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Passions in Poetry

Life

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Fading Away
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since 03-14-2001
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Lynchburg, Virginia


0 posted 06-16-2001 07:04 PM       View Profile for Fading Away   Email Fading Away   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Fading Away

I'm just curious about what everyone's answer to this might be.

What does life mean to you?  What do you think your purpose is on this Earth?

I, personally, think that everyone was put here for a reason.  What do you think that reason is in your circumstance?

I was wondering what kind of answers I would get to this.

--Marie

[This message has been edited by Fading Away (edited 06-16-2001).]

fractal007
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since 06-01-2000
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1 posted 06-17-2001 04:11 AM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

Thanks for opening an old wound.  Just who do you think you are????



Just kidding.

This is an issue I've struggled with for some time.  On the one hand, we have what I call runaway reductionism, which asserts that because life started out and evolved as a series of organic molecules trying to continue to exist, the meaning of life is to make more life.  We desire a higher purpose but there is none.  On the other hand, we have your ideal, which states that everyone was put here for a reason.  I am in the middle in many ways.

I feel that, because life probably did come about as the science books say, a great deal of our functioning is devoted to the preservation of our species.  However, because we've now got bigger brains, we can do more than just sleep with each other.  We can think about philosophy for instance.  I believe that since we've been given this higher intelligence by chance or not[I believe God was up to something here] we should make some use of it.  

Humans have gone beyond the simple species of life that were needed in order to get them to where they are today.  We possess reason, among other distinctly human traits.  We are now VERY individual, while at the same time VERY dependant upon one another.  This statement might be obvious in that we have private as well as public lives.  However, it goes deeper than that.  Each of us has his own belief system.  Although I am a Christian, my beliefs are vastly different from the minister of my church, in many respects.  But religion isn't the only place in which people are unified by one ideal, while each holding differing beliefs surrounding it.  Politics and philosophy are other examples.  

We each infer differently.  You can see this everywhere.  Look at the psychobabble of the Oprah show.  Just about every time they run a show on something, there's always a guest or psychologist on there talking about the spiritual benefits of this or that tragedy, while a realist might just say, "it was a tragedy, get over it because it had no real value."  This is something that's often troubled me as well.  Those new agers seem to be great at squeezing meaning out of an event like a guy squeezing every last drop of juice from a shrivelled up orange.  However, the realists seem great at making life not worth living, since it's nothing more than a tiny observed portion of a huge uncaring meaningless chain of events.  "The car accident happened because it happened."

So, how do we get meaning out of life?  Do we need meaning in life?  I think that we do.  Well, at least, I rather like the feeling that what I do in this life will have some effect on the course of events in the long run.  

I'm not going to give you some magical philosophical recipe to find meaning in life.  God knows, I've tried to find that recipe myself, and haven't had much luck.  But what I have found is this:

"Different strokes for different folks."

The atheist might find atheism to be a great philosophy to live by, while I might find Christianity to be a great philosophy to live by.  Forgive me for using religious notions so much here.  It's just that religion is the thing that I identify with the most.  

In some ways, I suppose I'm a pragmatist.  The car crash of the Oprah Winfry show might give the new ager the jubilant notion that it was meant to turn things around in his or her life, and that some airy-fairy spirit guide caused the whole thing to happen from the dimension of the astral plain of Reubicon X.  However, I would simply believe it to be an action that sharpens all that I am.  With every blow, the steel gets refined.  So, like the posession of reason that I mentioned earlier, I've been given the experience of this car crash.  What am I going to do with it?  Whether or not God or the spirit guide from the dimension of the astral plain of Reubicon X was responsible for it is not the issue.  Its demands upon my character and being are.  I'm not saying that people shouldn't believe in God simply because the issue with any event isn't whether or not God caused it to happen.  I'm saying that if you are a theist, God would appreciate it if you made some use of that event, while if you're an atheist, you still might like to try and learn a thing or two from it.

So, in many ways the meaning of life is "made" by the liver.  This is almost obvious when one looks at this statement from the standpoint of the relationship between one's mind and one's actions.  If I am the KKK member sputtering off politically correct stuff all the time[see the thread on political correctness] then the purpose I've chosen for myself to serve is that of being a racist liar.  If I am the Christian egalitarian, then the purpose I've chosen for myself is that of following the teachings of Christ, while at the same time being an accepting loving person.

So you see, it is not entirely the responsibility of the creator or force behind a thing's existence to bestow purpose upon said thing.  Rather, it is the responsibility of the creator or force to have something in mind[in the case of the force, some cause that started it up in the first place]when creating the thing.  It is the thing's responsibility[if it's a human] to do something of use, while it's the responsibility of the human to figure out how to put the thing[if it's not a human] to some use.  Hope that wasn't too confusing, lol.

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

Sudhir Iyer
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since 04-26-2000
Posts 7206
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2 posted 06-18-2001 10:09 AM       View Profile for Sudhir Iyer   Email Sudhir Iyer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sudhir Iyer


.....

"I was born intelligent - education ruined me"

White Wolf
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3 posted 06-19-2001 01:59 PM       View Profile for White Wolf   Email White Wolf   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for White Wolf

This is an intereesting subject for a topic.  Every since I can remember I have thought about this meaning of life thing.  I have many views on it and I could spend days writing on it.  So I will just touch on a few things.  Most of my life I have been that observer standing in the shadows.  Most people, including me, tend to look for love all of their lives.  Based on this observation I can conclude that the meaning of life is to love and be loved.  To attain those is the greatest mystery of all.  By this conclusion you can also see that I am a hopeless romantic at heart.  Another view is that God has a specific purpose for our life.  Now whether you believe that you can change that or not depends on your beliefs.  There are still others that believe we are just here and have basicly a meaningless exsistance.  If you look deep enough into the various thoughts about the meaning of life it all comes back to one thing and that is love.  Whether it is love of self and survival or the love of God or finding love or maybe the love of something else, it all comes back to love in one way or another.  Anyway I have given my two cents worth and as for me.  I feel that I have multiple purposes.  One is to find that love that is second to none.  Another is that I show others what it is to be truly loved.  There are others but they aren't quite clear at this time.


The White Wolf

If life is just a game, when does it end cause I want to get to what is real.

Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


4 posted 06-19-2001 02:43 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Fractal said:

"So, in many ways the meaning of life is "made" by the liver."

Drop the quotes on 'made' and that's my opinion.

Brad  
Fading Away
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5 posted 06-19-2001 04:50 PM       View Profile for Fading Away   Email Fading Away   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Fading Away

Wow.. Fractal.  Lots to read, but very interesting.  Sorry to bring up a touchy subject.

LOL, Brad.  Why do you think that?

Keep em coming.  I want to hear other's opinions too.

--Marie
KwiatMan
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since 05-19-2001
Posts 18
Florida


6 posted 06-19-2001 10:53 PM       View Profile for KwiatMan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for KwiatMan

Hi Marie.. I may have chased some of your respondents
to another post. Pushed the wrong button...
You offer an interesting subject
for discussion. Up front, I have to say that,
in my opinion, focus is the foundation of
thought. Before I can intelligently answer
the questions you have raised, I have to
prepare a foundation. Bear with me.

The first question, "what does life mean to
me", doesn't have a referent that I can
recognize. If the question refers back to
the origin of the universe, then I can only
say that I wasn't there, and if someone
pulled God's finger, so be it.  

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.

The third question, "what is the reason I am
here", qualifies in my mind, as a floater.
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, to be explained at a later
date. Perhaps in a Chinese cookie.  

All of the above, now shrinks down to one
question. "What does MY life mean to me"?
I don't think that that was the intent of
your topic for discussion. Be that as it may,
I shy away from putting my business in the
street. However, your selection of topics
has caused me to focus, think, and indulge
in some overdue introspection. That is one
primary reason I participate in and enjoy
these conversations.

In a very large nutshell, my life is based
on these truths. I developed, through family
guidance, genetics, and environment, a
strong moral code and identity, with high
self-esteem, that is subjected to frequent
introspection and consequent correction,
that allows me to enjoy my existence, my
freedom, and all the pleasures of happiness
that my emotional bank can hold. As my
original family enjoyed their life and shared
it with me, I now share my enjoyment of life
with my family and I'm sure it will continue
on generation through generation. Am I
missing something?

Let me say that I am not a social animal. I
have a contractual relationship with
society. If that sounds harsh, then therein
lies most of life's problems. I don't carry
the baggage of  guilt, altruism, atheism,
socialism, or any other "ism" I can think of
at the moment. Do I believe in God? As I
hear each individual asking that question,
while defining God in their own words, I can
answer that question Yes or No. Up to this
point the answer has always been No. Can I
define God, and then give an answer? Of
course not. That's Catch 22. I have to
define God so that I can define God? Do I
believe in some life-force that might be
labeled by others as God? Hang yes, but
there has to be an identification other
than "God". 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.

In conclusion, with all of the above
explanation of what my life means to me,
does this bind my family to the same
reasoning. No, they do what they
individually decide to do. I do what
I decide to do. But we do  build from the
same family foundation. Who could ask for
anything more?

That's my answer to the topic at hand... Jan


        

[This message has been edited by KwiatMan (edited 06-19-2001).]

fractal007
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since 06-01-2000
Posts 2032


7 posted 06-20-2001 03:48 AM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

KwiatMan:

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.




"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, lol.  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.

"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 into existence?

"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, lol  

"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.

"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.  

"does this bind my family to the same
reasoning."

Why would it?




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.  You feel that there was something responsible for the universe's existence.

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

brian madden
Member Elite
since 05-06-2000
Posts 4532
ireland


8 posted 06-20-2001 04:51 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

Life is simple: you're born, you die.
It's the stuff in between that tells you if it was worth the simplicity.

SuBzeRo
Some asked me the meaning of life once, I once thought I knew it but my answer got clouded by life.

Anton Toth
Stephanos
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since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


9 posted 06-20-2001 11:17 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I guess life must be worked out in all of its details and particulars for every individual.  Life is a very subjective  phenomenon in many ways.  What is meaningful to one, holds little meaning for another.  That is also variety.  Without it life would be boring.  

But I still believe that there are larger umbrellas under which all these particulars (eventually) must fall in order to have a value that is more than transient and subjective.

For me, God is the answer to all of our deep desires for purpose and meaning in life.  And I guess it is easy to feel that the name of God is jaded in the sense that so much nonsense has been said about him through the ages.  But if he is to be called a "God" at all and not an invention of our own spirits, or wishes, then he is truely a self defining being.  He is what he is even if thousands, or millions make their own "versions" of who they think he is.  

For me, life is empty and futile without him.  

Of course I could go on and on about the particulars and smaller things in life which give me a sense of fulfillment and joy... family, wife, love, career, accomplishments, having fun, laughing, nature, etc... but I still see these as extensions of what God provides.  He is the wellspring of being and made everything that is anything in my life.

I have heard a quote which I feel sums it up for me.  

"What is the chief end (purpose) of man(kind)?"

"To glorify God and to enjoy him forever".

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (edited 06-20-2001).]

KwiatMan
Junior Member
since 05-19-2001
Posts 18
Florida


10 posted 06-21-2001 04:45 AM       View Profile for KwiatMan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for KwiatMan

Hi fractal007...

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
one...

KwiatMan:
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
into existence?


[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.


[Right.]

"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.


[Right.]

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.

[Right.]

Well, I've gone far enough with this thread. I won't respond to anything else.
Enjoyed it, I truly did.  Jan...

  

  
Interloper
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since 11-06-2000
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Deep in the heart


11 posted 06-21-2001 08:21 PM       View Profile for Interloper   Email Interloper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Interloper

I believe the purpose of our life is to serve God.  That is also our reason for being.

I believe this by faith.  Jesus said it, I believe it, and that is all there is to it.

Those who deny God also deny the orderly creation of existence as we know it.  Yes, they can and do get very philisophical and double-talk around fact.  The test is to deal with fact and that is very difficult for them.  What they cannot do is refute historical fact.  Therein lies their defeat.
Moon Dust
Deputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
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since 06-11-99
Posts 2250
Skelmersdale, UK


12 posted 06-24-2001 09:29 PM       View Profile for Moon Dust   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Moon Dust

The question is not what our perpose is in life, its what we make our perpose to be. And reading all your opinions has made that clear to me, Life is not about a perpose thats given to us and we fullfil it, we have the freedom to choose what we do, how we live and who we worship. And I think our goal in life isnt about what perpose we find in life, to help, to love etc. but if we actully find a perpose.

Don't ever give in, if you do you've lost everything you've ever had and everything you hope to gain, but if you carry on your already winning.

Alexia
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since 06-07-2001
Posts 626
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13 posted 06-25-2001 04:42 PM       View Profile for Alexia   Email Alexia   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alexia

What I think my purpose on earth is ..
to screw everything and anything I can up. Like I always do.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


14 posted 06-25-2001 05:04 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Alexia,

Well, as long as you do it well . . .

Screwing up is a form of rebellion and resistance.

You do have a world to conquer, you know?

Brad
 
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