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Thread: deep conversations

  1. #1

    Default deep conversations

    Ok, over the weekend i was hanging out with some of my best friends and we got into a discussion about what our lives really mean. After all, we ARE just large conglomerations of cells descended from chemistry that one day found out how to replicate its self. I thought it was really deep and im looking for some insight here.

  2. #2
    CrinklySiren

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    Quote Originally Posted by BabyTommy View Post
    Ok, over the weekend i was hanging out with some of my best friends and we got into a discussion about what our lives really mean. After all, we ARE just large conglomerations of cells descended from chemistry that one day found out how to replicate its self. I thought it was really deep and im looking for some insight here.
    Actually we didnt just find out how to replicate, if you think about it the theory is that we were just a bunch of chemicals bouncing around primordial pools in the beginning of earth's creation, and as millions of years passed, we got lucky enough that certain chemicals finally collided to create life. Its interesting because there were MILLIONS of chemicals over the course of millions of years and at some point the right chemicals just "collided" and evolved to what we all are today. Crazy.

  3. #3

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    I think the idea that reality has "meaning" is just down to the way that our brains work.

    Evolution is a sort-of "self-automated" system where traits that improve survival and procreation rates are selected for. Simple animals (like slugs or ants or flies) seem to work almost like exotic computers. If one pheromone is released, they spontaneously try to copulate, otherwise they seek food, eat it, avoid (or seek) bright lights, moisture or whatever. It would be hard to believe that such (relatively) simple beings have the same kind of self-awareness or consciousness that we have.

    I believe that consciousness, really, is what helps us monitor and re-program our instinctive behaviours, thus allowing us to adapt to environments more readily. In order for our conscious mind to be able to help us, we need to be constantly motivated (i.e. always looking for problems that need solving, never resting on our laurels) and we need to be able to work with abstract concepts to help us identify and understand novel problems and seek solutions.

    In order to solve problems, we have developed powerful minds that are masters in the art of abstraction. Even if we encounter a completely new problem, we can still run through our memories trying to spot any similarity to the existing problem that we have previously experienced and perhaps come up with a few theories that we can test to see if we have understood the problem correctly. This kind of problem solving requires us to not just memorise experiences, but to give abstract meaning to our experiences and memories.

    If I want to tighten a screw, but can't find a screwdriver, I might choose to use a butter knife instead (although it might be fiddly). A butter knife has hardly anything in common with a screwdriver, but I can search through my repertoire of "thin bladed handheld instruments likely to be in my house" and come up with a butter knife. I ascribe the "meaning" of screwdriver to the butter knife because it helps me solve the problem.

    Anyway, just like the brain is continually trying to notice patterns in new experiences that seem similar to old experiences (so we can try to remember what kinds of things have worked in the past), it's also continually forming abstract conceptions of things (such as the thin-blade-ness of the butter knife and how I have previously used one as a screwdriver). This tendency to abstract and reduce the properties of objects into memorable "utilities" is, essentially, our way of ascribing meaning onto the world.

    There is no inherent meaning in the world, i.e. the universe doesn't "know" what a screw is, let alone that you might be able to screw one in with a butter knife. The universe cannot apply subjective meanings onto objects. Stuff just exists. Meaning is something that intelligent minds create in order to make sense of reality.

    So... I think the natural tendency to think about the "meaning of life" is just a product of the way that our brains work. We search for meaning in everything. That's how we have adapted and survived as a species. So it's no wonder that we ponder the meaning of life. But things have meaning inasmuch as they are useful to us in some way. A screwdriver (or butter knife) is useful because it helps us drive in a screw. But life itself has no inherent purpose to us. It is not useful to us for achieving some goal. We do not live in order to achieve something else. Life is not a "middle step" en-route to solving a puzzle. It just is.

    So, I don't think it really makes sense to talk about THE meaning of life. If you live in order to achieve something you personally want to do, then fulfilling that achievement is the meaning that you might give to your life. But meaning is something that you choose to apply; it's not inherent.

    (That's my thoughts anyway... )

  4. #4

  5. #5

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    I find it mind boggling that we are on one planet in a star system, of which there are over 100 billion systems in a galaxy, and there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe, and this universe could be one in an infinite number of other universes.

  6. #6

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    Who's to say if these galaxies are of the same age or not. Look at where we are in our exploration of ourselves and space. Maybe these foreign bodies of space are in the same age as we are and have yet to leave their own planet. We have made it as far as the moon. We've sent robots beyond the moon, just capturing pictures.
    The Hubble space telescope has captured pictures of stars. Specks of light that are so far away that it takes millions, if not billions of years before we even see the star. Every time we look up and see these stars, we have no idea what's actually happening now. We are looking at millions of years prior to our point of time.

    To say that we broke ground on space exploration is an overstatement. We've not even sniffed it.

  7. #7

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    Reminds me of a Monty Python song...


    Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
    And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
    That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
    A sun that is the source of all our power.
    The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
    Are moving at a million miles a day
    In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
    Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
    Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
    It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
    It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
    But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
    We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
    We go 'round every two hundred million years,
    And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
    In this amazing and expanding universe.

    The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
    In all of the directions it can whizz
    As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
    Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
    So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
    How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
    And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
    'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

  8. #8
    CrinklySiren

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    Among the subject of in-depth conversation, something even more mind-boggling than space itself is human consciousness... it has yet to be explained. I mean what is it that keeps me and you from being the exact same person, what is it that creates personality, what is it that creates a sense of "I am me" rather than "We are geth" (lol) If we haven't even scratched the theory of a surface for exploration of the universe, we havent even played with the study of human consciousness.

    This makes me wonder about what alien life is like on other planets, because when you think about it, if we want to know how aliens are all we have to do is look at ourselves, because aside from being made of different components or having different methods of evolution to the world that surrounds, the evolution of life on another planet is similar to our very own. So if we are power hungry greed machines that devour anything in our path, who's to say aliens wont be the same thing? I guess we can only hope that the alien brain evolves differently than that of the human brain to the point where the can transcend the primitive mind and reach a higher understanding of things.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiny View Post
    I think the idea that reality has "meaning" is just down to the way that our brains work.

    (That's my thoughts anyway... )
    Having read intently, your wise insights, Tiny, I found myself at once agreeing then seeking to disagree lol. Actually, to each consideration that I applied your theory, I arrived at the same conclusion... an inherent motivation to solve problems which are present to my mind. Be that physical, emotional, even spiritual. As an artist I continually ponder the nature of the abstract and why we struggle so much with arbitrary information.... Of course it is about seeking to restoring balance to what appears chaotic I think.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by BabyTommy View Post
    Ok, over the weekend i was hanging out with some of my best friends and we got into a discussion about what our lives really mean. After all, we ARE just large conglomerations of cells descended from chemistry that one day found out how to replicate its self. I thought it was really deep and im looking for some insight here.
    Science is over-rated. If we are nothing more than the evolution of an accidental grouping of atoms then life has no meaning or purpose. If that's the case then science has no particular meaning or purpose above and beyond any other beliefs we might hold; it is just something we play with to kill time while time is killing us.

    What makes the conversation "deep" is questioning the assumption that we are "just" this evolved conglomeration of cells.

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