Everything I offer below is offered in the friendliest fashion, with the utmost respect, trust me...
I'm going to respond to your request, but I have to warn you in advance that I don't respond well to "yes, but's", or "what
if's". I also, don't engage in "p---ing contests" or "gotcha's". I try to deal in reality, logic, absolutes, and reason, to
the best of my ability. I correct my
thinking when the results prove to be faulty. Truth is knowledge. When my beliefs
become absolutely true, they become knowledge and are handled accordingly. Until
then, they remain just my beliefs or worse.
Now, I'll respond to your questions, one by
I think I'll discuss some of your responses with you.
Your reasoning sounds a little wierd, but then, that's probably because
I've never seen this kind of reasoning before. So, please do enlighten me.
[I'll try to.]
"If the question is, "what does MY life mean to me", now that is something I can focus on and think about. If this be true, then the second question, "what is my purpose on this earth", becomes so intertwined with the first
question, that they become one and the same."
Not quite, in my opinion.
For example, consider the "selfish gene" theorists. They propose that we are
all here to spread our DNA. Our DNA has built elaborate bodies and life forms
around itself so as to spread itself about the world. This means that the meaning of life is sex and lots of it, Of course, this only works if you believe that making more life is the meaning of life. And that is ONLY a belief. Humankind is capable of a lot more than just making more life, though we do enjoy the process. However, despite what you may or may not believe with regard to that, I am still left to wonder how you've come to the conclusion that the meaning of life, itself, can be reduced down to a
question on the meaning of your own existence, and what it means to you.
[You seem to have missed the first paragraph of my original post, wherein
I mention focus and thought as prerequisites for considering the three questions offered by Marie. I did that as is obvious in paragraph two, which you seem to have ignored. I told Marie that a referent acceptable to me was missing in her first question, therefore, I couldn't intelligently
provide an answer. "Marie, if you take any of this as a slam or disrespectful, I offer my most sincere apologies, and bow my head in
shame." The question, to me, was as generalized as someone saying to no one in particular, "hows the weather". I didn't ask her to rephrase her questions. It was left as originally posted and five or six people
seemed to handle the topic quite well. One in particular made five good points. I, with advance notification, elected to provide my self as the missing referent. But to my response only... What MY life means to me
and what MY purpose is on this earth, seem to be deeply intertwined.
Your introduction of some "selfish gene" theorists, of which I have absolutely no knowledge, amuses me. Surely, they aren't suggesting that anyone, too young, too old or otherwise handicapped, found to be unable
to procreate, should be discarded. The "war between the selfish gene group and the abortionists". And MY reasoning is weird?..]
"The third question, "what is the reason I am here", qualifies in my mind, as a floater."
How is this question any different from the second question you've posed?
"You certainly don't want to hear about my parent's family planning routine. If that be true, then the question suggests that I was placed here by my own choosing, which is nonsense if I started out "tabula rasa". So that leaves the higher power concept, where, in this vast cosmos, I was put here for a special purpose..."
I don't see what you are getting at here. How does hearing about one's family
planning routine have anything to do with whether or not one willed himself
[the question seemed to have been put to each one of us, as to what we
thought to be the reason for our existence. I, in trying to determine the validity of the question, ruled out anything so earthly as my parents procreation goals. I also ruled out my having any say in the matter. That left me with the assumption that Marie was seeking some more profound reason. That would entail such subjects as, the chemistry factor caused by the big bang, the existence of a creator, or as today's generation
likes to put it, "s--- happens". My interest in the subject was expressed in my suggestion that the answer may be found in a fortune cookie.]
"I don't carry the baggage of guilt, altruism, atheism, socialism, or any other "ism" I can think of at the moment."
But it seems you do carry the 'baggage' of individualism,
[Nope, wrong again. I was born an individual, as were we all. That is
an irreducible primary. Nothing can change that. We will always be individuals. I guard my right to individuality. I respect your right to individuality. I call my self an individualist. Perhaps that causes confusion.
Individualism is a philosophy. As such, it has become a collective society of individuals, with all the baggage of communism, socialism, unionism, and any other collectivist society you can name. My individuality was reduced to, either hermitry, or co-existence. My survival fared
much better under co-existence then it did under hermitry. That's as far as I want to take this subject.]
"As I hear each individual asking that question, while defining God in their own words, I can answer that question Yes or No."
The traditional definition of God is that being that was responsible for starting / creating the universe. So, all discussions of religion aside, the main question of any discussion on God is whether or not you think / believe that somebody was responsible for the making of the universe as we know it.
"Up to this point the answer has always been No. Can I define God, and then give an answer? Of course not."
Then you are agnostic in some respects. Well, at any rate, you believe that since God is undefinable it is impossible to answer the question of whether or not he exists.
[Wrong again. I can answer that question to my satisfaction, by my definition, but you could never accept that. The baggage of religion precludes that.
What agnosticism suggests is that one is undecided. I am definitly decided.
Now, be honest. You don't want to know if I believe in God by my definition. You want to know if I believe in God by your definition, but you can't do that on a consistant basis.]
"That word carries all the baggage of fear and guilt that man has bestowed upon it. I wouldn't touch it with the proverbial pole."
Interesting, though not a very original or well thought out position. Many people use the word / name God without attributing any "guilt" and "fear" to it. I do it all the time.
[Good for you.]
"does this bind my family to the same reasoning."
Why would it?
[Just reminding you that my family consists of individuals enjoying life.]
Correct me if I'm wrong here:
As far as the meaning of life is concerned:
You believe that each individual is responsible for making his own purpose / meaning in life.
As far as the existence of God is concerned:
You believe that God cannot be defined and therefore cannot be proven or disproven.
[I never said that.]
You feel that there was something responsible for the universe's existence.
Well, I've gone far enough with this thread. I won't respond to anything else.
Enjoyed it, I truly did. Jan...