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A Meaningless Universe?

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posted on Jan, 26 2018 @ 11:04 PM
This is an unfortunate and an untrue - delusional - statement which many an intelligent person allows themselves to utter.

How do you think you work? When humans say "the universe is meaningless", how does that statement stand against the reality of the 28 zeros worth of atoms - the 50-100 trillion cells - that somehow are built up like a pyramid, with us, as the thinking-meaning being, with minds that are fundamentally built to search out for meaning.

How could meaning be said not to exist, if that is exactly what our bodies are fundamentally doing, over and over again - to make "us"?

Is this a psychotic statement? Some people would say it is, but it isn't nice to put it that way. Definitionally speaking, it's psychotic; but given "how we feel about ourselves" is also the definition of the individual human experience, to go about calling people who look upon reality in the wrong ways "crazy", is in itself, crazy. Noting a negative state of affairs is healthy and good; but being able to negotiate with its toxic presence - that takes a non-stop effort of recognizing and watching and above all, inhibiting yourself when you're compelled to say something counterproductive.

A Hypnotizing, Entraining Object

When a certain metaphor "speaks to us", it speaks to us because it refers to a set of experiences that have been significant in our life-development. In neuroscience terms, this metaphor is correlated with an 'attractor' in brain-functioning which is called a 'neural-network'. Each of us have experiences which occur again and again in the same sort of way; and if we had an fMRI to track and categorize each state, there would be a one to one correspondence between "this state", or 'self-state', and this 'neural-net'. Indeed, neurofeedback is all about using external feedback on your brain waves to maintain a connection with those states.

Yet still, it isn't easy: the more trauma you have in you, the more liable you are to becoming hypnotized/entrained to object-states which speak powerfully to your sense of meaning. For example, do you know when you see someone doing "that thing" that you don't like - indeed, have spent time in the past negatively ruminating about before? Let's say it happens often enough that when you see the person, you may negatively expect them to do it - so that when they do it, your reaction happens to become larger and greater precisely because you were unconsciously entrained/hypnotized by a percept-cognitive reaction dialectic that convinced you of its value-meaning and your need to "maintain it".

This happens to every single mind on Earth; particularly those infected by the bugs of western civilization. I observe it in myself, in others, and sometimes, between my self and an other simply because I've become aware of their affective state, and having a traumatic history myself, a sort of unconscious 'web' of affective-reactions can flow between me and them, even though we've never met and are sitting 30 or so feet away from one another, we're nevertheless communicating.

How do you get out of such states? In my experience, and in the expert opinion of contemporary psychotherapies, if you can't disconnect from the cognitive object, then its important to move your awareness to a less complex part of your self experience: how your body is feeling.

A tensed cognitive state is the 'tip' of the pyramid of our cognition - affecting the cortical and emotion-regulating regions of our brain. Pat Ogden, a leader in somatic psychotherapy, points out the need to defocus from the psychic-content, particularly in individuals with unresolved trauma. In terms of Paul McClains triune brain hypothesis - that the human brain operates from three partially disconnected brain centers: the metabolic "reptilian" brain, the affective paleo-mammalian brain, and the cognitive neo-mammalian brain - Ogden's approach is to turn away from the psycholinguistic narrative (level 3), as well as the affective-social-emotional concern (level 2), to get a hold of the bottom-level process, the metabolic self-regulating brainstem, in order to provide the necessary 'base' for more affective perception and cognition to emerge in consciousness.

This approach of course is highly developed in the Eastern world, but in light of contemporary neuroscience, it has become clear as day that this is a very coherent way of going about our psychological problems.

The Brain Creates Myths

Since consciousness is an emergent property of human bodies in biobehavioral relations with one another, I can only look upon the various myths people tell themselves about reality - that it is "fundamental meaningless" - to be something they tell themselves because it makes them feel better. You don't say something, or believe something, unless it 'feels right'. Even if you have complex relations to a single object - i.e. you may claim that you hate that you feel this way, to say "reality has no meaning"; but this only means that we can "say something" because it feels good to say it; and we can also have a meta-cognitive perception/acknowledgement that the state in question is not desirable. Two opposing states to the same object "life is meaningless" can, indeed, and does exist.

So the question becomes, why? It seems to me that we can make meaning at multiple levels. The three that I've noted, and which I consider to be the most ways of connecting, are "fun-play", "care-love", and "awe-peace". I regard these as gradients of spiritual forms of relating to the other. Play is mostly self-focused, so its ourselves; care is mostly other-person focused, so its the other-person; whereas awe goes beyond the living object to the external world, and so, constitutes the highest level meaning possible. It may be akin to the hindu statement "tat tvam asi" - "you are that".

Symmetry really is the basis of everything that exists. In humans, this symmetry is expressed as love and care - basic respect for the other, acknowledging their individuality, their feelings, their needs, and how those needs have come to emerge. The feeling of "being known" is neurogenerative, and so, has an inevitably positive effect on our psychological experience of self and reality. To "be known" from the beginning of life onwards is a profound gift to be given, because many of us began life in the presence of others who were not able to "be there" for us in the way that was needed. Preoccupation - stress - in their lives, made them unavailable to the growing childs natural needs to grow as a self.

And so, what is the message of this thread? The claim that the universe is meaningless necessarily exposes the person who makes that assertion to the truth that something went wrong in their life, and that saying this - making this patently wrong claim - is something that they need - metabolically speaking - because they cannot 'touch' higher level meanings without feeling burnt.

The compassionate response is something like The Open Society of Karl Popper. Tolerance for the other; for LGBTQ, if you're ideologically opposed; for atheists who say there is 'no meaning'; for immigrants who look 'different'; for sassy teenagers who talk obnoxiously loud in the quiet sections of the library. Every situation presents the facts - or constraints - taht makes this person pursue this level of meaning. The brain is set; and this life of theirs is constrained. All we must do is trust th

posted on Jan, 26 2018 @ 11:07 PM
...that the next generation, the one that comes after us, will be less constrained by negative and traumatic experiences, and so, more able to metabolize the facts of reality.

We need to stop being such idolaters - putting the 'value' we have, and the metaphysical assumptions they're based upon, ahead of the real life biological being of the other person we have a problem with.

If we remember they have a brain - a brain that is deeply controlled by physical laws - we will inhibit ourselves in the ways we need to, if we truly want to make a better world.

posted on Jan, 27 2018 @ 01:07 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

The fact that each and every thing is an original, a one-of-a-kind, is enough of a value to sanctify everything.

Good essay.

posted on Jan, 27 2018 @ 03:44 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

We all die. Every living thing.

Nasty, yet true fact.

The Sun and our planet too will die.

We are cosmic dust ... can that dust be intelligent ?

Where do ideas come from ?

Is that dust our religious explanation of God ?

So many questions ... 😎

posted on Jan, 27 2018 @ 05:23 AM

originally posted by: Astrocyte
If we remember they have a brain - a brain that is deeply controlled by physical laws - we will inhibit ourselves in the ways we need to, if we truly want to make a better world.

If the brain is deeply controlled by physical there actually a separate 'you' that can make a better world?

posted on Jan, 27 2018 @ 05:34 AM

originally posted by: Itisnowagain

originally posted by: Astrocyte
If we remember they have a brain - a brain that is deeply controlled by physical laws - we will inhibit ourselves in the ways we need to, if we truly want to make a better world.

If the brain is deeply controlled by physical there actually a separate 'you' that can make a better world?

That would depend whose world you speak of.... parameters are meant to be exceeded.

Evolution my friend

posted on Jan, 27 2018 @ 05:43 AM

originally posted by: scubagravy

originally posted by: Itisnowagain

originally posted by: Astrocyte
If we remember they have a brain - a brain that is deeply controlled by physical laws - we will inhibit ourselves in the ways we need to, if we truly want to make a better world.

If the brain is deeply controlled by physical there actually a separate 'you' that can make a better world?

That would depend whose world you speak of.... parameters are meant to be exceeded.

The illusion is that there is a 'who'.

If the illusion of separateness has been bought into, the one that feels separate will be seeking meaning.

edit on 27-1-2018 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 27 2018 @ 08:41 AM

originally posted by: Itisnowagain

originally posted by: Astrocyte
If we remember they have a brain - a brain that is deeply controlled by physical laws - we will inhibit ourselves in the ways we need to, if we truly want to make a better world.

If the brain is deeply controlled by physical there actually a separate 'you' that can make a better world?

People just can't accept the Universe is NOT a giant clock or computer simulation. The problem is the evidence from physical experiments does NOT support this mindset:

The brain may be deeply controlled by physical laws which are impossible to identify. So pick your favorite explanation.

edit on 27-1-2018 by dfnj2015 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 27 2018 @ 08:43 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

I just hate everything you post because you never discuss it. You just poop your thoughts and leave.

posted on Jan, 27 2018 @ 09:16 AM
You're main point reminds me of the thesis of Martin Buber's "I and Thou". When we consciously see another individual as inherently important as we see ourselves we are getting as close to God as is possible in this life. The opposite of this, to demean the humanity and the inherent value in the Other, though often done in tones of righteousness, would be about as low as we sink.

posted on Jan, 27 2018 @ 09:37 AM
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Naah, Simpsons did it.

posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 03:13 AM
If there was no meaning we wouldnt even understand this forum, thread, or post.. we would have nothing to do..

Because words are engendered with meaning..

The only reason I can think of why someone purports this is because of a mental health issue..

Also the concept of nihilism can seem artistic..

Hence the dead poets society..

Everything that has a beggining has an end, neo..

posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 03:54 AM
a reply to: dfnj2015

Hope he/she at least wipes !!


posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 11:16 AM
Perhaps we're just actors in the Grand Drama called The Universe - a play on the male and female, the active and the passive forces.


posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 11:44 AM
Monkey see an Monkey do!

The brain creating myth and facinations might as well just be a by product or flaw in how we perceive or interact with the world. Hell, our brains does it in it sleep don't they?

Meaningless and mundane existence ain't so bad, alot better then having some omniscient, grand scheme crafted an Mirco managed by spirits an conjuerers. Hell, the fact that humans can be flown before being a reality, really meant you've got a screw or two loose in your noggin.

Even Buddhism had it sky god, an pagan beleivers, they were just a little more wittier then the rest.

"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."

Btw way, you'd be taken more seriously if you gave, your.... ADORING masses some feed back for once instead writing a freaking Bible, or in case a Torah.

edit on 28-1-2018 by Specimen because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 11:52 AM
a reply to: Timely

Not only that but in reality, there is only One of Us 'here'...

Borrowed from

When the external object is imagined, a seer has been created.

If there is no subject, there is no object either: without the father there is no son.

It is the subject that becomes the object.

There is no object (scene) without a subject (seer). Again, the subject is subject only in relation to the object, even as it is the son that makes a man 'father.'

However, because the subject (seer) is pure consciousness, he is able to conjure up the object.

This cannot be the other way around: the object does not give birth to the subject.

Therefore the seer (subject) alone is real, the object being a hallucination: gold alone is real, the 'bracelet' is a name and a form.

As long as the notion of bracelet lasts, the pure gold is not apprehended; as long as the notion of the object persists, the division between the seer and the seen also persists.

But, just as because of the consciousness in the bracelet, gold realizes its goldness, the subject (seer) manifesting as the object (the seen) realizes subjectivity (consciousness). One is the reflection of the other: there is no real duality.

The subject exists because of the object, and the object is but a reflection of the subject... duality cannot be if there is not one, and where is the need for the notion of 'unity' if one alone exists?

When thus real knowledge is gained by means of right inquiry and understanding, only that remains which is not expressible in words.

Division is not a contradiction of unity!

All this speculation concerning unity and diversity is only to overcome sorrow; that which is beyond all this is the truth, the supreme Self (consciousness).


posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 11:53 AM

Existence or Consciousness is the only reality.

Consciousness plus waking we call waking.

Consciousness plus sleep we call sleep.

Consciousness plus dream we call dream.

Consciousness is the screen on which all the pictures come and go.

The screen is real, the pictures are mere shadows on it.

The Self (consciousness) and appearances therein as the snake in the rope can be well illustrated like this.

There is a screen (of consciousness, awareness, Beingness, existence).

On that screen first appears the figure of a king. He sits on a throne. Then before him on that same screen a play begins with various figures and objects and the king on the screen watches the play on the same screen.

The seer (subject) and the seen (objects of perception) are mere shadows (projected appearances) on the screen (consciousness) which is the only reality (substratum) supporting all the pictures.

In the world also, the seer and the seen together constitute the mind, and the mind is supported by or based upon the Self (consciousness).

The ajata school of Advaita (non-duality) says "Nothing exists except the one reality (awareness, Beingness, consciousness, existence). There is no birth or death, no projection or drawing in, no sadhaka (practiser), no mimikshu (one who desires to be liberated), no mukta (one who is liberated), no bondage, no liberation. The One unity alone exists forever."

To such as find it difficult to grasp this truth and ask "How can we ignore this solid world we see all around us?" the dream experience is pointed out and they are told: "All that you see depends on the seer (subject). Apart from the seer there is no seen (object to perceive)."

This is called drishti-srishti vada or the argument that one first creates out of his mind and then sees what his mind itself has created.

To such as cannot grasp even this and who further argue "The dream experience is so short, while the world always exists. The dream experience was limited to me. But the world is felt and seen not only by me but by so many and we cannot call such a world non-existent."

To such srishti-drishti vada is addressed and they are told "God first created such and such an element and then something else and so forth." (This is the insight that all forms of creation are the result of a finer cause which in turn are the effects of a still finer cause, etc).

That alone will satisfy them. Their mind is not otherwise satisfied and they ask themselves "How can all geography, all maps, all sciences, stars, planets and the rules governing or relating to them, and all knowledge be totally untrue?"

To such it is best to say "Yes, God created all this and so you see it." All these (explanations) are only to suit the capacity of the hearers.

The Absolute (consciousness) can only be One (since nothing else exists).

There is first the white light, so to call it of the Self (consciousness) which transcends both light and darkness. In it no object can be seen.

There is neither seer (subject) nor seen (object to perceive).

Then there is total darkness or avidya (lack of awareness of reality) in which also no objects are seen.

But from the Self (consciousness) proceeds a reflected light, the light of pure manas (mind), and it is this light which gives room for the existence of all the film of the world which is seen neither in total light nor in total darkness, but only in subdued or reflected light.

From the point of view of jnana (knowledge) or the reality, the pain seen in the world is certainly a dream as is the world of which any particular pain like hunger you refer to is infinitesimal part. In the dream also you yourself feel hunger. You see others suffering from hunger. You feed yourself and moved by pity feed the others whom you find suffering from hunger.

So long as the dream lasted all those pains were quite as real as you now think the pain in the world to be. It was only when you woke up that you discovered that the pain in the dream was unreal.

You might have eaten to the full and gone to sleep. You dream that you work hard and long in the hot sun all day, and are tired and hungry and want to eat a lot. Then you wake up and find your stomach is full and you have not stirred out of your bed.

But all this is not to say that while you in the dream you can act as if the pain you feel there is not real. The hunger in the dream has to assuaged by the food in that dream.

You can never mix up the two states, the dream and the waking state.

Till you reach the state of jnana (realize consciousness to be the sole reality) and thus wake out of maya (the world illusion) you must do social service by relieving suffering whenever you see it. But even then you must do it without ahamkara - the sense of 'I am the doer' but with the feeling 'I am the Lord's tool.'

Similarly, one must not be conceited 'I am helping a man below me. He needs help. I am in a position to help. I am superior and he is inferior.' But you must help the man as a means of worshipping God (consciousness) in that man.

All such service too is for the Self (consciousness) and not for anybody else. You are not helping anybody else, but only yourself (inner awareness which is consciousness).

Giving to others is really giving to oneself (consciousness).

If one knows this truth, would one ever remain without giving?...

Stay Hydrated...

posted on Jan, 28 2018 @ 11:58 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Nihilists are funny characters. I tend towards the 'who smelt it dealt it' worldview, which, admittedly -- is far less 'grown up' than your essay, but it all comes out the same in the end. All judgements are misunderstandings. We only hate in others what we loathe in ourselves.

Look for the win/win. When I person tells me who they are I try to listen. Not to judge them or learn from them, but to understand where they are coming from, without attachment or judgement. I won't pretend it's always easy. In fact -- it's as hard as the hardest things I have ever tried or done.

Ultimately I'm just a passenger. Where it all goes or what it's all for are -- at best -- entertaining diversions. I tend toward triality: who I am, what you are and the distance between us is a relatively low form of distraction, but I can't fault the ape for playing the game. I play it too.

I try to remember that *I* am just a character and that the play is the essence of the experience.

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