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What am I missing in life?

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posted on Sep, 18 2010 @ 08:45 PM
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There's a meaning that keeps evading me. It's on the tip of my tongue. Even when I dream I see it yet disappears before I awake. Teasing me. My philosophy in is that I'm my own person and I make my own choices; as well the people who influence me in every way. Just something on my mind.




posted on Sep, 18 2010 @ 09:39 PM
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reply to post by Romantic_Rebel
 


Maybe what you're missing is Complete Freedom.
When you dream, you can go anywhere, be anyone, do anything you can imagine and see anything you so desire. When you wake, you find yourself inside an aging body, you have social responsibilities, work, chores, finding and doing the things you need to ensure the well being of your physical apparatus. You are not free, because your body chains you to this world.



posted on Sep, 18 2010 @ 09:59 PM
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Your missing the journey.
Society has turned us into a mass seeking the destination. I'll be happy when.
Everything in life comes from the journey.

If you go straight to the destination, you have nothing when you get there.

Ditch the destination, and begin to pay attention to the journey. Remember your choices will CREATE a destination, but that is the end, not the journey. This is what matures us, and it is all we take with us when we leave.
Journey wisely, and listen to that small voice you have muffled with the anguish trying to leap to the destination



posted on Sep, 18 2010 @ 10:32 PM
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reply to post by Romantic_Rebel
 


I hear about this all the time, I like to call it the void within. The feeling that something is missing.

I think leira gets it pretty spot on. As beings with almost infinite imagination we struggle dealing with the reality of life. Language has led to the creation of elaborate fiction, fantasy and escapism are more a part of society now than ever before. We end up hating waking up from our dreams because in our dreams we touch the infinite. The limits of the real world kinda suck when in our minds we can go anywhere.

I think a good thing to do is to start looking for beauty in the world around you, take a nature walk or focus on some friends or loved ones. Focusing on something other than your own emotional psychological state can be helpful.



posted on Sep, 18 2010 @ 11:17 PM
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reply to post by Romantic_Rebel
 


As an atheist, which you have attested to being over and over, there is, inherently, no meaning to life, so stop looking for one. This isn't a slam against atheists, but if you believe that there is nothing beyond what we see, and we are nothing more than self aware animals, then there is no real point to life, beyond reproducing and ensuring that your offspring will live long enough to continue the chain. That's it.

This is not, in any way, intended to claim that atheists are bad, or that one needs God to have a meaning in their lives, it's just a reasonable distillation of atheistic claims. Dismissing judgement, karma, and all other aspects of an existence beyond the reality that is the here and now, any claims of meaning beyond the simple biological ones are justifications, and indefensible ones, at that.

From my experience, atheists are anathema to admit to that, because of what it implies, but logic dictates that it is correct, and I have yet to see a reasoned defence of it that doesn't spill over into the realm of subjectivity which is ultimately indefencible.



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 04:06 AM
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You are missing life my dear boy! You could also get a hot mama on your shoulders. Everyone knows religious women would love a strong family man.



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 03:10 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 




but if you believe that there is nothing beyond what we see


Except that atheists don't believe that. While it is true that we lack a belief in gods that does not mean that there is nothing beyond what we see, it merely means we are unconvinced as to the existence of god(s). You are making the mistake of reading in what you perceive would be the stance of an atheist but in truth the stances vary. For instance there are atheists who believe in reincarnation, there are atheists who believe in ghosts, there are atheists who believe in aliens. Atheism is ONLY a lack of belief in gods.

I personally would never pretend that something supernatural could NOT exist, I am merely unconvinced and therefore have no belief. The Cosmos could be full of strange discoveries yet to made. There is plenty beyond what we see, perhaps not in a spiritual sense as you mean, but in a cosmic sense there could be almost ANYTHING out there.



That's it.


Well no, not it isn't. While certainly reproduction is the main purpose of every living being human beings have evolved, as you said, to be self-aware. We have free will (or at least the illusion thereof) and so our choices are not limited by our biological imperative to procreate. We have the ability to form complex thought and technology. While I personally don't think there is an UNDERLYING meaning to life that stems from some supernatural source I do think that life has value. And yes it would be subjective value and subjective meaning. Each being already interprets the meaning of life differently and to limit it to mere biological functions is nihilism not atheism. I for one would rather choose my own Destiny and allow humanity to choose its own than to live in a Universe where some God had already written the script.



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 03:24 PM
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You are missing an understanding that you do not exist at all.

You are punishing your body with your beliefs.



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 10:09 PM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 


Well, commonly, atheists hold that there is no supernatural aspect, so your perspective seems to be a minority one, at least that I've seen.

As a Christian, I hold that the things that make me a unique person are housed in my soul. Things like emotions, values, and memories may manifest themselves in the body as a chemical or electrical function, but this is not the sole place of them. If one does not believe that, say, emotions, are anything other than chemical processes in our bodies, then it is difficult to say that they are real, or valid, at all.

Barring that supernatural aspect, I maintain that humans are nothing more than self aware animals. The meaning of life for you is no different than the meaning of life for your dog, or a turtle, except that neither of them questions whether they have a meaning of life.

As for the OP, one who "seeks" a meaning in life will not, cannot, find one if there is no God. For them, the meaning of life needs to be self generated, so it, too, is nothing more than a vague assumption that results in a sense of right and wrong.

This is NOT to say that life without God has no meaning, and in no way do I want to imply that it has no value. It merely acknowledges that, in the classic sense of seeking the "meaning of life", without God, one has nothing to seek.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 02:41 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 




Well, commonly, atheists hold that there is no supernatural aspect, so your perspective seems to be a minority one, at least that I've seen.


I don't believe there is a supernatural aspect and I find the term supernatural to be entirely useless since nature technically includes everything. Much of what we've learned in the last century in science has been strange and increasingly so with quantum mechanics and things like Dark Matter. My point is that we've only begun to scratch the surface of what is out there in our Universe so to claim that atheists believe there is "nothing" out there is a misrepresentation... Nothing supernatural perhaps - BUT plenty of cool stuff yet to be discovered some of which will likely defy our current understanding and seem quite "supernatural".



If one does not believe that, say, emotions, are anything other than chemical processes in our bodies, then it is difficult to say that they are real, or valid, at all.


Emotions aren't real in the sense that they do not exist outside the mind. But this is true of many ideas. You wouldn't say that the Kingdom of Middle Earth was real would you? It exists in the mind. The reason emotions seem so much deeper than other forms of thought is that they evolved much earlier than the development of human language. Our minds are hard-wired for emotion while language on the other hand is a relatively new development.



Barring that supernatural aspect, I maintain that humans are nothing more than self aware animals.


Right, that's exactly what we are. But while you seem to think this makes life as meaningless for us as it is for a dog such isn't the case. The fact that we are self-aware allows us to have free will and select from a range of different choices and decisions. Being self-aware allows us to be free to choose our own meaning or purpose for life rather than conforming solely to the purpose of life in the case of the dog who merely eats, sleeps and reproduces. But then, eating sleeping and reproducing are still a main part of what we do, so we haven't fallen far from the evolutionary tree, we're still animals, to deny such would be silly.



too, is nothing more than a vague assumption that results in a sense of right and wrong.


Why do you belittle personal subjective meaning in such a way? Everyone already, whether they believe there is a God or not, decides on their own what the meaning of life is. You could meet every theist in the world and you'd find their answers vary greatly on what the meaning of life is. The meaning of life is ALREADY self-generated, if there were a clear cut meaning to life the question would never be asked, there would be but one religion or lack thereof. It is clear that finding meaning in life is already subjective and personal.



without God, one has nothing to seek


I have a question, supposing that God exists what does that make the meaning of life?

To praise him?
To serve him?
To get to Heaven or avoid Hell?
To Spread the Gospel?
All of the above?

Accepting a belief in God doesn't suddenly offer a clear cut meaning to life, again ask around and I'm betting theists will be fairly varied on what they believe the meaning of life is.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 03:15 AM
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For the OP, I toss this out for your consideration. Good luck with your search.

People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what
we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that
our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own
innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.


~ Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, First interview header (Bill Moyers, interviewer)

adjensen

I don't see how being material excludes meaning. What is wrong with chemistry? Matter has become aware of itself; why is that uninteresting?

Dust I am, and to dust I shall return. Quite so. What has that to do with what happens in the meantime, apart from frequently reminding me that I need to get on with it?

I also don't share your view of other animals.


The meaning of life for you is no different than the meaning of life for your dog, or a turtle, except that neither of them questions whether they have a meaning of life.

Why are you so sure that neither of them questions whether they have a meaning of life?

Of course, there's nothing "atheist" about one's opinion of dogs, regardless of what that opinion happens to be.

Ironically, a lot of what I find meaningful in my own life comes to me by way of other animals. Even from some humans. But not just from humans.

As inept as I am at communicating with other species, I do work at it. Then again, my Romanian isn't tippety top, either. That I do not break through very often with bears does not persuade me that the fault lies with the bear, no more than the problem I would have hailing a taxi in Bucharest causes me to think that the fault lies with the Romanians.

I appreciate that all analogies have their limits, but there does seem to be a principle there.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 08:36 AM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull


too, is nothing more than a vague assumption that results in a sense of right and wrong.


Why do you belittle personal subjective meaning in such a way? Everyone already, whether they believe there is a God or not, decides on their own what the meaning of life is. You could meet every theist in the world and you'd find their answers vary greatly on what the meaning of life is. The meaning of life is ALREADY self-generated, if there were a clear cut meaning to life the question would never be asked, there would be but one religion or lack thereof. It is clear that finding meaning in life is already subjective and personal.


I'm not belittling personal subjective meaning -- as I wrote, I do not believe that lack of faith in God makes one's life meaningless, or certainly valueless. However, as I wrote in an earlier thread, barring an absolute source of morality and truth, which is something that society and biology do not provide, the conclusions that one comes to cannot be said to be valid beyond one's self, and given the basis of a purely "natural" self, is questionable for even that validity.

In other words, do not seek, you will not find. Look within, sort it out for yourself, but if you do come up with something, recognize that is has meaning for you, and you alone.




without God, one has nothing to seek
I have a question, supposing that God exists what does that make the meaning of life?

To praise him?
To serve him?
To get to Heaven or avoid Hell?
To Spread the Gospel?
All of the above?

Accepting a belief in God doesn't suddenly offer a clear cut meaning to life, again ask around and I'm betting theists will be fairly varied on what they believe the meaning of life is.


No, it certainly doesn't offer a clear cut meaning of life, and I agree that different people will choose different things from your list.

For myself, it's none of those, and all of them. I believe that my goal in life is to build my personal relationship with God. That's it. I do that by praising him, serving him, sharing my knowledge and experiences with people that want to hear about it, and more. My faith is "Love God, love everyone else, accept Christ" and nothing more -- we are taught that this is what is needed to bring about that relationship, and I have seen that, for me, it has.

The ultimate goal is, of course, to get to Heaven. Not because it's some sort of "Sugarcandy Mountain", but because that's where God is, and I want to be with him. However, I would definitely say that the meaning of life is NOT to go to Heaven -- that is a tangential result of what I believe is the real meaning -- building my relationship with God.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 09:01 AM
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Originally posted by eight bits
I don't see how being material excludes meaning. What is wrong with chemistry? Matter has become aware of itself; why is that uninteresting?


There is nothing inherently wrong with chemistry and matter, except that they can go wrong, so they are not indicative of any ultimate truth. If one takes a pill to become happy, is one really happy, or merely deluded into thinking that they are? Without a spiritual aspect, the answer would seem to be that they are really happy. When the pill wears off, another will restore happiness, and there is no seeming difference between "true" happiness or a drugged one.

To say that this happiness is delusional implies that there is a bit of awareness that recognizes the difference, and if that is also chemical, may this also not be treated? On the other hand, a spiritual component of a person, which is outside of these manipulations, understands the ultimate truth, that happiness while under the influence of drugs is not "true" happiness.



The meaning of life for you is no different than the meaning of life for your dog, or a turtle, except that neither of them questions whether they have a meaning of life.

Why are you so sure that neither of them questions whether they have a meaning of life?


Because I see no signs of it. Admittedly, I am limited in my experience, but I'll use my dog Oscar (avatar over there on the left) as an example. Oscar has affection for me, so I believe that he has emotion. He is predictable -- he dances like mad when I come home, he'll run into the room and find a stuffed animal to show me, sit on my lap for an ear scratch and so on. He does this, whether I've been gone ten hours or ten minutes. While I'm home, he is rarely more than a few feet away from me, following me constantly, and usually dangerously underfoot.

Because of the way that my wife raised him, this seems to be Oscar's meaning of life -- to be around me as much as he possibly can. He was the same way with Patti before she died, and he has transferred that meaning to me in her absence. I presume that when I depart this mortal coil, he will miss me for a while, as he did her, but then find attachment in my daughter or whoever winds up adopting him.

So I can see meaning in Oscar's life, but I see nothing that leads me to believe that he has any questions about it. He was coddled as a puppy, so he's very attached to people. In the absence of one, he finds another. After Patti passed away, he was expectantly awaiting her return every time that the door opened, but after a week or two of that, he gave that up, moved on to making me his focus, and seems as happy and content as he's ever been.

That's enviable, to be honest.


Ironically, a lot of what I find meaningful in my own life comes to me by way of other animals. Even from some humans. But not just from humans.


Oh, I do too. I am closer to Oscar than I am to any person, short of my daughter, and while she's at university, even she is a minor part of my daily life, while he is ever present, ever needing, and ever giving. He was a big pain in the butt when my wife first brought him around, and he can still drive me nuts at times, but I love him very much, and I'm thankful that he's with me.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 11:11 AM
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If one takes a pill to become happy, is one really happy, or merely deluded into thinking that they are?

That would be easier to discuss if there actually were such a pill.

And it doesn't require any pill for some people to think themselves into any number of joyous delusions. Are those people really happy?

Only they would know, and they, of course, would say yes.

Hard topic, then.


Because I see no signs of it.

This is not without irony
.

Oscar is a difficult example. He is domesticated, so anything he did that was friendly to a human being could be explained away. And Oscar is a gray wolf, and so pack cohesion and group activity are important to him.

But the question was about your confidence that he isn't looking for a meaning to life. That he has, to some extent, found what he would plausibly be looking for doesn't exclude his looking, and thinking about it while looking.

You seem to take it for granted that he would so lavishly accept you in his life, rather than seeing that as a choice on his part. Oscar would be fed and watered, and get his ears scratched, too, with a good deal less effort. I wouldn't assume that he doesn't know that.

Anyway, say hi to him from me.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 11:43 AM
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Originally posted by eight bits
Hard topic, then.


Absolutely. The more that I think about the "rational" view of life, the more I fall into crevasses like this that bug me. Though I dislike, quite a lot, proponents of "life in the Matrix" belief, in the past several months, I have had a number of experiences and sensations that I have to set aside as bouts of madness, as the alternative explanation is unacceptable, though reasonable in a purely "our senses, emotions and memories can be manipulated externally through rational processes" sense.

Sadly, I'm more content with thinking myself mad than with thinking there's something going on that I can blame on others with nefarious ambitions.



Because I see no signs of it.

This is not without irony
.


I thought about that as I was typing it, though I also aver that I do see signs of other things :-) It may be that I'm not sensitive to animal sensibilities, as I said, outside of Oscar, my experience with animals is fairly limited. (Not everyone in North Dakota is a farmer, lol.)

Help me understand, then. I've long read that a major difference that signifies being self-aware is knowledge of one's own mortality, and that animals do not have that. I would think that a requirement of asking "what is the meaning of life" would be knowing that there is a life, and it is finite in length. I think that Oscar, for example, has a meaning in his life, I'd just like to understand how he could question it, and what signs you might see that leads you to believe that he might be a bit more self aware than I guess.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 12:09 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 




the conclusions that one comes to cannot be said to be valid beyond one's self, and given the basis of a purely "natural" self, is questionable for even that validity.


In the case of morality society generally decides what is beneficial, in that way group morality is far more valid than simple self morality although even within a group people will have differing moral opinions. They aren't absolutes, as you said, and are therefore valid only because of their usefulness. In the case of morals for instance, rather than things being inherently good or inherently evil as would be the case with a God generated morality things are instead good or bad based on whether they cause harm to the group or individuals within the group or whether they are beneficial or benign. In that was subjective morality is actually far BETTER than morality based on the whims of a supernatural being.



Look within, sort it out for yourself, but if you do come up with something, recognize that is has meaning for you, and you alone


Sort of... You're forgetting that we're social animals and so one persons interpretation can be communicated to another and so you can get similar answers. For instance if you've ever heard people talk about the glass being half empty or half full or that they should "live every day like its their last" well those are all little tidbits of how to live life that have become rather popular (seize the day is another one). But yes it is still subjective at its core.



However, I would definitely say that the meaning of life is NOT to go to Heaven -- that is a tangential result of what I believe is the real meaning -- building my relationship with God.


It seems to me that it would be much easier to build a relationship with God during your life if you didn't have to wait until after death to be where he is



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
In that was subjective morality is actually far BETTER than morality based on the whims of a supernatural being.


Ah, but the nature of faith is to believe that God has no "whims", but remains constant, and the seemingly shifting perspective is due to human failings, not God's. As you and I have discussed, societal mores are the things that seem more whimsical, with right and wrong being more what happens to be in vogue in that day.

However, I don't think that God has any beefs with us coming up with our own social morality, so long as it doesn't run counter to his. I suspect, for example, that the Inquisition wasn't something he thought too much of. But I think that we generally stay in accordance with him -- at its core, Christianity is about the preservation and dignity of the person, and any good society should be interested in the same thing.



However, I would definitely say that the meaning of life is NOT to go to Heaven -- that is a tangential result of what I believe is the real meaning -- building my relationship with God.


It seems to me that it would be much easier to build a relationship with God during your life if you didn't have to wait until after death to be where he is


Well, that is the challenge of faith, isn't it? God IS here, just not in the way that you are, or pizza is, and that's a problem for a lot of people, and I feel bad about that. But it is what it is, and whatever the cause or meaning of it happens to be, it will get sorted in the end.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 02:28 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Yes, I find it much easier to have a personal relationship with pizza


My point is merely that how can God sentence people to eternal punishment for not knowing him if he does not make himself able to be known or evident? In other words if he fails to communicate his wishes or desire to be known and doesn't show any evidence of his existence in the first place than it is HIS failure and not ours.


edit on 20-9-2010 by Titen-Sxull because: I'm batman




edit on 20-9-2010 by Titen-Sxull because: The riddler snuck in and changed my post



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 03:36 PM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
My point is merely that how can God sentence people to eternal punishment for not knowing him if he does not make himself able to be known or evident? In other words if he fails to communicate his wishes or desire to be known and doesn't show any evidence of his existence in the first place than it is HIS failure and not ours.


Short answer is that evidence exists for those who have faith :-)

Long answer is that, in my personal view, God wants us to love him and everyone else because we have decided to do so of our own free will, and that if concrete evidence existed, most people would go along out of fear or otherwise begrudgingly, not because they thought that it was a good idea.

The more time that I spend talking to people such as yourself or Eight Bits, the more I lean towards a point of view that does not entail eternal punishment for mere disbelief. As I've said in TD's thread on God's justice (or lack thereof,) the Christian view is that no one really "deserves" redemption, but God grants it through grace. Within the scope of that, I can see the opportunity for that grace being granted at any point, including at a point where one has the evidence that their personalities require.

My struggle, of course, is the expectation of our chosen behaviour, here, having consequences, there. It doesn't seem fair that everyone would get a "free pass", but I'm beginning to temper that a bit with two notions -- first, the fairness that I'm applying is my own, and this is God's grace and his decision, not mine. And, secondly, I have received a benefit of my faith in this life, so it's not like I've really given up anything, anyway.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 05:43 PM
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I think that Oscar, for example, has a meaning in his life, I'd just like to understand how he could question it, and what signs you might see that leads you to believe that he might be a bit more self aware than I guess.

That might take us a tad off-topic here. Another thread will come along, I'm sure. In the meantime, just put it down to a hypothesis, and food for thought.


Sadly, I'm more content with thinking myself mad than with thinking there's something going on that I can blame on others with nefarious ambitions.

That sounds more-or-less sane, at least to this layman.



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