Purpose of life

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Purpose of life




 if an object has a meaning or a purpose, generally that means that it's made by some intention, in other words by someone.

So, when, we atheists and agnostics, attribute a meaning/purpose to life (eg: life is made to feed the poor, life is made to help each other, life is made to treat women normally, ect....), do we implicitely assume the existence of a cosmic Intention?


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If it's an intrinsic purpose

If it's an intrinsic purpose or meaning, yes.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare

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Purpose of life: survive,

Purpose of life: survive, thrive, and flourish.

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termina wrote:  Hello if

termina wrote:




 if an object has a meaning or a purpose, generally that means that it's made by some intention, in other words by someone.

So, when, we atheists and agnostics, attribute a meaning/purpose to life (eg: life is made to feed the poor, life is made to help each other, life is made to treat women normally, ect....), do we implicitely assume the existence of a cosmic Intention?



Yes, if we say that life has a purpose that is necessarily fundamental to the existence of life, we are assuming some sort of Intention behind life. I don't see any good reason why someone would say that life intrinsically has some purpose, though.

p.s. Those are some really weird examples of what people may say is the purpose of life. All of them presuppose the existence of life.

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.

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butterbattle wrote:If it's

butterbattle wrote:
If it's an intrinsic purpose or meaning, yes.


OK, that seems to me to be, well sort of a word game. Consider the examples provided in the OP. Those certainly are fine goals but we only have to read the news to see that they are not values inherent to the nature of the term “cosmic”. At least as I would see the term.


It seems to me that in order for something to be intentional, one must have an intelligent actor. However, for most of the existence of the universe, no such actor existed. So cosmic and intentional are two concepts that are going to be problematic to bring together.

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@OP:  Yea, I usually

@OP:  Yea, I usually express this as capital P "Purpose" vs. normal "purpose".  When I talk about purpose I am talking about the purpose I give to myself, and it comes from my own thought process.  It is a conscious decision, rather than something defined by an external agent.


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When we think of our life

When we think of our life having a purpose, it is a purpose we have decided on for ourselves.

Anyone who feels there is, or 'must be', a purpose for the Universe, or just Life in general, is presupposing a conscious agent responsible for it all, so that person cannot logically be an Atheist, unless they envisage something like some alien life of great power behind it, that falls short of what we could classify as a 'God'.

What we seem to have been able to discover about the origin, history, and nature of the both life on Earth and the wider Universe has so much chaos in it, that I find it hard to imagine it being the result of some deliberate 'design' by some super being.  The amount of orderly structure we seem to see amongst all this chaos is easily accounted for by the finite (ie non-zero) probability of collections of 'stuff' of appropriate properties coming together in such a way to allow the formation or emergence of some more structured entity or system of entities. A total absence of order in such an enormous Universe would actually be extremely unlikely.

A lot of low-level structure and pattern, like atoms and crystalline matter, and so on, is actually inevitable, given the existence of large accumulations of identical 'bits', such as the fundamental particles, which in turn form large accumulations of identical atoms and molecules.

I think the tendency to perceive a 'purpose' behind things is an outgrowth of our early history, in which it was a strong survival advantage to be able to employ our capability to analyse our surroundings to detect things which may indicate the presence of a lurking predator, or other intentional beings which we are interested in.


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The question is , are you

The question is , are you interested in finding the purpose of life? Individual and of the whole race?  This may eventually lead to psychologic science of finding people's purposes of life. I mean, the ways of least resistance, greatest progress in life and greatest benefit for the environment.

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Thank you everyone for your

Thank you everyone for your answers.

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Overall I would have said

Overall I would have said -progress-.

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Life itself has no

Life itself has no meaning... it's the choices that individuals make that gives their life meaning...

That is *if* they so choose... not everyone has such aspirations.

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Meaning is utterly subjective


We are here because of our ancestors' urge to survive and to breed but I'm not sure that constitutes a broad meaning. It's a reason. Some of the things the OP mentions are things that in the background might assist us in our endeavours to survive by creating alliances and social bonds. Hell. Look around. It's obvious that in the wide sense life has no meaning whatever, even taking survival into account. I think it would be better for the health of the planet if humans had never existed. 

Of course, you can invest your life with meaning but it's a personal thing. It might be a sense of one-ness with all life, or embracing religion, or just trying to do right by yourself and others. Or just chilling out. But it's you applying the meaning to the universe, not the other way around.




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Purpose of life .... Is

Purpose of life .... Is what you make it. It is what YOU decide it is. Slave morality says we need religion or an invisible friend to give us meaning.


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"purpose" is merely a human

"purpose" is merely a human word describing human observations.

BUT, there is no cognition or intent to biology or the cosmos. Those things are processes and their "purpose" is merely a description of observed patterns in random THINGS.

A process is not an object. A process is a description of what human observe about objects. But nether objects or processes are cognitive.

What humans do which the majority of our species is dangerously unaware of is simple anthropomorphism(assigning human qualities to non human things such as objects or natural processes)

BUT purely from  a NATURAL, non magical perspective, biological life's "purpose" is simply to get to the next generation. ON a human level our lives are what we make it as individuals. There is no magic to it.

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