View Poll Results: Can science and/or reason give us a satisfying meaning of life?

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Thread: Enlightenment now and meaning of life

  1. Top | #11
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    In the sense meant by the OP, all "meaning" is derived from emotion. Word "meaning" is a different meaning of "meaning" than the "meaning" of life meant by the OP, which is basically synonymous with "purpose" or "significance". Purpose refers to goals and motivations, which are rooted in drives for emotional satisfaction. So, whatever gives us emotional satisfaction, gives our life purpose/meaning. ...
    I might as well drop out of the conversation right here because I think most people will agree with you. I simply refuse to conflate the definitions of meaning and purpose. I see no need for all the quotation marks around these words. And I believe this confusion is the reason for all the frustration people feel when dealing with the topic. Especially as it applies to their own lives, but also for how it leaves the door open to mystical escapism and religious illusions. As for emotions, I understand them to be a sense of the general level of serenity or anxiety some ideas produce within the unconscious mind as to how well they fit together with our model of the world. People underestimate the reasoning power of the subconscious mind. They believe ideas come from some incorporeal source and are told they must pray to it, when they are really petitioning to their own rational, unconscious thoughts. But I've said too much already.

  2. Top | #12
    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Mass advertising prompting consumption as happiness has shaped the world. Nothing short of global collapse will change that.The old norms of moderation and self restraint are gone. Instant gratification is the mom.

    Science could become a ritual and religion or philosophy, but science does not provide meaning. That is religion and philosophy. Some people follow science as a religion, it becomes a reason for living.
    That was my thought exactly. It seems like his meaning of life is consumerism. Which is completely pointless

  3. Top | #13
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    In my 20s I was pretty disorganized and aimless. Sex and getting high. Getting work as an electronics tech which I oiked followed ny emgineering gave a purpose. Without that I have no idea where I would have ended up.

    But purpose is not meaning. I suppose I derived meaning by creating things that had some use to people.

    Purpose and meaning have no specific thing, it I up to the individual to find meaning whatever it may be. For some it is religion. The ]journey of discovery'.

    There are leftover hippies who still thing hanglng out in a minimal existence taking drugs is meaningful.

    Old Timothy Leary found meaning in LSD as some kind of mysticism. Ken Keasey and the Merry Pranksters on the west coast took LSD as a party drug. Go gigue. The Beasties found inspiration in drugs.

  4. Top | #14
    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    In my 20s I was pretty disorganized and aimless. Sex and getting high. Getting work as an electronics tech which I oiked followed ny emgineering gave a purpose. Without that I have no idea where I would have ended up.

    But purpose is not meaning. I suppose I derived meaning by creating things that had some use to people.

    Purpose and meaning have no specific thing, it I up to the individual to find meaning whatever it may be. For some it is religion. The ]journey of discovery'.

    There are leftover hippies who still thing hanglng out in a minimal existence taking drugs is meaningful.

    Old Timothy Leary found meaning in LSD as some kind of mysticism. Ken Keasey and the Merry Pranksters on the west coast took LSD as a party drug. Go gigue. The Beasties found inspiration in drugs.
    That's how I did it too. But its irrational. Its in conflict with following science and the Enlightenment as guides to life. Which was Nietzsche's critique of the Enlightenment.

  5. Top | #15
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    One of the major critiques I have with Pinker's 'Enlightenment Now' is that all of the health, happiness, and prosperity we see these days:

    a) Has an environmental cost and only exists on the back of massive energy exploitation

    b) Only exists among the upper classes, who are very often propped up by people living near the poverty line

    c) Exists in super-power countries who experience wealth at the expense of a huge proportion of the world that is experiencing regular poverty and human rights issues.

    Basically it's just wishful thinking to sell books to people who drink the 'science is our saviour' kool-aid.

  6. Top | #16
    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    One of the major critiques I have with Pinker's 'Enlightenment Now' is that all of the health, happiness, and prosperity we see these days:

    a) Has an environmental cost and only exists on the back of massive energy exploitation
    Yeah.. but if we'd switch to 80% nuclear power then it wouldn't be. It's doable, and our only viable option. It's humanities irrational fear of nuclear that's the problem. But whenever things get real bad I'm pretty sure people will stop the current childish nonsense and get onboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    b) Only exists among the upper classes, who are very often propped up by people living near the poverty line
    What? The poor's main struggle today is with obesity. Historically that's extreme luxury. So you're so incredibly wrong on this is bizarre. And frankly, I don't even understand how you're thinking or what you mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    c) Exists in super-power countries who experience wealth at the expense of a huge proportion of the world that is experiencing regular poverty and human rights issues.
    Almost all countries are, by historical standards obscenely wealthy today. The only countries that aren't, are because of civil wars or some bizarre political quirk, like Venezuela. 3/4 of humanity have a good life. Compared to something like 1-3% a couple of hundred years ago and all the way back to our hunter/gatherer times.

    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Basically it's just wishful thinking to sell books to people who drink the 'science is our saviour' kool-aid.
    Now you're making sense. I agree that humans are about more than just material wealth. Sure, material wealth is important. But only fixing material wealth isn't going to be satisfying for anybody.

  7. Top | #17
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    ...
    Yeah.. but if we'd switch to 80% nuclear power then it wouldn't be. It's doable, and our only viable option. It's humanities irrational fear of nuclear that's the problem. But whenever things get real bad I'm pretty sure people will stop the current childish nonsense and get onboard.
    ...
    Not much to disagree with except there's plenty of good reasons to fear nuclear. It's just that it's becoming more apparent there's more to fear from global warming. It's the stubborn, senile elderly nonsense that gets in the way. The children are the ones to place our hopes for change in.

  8. Top | #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    What? The poor's main struggle today is with obesity. Historically that's extreme luxury. So you're so incredibly wrong on this is bizarre. And frankly, I don't even understand how you're thinking or what you mean?
    Taking the U.S. as a case study nearly 50 million people are living in poverty, 60% of all workers make minimum wage. Any type of prosperity we see is on the backs of these people doing menial work. And this is in one of the most prosperous nations in the world.

    Sure, I'll grant you that this is better than being a hunter-gatherer, but I don't think that's a resounding endorsement of our world today. And obesity is far from extreme luxury, that's an indicator that these people can't afford proper nutrition relative to those who are wealthy.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Almost all countries are, by historical standards obscenely wealthy today. The only countries that aren't, are because of civil wars or some bizarre political quirk, like Venezuela. 3/4 of humanity have a good life. Compared to something like 1-3% a couple of hundred years ago and all the way back to our hunter/gatherer times.
    Almost the entirety of South America, Africa, Asia is at best precarious and filled with poverty, at worst dangerous. And if I understand the economics of it, this is largely because the superpowers of the world, the ones experiencing the magic of secularism, both disrupted the development of these places, and had them enter an economic system that they weren't prepared for causing massive crises in these regions.

    I'll grant that absolute poverty is going down across the world, but this throws us back to the environmental cost, which is the over-arching point.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Now you're making sense. I agree that humans are about more than just material wealth. Sure, material wealth is important. But only fixing material wealth isn't going to be satisfying for anybody.
    My point was more along the lines of the fact that there are a lot of people out there who think science is some kind of beacon of light and reason that's going to guide us into some kind of Utopia.

    In actuality what we've seen since the Scientific Revolution are people exploiting scientific knowledge for short-term gains and conveniences. Wealth in the short-term. If nuclear ever takes over this isn't going to be because it'll save the world, it'll be because our current trajectory is no longer sustainable, and the world can no longer live convenient lives without it.

    I don't think this is any kind of indictment of science, though. It's just human nature. Individual people evolved to look out for themselves, not the greater good of our species, and so every aspect of our society is a manifestation of that. For our world to be otherwise would be akin to breaking a law of physics.

  9. Top | #19
    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    ...
    Yeah.. but if we'd switch to 80% nuclear power then it wouldn't be. It's doable, and our only viable option. It's humanities irrational fear of nuclear that's the problem. But whenever things get real bad I'm pretty sure people will stop the current childish nonsense and get onboard.
    ...
    Not much to disagree with except there's plenty of good reasons to fear nuclear. It's just that it's becoming more apparent there's more to fear from global warming. It's the stubborn, senile elderly nonsense that gets in the way. The children are the ones to place our hopes for change in.
    The few nuclear accidents we have had haven't been that bad. Chernobyl showed us that the worst case scenario wasn't nearly as bad as people thought. Turns out that nature is more resilient than what we've given it credit for and now background radiation in the Chernobyl area are almost back to normal, except in the powerstation itself. The Fukushimi accident gave us one casuality. Oh... the horror. Compared to the tens of thousands of people who die every year from exposure to coal dust. And that's without accidents. Or all the people who suffer from smog. Nah... our fear of nuclear is bizarre.

  10. Top | #20
    Veteran Member PyramidHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg
    What? The poor's main struggle today is with obesity. Historically that's extreme luxury. So you're so incredibly wrong on this is bizarre. And frankly, I don't even understand how you're thinking or what you mean?
    He wasn't talking about food alone, though? Health, happiness, and prosperity are not enjoyed by the majority of people living today, as long as you don't fall into the conservative trap of calling everybody in the United States royalty because most of us have access to running water, which is about all I get from your "historically" clause.

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