brute journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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BRUTE
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Re: brute journal

Post by BRUTE » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:53 pm

scriptbunny wrote:Does brute want to feel like his life has meaning?
hard to tell. of the humans brute sees that believe their lives have an objective or intrinsic "meaning", some seem extremely happy with it, others seem extremely frustrated. brute can honestly not say. maybe he'd like one if he knew it would make him happy, but that's probably not how it works.

@Riggerjack: what things have been satisfying for Riggerjack? strangely, some of the most satisfying moments in brute's life have actually been understanding things that were previously chaotic or confusing to brute. for example, Austrian Economics was maybe the happiest addition to brute's life beyond Nihilism. just understanding what is going on took all the pressure off. very satisfying.

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jennypenny
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Re: brute journal

Post by jennypenny » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:10 pm

I've thought about the whole 'meaning' issue a lot lately. I wonder if it's necessary to have a firm grasp on meaning, whether in our own lives or in life in general. Maybe we only need to know deep down that life isn't meaningless? Believing it has meaning, even if that meaning is unknowable, might provide us enough sustenance.

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BRUTE
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Re: brute journal

Post by BRUTE » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:18 pm

what if brute knows, deep down, that all life (even jennypenny's, though she can't see it), is meaningless? knowledge is not exactly a choice.

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jennypenny
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Re: brute journal

Post by jennypenny » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:35 pm

avert your eyes ;)

Life's not meaningless, even if meaning only comes in small, fleeting moments. Your presence and contributions here demonstrate the power of that. Focus on the meaningful moments and not the space between them.

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C40
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Re: brute journal

Post by C40 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:50 pm

Any "meaning" anyone has is just made up. If you want some, you can make it up yourself. Knowing the eventual fate of all humans and the universe doesn't prevent you from making up (or choosing) some meaning. I guess I also feel that life is meaningless, but I (also?) don't see that as any kind of problem.
Last edited by C40 on Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: brute journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:53 pm

I choose to, as best I can, not to think about things like "meaning" and am happier for it. I used to think more like brute and it was rough. I wish you the best of luck with these kind of issues, seriously.

scriptbunny
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Re: brute journal

Post by scriptbunny » Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:40 pm

If brute is content with life as he lives it now, then keep on keeping on. However, if brute ever does decide he is dissatisfied without meaning in his life, I have three pieces of advice:
(1) Read Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning. A lot of it is about his time as a prisoner of a Nazi concentration camp, but he draws in his work as a psychologist dealing with existential crisis in his patients trying to define meaning in their own lives.
(2) Look outward rather than inward in your search for meaning. Build deep relationships with others. Find problems that cause despair outside of your own. In helping others along their paths for meaning, you may find yours become more clear.
(3) Do not let the meaningless nature of the universe take away from the enchantment of small beauties in your life. At times there may be a tension, a thought, "why should I invest my time and energy and emotions in things fleeting, transient, and unreal?" In those moments it may feel as if in striving you are turning away from some grand truth. Remember that to acknowledge the meaningless of the universe does mean one need be dictated by it. Yes, the universe is agnostic to you. But it is equally agnostic to your emptiness as it is to your joy.

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singvestor
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Re: brute journal

Post by singvestor » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:44 am

I share Brute's conclusion about meaning. In the end, when thinking a lot about this topic then it feels like the only valid conclusion. Still there is so much beauty in art, engineering, design, problem solving. The joy of creating something "beautiful" (in one aspect or another) can be quite emotionally fulfilling.

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Re: brute journal

Post by Lucas » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:42 am

The inability to perceive meaning in a universe that has originated from it reflects a personal disconnection and limitation rather than any objective, ontological reality.

Jason
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Re: brute journal

Post by Jason » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:14 am

You have four (4) options when it comes to discussing the nature of reality:

(1) Creationism i.e. creator/creature distinction - God created the universe and you. Everything in creation is at once optional and providential. Creation has rigorous, moral obligation to creator (transgression is sin). Eternity and time bi-furcation. Better known as Christianity.

(2) Deism - Some type of creator i.e. Aristotelian immovable mover, William Paley Watch maker, intelligent design movement. Limited providence (usually beneficence) and limited moral obligation.

(3) Materialism i.e. universe is accident and so are you. Basic something out of nothing paradox. Morality is based on limited understanding of self-preservation i.e. let's not kill each other because for some reason I want to remain in this accidental and meaningless misery. Essentially nihilism.

(4) Pantheism - i.e. universe and you are the same or share basic qualities. We are simultaneously communing with (nature) and possessing deity.

Brute is obviously #3 and in my experience most numbers don't convince other numbers to join their numbers.

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Ego
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Re: brute journal

Post by Ego » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:00 am

Evidence of life's inherent meaning is non-existent.
Evidence of life's created meaning is abundant.

If you exist, create.
Surf on the absurdity of it. Dance on it. Laugh at it.
Creating meaning is not a spectator sport.

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Re: brute journal

Post by Jason » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:20 am

If evidence of life's inherent meaning is non-existent why do we have laws against murder or have a healthcare system to preserve the lives of the sick and infirmed? Why do have penal institutions to separate those who we deem dangerous? Why are we appalled at newborns thrown into dumpsters, or images of the Holocaust or slavery? Why when airplanes are crashing do people scream in abject terror instead of just impassively turning the pages of "Being and Nothingness" and think that life is just imitating art?

Or why, on a more personal note, do I always cry at the end of "My Cousin Vinnie" when Ralph Macchio is declared innocent? Does that not in and of itself testify to my inner conscience that life has meaning?

George the original one
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Re: brute journal

Post by George the original one » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:26 am

Empathy is not the same as the meaning of life. Or if it is, then why do people not all want to occupied expressing their empathy?

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BRUTE
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Re: brute journal

Post by BRUTE » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:38 am

@Jason: all those can be explained by basic survival instincts that evolved in a meaningless world to win evolution.

@Pagliaccio: how does the universe originate from meaning?

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Riggerjack
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Re: brute journal

Post by Riggerjack » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:52 am

@Riggerjack: what things have been satisfying for Riggerjack? strangely, some of the most satisfying moments in brute's life have actually been understanding things that were previously chaotic or confusing to brute. for example, Austrian Economics was maybe the happiest addition to brute's life beyond Nihilism. just understanding what is going on took all the pressure off. very satisfying.
I find meaning in accomplishment. Basic training has like a quarter million privates running thru each year with a graduation rate of 97+%. out of habit, I reminded myself of that on graduation, but that still didn't put a damper on the deep satisfaction of doing something I was afraid I couldn't. Several times in progress was afraid I would fail. There were very few times in that extremely stressful 8 weeks that were in any way fun, but some of the most intense memories I have were formed there. The nostalgia effect is very strong. While in the service, I was surrounded by folks who had been through what I had, and the satisfaction was somewhat muted. But when I got out, the difference between myself and men my age was pretty staggering. My range of experience was just so much greater than that of my peers. Mostly to the negative side of experience, sure, but there is a strength in knowing that whatever current figurative crap you are wading thru is only ankle deep. When you have swum in it, ankle deep is humorous, rather than horrifying.

Buying a house. I was able to do this because of a VA loan. It seems silly and shallow now, but I grew up a renter, who had been evicted... alot. The difference from homeless and homeowner is immense. Buying a house was both scary (I just signed up for how much debt?!?) and satisfying, in that I now had a place that was mine, that could be modified however I liked. My place of residence was no longer subject to the whim and approval of a landlord. I was a homeowner, at a time in my life when that meant something.

I was just lucky in finding my wife. No skills, work or amazing personal traits involved. It was pure luck, plus effective filtering of internet dating web searching. However, before I met her, I had been with plenty of other ladies. And FCUKED that up. In a variety of ways. And learned from it, different lessons each time. I find satisfaction in being the man who can keep her, and keep her happily. Staying with her is easy, but learning to be that man who can do that involved a lot of pain and development.

My current home. I bought the land, rented the heavy machinery and learned to use it, paid to have a house moved onto it and raised, then I built the daylight basement, installed the utilities, built the road in, etc. The learning curve was steep. And now, when I look at the home around me, I feel enormous satisfaction in that I see all that I worked so hard on.

Do you see the pattern? The things I find satisfying were not in the whole fun, and certainly not easy, but that wasn't the reason to do them.

I'm agnostic atheist, I don't need the heat death of the universe to know that my life has no impact in the bigger scheme, I know that. I have no kids, in 100 years, I might be a story a nephew told his grandchild. Or not. My historical footprint will be medium/small. None of these things in any way rob my life of meaning, in that my life is all about me. Me and mine. Doing right by myself and those around me. Making my little corner of the world a better place, that is satisfying.

I hope that helps.

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BRUTE
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Re: brute journal

Post by BRUTE » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:18 am

hm.

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Dragline
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Re: brute journal

Post by Dragline » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:22 am

BRUTE wrote: for example, Austrian Economics was maybe the happiest addition to brute's life beyond Nihilism. just understanding what is going on took all the pressure off. very satisfying.
Well, if you find happiness or meaning in Praxeology, maybe you should just run with that. Very few can actually defend it other than juxtaposing it against Positivism.

But I still think you should just get a dog.


[EDIT] You also might like a book I've been reading called "The Rise of Superman", which is all about the science of inducing "flow" states. See https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Superman-De ... B00BW54XVO

Although it's focused on extreme athletes there are general applications.

RJ is correct that you don't seem to have enough challenges in your life. Of course, many of the extreme athletes featured in the book are now dead -- some dying just since the book was published a couple years ago. So there can be "too much of a good thing."

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Tyler9000
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Re: brute journal

Post by Tyler9000 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:39 pm

Dragline wrote: But I still think you should just get a dog.
:) I think there's something to that. Once you discover that debating the meaning of life is perhaps one of the least fulfilling activities one can undertake, find a friend who is happiest when you simply choose to close the laptop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPQBDgr3iEE

Sometimes people build up "meaning" in their heads to an unattainable level, when purpose is all around us. Just seek out the people (and creatures) who look up to you and start giving back. Gratitude is the currency of purpose. Start dealing in gratitude (both giving and earning), and I think you'll feel a lot better.

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BRUTE
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Re: brute journal

Post by BRUTE » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:10 pm

getting a dog feels like the ultimate cheat - except for taking heroin, maybe.

Jason
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Re: brute journal

Post by Jason » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:13 pm

George the original one wrote:Empathy is not the same as the meaning of life. Or if it is, then why do people not all want to occupied expressing their empathy?
I am not saying empathy is the meaning of life. I am saying it is informative that there is meaning. Why would I have empathy for someone or something if it is meaningless? It is self-refuting.

You have three places to find meaning: ontological/normative/existential i.e. metaphysical world (horizontal)/social (vertical)/self. If you say empathy can be based on something meaningless, you are saying that everytime you look in the mirror you look at yourself and think "I am a meaningless, random, accidental thing and I will only express empathy because it is in my best interest to do so."

You and Brute can say that to be the case, but if you do, I'll chalk it up to you either being liars/poseurs or sociopaths.

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Re: brute journal

Post by Jason » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:31 pm

BRUTE wrote:@Jason: all those can be explained by basic survival instincts that evolved in a meaningless world to win evolution.

@Pagliaccio: how does the universe originate from meaning?
I said that you were a materialist and I said that in my experience that most people don't change. So you are just recapitulating your transcendental position which I said you would.

That being said, I have no fucking idea what "win evolution" means. It sounds like something Charlie Sheen would say before he snorts a line off his unread high school copy of "The Origin of Species."

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Ego
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Re: brute journal

Post by Ego » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:32 pm

Tyler9000 wrote:Once you discover that debating the meaning of life is perhaps one of the least fulfilling activities one can undertake, find a friend who is happiest when you simply choose to close the laptop.
Unfulfilling in that it causes dissonance and discomfort with those who practice believing extraordinary claims.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If it can be explained without magic, then the magical explanation is highly improbable.

Some say live and let live, but look where that has gotten us. Pathological liars are harmless without pathological believers. Pathological believers practice believing without sufficient evidence. It is a skill. They get good at it and transfer the skill to other areas of life. That belief-practice affect us all. The stronger the skill of belief, the more susceptible they are to the charms of the pathological liar.

So, yeah, there is no inherent meaning until the extraordinary evidence shows itself.

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FBeyer
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Re: brute journal

Post by FBeyer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:58 pm

Jason wrote:Why would I have empathy for someone or something if it is meaningless?
Why would you ONLY have sympathy for someone if their existence has meaning?

I feel like the word meaning takes on different 'meanings' depending on the model you apply to the definition.
Religious people tend to stop at a VERY specific point, which is right around where their personal maker is invoked. Others will wallow in the dirt and claim the meaning of life is to have children and others will expand their model to include the entirety of possible history and thus reach the conclusion that nothing has meaning in the long run.

Define your model before you define your own definition of the word meaning.
And don't call people who disagree with you sociopaths, it's simply unbecoming to be so beliggerent that early is a simple discussion.

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BRUTE
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Re: brute journal

Post by BRUTE » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:03 pm

Jason wrote:I am saying it is informative that there is meaning. Why would I have empathy for someone or something if it is meaningless? It is self-refuting.
maybe Jason uses a different definition of the word "meaning". brute doesn't cross the street when the red man flashes. there is a meaning to the street signs, and brute understands some of them.

this is not the sort of meaning that causes brute to be an existential nihilist.

rather it's the insight that all such "meaning" is trivial, a random mutation that proved a slight evolutionary advantage over not finding "meaning" in such things as brute's mirror image.

it is similar to the insight that "free will" is either deterministic or random. neither seem very satisfying. it is certainly possible to draw the line around "free will" in such a way that it's compatible with physical determinism. and it's possible to draw the line around "meaning" to make it self-evident, i.e. brute not committing suicide proves he finds meaning in being alive.

but that kind of gerrymandering does not seem to make brute's Nihilism subside.

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BRUTE
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Re: brute journal

Post by BRUTE » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:15 pm

this actually brings up another point brute has been thinking about recently, related to the "alternative facts" debate.

maybe if the logical conclusion is a paradox (chicken and egg, all statements are false, ..), this simply means the question/model was wrong. in light of the map not being the territory, and humans being unable to experience the territory, it's maps all the way down. it is not possible to think in terms of the territory. while there potentially exists an objective reality, there is not way for humans to access it.

that allows for the possibility of clashing mental models that, while both individually correct, contradict each other. if brute assumes that it's impossible to have metaphysically "real" assumptions (due to being confined to the map), this makes complete sense.

brute used to believe that, given enough time and effort, it should be possible to compile a logical "truth-graph" (or would it be a tree?) of all possible statements (is this Aristotle?). recently, he's not so sure.

maybe the opposite way of thinking about this is the latticework mental model, in which all ideas are just rough simplifications that apply to very specific contexts. instead of building a giant truth graph, the art consists of finding what model applies in which circumstances.

practical consequences would be that the goal of debate about truth is not to use logical arguments and find The Real Objective Truth(tm), because it would be impossible to ever arrive at it anyway, leading to irreconcilable clashes between conceived "fundamentalists". rather, the goal of debate would be to negotiate the optimal-for-this-context truth. making truth relative and subjective.

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