Re: The Quest for the Purpose of Life

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Sun Jan 27 2002 - 19:44:14 MST

Phil Osborn wrote:
> This is so-oo depressing. Like, how many times do we have to keep re-inventing the wheel?
> Ayn Rand covered this topic rather well, I thought, and I would have assumed that as astute a group as extropians would surely have absorbed at least the basics of Rand's thought with their mother's milk.
> Briefly, the question "what is the purpose of life," contains an error of category. Things only HAVE purposes TO living entities. Purpose to WHOM and FOR WHAT???? Purpose only has meaning with regard to a living entity. To ask then - what is the pur
pose of LIFE? - is meaningless. LIFE creates and identifies purposes. (This does not mean, however, that all purposes are equally valid. Life itself - and each living entity - has a specific identity.)

Well, some living entities have purposes to other living entities:
domesticated plants and animals, for instance. Some species of insects
entire purpose is to serve other insect species, and could not survive
outside of their dens (see how ants domesticate other species).

Similarly, there is a particular subgroup of human beings who can only
find purpose in being the purposes of others: preists and their
believers, politicians and their syncophants, officers and their
soldiers, any sort of social structure that utilizes a patron/client

Then if we look at the question from a metaversal standpoint (sorry, I
just saw Existenz and The 13th Floor for the first time last night, so
bear with me), if one is to accept the Bostrom Conjecture, then all
living beings' purpose is to serve as a functional problem solving
algorithm for the system operators who exist in the higher order
universe, and so on up to Universe Prime, or U-Prime as I call it.

This is a carry-over from the old school of theological metaphysics,
which assumes that all of creation is the terrarium of some creator
being (name s/h/it as you please), or in the Singulatarian world view,
we are all just iterations of Eliezer ;).

Now, to the rugged individualist, who denies any such higher purposes
except possibly the blind selfishness of their individual genes, they
can continue on their own individual paths, oblivious. They are still
serving the higher purpose in following their own life algorithm.

Now, the lack of a real explaination for the Fermi Paradox is a
significant boost for the Bostromian cause, as it suggests that the
universe is actually far younger than astronomical observation would
suggest, that the simulation we are in only began when humanity evolved
the capacity to receive interface signals from the higher order

A means of partially disproving this would be to go and prove the most
reasonable answer for the Fermi Paradox, that transcendant civilizations
are among us as encrypted nanomachinery in the dust and dirt.

Another avenue to track on is in particle physics. Current theories and
observed fact indicate that the universe is certainly quite a digital
entity, where the bit level is manifested in the form of the quark. Are
there further particles within the quark, and within them as well, or is
the quark the bottom turtle in the pile. In theory, reaching a level of
quantum computation should allow us to hack the universe, and ask the
sysop: What is the purpose? Just don't be surprised when it answers back
"You tell me, that's your job."

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