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What meaning, life?
Very rarely do I make explicit reference to my mundane meatspace life. Thus, I feel justified in breaking this trend occasionally, such as to note one of the more interesting responses to a question from my history professor today. He asked the class why we might want children, to try and illustrate a point about population growth. Many different responses were given, almost none of which answered the question directly, but rather neatly danced round it. One of the responses, however, did, and in a very disturbing manner.

"Because having kids is what life is all about."

Let me paraphrase, then, and extrapolate to the human race: "the human race exists so that the human race might exist." In other words, the human race under this model is a machine which exists for the sole purpose of sustaining and continuing its existance. What purpose our arts, our sciences, our toils? We have no purpose but to propagate, and these are but distractions. Under such a dangerous model as this, there is none of the beautiful selfishness that allows us to educate ourselves, to enrich ourselves, to express ourselves. Individuals are part of a faceless machine, which has one purpose: to exist. Ultimately, then, the question of the meaning of life is answered then.

I don't particularly like this model, so rather than be purely negative, let me elaborate on an alternate model. Rather than live so as to propagate life, live so as to fulfil your own desires, and so as to enable others to do so as well. Then, the rearing of children becomes about allowing the maximum number of people to reach fulfilment. Of course, this idea might lead to overpopulation (have lots of kids! maximize fulfilment!) if naively applied, so let me delve a small bit farther. If we accept that overpopulation is a threat, then the logical course of action in order to maximize opportunity is to maintain a sustainable world, thus allowing for a lower population level for a much longer period. Thus, more people will have been born, though less will exist at any one time.

With this alternate model is rescued the opportunity for one to define one's own purpose, or even to have a purpose. Selfishness has been restored, and in such a way as to allow human expression to once again be returned to us. What meaning, life? To give life meaning. In the process of giving life meaning, our arts and works are allowed to exist; our thoughts and feelings become signifigant.

Go now, and give live meaning.

This is the second article in the series, What Meaning.
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From: danidarko Date: May 31st, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
We must remember that we're in college. We're in college because we don't know everything and hopefully the attaining of knowledge will help us all to mature and learn more things. It's hard to tolerate the opinions of others when they so forcefully counter ours, whether they're hostile or not. It's very difficult.

Now, I want a family one day because I think that's the kind of person I am destined to be. It's not a matter of entrapment or anything like that or wanting to multiply but it's in the environment I was raised in and I love children and it looks like the epitome of happiness, to be fulfilled to the point where you are comfortable to be married and create life with another human being.

Now, note, I said "fulfilled to the point," which does, I think, echo your desire of living life to maximum extent of happiness and if having children is a part of it so be it... is that what you're trying to convey?

It's definitely hard being young and seeing society operate around you. I have a hard time believing I have all my rights as a 19-, almost 20, year old because I can't do something so stupid as buy a simple piddly little beer. Wanting to get to a certain point in life, like growing up (because that's what college kids strive for--the be older... and some people take it so pretentiously far, ahhhh, and forget that they're still young...), makes people do crazy things... like high school kids wanting to get drunk and have sex and not REALLY thinking about it... (I'm not trying to condemn young people who do that, I just think that 90% of them do it because they think it's cool and it sadly never occurs to them to listen to their hearts and weigh what their decisions may bring--which is sometimes not their fault.)

I dunno, rambling! Your post caught my eye.

cgranade From: cgranade Date: May 31st, 2005 10:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
My point was more to illustrate that it is stupid to want kids because that is one's entire life. If that's part of one's idea of a fulfilling life, then I have no problem.
van_wolf From: van_wolf Date: June 1st, 2005 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I would agree its a furfilling part, but not the key to immortality (like it used to be) because, as you said, we have art. I agree completely the point of existence is not to merely exist or continue the species in a collective movement (though I do believe in the collective conciousness of the human race) not because it would mean one person's life is insignifigant, but that there is no chain of events that leads to the betterment (NOT the continuation, but improvement) of humans in general.
I've actually got a developmental idea for welfare, prisons, capital punishment, etc.. I may actually write it up if I keep reading these posts.
masstreble From: masstreble Date: June 1st, 2005 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, you know what I say: Life is meant to be awesome.
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