Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, January 30, 2012

Group 1: Meaning and purpose

Exciting and insightful discussion to follow.


  1. I can't wait!

    Are any of you old enough to remember the "Lost in Space" robot? His voice died this week. I thought of him when I turned to p.60.

    Would it be good to have been given a purpose by a creator? I think I'd really rather roll my own. Isn't this a distinctive difference between theists and atheists, that some of us are not consoled by the contemplation of imposed, external meanings and purposes?

  2. Oh wow!. I watched every episode of "Lost in Space" in real time--not reruns. I wanted to be an astronaut so badly I used to save up left-over 4th of July fireworks to launch my own rocket into space some day.

    How about Apollo 11's first lunar landing in '69! I was right there in front of the TV from the launch and the animation of the capsule in space that led up to Armstrong's first steps and his famous words.

    With 1000 TV channels (100 of hockey) and the Internet, I don't know if it will every be able to capture the nation's imagination like that ever again. Then again, we've got the Kardashians and Snookie so what do I know?

    We all have imaginations, hopes and dreams. I can't see why would anyone want to borrow some dogmatic institution's second-hand purpose for our temporary, precious lives when we all could dream our own individual dreams and take our own giant steps into the unknown. With that, we can all launch our own rockets into space.

  3. Their far future, when the Jupiter spacecraft got "lost in space," began in 1997. Are we that old, Dean? Maybe it's time to consider life extension! But that's just what I mean: we need to dream our own dreams, even (or especially?) the dreams of childhood.

  4. I remember when I was a child and Pluto was still a Planet! But I agree, I think everyone has dreams to dream, and if you don't dream them yourself no one will dream them for you!

  5. Concerning our assigned chapter on meaning and purpose...I found this to be a very enjoyable reading. Baginni's tone in the book is unfailingly positive, and this particular chapter was a standout in that regard. I left the chapter feeling like a positive outlook on life is not only possible from an atheistic point of view, but in fact makes infinitely more sense than a theistic view.

    Did I gain any new insight from the chapter? Not really, but I sure left with a warm and fuzzy feeling. In other words, I found that the chapter was self-justified :-)

  6. This is going to probably be an unpopular observation, but I really like this same view of self-justifying life that's found in the Bible. The book of Ecclesiastes specifically. It almost didn't make the canon, the rabbis didn't want to include it because it didn't say anything about God or the Law and didn't really have anything to do with religion at all. The basic message of the book is that everything is "vanity" (meaningless, fleeting, ephemeral) and you'll drive yourself mad trying to get around that - the most satisfactory and fulfilling life is in learning to find the beauty in what you do have. The book's prescription for life? - The only thing worthwhile is having a small number of good friends, labor that you enjoy doing for it's own sake, and some good food every now and again.

    Sadly, they edited the book to slap in some stuff about obeying God and the Law (meaning Torah) there on the end so that they could justify including it.

  7. "The only thing worthwhile is having a small number of good friends, labor that you enjoy doing for it's own sake, and some good food every now and again."

    Throw in some consentual lovin and I'm sold.

  8. "The meaning of life? Well, it's nothing special. Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations."

  9. Dug up one of my old posts on the subject of evolution and meaning: http://osopher.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/meanings-evolve/

    "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." Origin of Species

  10. Like I mentioned last class, I believe in a way that evolution can provide some meaning into life. It feels to me like it is almost an honor to be a human. I would hate to wake up one day and be something else like a crab or sea urchin.

    I feel like evolution has blessed us a human beings in the fact that we have reason and logic. We are the smartest creatures we are aware of, and rule this planet. Imagine life any differently?

    The meaning of life for me is to be happy. Of course this isn't necessarily an easy task! But with balance in all spectrums of your life it is possible. Do what you love and want, work HARD, don't do copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, find love wherever you feel most comfortable, eat regularly, stay hydrated, workout, read books, stay active, keep going.