Why do we exist?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Gatekeeper, May 9, 2010.

  1. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    Said the man who ate breakfast, lunch and dinner today.

    But then again, you did admit to your delusion.
     
  2. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    The point of that pic is the man. It is about thirds, Divine Harmonies, and in this case the man is sort of enshrined, arms framing and pointing us toward the face itself. Everything in the picture helps to draw us to his face, and toward noticing the expression he has. In this, the point of the picture is US.
     
  3. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

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    I see a bunch of baggage that this individual needs to rid himself of in order to better his existence in life. Of course, this could be what we ourselves are like with all the baggage we carry around.

    I wonder what would happen if we were to rid ourselves of our possessions? Things such as religion, personal held beliefs, the concepts of becoming enlightened, saved, etc.

    Could it be that these things prevent us from moving forward as individuals and as a species, or do things lend us hope? What if we let go of our fears, and simply lived w/o the need to hope for anything?

    Freedom/salvation/enlightenment may very well come when we are able to let go of our need to possess, control, and preserve self....

    This is what the picture (And this thread) sparked in my mind. I'm sure others will see something entirely different, but does that mean that the picture is an illusion? The pic is real, but our perception of the pic, what it represents and what it conjures up in our mind is personal to each individual, and not based on reality.

    My question is what IS reality, being that we each process our existence and all that is differently?

    GK
     
  4. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    I don't. It all depends on how an individual relates to those things. They may be "baggage" for her, or they may be opportunities for education (those magazines), or simple enjoyments.

    There is a valuable distinction to make between ridding oneself of possessions, and ridding oneself of possessiveness. If one is distracted by possessions, they become a negative. If one simply makes good use of possessions, they become a positive.

    While being paralysed by fears is negative, using one's fears as information for making wise decisions is positive. Fears don't necessarily lie to you. What you fear might actually be something dangerous. Not always, but certainly enough of the time that it is wise to listen.

    Hope is the recognition that life can be better than what it is. While one may have to accept adversity, if that is what exists right now, if the future can be made better, it ought to be made better. Hope is needed for this task.

    And it may very well come when we see that there are things worth fighting for.

    As you say, it means that intepretation of the picture is personal.

    We all process the same existence, but from unique vantagepoints. If reality is what one perceives and understands, of course that is going to be different from individual to individual.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  5. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

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    I agree. My post was actually geared towards the thought that many of the things we possess (Baggage) can ultimately hinder us from further development.

    The gentleman with all this stuff ultimately needs to get rid of to make a buck. The same is true for us (So to speak). We all have baggage that we need to get rid of in order to further develop.

    I agree

    I was thinking more along the lines of the fear of death, hell, the unknown, etc. Certainly fear can be beneficial, but much of it is worthless baggage.

    Hope? Many of our hopes are false, but hope for a better world "can" be helpful. Even so, it can also be something that causes us suffering. Say a person has hope for a better world. All his life he works towards that goal, yet the world remains the same despite his efforts. If our hopes are never fulfilled, we remain in longing, dissatisfied with life itself.

    Sure there are .... Family being just one of them.

    Thanks,
     
  6. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    As I see it, this is a "noble suffering". Not all suffering is an evil.

    I think that largely depends on one's attitude. If one demands that one's hopes be fulfilled, and soon, then one will be dissatisfied with "life itself" when those hopes fail to materialize in short order.

    However, if one is prepared to "fight the good fight", seeing the effort as worthwhile in itself, while still retaining hope for success, even if that seems elusive, then "life itself" will not be perceived as unfulfilling.

    Longing is something can comes in more than one variety. There is a needy longing (negative), and an empowered longing (positive). A needy longing sees life as unworthwhile while needs are unfilled. An empowered longing sees life as worthwhile, even though one hopes and works towards something better.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  7. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

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    I don't think suffering is evil at all .... just unpleasant.

    I think our own attitudes are probably the only thing we as humans have any hope to truly control. The rest of our attempts are somewhat futile. All we can truly control is ourselves.

    What are we fighting for? Are we forcing our will on others in this fight? If so, then do you think the fight itself worthwhile?

    Perhaps longing enables us to carry on in some cases, but often times our longing effects us and others in a negative manner.
     
  8. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    My pet theory is that the most fundamental act of free will is to select one's attitude towards something.

    How about healthy, happy, fulfilling lives?

    Do we have to? Not necessarily. I don't mean "fight" in that sense.

    That depends on one's reasons. If you are fending off someone who is assaulting you, is forcing your will (to end the assault) on that person not worthwhile? If your life is worthwhile, by extension defending your life is worthwhile.

    I suppose it can. No argument here.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  9. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    I agree with your theory (pet or not).
     
  10. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    I see candy...there is definitely candy in there...:D
     
  11. Amergin

    Amergin Well-Known Member

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    I could ask, what was the purpose of Pachycephalosaurus? Did it have any influence on the long survival time of Dinosaurs, raptors, and hadrosaurs?

    What is the purpose of one species of Dutch Elm Tree? How would history have been different without them?

    When hominids in our evolution diverged, and H. sapiens, H. erectus, and H. neanderthalensis all coexisted for thousands of years, what was the purpose of Neandertals or Indonesian Erectus populations?

    What is the purpose or reason for a dwarf star or neutron star 10 billion light years from us? If it did not exist, would it bother most of us?

    Humans have no reason for existence. We have an explanation based on our evolution which is fully proven. What is our purpose? We have no purpose except what we decide for ourselves is a purpose. There is no reason to give us some supernatural purpose. We just happened.

    We just happened because of a series of natural events that influenced the evolution and branching of apes 13 million years ago. Along the way,


    • Pierolapithecus,*
      Gigantopithecus*
      Orangs,
      Sahalanthropus,*
      Gorillas,
      Chimps,

    • (bipedal apes such as)

      Australopithecus afarensis*
      A. robustus
      A. boiseii
      A. africanus*
      A. gahri*
      Ardipithecus kadabba*
      H. rudolfensis*
      H. habilis*
      H. ergaster*
      H. erectus*
      H. rhodesiensis*
      H. heidelbergensis*
      H. neandertalis*
      H. antecessor*
      H. sapiens idaltu*
      H. sapiens sapiens.


    All of the * above went extinct except Chimps, Gorillas, Orangs, and modern humans. Did H. erectus have a purpose other than to evolve toward us? Did Pierolanthropus have a purpose only to evolve to Chimps, Gorillas, Orangs, and Humans?

    I believe it just happened because of a series of circumstances in climate, weather, ecology, and volcanic ash. In other words we were were simply lucky to be the ones who ventured out on the savannah to walk upright, think with a bigger brain, to hunt and avoid predators.

    Purpose is whatever we want to call it. It is a concept but not a real function.

    Amergin
     
  12. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    we do know that neanderthal dna lives on in modern humans. that's just part of the story. as an individual isolated part, i don't see how i can answer our question:

    why do we exist?

    (or much less what was the purpose of neanderthals or indonesian erectus populations . . .)

    from our perspective it looks like it just happened.

    that's a perspective limited by space and time . . . mere biological constructions that can change with speed.

    i'm open to the possibilities other answers are closer to the truth, assuming your answer is not the ultimate answer.

    i want to say the answer is in the story, and the story involves things beyond what we can sense.

    to me, the answer is supernatural. just as human hearing or vision is supernatural to a tree, so is the answer to this question beyond what we perceive in the everyday world. that is to say, it can only be fully answered from a higher perspective.

    why do we exist? ultimately i don't know and have come to the same conclusion as citizenzen in the beginning of this thread.

    :rolleyes:
     
  13. Bertrand_Russell

    Bertrand_Russell Well-Known Member

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    This post represents a very high level of spiritual and religious understanding.

    Knowledge is born at the interface between true reality and a vision for understanding. Much knowledge these days can only be achieved through the use of very sophisticated instrumentation. Other knowledge through deep reflection and focus.

    I would like to discuss these issues further in the Philosophy section. I am presently studying the pre-Socratic philosophers.
     
  14. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I ditto this. The baseline, to me, of coming into one's own power and self-hood is to know and change at will one's perspective, attitude, intention, motivation, emotion, and thought.

    It also makes life a heck of a lot more pleasant, in my experience.
     
  15. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    My own perspective is that the question of what one experiences as reality depends on one's chosen point of view. Who knows if all that can be experienced is what reality is, or how "enlightenment" is measured sufficiently to know that one knows. What is more interesting to me is the question of how to gain the liberation to shift fluidly within one's experience.

    When I choose to experience arising and disintegration, I do. That is the experience of my body and incarnate life. I arise every day- this is how what is essentially a bunch of energy and probability becomes some semblance of my body and brain and action. And I'm continually disintegrating and arising to keep this form going. One day, I just won't be that great at arising any more and my form will entirely disintegrate.

    At the same time, also entirely present, is that I can choose to experience a sense of never having arisen and never disintegrating. This is not only a sense of eternity, but a sense of no-time, as there are no events to mark a concept of time. This is a perspective in which everything that we think ever was, simply is and is not, simultaneously. All probabilities exist, and because of this, there is neither reality nor is there no reality. In a way, this is the most expansive self I can be... so expansive that there is no self at all... and yet, there is also not a no-self. The non-arising, non-distintegrating state is not nothing, nor is it something. It is the origin of nothing and something, the limitless potentiality. In this, it is the prime mover that is not moving, but rather being. This is not simply God-as-One-God-as-All, but is inexpressibly paradoxical.

    When one wishes to bring this down to the level of the incarnate individual self-hood, words are inadequate to say the least. But, words are currently the predominant language of humanity (and necessary for forums), so one can only try. But personally, I find this integration to be something better conveyed through almost any other medium (as most religions have also noted)- art, movement, music, symbology, ritual, sex, laying on the ground under the stars, listening to the ocean waves... anything retains it and excites it better than words. This is because language is built upon categorical thought, and the integration of the paradox of God Herself and myself (or any individual "self") is non-categorical.

    In between these two perspectives are what I would consider infinite possible levels of connection with other beings. Further, in having the expansion and contraction perspective, there is infinite possible senses or identities of oneself. In finding self never was, one also finds that self ever is, and that self is really verb... an action, a process... and not a thing. It is the connections and relationships between that ARE, along with the totality of the web of them. The rest is relatively unimportant and constantly changing.

    We humans just think it's the other way 'round. That we "are" and our connections change.

    My 2 cents, anyway.
     
  16. OAT

    OAT Where is the TAO?

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    Verse 48
    “Who understands this?” one might wonder;
    It’s those who see dependent origination.
    The supreme knower of reality has taught

    That dependent arising is unborn.
     
  17. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

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    Bhaktajan's Curriculum
    [as inspire by Gatekeeper's post http://www.interfaith.org/forum/227526-post63.html]:


    Truth frightens man 101


    • plant illusions in the debris of there mind
    • hide themselves from the light truth brings.
    • arguments to defeat truth's wisdom.
    • preconceptions and prejudices dictates
    In advance:
    • what form she must take,
    • what garments she must wear;
    • do not recognize truth when meet.
    • illusion drives truth away.
    • man yearns and seeks for the inherent nature of man & intellect, itself.
    • Man seeks to know, But is frightened of truth
    • so solace is the false light of misconception (or myth-conception).
    • A good example of this is in the myriad of religions which we have.
    • we have different ways of looking at the same thing
    • radically different, opposing and contradictory reports = illusion.
    This is symbolized in the picture below:

     
  18. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

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    I am a Hare Krishna Devotee ---that makes me an orthodox Hindu.
    My faith in the revelation that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead is predicated my a] Personal Life's experiences, b] my intellectual studies and the c] FAITH that I am getting bonefide translations of the Sanskrit scripture ---All three 'a+b+c' bring me to recognise Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

    The Quote above about the evolution of apes etc ---are from a source that cannot be varified by my requsite 'a+b+c' listed above.

    Is china where it says it is? How do you know? You know because you have some faith? Yes? Yes!

    False witness is a subtile thing.

    You are independent of others? You are free ti do what you think best?
    99% pay for all utilities and services: IE: electrics, water suplly, garbage hauling, satalite cable vision, petro, food markets, the price of rice in china, our heart-beating in the middle of the night ---all is beyond are perview and control.

    We are witnesses in a dynamism that starts us out as ignorant babes and then that point us toward being at the top of the heap or stewards of our lot in life ---in all cases it is a journey to being a persona of sophisticated sensibilities.
     
  19. Amergin

    Amergin Well-Known Member

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    I do not accept the validity of hearsay information. Prophesy is hearsay. Most of the prophesies are composed of irrational and illogical stories. They represent primitive ideas of Stone Age and Bronze Age pre-civilized humans who were almost totally lacking in science. No fault, they were just living in the pre-scientific age when virtually nothing was known, so most explanations were simply made up.

    Evolution is a fact. We have a 3.7 billion year record of life from unicellular to multicellular organisms. In the Cambrian, worm like creatures developed a cartilaginous rod for body stability, and a crossed nervous system L brain to R body muscles, R brain to L body muscles. We call them Pikaia. That allowed the animal to escape by undulating bodies. The left muscles contract when the right relax and reverses. The produced reversing C shaped wiggling. That notochord came all the way down to us, human animals and a nervous system in which our Left-brain works our right body muscles and righ- brain works the left body muscles. We have a long array of chordates from the Cambrian to the Pleistocene.

    We have thousands of intermediate forms some splitting into different animals. Example is Sahelanthropus evolving on separate lines to Chimps and Humans (nine different species of humans.

    Why do we exist?

    We exist because of good bloody luck. Our average sized star, the Sun, was surrounded by a vast dust disk rotating around that Sun. Electrostatic force enabled dust to cling together, pebbles, and rocks consolidated. Eventually eight solid spherical bodies formed at varying distances, the planets.

    Two planets formed too close to the Sun and have remained uninhabited. The Third planet was in the Goldilocks Zone where water could exist as liquid. Mars was on the outer edge of the Goldilocks Zone but was too small with weak gravity. Mars developed oceans of water and an atmosphere but weak gravity lost it. We do not know if Mars ever had life. The outer planets formed gas giants with rocky moons.

    Meanwhile on Earth, its internal head from radioactivity and rotating core allowed magnetic fields, which diverted harmful solar radiation. Earth was so luckily placed, with liquid water. It was able to form living molecules then cells by 3.7 Billion years ago. The chance manufacture of chlorophyll from cells that were once sulphurogens, nitrogens, and other anaerobes. The mutation that produced Chlorophyll led to our oxygen atmosphere and the wondrous branching tree of life.

    We exist because we survived many planetary catastrophes that ended the Dinosaurs but allowed little tree primates to evolved through Ice Ages and volcanoes to become Apes of whom some were hominids, and the surviving branch of hominids are us.

    We exist because we were damned lucky. A minor change in the approach of an asteroid (Chichilub) might have led to intelligent raptor dinosaurs. Instead of Oxford U., we might have Ornithosaurus U. and instead of Stanford you might have Stegosaur U.:)

    Amergin
     
  20. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    If "why do we exist?" means "for what purpose do we exist?"... we exist for our own purposes.

    This question suggests another question: "which purposes matter to us?" In other words, "which purposes are choiceworthy?"

    That's where things get interesting.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     

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