\"\"
Piano Forum logo

about the meaning/point of life (Read 1496 times)

Offline pianorama

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 359
about the meaning/point of life
« on: October 22, 2011, 01:48:22 AM »
Hoping to glean some wisdom here from others.

I've been struggling with this concept lately. I'm in grade 12 now, and being forced to think about my future.

After a lot of thinking lately, I came to the gradual conclusion that the meaning or point of life is shallow, and circular.

It was really late when I thought of those exact words, and it made good sense then, but my thinking seems a bit foggy on the circular part now. What I think I meant was that it seems like you can make the point of living anything, as long as you build everything off of that. I was actually thinking a little bit of something we had talked about in my philosophy class, about these different theories of truth or facts, and I remember thinking somewhere along the line there in class that these different theories all made sense to varying degrees in their own right as long as you didn't consider the other alternatives -- they each made their own circle of thinking about how to perceive reality. Also, to explain myself, I'm thinking of the word circular as in a "circular definition". So, I figured in many aspects there are certain ways you can view the world and in a way what you believe can be a self-fulfilling prophecy -- if you see evil, there is evil. If you see good, maybe there's good.

The reason I say shallow is because of the way that life is just unto itself, and if you die, according to my non-religious beliefs, a person simply dies and no longer exists. This is related to how I said the point of life can be anything you want it to be. What is the point of practicing piano, or going to school, or on and on and on, if you would simply be happier being a hermit somewhere in a cave with the basic necessities of life, or doing just the bare minimum of responsibilities to keep up and play on a ski hill every day? Because you love music and it's a part of your life? Because you love learning? Because you'll be able to make fulfilling career out of your learning? What is a fulfilling career? One in which you have the ability to improve the lives of others, perhaps? I know that would be relatively high up there in most people's priorities. But what's the point of improving the lives of others if life is just this superficial thing where we wake up and do what we have to do, have a bit of fun here and there if we are even capable of it, then going to bed and doing it all again? Even if you do still know how to have fun and enjoy yourself, is there anything more to life than simply being happy, than living comfortably with people you love? These things can be fulfilling, but really at the bottom I feel like they are just things that make you happy.

I'm sorry, my thought is really jumbled and I don't feel like I've explained everything to the best of my ability. I don't necessarily believe all these things, but I'm struggling to prove to myself for certain that they are not true, that there is something I'm missing. Is there a point to life at all beyond making yourself or others happy? If so, if for example I still care a great deal about music but rigorous music studies distract me from having fun should I stop playing seriously and focus on other things that make me happy? Music aside, does our existence matter? To ourselves, I guess so, but I don't think the universe would really care if humans existed or not.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2H6ac1qtpk
Moi! In a music festival Feb. 2008

Online ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3736
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #1 on: October 22, 2011, 03:39:26 AM »
I was initially perplexed by the points you raise but an hour or two of thought shed some light on it.

The first and glaring difference between your hypothesis and mine is that I tend to think making an effort to improve one's own happiness and the happiness of others is a pretty good overall point to life. That is provided "happiness" is perceived as a dynamic state and not some sort of eternal, personal nirvana sitting in front of a celestial television with a beer watching Coronation Street - so to speak. To avoid this dilemma, couch the issue in negative terms: "What is wrong with directing one's life toward the reduction of suffering, of oneself and others as a guiding principle ?" There seems to be an awful lot of point to doing that in my view; not at all shallow or circular.

My other departure from your stance concerns curiosity. I, like many others much more intelligent than me, am blessed, or perhaps you would say cursed, with what might be termed an urge to know objective truth. We now know much about the universe and ourselves but there is a colossal amount to find out. We don't even know the nature of our own consciousness. Curiosity in itself I also think is a pretty good overall point to life.

So even as a man approaching late middle age, I find your position, sincere though it obviously is, puzzling in the extreme coming from a young person. But perhaps I have missed your point altogether.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline keyboardclass

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2009
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #2 on: October 22, 2011, 07:16:06 AM »
There is no point to life - you have to put it there, though I will say this to help you: What is cannot not be.  That's a great responsibility.

Offline Mayla

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6638
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #3 on: October 22, 2011, 03:09:36 PM »
.
"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline pianowolfi

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5658
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #4 on: October 22, 2011, 07:55:45 PM »
Yes.

The closer you get to the point of everything the harder it is to say anything about it. You'd rather sing/play/perform/dance or do any other form of art than talking about it.

Offline mosis

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 268
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #5 on: October 22, 2011, 11:37:03 PM »
i agree with Mayla, and would add "to dance the Dance" ;)

if you haven't yourself found meaning, then no one can tell you (that's the nature of this kind of thing) ;)

what is the point of the ocean? the flowers in the garden? the clouds in the sky?

you sound just like me. i was ready to kill myself a while ago, and for a long time was seriously suicidal. i don't have those thoughts anymore, and yet nothing external to me has changed.

some quotes that bring me solace in times of despair:

"i am not interested in immortality; only in the taste of tea." - some bloke

"and in my darkest moment fetal and weeping,
the Moon tells me a secret, my confidant
as full and bright as i am, this light is not my own and
a million light reflections pass over me

the Source is bright and endless; She
resuscitates the hopeless. without her
we are lifeless satellites, drifting

and as i pull my head out, i am without one doubt
don't wanna be down here soothing my narcissism, i
must crucify the ego, before it's far too late
i pray the light lifts me out

before i pine away"

- lyrics from "Reflection" (Tool)

"Actions which are conscious expressions of the turn-on, tune-in, drop-out rhythm are religious.
The wise person devotes his life exclusively to the religious search for therein is found the only ecstasy, the only meaning. Anything else is a competitive quarrel over (or Hollywood-love sharing of) studio props." - Timothy Leary

note that the word "religion" comes from a latin (i think?) word meaning "to reconnect," and it is in this sense (and only this sense) in which the word is to be interpreted in the quote above

pianowolfi knows what it's all about, too

Offline jesc

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 240
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #6 on: October 23, 2011, 05:49:31 AM »
There are answers to this questions that are academic and some, a product of experience. I recommend caution for answers that are product of experience.

Everyone has a journey that gives them an answer that is based on feelings, especially on what they went through.

More importantly, most of these kind of responses are not subject to reasoning.

The people that will give these type of replies are at the twilight of their lives. I don't recommend at your age to dig through these and attempt to empathize. These ranges from people who faced genocide, war and torture in their 60 years of life to people who led happy content, uneventful lives for the same number of years.

There is a big difference between people who led peaceful lives and people who experienced a lot of pain. They will give different answers. A soldier who has killed dozens of people has a different perspective from a cop who ended his career not having to kill anyone.

Question will be: What's the meaning and point of life when I pulled the trigger and ended theirs right then and there?  Another question from their perspective: Why would I bother to think about the meaning and point of life with the number of people that died because of me? Most likely this person is thinking: The point of other people's lives is to die by my hands.

Imagine a sex slave trafficker. What's their perspective in the meaning and point of life when they themselves manipulate the lives of others to become slaves?

These experiences are different from someone who started at the lower corporate tier and ended his life a business tycoon. His answer would be probably more... complex.

I recommend caution.



Offline pianowolfi

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5658
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #7 on: October 23, 2011, 08:08:53 AM »

pianowolfi knows what it's all about, too

The thing is I'd never claim to know it. The nearer I feel to the point and meaning, the larger and huger it becomes. But at least I can claim that I have learned to become "open" in a certain sense. If you are "open", or open minded, learn to think in "open concepts" instead of definitions, quit all dogmatism and strive to be like a blank sheet (but not ignoring what you know for sure, of course), things will reveal themself better.

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 15909
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #8 on: October 23, 2011, 11:34:04 PM »
I imagine it's habit -- Exist at a standard of living you're used to, or better.  If it's better, than you feel good at improving your life.

Do something meaningful with your life.

Enjoy it a bit.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Online ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3736
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 01:41:59 AM »
The people that will give these type of replies are at the twilight of their lives.

Ooops, right oh then Sybil, faculties on the wane; better give Watney Sibuns a quick call. I had imagined it was only about afternoon tea time.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline arensky

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2324
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 08:45:18 AM »
Heavy stuff, this topic. I'm not much of a religious person but the Book of Ecclesiastes has a lot of valuable insights that relate to this idea of the meaning of life. You may find some answers there, and certainly more questions. Check it out, it's not very long.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+1&version=NIV
=  o        o  =
   \     '      /   

"One never knows about another one, do one?" Fats Waller

Offline pianoplayjl

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2072
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #11 on: October 25, 2011, 08:55:50 AM »
This is such a hard quesiton to answer! just one of those question so difficult to grasp. Perhaps we were meant to be here. maybe that the reason we were here is that it was decided by preceding events. everything that we do happens for a reason. so everything has an order. however, it may be just coincidence that we are here, through a series of biological mutations, chemical reactions, so on. I reckon this is related to the topic.
Funny? How? How am I funny?

Offline lmpianist

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 79
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #12 on: November 01, 2011, 04:27:33 AM »
The purpose of life is to discover the true nature of your existence.

I'm reasonably certain that I exist due to my sense of self-awareness (although I have no idea where this originates from).  I have no proof that anyone else shares this same characteristic, therefore it's possible that everything around me is an illusion and that my perceptions are being controlled by something that I can't detect.  I feel that I'm in control of my life but whether this is really true, I don't know.

It's also possible that all of us are living "souls" that are continuously reincarnated after the destruction of our host bodies and that this process continues for all eternity from time 0 (if there is such a thing).  Science is based on our perceptions, after all.  We perceive time as being linear but this may also be an illusion.

It's also possible that this life is the first of a two-stage existence, whereby after the destruction of our host bodies in this life, we are judged by some sentient entity against some set of criteria, and the results are used to determine how the next stage of existence will unfold for us.

...and other possibilities too.  Of these three, there is one that I find most likely and one that I find least likely.  I try not to spend too much time thinking about it though.  At this point in my life I'm mostly going with the flow, trying to enjoy myself, and what I consider most worthwhile, acts of creation, be it art/music or (per my profession) articles of use to the rest of society.

I suppose it's also possible that the energy from our dying bodies flows through a gateway to a parallel universe to be used by alchemists to initiate matter-to-matter transmutations.  But I doubt it.  Five points to anyone who catches this reference.

Offline keyboardclass

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2009
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #13 on: November 01, 2011, 06:57:41 PM »
Jeez, if it takes that much writing I don't see the point.

Offline candlelightpiano

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1159
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #14 on: December 14, 2011, 05:29:10 AM »
OMG! Such long dissertations on the meaning or point of life! You could earn a Ph D writing on this topic! I think the meaning/ point of life is to live life to the fullest. If you can't enjoy life .....I don't think I'll go there.

Offline _achilles_

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #15 on: December 14, 2011, 07:25:34 PM »
I found a few interesting thoughts on this while at a zoo a few weeks ago. As humans I feel like we set this big wall between ourselves and animals, but I thought about that for a while and decided that it didn't make sense. I decided that humans should live like animals. I don't mean this in the crazy party way, but if you ever just watch an animal for a few hours you'll see that they have very simple and straight-forward lives. They eat, they sleep, they play, they relax. I feel like our (IMO disgusting) modern culture forces us to think we need so much more purpose and entertainment. We watch TV shows where are subconscious minds get told how to act, or who to be. We go to jobs where we're taught that all we need is more stuff, more power. I could go on, but I think my point is clear. What we should actually do is just enjoy life with what we have. As Walden would say, we have to suck out all the marrow of life. Or as I would say, life your life like an animal.

Edit: To clarify, the big difference between living like an animal would NOT be avoiding all forms of entertainment. That is taking this too literally. I mean that our self-defined purpose should be what satisfies us, not the external. For example, a polar bear wants a seal, the polar goes hunting, polar bear kills seal, polar bear is happy. I want beautiful music, I play the piano, I have no alternative motive, it's that simple.
You may have noticed that I'm not all there myself

(My first recording: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=44118.0)

Offline keyboardclass

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2009
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #16 on: December 14, 2011, 08:22:42 PM »
...consider the lilies er, or was that have the birds got jobs?

Offline fftransform

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 463
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #17 on: December 14, 2011, 08:31:33 PM »
There is no meaning of life, unless you believe in some religion.  Then you can look to that.  The whole phrase "meaning of life" is a misnomer, though.  That is like asking what the "meaning" of a chair is.  It doesn't mean something.  Life is an object, just like a chair.  You mean to ask what the "use" of life is.  And there isn't one that is special to humans.  We try to contribute to human society, and then we die.  Then our contributions go to the next group of humans, who die.  There's no more use to our lives than those of bees in a hive.  The only difference is that we have more autonomy, and therefore can choose what to do with our time from a wider array of things, as well as have the intelligence to potentially enjoy a wider array of activities.  We're just a species; our "use" is to serve the hive.  But autonomy gets in the way of that, most of the time.

Offline keyboardclass

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2009
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #18 on: December 14, 2011, 08:51:27 PM »
Disagree, there is a point - it's to come out better than you went in.

Offline pianowolfi

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5658
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #19 on: December 17, 2011, 07:10:11 PM »
Life is an object, just like a chair.  
Life is an energy. Living entities might temporarily find themselves in the situation of seeming like an object but actually they are just momentarily concentrated energy.



Edit:
That sounds cool!  8)
(and you have 5050 posts Wolfi  :P )

Thank you! Yes I noticed that I'm fifty fifty. On a verge :o So I won't spoil that and quote you here instead of doing my 5051st, and leave it at it, at least for today  ;D   8)

Offline littletune

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2502
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #20 on: December 17, 2011, 07:19:41 PM »
Life is an energy. Living entities might temporarily find themselves in the situation of seeming like an object but actually they are just momentarily concentrated energy.
That sounds cool!  8)
(and you have 5050 posts Wolfi  :P )

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 15909
Re: about the meaning/point of life
«Reply #21 on: December 18, 2011, 03:17:32 AM »
What if there is no point of life?  Or that's the point?  Freewill.  Do what you want, make of things what you want.  You decide. 

Or on really basic level, I suppose a great point of life is just not to die.  *Bob just saw a murder on the news.*
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."