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What is the meaning of life? (other than 42)

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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An age old question. What is the meaning of life?

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
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:)

Take care,

Joe

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Someone was JUST telling me about 42 the other day at work.

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
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I read that book. Interesting.

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
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We have asked this question for years. Maybe we don't really need to know. My answer changes from day to day. Because I don't know. Maybe it's a learning experience. Or maybe we are to accomplish something.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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that was sort of based on the teachings of Werner Erhard who created EST. The group was called Landmark Education. Why I took it I don't know, it was...interesting?
Anyway, after this seminar the grand finale was to learn the meaning of life. They told us that "the meaning of life is that life has no meaning." Check please!

I think that Joseph Campbell put it best:
"Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning." I like this much better. I think it is up to each of us to determine what our purpose is, if any, and to try to get there. I personally do not think that I am here on a mission of great importance at all. There have been times where I've felt the meaning or my purpose in life is to help people deal with their cancer.

On a side note, I was taking the course in the World Trade Center. My next class was to be at 7 pm on September 12th, 2001 on the 15th floor. I do still have my visitors pass for the towers.

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
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We bought Joseph Campbell's tapes but haven't listened to them in years. I think he was right. I also joined this site to try and help others.

Sometimes I think humans are a bunch of sheep. We sure act like it sometimes.

Sometimes I think life is like the game of 'Life'. It's all a gamble.

I had a very thoughtful reply to you and the site got lost and I lost it. So you get this condensed version. If I thought every action had a meaning I'd say someone didn't want me to post it. Since I don't want to be superstitious, I don't believe this. Every action does not have a meaning behind it other then I've got a crap connection. Or maybe this was the response 'someone' wanted me to make and bumped my other one. HA! Or should I say Baaa!

A quote from a Star Trek episode "Sometimes a piece of cake is just a piece of cake." Maybe we are over analyzing everything.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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I was going to read your response but I decided not to.
;-)
Yes, I suppose there are those who would say your response was lost for a reason. Me, I can safely say that sometimes computers really suck and they eat our files for no good reason!

Yes, we can often be a flock of sheep. BLAT!
I think the Star Trek one came from the Freud one "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar".

Wasn't the Joe Campbell show the greatest? I really loved it

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
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Wow! What does it mean that I remembered the quote wrong? I remember the whole episode. Eek. Are you sure? I'm going to have to look that up. Cake in dreams means achievements. Am I saying don't read too much into them? Ack...now I'm analyzing myself.

I'm afraid to say anything about the Joe Campbell show because I probably remembered it wrong too. Loved it tho. Love Star Trek too. They covered so many problems in life.

I did a search and found on the imdb site 'memorable quotes'. "A cigar is sometimes just a cigar" was mentioned as from Freud but Deanna's last lines were:

Lt. Cmdr. Data: I wonder - what would Dr. Freud say about the symbolism of devouring oneself.
Counselor Deanna Troi: Data - sometimes a cake is just a cake.

OK I admit maybe not close enough to be a quote but I feel better that at least it was cake and not cigar.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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but no Cigar! I wasn't thinking of the Star Trek episode, just the Freud line but I did enjoy the Star Trek Next Generation series. I used to watch the original one too. It was a head of it's time at the time. So you had the quote right after all Marcia.

There is a site called BrainyQuote.com that has quotes from famous people. Campbell has some on there.

This thread has not taken off yet at all, the "what happens after we die" was better but I'll give this one time. Like I've said, I get tired of the cancer talk all the time.
I hope you're feeling well
-phil

SonSon's picture
SonSon
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The guy from EST had it partly right...probably had a problem all his life of not finishing his sentences. Joseph Campbell finished it for him.
For me, I find meaning in life believing that I have been of service, in some small way, to my fellow mankind. If I can make a small difference in just one person's life I feel as though life has value and meaning.
My religious point of view on the question is that I have been created to worship God. I know this will rub a lot of people wrong.
But, by serving my fellow human beings and other creatures I am worshiping God.
Some days it seems hard to see the goodness, to remember the happiness I've seen in someone's face after doing something good for them.
Sometimes a mishap, misfortune or hardship just wipes everything away.
But goodness is saved somewhere while bad things can be forgiven.
Fatima

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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or you should be as far as stating what you believe. That was part of the point of CSN starting this section. People can post what they want and it's supposed to be a place where you're not judged. There have been at times too much religion (for lack of a better word) where the cancer threads are and sometimes people want to talk cancer, not the bible and God so they can come here to discuss that. So far it has worked out rather well. There are discussions but no "fights" that I've been aware of. We're civil!!!!.
I've tried to make it interesting by throwing up some age old questions. I find it interesting to hear what others believe.

I think it's great what you posted, I too feel that I'm here to do something good, even if it's on a small scale. Maybe that's not my purpose in life or THE purpose of life but it feel good to help when I can. There are many who share your believe that you/they are also here to worship God. I am no one to judge but I feel as long as you do no harm, anything goes...

Thanks for your comment Fatima.
All the best
-phil

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
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Pondering the question..........life to me is all things good...no one wishes for bad in their life but it does happen. Life to me describes everything that is not necessarily monetary but more how a person reflects him or herself emotionally, spiritually, or simply vibrantly...Life in my opinion is not the suffering of a human, it is the happiness within the person without the suffering. Such is life for one that looks not for the worse but strives for the best of everything around him/her. Life is a word that should signify extreme joy, not sorrow. Life should be all things good, period.......and life should be one of sharing, not of greed. Took me 55 years to figure this one out....Great Thread.......Buzzard

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Great reply and you have a great attitude.
Thanks for your response.
-phil

lisa42's picture
lisa42
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Fatima,

I agree with what you said. I believe that I have been created to worship God. I also believe that reflects when I serve others, help those in need, am kind, etc.
In addition to that, I believe that my life here has more purpose and meaning when it is shared by having a relationship with God. That is truly what sets Christianity apart from other religions- no other religion claims that you can actually have a relationship with the God of the universe. Wow. That still blows me away. Other religions pray to their God, but is seems to be more out of duty, obedience, and out of fear,- hence out of "being religious", not out of love. If people ask me if I'm religious or not, I guess I would have to say yes, as I do go to church weekly and pray everyday, BUT... I would still have nothing if I were merely religious- this is about a relationship- truly. God promises in the Bible that He loves us and will never leave us. He did not promise that nothing bad will ever happen to us, but he does promise that He will be with us through it all- we just need to ask. God wants us to come to Him on our own- he does not force himself upon us and does not control everything in our world like a master puppeteer- if He did, then we wouldn't truly "be free".
It's something that is hard to describe to someone who doesn't understand or believe the same way. I just know that before I believed and absolutely knew this to be true- I had "head knowledge" of God and the Bible- but it wasn't truly in my heart and in my day to day life. I wish for all others to also truly KNOW this is true and to experience the same peace that truly surpasses all understand, love, comfort, and yes even joy in the midst of having cancer. I KNOW, without a doubt, that I will be in heaven someday, but even more of a blessing for right now is KNOWING that Jesus lives not only in Heaven, but in my life with me here on earth. He promised to send the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) if we believe and we ask- having that comfort has made all the difference in the world in me believing and in having confidence in saying that I know this is true and real- enough that I stake my life on it.

Lisa

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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is Spiritual, they can be one with the universe...

lcarper2
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believe that I was put here on this earth to serve God in any way I can whether it is helping the sick and just leading an ear if some one cries. I know that alot of people think if we serve God we are strange and tend not to feel as we do about it some wear it on their sleves like a name badge and others just try to live the life God wants us to live. I am living proof that God is real I had alot of cancer and he healed me from that but tomorrow I go and find out about this new cancer and if I have read correctly this news may not be as good and I told everyone praying to ask that God's will be done and he don't always so ok you will live some times he says you need to come home(heaven) and if he does I am prepared to go . I don't want to die no one does but we all will at some time or another. I am going to heaven if I do die in the next 3 months and I say don't cry for me just be thankful you had me this long...

Louann

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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I think we are all free to believe whatever we want to believe. Some, like yourself, believe God put you here. I believe Mother Nature/Science put me here. I really do not know if I have a purpose here but I do live my life trying to treat others as I wish to be treated. I think no matter what a person believes, if you life that way it's hard to go wrong. Others are here to serve whatever God they believe in and some are just here because they are not there. Who knows for certain? Maybe we are ALL right, maybe we are ALL wrong.

I am sorry that you are still struggling with cancer, it's been a hard road for you. I hope things go well and my thoughts are with you.
-phil

lcarper2
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Thank you missed you on cc haven't see you there for awhile but glad ur ok

Doug_B's picture
Doug_B
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Hi Phillip,

Great question. Perhaps a comparison would be a good place to start.

What is the purpose for living? As human beings, we live to create. Take a look around. Anything that was not created by nature (us included) was at one time a thought in someones mind that materialized into substance. From the first widget to the most updated widget, improvement is an ongoing creation. Science is forever proving and disproving theories. It doesn't stop. One hundred years from now we will be living in a completely different world, a world created by mankinds thoughts and actions.

What is the meaning of life? Thats a little harder to define because we can't reach out and put our hands on it. Before cancer my definition was to fulfill my duties and expectations to the best of my ability in an ethical manner. After my enlightening experience with cancer, my definition was abruptly changed. I live to serve and return all the goodness that was shown me in some of my darkest hours. If I can help one other human being find the proper frame of mind to face adversity and better themselves in the process, my understanding of the meaning of life has been defined. It is an ongoing process that reinforces itself as our actions and time passes. We have to make a conscious willful effort and be aware that our actions do impact other peoples lives thus giving us a meaning to life.

By the way, a cigar is not always just a cigar. It is a conduit to an experience that becomes a memory.

Hope my two cents shed a little light on the subject. Wait a minute, make that a buck.

Godspeed and Good Health,

Doug

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Good additional food for thought. Purpose and meaning are two different paths for sure. I love how you've described the meaning of your life. Well put, worth a million $'s
Thanks for commenting.
-phil

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
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Your distinction between purpose and meaning is an interesting one. And your reference to a cigar not always being a cigar brings to mind the work of Magritte ("Ce n'est pas une pipe"), whether intended or not a reminder of the self-referential nature of the question and any answers provided.

I like the idea that the purpose of life is to create, but I would say that narrowing the definition to an examination of 'widgets' reduces the lives of most who have lived, most who are living, and most who will live, to nothingness.

I would say instead, that biologically-speaking our clear purpose is to create, to procreate, that is, and also to evolve. I would say that that evolution in our case includes the ability to create not only widgets but art, ideas, and emotional value.

Which is to say that I would not limit our purpose to creation but would certainly include evolution as well.

In this regard, if that is all of the purpose that there is, then we are little (if at all) different from any other species: all are designed to create and evolve, or so it appears -- we just happen to be in the gifted program.

The meaning aspect of your dichotomy, I suggest, makes for the distinction between our species and others (if there is one, and I believe that there is). This is where things get personal, where they get, perhaps, spiritual, where they dissolve into a morass of existential angst, where they blossom into the lightness of being.

Or not.

Take care,

Joe

Balentine's picture
Balentine
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I believe our purpose or meaning in life is to praise and glorify God in all that we think, say and do. To offer our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him. Our purpose is simple....to allow the life of Christ to flow through us to others. God makes things very simple....it is us who make it complicated.
Lorrie

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Welcome Lorrie,
It's a good place to express our views on all things spiritual and/or religious. It's sort of like you wouldn't post a thyroid cancer question in a forum that is about colon cancer. It keeps medical questions where they can be easily searched and then "Bigger Life Questions" are kept here for discussion or just for expression.

I posted this earlier but I like it so I will post it again.
I think that Joseph Campbell put it best:
"Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning." I like this much better. I think it is up to each of us to determine what our purpose is, if any, and to try to get there. I personally do not think that I am here on a mission of great importance at all. There have been times where I've felt the meaning or my purpose in life is to help people deal with their cancer so maybe that is the importance.

I've glad you found the meaning in your life. I think it's healthy to have however it comes out for each of us.
-phil

mariam_11_09's picture
mariam_11_09
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To remove all obstacles and obscurations between ourselves and God. To stand naked in the presence of Allah.

To be honest, dunno really, but the above seems to make sense to me. There is nothing more important that being in the presence of God.

Balentine's picture
Balentine
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Thanks Phil for the welcome. I appreciate it. Does not seem to be too many people coming here....hopefully that will change soon. God bless and Let God Be Magnified!
Lorrie

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