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Thread: What course of life is best?

  1. #1 What course of life is best? 
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    I was wondering what some of your opinions might be.

    I think every course of life is equivalent, since choosing to pursue a particular thing would be based on it's own axiom. e.g. it's best to pursue happiness because it's a pleasant feeling (sort of like saying it's best to pursue happiness because it will make you happy; it doesn't make any sense).

    From this, aiming to be happy or sad is just as logical because both contain their own separate axioms (where each axiom is of equal value because there is nothing to compare them to).

    However, since we have to make a choice because we already exist, I was wondering how you would go about choosing this?

    Should we just follow what we grew up to believe, based on our emotions and motivations? Or is there a way to logically go about this without a paradox?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    If you find a job that you love doing then that will bring about happiness and contentment. So try finding something that you like and want to do.


    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
    Jimi Hendrix
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    So you're saying we should pursue happiness? Why?
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    For the most part, people enjoy doing that which they do well.
    There is contentment in mastery.
    Mastering one's self is a life long journey.
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  6. #5  
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    So you're saying we should pursue happiness? Why?
    Not necessarily happiness. But contented people make the world around them a better place for others.

    Here's one example of people making themselves and others happy at the same time. Australian grandmother in Canada one of many helping South African children orphaned by HIV/AIDS - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

    One instance of people doing good and feeling good because of it. (Though that's not the only reason to do good things.)
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Let me rephrase the question.
    I don't mean to ask what course of life will make one most content.
    I'm asking what course of life is most justifiable.

    For example, pursuing contentment is an answer, but I don't see why that's a better choice than, say, power?

    How can one logically come to the conclusion that one course of life is better than another (where that is applicable to all humans because it was derived logically)?
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    Why should we aim to make the world a better place? Why should we aim to feel good?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machar View Post
    Why should we aim to make the world a better place? Why should we aim to feel good?
    Why would you aim to make something horrible? - that's pointless. Why would you aim to feel horrible? - that's senseless. The reason we strive to make the world a better place is because the majority of people consent that misery is....well miserable.
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    Why would you aim to make something good? That's pointless.

    I understand that from an emotional perspective, misery is a negative feeling that you feel you should avoid.
    However, logically, misery is a mixture of chemicals interacting in your brain, and so is happiness. Why you, rationally, believe that an organism with a specific mixture of chemicals is more significant than another?

    Do you believe intelligent organisms should strive to perfect that cocktail of chemicals?
    If you say yes because it's most pleasant to that organism, I would ask you why pleasantness is something that the organism should strive for.
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  11. #10  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Is there a specific answer you're looking for or point you're trying to make?
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  12. #11  
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    Marcus Tullius Cicero's "About the Boundaries [limits, ends] of Good and Evil" (book 1, section 10: verses 32, 33)
    45BC

    Rackham's translation (1914):
    [32] But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing of a pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?


    [33] On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammeled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.

    Younge's translation, 1875

    X. But that you may come to an accurate perception of the source whence all this error originated of those people who attack pleasure and extol pain, I will unfold the whole matter; and I will lay before you the very statements which have been made by that discoverer of the truth, and architect, as it were, of a happy life. For no one either despises, or hates, or avoids pleasure itself merely because it is pleasure, but because great pains overtake those men who do not understand how to pursue pleasure in a reasonable manner. Nor is there any one who loves, or pursues, or wishes to acquire pain because it is pain, but because sometimes such occasions arise that a man attains to some great pleasure through labour and pain. For, to descend to trifles, who of us ever undertakes any laborious exertion of body except in order to gain some advantage by so doing? and who is there who could fairly blame a man who should wish to be in that state of pleasure which no annoyance can interrupt, or one who shuns that pain by which no subsequent pleasure is procured? But we do accuse those men, and think them entirely worthy of the greatest hatred, who, being made effeminate and corrupted by the allurements of present pleasure, are so blinded by passion that they do not foresee what pains and annoyances they will hereafter be subject to; and who are equally guilty with those who, through weakness of mind, that is to say, from eagerness to avoid labour and pain, desert their duty.And the distinction between these things is quick and easy. For at a time when we are free, when the option of choice is in our own power, and when there is nothing to prevent our being able to do whatever we choose, then every pleasure may be enjoyed, and every pain repelled. But on particular occasions it will often happen, owing either to the obligations of duty or the necessities of business, that pleasures must be declined and annoyances must not be shirked. Therefore the wise man holds to this principle of choice in those matters, that he rejects some pleasures, so as, by the rejection, to obtain others which are greater, and encounters some pains, so as by that means to escape others which are more formidable.


    original Cicero, 45BC:
    [32] Sed ut perspiciatis, unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam eaque ipsa, quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt, explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit amet consectetur adipisci[ng] velit, sed quia non numquam [do] eius modi tempora inci[di]dunt, ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodiconsequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit, qui in ea voluptate velit esse, quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum, qui dolorem eumfugiat, quo voluptas nulla pariatur?

    [33] At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus, qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti, quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint, obcaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa, qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio, cumque nihil impedit, quo minus id, quod maxime placeat, facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet, ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae. Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat…
    Last edited by dan hunter; April 23rd, 2014 at 12:17 PM.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Is there a specific answer you're looking for or point you're trying to make?
    Yeah, what I have been saying.
    First, why is contentment (or pleasant feelings) something we should strive for (and not simply, because they're pleasant, but a conclusion reached logically)?
    Second, if contentment is not something we should strive for, what is (if any)?
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    The other way to look at it is that this idea of choosing to be contented or to make ourselves and others miserable arises only because of our intelligence and our capacity to choose.

    If we look at animals, we can look at our closest relatives - the chimps and bonobos - and make a judgment about which kind of group or society we'd rather live in. I'd take the bonobos every time. Living in a group of chimps I'd have to rush to gather up the littlies every time one of the power-mad males did one of those violent display routines or otherwise flailed around wildly. Living in a group of bonobos this wouldn't happen in the first place. If one individual upset any other/s, then everyone gets involved in soothing others, maybe a bit of sex into the bargain, and they all settle down. It's all over and done with and no one gets hurt or killed.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Contentment might not be appropriate to strive for in many circumstances. At least if 'contentment' means an easy and comfortable life.

    People who see wrongs that need righting, or suffering that needs relief, may feel satisfied when they do their best to achieve those ends. But they'd not be contented until they were sure the problem had been solved. Sometimes doing your duty is more important than being contented with life as it is.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    I happen to think it's a good question. Yes, an Australian grandmother may make herself happy by helping orphans, but a serial killer can get his kicks in some other way. I don't think you can find a logical answer to the question. Everybody will try to convince you that their way is best, because that's what they believe. I'd also love to have everybody believe the same things I do. It doesn't mean there is any logic behind it.
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    My point was to make something of yourself through work and it should bring you happiness. Working can give you everything you need and want so if you can find the right type of work then that will be a very good goal to set. If your goal is power will that power bring you happiness but bring sorrow to those you are using power to do your bidding.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machar View Post
    What course of life is best?
    It is interesting that your question inserts the word "best", because in order to determine that (which is "best") we will be required to establish a way to measure the positive and negative values in a very personal way.

    For example, one can take a very direct route to complete a set task if efficiency is the measure by which we determine that which is "best" in achieving an objective, or one can take an indirect route to complete the same task but allowing for the unexpected experience to fulfill secondary objectives as well as the primary objective. Should secondary objectives not add any positive values (and perhaps even yield negative values), the most rational and logical choice of how to proceed is to take the direct route. But, should secondary objectives add positive values to the final count, then taking an indirect route might yield just that which is "best".

    To determine what qualifies as positive and/or negative values, we will also be required to identify them, and to do just that, we may have to delve into what exactly constitutes as "good and bad" or in more neutral terms; the Positives and the Negatives.

    At the risk of being accused of shamelessly promoting a "pet theory" (not quite sure if this qualifies), you may want to consider reading up on Value Theory in the following link.

    Value Theory (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Machar View Post
    What course of life is best?
    It is interesting that your question inserts the word "best", because in order to determine that (which is "best") we will be required to establish a way to measure the positive and negative values in a very personal way.

    For example, one can take a very direct route to complete a set task if efficiency is the measure by which we determine that which is "best" in achieving an objective, or one can take an indirect route to complete the same task but allowing for the unexpected experience to fulfill secondary objectives as well as the primary objective. Should secondary objectives not add any positive values (and perhaps even yield negative values), the most rational and logical choice of how to proceed is to take the direct route. But, should secondary objectives add positive values to the final count, then taking an indirect route might yield just that which is "best".

    To determine what qualifies as positive and/or negative values, we will also be required to identify them, and to do just that, we may have to delve into what exactly constitutes as "good and bad" or in more neutral terms; the Positives and the Negatives.

    At the risk of being accused of shamelessly promoting a "pet theory" (not quite sure if this qualifies), you may want to consider reading up on Value Theory in the following link.

    Value Theory (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
    That's exactly what I was looking for.

    So in order to value any course of life, we have to set up certain basic truths or axioms.

    What we constitute as a "good" course of life or a "bad" one is completely up to the person who sets up these rules.

    Therefore, would you agree that choosing the "best" course of life is completely subjective, and so there is no way to objectively go about this? For example, someone who chooses to pursue a depressing life is equivalent to someone who chooses to pursue a happy one, in terms of objectivity. Keeping in mind both individuals have different 'rules' or axioms governing their choice of life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machar View Post
    So in order to value any course of life, we have to set up certain basic truths or axioms.
    I wouldn't necessarily call them "truths or axioms", because organisms are extremely flexible and/or malleable in their assignment of values (both the positive and negative). Their continued survival and length of existence is evidence of that; in the type of acts and extent they are able to go to (not necessarily willing at times) are prime examples of how once negative values can turn positive ones depending on the situation. As a "civilized" species that prefers to look upon itself with pride, we do not often entertain the possibility of our primal survival instincts taking over and what was once our glorious conscious thought being submerged.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machar View Post
    Therefore, would you agree that choosing the "best" course of life is completely subjective, and so there is no way to objectively go about this?
    The keyword in your question above isn't "best" anymore, but "life". Whose "life" to be exact; yours, mine, or someone else's?
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    " Nor need we fear that this philosophy, while it endeavours to limit our enquiries to common life, should ever undermine the reasonings of common life, and carry its doubts so far as to destroy all action, as well as speculation. Nature will always maintain her rights, and prevail in the end over any abstract reasoning whatsoever. Though we should conclude, for instance, as in the foregoing section, that, in all reasonings from experience, there is a step taken by the mind which is not supported by any argument or process of the understanding; there is no danger that these reasonings, on which almost all knowledge depends, will ever be affected by such a discovery. If the mind be not engaged by argument to make this step, it must be induced by some other principle of equal weight and authority; and that principle will preserve its influence as long as human nature remains the same. What that principle is may well be worth the pains of enquiry."

    (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding)

    Nature tells me I should avoid pain (because I feel like crap when I do so), and pursue pleasure. You can ask Why but I feel this is to step above the boundaries of human reason, you can only define 'best' relative to something. i.e 'the best is X' and then anything that doesn't conform to this principle is wrong. Note i'm not saying the best thing one should do is follow nature, i'm avoiding this by saying one doesn't need to say what is or is not the best, because nature has already done this for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machar View Post
    since we have to make a choice because we already exist, I was wondering how you would go about choosing this?
    I find the solution in the fact that I do exist. My existence (to make a choice) owes to a long unbroken biological tradition. It's earthy! If my ancestors hadn't behaved in certain ways, I wouldn't exist. So their behaviour must have been right; otherwise there'd be no me to choose right again. The main pillar I'm standing on is reproduction, but there are other traditions like cultivating allies, problem solving, etc. that enabled my existence to make a choice.

    That's a 4 billion year tradition, that kept the choice afloat. I never got a brighter idea to break with the tradition. So I've passed the choice to my offspring. They may do the same.

    I respect happiness - and the pursuit thereof - as a rough guide to choosing right. Happiness isn't the object. We evolved it as a cue to right action in lieu of understanding what we're doing. In modern times happiness can be a poor guide to choosing right. Yet secular societies default to happiness as the greatest good. Maybe future generations will promote sustainability as a greater good?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machar View Post
    However, logically, misery is a mixture of chemicals interacting in your brain, and so is happiness. Why you, rationally, believe that an organism with a specific mixture of chemicals is more significant than another?
    The answer to that is pretty obvious (except, perhaps, to a psychopath).

    This sounds like some sort of attempt at a biochemical justification for nihilism (or psychopathy).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    This sounds like some sort of attempt at a biochemical justification for nihilism
    This is kind of what I was thinking. Reminiscent of sarnamluvu.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machar View Post
    Why should we aim to make the world a better place?
    Because we happen to live in it.

    I don't think there's anything else to justify striving for happiness or satisfaction, even if it's just chemical interactions in our brains.
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    What we constitute as a "good" course of life or a "bad" one is completely up to the person who sets up these rules.
    And here you're diving right into the question of what being a person means. I'm a person, but I'm not an entity isolated from other entities. None of us is "free" to consider themselves entirely separate from the rest of humanity. The thing that always strikes me about such ideas that even a word like "hermit" or "loner" or "exile" makes sense only when we talk about a person described like this as being a role relating to a specific group or to society as a whole.

    The way this is framed, you're setting yourself up on the slippery slope that leads into the quagmire of the individual rational actor. Waaaay too 19th century for me. And look at the pickle economics has got itself into based on that idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    What we constitute as a "good" course of life or a "bad" one is completely up to the person who sets up these rules.
    And here you're diving right into the question of what being a person means. I'm a person, but I'm not an entity isolated from other entities. None of us is "free" to consider themselves entirely separate from the rest of humanity. The thing that always strikes me about such ideas that even a word like "hermit" or "loner" or "exile" makes sense only when we talk about a person described like this as being a role relating to a specific group or to society as a whole. The way this is framed, you're setting yourself up on the slippery slope that leads into the quagmire of the individual rational actor. Waaaay too 19th century for me. And look at the pickle economics has got itself into based on that idea.
    Silly capitalism, giving us the highest quality of life and abolishing absolute poverty in several countries. We should all setup command economies which are far more collective that way everyone can enjoy poverty together. Economic liberalism is the lesser evil here, and it doesn't state that the individual is apart from society (this is just communitarian bs), it states that society is madeup of individuals and that the best way for everyone to benefit is for the individual to be allowed the freedom to invest: 'There is such thing as society, its just not the same thing as the state".
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    Sorry. I wasn't talking about capitalist societies, I was talking about economics as an academic discipline.

    No predictive power, no power to detect trends or analyse them by objective standards in progress nor in retrospect. How many economists or economics societies predicted or warned of the impending recession of 2008? Or even came up with coherent analyses or predictions once it got under way?

    I'd say any/ most/ all successes and failures of capitalism would be despite most economic theory rather than because of it.
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    Our animal nature tells us to trust our instincts. Our human existence and consciousness allow us to use our intellect so that we can understand why we do certain things and make certain choices based on those instincts. Our higher selves make us understand the collective mind and our individuality at the same time so that we can be one with the universe.

    To answer the question on what course of life is best for me is the path less traveled because I like to discover new things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thulium_gal View Post
    Our higher selves make us understand the collective mind and our individuality at the same time so that we can be one with the universe.
    Our what sorts it out so that we can be what?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by thulium_gal View Post
    Our higher selves make us understand the collective mind and our individuality at the same time so that we can be one with the universe.
    Our what sorts it out so that we can be what?
    I don't blame you for not being able to understand my point of view. lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by thulium_gal View Post
    I don't blame you for not being able to understand my point of view. lol
    Oh right.
    But you can't be bothered to explain?
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    Im happy that I live in a world that has been made better, by other human beings, and not in a caveman world. It is good for me and for the people I love that people in the past have made improvements in science, have built schools and hospitals, the internet which allows more communication. Many people that have built the schools I have been to may have, from their individual perspective, "only" contributed to a small part of that school, but all of them combined have made a difference. So be it a sense of empathy, or seeing the big picture, I think of people in the future that could live in a star trek utopia (from our dark age barbaric perspective) I conclude that a philosophy that could make (generally speaking) the world better for them as it has made the world better for me is a sound / interesting view/outlook.

    I can picture myself in white bathrobe saying "Landru, he hears, peace and contentment. Brother, are you of the body?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by thulium_gal View Post
    I don't blame you for not being able to understand my point of view. lol
    Oh right.
    But you can't be bothered to explain?
    Ok. I'll explain a bit since my quest in understanding the universe isn't complete just yet.

    When I say we can be one with the universe, I meant to say being able to understand that there is something larger than life, bigger than ourselves. And when we experience that, we are extending ourselves to that bigger manifestations of the universe as a whole. It takes a different level of consciousness to do that. And it can be dangerous if you don't understand. I'm playing with fire so to speak. But at the same time, I am just an ordinary person.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thulium_gal View Post
    When I say we can be one with the universe, I meant to say being able to understand that there is something larger than life, bigger than ourselves.
    I.e. not being self-centred.

    And when we experience that, we are extending ourselves to that bigger manifestations of the universe as a whole.
    Whut?

    It takes a different level of consciousness to do that.
    Er... right.

    And it can be dangerous if you don't understand. I'm playing with fire so to speak.
    How so?
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Duck, why do you want to know? Let's talk about One Direction, maybe it will take you somewhere out of this world. lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Im happy that I live in a world that has been made better, by other human beings, and not in a caveman world. It is good for me and for the people I love that people in the past have made improvements in science, have built schools and hospitals, the internet which allows more communication. Many people that have built the schools I have been to may have, from their individual perspective, "only" contributed to a small part of that school, but all of them combined have made a difference. So be it a sense of empathy, or seeing the big picture, I think of people in the future that could live in a star trek utopia (from our dark age barbaric perspective) I conclude that a philosophy that could make (generally speaking) the world better for them as it has made the world better for me is a sound / interesting view/outlook.

    I can picture myself in white bathrobe saying "Landru, he hears, peace and contentment. Brother, are you of the body?"
    You said star trek and utopia in one sentence. LOLZ. Is it like a colony of ants?
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    Quote Originally Posted by thulium_gal View Post
    Duck, why do you want to know?
    Curiosity?
    (And a suspicion).

    Let's talk about One Direction
    Who?
    (Joking. I've heard the name).
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    The biological motive for life is to pass on our genes; to evolve; to exceed other species. As humans who have a very self-concious awareness, we must choose our own direction to pursue depending on the time period we are to be born in and depending on the society we live in - the options we have.
    “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Charles Darwin
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    Quote Originally Posted by thulium_gal View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    I think of people in the future that could live in a star trek utopia (from our dark age barbaric perspective) I conclude that a philosophy that could make (generally speaking) the world better for them as it has made the world better for me is a sound / interesting view/outlook.

    I can picture myself in white bathrobe saying "Landru, he hears, peace and contentment. Brother, are you of the body?"
    You said star trek and utopia in one sentence. LOLZ. Is it like a colony of ants?
    Thought much the same. Roddenberry's vision is somewhat of a mind numbingly boring and largely unimaginative nightmare-- it would be a toss up whether I'd prefer to live in Star Trek or Madmax society.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machar View Post
    Let me rephrase the question.
    I don't mean to ask what course of life will make one most content.
    I'm asking what course of life is most justifiable.
    Depends - who are you trying to justify it to?


    From my perspective, the whole goal of existence is to create and enjoy beauty. Beauty is the only thing that truly matters independently.

    Except that leaves open the question: what would be the point of beauty if there is nobody to experience it? So maybe experiencing beauty is the goal? But that leaves open the question of how to create the most experience of beauty? Should it be the most people experiencing it? The most of it existing? The most intense experience of it?

    Is a beautiful illusion to be held equal with a beautiful reality? (Assuming that both are equally beautiful)

    Ugly people might not like that answer - although the ability to create beauty would weigh heavier in the long run that mere possession of a beautiful face.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Yes, an Australian grandmother may make herself happy by helping orphans, but a serial killer can get his kicks in some other way. I don't think you can find a logical answer to the question.
    I think that sums it up - there isn't a logical answer. The answer presented by the serial killer might seem reasonable to him (or her), but the general consensus would probably be that it isn't logical. I don't think that logic resolves this sort of question.
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    Most organisms seek to conserve energy so my hypothesis would be that the 'best course' (purely subjective on many levels but very logical on this point) would be the course that offers the maximum return for the least effort without infringing upon the same rights of others. That is where a certain degree of cooperation can be useful for both the group and the individual because it avoids unnecessary duplication of effort.

    Simply because of our immense ability to adapt to our habitat and modify aspects to suit us, this 'best course' could have as many expressions as there are persons of imagination. The 'best course' therefore, is the best one suited to the individual at that given time and place, taking into account their current level of experience and ability to comprehend their options.
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    I think I heard this on the forum at one time and I tend to repeat it often to myself just through daily observation: Nature is out to kill you. Keeping this in mind, I think the best philosophy one can adopt is to be aware of Nature. That includes just about everything, so as far as humanity's contribution is concerned, it is probably best to adopt a life of peace if only to eliminate a potential for harm.
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; June 1st, 2014 at 09:18 AM.
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    Don't think anyone 'aims' for happiness. (or sadness) Think it ends up being a natural byproduct of living one's life with purpose, and authenticity. That will vary from person to person, which is why happiness/sadness, what creates the two, varies from person to person.
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    If you look at it naturalistically, our instincts are designed to get us to reproduce. When you "feel" happy, that is because you are conforming to your instincts in some way or another. The "feeling" is caused by hormones getting injected into your bloodstream by various glands.

    Now, is it philosophically best to follow those instincts? I don't know. Many of them are outdated because humanity's genetic evolution has lagged behind humanity's social and technological advancement. But you will experience euphoria if you do follow them.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    The pessimistic view of this is there is no such thing as happiness in the sense we conceive it, it is simply a temporary association that fades and the only thing that actually exists is gratification of desires, by suppressing these desires we avoid the anxiety of them, this is the very essence of Christianity in a sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivium View Post
    The pessimistic view of this is there is no such thing as happiness in the sense we conceive it, it is simply a temporary association that fades and the only thing that actually exists is gratification of desires, by suppressing these desires we avoid the anxiety of them, this is the very essence of Christianity in a sense.
    Oh I don't know about that, I have Christian friends who are some of the biggest whoremongers on Earth. They go to church for other reasons too. One reason is definitely not to suppress their desires. I'm perfectly willing to bet that if a devoted nun for instance fell in love with a parishioner that she would eventually give in to desires she suppressed for years. People are people, evolved and condition to act a certain way when conditions are favorable.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Yes, an Australian grandmother may make herself happy by helping orphans, but a serial killer can get his kicks in some other way. I don't think you can find a logical answer to the question.
    I think that sums it up - there isn't a logical answer. The answer presented by the serial killer might seem reasonable to him (or her), but the general consensus would probably be that it isn't logical. I don't think that logic resolves this sort of question.
    I have to say I disagree on that one. If all the people of the past generations felt in a manner of that serial killer, then we would not have came into existence. And if we are glad that we exist, then it is only logical to be in favour of that Australian grandmother's way if life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faithfulbeliever View Post
    I have to say I disagree on that one. If all the people of the past generations felt in a manner of that serial killer, then we would not have came into existence. And if we are glad that we exist, then it is only logical to be in favour of that Australian grandmother's way if life.
    Learning from experience and from reality will guide you to what life you live. There is no need to follow a particular person (or a bandwagon group of people like the religious) in conclusion of options. This is absurd. What if the grandmother wasn't a serial killer, but still assumed that science is a religion (as an example) when it clearly isn't? Why can't you just disagree with BOTH and look at the facts?
    “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Charles Darwin
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvolvedAtheist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Faithfulbeliever View Post
    I have to say I disagree on that one. If all the people of the past generations felt in a manner of that serial killer, then we would not have came into existence. And if we are glad that we exist, then it is only logical to be in favour of that Australian grandmother's way if life.
    Learning from experience and from reality will guide you to what life you live. There is no need to follow a particular person (or a bandwagon group of people like the religious) in conclusion of options. This is absurd. What if the grandmother wasn't a serial killer, but still assumed that science is a religion (as an example) when it clearly isn't? Why can't you just disagree with BOTH and look at the facts?
    Well, that grandmother isn't a killer but quite the opposite; and I do not disagree with her way of life not because I simply want to agree with her and do not agree with the killers way of life not simply because I want to disagree with him, but because 0f one of the reason provided in my previous post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faithfulbeliever View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Yes, an Australian grandmother may make herself happy by helping orphans, but a serial killer can get his kicks in some other way. I don't think you can find a logical answer to the question.
    I think that sums it up - there isn't a logical answer. The answer presented by the serial killer might seem reasonable to him (or her), but the general consensus would probably be that it isn't logical. I don't think that logic resolves this sort of question.
    I have to say I disagree on that one. If all the people of the past generations felt in a manner of that serial killer, then we would not have came into existence. And if we are glad that we exist, then it is only logical to be in favour of that Australian grandmother's way if life.
    You seem to be implying that the grandmother's behavior is more desirable from the standpoint of evolution than the killer. This is not necessarily so. One principle often observed in animal behavior is kin selection. This is where the animal helps out other individuals to which it is closely related, like its offspring, with which it shares a lot of genes. In this way it helps to propagate its own genes. It could also mean killing individuals with which it shares fewer genes, like when a male lion kills the offspring of the previous male when it takes over a pride.

    The Australian grandmother helping orphans in Africa isn't doing much to propagate her own genes, because she is probably not closely related to the orphans. The killer might be helping his own close relatives if he is killing of strangers who might be competing for the same resources. Maybe he is a warrior helping his tribe to conquer territory.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvolvedAtheist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Faithfulbeliever View Post
    I have to say I disagree on that one. If all the people of the past generations felt in a manner of that serial killer, then we would not have came into existence. And if we are glad that we exist, then it is only logical to be in favour of that Australian grandmother's way if life.
    Learning from experience and from reality will guide you to what life you live. There is no need to follow a particular person (or a bandwagon group of people like the religious) in conclusion of options. This is absurd. What if the grandmother wasn't a serial killer, but still assumed that science is a religion (as an example) when it clearly isn't? Why can't you just disagree with BOTH and look at the facts?
    Fact will not tell you how to live your life. Two people can look at the same set of facts and still have a different opinion about what ought to be, depending upon the values they hold. You are assuming that your values are superior because you do not use religion to justify them. Regardless, they have no more objective basis than those held by religious people.

    This is the classic is-ought problem where you suddenly jump from discussing what is, and go to discussing what ought to be.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is%E2%80%93ought_problem
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Faithfulbeliever View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Yes, an Australian grandmother may make herself happy by helping orphans, but a serial killer can get his kicks in some other way. I don't think you can find a logical answer to the question.
    I think that sums it up - there isn't a logical answer. The answer presented by the serial killer might seem reasonable to him (or her), but the general consensus would probably be that it isn't logical. I don't think that logic resolves this sort of question.
    I have to say I disagree on that one. If all the people of the past generations felt in a manner of that serial killer, then we would not have came into existence. And if we are glad that we exist, then it is only logical to be in favour of that Australian grandmother's way if life.
    You seem to be implying that the grandmother's behavior is more desirable from the standpoint of evolution than the killer. This is not necessarily so. One principle often observed in animal behavior is kin selection. This is where the animal helps out other individuals to which it is closely related, like its offspring, with which it shares a lot of genes. In this way it helps to propagate its own genes. It could also mean killing individuals with which it shares fewer genes, like when a male lion kills the offspring of the previous male when it takes over a pride.

    The Australian grandmother helping orphans in Africa isn't doing much to propagate her own genes, because she is probably not closely related to the orphans. The killer might be helping his own close relatives if he is killing of strangers who might be competing for the same resources. Maybe he is a warrior helping his tribe to conquer territory.
    A male lion kills the cubs of previous lion when he takes over the pride, but then he does not make up a reason in his imagination and roam from jungle to jungle to kill all the cubs of all other lions. While a serial killer does something similar and acts only upon his imagination, so the example cannot be applied. Albeit a lioness in certain circumstances not only takes care of her cubs but also does the same for other cubs in the pride ensuring the survival of the pride, so that can be compared to this grandmother's behaviour.

    The behaviour of serial killer does nothing good for the humanity as whole, while that of this grandmother with lioness like heart is doing exactly that. So I say again that if ALL the peoples of past generation acted like serial killer, then we would not have came into existence, and we are glad that we exist, then it is only logical to be in favour of the grandmother's way of life and not that of the serial killer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faithfulbeliever View Post
    A male lion kills the cubs of previous lion when he takes over the pride, but then he does not make up a reason in his imagination and roam from jungle to jungle to kill all the cubs of all other lions. While a serial killer does something similar and acts only upon his imagination, so the example cannot be applied. Albeit a lioness in certain circumstances not only takes care of her cubs but also does the same for other cubs in the pride ensuring the survival of the pride, so that can be compared to this grandmother's behaviour.

    The behaviour of serial killer does nothing good for the humanity as whole, while that of this grandmother with lioness like heart is doing exactly that. So I say again that if ALL the peoples of past generation acted like serial killer, then we would not have came into existence, and we are glad that we exist, then it is only logical to be in favour of the grandmother's way of life and not that of the serial killer.
    Evolution does not always work for the good of a species as a whole, as the example of the infanticidal lion shows. This kind of behavior is seen in other species as well, not just lions. Our closest relatives, the chimpanzees also do it.

    Not all individuals of any species act the same as all other individuals, nor do they always behave the same under every circumstance. Some situations call for nurturing behavior, others may require aggression. So, your objection is invalid. If everybody acted as a grandmother, the whole tribe would probably have been exterminated by a more warlike tribe. You have failed to show that the grandmotherly behavior is more favored by evolution than a killer's behavior, especially when the grandmotherly behavior is not benefiting a close kin.
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    I chose the arts. NEVER made me rich, but made me happy, even if I had to work another full time job to do it.

    Do what gives you joy. Something that makes you want to get up in the morning and attend to.

    Nothing worse than being miserable at what you are doing.
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    I would say "Make provisions for the old age" so that you may receive a decent treatment when ill, get into a sleek grave and not die on the roadside with no relative to claim your remains. Of course everyone tries to get a job of his liking. It may make you happy, but wisdom tells us to be aware of the fact that we are not going to be here for eternity so....
    don't say in future I didn't warn you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Evolution does not always work for the good of a species as a whole, as the example of the infanticidal lion shows. This kind of behavior is seen in other species as well, not just lions. Our closest relatives, the chimpanzees also do it.

    Not all individuals of any species act the same as all other individuals, nor do they always behave the same under every circumstance. Some situations call for nurturing behavior, others may require aggression. So, your objection is invalid. If everybody acted as a grandmother, the whole tribe would probably have been exterminated by a more warlike tribe. You have failed to show that the grandmotherly behavior is more favored by evolution than a killer's behavior, especially when the grandmotherly behavior is not benefiting a close kin.
    I understand that evolution does not work for the good of every individual creature, but it does work for good of a species as whole as because of evolution the species as whole survives the challenges of nature is what I was informed. I cannot win the argument against you regarding the theory of evolution with my limited knowledge in the matter and neither is that my agenda, infact I might learn something from you. My point was only that if everyone acts like a serial killer then the chances are that eventually no one will be left alive to evolve. And about the behaviour of grandmother, if she is acting in a certain way in certain circumstances, that does not mean she will act the same in every circumstances. After all, a wild animal like lioness can adopt to a nurturing behavior and at the same time a timid house cat becomes aggressive to protect its cubs. So if I am in favour of everyone acting acting in a manner of this grandmother, it does not mean I am in the favour for everyone acting in the manner of the grandmother in every situation. Matter of fact, this grandma herself may become aggressive in number of situations. But we cannot overlook the fact that we have a number of laws against the kind of aggression of a serial killer with severe punishments, whilst we have laws that actually defends a person even when he acts in aggression, the most common of which we know as act of self defence. I can bet that this grandma will not back off when it comes to self defence either.
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