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(reposted from a response, but it's worth starting a new conversation). blzblack said, "I believe there is meaning to life..." I responded:

Wel, if you get into philosophy and the nature of being (as in Zen, various meditation techniques, etc.), you can find peace by accepting that things are the way they are because that's the way they are. Popeye says, "I am what I am and that's all what I am." - Very insightful for a fisherman, eh?

By recognizing that life contains no more meaning than what we give it (this isn't saying we can't understand why a tooth is the way it is, just that the way it is has no meaning beyond that's how it is, see?), we free ourselves from the shackles of what is to what can be (in Forum jargon, "creating in ourselves a clearing for the realm of possibility," though various religions and philosophies have their own terms for it).

That's cool, just not something they invented. It's cool because it brings many people peace when they recognize it: Maybe they're stressed about something, and realizing that thing is just what it is - that is has no intrinsic meaning beyond what you can actually do with it - it loses its power over us.




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(Deleted comment)
Aug. 23rd, 2005 02:54 am (UTC)
By the way, here's what I wrote to blzblack in his LJ about this:

blzblack wrote, "There is meaning everywhere and always."

- Yes, but what I mean is that meaning only comes from our applying it to things that are, intrinsically, without meaning.

Why is a dog a dog? Because it's a dog.

Sure, it's true that a dog is a dog because its DNA told its developing cells to become a dog, or because its parents were dogs, or because God wanted it that way. But if you're looking for meaning about why a dog is a dog... well, you create or impose that meaning upon something that really doesn't mean anything.

Meaning is a construct. In Christian terms, you could ask, "Why did God create that dog?" to the same effect as asking why a dog is a dog. It's a meaningless and unanswerable question, except to say, "Because God created the dog" or "Because it's a dog."

Aug. 23rd, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC)
Then you have additional questions such as "Why is a dog a dog and not, say, a wolf?"; that is, what are the intrinsic characterics that uniquely identify one thing against another?

What's the value in looking at things a certain way? Is there a different, possibly better way to view something? Is the subject interesting enough to invest the effort? How much effort is enough - to answer the original question, to follow possible paths laid out from additional research, or do you discover a quest and just decide to just go full-bore?

(Sorry, I've been reading "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" again. But some of your thoughts also remind me of Persig's ideas. :) )
Aug. 23rd, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC)
Right, cool stuff. By asking "Why is a dog a dog and not, say, a wolf?" you get to further questions about your point of view and why you attach value to different things.

Aug. 25th, 2005 01:34 am (UTC)
I think it would be awfully fun to sit over cups of hot tea and philosophize with you, and I think we should do that sometime.
Aug. 25th, 2005 02:03 am (UTC)
Definitiviley! I started working on my new religion today, btw.

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