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05 September 2002 @ 09:46 am
Thought for Today  
The cosmos is everything: the universe, the stars, the planets, all forms of life, the physical laws that govern them, and the agendas at work that affect us all. Unfortunately for us, humans didn't create the cosmos, and neither did anything we commonly know. There is no God, no Allah, no Buddha. Humans do not possess immortal souls, and when we die, we are but dust.
Worse, the cosmos does not exist to give us an interesting place to live within it. It exists to exist. Our role within the cosmos is only what we make of it, for in the grand scheme of things, we are irrelevant. Even when we live, we are but dust.
Our vague perceptions of things such as gravity and subatomic particles are but the barest verge of a vast, unknowable whole. Like blind sailors marooned atop an iceberg, we fumble to understand our terrain without guessing the truth; the bulk of our reality lies occluded beneath the surface. More terrible still, it is but a solitary mass drifting without direction in an infinite ocean of mystery. And the ocean is full of monsters.

-Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game, Monte Cook and John Tynes
 
 
 
(Anonymous) on September 5th, 2002 10:08 am (UTC)
what is the point?
What is the point of your existence then? To get the best toys? To get the most pleasure? To help others the most? Are we nothing other than evolved pond scum? What is the point of appriciating and loving others if we are genetic and living accidents? What are you moral bounds? Do you have any? What was written was very poetic and sounded darn smart. Don't we all wish we could be so well spoken....

Answer me this, if we are so irrelevant,then why even let our sorry lives continue to exist? Why not end them and save the rest of our species some oxygen? Do you truly believe, with every fiber of your being, the statement you posted, or did it just sound really intellectual?
St. Sean the Amusedseanb on September 5th, 2002 10:40 am (UTC)
Re: what is the point?
Wow, it's been a while since somebody posted anonymously to my journal. I prefer when people give a name while posting, but I won't force you to. Hmmm, interesting domain...

"What is the point of your existence then?"
What makes you think I KNOW the point of existence, if there is one? I definitely don't claim that there is one, much less that I know what it is. Failing to find something more definitive, I'm inclined to believe that we each are responsible for coming up with our own purpose.

"To get the best toys? To get the most pleasure? To help others the most?"
I try to go toward long-term interpretations of the pleasure principle. I don't claim that this answers everything, but it seems to work overall. Of course, you have to figure your purpose for yourself; I make no claims of having Divine Guidance to pass on to you.

"Are we nothing other than evolved pond scum?"
Possibly. I have my doubts about the objective reality of last Thursday, much less events long before my birth.

"What is the point of appriciating and loving others if we are genetic and living accidents?"
it makes me happy. It makes people I care about happier. It makes the world, on average, a more loving, happier place. Isn't that enough reason?

"What are you moral bounds? Do you have any?"
Strict, literal bounds are traps to avoid thinking through situations. I do my best for myself and the people I care about.

"What was written was very poetic and sounded darn smart. Don't we all wish we could be so well spoken...."
Thank you. I enjoyed reading the book it was from, and thought it was an interesting point of view.

"Answer me this, if we are so irrelevant,then why even let our sorry lives continue to exist?"
I continue to exist because I want to. I believe that suicide in the midst of despair is one of the selfish acts possible, because it means deciding hat the feelings of all the people who care about you are less important than avoiding your own pain.

"Why not end them and save the rest of our species some oxygen?"
That would require assuming that the other species on this planet are somehow more worthy.

"Do you truly believe, with every fiber of your being, the statement you posted, or did it just sound really intellectual?"
I believe it's an interesting and viable point of view. I don't believe much of anything "with every fiber of my being"; that's a large part of the reason I'm so agnostic.

Please, feel free to post some more.
(Anonymous) on September 5th, 2002 12:45 pm (UTC)
Re: what is the point?
I am new to this thing. I don't have an journal or name. I found your post poking around. :)

"I try to go toward long-term interpretations of the pleasure principle. I don't claim that this answers everything, but it seems to work overall."
I am not familiar with this principle, could you please explain?

"I'm inclined to believe that we each are responsible for coming up with our own purpose."
We are all here for different reasons or we are all here for no reason and must make up our own to our own satisfaction? If we have no souls and there is no afterlife, why do you think humans are so darn infatuated with it? Why are we the only animals on this planet that obess with having a purpose or point to our being, let alone a maker(s) or creator(s)?

"I have my doubts about the objective reality of last Thursday, much less events long before my birth."
What do you mean objective reality? Are you saying that there is no absolute truth?

"it makes me happy"
Is that the long-term pleasure thing?


"It makes people I care about happier. It makes the world, on average, a more loving, happier place. Isn't that enough reason?"
So it is love? Love is an amazing and powerful thing... :) Is that enough reason? That is something that only you can answer for yourself.

"Strict, literal bounds are traps to avoid thinking through situations."
How so?

"I do my best for myself and the people I care about."
What is your definition of best? Isn't that relative? Does it change based on your current emotions or feelings towards others?

"I continue to exist because I want to. I believe that suicide in the midst of despair is one of the selfish acts possible, because it means deciding hat the feelings of all the people who care about you are less important than avoiding your own pain."
I agree.

"That would require assuming that the other species on this planet are somehow more worthy."
Didn't you just say that they were worhty enough for you to spare them pain? What are your thoughts about the people on the plane that crashed in Penn. on 9/11? They sacrificed their lives so that others could live. Do you think that thier sacrifice was in vain?

"I don't believe much of anything "with every fiber of my being"; that's a large part of the reason I'm so agnostic"
I will be honest, I find it sad that you don't believe in anything with every fiber of your being. Not one thing? Isn't being agnostic an excuse to be apathetic towards your own existence and purpose?

Thoughts? :)


St. Sean the Amusedseanb on September 5th, 2002 12:56 pm (UTC)
Re: what is the point?
I'm going to be busy this afternoon, but I'll try to get back to you later. Are you getting notifications of these replies in your email? I'll try to answer this round of questions tonight.
Re: what is the point? - (Anonymous) on September 5th, 2002 01:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: what is the point? - seanb on September 6th, 2002 12:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
St. Sean the Amused: Shadow daemonseanb on September 5th, 2002 11:05 pm (UTC)
Pleasure principle (long term)
Since there were so many questions here, I'm going to tackle them in small batches.

First, you asked me about what I called "the long term pleasure principle". By this I simply mean that I try to do what's best for my lasting happiness and well being, rather than just seeking immediate gratification. When I care about someone, their happiness and well-being becomes a critical factor in my own.
St. Sean the Amused: daemonseanb on September 5th, 2002 11:20 pm (UTC)
Purpose
"We are all here for different reasons or we are all here for no reason and must make up our own to our own satisfaction?"
Possibly either. I don't know of any purpose, so I tend to lean towards the latter.

"If we have no souls and there is no afterlife, why do you think humans are so darn infatuated with it?"
*shrugs*
Not all of us are infatuated with trying to figure out questions about afterlife. Maybe a variant of our breeding urges manifests as a desire for immortality, which in turn leads to a dissatisfaction with the span of our own lives. Maybe at one point the concept of an afterlife was essential to develop and maintain viable cultural units. Without the concept of an efterlife, it is difficult to rationalize a willingness to lay down one's life for one's clan.
Mind you, I'm not certain whether or not we have souls.

"Why are we the only animals on this planet that obess with having a purpose or point to our being, let alone a maker(s) or creator(s)?"
Perhaps linguistic capacity is necessary for the kind of structured thinking necesary to pose these questions. Perhaps other species do ponder these questions, but we don't know because we can't effectively communicate with them. Perhaps it's an artifiact of some or all of our cultures.
Re: what is the point? - seanb on September 5th, 2002 11:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Why love? - seanb on September 5th, 2002 11:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
On my honor, I will do my best... - seanb on September 5th, 2002 11:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
bounds - seanb on September 5th, 2002 11:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: what is the point? - seanb on September 6th, 2002 12:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: what is the point? - seanb on September 6th, 2002 12:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: what is the point? - (Anonymous) on September 6th, 2002 09:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
Lady Doomlithera on September 5th, 2002 11:19 am (UTC)
Re: what is the point?
Why wouldn't he have moral bounds if he belived in the statement above? Morals can be dictated by someone else, (governments, societies, religions) but they can come from within. The idea that morals would cease to exist and that people would be complete bastards and completely immoral with out has never made any sense to me.

And even if we are irrelevant in the great cosmic scale of things, that doesn't mean we are irrelevant to ourselves and to each other. I'm rather fond of living and the place in which I live. It doesn't matter whether or not I am part of a grand cosmic plan for this to be true.
St. Sean the Amused: Shadow daemonseanb on September 5th, 2002 11:40 am (UTC)
Re: what is the point?
Exactly. I don't feel like I need (or want) a divinely given Purpose or a defined Place in some Grand Scheme. I can be happy and ethical without those things.
Re: what is the point? - (Anonymous) on September 5th, 2002 12:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: what is the point? - seanb on September 5th, 2002 01:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: what is the point? - (Anonymous) on September 5th, 2002 01:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: what is the point? - seanb on September 6th, 2002 12:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on September 5th, 2002 11:58 am (UTC)
Re: what is the point?
I did not once assume that he did not have any moral bounds. Nor did I assume that he had any. That is why I asked. I never assume with anyone, regardless of whether they claim to have a religion or faith or not.

I'm rather fond of living and the place in which I live. It doesn't matter whether or not I am part of a grand cosmic plan for this to be true.
That is what and why I asked. :)
Re: what is the point? - lithera on September 5th, 2002 12:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: what is the point? - (Anonymous) on September 5th, 2002 12:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: what is the point? - lithera on September 5th, 2002 01:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Mr. Flibble: Yodacrispengray on September 5th, 2002 11:33 am (UTC)

Interesting view... not one that I agree with, but it is thought-provoking... which, I believe, was the purpose.
A Beautiful Disaster: Tarragonprairieflower on September 5th, 2002 11:57 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, I think that when it comes to religion, spirituality and/or the lack thereof, some people have a hard time thinking-- or being open to discussion. Being able to discuss some things requires an open mind, and sadly, some people just do not have one.

(Anonymous) on September 5th, 2002 12:03 pm (UTC)
I'm not quite certain that I mentioned my view in the least, but I came across his post and found it interesting. I am always interested in people's point of view, what they believe, why and how it effects their world view. I am big on asking questions, if only to provoke thought. I find it sad when people cling to a belief, regardless of what it is, without thought or strong conviction. :)
A Beautiful Disasterprairieflower on September 5th, 2002 12:07 pm (UTC)
I have to agree with ya!
Jim: karandraswarpdragon on September 5th, 2002 08:55 pm (UTC)
"And the ocean is full of monsters."
We know the kind of monsters the authors were referring to, but back in reality, it's an interesting way to look at what's Out There. Instead of considering the iceberg as the Earth, consider it the area of your conciosuness, what you know, what's around you, and the ocean as the world we don't know... for most people, life outside their own country. The world out there is full of monsters. It's too easy to point a certain one out, especially since a year ago Wednesday, although we had a certain German leader to pick on before that. But consider the ocean also as having arms, bays and inlets, into our lives, and you get the monsters that were (or created) the Columbine killers.

The ocean is full of monsters. And there's nothing to save us from them... except ourselves. Only we've fragmented, desocialized, turned away from each other, in a trend that goes way back before the Internet, before television, to the mass migrations that began with the opening of America. So we're not even close enough to protect each other.

The ocean is full of monsters, and each of us is on our own little floe.
St. Sean the Amusedseanb on September 6th, 2002 12:24 am (UTC)
Re: "And the ocean is full of monsters."
There's always been the parts of the map scrawled with "here there be dragons". And there always will be. The monsters live Out There, anywhere beyond what you know and are comfortable with.

I've known many people that have gone on missionary trips, often to war-torn third world countries. Hell, I have a cousin living in Ivory Coast right now, working on translating the Bible into the native language of the local tribe. Of course, first they had to invent a written language for that tribe. I may not have agreed with the Missionary Spirit that was their primary motivating force, but I was always tremendously impressed that they were willing to go so far beyond anything they knew and were comfortable with.