purpose of life

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Mountainheart
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Re: purpose of life

Postby Mountainheart » 25 Mar 2014, 21:23

@mountainheart

:)

My answer to each of those is "there isn't one" or possibly "because that's what it does" if I'm feeling circular.

The difference between your examples and humans is our large degree of sapience, our capacity for reflection. Perhaps the search for meaning or purpose speaks of a desire for guidance in how to live, given that we are capable of considerations which a maggot is not. It simply is what it is and does what it does. We have infinite choices, some constructive to ourselves, others and our environment, and some destructive. So perhaps a/the purpose is to become our uttermost selves, the quintessential expression of human-ness. This, I believe, may echo the sentiments above about the purpose of life being to simply experience it fully.

The concept of "the quintessential expression of human-ness", of course, leads to a whole 'nother set of questions!
I find those things full of purposes:

What is the purpose of a leaf bursting from a bud? My purpose in life: to change, to grow, to transform with the seasons, to unfurl to the fullness of what I can be and am capable of.
What is the purpose of a tree bending in the wind? A purpose in life: to learn resilience; to fully face the storms that come and to bend rather than break; becoming stronger in the process.
What is the purpose of a blackbird singing high in a tree? My purpose in life now: to sing a song to you.
What is the purpose of a dog lying in the sunshine? A purpose in life: to seize every moment and to enjoy what can be enjoyed; to fully experience what can be experienced; to just take time to be; to live in awareness.
What is the purpose of a maggot eating within a corpse? The purpose of life. To take part in the great cycle of life; to be born; to live; to die; to be transformed.

I find your statement "It simply is what it is and does what it does" pretty much sums up what life is all about for me :grin: Human's aren't special IMO: we are animals and when we remember that and get in touch with our inner animal I think we are on the way to understanding our purpose.

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illion
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Re: purpose of life

Postby illion » 26 Mar 2014, 05:57

What is the purpose of a leaf bursting from a bud?
What is the purpose of a tree bending in the wind?
What is the purpose of a blackbird singing high in a tree?
What is the purpose of a dog lying in the sunshine?
What is the purpose of a maggot eating within a corpse?

I think the purpose of life; a purpose in life; my purpose in life; and my purpose in life now can be found in these questions.
I will have to answer these questions with an answer that my then-four-year-old son gave me. (Four-year-olds can be very philosophical, and they often come up with simple answers to questions we grown-ups have been pondering on for years).

"The meaning of life, Mom, is to survive" - Patrik (4)

I have to amdit that I haven't found any better answer to it, and I would like to add that to survive one has to fit into a co-existence with the other species on Earth otherwise one will go extinct. Evolution works that way! "Reverence for Nature" therefore becomes the true meaning of Life - and get out in the Sun as often you can :grin:

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Re: purpose of life

Postby DJ Droood » 26 Mar 2014, 11:51

"The meaning of life, Mom, is to survive" - Patrik (4)
Smart lad! Only partly right, though (he is only 4..he will grow into full enlightenment)

The meaning of life is to procreate....pass it on.....do it again....drop your seed pods....bloom....of course, you have to survive to do this successfully and repeatedly.

This makes it sound like childless people have no meaning, which I would never say to a childless person, including my childless wife.....and a childless person can have a quality of life and "purpose" that is deep and profound....but I'm afraid job 1...the meaning....IMO, is to pass on the contagion of life. ( nice work, btw, Illion)
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Re: purpose of life

Postby ShadowCat » 26 Mar 2014, 11:56

Not all fruits one bears are fruits of the loins, Droood...
Three sounds one should treasure:
the whisper of the wind through the leaves
the songs of one's heart
the callings of the universe

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Re: purpose of life

Postby DJ Droood » 26 Mar 2014, 12:57

Not all fruits one bears are fruits of the loins, Droood...
But in context of the OP...the meaning *of* life (not the meanings *in* life)....everything else...worshiping your gods, tasting the dew from a rose petal at sunrise, writing a song, walking your dog, making DHP posts...all utterly, frighteningly meaningless.

Now, I reconsidered somewhat as I drove my childless wife to work this morning....*not* procreating, in an ecosystem that is overburdened and overpopulated, where your offspring would bring added stress and endanger the chances of every other living thing, moving forward...that would be a meaningful act. (as I believe serving the collective trumps individual needs)

It is impossible to see the big picture, though...the ripple effects of your actions, and others on you, over time....probably best to just keep on keeping on, as mindfully as possible, and hope everything works out.

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Re: purpose of life

Postby ShadowCat » 26 Mar 2014, 15:13

Agreed... the ripples of our actions go far beyond what we can see. As such, I've decided to remain childless, don't think the world could handle a second version of me :grin:

One can also argue whether continuation of our species is the primary goal, as biology teaches ur, or whether continuation of life is the primary goal. Me thinks that an earth without humans would do just fine and that humans are (at the moment) more a threath to life than conductive to the lifeforce in general.
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Re: purpose of life

Postby treegod » 26 Mar 2014, 15:34

Procreation is a biological goal, but I wouldn't equate it with meaning or purpose. Meaning and purpose have to with the existential decisions, convictions, questions, confusions and doubts that emerge in the human brain. Which means it's up to us to make something of it. :old:

The meaning of life is not found, it is made (and made in the living of life). :wink:
... wasn't that a quote somewhere?

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Re: purpose of life

Postby Mountainheart » 26 Mar 2014, 15:53

Procreation is a biological goal, but I wouldn't equate it with meaning or purpose. Meaning and purpose have to with the existential decisions, convictions, questions, confusions and doubts that emerge in the human brain. Which means it's up to us to make something of it. :old:

The meaning of life is not found, it is made (and made in the living of life). :wink:
... wasn't that a quote somewhere?
I think there is a William James quote along those lines.

I prefer these from Albert Camus:

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."

"Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is."

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illion
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Re: purpose of life

Postby illion » 27 Mar 2014, 05:45

"The meaning of life, Mom, is to survive" - Patrik (4)
Smart lad! Only partly right, though (he is only 4..he will grow into full enlightenment)

The meaning of life is to procreate....pass it on.....do it again....drop your seed pods....bloom....of course, you have to survive to do this successfully and repeatedly.

This makes it sound like childless people have no meaning, which I would never say to a childless person, including my childless wife.....and a childless person can have a quality of life and "purpose" that is deep and profound....but I'm afraid job 1...the meaning....IMO, is to pass on the contagion of life. ( nice work, btw, Illion)
Of course is he smart, he is raised by a druidess for God/Goddess/Spirit/insert what fits you most properly's sake :grin:
Thank you, DJ Droood :curtsey:
One can also argue whether continuation of our species is the primary goal, as biology teaches ur, or whether continuation of life is the primary goal. Me thinks that an earth without humans would do just fine and that humans are (at the moment) more a threath to life than conductive to the lifeforce in general.
I think our species is here right now for a reason, and that reason is to keep the ecosystem in balance, but as long as we don't serve the Earth's balance anymore we will go extinct. I think that the meaning of life right now is to survive as a species, but that doesn't necessarily say that you have to have children to get meaning in life. Humans will certainly survive although some people decide not to have children. Unless everybody finds out that they are better without, then we have a problem :anx: If humans were fewer and less greedy they wouldn't be a threat to life, they would have been in balance with the ecosystem. (I like to see myself as a tree).

I think that everything we do in life is rooted in survival. I think that Maslow was a smart guy that built well-constructed pyramids :)

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Re: purpose of life

Postby DaRC » 28 Mar 2014, 12:15

Ahhh my brain is in a strange post-flu woozy state so forgive my ramblings...
What is the porpoise of life?
I don't know why but I always have associated Dylan (Llew's brother, Arianrhod's son) with the Porpoise, subsequent investuigation into Dylan suggests his name relates the to tidal estuaries; the liminal place between land and sea. This relates to my childhood relationship with porpoises; whilst fishing estuaries and harbours. A time just experiencing nature, a simple hunter/gatherer time when catching a fish big enough to eat was the sole :o goal.

It also makes my thoughts flow to Douglas Adams and the Dolphins in "So long and thanks for all the fish". 42 being the answer to the meaning of life and my subsequent discovery that (I think) Adam' was having a private joke about Graves where 42 is the numerological name for the Abrahamic God Yahweh.

With the definition of purpose there are a number of perspectives; it's very human/ego-centric IMHO to ascribe purpose purely to what our brains decide it is.

The natural perspective is the biological one I think - continuation of the species. Which does not necessarily mean having children but could encompass enabling the species to continue through teaching and being an example - a beacon of light to others.

A modern Druidic perspective could be that we (the human race) are here to act as caretakers of the planet for future generations. Which take the purpose into a wider view than a single individual choice.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Re: purpose of life

Postby treegod » 28 Mar 2014, 14:33

With the definition of purpose there are a number of perspectives; it's very human/ego-centric IMHO to ascribe purpose purely to what our brains decide it is.
I think that's the safest bet, though. "Guessing" at the purpose of life, the universe and everything could lead to projecting our human ideas onto the universe, where really there is no purpose, or a purpose contrary to what we are thinking. Which seems even more anthropocentric to me.

I think we have enough on our plate trying to figure out the purpose and meaning of our own lives, let alone the universe's!

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illion
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Re: purpose of life

Postby illion » 29 Mar 2014, 06:40

A modern Druidic perspective could be that we (the human race) are here to act as caretakers of the planet for future generations. Which take the purpose into a wider view than a single individual choice.
Thank you, DaRC! That certainly gave my life meaning.

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Re: purpose of life

Postby Sciethe » 06 May 2014, 19:21

I prefer these from Albert Camus:

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."
"Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is."
Existentialist Druids now. Loving it. Taken a bit further down the existentialist trail the idea crosses paths with a different road that has a surprising destination: James Lovelock. He really annoyed me by writing something I thought I'd worked out for myself, now I don't know whether I thought of it myself or got it from him.

Life eh?

It goes like this:

The reflexive consciousness.

Reflexivity is the key to understanding a purpose to our existence.

Before man, Gaia dreams.
Then man comes, and invents the mirror. He/she see's him/herself.
The universe, the stuff of stars looks into its own eyes and knows itself.
The value of our existence is that we are indivisible from the matter of the universe, we are the universe, as we live and experience things we feed a great consciousness of what it is to be, in all it's beauty, wonder, horror and transcendence. Also football for some reason. Ah well.
We inform the divine immanent in matter, Gaia, what she is.

We look into the mirror and, man or woman, see her. She sees us, she is and she knows our mind, and has new knowledge of herself.
She evolves.
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For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him. For he is of the tribe of Tiger. Christopher Smart

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Re: purpose of life

Postby Elena Danaan » 27 Jan 2015, 22:00

I have been wondering, and wandering... i have finally understood that there isn't "A" purpose of life, but a different one for each of all creatures. I have found mine:
Learning :)

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Re: purpose of life

Postby Welsh Mythology » 04 Feb 2015, 17:32

I don't think there is a purpose, that would imply that something needed doing, and as far as I can tell its that attitude what got us into this mess in the first place.

I think there is a meaning though, and that occurs without having to do anything.

I could be talking out of my mule, or maybe my mule is talking out of me . . . :yay:
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Re: purpose of life

Postby MoonPryderi » 22 Jun 2015, 23:22

if we have ONE purpose it is, i think, to celebrate life, in appreciation - and, if there is a quest, or a best way to do this, being kind to each other and to all things in creation helps to make this celebration whole and harmonious and that too is our purpose.

As for that word submission - i prefer the word acceptance - to me acceptance aligns with appreciation and submission has echoes of defeat (but i absolutely understand you didn't mean the word submission in that way)

Aren't words wonderful !! :)
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Re: purpose of life

Postby MoonPryderi » 22 Jun 2015, 23:31

hahaha Welsh Mythology - i don't think you are talking out of your mule at all - unless you have a wise mule :tiphat:
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DaRC
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Re: purpose of life

Postby DaRC » 23 Jun 2015, 13:32

if there is a quest, or a best way to do this, being kind to each other and to all things
Or to quote Bill & Ted "Be excellent to each other!" [play air guitar]
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Re: purpose of life

Postby babblebeth » 23 Jun 2015, 13:44

To me the purpose of life is to leave the world a slightly better place then how you found it. Even if it's just having made one person's life better. To me that's all it's about, trying to make the world a better place in little ways.
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Re: purpose of life

Postby MoonPryderi » 26 Jun 2015, 14:42

To me the purpose of life is to leave the world a slightly better place then how you found it. Even if it's just having made one person's life better. To me that's all it's about, trying to make the world a better place in little ways.
Yes i agree with that :) It's also why I write

Worth reading ''Psalm'' by Longfellow (too long to post here).
There is a lovely recording of it here though
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSXb1vjhmEA
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