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Universal Purpose


JosephM
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I think I’m here to be more in tune with God, and also to understand God better.

 

I try to make my first two priorities the ones that are given in the NT. They are perty simple and perhaps a bit old fashioned: To put God first and one’s good neighbor and one’s self second.

 

I’ve got to say that these are a given and not something I came up with myself, which just about anyone familiar with Christianity and the NT can plainly see. I think at some point I felt I needed someone’s advice besides my own, and at about that time I came on to these passages. I figured maybe this judgment or thinking was better than what I could come up with on my own, and also that a person/me could only go so wrong in making them their first two and top priorities.

 

I don’t know if I really care if I’m right all the time, but being wrong some or more especially all or most of the time I can do quite well without.

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Rom and Steve,

 

Do we all exist for a higher purpose such as the universe unfolding whether we realize it or not? Or as drama or entertainment for the whole? Or for the whole to be aware of itself? Or some other reason? Or can it not be determined ? Most all religions have a purpose for all including Buddhism which some consider a non-religion.

 

Joseph

 

PS It seems to me that if nothing else, evolution has the purpose to evolve and everyone plays a part.in it

Edited by JosephM
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I think the beauty of existence in general, and life in particular, is that there is absolutely no purpose to it. There is no path and no goal. To exist without purpose, and simply to exist is unimagineable.

 

 

I’m thinking that the above quote is particularly beautiful and enlightening, even though I don’t completely agree with it.

 

One could say that this actually means a person closer to what we call “God”, or could mean that they are in touch with “God”.

 

In the same way that people say that the Buddhist state of “Awakening” or the Buddhist and Hindu state of Nirvana are close to “God” though they themselves may not always say or think so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana

 

Buddhists and Buddhism specifically states that Buddha encouraged people to challenge his ideas, learn from them and build on them. The Buddhists that I’ve met would have no problem and would even be proud of this kind of interpretation or analogy. Some would even say that that’s what they’re here for with their belief system.

Edited by Elen1107
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It seems to me that if nothing else, evolution has the purpose to evolve and everyone plays a part.in it

 

I don't "know" whether we have a higher purpose or not. I don't think so. My world view on purpose has a certain degree of cognitive dissonance in it. Any purpose or meaning in life I might have has not been generated by me ... there is no intrinsic me to generate such things. That purpose or meaning is simply a localized unfolding (if we like) ...

 

Regarding evolving ... evolution is a description of what we observe ... a straight line has no purpose in being straight ... it just is.

 

Your post reminded me of a Carl Sagan quote ... We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

 

Now I might take pedantic issue with the word know ... but I think I know what he is saying.

On a slightly smaller scale I might say our neurons are a way for me to understand my myself.

 

Note I have used meaning and purpose here. I find the two closely related and in turn are "one" with the pairs of opposites thread. We divide things into is and is not.

Edited by romansh
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I don't "know" whether we have a higher purpose or not. I don't think so. My world view on purpose has a certain degree of cognitive dissonance in it. Any purpose or meaning in life I might have has not been generated by me ... there is no intrinsic me to generate such things. That purpose or meaning is simply a localized unfolding (if we like) ...

 

Regarding evolving ... evolution is a description of what we observe ... a straight line has no purpose in being straight ... it just is.

 

 

I can appreciate that. (cognitive dissonance that is)

 

And of course, evolution is what we observe because we are sentient beings observing it.. However, it seems to me that a straight line does have a meaning/purpose in being straight otherwise we would call it something else. It may have no purpose to itself in being straight but the statement is directed to that which gives it a useful meaning/purpose.And that seems to me to be valid as purpose since we live and communicate for the most part in a world characterized by dualism.

 

While cognitive dissonance may be ones choice, however limited, perhaps one will find there are at all times other options present.

 

Joseph

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On another note concerning a universal purpose , i find this summation by scholars of the Pali Canon which is believed the oldest document on what the Buddha taught interesting even though a bit harsh for most . Any thoughts?

Absolute changeless permanent reality, the unconditioned, itself alone is,
all else has always been, is, and always will be just a state of make-believe fiction,
a state of delusion worn like a costume with multiple fabricated viewpoints,
with each self-sustaining itself in a self-perpetuated state of self-ignorance,
until each decides to come to closure through self-enlightenment and self-awakening

Joseph

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While cognitive dissonance may be ones choice, however limited, perhaps one will find there are at all times other options present.

 

Joseph

I must admit I would prefer not to have cognitive dissonance when it comes to my world views ;) .., but if we treat purpose as an illusion too, then all is good.

 

You draw a line between evolution and straight lines ... fair enough. You describe us having sentience which is also fair enough, I think I understand what you mean. But is my sentience/consciousness what it seems to be? I somewhat doubt it is.

 

Blackmore talking about Dawkins' controversial thought experiment:

Blackmore's assertion was that if we have (for any system that replicates)

heredity (traits aquired from a previous form)

variation (slight changes to the inherited traits)

selection (an environment will tend to allow a particular trait to replicate preferentially)

then

we must have evolution.

 

Is there any purpose in replication, heredity, variation, selection individually? I would argue not. So why must there be a purpose in evolution?

 

I think human beings a capacity for perceiving morality, purpose, colour, differences and such. Our environment fills those perceptions.

Edited by romansh
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It's not as though I haven't spent many years pondering the question of "purpose". Many people ask this of themselves, and they generally settle on an explanation that conforms to their religious/spiritual, or other general world view.

 

My question of purpose was always answered with the echoes of my own question. Finally, I came to understand that by asking the question, my purpose had become to find purpose! Such a thing cannot be. Existence and life can't ask a question of itself, it can only suggest a response to what already is. I think it is the response that we seek, and "closure" is what we hope to find.

 

The quote provided by Joseph is a difficult notion to swallow. But it is not a belief system, merely an observation inviting examination. The Buddha is often depicted as laughing. Laughter is sometimes the outward manifestation of internal peace and happiness. In Buddhism it is said that a "sign" of enlightenment is to perceive reality as if it is an illusion. Once that is achieved, the enlightened being can only laugh.

 

Peace,

Steve

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from romansh’s post #8

 

Regarding evolving ... evolution is a description of what we observe ... a straight line has no purpose in being straight ... it just is.

 

Evolution is a description of what we do,… not only of what we observe,… or don’t do perhaps,.. One can devolve I suppose if they so choose, or choose to stand still if they so choose to also.

 

I don’t see evolution as just a description of what we observe, but it can be observed. (and a lack thereof can be observed also)

 

Evolution is to grow and learn to go beyond our one time limits, can we be conscious of our evolution? Can evolution be conscious? I think so and that this may be a part of “higher”, advanced or expanded evolution. Can we evolve as Christ did and even evolve to or near the same level(s) that he did? He’s quoted as saying we can. This is a greater question in relation to universal purpose and edification.

 

Straight line or revolutions, orbits and spirals - we are not moving in time or space in a straight line, but rather in revolutions and orbits. We mark the time by days, one revolution of our earth around its axis, it’s really not a straight line in time, it’s a revolution. We mark a year by and orbit or revolution of our earth around our sun, again not a straight line of time or days endlessly strung out in a straight line one after another, it’s an enormous orbit and more like a circle or a loop. Then there’s our sun and solar system revolving around the center of our galaxy the Milky Way, and the Milky Way may in turn be moving in some other way, in revolutions or orbit around or in relation to something else. Perhaps we are moving in a spiral, not unlike the DNA spiral, that in itself is headed or directed somewhere.

 

There has been some research that indicates that being perfectly still would be like having a heart attack. If one looks at an EKG monitor one can see the heartbeats displayed one after another in time and space (for diagrams of EKGs see the pictures on the right hand side at the following link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrocardiography ) This is also true of our individual heartbeats. They are not beating up and down or in and out continuously in one spot, but continuously moving through time and space as our bodies are and as our planet and our galaxy is. It’s been determined that if a person were moving close to or at the speed of light that this person would age much more slowly and much less. See the following links for a more detailed description of this.

 

The following are from Cornell University regarding this subject: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=593 + http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=67

 

How fast are we moving already and what does this have to do with our lifespans, our health and sense of creation and eternity?

How does this tie into our evolution, our energy levels, our linear and/or revolving-evolving thinking, and our lifetimes?

 

That will have to wait for another post as this one is long enough already.

 

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Thanks Rom and Steve for your specific responses.

 

It seems to me our universal purpose here as humans is to evolve. The existence of Evolution seems to me purpose itself or else it would not be.. If asked.... Evolve exactly Into what ? i cannot say. Even if there is no intrinsic 'me' or the existence we think we perceive is the nature of an illusion, i have no internal conflict because belief in a purpose or evolution is optional and not necessary for Life. Absolute Reality is what it is and subjectively formulating an answer that sounds reasonable will not change it. Then as far as the purpose of life goes, it seems to me.... 'the reason is in the pudding.' :lol:

 

Peace,

Joseph

 

PS In short perhaps we could say.....Life is the way by which soul or spirit experiences physicality! The soul or spirit not combining with physics cannot experience physical existence... And so, the meaning of life is LIFE ITSELF!

Edited by JosephM
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Thanks Rom and Steve for your specific responses.

 

It seems to me our universal purpose here as humans is to evolve. The existence of Evolution seems to me purpose itself or else it would not be.. If asked.... Evolve exactly Into what ? i cannot say. Even if there is no intrinsic 'me' or the existence we think we perceive is the nature of an illusion, i have no internal conflict because belief in a purpose or evolution is optional and not necessary for Life. Absolute Reality is what it is and subjectively formulating an answer that sounds reasonable will not change it. Then as far as the purpose of life goes, it seems to me.... 'the reason is in the pudding.' :lol:

 

Peace,

Joseph

 

PS In short perhaps we could say.....Life is the way by which soul or spirit experiences physicality! The soul or spirit not combining with physics cannot experience physical existence... And so, the meaning of life is LIFE ITSELF!

Joseph

Whether we have a purpose or not humanity will evolve.

I think we are using evolve in two slightly different forms ... the strict biological sense and a more vernacular form.

 

What will we evolve into? A reflection of of our environment I suspect.

 

As to souls and spirits ... these words just add more confusion to the mix, at least for me.

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Joseph

Whether we have a purpose or not humanity will evolve.

I think we are using evolve in two slightly different forms ... the strict biological sense and a more vernacular form.

 

What will we evolve into? A reflection of of our environment I suspect.

 

As to souls and spirits ... these words just add more confusion to the mix, at least for me.

Agreed. Humanity will evolve whether we subjectively assign a purpose or not.

 

Striking out the words soul or spirit takes nothing from the point that perhaps the meaning of Life is Life itself. Lets live it! :)

Joseph

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This is something that I think about a bit without ever coming to any firm conclusion.

 

My thoughts always come back to "if there wasn't any purpose for me to exist, would I live any differently?"

 

For me, there isn't any reason to change (from a macro perspective ignoring little things like where I live, what work I do, etc), so if I can remove any possible 'purpose' to my life and things don't change, then it would seem to me there is no specific purpose to my existence.

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This is something that I think about a bit without ever coming to any firm conclusion.

 

My thoughts always come back to "if there wasn't any purpose for me to exist, would I live any differently?"

 

For me, there isn't any reason to change (from a macro perspective ignoring little things like where I live, what work I do, etc), so if I can remove any possible 'purpose' to my life and things don't change, then it would seem to me there is no specific purpose to my existence.

Paul,

 

Personally i think if there wasn't any reason for you to exist then you wouldn't exist. But since you do then there is a universal purpose of which you are part whether known or unknown.

 

Now speaking of an individuals specific purpose as you mention i think each person takes their own perceived purpose in life and they act on it.. With no specific purpose i think your actions would most definitely be different / change. .

 

In my experience, i see ourselves as purpose-driven and when taking a new belief to heart our perceived specific purpose(s) often change and we change. (live differently).

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
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Believing that my existence is evidence of a universal purpose, is always going to be subjective. I take your point about the difference between 'how' we exist on a day-to-day basis versus the 'fact' that we do exist (or not) regardless of whether we're conscious of that. I say or not because there are some realms of thought that we actually don't exist but are a part of something/someone else's dreams (and other versions thereof, such as The Matrix).

 

'Primary Cause' suggests to some (maybe you) that there was a 'reason' the big bang and eventually us, came into being. You suggest my mere existence is evidence of this, perhaps indefinable, purpose. But to me that would then suggest a 'creator' of sorts (whether personal, or a type of consciousness, or something else) which in turn must have been created by someone or something or else there would be no purpose to its existence, and on and on down the rabbit hole we go :)

Edited by PaulS
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Paul, said...

"Believing that my existence is evidence of a universal purpose, is always going to be subjective. "

Subjectivity is the nature of the beast. Things can only be subjectively experienced. It seems to me you will find that for 'self' there is no objective reality.

 

I doubt that anyone, at least that i have met, operates on the premise that we do not exist.

 

One can believe that what we call existence or even evolution has no purpose if they like. To me it certainly appears to have some order, is subjectively evolving and is real enough to believe it has a reason to be. I have used purpose and focus on purpose, all my life to take action and even accomplish things. I know of nothing that is accomplished without purpose so why should i believe there is no purpose in evolution or existence. Its being and evolving makes it enough evidence itself for me. To me, without purpose life ends. I cannot conceive of existence without purpose or meaning but we are free to really believe there is none yet i know of no 'benefit' in such a belief with the exception of despair and death..

 

Joseph

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I may not think life has a purpose, but I can certainly live it purposefully. I don't see a contradiction here.

 

Peace.

Steve

Steve,

 

Then i would propose you may think it has no purpose but you live your life as if it does because you must truly belief life has purpose. It seems to me, out of the heart comes our actions and not necessarily in agreement in what we think we believe..

 

Joseph

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