Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Meaning of Life

Ok, I will kick off the TOK year with a very broad topic, one as mysterious as it is intriguing. What is the meaning of life? Why do we exist? Countless generations of human beings have long pondered this bottomless question and have reached their own conclusions. What is yours?

"We sit here, the mountain and I, until only the mountain remains." -Li Po

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice"- Cherokee Proverb


Kenshin_Himura said...

On the more comical note: 42.

Personally, I think life is a gift, there is no single meaning for it. Life should be used to make a better place for everyone, not just yourself.
Why do we exist?
Well, as Descartes said, "I think, therefore, I am." (He said it in Latin, oh well...)
I just think we know we exist, because we exist, if that makes sense.

StarD said...

Well i believe the meaning of life is just to live life. Do we really need a meaning?? Its just life, we live and we die. Its weather you accomplish something that matters. We exist because of "the right combination" of elements came together to create organic matter in which we somehow came from. Now i really don't mind how we came from but what i DO mind is what we're going to become.

Mr. Pseudonym said...

Kenshin and StarD,

Please use TOK terms to explain. Areas of Knowledge. Ways of Knowing, etcetera.

Par exemplum:
The meaning in life is to continue itself. As much as some people may be "proof" against this (i.e. those who commit suicide) the vast, vast, vast majority of life tries to continue itself. Science is a perfect example of this. In Biology we learn of the reproductive cycle, both sexual and asexual. The fact that a large portion of a human life is spent toward finding a mate, furthers this. In psychology we are taught that we look to find our mothers in our ideal mate, as they are our genesis.
Of course this knowledge is based on the authority of the people telling this us information, and especially in psychology they are oft considered invalid not long after they say their point of view. Jung discounted a lot of what was said by Freud, and so on.
As far as the "meaning of life" in a more religious, or spiritual sense, then it is entirely up to the individual, and there will never be some universal truth, because each of us has our own experiences and minds. Along that line is Douglas Adams' view: 42, and that is as valid a meaining as any that I can come up with.

Mr. Pseudonym said...

Also Kenshin the latin is "Cogito ergo sum."

Dani said...

This may/will make me sound like an idiot but I've never understood why we need to have a reason for life.

Why do we exist? I think that is being debated through evolution/creationism.

Why do humans insist on having a rationale for everything? Can't we accept that maybe its just a random chance we exist? A cosmic mistake?

HTMet said...

The meaning of life is simply to live fully and add to the knowledge that was gained before you. If you just live and don't leave anything behind, there's no real evidence, no real proof that you even existed. I don't remember who said it but the quote is "All of us are dying, just most of us refer to it as living" Life is about stepping out of the box, and truly living, and it all depends on your outlook, whether your gonna be dying your entire life or living

tsizzinc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tsizzinc said...

Are you kidding, what a great question. I'd like to throw out a theory, the meaning of life is... death.

Ok so lets support this through logic, what separates biotic and abiotic factors??? Living vs. nonliving?

is it knowledge? no, is it reason, no is it metabolism, and reproduction? kind of... but the one sure fire thing that separates living and nonliving is the ability to die.

now that is the meaning of life, however, i have not addressed the purpose of life, if you would like me to please ask me to, but i wont in this post because it is clearly off topic, yes this is a language issue and it is important that i dont address the purpose of life in this post.

Kenshin_Himura said...

1) Thanks for the quote, was a bit busy to find it.
2) Supporting my ideas: I do have some intution, (but hey that's expected) but I find some things that can be shown through some logic-style examples.
*looks for article*
So, a Mr. Duncan MacDougall did an experiment in 1907.
He placed a dying pacient on a bed, and measured the weight.
Now, the pacient died, and there was a misterious drop in weight larger than that of any exhaling oxygen from the lungs.
This has led me to believe that there is something else (though I have no idea what it is).

Enough supporting?

Mr. Pseudonym said...

This is just going to make me sound annoying, but Kenshin, you have one article that supports your POV. Not only that but the support is loose, this is not a post about the existence of the soul or any such thing. In my previous post I even say that each person can have their own interpretation of what the more religious beliefs are. However your support has no support for the meaning of life in a rabbit or frog or plant. Did Mr. Macdougall test on plants when they die, or any sort of animal? As far as I can find he didn't, so the evidence you show supports one view of the meaning of life, that life only has a meaning for humans, but life has no meaning or purpose for other living things.

Sorry if I am being harsh, btw.

Wrightla said...

I don't think that there is any "meaning of life" that applies to everyone everywhere. I see it more as that each person finds, or tries to find, a personal meaning for their life. I don't see how or why some over-arching meaning of life could or should be made to apply to everyone.

However, if I had to choose one "meaning of life" that applies to most people it would be raising children and perpetuating their genetics. Not everyone fits even into that broad meaning as some people never marry or have children.

Rebecca said...

I think its great that people try to find the meaning of life. It gives us a sense of purpose and causes us to live life to the fullest. However, I DON'T think that people should impose their view of the meaning of life on others. There's no fixed meaning, or else mankind would have figured it out by now (That's logic by the way). I think everyone should just figure out whatever floats their boat and that's fine as long as it doesn't conflict with any basic rules established by society (Killing people would probably be overuled).

katrina337 said...

The meaning of life is to find the meaning of life.

I base this off of...intuition. Experience. People search for pointless questions all the time. Some people need a meaning to life to keep going, whilst some people can just live. So, for the people that need a meaning, the meaning is to find the meaning. Circular reasoning, I know, but I think the question itself is a logical fallacy (though I believe the proper term is "non-sequitor"). Anyway.

tsizzinc said...

how can the meaning of life be to find a meaning of life, thats ridiculous... just a question, what do we do after we've fulfilled that "meaning"? what does your intuition say about that. i sound mean, sry..., but its a good question, because i dont get it.

also we are getting a lot into the purpose of life, the meaning of life can be found if u look up "life" in the dictionary.

susanna.w said...

I think the point of life is to be born, live, and die. It's an endless cycle that has occurred since the beginning of time. Of course, the actual thing encompassed in that thing called 'living' is relative to every person. Some live to get rich and die happy. Some live for a greater meaning (worship, science). Some live as normally as can be normally possible. Why do we ponder the meaning? Will it really matter when you're dead?

katrina337 said...

After you find the meaning? Will it really matter then? My intuition didn't reach that far...but as it's rather circlish, and circles don't have an end, how would you ever really get to the end of that question? I don't know...I've never really thought of what comes after. I just accepted it as my own personal belief, though I never really needed a meaning of life...*shrug*

Stitches said...

I think that the meaning of life is to do everything in your power to make the world a better place for others. That may seem too "do-gooderish" for some people, but that is my belief, which I base off of experience. However, I think that everyone has their own meaning of life, as rebecca said. Everyone needs a meaning for living, whatever it may be. And if we were all the same, think how boring it would be! :D

J.Malone said...