Why is "meaning" good?

#42
It does not matter to the afterlife what we do here. Even if we nuke the entire planet to pieces, we will go straight home after we're done just as much as we'd do if we behaved like Jesus H. Christ 2.0. No one gets punished, no one gets rewarded. We chose these lives from a dispassionate sense of intellectual curiosity of what it's like to be character X in society Y in world Z, and not because of some moral duty to do this or that "because daddy afterlife said so". And the only restrictions on our behavior here are those set up in advance by laws of physics. But as you and others have noted, a lot of people are bothered by the idea of creating their own meaning and prefer to internalize someone else's view of meaning, via social orders, cultural values, religions, etc.
It doesn't matter what we do here? If we are going to use NDEs as examples, don't the majority of them present us the message that we supposed to love? And it is the most important thing we need to do here? Doesn't that matter? And I do agree that there seems to be no eternal punishment that awaits the soul for those who don't behave. However, I think there is something to this love thing. And we should perhaps take it seriously, especially if the majority of the NDEs exclaim that message. Again ... if we are going to use NDEs as examples ...
 
#43
"There is an afterlife. Therefore, our actions have consequences that we will have to account for. Therefore, I will do what I believe to be "good" in order to be awarded and/or avoid punishment after I die, instead of doing whatever I want to do at all times."
Just to be clear: although I mentioned karma in my posts above and said that actions have consequences, I did not add "that we will have to account for". In fact I specifically stated that I wasn't talking about punishment or reward. I see karma as a natural balance between positive and negative thoughts and actions. Thus a negative cannot be balanced by a further negative which is why violence begets more violence.

I don't believe that a truly good act is done for reward because the motivation would then be selfish. Likewise, I don't fear punishment (in the afterlife) for my actions that might have caused hurt or suffering in some way. What I do think is that I have incurred a kind of debt that I have a responsibility to pay back by an act of kindness or love. Whether I do so or not is not determined by others or by some kind of universal justice system - it is my choice.
 
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#45
I don't think you understood my comment. But that's fine.
Paul has the concept that meaning can be made out of components that have no meaning. Based on that idea, a computer which fundamentally just shuffles bits would actually 'care' about something it was processing.

I tried to push him into fleshing this idea out by starting with a network with nodes labelled with meaningless numbers. He immediately started injecting ideas like cows - that involve all sorts of qualia and other meaningful ideas - but in doing so, he wasn't creating meaning out of meaningless structures, but basically cheating!

David
 
#46
It doesn't matter what we do here? If we are going to use NDEs as examples, don't the majority of them present us the message that we supposed to love? And it is the most important thing we need to do here? Doesn't that matter? And I do agree that there seems to be no eternal punishment that awaits the soul for those who don't behave. However, I think there is something to this love thing. And we should perhaps take it seriously, especially if the majority of the NDEs exclaim that message. Again ... if we are going to use NDEs as examples ...
Well yes, but there isn't some kind of reward for being loving in the afterlife outside of your own higher self's appreciation for it.

Or let's put it this way instead: There is no rush to be loving. We are living in eternity, and whatever loving vibration we don't ascend to in this lifetime, we can do in the next, or in the next after that, or 10^10^10^500 lifetimes or eternities down the line. Whatever "final realization" in terms of being loving we're heading for, we will eventually arrive at anyway, and there's a literally an eternity to exist beyond that moment as well.

So there is no rush to achieve anything whatsoever. Imagine that when we die, we have the following conversation:

You: "I scored X loving points in my last incarnation!"

Me: "Great! I only scored X - Y loving points, but whatever. Wanna party with the rainbows for 10^50000000 years before we even reflect on that nightmare?"

You and another billion souls all around us: "YES, LET'S GO!!!"

I'm being serious, this is how I actually imagine it will be like. The seriousness we take this life with while we're in it is admittedly part of its charm, but we will all laugh at how seriously we took it once we're out of it.

I did not add "that we will have to account for".
What I do think is that I have incurred a kind of debt that I have a responsibility to pay back by an act of kindness or love.
Are you not contradicting yourself with these two statements? I'm not saying that you are, but it just seems very hard to square them for me. Feel free to elaborate.

Anyway, see this:


The idea of karma is extremely human, in that we think "If I behave in X manner, I have to behave in -X manner or feel the effects of X myself later before the afterlife/god/the universal justice system/whatever is happy with me again."
 
#47
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/meaning-is-healthier-than-happiness/278250/

Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness
People who are happy but have little-to-no sense of meaning in their lives have the same gene expression patterns as people who are enduring chronic adversity.
...
"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the authors of the study wrote. "If anything, pure happiness is linked to not helping others in need.” While being happy is about feeling good, meaning is derived from contributing to others or to society in a bigger way. As Roy Baumeister, one of the researchers, told me, "Partly what we do as human beings is to take care of others and contribute to others. This makes life meaningful but it does not necessarily make us happy.”
...
From the evidence of this study, it seems that feeling good is not enough. People need meaning to thrive. In the words of Carl Jung, “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.” Jung’s wisdom certainly seems to apply to our bodies, if not also to our hearts and our minds.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articl...ect.html#articles_by_subject_benefits_meaning
The Benefits of Religion and Meaning in Life

Materialism: Meaning is an illusion. Science: People need meaning to thrive.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/materialism-meaning-is-illusion-science.html

Belief in religion and spirituality gives meaning to life in a way that atheism cannot.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/04/belief-in-religion-and-spirituality.html

Christianity and religion have made an enormously positive contribution to civilization.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html#lennox_civilization

Exploding the persistant myth that Christianity impeded the growth of science. by James Hannam in firstthings.com. "... the "scientific revolution" was a continuation of developments that started deep in the Middle Ages among people whose scientific work expressed their religious belief. ... Given the advantages Christianity provided, it is hardly surprising that modern science developed only in the West, within a Christian civilization."
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html#lennox_civilization

Religion provides a solid foundation for ethics and morality in a way that atheism and materialism cannot.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/04/video-john-lennox-on-problem-of-evil_7.html

Belief in religion and spirituality is enormously beneficial to the individual.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html#lennox_individual
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/skepticism-big-lie-activist-skeptics.html#well_being_references

Andrew Sims, past president of Royal College of Psychiatrists: "The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. ... In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html

Research shows that belief in the paranormal and religion can be conducive to the health and well being of people. These beliefs can help people cope with grief, divorce, job loss, the fear of death, particularly in the terminally ill, and can deter suicide. Therefore, when skeptics and atheists try to convince people to stop believing in the paranormal and religion, they may be doing harm to other people. Furthermore, research also shows that having meaning in life is necessary for people to thrive but skeptics claim consciousness and meaning are illusions. When skeptics spread their philosophy of materialism they may cause harm by taking the meaning and purpose of life away from people.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/skepticism-big-lie-activist-skeptics.html

Belief in religion and the afterlife eases grief and fear of death. It deters suicide, and helps people cope with adversity such as unemployment and divorce. People who find meaning in life are healthier, but pseudoskeptics espouse materialism which says that life is meaningless.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-harm-caused-by-pseudoskepticism.html
 
#48
"I did not add "that we will have to account for."

'What I do think is that I have incurred a kind of debt that I have a responsibility to pay back by an act of kindness or love."

Are you not contradicting yourself with these two statements? I'm not saying that you are, but it just seems very hard to square them for me. Feel free to elaborate.
I can see why you think so but I was answering your previous point about people who believe they have to face the music in the afterlife. That suggests an external authority, some kind of judgement and a punishment/reward system - none of which I believe in. I am responsible for my own actions whether here or in the afterlife and I choose whether to take responsibility or ignore it. Karma doesn't compel me either way but my actions do have consequences. If I choose to restore the balance by a loving action, it is not due to fear of retribution or hope of reward. I'll try an example:

Let's say I am at a party and there's someone I take a dislike to because he seems popular with my friends who are ignoring me. I'm jealous. I remember an incident from his past which will embarrass and shame him so I blurt out the story. I can see from his face he's horrified and hurt and leaves the party.

When I think about this later I am ashamed of myself. I want to take back what I did but I can't. One day, months later, I'm in the street and I see his little son being bullied by other boys - they take his lunch and run off. I go over and comfort him, buy him another lunch and walk him safely to school. He doesn't know who I am and will probably not tell his father anyway.

So I didn't wait for punishment the afterlife, I didn't look for reward for my kindness. All I did was try to balance a cruel action with a kind one because I felt empathy for both father and son. I would probably have done the kind deed even if the party incident had never happened but I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with adding positive karma at any time, not that doing so is a reason in itself.

So I agree with Nancy in that video. She says there's no such thing as karma as she understands the term then goes on to say that there's no pay-back, no judgement and that we choose what we do. I agree with all of that. But I think there are consequences to our actions and she goes on to confirm that - using the same word. It is up to us how we deal with those consequences, not some external system of judgement/punishment/reward.
 
#49
I have a lot to go through to read and reply to on this thread but I'm going to start with this because it jumped out at me

So, let me see if I'm getting this right: there is no objective morality, so nothing is better than anything else, but... sometimes cruelty is better than kindness. OK, man.

P.S. I believe somebody else (Sci?) pointed out this performative contradiction in your argument in another thread.
The diifference between what I mean when I say that and what I am critisising is that I recognize that my way is not objectively right or good. All I am saying is that, based on the informatin I have avaliable and the goals I wish to achieve that option appears to be the most efficient means of attaining that goal. This is far from a performative contradiction.

What I am critisising is the equivalent of the following

There are two different ways of referencing the same concept "Color" and "Colour"

Person A grows up or otherwise knows the spelling "Color." They spell "color" that way in their daily life. Whenver they see the spelling "colour" they feel weird about it. Because of their weird feelings they believe that spelling "color" as "colour" is wrong. They then go around telling people who spell "color" as "colour" that they are wrong and the correct spelling is "color." When people understandably ignore them and continue spelling it their way, person A ramps up. Going from merely correcting people to berating them for choosing to use the "wrong" spelling. People ignore them again so they ramp up further to attempting to remove the ability to spell "color" as "colour" entirely. People rebel against this, Person A takes it as justification that people who spell "color" as "colour" are indeed bad people and that must be why they choose to spell "color" wrong. They ramp up again to violently attacking those who insist on spelling the "wrong" way. So on and so forth

This is the "emotional trap" I keep talking about. Taking ones own feelings and values and then attempting to apply them universally. There is no logical way to do this since people are self contained entities who only have direct knowledge and control of themselves. Interacting with an external world that they cannot control or know to the same degree if at all. When someone forgets that everything they know is merely a belief, that everything they like or dislike is only their personal opinion, that every action they take was performed only by them for their own reasonings, ultimately, when they deem what they think, do, and desire to have "meaning" outside of themselves they have gone down the path of a dogmatic zealot. Slowly becoming that which they claim to hate, becoming increasingly hypocritical and dangerous over time.

"Colour" and "color" are both empty, meaningless terms on their own. Mere variables that could be filled with any constant. Using one over the other does not give the variable "meaning", it is merely the one you use. It is more important to look at the constant inside the variable to understand what one is talking about.

Feelings lead to Opinions
Opinions lead to Morals
Morals lead to Traditions
Traditions lead to Laws
Laws lead to Facts
Facts lead to the Dark Side
[end yoda voice]

This is why I get confused about why people reject the idea of a meaningless universe and keep concluding that they do so out of either a childish refusal to grow up and make their own decisions in life and/or a narcissistic belief that they are special and unique and that everyone else must also think they are special and unique because that's the pattern I see over and over again.
 
#50
Well I think a more effective opposition to the AntiFa might have been pure non-violence. Particularly in the days of instant video, the image of a violent mob attacking people just holding up placards and talking would have been very powerful.
Under normal circumstances you'd be right. However groups like AntiFa and Black Lives Matter, modern feminism and anything else connected to the "social justice" have been blatantly allowed to run amok and even directly and indirectly supported by the establishement. As in media, political and corporate with the police at their command. These things are all allowed to run amok because they align with the goals of the ruling class. Namely a desire for total control over other people. What they can say, think, believe and especially, do. As a result these groups have been allowed to get away with phenomenally illegal things with little to no consequences. In some cases the establishement has even rewarded and encouraged the behaviour. All of which is very well documented and discussed across many platforms, Sargon alluded to a few of these cases in the video itself such as the media aplauding an antifa member for sucker punching someone they didn't like. And the police being almost certainly ordered to stand down by their police chief instead of "doing their job" is just par for the course.

The establishement has purposefully created a situation where violence against groups like antifa is teh only solution. Even though they also know that the media will label their defense as an attack and the police will be more likely to arrest them for defending themselves instead of those who attack them. Especially if the attackers are brown, gay, transgender, etc as such an arrest would be laveled as sexist, rascist, homophobic, etc by the media and the individuials would lose their jobs and livelihoods from a concerted smear campaign using political correctness and people good natured feelings as their weapon. People have lost careers over merely having the wrong opinions, again, very well documented. And very scary given that somne of the most ridiculous components are being put into legistlation in various countries, like here in Canada where they're changing the human rights charter into an orwellian nightmare over it.
 
#53
Well yes, but there isn't some kind of reward for being loving in the afterlife outside of your own higher self's appreciation for it.

Or let's put it this way instead: There is no rush to be loving. We are living in eternity, and whatever loving vibration we don't ascend to in this lifetime, we can do in the next, or in the next after that, or 10^10^10^500 lifetimes or eternities down the line. Whatever "final realization" in terms of being loving we're heading for, we will eventually arrive at anyway, and there's a literally an eternity to exist beyond that moment as well.

So there is no rush to achieve anything whatsoever. Imagine that when we die, we have the following conversation:

You: "I scored X loving points in my last incarnation!"

Me: "Great! I only scored X - Y loving points, but whatever. Wanna party with the rainbows for 10^50000000 years before we even reflect on that nightmare?"

You and another billion souls all around us: "YES, LET'S GO!!!"

I'm being serious, this is how I actually imagine it will be like. The seriousness we take this life with while we're in it is admittedly part of its charm, but we will all laugh at how seriously we took it once we're out of it.
I understand with what you are getting at here and I agree with about 80% of it. And I acknowledge the fact that I cannot really get away from my linear time frame of reference with my limited capacity. But I just think, from my own afterlife (NDEs. mediumship, etc.) research and little experience, that there seem to be a little more urgency with getting this love thing right sooner rather than later. Perhaps, our "higher selves" don't really want to blow up our physical playground yet?
 
#54
This is why I get confused about why people reject the idea of a meaningless universe and keep concluding that they do so out of either a childish refusal to grow up and make their own decisions in life and/or a narcissistic belief that they are special and unique and that everyone else must also think they are special and unique because that's the pattern I see over and over again.
Well, I guess I would rather be a narcissist than a nihilist.
 
#55
there seem to be a little more urgency with getting this love thing right sooner rather than later
I'm not dogmatically against that idea and I used to lean that way myself, at least when I first started researching the implications of the NDE.

But I would need a reason for it. Given eternity, I can't imagine a single reason to be in a hurry regarding anything, not even leveling up this love ability that seems to be the most wonderful, important and meaningful thing ever.
 
#56
I'm not dogmatically against that idea and I used to lean that way myself, at least when I first started researching the implications of the NDE.

But I would need a reason for it. Given eternity, I can't imagine a single reason to be in a hurry regarding anything, not even leveling up this love ability that seems to be the most wonderful, important and meaningful thing ever.
Yeah. I get it. Eternity is certainly impossible to grasp. Perhaps... the universe works in cycles in a way that it may be in a rush (a couple billion years ... perhaps) to finish this cycle so it can move on to the next cycle. But in order to finish this cycle ... we have to get this love thing down first. I know. This may sound a little goofy. And this still implies some sort of passage of time. But if we are speaking of meaning, we are involving the continuing evolution of the physical universe as well as the spiritual, astral, ethereal, etc. I hope this makes sense.
 
#57
Paul has the concept that meaning can be made out of components that have no meaning. Based on that idea, a computer which fundamentally just shuffles bits would actually 'care' about something it was processing.

I tried to push him into fleshing this idea out by starting with a network with nodes labelled with meaningless numbers. He immediately started injecting ideas like cows - that involve all sorts of qualia and other meaningful ideas - but in doing so, he wasn't creating meaning out of meaningless structures, but basically cheating!

David
Okay, I suppose I should drop it for now? I did always have the feel that Paul C and I wouldn't have a productive argument, and that is fine. We are often attached to our own biases.
 
#58
What I am critisising is the equivalent of the following

There are two different ways of referencing the same concept "Color" and "Colour"
This is a really bad analogy for moral disagreements, dude. Try something more challenging to your case: that there are two different ways of responding to a person who says "I'm going to rape, torture and kill this young child". Now try to defend both views as equally valid, according to nothing other than one's personal goals...

This is why I get confused about why people reject the idea of a meaningless universe and keep concluding that they do so out of either a childish refusal to grow up and make their own decisions in life and/or a narcissistic belief that they are special and unique and that everyone else must also think they are special and unique
Uh, people generally subscribe to a moral code because they care about the impact of their choices on others - hardly a sign of childishness and narcissism.

There is no prison that can hold the great Trolldini!
Tbh, your posts do seem more than a little trollish; I'm not sure how much of a confession the above was intended to be though. I'd guess that you genuinely do hold this position, but at the same time, you're trying to provoke those who think differently - hence the weak analogies and emotional language (childish, narcissistic etc).
 
#60
This is a really bad analogy for moral disagreements, dude. Try something more challenging to your case: that there are two different ways of responding to a person who says "I'm going to rape, torture and kill this young child". Now try to defend both views as equally valid
They are both equally valid because in reference to infinity both have no impact whatsoever. Thus one is equal to the other. Yes, I personally think the whole rape torture thing is bad, however I also understand that it is only my personal position even if a large amount of other people also hold it. This is why I used such a neutral example for the analogy, because it gets to the logical heart of the issue.

I am talking about what happens when someone thinks it's not just their personal position but rather a universal truth. Such as Shabir Ahmed leader of the Rochdale child sex grooming gang in the UK, To some muslims it is not just morally good to rape the children of non muslims but a religious duty, following in the example of Muhammed.

Uh, people generally subscribe to a moral code because they care about the impact of their choices on others - hardly a sign of childishness and narcissism.
See the above example. Also, I've been on forums in the past where we'd see random posts from phenomenally religious parents asking for advice when their children wouldn't pray. In one of these cases a mother said "I don't understand he just won't pray, I tied him to his bead and he still won't do it, what do I doI think my son is possessed. I can't understand why he won't just say his prayers." We thought this had to be a massive troll because no one could possibly be that dumb, but it turned out no, she was just crazy religious. I think she later got arrested for child abuse but I don't remember. Stories like that are far from isolated incidents.

She and others with similar stories subsrcibed to a moral code and it absolutely did make them childish and narcissistic. Their good intentions were not balanced by reason and look what happened as a result.
 
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