RE: The Quest for the Purpose of Life

From: Emlyn O'regan (
Date: Sun Feb 03 2002 - 19:43:47 MST

Eric wrote:
> This question concerns itself with every one of us, asking:
> "Why do you bother to live when you have to die eventually?
> You want to
> achieve this or that, but do they really matter if everyone
> has to die eventually?"
> Strangely, this being still does not understand the
> preceptions of others who thought this question has lesser
> importance or
> relevance.

I understand completely what you are saying here. How can you make a
difference, when all you can really do is to be born, rearrange atoms for a
time, then die?

It seems that, when we decide that we exist in a universe with no objective
"purpose" built in, we have no foundation for any choice of moral criteria.
There is no point to anything in such a scenario, by definition.

People have been claiming that you can just draw a line in the sand...
choose your own axioms for systems of purpose, morality, etc. This had been
my position until recently too, and I guess it still defacto is, given that
I have nothing to replace it.

Unfortunately, that seems to be a house of cards. The problem is that you
can change your mind about your fundamental axioms, and are ignoring the
question "how do I choose my axioms? Why?". This underlines the fact that
these so called "chosen axioms" are not axiomatic after all, and are in fact
derived from somewhere else. Where? Probably an heterogenous mishmash of
prior social programming, lurking under the covers. Unsatisfactory. And when
we try to apply a structured system, like scientific inquiry, to the task,
no headway is made.

People dismiss this question in general, I think, because it is very very
hard, upsetting to contemplate, and has no real impact on day-to-day life
(or so they like to delude themselves).

I think I need to read a bit of philosophy to be able to make any progress
on this point.


Confidentiality: The contents of this email are confidential and are
intended only for the named recipient. If the reader of this e-mail is not
the intended recipient you are hereby notified that any use, reproduction,
disclosure or distribution of the information contained in the e-mail is
prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please reply to us
immediately and delete the document.
Viruses: Any loss/damage incurred by using this material is not the sender's
responsibility. Our entire liability will be limited to resupplying the
material. No warranty is made that this material is free from computer virus
or other defect.

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