The Meaning of Life

18 06 2011

In an attempt to really explain some things I accept as my opinion, I think I need to talk a bit about what I think the meaning of life is. Or what the purpose of reason we are here might be. I will likely stray from this point a bit in hopes of explaining what my view on the matter leads me to believe about some things in the world.

To sum up my idea of the answer, there is no purpose or reason that would explain an answer to “why” we are here or exist. To apply a reason or purpose to life on earth in that respect is to accept the idea of a god or creator. Now beyond that, you may be asking “why do you want to live in a world that has no purpose of living?”

But I’m not saying that there is no purpose that a person can apply to their own life. I just do no believe that humanity or life in general has a reason or purpose in its existence. It simply exists because the specific events that had to occur naturally did occur and so here we are asking the question. I talked before about what I believe to be true as an atheist, and some people might call me a naturalist because the views I have on the world comes mostly from a natural view.

While to some it may seem almost like a sad way to live and view the world, to me it’s a very beautiful way to see things. The things in this world that have happened to cause life to spring to action and continue to amaze us everyday are magnificent and beautiful. It’s an unfortunate thing to see how many people cannot see things for what they really are because they cannot explain how it happened and so they’ve jumped to a supernatural explanation to explain it and make it easier to derive a reason to continue living. I continue to live because I’m alive, and I’m glad to be alive. But I do not thank anybody but my parents for that life.

So let’s take this a little further. When I think about the popular question “Why am I here?” I can’t help but answer it with “Because I am.” Everyone’s heard the quote “I think therefore I am” by René Des Cartes. I think he was using it to refer to something a little different, but it still sort of applies to the way I think about why I’m here. It’s as simple as my answer of because I am. There is no other reason “why” unless you want to answer with the biological answer of because I was born. Or the physical answer of because I walked here. Or the philosophical answer of because I’m not over there. But I don’t think the answers that religions provide do any real justice to anybody other than making things easier for them and causes them to ignore any other answers that may come along and answer the question better. I don’t understand why people can’t grasp the ideas that science has unfolded for us to answer these very questions.

However, even though it may frustrate me, and make me upset to think about the number of people who fall victim to the “easy route” I have to respect their freedom to choose whatever view they like. The only part where I feel I have the right to be angry is when these people begin to push their beliefs onto the education systems by either attempting to have their views taught as facts, or if they try to remove the alternatives that science has spent so much time and effort understanding. There is a freedom to believe what you want to believe, but I don’t think there is a freedom to teach false facts in an education system that is already having a hard time teaching kids who are too impatient or distracted by other things to pay attention in class. This just fills the kids heads with something that is useless and potentially dangerous to their education and mental health. If a child in a school honestly wants to learn about the origins of the universe from what science has uncovered and learned so far, they have the right to that information, and that right should not be blocked by a religious viewpoint that has decided that the easy route is the right answer for everyone and anybody who doubts them shouldn’t get to learn the alternatives to their preaching. If that child is questionable about the answers science has, then they can choose to look for alternatives, and if the religion answer puts them at ease better than the science route, then they are free to go to church and continue that belief. But the education system is for learning, and religion is not about learning, but the prevention of learning.

If they really want to inform everyone of what they are preaching is the answer, and that science is wrong, I think they should keep that information spreading to their churches or other places of worship. I’m beginning to get off topic here, which is usual for my writing style, but I’ll try to get back to my views.

The natural process of evolution that brought humans to where they are is a much better way of understanding why we do the things we do in everyday life. From things like gang violence, to adultery, to homosexuality. These are all things that have varying degrees of opinions of whether they are a good or bad thing. I don’t think they are really that simple.

Obviously, gang violence is horrible and unnecessary for the most part, but is it really so different from countries at war. That’s simply a larger scaled version of it. But these territorial displays of force and power fall right back to natural animal behaviors that have stuck with us in our genetic code and behaviors even as early humans and hominids. We had a local area or village that we would protect at all costs from other areas and villages. Sometimes that meant just protecting against attacks, and sometimes it meant attacking others. And in other scenarios we may have held alliances with nearby groupings because of a mutual trading relationship and would help each other in times of need, sort of like the United Nations, which again is a much larger scaled version. Those earlier groupings of early humans may have dressed or talked with a certain characteristic in the same way gangs today wear certain colors, or have gang signs made of hand gestures, or slang, or graffiti displays. Also, our militaries have varying uniforms and methods of displaying who they are.

Next we have adultery. Many would view this as a bad behavior. Look at the recent american political scandals. A man who didn’t actually perform any physical acts of adultery, but simply chatted over the internet with women was pretty much forced to resign. President Clinton years ago was impeached because of the physical act of adultery. And yes I will agree again that adultery can be a horribly devastating thing that can have huge mental repercussions on both parties involved. However, it is again a natural behavior which goes back to not only the times of our recent ape ancestors, but also our more recent early human and hominid behaviors when we would have many sexual partners. Marriage or monogamy is still a fairly new behavior that cannot be expected to work 100% of the time. Some peoples instincts to mate are stronger than others. This doesn’t make it right in todays society, but to punish people so severely in some examples is going a bit far in my opinion. To me it’s an issue that the people involved need to work out privately and apply their own personal views on the situation. To allow a nation of people to enforce their opinion on how they should behave in their personal life is too far and imposes on their personal rights and freedoms.

Before I get massive hate messages about that one being taken the wrong way, I am not condoning the individuals who force themselves on others in the form of rape or sexual abuse. I do not think that even though that persons natural instinct to mate is so strong that they have been pushed to the act of rape, makes it right. I think those individuals have deeper psychological issues that pushed them to that non acceptable behavior, and it is exactly that, not acceptable. While the instincts to mate are natural, and our previous ancestors may have “raped” more freely, our current society does not share that behavior as acceptable, and we have decided as a whole that the right to mate with people who are consenting is the proper way to go about your business. I’m just explaining that the adultery side of things where there are two or more consenting adults is not really as bad as many make it out to be, and typically these people who’s instincts are stronger will exhibit signs of this kind of behavior and their partners should acknowledge that before hand. But I realized that someone might try to flip things on me so I had to mention this.

Next we have homosexuality. I’m still shocked and amazed that this is even an issue in todays society. But again there tends to be religious motives at play whenever we hear about hate or negativity towards homosexuality. Homosexuality is not only a natural behavior in our species and ancestors, but is also natural in many other animals and species that are far far removed from our area of the tree of life. Some may not be as negative towards it but try to argue the point that they are not contributing to the human species because they are not creating new life. This may in a technical sense be true, but that doesn’t make it the horrible negative thing that many people make it out to be. It’s a behavior that they cannot deny. It’s a part of who they are and it’s not something they choose to be. No different than someone who is heterosexual. They did not choose it, they were born that way. These days we hear a lot of celebrities, politicians, and other public figures still opposing same sex marriage. My question to those people is “How does another persons choice of life partner really affect your life so drastically that you feel you have the right to use your public persona and powers to spread the idea that they should not be allowed to have that person as a legally married partner?” If you want to use an analogy, for example, the recent sports figure who said same sex marriage would lead to anarchy. Would they be upset if politicians said that people in major league sports cannot get married because of the likelihood they will receive damage to their reproductive organs and they may not be able to have children. It’s equally as advantageous to the human race. Homosexual partners can’t reproduce naturally, and a sports person who has damaged their reproductive organs can’t have kids either. I know it’s a stretch of a comparison, and something that would never likely happen, but the reason it would likely never happen is because there is no religious book or writing that says that sports players can’t be married if their testicles or ovaries are broken.

Again, before I get some angry messages. I’m completely FOR same sex marriage. My comments about not contributing to the human race are strictly from a biological view that means two people of the same sex do not have children and pass along their genes in the same way that heterosexuals would. I don’t mean it in any kind of negative way. I’m not saying they would be less of a person, in fact I believe all people to be equal. And I’m sure with the advancements science is making, there will soon be a way to implant two same sex individuals DNA into a sperm and egg so that those two same sex partners can have children. Whether or not the religious forces of the world will allow it is hard to say. But I hope that in the near future, and sometime in my life it will happen and I can say that I witnessed a truly beautiful sign of growing acceptance of a large portion of our worlds population. With that said, I’ll move on.

My last piece of information that I will tie into my natural view will be races and cultures. I plan to talk more about race in a later post because of the part it’s played in my life, but I’ll save that for later. Race and culture. How do I plan to stick this into my natural view of the world? Easy. Race, although it’s not the technical definition, is basically socially defined by peoples skin or appearance. If we look at many animals in a grouping such as dogs or cats to keep things simple, we will see a great number of varying colors, and appearances. This is how I look at races of the world. Culture is kind of a hand in hand relationship to race. Many races have a specific culture because of the segregated way they have lived for such a long period of time before we really started intermingling. We have Asian culture, and African culture, and so on. You can divide each of those into many smaller cultures based on local differences. But todays society, despite coming a very long way, still harbors such a hatred towards people of different races or cultures. Again, some of this comes from our natural territorial protection instinct, which is why you hear many racist people saying things like “go back to where you came from”. But races are a natural feature of the evolution of a species. Evolution works through natural selection, and before we had spread out to vastly different parts of the world we all would have been very similar in color and culture. But because of the areas we migrated to we slowly began to adapt to our new environments, passing along those differences through the generations, then after many many generations we have arrived to our many different appearances of today. But with only slight variation in biological differences like allergies, we are all the same living animal known as a human.

Even now, we can begin to see that our races are beginning to be combined into what some might call a new race, and some might call a future race. Because we are now so multicultural in many parts of the world, we are passing along characteristics from one race or culture to another and so on. Eventually, evolution will work it’s magic and we may have either a new race to add to the list, or one big new race that is equally able to survive in most habitable areas on the planet. This natural origin of racial and cultural differences is what really makes me sad to see that people cannot accept people still. Like I said there are many people who have become aware of the equality between all humans regardless of race or culture, but the number of people who are still of the opinion that other races or cultures are negatively different, massively outweighs them.

So in closing, while I may have slightly wandered from my original point of how there is no reason behind why we are here, I hope I’ve somewhat explained the way that my natural existence view helps me to see the world for what it really is. And the reason I see the answer to the age old question of the meaning of life as a pointless question.

I could talk equally as much about things like the planets and stars that have formed through equally amazingly natural ways. Or about how I see things like days as a simple label we put on the spinning of the earth to measure time which is also something we just labelled to measure intervals between the past present and future which again are labels of things that happened, are happening or will happen, etc. But I think the origins of the cosmos is slightly more accepted by people, and the natural story behind life itself is what many have a hard time accepting because at first glance it seems so complicated and different all over the planet that it appears to have been placed by a creator.

To summarize everything I’ve said. We are here because we are. We are here because we were born. We are here because we are the result of a long line of ancestors that stretches back through many different animals and species of living organisms. We are here because life has not yet been wiped clean from the planet we are on. The meaning of life is to explore what exists and how it happened and learn what we can about it, and not accepting what is found is defeating the only purpose you can possibly derive from being alive.

Thanks again for reading my long rant of endless sentences. But I hope you will comment below with something. Tell me if I’m crazy, or if you think I’ve possibly missed something. Ask me to further explain something I’ve touched on. Or tell me I changed your life. Whatever you want to comment, put it below. I want to hear from people.

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