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Life...

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Disciple of The Watch, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. Fabius Maximus Gems: 19/31
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    The meaning of life is reproduction. It's subconscious. All our actions are set on this goal. The survival of the species homo sapiens.
     
  2. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

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    Very good point, Fabius. Everything revolves around reproduction. I couldn't have said it beter. MAH-velous.
     
  3. Oaz Gems: 29/31
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    Just because a species needs to reproduce doesn't make reproduction the only meaning of the species. For example, to ensure survival of large mammals (like us), the young need to be nurtured, families and societies have to be made, and so on. Human beings (and baboons and hyenas and whales) aren't amoebas or cockroaches. Eating food and having sex alone will niether satisfy us nor ensure survival.
     
  4. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Well, it would if humans did it exclusively. However, that would relegate them to pure prey or breeding animals, and neither is a terribly favorable state of affairs. ;)
     
  5. Oaz Gems: 29/31
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    No, it wouldn't. I'm still talking about the fact that before civilization, homo sapiens and its predecessors gathered in groups, instead of living by themselves and finding a pretty woman or handsome man when they had the time. A caveman couldn't take a mammoth down by himself, and primates are naturally found in groups. In ideal environments? Sure, eating and having sex will pass on your genes. In the environmental that your caveman ancestors came from? Uh-uh.
     
  6. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Groups are far different than families and societies. Herding is necessary for low-birth animals like primates, equines, bovines, etc. But societal structure is a superfluous to survival.

    The simple fact is that humans got too good at just surviving and needed more to keep themselves busy and improve their lot: society, language, tools, etc. Most of what humans do is not strictly necessary, but fun nonetheless.
     
  7. Oaz Gems: 29/31
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    Societal structure might be superfluous in the modern world, with all its conveniences. But on the big scale, where cities and cars and even agriculture are but a blip on the evolutionary radar, societal structure is necessary. Cavemen couldn't take down mammoths by themselves. There was too much work - hunting and gathering and fending off wild predators - to not live in groups.

    Given that there's a biological basis for things like language and visuospatial skill, it makes sense that such things would be necessary. Evolution would have weeded such things out if they weren't. Consider that chimps can use tools, live in hierarchical societies, and show ideas such as self-recognition.

    As for herding, lots of mammals show a structure complex than a big group of animals looking for grass. Wolves show the alpha-beta-omega hierarchy, gorillas make harems out of the females, prides of lions show dominance by the head male lion, etc.

    To say that the entire species is set only on reproduction is a bit misleading. If there is a biological gene for self-sacrifice, for example, then it might be beneficial to the species, since one individual who dies protecting four of his children or four of his siblings ensures his genes' survival, since his children and siblings are 50% genetically similar to that individual.

    Another example might be extremely societal insects, like ants and bees, some of which don't breed but instead contribute to the overall welfare of their "family", i.e. those who are genetically similar to it. But that is an extreme example.

    [ November 07, 2005, 07:38: Message edited by: Oaz ]
     
  8. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    I think you're confusing necessary and beneficial. None of the things you listed are necessary for the survival of the species, but they do help. If you look at the species I pointed out, like horses or sheep or cows, you can see that it's not strictly necessary for survival to have a societal structure. Some species function perfectly well as simple groups without rules or reason.

    Meanwhile, the ones that you pointed out are all predators; note my other post about "pure prey or breeding animals". It may be very helpful to have society, but it's not strictly necessary to the survival of a species.

    Most of the things that humans have is "above and beyond" simple survival and reproduction, and I'm at a loss as to why you suddenly switched sides when I agreed with you. :nuts:
     
  9. Fabius Maximus Gems: 19/31
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    No, no, no.

    Human evolution (there's that word again. :p ) started to make survival easier. We just never stopped.

    Ah, all these herd animals do have a social structure. It's very basic, but there are ranks in these herds.
    Look at elephants. The males are loners. But the females form herds to protect the young. And the oldest female is the leader.
     
  10. Sir Fink Gems: 13/31
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    I agree with Fabius.

    I think it's a mistake to ask "what's the meaning of life?" and not include ALL life on the planet, not just human life.

    The may fly is a great example of what life is all about: these little bugs are born and set out immediately trying to find a mate. They only live about one day so if they don't mate they die. If they do get lucky, they die immediately afterwards. They have no mouths because they don't eat! Who needs to eat when you only live a day?

    So how about asking "what is the meaning of a may fly's life?" If there is a creator, why did She create may flies?

    I think it boils down to our DNA. Essentially all life on earth today comes from the same basic DNA that emerged 1 billion years ago. That particular strain of DNA had as its sole purpose the desire to make copies of itself.

    Perhaps there were other versions of DNA 1 billion years ago, swimming about in the primoridial soup, but those versions had as their main goal the desire to spin in circles; to write poetry; to worship a rock, etc.

    The universe is a harsh, brutal place to try and live. So if your DNA says "write poetry!" or "spin in circles" then you will die. And those versions of DNA died off 1 billion years ago. The only survivor, thanks to this harsh universe we happen to find ourselves in, was the DNA that said "make copies of myself no matter what!!!"

    As a result, all life on earth today, from may flies to humans, has at its very core the single-minded desire to reproduce. Everything else is just stuff we dreamed up in our oversized brains.
     
  11. jaded empath Gems: 20/31
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    Well, actually - ever since we started developing technology (specifically anything that permits an otherwise 'weak' member of the species, one that would not live long enough to breed, to continue its presence in the gene pool) biological evolution has been stymied.

    Of course technological evolution is 'improving the species', but for a noticable period, homo sapiens sapiens has been evolving by means not available to other species...
     
  12. Fabius Maximus Gems: 19/31
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    Right. I used evolution in a broader way.

    But "how?" is not the question here. It's "why?".
     
  13. Carcaroth

    Carcaroth I call on the priests, saints and dancin' girls ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Generally, I like my life. I have a very loving and caring partner, I have loving and close-bonded families, I have an extremely affectionate dog (and it's amazing how much his smiling grin when I get through the door will lift my mood after a bad day at work).
    My job is OK, maybe not as interesting as one I could have got but I needed to get out of London for a bit and saving 1.5 hours of commuting a day has certainly improved my outlook (the extra money comes in handy as well)
    I earn enough so I can afford what I want, though as it happens I really don't spend all that much anyway. We own our own home and are gradually getting it to the way we want it. My health is generally good, and I'm not stressed.

    I don't think my life has a meaning, but I don't think I need it to have one. I don't live it at it's "full" extent (except the last two weeks), but then I'm happy living it at the level I do. Probably boring to many, but the way I like it.

    Edit

    I understood the context in the original question to be someones personal outlook of "life". In my own outlook, procreation has absolutely no part to play which I am fervently glad to say.

    [ November 09, 2005, 22:49: Message edited by: Carcaroth ]
     
  14. Elan Morin Tedronai Gems: 10/31
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    1. Reading books;
    2. Listening to music as I'm listening Beatles;
    3. Drumming as a hobby;
    4. Following Toynbee as a high-flyer.
     
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