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Thread: The Purpose of Death

  1. #1 The Purpose of Death 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Not being able to figure out exactly what the purpose of life is I thought that maybe there is a genuine purpose to death. If the end of life has a purpose then what is it? Meet your creator? Make room for the young? Evolutionary requirement? First requirement for a spiritual existence, a life after death?

    Does just the state of being physically dead serve a purpose? I'm sure there are plenty of scientific purposes but if you intend on living forever, currently you must die along the way. So just being physically dead is of tremendous importance for entry into the next realm of existence. If there is an afterlife then is there ever a possibility of just becoming truly dead, no life of any kind, just oblivion?

    It appears that if you're alive in an afterlife then you are dead in the physical world...... but if you're alive in the physical world then are you alive or dead, spiritually speaking?


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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    if your car finally gives up the ghost because it's been a terminal wreck for too long, would you say that the purpose of its demise was to end up on the scrapheap ?
    if so, then the purpose of my death will be to serve as feeding material for medical experiments


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    I think without death life would be meaningless. When there is no end to life there is no reason for accomplishments for you would have eternity to do nothing. However when there is an end to life (or anything else for that matter) we tend to want to make the most of it and take everything possible out of it. So the meaning of death is just t give a meaning to life?
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  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    if your car finally gives up the ghost because it's been a terminal wreck for too long, would you say that the purpose of its demise was to end up on the scrapheap ?
    if so, then the purpose of my death will be to serve as feeding material for medical experiments
    And cheat the undertaker? the casket maker? the gravediggers? forgers of fine metal urns? etc. Death is a business, the least you can do is help the economy.

    Switching gears:
    I'm not a religious guy and the way I heard it is this, explained to me by a Christian pastor my mother used to force me to listen to on Sundays....death is a result of mankind's penchant for sinning. I can live with that (no pun intended) but here's where I get confused. The Pastor told me that God created Earth so that man could live forever on it. There was no death, this was as close to heaven as it got. Conversely, sinning meant we all now die but, and this is big, there's a chance to get to Heaven. What I can't figure out is why when we were immortal did we not get to go to heaven but after sinning we had a chance once we croaked?...... but that's another topic

    For the believer is the purpose of death merely a timing issue..... the moment of truth, we've either punched our ticket to Asgard or we didn't? Death's purpose is to facilitate a receipt of notice, sort of like getting off the train at Auschwitz, this line or the other. But since I don't have a religious bone in my body I sure would like to hear from someone who does, just to clarify what purpose death serves.
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  6. #5  
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    Stability.

    Without death, birth rates would drop off sharply in order to manage pressure on valuable resources. Any slow-down in birth rates would leave populations susceptible to extinction following natural disasters, disease and any invading competitor species which breeds like rats and litters the place with lifeless lumps of nourishing protein.

    A halt in population development would also mean a severely retarded mutation window.

    Life without death is unstable.

    So, I guess I'm leaning toward options 2 && 3 - the purpose would be to make room for the next batch of mutants.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    the purpose would be to make room for the next batch of mutants.
    wouldn't that be a consequence rather than a purpose ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    There is no 'purpose'ful intention in death. It's just that the 'dying trick' has produced more stable evolutionary systems.

    Perhaps "function" is a better term.

    I wouldn't be surprised to discover there are species out there which don't die, (or maybe only partially 'die'), but we would also expect to find them inhabiting a very select niche of existence with some fascinating reproductive mechanisms.
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    In my world it is impossible to die, you will never stop thinking … unless you’re a complete nutcase
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    There is no 'purpose'ful intention in death.
    The idea that God made death a possibility would suggest an purposeful intent, wouldn't it?

    Death has a real purpose for people attempting suicide, homicide or for those who engage in war I would think.
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  11. #10  
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    Hey guys. New here so I may not get my point across very eloquently. And I may be so totally off center, but my opinion si my opinion. But here I go. Life and death is a natural event. We don't have any choice that we are born, nor do we have any choice that we die, although we can have a choice of when and how we die. Once born we have to die. To think that we are special in a Gods eye is just plain arrogant. If our species is/was selected to have an afterlife beyond our Earthly existence, what and when was this determined? When we were proto humans? Or farther back? Or is that what awarness means, to understand that we have something more than the other species? And at what point and in what particular individual did it first happen? I feel that we are just a more evolved organic creation, or mutant, of any and all original organisms. We just got lucky that we are in this particular assembly and happen to know it. Nature needs life. Whether it's organic or not. Nature also sets a time limit on all things. If we can ever understand the true beginning of the universe then we might have an answer to why it all exists, but we do not. If we ever do. I do not call myself an Athiest. More of a realist. Unless everything I see is an illusion, I don't see a Devine entity looking down at us with love any more than a hungery ant eater looks down into an ant hill. Maybe not as food but certainly with indifference. OK, I've probably buried my self in my first reply here. But I've enjoyed having a place to voice it. And I thank you for that. Mark L
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I thought that maybe there is a genuine purpose to death.
    Seriously, death occurs due to the imperfect nature of the entity.

    Humorously, it's nature's way of telling you, "You're fired!"
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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    Heh, good analogy. Everything in nature decays. The thing I/we don't yet understand is what caused it to become orderly in the first place? Or is the universe reversable. Disorder becomes order under some giant event, decays to disorder and then repeats the whole thing all over again??? Like an hour glass that just keeps getting righted. Just never stops. What fun is that??? Mark L
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  14. #13  
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    The purpose of death is to free me from the torment of not waking up each day next to the girl i love. (The purpose on my subjective viewpoint, basicly i mean people should ask this subjectively just as much as "whats the purpose of life for YOU? Think of what benefits YOUR death in your eyes. And that is the reason. When it comes to life and death screw objectivity and think solipsism)
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  15. #14  
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    I'm sure solipsism has been debated to death (forgive the pun) but if you, in your reality, or I, in my reality, would be the one and only entity in existance. You or I would be then GOD. Our singular reality would be the beginning and end of all this universe. I'm not quite ready to be GOD. But, it would be a good final answer to the question of is there a GOD? One of us entities in this universe is GOD and the rest are all a figment of that entities imagination. There. I've finally solved the question of is there a GOD. Either I am the entity called God and everything else is my reality, or I am in another entity and they are the GOD. I am sitting at my computer typing this therefore I'm in A reality. Now. We're back to who, where, why is there a GOD and where did that GOD come from. I sure would hate to find out that this particular reality was bought off some shelf somewhere for $9.95 on sale because no entity enjoyed it. We could be last years universe. Could put a whole new meaning to "SWITCH OFF". Mark L
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  16. #15  
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    Life, a brief and pointless struggle against absurdity terminating in the grave.

    Death, relief.

    "Food is lousy and portions are small, check please!"
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    There is no 'purpose'ful intention in death. It's just that the 'dying trick' has produced more stable evolutionary systems.

    Perhaps "function" is a better term.

    I wouldn't be surprised to discover there are species out there which don't die, (or maybe only partially 'die'), but we would also expect to find them inhabiting a very select niche of existence with some fascinating reproductive mechanisms.
    Technically, organisms which reproduce by fission(prokaryotes,etc.) need never "DIE". Could superior technology in time grant humans functional immortality?

    Ghastly thought. This body is a prison, period, and a poorly constructed one at that.
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Technically, organisms which reproduce by fission(prokaryotes,etc.) need never "DIE". Could superior technology in time grant humans functional immortality?
    Technically, if an afterlife exists then the human organism is not life, merely a housing for life. Life for a human apparently soldiers on somewhere mysterious after a brief stay here, according to many.

    One of the purposes of life then must be to stop here for a while, join an internet forum, and philosophize whether or not it has any real purpose.

    Death's purpose in this case is not a cessation of life, but to initiate a change of address
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; October 5th, 2011 at 02:40 PM.
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    Prince in this case wishes to file grievance with current landlord. Is illuminating that religions which affirm reality of reincarnation want to STOP cycle of rebirth into meat puppet after meat puppet, not so?
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  20. #19  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Prince in this case wishes to file grievance with current landlord. Is illuminating that religions which affirm reality of reincarnation want to STOP cycle of rebirth into meat puppet after meat puppet, not so?
    Why would believers in reincarnation want cycle of rebirth to stop?
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    Creator, purpose, afterlife... I will exclude that in your sentences.

    Life must survive, I don't know what makes life need to survive, perhaps life does not intend to survive, but just does because of physics. Its like saying my mind is rock and the rock makes me conscious. Nothing is making that rock survive, it just is there. It exist because of physics, and dies because of physics, the star can turn to a red giant in this rocks life time. the rock melts and then gets consumed by the star.
    With bravery and recognition that we are harbingers of our destiny and with a paragon of virtue.
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    Purpose: a result, end, mean, aim, or goal of an action intentionally undertaken.

    The question is nonsensical without a belief in something that deliberately created life (and by extension death). Without such a belief one could speak of the reason senescence evolved, a far more interesting question, but not a purpose for such a mechanism: there is no purpose to evolution, no end product. If you believe in some form creationism then you may speak of a purpose to death, but given that most definitions of a creator preclude knowing its mind, then do so would be futile conjecture that has no place in a philosophy forum. If you believe in a creator and claim to know his mind you have no credibility whatsoever: silence would be preferable.
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  23. #22  
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    Whaaaat??? Makes zero sense.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    I wouldn't be surprised to discover there are species out there which don't die, (or maybe only partially 'die'), but we would also expect to find them inhabiting a very select niche of existence with some fascinating reproductive mechanisms.
    There are some very long-lived species: hundreds of years for animals, thousands for plants. The nearest thing to an immortal animal is this medusa: Turritopsis nutricula - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Purpose of death? It's just the last word in recycling.
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