RE: The Quest for the Purpose of Life

From: Colin Hales (
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 02:56:22 MST

Eric Chen Yixiong wrote:
> Topic Question: "What is the meaning/purpose of life?"

We need cybercampfire and starry night for this. "42" is the answer (from
the late lamented Douglas Adams) and seems as good as any meaning. For a
group philosophically and practically bent on making death optional, the
answer had better be a good one because we're going to have an awful long
time to think about it. What's the half-life of a proton.....? whatever.

The difference between us humans and a rock is that we think we know we're
not a rock and we can make more humans. This ability confers no 'meaning' or
'purpose', try as I might to find it.


> - Null: The question has no validity. Life has no meaning. We
> just exist.

does it for me. A tad dry, but I keep ending up here and I'm OK with it.

I don't know what philosphical label it might have, but what I can say is
that when I was younger I had a set of absolutes (My son has them now - he
knows everything - just ask him!). Gradually as I realised that I didn't
know things and looked further I have become reasonably confident that
everything, including every last bit of physics in the universe, is
relative. The philosophical absolutes melt away every time you scrutinise
them in detail. Maybe some other list member can find one. I can't. Well
actually there is one absolute - the fact that everything is relative!
Warning! recursive semantic roadkill ahead!

Your question demands an absolute. If the above is right I don't think there
is one. That makes any meaning of anything relative. Choose one and enjoy
the journey! We're all in it together and I personally think, on the whole,
it's a hoot.

As far as a 'role' for humanity is concerned the only one I can think of is
that we embody part of the universe's self awareness. Indeed, at the moment,
as far as we know, the _only_ self awareness it has.

That's a fairly responsible position, don't you think? If there is to be any
chance of finding said 'meaning of life', we'd better look after each other.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:36 MST