lesson is tough, perhaps that's because we have not learned how to find meaning in the subjective and concentrate far too much on the objective. Feelings, empathy, aesthetics, love ... all subjective, all dismissed by you as meaningless.
 
#8
I started to write a response to this childish post but thought better of it. Go the route of "making your own meaning" and there are only values as they pertain to you, and screw everyone else. Thinking about humankind's oldest questions is juvenile, and ending with "Do what thou wilt."

How original.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#10
I started to write a response to this childish post but thought better of it. Go the route of "making your own meaning" and there are only values as they pertain to you, and screw everyone else. Thinking about humankind's oldest questions is juvenile, and ending with "Do what thou wilt."

How original.
I thnk that to some degree we do make, or rather find our own meaning but there has to be more to it than that. There is the meaning that most of us share - the valuing of other people and other life for example. As LetsEat pointed out, we really need to know what precisely is Mediochre referring to when he talks about meaning.
 
#11
I thnk that to some degree we do make, or rather find our own meaning but there has to be more to it than that. There is the meaning that most of us share - the valuing of other people and other life for example. As LetsEat pointed out, we really need to know what precisely is Mediochre referring to when he talks about meaning.
Sorry, but he or she comes off as a /r/iamverysmart.

Sure, we do make our own meaning to some extent. But he (or she) is shitting all over the scientific method and philosophy by calling all of human culture "childish." And then ends with a narcissistic "I am the only one who matters" and "Do what thou wilt."

I really don't have any patience for that these days. Sorry.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#12
Sorry, but he or she comes off as a /r/iamverysmart.

Sure, we do make our own meaning to some extent. But he (or she) is shitting all over the scientific method and philosophy by calling all of human culture "childish." And then ends with a narcissistic "I am the only one who matters" and "Do what thou wilt."

I really don't have any patience for that these days. Sorry.
You don't have to apologise. I don't think you are entirely alone :)
 
#13
I personally see no way to do this, thus I believe there can be no possible meaning to anything. As any restriction brings up the question chain "But why that restriction? Why not a different one? Why not no restrictions at all?" ending with the conclusion that there isn't a reason and thus there are no restrictions.
So ... What do you think happens to you when your short "meaningless" life is over Mediochre? Serious question.
 
#14
You really ought to define meaning first before building sky scrapers. Without that your post is, to me, meaningless.
Yeah that was definitely my bad. Meaning in this case is in the form of an objective morality, a sort of programming built into the universe that dictactes what you are allowed and not allowed to do without restricting what you are capable of doing. These restrictions thus would go beyond math and physics and be things such as "no eating beef, it's bad", "You must juggle three red bowling pins everyday, or else." And that there is either a reward or lack of punishement consequence for following such directives. Meaning in the subjective sense arguably wouldn't exist but is generally thought of as things like self-concept and self-determination.

I wonder if you have considered that there might, after all, be a spiritual lesson and that you did indeed sign up for it.
I have, however I cannot see such a lesson being universal. As in, maybe this universe is set up in such a way but the whole of existence cannot be. If we use a school example, there are buildings that are schools, whose sole purepose is for learning lessons, and there are also buildings that are not schools who serve other functions or no function at all. Therefore school is not "the point" when you enter a building. All schools may be building but not all buildings are schools. And even if you are in a school building the school component is only on the very surface. The school building itself would share its most fundamental characteristics and architectural "meaning" with that of every other building. Thus even when you are inside a school building, you could do things that have nothing to do with school if you wanted to.

Also, don't worry about offending me. I'm practically unoffendable. I'd be a disgrace to myself if I allowed mere words, on the internet no less, to offend me.

You're inviting a dialogue with this?
I was being honest about my perceptions and thus why I consider it confusing from that perception, it is not my fault if someone else takes offense at my honest question. Offense is only taken, never given.

I started to write a response to this childish post but thought better of it. Go the route of "making your own meaning" and there are only values as they pertain to you, and screw everyone else. Thinking about humankind's oldest questions is juvenile, and ending with "Do what thou wilt."

How original.
My question is why do people logically believe there is another answer and what is the basis for such an answer since, despite searching my whole life so far, I have not managed to come to any other logical conclusion. Everything else that ascribes a universal "point" to why we're here is laden with massive logical contradictions. So if you want to dismiss the question I'm asking then to be honest you're falling into the two things I listed as my perceptions of why people reject the idea. You've literally just said "this question isn't even worth thinking about" which isn't an answer or an argument.

Someone who dismnisses a question outright, deeming it not worth thinking about, is truly narcissistic in my eyes. Believiong that they know everything already.

This is an interesting statement. Could you briefly explain what you mean by it?
Basically that, when given the choice between self-sacrifice or self-preservation, I choose self preservation. This isn't as simple as life and death or anything material whatsoever. This is my concept of my "self" that I will choose to preserve.
 
#15
So ... What do you think happens to you when your short "meaningless" life is over Mediochre? Serious question.
No idea, I'll have to find out when it happens.

If we go with the survival of consciousness research combined with my experience with inducing OOBE's I'd say there's a possibility that I will continue existing. However since I'm still alive I can't know that for sure even though I've found no method for "deletion" in my study so far.
 
#16
No idea, I'll have to find out when it happens.

If we go with the survival of consciousness research combined with my experience with inducing OOBE's I'd say there's a possibility that I will continue existing. However since I'm still alive I can't know that for sure even though I've found no method for "deletion" in my study so far.
So, in your view, there's a possibility your consciousness survives. And when one has such a worldview typically takes it a bit farther by embracing that consciousness is also eternal. And, of course ... that is simply my assumption. But life and the universe is meaningless and therefore doesn't give a shit about me, you and life it possibly created (assuming it had anything to do with it at all). And therefore, it is possible that we will exist forever in a nihilistic meaningless universe. Ugh. I think I may prefer oblivion over that. But that's just me I guess.
 
#17
So, in your view, there's a possibility your consciousness survives. And when one has such a worldview typically takes it a bit farther by embracing that consciousness is also eternal. And, of course ... that is simply my assumption. But life and the universe is meaningless and therefore doesn't give a shit about me, you and life it possibly created (assuming it had anything to do with it at all). And therefore, it is possible that we will exist forever in a nihilistic meaningless universe. Ugh. I think I may prefer oblivion over that. But that's just me I guess.
Yeah I'd much rather the nihilistic void personally, everything becomes a game at that point. I do very much wonder if somewhere out there someone has set up a universe for the sole purpose of gaming. I have no reason to believe such a thing is impossible. Hopefully EA doesn't hear about it though.
 
#18
So, in your view, there's a possibility your consciousness survives. And when one has such a worldview typically takes it a bit farther by embracing that consciousness is also eternal. And, of course ... that is simply my assumption. But life and the universe is meaningless and therefore doesn't give a shit about me, you and life it possibly created (assuming it had anything to do with it at all). And therefore, it is possible that we will exist forever in a nihilistic meaningless universe. Ugh. I think I may prefer oblivion over that. But that's just me I guess.
Further more, do you have a rational basis for your belief, or is it simply an emotional response. A "childish" fear of growing up and being an independant person. Much like children, in the real world, observably have when you see them cling to parents for emotional support. A fear of abandonment and isolation that they learn to overcome or at least deal with as they grow into adults.That is the question I have been asking and why I have the perceptions that I have. Because hey, maybe I'm wrong.
 
#19
I'm guessing that might seem all too New Agey for your stomach but a different worldview might suggest that the spiritual evolution that you rebel against provides the meaning that you claim is not there. If the lesson is tough, perhaps that's because we have not learned how to find meaning in the subjective and concentrate far too much on the objective. Feelings, empathy, aesthetics, love ... all subjective, all dismissed by you as meaningless.
It's more that I have yet to find a basis for objective meaning despite searching all this time. I have also seen what happens to people who go way too far with their subjective meanings, turning them into cults, religions, committing horrible atrocities in the name of what they believe to be objective good. Feelings are simply not evidence of anything, not on their own. It doesn't stop me from experiencing them and it doesn't mean I don't value them. But I don't want to be controlled by my emotions like I've seen so many others become. My emotions, both positive and negative, are tools. They exist to fuel me and help me achieve whatever it is I want to achieve. I don't think either side is good or bad and I don't think either side should be excluded. In the same way I don't think it's enough just to have inner peace and eschew finding joy in temporary, external things. These things all exist together and are strongest when applied together. When that is done everything blends together into a sort of nothingness where nothing has any real meaning and even your own subjective experience ceases to matter. All that is left is "you."
 
#20
Mediochre,

I think 'meaning' saturates everything - it is quite impossible to live life without it. For example, you take up a knife and you could use it against someone, or against yourself, or you could cut some vegetables. Can it possibly be that case that the result of that choice has no meaning? To take another example, you go to the dentist, and he gives you the choice of having your tooth filled without a painkiller, or with a painkiller, or simply letting it rot. Does that have no meaning?

You can't really take meaning out of your life - even though you can fantasise that at some more abstract level your life has no meaning! If simple things like that have a meaning, then I think the meaning propagates up to larger things.

David
 
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