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Can You Grasp The Concept of "LIFE?" and What Role You Play?

  1. Cagsil profile image83
    Cagsilposted 7 years ago

    Hello everyone,

    I know.....here we go again.

    Well, since I have come to hubpage, I've been embroiled in many verbal spats with individual people. Some know me and some are my fans, but many don't know WHY? I am here.

    Since I am a self-guided human being and recognize my own consciousness, I am able to form free thoughts and decisions.

    And, in truly embracing free thought, I've come to a realization that many people, like my mother for instance, who believe in God. Yet, she blame God for this or that.

    So I asked her, mom- what's your purpose in life? She said, to die an old lady, while be screwed by higher authorities(such, as placing blame on God and Government, in one shot).

    The concept of LIFE is to have a purpose. That fundamental purpose is what provides motivation, ambition and self-reliance.

    What role you play, in the overall scheme of things, might or not, be seen in the same perspective, because unlike me, I am not bothered by annoying conditions on which I live my life, such as religious/spiritual text conveys to people.

    With that said: Yes, your purpose in life is seek out your own purpose for living. In doing so, you can shape your own existence into whatever you select.

    The scariest part is in the knowing that if something isn't changed on Earth, in a huge, very very large way, the human race will eventually become extinct.

    Care to debate what I've said is wrong?

    1. Richard VanIngram profile image87
      Richard VanIngramposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      I'm not much for debates.  Debating is about winning, and, to win, people will say anything to score perceived "points."  I'll discuss this with you, if you wish as I think it an important topic.

      You say, what I think the heart of the matter is:

      This is the basic existentialist position -- one which I value myself.  However, I am not a Sartre-esque existentialist; I am of the school of Jose Ortega y Gasset (a name worth looking into if unknown to you).

      Yes, by all means, we **must** chose who to become.  We've no choice in that, paradoxically.  Human beings have no "automatic nature" that unwinds like a clock and provides us with an automatic repetoire of responses to reality.  We must even choose to be rational.  I am with Jonathan Swift when he opposed his contemporaries in the Enlightenment era -- they defined humans as "the animal that reasons."  He said, at best, we are "the animal capable of reason" -- the animal that has the capacity to reason but often chooses to do otherwise.

      Freedom to chose who to be is a sharp and terrible double-edged blade.  Yes, we can choose for the better . . . and we are fully capable of choosing for the worse.  History probably shows more by way of blunders and ridiculous choices than humans living up to the ideal they are capable of creating or recognizing and pursuing.

      Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialism is plagued by the same sort of optimism the Enlightenment view of humans was -- for Sartre, any responsible choice was, by definition "authentic," by which he really meant, "good."  Acting out of individual, independent conscience was always an unqualifiedly good thing -- regardless of what one chose.  Just as humans always tend to be rational if we live a "natural life," as the Enlightenment mistakenly believed.

      Just because we act out of conscience or our individuality hardly means we will choose well, any more than if we throw off the chains of culture (or fill in the blank), we will automatically become rational or be rational.

      Living well, living, not just authentically (which is necessary), but living up to standards with inherent value (which is necessary **and** sufficient) is what we must choose to do -- and this requires effort.  Choice is ongoing effort to live meaningfully, when exercised in a truly human way.

      Otherwise we just make lazy, poor choices, slovenly choices. We do what "others do" simply because others do it and we are lacking the level of care required to discover if "others" are doing what they should in the first place, and why.

      Choice and a life of choice can mean a life of rebellion -- it can also mean a life of tradition.  It depends upon one's circumstances and inherentences.

      For the philosopher Ortega, human life is not simply "I," an ego.  It is "I plus my circumstances."  Life is more than me, it is more than circumstance -- it is the energetic exchange where I come into relationship with that part of existence that is not "I."  I question my surroundings, I question what I cannot control, what I did not create, what I inhereted or had thrust upon me -- and it does the same to me.

      Within this interchange, I must decide who I am supposed to be.  NOT only choose any old way to be -- but choose the very specific "me" that is supposed to exist, here and now, within this life.  I must discover my destiny.  And then I must choose it and put it into effect, as an artist creates a novel -- except I am the main character in my novel, and "my character" is my beliefs, my values, and my actions in the world I am given to act within.

      My circumstances limit my choices; and my choices may be creative to some degree.  But circumstances do not eradicate all choice and choice is not utterly unbounded by the categories "better" and "worse" and "right" and "wrong" and "rational" and "Irrational."

      When one says something akin to, "The purpose of life is to seek out one's purpose for living," something profound or something trite has been said. If it is trite, what has been claimed is no more than, "Life is about making everything up as we go along; life is about my ego, my self, and nothing more."  But the more profound way of looking at this is, as Ortega used to quote Pindar saying: "Become who you are."  Figure out who you must be,the very specific, unique person you must be -- IN INTERACTION WITH YOUR WORLD. 

      "Life" is not just "me."  Life is "me plus everything not-me, interacting and responding to each other."

  2. Cagsil profile image83
    Cagsilposted 7 years ago

    To start off, apparently you've taken offense, and already see me, as a little child with a new toy, who has no understanding and is out to only service himself.(it's read by your context)

    This is far from the truth of the matter.

    Yes, I did choose the "wrong" word to discuss the topic, but the word "debate" is when you have two people, who are on the same topic, but have a difference in opinions, about said topic.

    Hence, conflict arises making it a debate. One person discusses from an offensive point, while the second defenses their position.

    Since you seem to be better at explaining or writing down your belief and mine is but several years removed from mysticism, and I am new to writing out what I understand, it's foreseeable that I would make mistakes, trying to get a point across.

    How ever, I am going to make my position as clear as I can, so as to not confuse people or leave holes in the understanding, it necessary to explain in detail and that alone is going to make my post extremely long, after which, you can read all your like.

    I don't have an "ego", per se, but a heart-felt desire to inform people of what I've learned through my research. I am human, I am affected/effected by humans inability to see themselves as strong enough to take control of their own life and because I care for humanity, and not myself- I must bring forth conflicting message, so as to bring others to the attention of my words.

    With that said- Let's begin:

    You wanted to know "what" methodology, which I've used as a tool for what I've learned. So, I've taken collectively reality, physical, mental, emotional aspects, which coincides with "Aristotelian".

    As an example: What is the nature of Man or Woman?

    The mystical(platonistic): Humans beings are by nature evil, irrational, and destructive. They are subordinates to "higher" causes. Human beings most be controlled by some higher authority or government and forced to serve others or society.

    The factual(aristotelian): Human beings are by nature good, rational, and productive(or mankind could not exist). Human beings are competent to fill their needs and to achieve happiness. By being free to act accordingly to their own nature, they will best serve themselves and society without force or coercion from any authority or government.

    To answer the most basic question- What is Reality?

    The mystical(platonistic): Reality is what the mind thinks or imagines. Wishes, will, or faith can create or alter reality. "True" reality is unknowable.

    The factual(aristotelian): Reality is what exists. Reality exists independently of anyone's thoughts, desires, will, or wishes. All reality is knowable.

    Carving one's own destiny? Like what you said, near the end of your post.

    "While the past is gone forever, it offers valuable experience and reference points that can enhance one's present and future. But many people consumer too much time living in the past. Those people often cripple their potential by living and thinking in therms of concrete, past experiences. Thus, they fail to grasp the broader concepts and principles necessary for productive growth into the future. Those who achieve long-range prosperity, happiness, and psychuous pleasures are well aware of the experiences and knowledge gained from their past. But, they live in the present while continuously building the integrations for growing into the future.

    Rational value producers can view their personal futures with confidence in the knowledge that they have the power(through their own rational minds and efforts) to control their own destinies no matter what external variables impinge on them.

    Indeed, by removing mysticism, the rational mind can be more powerful than all those irrational minds that constantly work to diminish everyone's life. The rational mind can also vanquish the destructive effects of religion and the God concept. Likewise, with the rational mind one can spring free from the guilt pushers and freeloaders, as well as from "friends" and relatives(including parents and nondependent children) who do not offer overall values to one's personal life.

    The variable of nature (e.g. weather, tides, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods) can have chance impacts and short-range effects on a person's life. For most productive people, however, natural variables have little or no effect in their long-range lives. Other natural forces such as the faint celestial forces(minute gravitational and electroagnetic forces from planets and from stars beyond our sun) have no effect on anyone's life, except for illusionary, psychologically damaging effects on those who allow theier thinking or actions to be stunted or undermind by immature beliefs such as astrology.

    I'm laying all my cards on the table, so you can see where exactly I'm coming from. I prefer to deal with factual than any other.

    My concern is that many people are lost, like sheep herded to an open field, so they can graze and herded back a stable or barn, because a "higher" authority told them to or were forced.

    Yes, I know, the difference is that Man/Woman have an independent thinking process and can form a belief system of their choosing, but "religion" doesn't offer an alternative. It is taken as an "absolute", without justification.

    To clear up, what many people think religion helps them do, is to develop a sense of "morals", which determines what is right and what is wrong. This is false and negatives an independent free will/thinking conscious person. Morals are absolutes.

    Here is my thinking behind it- Rational or good actions increase prosperity, happiness, and psychuous pleasures. Irrational or bad actions undermine those values. While each individual's life and values are unique, certain basic actions never change in terms of good or bad actions. The rightness or wrongness of those basic actions do not vary according to opinion, or from person to person, or from generation to generation, or from culture to culture, or from solar system to solar system.

    Universally good or bad actions are objectively based on the biological nature of human beings and are definable in absolute terms. But other actions are amoral and cannot be judged in terms of good or bad because they are a matter or personal preference determined by individual differences. Universal morals are objective. They are not based on opinions of the author or anyone else. Universal morals are not created or determined by anyone. No one can deem what is moral and what is not moral. The same moral standards exists for each and every human being throughout all locations, cultures, and ages. Those standards are independent of anyone's opinions or proclamations. Moreover, two and only two black-and-white morals standards exist. Those two moral standards are:

    (1) Any chosen action that purposely benefits the human organism or society is morally good and right.

    (2) Any choose action that purposely harms the human organism or society is morally bad and wrong.

    Feelings and emotions, on the other hand, cannot be considered as standards, absolutes or morals. A person's life-style, desires, needs, and preferences can vary greatly without altering that person's character or without making that person morally right or wrong. Still, moral absolutes do exist. And following or violating moral absolutes determines a person's character and self-esteem. The two morals absolutes essential for prosperity and happiness are"

    (1) Integrated honesty for knowing reality
    (2) Integrated efforts for increasing productivity.

    Habitually violating either of those two moral absolutes preclude genuine prosperity and happiness. Related to those absolutes are the following moral issues:

    Honesty - self esteem and individual rights / Sacrifice - use of force and ends justify the means.

    Still more-

    Sense of life: A sense of life is an integral part of everyone's subconscious philosophy and psychology. Every person has a fundamental view of sense of life. While usually existin on the subsconsious level, a person's sense of life largely determines his/her major actions. Sense of life falls into two opposite categories:

    (a) an objectively rational, self-interest, benevolent, individualistic sense of life that is characterized by:
    1- the knowledge that conscious achievement is the hightest value.
    2- the knowledge that the conscious mind is competent to know reality.

    (b) a mystically irrational, altruistic, malevolent, anti-individual sense of life characterized by:
    1- the belief that non-man-made values (e.g. nature, universe, the cosmos) and mystical "values" (e.g. God, the State, society) are superior to man-made values.
    2- the belief that the conscious mind is incapable of knowing reality.

    The altruistic, malevolent sense of life finds virtue in sacrificing real, individual values to unreal, mystical "higher" causes such as God, the Fatherland, nature, society. That altruistic, malevolent sense of life keeps one from acting in his/her long-range best interest to achieve power, prosperity and happiness in order to produce competitive values for others. Those competitive values, by nature, require a rational self-interest, pro-individual sense of life combined with effort and honesty.

    With that said:

    Let's attack one of the underlining concepts, people have belief in- "Who Created Existence" and "Why of the Universe" are ancient, mind-subverting gimmicks of positing invalid, intellectually untenable questions that have no basis in reality. That false-question maneuver has been used by theologians and other mystics for centuries. The gimmick works by taking an invalid or meaningless idea and then cloaking the idea with specious but profound-sounding phraseology. That phraseology is then used as an "intellectual" prop to advance false, irrational concepts or doctrines.

    Consider, for example, the "Who Create Existence" and the "Why of the Universe" questions so often used by poets and theologians to advance the God or higher-power concept. On closer examination, one realizes the invalid questions such as "who made the universe" are meaningless and unprofound.

    For that type of infinite-regression question(of who created the creator and so on back) answers nothing and is anti-intellectual. Such questions cannot or need not be answered once one realizes that existence exists.

    On realizing that by nature existence simply exists, one then realizes that the "Who Created Existence" and "Why of the Universe" questions cannot or need never be answered because no causal explanations are needed for existence in the universe. Existence is axiomatic. It just exists, it always had and always will exist. Nothing created it and no causual explanation is needed or valid.

    For, what is the alternative? No alternative is possible or needed, unless on accepts the contradiction that existence does not exist!

    The only things we were discussing with regards to Jesus Christ and his followers, his teachings and religious/spiritual context for which he lived, will be in my next post.

    However, please let me what you think so far?

    If you have questions, which I sure you will, I'd need to address each one individually, so to best provide you with the information I've learned.

    I await your response. And, I'm pretty sure that I didn't cover everything in your post, which is why it will lead to additional questions, but my research is simply based on factual, human consciouness which forms independent free will thought and allows an individual to control their own life.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of barriers, which have to be stripped away, before one can be unified with oneself.

  3. Cagsil profile image83
    Cagsilposted 7 years ago

    Sorry about some of the typing errors. I'm fairly quick typer, but mistakes come.

    1. Richard VanIngram profile image87
      Richard VanIngramposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Never apologize (at least to me) about typing errors.  My postings are rife with them.

      Let me apologize if I sounded as if I was not taking you seriously at my start -- I was just making certain you really wished to have a real discussion about these issues.  Which would be a surprising change of pace for me from what I've seen on these boards.  I am on the defensive a bit because, more often than not, my honest offerings have wound up mangled or completely ignored by people who don't put an ounce of effort into reading or responding -- just into making "witty" quips.

      I see you are not such a person.  Forgive me for the presumption that you might be one.  I'm still getting my sea legs using a discussion forum.

      Before I respond to your post, I want you to lay all of your cards on the table for me; I'll gladly do the same for you:

      1) Are you a follower of Ayn Rand?

      I ask this, not to degrade you or prejudge you, but to locate your position within the history of philosophy.  Your writing here sounds, down to the terminology and interpretation of history of philosophy, very Randian.  It would help me to know this as I was once a Randian, decades ago (co-founder of the Georgia Students of Objectivism, 1987).

      If you are not influenced by Rand, who are you most influenced by?

      My own disclosure here: I am of the school of Jose Ortega y Gasset, who called himself a ratio-vitalist and a perspectivist (the latter term being problematic in history of philosophy -- he had a different meaning for it than Nietzsche).

      Ethically, I am a Stoic, or more accurately, a neo-Stoic.  My own ethics is in line with Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius and Seneca or, more lately, someone like Montaigne, or in our time, Martha Nussbaum.

      I am, like you, an ethical realist.  I believe in universal morality -- that the good is objective, not invented, and does not rest upon my emotional, subjective states, nor upon changing cultural attitudes -- nor upon arbitrary commands from any deity.  I believe we may, using reason alone, doscover most of what humans (all humans) need in order to lead a decent, ethical life.

      I do not agree that morality is based upon either human biology or "human nature," which is a highly dubitable entity. 

      I do not agree that all moral acts are geared toward the survival of the individual as a biological entity or that individual's community -- with Socrates I think that it is more important to have integrity and deserve to live rather than to do "anything" and to survive at all costs; sometimes, the moral thing to do is refuse to live at just any cost.

      Moral questions, I think, boil down to this: "If I do this, what does it make me?  What sort of person do I become?  Is this type of person consonant with living up to the demands of being a human, good at being a human?" not "Do I get a reward for doing this -- do I get something out of this beyond the value of the action itself?"

      2) Do you think of human life purely in biological terms or in some other way -- what is the qualitative difference between a human life and any other animal's way of living?  Explore this a little more for me.

      I will play no games with you.  You seem serious.  Let's discuss philosophy.

      1. Richard VanIngram profile image87
        Richard VanIngramposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        PS I don't want to discuss Jesus yet.  Let's see if we can come to terms with purely rational, purely philosophical ideas before movong on.

  4. Cagsil profile image83
    Cagsilposted 7 years ago

    Okay, we'll leave Jesus Christ, the human, out of the equation for now.

    I'm not a student of philosophy and really don't get into too much. I only delved into it somewhat for my research to questions I had about life.

    I've always had the feeling, everytime someone told me or talked to me about death, that I never feared death. Which, may also sound strange.

    As my confusing grew as I got older, after my mother had entered me into religious classes, which I earned my first communion and went on to make my confirmation, all at her wishes. But, I cannot say that I didn't learn. Knowledge, even if you don't want it, can be absorbed without understanding.

    You can learn something, store it away and when necessary access that knowledge, because your subconscious will bring to the fore-front of your mind. You may not realize you know it and possibly even amaze yourself when you reveal it to others, but it is still there.

    The "right" side of brain absorbs everything going on around, in your surroundings, it picks up bits and pieces, and stores them via pictures in your mind. Which gives the ability to recall the exact picture, when seen again, and you realize you know, but where from? might escape you.

    Now, you asked if I study Ayn Rand? I don't follow a specific focus, my research includes many different sources of philosophy and it's history. Each was evaluate and retained within context only. I've found that no one specific following was exactly for me, because as I am human, I do not need an authority to answer to, so I draw my own conclusions.

    All information gathers, reviewed, interpreted to form a new age way of thinking, that is beneficial to both myself and humankind. I like to deal with reality on a day to day basis.

    Tomorrow, for any single person is not guaranteed. At least, not in today's society.

    You said- "I do not agree that morality is based upon either human biology or "human nature," which is a highly dubitable entity".

    {Morality is only suited to an individual who has an awareness of their actions. As a human, you can differentiate the difference because of your own awareness. The would lead one to understand- It is in human nature is the nature in which a human lives. This is concerned only by the individual and their own conscious being, and free will thought. Animals have no morals to live by and cannot differentiate between right or wrong. Only through repetitiveness can animals and humans learn what is right or wrong. Animals learn through reprimands and rewards, similiar to humans, but human consciousness prevails superior to animals, because we do not need to be told what is moral....sense it is automatic part of your awareness of actions.} Therefore, I have to conclude that any rational, independent free thinking human knows the difference, but most refuse to abide their own mechanisms.

    I do not agree that all moral acts are geared toward the survival of the individual as a biological entity or that individual's community -- with Socrates I think that it is more important to have integrity{ME- truth} and deserve to live rather than to do "anything" and to survive at all costs; sometimes, the moral thing to do is refuse to live at just any cost.(deserve to live? - your existence is kind of deserved, but I view it as Right To Life. And, I don't mean to live however or off the backs of others, but a value productive human, who can help humankind to make advancements, so Life can be truly what it is....Unique, special and last as long as we choose.)

    Moral questions, I think, boil down to this: "If I do this, what does it make me?  What sort of person do I become?  Is this type of person consonant with living up to the demands of being a human, good at being a human?" not "Do I get a reward for doing this -- do I get something out of this beyond the value of the action itself?"

    {I see your point, but that depends on how you view/perceive the actions you're about to commit. If you're of the mind-set, which is weak-minded, which obviously, neither one of is, then you run into conflicts more so than you need or want. The fact that you even consider your actions to be subjective to what others think, still leads you to seeking guidance and you truly are not self-guided. I noticed, in which you form your. Why you do something isn't as important as the affect/effect it has on your own conscience and/or that of society, which determines moral(right) or immoral(wrong).

    Again, I am not a studen of philosophy, so you may be able to poke holes into my learnt knowledge. It could my understanding of what you said, was wrong. Unsure.}

    2) Do you think of human life purely in biological terms or in some other way -- what is the qualitative difference between a human life and any other animal's way of living?  Explore this a little more for me.

    Well, as a minor student of life, I am 40 years old and maintain a life of peace and harmony, while living at home, with mother. I've had the pleasure of meeting millions of people through various duties, jobs, clients, investors and it's my understanding that animals are handled and controlled by nature. Humankind is ABOVE Nature, because of Human Consciousness. Since, we have a sense of our existence and animals are reactionary only, unless humans who can stop in their train thought and make rational decisions for actions.

    Human over animals? Yes, animals are dangerous and wild creatures, when left to roam in the wild, and many can kill humans with the greatest of ease, but no animal can evaluate a situation, decide on multiple senariao's and then set that plan into action. Animals, again guided by Nature, remains alway reactionary.

    So, I hope that was up to par for you.