Author Topic: Wondering... [#2702]  (Read 715 times)

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Offline pianodwarf

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Wondering... [#2702]
« on: December 16, 2012, 04:34:49 PM »
Hello,
  Raised as a Catholic and turning away to live with reason, I have a question that has been bothering me.

Do you believe that we are of any significance?

I have a disturbing reality that nothing I do matters, just as nothing you do matters. We are all just specks of dust in the universe. Also,

If this is reasonable, how should someone of today's modern world organize their morals and values?

Where do we draw the line? What is right from wrong? If everyone kicks out religion and lives for themselves, at what point is there absolute chaos?

This may sound like I'm supporting religion, but I do not think there should be control. Because we do not matter. So I suppose my overall question, the one I really need answered is this;

In my life, should I live as a person knowing nothing matters and only consider my happiness or continue to be blinded by the modern world we live in as a human limited by insignificant rules?

Thank you for your time.

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2012, 04:49:48 PM »
We are significant to each other. And the line is drawn at the point where you are harming another or they are harming you. The line is drawn where you decide you are more important that someone else, or decide that you are less important than someone else. That is what morality is all about. That many wrap it in gods and tribulation and eternal punishment is irrelevant. We are born, we live, we die. And it is only actually important to us.

But since all we have is ourselves, that makes it pretty darned important. Far more important than a final ego trip in a classroom with a rifle or by oneself with a chair and a rope.

If you think life is supposed to hand you something fantastic and be so cool that even friends and love and happiness and good deeds and charm and smiles and caring are nothing in comparison, then you are in for a big disappointment. But if you are willing to be a friend, to love, to be happy, to do good deeds, to charm and smile and care, you'll find out that it is pretty cool.

Then you die. But at least you have something to miss that is real. Otherwise all you will miss is what you think it should have been. And none of us have that much control over reality.
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Offline Nick

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2012, 05:15:36 PM »
Right or wrong is cultural also.  Perhaps part of a personality also.  Do you really think people only act good only because of a reward or fear level to it?  If you don't believe in a "sky daddy" then yeah...you are just a speck in the universe.  There is no meaning to life.  You should then appreciate what time in life you have and make the best of it for you and those around you.

I was also raised Catholic.  They know how to get their hooks into you.  Congrats on breaking away into rational thought.
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Online hickdive

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2012, 05:37:32 PM »
You presuppose that only religion provides a moral framework and that if we kick it out there would be a moral vacuum in which anarchy would prevail.

In fact morality does not come from religion and this is easily demostrable if you consider whether morality is objective or subjective.

When you realise that morality is clearly subjective then it becomes obvious that it is not and cannot be the unchanging word of a deity. Disgusting as they are, fundamentalist loons like the Phelps family actually understand that to admit to a subjective morality means that their deity either doesn't exist or doesn't care. The more wishy-washy christian sects don't actually get this crucial point and tie themselves into ever more complex nonsense as they try to create a system in which the "unchanging word of god" becomes entirely subjective and therefore as unchanging as the clouds.

As to meaning in your life; yes the universe is entirely indifferent to your existence and it can be depressing to think that on that scale you are utterly insignificant. However, look inwards to your own existence, endeavours, loves, hates and experiences and the scale changes and you realise that the vastness of the universe is insignificant to the one unique quality you have; life.
Stupidity, unlike intelligence, has no limits.

Offline Astreja

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2012, 01:38:58 AM »
I have a disturbing reality that nothing I do matters, just as nothing you do matters. We are all just specks of dust in the universe.

I only see this as a problem if one assigns the responsibility for value-creation to an external agent, rather than making a personal decision to seek meaning in personal experience.

Quote
So I suppose my overall question, the one I really need answered is this;

In my life, should I live as a person knowing nothing matters and only consider my happiness or continue to be blinded by the modern world we live in as a human limited by insignificant rules?

Speaking for Myself, I'd tend to observe the rules which keep individuals safe from harm, and to discard traditions and concepts and obligations if they stand in the way of peaceful enjoyment of a favourite activity.  (For instance, if I loved studying chemistry but the village tradition stated "Good villagers don't study chemistry," I'd keep the thing I loved even if I had to find a new village.)

Meaning is what you make of it.  As Joseph Campbell said, "Follow your bliss."
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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 08:52:25 AM »

Where do we draw the line? What is right from wrong? If everyone kicks out religion and lives for themselves, at what point is there absolute chaos?


Most people have an irrational desire to be liked. You can't be liked, if you don't minister to other people's needs, to some extent. Also, in absolute chaos, your health starts to deteriorate. There is only so much boozing you can do, before you get sick of being sick, or perhaps observe that it's better not to booze in the first place, by observing others. There is a limit to how much you can live for yourself, before your life becomes totally meaningless, or find that there is no food in the fridge. Most people observe that they have some talent, and resolve to get meaning through developing their talents.

There pretty much has to be an irrational core to our bothering to exist. Some atheist cultures show that the world does not fall apart without religion. We managed to get to this point, without religion. Chimps and Bonobos also do fine without it.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline jetson

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 10:14:38 AM »
Most people have an irrational desire to be liked.

Interesting point.  I've never actually looked at it from that perspective.  Why do we want to be liked, and why is it irrational? 

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 11:50:27 AM »
Most people have an irrational desire to be liked.

Interesting point.  I've never actually looked at it from that perspective.  Why do we want to be liked, and why is it irrational?

If I showed you how much I paid in child support I'm pretty sure you'd understand why its irrational...

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 11:29:35 AM »
Most people have an irrational desire to be liked.

Interesting point.  I've never actually looked at it from that perspective.  Why do we want to be liked, and why is it irrational?

We want to be liked because human being, being pack animals/cursorial hunters...have the intinct that if we are disliked enough that we may be ejected from that structure that our chances of survival drop.

Why is it irrational?...because it is an emotional need. They are that by definition.
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Offline jetson

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 11:31:28 AM »
I'm finding a lot more things we do that I would call irrational as I grow older.  Or at least they seem irrational.  I'm not sure what to think about emotions and their "rationality" factor.

Online Graybeard

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2012, 06:40:32 PM »
Do you believe that we are of any significance?

I have a disturbing reality that nothing I do matters, just as nothing you do matters. We are all just specks of dust in the universe.
From the perspective of 13Billion years of the Universe, we're just an interesting collection of organic lifeforms. To your friends, family, those people you knew and those you will know - you can make a significant difference.

Do we have a purpose? Well, like all living things, our purpose is to create more of us.

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Also, If this is reasonable, how should someone of today's modern world organize their morals and values?
Follow the dictum of the great philosopher; in two words, "Be reasonable."

Quote
What is right from wrong?
You tell me. We see a situation and find an answer that does not involve jail-time. We do the odd random act of kindness.

Quote
If everyone kicks out religion and lives for themselves, at what point is there absolute chaos?
Why should "living for yourself" ensue from living without an invisible friend? Can't you do the same things but simply leave all that superstition and things that you know cannot be to one side? Why would you be different?

Quote
This may sound like I'm supporting religion, but I do not think there should be control.

There is, it's called "The law."; it's called, "Not being a douche." but above all, it is called "Being reasonable."

Quote
Because we do not matter.

I matter. Everyone here matters - you matter, so do your friends and family; the people you work with; anyone you interact with, in a negative way, that a**hole down the road matters.

Quote
So I suppose my overall question, the one I really need answered is this;

In my life, should I live as a person knowing nothing matters and only consider my happiness or continue to be blinded by the modern world we live in as a human limited by insignificant rules?

I think if you can tell us what "to matter" means to you, we would be in a better position to kick a few ideas around - perhaps reach a conclusion.

If you heard someone say, "No! You are wrong! She really matters!" What would you think that meant?

« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 07:34:08 PM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline none

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2012, 06:59:32 PM »
Hello,
  Raised as a Catholic and turning away to live with reason, I have a question that has been bothering me.

Do you believe that we are of any significance?

I have a disturbing reality that nothing I do matters, just as nothing you do matters. We are all just specks of dust in the universe. Also,
...
Hello,
Catholic in a book or on paper?
Yeah you are more important than that disturbing reality, join reality don't possess it.
Observe reality, change reality, you are reality.

Offline Chronos

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Re: Wondering... [#2702]
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2012, 09:47:39 AM »
Do you believe that we are of any significance?

That depends. First, define significant ...

I am significant because I help others get through this existence, whatever it is. But if we are talking about Gorlock on Kolob, 100,000 light years away, then no, I am not significant.


I have a disturbing reality that nothing I do matters, just as nothing you do matters. We are all just specks of dust in the universe. Also,

Meh. Go take a walk downtown, get something to eat and drink at a streetside cafe, pickup the check for a table nearby ... you'll get over it.


If this is reasonable, how should someone of today's modern world organize their morals and values?

I don't view morals and values tied to the scope of my significance. Morals and values are based on the existence of many who live in this world. Those morals and values would only change when they encountered another world. Until then, the two are not tied to each other.


Where do we draw the line? What is right from wrong? If everyone kicks out religion and lives for themselves, at what point is there absolute chaos?

Except for the speed of light, which has been of debate recently, there are no absolutes. There are only shades of gray.


This may sound like I'm supporting religion, but I do not think there should be control. Because we do not matter. So I suppose my overall question, the one I really need answered is this;

In my life, should I live as a person knowing nothing matters and only consider my happiness or continue to be blinded by the modern world we live in as a human limited by insignificant rules?

Only if you like Ayn Rand.  I don't. 

I prefer to work cooperatively with people because my happiness is based on the support I gain from others and joys I can share with them. One cannot be happy (or sad) without being able to share it, and that by itself, IMNSHO, nullifies Objectivism. Hell, even Randians get together to share the objectification of their spiritual leader. I don't think they see the irony.  How ironic!


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