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What is the meaning of life?

I discuss this question in my new book "Savng Gaia". How do humans save the planet? What needs to be done? The main problem to be addressed is mankind's antropocentricism, placing humans at the center of everything. As a former biology teacher, I can safely say, humans are just another animal and we better learn that fast as Gaia is approaching the tipping point. We are in the Holocene Extinction and more than half of all vertebrates from the time I was born, I'm 74, are gone forever.

As far as the meaning of life goes, let's take the advice of the great physicist Niels Bohr. There is no meaning to life. What purpose or meaning can the universe have when everything winds up in a black hole. The universe just is. Humans have to give it meannig.

By Aristopus
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58 comments

10

For me, the purpose of life is to live, to experience life as a gift and our habitat as a great gift that not only makes life possible but is the greatest beauty, To not appreciate all of this leads to a low quality of life and damage to the planet. We have no right to assume that human life is the only life that matters. To kill animals for fun, to torture livestock animals is a horrendous sin practiced by many religious people. Not to be taking steps to preserve our environment is a grossly stupid sin perpertrated by greedy corporations and congressmen on the take all of whom go to church.
That said, I had a deja vu in which I felt, saw, and now know that the energy that connects all life is love. Lately, I was happy to see a clip where Einstein said the same thing.

think-beyond Level 6 Mar 11, 2018
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Your comment is right out of my latest book "Saving Gaia." These people who live for the next life rather than this one are ruining things for everybody and the entire planet. Of course life is to enjoy. It's a precious gift of serendipity. We could be living in a paradise.

Aside, I started getting into opera at the Old Met after I saw Renata Tebaldi sing Tosca. I've attended the Met or the Sarasota Opera every year for 50 years. Favorite singer: Carla Bergonzi

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@Aristopus The only life that matters is the only life we KNOW we have. Religion has been used as an instrument of control for hundreds and even thousands of years to corrupt that truth and lead people to serve others rather than their own interests. Free flowing information will eventually destroy that IF humans have the inherent reasoning capabilities and self preservation instincts of other animals. If we have already bred that out of ourselves through years of economic and cultural manipulation by the elite... which I suspect is true... we are a dying breed on this site.

@Aristopus I love your taste in opera. Two great singers. I saw Tebaldi sing Tosca at the old Met also. Bergonzi was extraordinaire!!!!! I have sung many operatic roles. My best time was as a student in the summer in the Berkshires at Tanglewood. Heaven!

@Aristopus Your book sounds very interesting.

I'm so happy to meet someone who knows what I'm talking about. To tell the truth, I spent the happiest days of my life at the Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall, and of course Tanglewood. My roommate at Boston College was from Pittsfield, Ma. The Berkshires and Green Mountains of Vermont make this country as close to heaven as I'm ever going to get. .

My last memory of Tanglewood is Peter Serkin (son of Rudolph) playing Mozart and Beethoven sonatas with Ozawa conducting. The memory is indelible because of the fluidity of maestro Ozawa's motion silhouetted against the backdrop of the gently swaying pines and birches on the mountaintops. Ozawa moved like Odette returning to Swan Lake. The images in my brain seem like yesterday and it was nearly 40 years ago.

@Aristopus You strike home. I miss those swaying pines and the sound of the music in this setting. My bucket list is to spend a few weeks in the summer there. I had two whole summers inside as a student. I talked with Lenny, had lunch with Leontine Price, swam with fun up and comings, heard the sounds of the Boston Symphony, in rehearsal and concerts. I could go on and on. I was part of that family. Then I went to Stockbridge to the Norman Rockwell museum and The Stockbridge playhouse. Missed Jacob's Pillow. I,, too, went to the old Met and Carnegie Hall. Those were the days - filled with creativity and beautiful music and wonderful music makers.

Sorry I missed a couple of days in replying to your comment. Haven't been feeling well. So much to talk about and I can't decide wheather to continue with opera or religion /philosophy. So many memories slide through my septuagenarian brain it's hard to focus on one and write about that only.
How about Price when she was singing Aida, I was in the audience when she described the beauty of her homeland in the Patria Mia. Then I heard her on a WQXR saying that in Aida finally she found a role that was "made for me." Verdi hired the greatest Egyptology in the World, the designer of the Cairo Museum, to literally dig up the story.
How about Fernando Cornea singing Doctor Ducamara in L'Elixir floating in on a stupendous, ornate air balloon and strutted out of the basket like a glamorous circus showman and in stentorian voice yelled to the villagers to gather around, "You simple rustics" (I forget the Italian.) He was around 6'5" and quite imposing. He became my favorite singer until I heard Bergonzi sing the duke in Un Ballo—also with Price.
My book will be out any day now. Can't wait. Google Richard Goscicki for some of my other stuff. I sat next to Rudy Giuliani in high school What a story that is.

@Aristopus Whether to talk about "religion" or opera - Opera is better than "religion." You most certainly know your opera. I agree that Leontine singing "O Patria Mia" makes it appear that it was specifically written for her. Verdi would be ecstatic hearing her sing this aria. I well understand her feeling that the role was written for her. I am not familiar with Fernando Cornea, but from your description I must look him up. He sounds amazing. Bergonzi? Fantastic voice.

@Aristopus I sincerely hope that when your book comes out, it reaches a multitude. I wish you the best of luck with it...and for that.matter..the best of luck to us all as we will all benefit from any influence your book can engender. As for Guiliani...an intelligence gone to waste. It would be interesting to hear what he was like in high school. Not one of my favorite people. Hope you are feeling better.

Same problem, so much to talk about I don't know where to start. Might as well start with your last post.

[amazon.com]

He's my book on Rudy. Fun stuff, I tried to describe what high school was like in the late '50s in a strict, boys Catholic school. It was a school for the gifted but I thought Rudy was just average, especially in math and science. He was what we called a "brown nose" in that he knew what the brothers wanted to hear and how to get ahead. He told them he wanted to be a Christian brother and they treated him like a prince.

After years of being major, a Wall Street Journal writer mentioned that over the years Major Giuliani prosecuted over 4,500 perpetrators "perps"—criminals of various types. Quite a wonderful thing when you consider all the big-time mobsters he busted. I'm not talking about low-level capos and hit-men, I mean the most powerful dons in the country, including Johnny Gotti, Tony Ducks Corallo and Carmen Perico who put out the contract on Jimmy Hoffa.

After reading the article I said to myself, "Holy smoke" I was "perp number 1." And I tell the story of how I got busted for jaywalking and it wasn't even illegal at the time in Brooklyn. Had to go to detention for a week.

The subtitle to the book is "A National Problem." It's a serious horrible situation. Although I got higher grades in math and biology than Rudy, I got rejected from getting into tuition-free City College of NY. I also had running Ds in religion class through the four years and it pulled my average way down. So the problem is seriously deluded priests, brothers, and nuns are determining which students move on the higher education and political power. Of the 535 congresspersons in the government all but two believe in the nutty creationist fantasy. Education should be open to all; it's not a level playing field and resulting in a self-sustaining predicament.

Look at the likes of Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Dan Quayle and Tom Cruz and Gov. Christie. See what I mean? These can't be the best qualified leaders in a country of over 340 million.

Next post on the great Fernando Corena.

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If I ever find the answer to that question I'll let you know...
In the meantime I'm enjoying the sunshine, the blue skies, hiking, contemplating the nature, skiing, meeting some friends for a night out, weekend breaks, work, sleep, spending the evenings with my favourite books, immersed in contemplation... Still haven't found out what is the meaning of my existence... But I'm busy living!

ABack Level 5 Mar 12, 2018
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Very good. Have a cookie! smile027.gif

"That's just it. Life doesn't have any meaning. It just is." From my new book coming out soon, "Saving, Gaia."

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To quote Joseph Campbell: “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”

ashley44 Level 7 Mar 11, 2018
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5

The meaning you provide it. Nothing else.

Seeker3CO Level 7 Mar 11, 2018
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I deal with this subject in my book. What's scary about it is religions have an iron-clad communications barrier which protects individual members from corrupting influences. I myself have been called a devil because of my views in spite of the fact that I adhere to Epicurus' Golden Rule and would never purposely hurt anybody. Islam's madrassah system controls all communication to students and the Koran is the main goal of education. Tough to crack.

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Life is temporary but it can have meaning while we're here. I like the saying, " the meaning of life is to find your gifts, the purpose of life is to share them" . If what you do in your life makes someone else's journey more fulfilling then your life has meaning and purpose. Everything is going to die. The only thing that will last forever is darkness. That doesn't mean life doesn't have meaning.

Jameson Level 6 Mar 11, 2018
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Hi, Lfe is not temporary. It starts when wwe are born and finishes when we die. Nothing more nothing less. James

Hi, Lfe is not temporary. It starts when wwe are born and finishes when we die. Nothing more nothing less. James

That's kinda what temporary means. It's gonna end.

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We make our own purpose, so it can be completely different depending on who you ask.

AustinSkepticus Level 7 Mar 11, 2018
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5

Whatever meaning I give it.

EmeraldJewel Level 7 Mar 11, 2018
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An externally imposed meaning would be no different, in my opinion, than slavery. The only one capable of deciding the meaning of your life is you. You decide what meaning your life has and you decide the best way to achieve that meaning.

icolan Level 7 Mar 11, 2018
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Right. No inherent meaning.

NothinnXpreVails Level 8 Mar 11, 2018
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42

MaggieRose Level 2 Aug 16, 2018
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I think each person finds their own according to their understanding.

girlwithsmiles Level 7 Apr 27, 2018
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I don't see why life has to have meaning. Let's just enjoy it while we have it. Like the universe, it just is.

@Aristopus and that would be your meaning. Mine for a long time has been more serious than that, otherwise I would feel that I'm failing as a sentient human being; but that's just my way of doing things and I'm sure I could do better from my own judgement too.

@girlwithsmiles First of all, what meaning could the universe possibly have? It's 99.9999999...% plasma. Plasma is the fourth phase of matter. You know; there's solid, liquid, gas and then ............. plasma. Let me say, it's the least attractive of the group. Gas under extreme pressure, like on the sun. That's fucked up. Why would any sentient being create a universe composed mainly of plasma? Answer that one.

Oh sorry, I was looking at the meaning of life...which I took to mean each person's individual life, as we appear to be separate entities, at least to some extent. I was looking into the meaning of the Universe, I'll wait for the Universe to let me know smile009.gif

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It's a Monty Python movie. Geeez!

Sticks48 Level 8 Mar 17, 2018
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Do all you can to reduce your carbon footprint to help save Gaia.
The meaning of life is to live it.

sundug Level 5 Mar 11, 2018
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Your last paragraph is well stated and true. IMHO

jlynn37 Level 8 Mar 11, 2018
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The meaning of life is whatever you want to make it. That's why it is different for everyone.

DenoPenno Level 8 Mar 15, 2018
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Meaning Exist to propagate prolong species the cycle continues until the species is extinct.

azzow2 Level 8 Mar 11, 2018
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The meaning of life is precisely what I say it is. If your meaning for life differs from mine, then you are living a delusion and it is my duty to enlighten you.

evidentialist Level 8 Mar 11, 2018
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Agreed that it has no "meaning". But might I suggest that it has no meaning outside of its most fundamental definition?

After all, rocks, water and air don't reproduce. But the complex combination of the three that is "life" do.

From conversations on here, and from the materials I have picked up outside the site, especially from more qualified people, who likely have better language to put this idea into more succinctly and less words, I have come to think that life simply means:

To ensure the propagation of our species through reproduction - which includes breathing, eating, not being eaten and, because we've evolved, enriching our electrical biocomputer with new experiences, and with creative and scientific pursuits which ulitimately helps us to breathe, eat, and not be eaten in increasingly efficient ways. And until that time when we can reproduce by ourselves, without the need of others' DNA and experiences and knowledge, and without the need to eat other species, we have to live as a society that ensures the propagation of our species and of other species.

But outside of that, I mean outside the need to reproduce as efficiently as our complexities allow, I can't see any "higher purpose".

Can we separate the complexitiy that is "life" from, say for example, the chemical processes that form solid matter, liquids, gasses and plasma? Or is doing so egocentric?

SamKerry Level 7 Mar 11, 2018
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But Sam the world population is 7.4 billion with the growth curve increasing steadily and out of control. Under that condition, the meaning of life would be negative—to cause damage and suffering. Look at the problem the world is having with "migrants", even in this country.

@Aristopus Ummm...the population explosion will not be on big "problem"...but smaller and several clusters of "population control" problems.

Let me look for the link to a previous discussion on this site about this. I'll link to it in a bit. Check back later.

@Aristopus My comment on the post I linked to below references studies that show that as prosperity developed, families started to have less babies.

It's likely that our population will reach 12 billion - which will definitely be a problem. But it's unlikely that our population will exceed that.

A quote from one of the video essays that i refer to: "...It took the UK 95 years to halve birth rates. While Brazil did it in 26. And Iran just 10. Today birthrates are falling almost everywhere. The less time a country spends in times of rapid growth, the quicker Earth population stops increasing. It's unlikely the 12 billionth human will ever be born..."

Population problems

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There isn't one

AdieG Level 4 Mar 11, 2018
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The purpose of life is the same for every species - to simply survive and to thrive. But meaning is uniquing a human thing to worry about, and mostly we give our own lives meaning by doing things that make our heart sing and fulfill us spiritually. What specific things to do varies a lot because we are each unique in our nature and abilties and goals. People have endless choices for finding meaning in their lives, from being of service to others as teachers, doctors or fireman, to being inventors or rock stars, or poets, or farmers or a thousand other things.
People make choices to put meaning in their lives, and some are even content to not do much of anything remarkable and just drift along until they find something to set off the spark of their passion. Each person is limited by their own circumstances in life as well for what may be possible for them to accomplish.
And that idea is correct that the Universe just is, and only us confused complicated humans worry about meaning. Maybe we think too much? lol

Silverwhisper Level 7 Apr 10, 2018
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I don't think life does have a meaning we all make our own I make my own meaning s as I go along but saving the planet isnt one of them -I live ethically enough have the same pair of trousers I bought fifteen years ago am not wasteful my food cuttings go to compost. I havea always known htat I am another animal .

jacpod Level 8 Mar 30, 2018
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I use these same themes in my new book coming out soon. Humans have to break out of their consumer mentality as it's destroying the world. Keep an eye out for "Saving Gaia."

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There is no meaning to life-however it is up to US to give life meaning there is a difference.

Existential thinking ROCKSsmile001.gif

Gilgamesh155326 Level 5 Mar 25, 2018
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Its simply about survival to me, just like every other animal on this fucking planet.

Presley1209 Level 7 Mar 17, 2018
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If you don't enjoy life what's the sense of surviving. Life is to enjoy.

@Aristopus I would enjoy it if things were different. I do enjoy it sometimes but suffer from sleep deprivation which caused severe depression among other things going on in my life. Today was a good day tho. Each day is different.

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I thought everyone knew the meaning of life is....47

bolshevik41 Level 5 Mar 14, 2018
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Life is what you/we make it. Let's make it fun!

marmot84 Level 7 Mar 12, 2018
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