Why do we exist? Is incoherent.

Vastet's picture

I was tempted to write an essay, but I don't feel like going to the trouble of it with an entertainment system. Fortunately, it doesn't require one. This is very simple.
Before you can ask why, you must at least know what. Where, when, how, and even who (what, personified) can be helpful, but aren't inherently necessary, yet they can be depending on the why question.
To ask: Why is the sky blue?; you must first know that the sky can be blue at various times. If you don't know that the sky is blue, then the question is assuming that the sky is blue. In fact, the sky is not blue, it is black. But it appears to be blue to our eyes, and that is sufficient to ask why it is blue.
Life exists. We know it does. But we DON'T know exactly WHAT life is. 100,000 years of human history, and we still don't have a definition that fits all life, and only life. How then, can anyone ask why, when they don't even know what?

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Atheistextremist's picture

This is a very interesting thought

 

I can't define the what - and you could argue that our inabiity to define the first point anulls the argument completely. I often think that with no definition of god we have no business talking about it and the same thing applies to life. What is it exactly? Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Not really sure, actually. It's a bit of a head fuck, this. Attempting to define life gives me the same lateral vertigo that trying to conceive of eternity gives me. I'm going to smoke reefer and will think about it later on. 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck

the answer

I am a little confused about what exactly you are asking here. The sky is blue. Why? Because the atmosphere relects the blue wavelength of the visible light spectrum and absorbs the others.

Why do we exist? We simply have to turn to Darwin for this answer. Life on earth evolved, ultimately, from the most basic proteins that could make crude copies of themselves. This evolved over billions of years into mammals and then humans. So we have a definite history that can be traced. That is why we exist.

The definition that fits all life is natural selection.

A better question might be, what is the meaning of life? But then you are getting into different philosophies and interpretations of how one should live ones life. For that question, there is definitely not one answer.

 

Luminon's picture

Hey Vastet, are you

Hey Vastet, are you interested in the answer? If yes, read the Far Journeys series by Robert Allan Monroe. Just because you are clueless, doesn't mean that everyone must be clueless. It doesn't mean that your lacking sources of information are the only sources available. You can at least start gathering some ideas that might bring you inspiration, instead of complaining that you don't have the answers right in front of you. It's an illusion to think that you must know exactly, what the life is. That's like the end, not beginning if investigation. You don't know what exactly are things like gravity, electric charge, or energy as such, and yet you can still work with them, and then perhaps find our more about them. Really, this needs more constructive approach.

There are actually too many answers. The trick is to find a coherence between them, because they're all true, in some sense. No single answer will help everyone, but any answer will help someone. The truth is like a diamond with many sides. What kind of answer do you actually seek? In what terms do you want to see the life explained? You don't represent the life as such, so you need the truth of your own size and matching your own nature, then you will be satisfied, until you overgrow the answer. So make up your mind and ask.

With me personally it's pretty easy, I have the tools and theories to know more than I need about the sense of life. You know, I'm such a type of person that feels himself belonging more to the laws of universe, than of paper and stamp. (you know, the mystical depths of Pisces sign) But you're much different and it would be interesting to see how you can achieve the same thing. But beware, it's not like knowing the sense of life will get you any closer to fulfilling it. And similarly, some people can fulfill the sense of life just intuitively, without knowing anything about it.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.

Vastet's picture

Star_stuff: Good post, but

Star_stuff: Good post, but that's how and when. It is not why. You cannot fathom why until you know what, and noone knows what.

Also, natural selection doesn't fit all life, and only life. Natural selection needs life, it does not exemplify it.

The only question I ask is a rhetorical one, it has no answer beyond: you can't,

"You can at least start gathering some ideas that might bring you inspiration, instead of complaining that you don't have the answers right in front of you."

I think you misunderstand my post. And you are wrong to think I ask a question that can be definitively answered by any human today. Also to think I'm complaining about something. I'm telling you the question of why is incoherent until you know what. Noone knows what. It is unlikely anyone will know for hundreds if not thousands of years, if ever.

Why: the cause or intention underlying an action or situation, especially in the phrase `the whys and wherefores'.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Luminon's picture

Vastet wrote: The only

Vastet wrote:
The only question I ask is a rhetorical one, it has no answer beyond: you can't, "You can at least start gathering some ideas that might bring you inspiration, instead of complaining that you don't have the answers right in front of you." I think you misunderstand my post. And you are wrong to think I ask a question that can be definitively answered by any human today. Also to think I'm complaining about something. I'm telling you the question of why is incoherent until you know what. Noone knows what. It is unlikely anyone will know for hundreds if not thousands of years, if ever. Why: the cause or intention underlying an action or situation, especially in the phrase `the whys and wherefores'.

So you practically gave up on finding the answer, it seems you're more interested in philosophy, than the result. It's not very practical method, you see. Why don't you pick a theory you find the most explanatory, and then examine it in practice? I did it, and it works for me. I understand everything, the purpose of life in the universe, the purpose of humanity, particular nations for next millenium or so (mainly USA) and then my own individual purpose of life, which is my particular way which will bring me and the world around the greatest benefit. So far, everything fits, we're professionals for finding the sense of life.

It seems that there is nothing pressing you very urgently. I have seen that people who got into real life trouble threw away their models of behavior and rigid thinking, and searched for answers of life where they wouldn't search before, and they found. Such a people are not concerned with philosophy, but with making their life work again. Really, it's not that extremely diffcult, it does not require more effort than anything other we do seriously - like learning to drive, studying universities, having a job, and so on. There is no reason why finding the sense of life should be any easier! It is true, that people will usually never learn anything about these things, until they make career, get married, have family, house and some savings. Only then they have enough free time to actually dig deeper into these questions of life. Or they do something else, like find a younger woman or buy a big, red sport car.

The only problem in this area is, that investigation of such a kind is a personal journey. There is very little that can be accepted by scientific community, written down into textbooks and become a common knowledge of humanity. This is why it seems so impossible. The only way how to make the nature and sense of life an objective, scientific knowledge is through a certain big historical event. This must transform everything about our society, because a commercial, consumer society will never deploy a large amount of finances on researching these questions, which do not promise immediate profit.
Anyway, I recommend you to read Monroe's books, they're the best on what can you get on that topic, and they're very interesting and useful. You probably have never read such a books, so you can't even imagine how the universe may work from that point of view. For me, it's simply how it works, supported by many life experiences and denied by none.

On the end, I have two things to tell you. Firstly, the theory says, that life, consciousness, and energy are one and the same thing. Do whatever you want with this information. Secondly, it seems to me, that you're not taking this topic seriously. Have you read any literature? Like Monroe who's the best, but also Osho, Baba Ram Dass, and so on? You should get known with authorities in this area, as you would do with any other kind of study. It's not like you invented these questions. What the hell is different about it? If you want to know, then study. If you want evidence, you have to try in practice, what you studied.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.

Vastet's picture

"So you practically gave up

"So you practically gave up on finding the answer, it seems you're more interested in philosophy, than the result."

I was right, you misunderstand. I'm not giving up on anything. It is theoretically possible that we could come to a conclusive definition of life, the universe, and everything in my lifetime. But the chances of it happening are roughly equivalent to the chances of Sol reaching out with a tongue of flame which burns me from the Earth, leaving everyone else to wonder what the hell just happened.

The only thing to do is wait. Until you know what something is, you cannot know why it is. If you feel you must compile the minute amount of knowledge we have into something that cannot be complete so you can ask why, don't expect me to respect your conclusion.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

why ask why?

Vastet, you are taking a very agnostic approach on the very question you are trying to ask, to which I am still unclear on exactly what it is you are pondering. The definition of 'why' from www.dictionary.com is:

Quote:
a question concerning the cause or reason for which something is done, achieved, etc.

As stated above, the only reason we exist is because of natural selection. Why? Because we do! Because we happened to evolve on the third planet orbiting an average star in a solar system that exists on the edge of an obscure arm of an average galaxy that holds no special place in the universe. The genesis of life happened in the primordial soup of a young and violent planet. As the atmosphere and environment changed, so did the life that struggled to survive in it.

But you know all this already. Why do we exist? It seems a silly question, to which you are looking for a deeper answer than exists. It seems, to me, that what is complicating this contemplation is the fact that you are self-aware and you are perplexed by why you exist, why the concept of I allows you to even ponder this question.

I think that Luminon is correct--you need to find this answer yourself because it is a very personal question.

Vastet's picture

You also misunderstand. The

You also misunderstand. The question of why we exist, as theists use in argument, stems much deeper than the history of the solar system and life on Earth. It goes all the way to the appearance of spacetime, without which our planet would not exist. They ask why of existence itself. But we have yet to define it, so you cannot logically ask why it is.

You do not have to answer this question. Any answer you come up with is not necessarily accurate, and automatically begs the question of what, since you don't know. What you are doing is literally equal to someone trying to explain why the sky appears to be blue a thousand years before research on light refraction and the knowledge that the Earth is a sphere with an atmosphere which has water in it that orbits a ball of fusion.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Aha!

vastet wrote:
It goes all the way to the appearance of spacetime, without which our planet would not exist.

Now we are at the core of your question! What you are really asking is 'why does the universe exist?'

I think I have an answer, to some extent. Space-time itself is the result of quantum fluctuations as is shown in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which is one of the core concepts of quantum mechanics. As far as the universe at large, well we all agree it was born of the Big Bang. There are many disputs as to what the Big Bang really was, and we still cannot answer what happened before the great explosion that birthed the universe. However, through all the speculation, the most compelling argument I have found is the something-from-nothing theory given in Victor Stenger's book God: The Failed Hypothesis. I will try to sum it up here:

Before the Big Bang, there was nothing. Literally. There was a "time" (using the term loosely because at this point time did not exist) when the universe was smaller than the Planck length and younger than the Planck time. Anyone familiar with the Planck measurements knows that anything smaller than the Planck length is a black hole because no information can be extracted from it. Same with the Planck time. They are literally limitations on physical measurment and observation. Now, the Second Law of Thermodynamics states that all closed systems must increase its entropy. Thus, when the universe was smaller than the Planck length it had reached it maximun entropy for the size of its system--it was a black hole. So it had to expand. And it did. The rest is history.

Vastet's picture

You just don't get it. I'm

You just don't get it. I'm quite aware of our current scientific understanding. But it is as yet incomplete, and you cannot claim otherwise. In fact you admit as much:

"There are many disputs as to what the Big Bang really was, and we still cannot answer what happened before the great explosion that birthed the universe."

Even if the LHC is successful beyond the wildest dreams of scientists everywhere, it won't have defined everything. It will define how matter and mass forms, but it won't answer why energy and spacetime began in the first place so that matter and mass could form out of it. We're still at the untestable hypothesis level for that. Sure, we have a few hypothesis, but we don't know which one is right. We may yet come up with new ones, and I'd be surprised if we didn't before we figure it out, because we have yet to even define life. You can choose to believe one over the others if you like, but I'm not going to. I'll wait until we know what, which will answer why itself.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Vastet's picture

Now if you want to think I'm

Now if you want to think I'm talking subjectively, and that in any way I am suggesting I'm without personal meaning, that's wrong, and a different discussion to boot. I'm not talking about so mundane a topic. I knew who and what I was, and what I want many years ago. I'm talking about how you cannot even ask why until you have answered what. Much of the big bang has been explained, but not its entirety. Not with any certainty. Once it has been explained, THEN you can ask why. But we won't have to anymore. We'll already know.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Luminon's picture

Well, maybe I understand you

Well, maybe I understand you better. Something I wrote yesterday was on a similar topic. What you mean is similar to the idea of a final "enlightenment", "eternal salvation", and such a nonsenses. These concepts are illusory. There is no final, complete knowledge about the sense of life. We will never achieve it, and if yes, there won't be anything human about us around that time. But what we can achieve, is still greater degree knowledge, still expanding. I am convinved, that there is a specific local knowledge that concerns our surrounding. There is no reason to despise it just because it's not complete, quite opposite, it's much better than nothing. Be a little pragmatic.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.

Vastet's picture

You may understand a little

You may understand a little better, but only a little. I'm not suggesting an end to the aquirement of knowledge in any way. Nor am I despising anything. I'm saying, in essence, don't count your chickens before they hatch. But if you haven't gotten it by now, I don't expect you will.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Brian37's picture

Atheistextremist wrote: I

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

I can't define the what - and you could argue that our inabiity to define the first point anulls the argument completely. I often think that with no definition of god we have no business talking about it and the same thing applies to life. What is it exactly? Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Not really sure, actually. It's a bit of a head fuck, this. Attempting to define life gives me the same lateral vertigo that trying to conceive of eternity gives me. I'm going to smoke reefer and will think about it later on. 

 

 

 

 

Why would you want to set a coral reef on fire? How would you "smoke a reefer" when they are under water?

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

noafterlifenow's picture

This is a very good point.

This is a very good point. THX!

what>why

I understand little.

There has only been one event, so what makes things seperate from each other to ask what. This is an aspect of why. Sorry about the when.

 

 

Kapkao's picture

Why do I exist? I guess

Why do I exist? I guess because my parents went horizontal... though that's not the sort of imagery I normally allow in my head.

Simple questions beget simple answers.

 

edit: when last I checked, "living being" had a very specific definition, if broad in scope.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)

Luminon's picture

Kapkao wrote:Why do I exist?

Kapkao wrote:
Why do I exist? I guess because my parents went horizontal... though that's not the sort of imagery I normally allow in my head.

Simple questions beget simple answers.

 

I'm sorry, this is not an answer. The question is 'why', not 'how'. See the difference? It's surprising how often people do that mistake.


 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.

interesting thought

 We don't know much about matter, or energy, or light, or the human mind... but we posit it's existence and even take faith in it's consistency to do science at all. So it is not really illogical to say there might be a God, let's reason... And what about cause and effect? where are clearly the effect, so we must humbly seek the cause, it can be said that God created the universe, just as one may say it came from nothing, it is scarcely irrational to suppose former...

Kapkao's picture

Luminon wrote:Kapkao

Luminon wrote:

Kapkao wrote:
Why do I exist? I guess because my parents went horizontal... though that's not the sort of imagery I normally allow in my head.

Simple questions beget simple answers.

 

I'm sorry, this is not an answer. The question is 'why', not 'how'. See the difference? It's surprising how often people do that mistake.

 

That is why I exist.... the "how" is much more complex, but exists along the same lines of reasoning.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)

Vastet's picture

That's a subjective why, it

That's a subjective why, it is not an answer to why. It is no more than the simple answer to how.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.