Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby Enlightened2B » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:34 pm

rachMiel wrote:But, cliche or not, it's a heckuva question. One's answer (or non-) can set the stage for their experience, yes?


Depending on where the answers come from, yes, it's a question well worth considering I would say. Too much intellect can damper the answer potentially, rather than considering what feels right.

Ultimately, I don't know if a sense of purpose is akin to spiritual awakening for many, nor do I think it's ultimately necessary, but I do think a consideration of a larger perspective can aid in the appreciation of the journey.
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby rachMiel » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:37 pm

Rob X wrote:I don't really have much to contribute here, Rach. I'm not sure that there is an over-arching purpose to human existence. We certainly seem to derive purpose and meaning from our many interactions and projects in the world. What seems likely to me is that the phenomenon of human existence as we know it, is the product or expression of a 'principle' which is ultimately beyond the cognitive grasp of the human condition.

So human existence is an explicate manifestation of an implicate order, to go all Bohmian. Yes? :-)

Or, to frame it in Advaitan terms: Brahman is everything, we are Brahman.

Or, see my signature.

Or, to quote Robert Frost: "We dance around in a ring and suppose, but the Secret sits in the middle and knows."
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby Rob X » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:31 pm

rachMiel wrote:
Rob X wrote:I don't really have much to contribute here, Rach. I'm not sure that there is an over-arching purpose to human existence. We certainly seem to derive purpose and meaning from our many interactions and projects in the world. What seems likely to me is that the phenomenon of human existence as we know it, is the product or expression of a 'principle' which is ultimately beyond the cognitive grasp of the human condition.

So human existence is an explicate manifestation of an implicate order, to go all Bohmian. Yes? :-)

Or, to frame it in Advaitan terms: Brahman is everything, we are Brahman.

Or, see my signature.

Or, to quote Robert Frost: "We dance around in a ring and suppose, but the Secret sits in the middle and knows."


Yeah… all four of them to some extent. Though I'd never say we are Brahman - but Brahman is certainly us. :D
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby Onceler » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:19 pm

The human experience is a ghost story.....a ghost in the machine.
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby rachMiel » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:54 pm

The machine being the conditioned, reflex-driven, physical body-mind?

And the ghost?
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby ashley72 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:29 am

The purpose of life is to increase "ordered" complexity. Life needs order to survive, so in order to maintain the survival of any living organism - ordered needs to be maintained.

The Universe in its totality is moving towards "disorder" (2nd law of thermodynamics) .... but nonetheless life moves in the opposing direction.

If you look at self-awareness of agency, its main purpose is to regulate feedback loops to maintain order of the system.

All environmental problems, population growth & even man-made order like financial economies etc occur because positive feedback loops lead to growth/decay... which can lead to destabilization of the ordered system, and a new ordering arises.... sometimes destructive, other times constructive. In any ecosystem, changing of environmental conditions will lead to the destruction or construction of a new order.

Human civilization is just navigating the digital/ information age... what is next? The machine learning age... the rise of artificial intelligence? What impact will these advancement in complexity - ultimately impact on the new order??
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby Onceler » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:02 pm

rachMiel wrote:The machine being the conditioned, reflex-driven, physical body-mind?

And the ghost?


Consciousness. Hey, it's a campfire story. Gotta have a ghost.
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby Baba Bozo » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:57 pm

Great post Ashley. You've inspired some thoughts here which are even better than "the porpoise of life", as incredible as that may seem. :-) More on this later...
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby Clouded » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:15 am

The purpose of human life has the same purpose of all life and that is to experience what it is like to be alive/to exist.

And so everyone has fulfilled their purpose.
"If you want to know what your were like in the past, look at your body today. If you want to know what your body will be like in the future, look at your thoughts today." -Deepak
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby ashley72 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:43 am

Baba Bozo wrote:Great post Ashley. You've inspired some thoughts here which are even better than "the porpoise of life", as incredible as that may seem. :-) More on this later...


:D
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby ashley72 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:09 am

Clouded wrote:The purpose of human life has the same purpose of all life and that is to experience what it is like to be alive/to exist.

And so everyone has fulfilled their purpose.


Yes, but first you have to define what is life? ...Life is order or the maintenance of information. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Is_Life%3F. This information is not stationary it continually evolves through gene mutation. This increases the complexity of the information system.

Your answer doesn't first explore what life really is... so you've missed the opportunity to ponder the purpose.
Last edited by ashley72 on Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby ashley72 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:17 am

Human life is obviously based on biological systems....i.e carbon based life.

But what of Artificial life which is based on silicon.

interestingly, artificial life is not unlike biological life, in that it also continually evolves by iterations to its original design which tend to steadily increase in information complexity . The main difference is we know that the creator of artificial life is the human species.

Artificial life is increasing in complexity at a much faster rate than biological life it would seem. Biological life tooks millions & millions of years to evolve a neural network with 100 billion synapses. Artificial life is moving much more rapidly... in 100 years we may have artificial brains which are much more powerful than a human neural network without emotional aspects (limbic system) needed for biological survival.

Artificial brains don't necessary require features like motivation, fear, pleasure, inhibition, aversion to pain etc. Artificial brains might be used to solve very difficult problems where emotional attributes only stifle advancement in pattern recognition & system modelling.

My view is that machine learning agents will start to replace many mundane jobs in this century. Humans are going to be forced to do jobs that learning machines aren't good at... jobs where say emotions attributes are important. It will be a case of horses for courses.

What we also don't know is whether artificial life being silicon based is confined to the digital world. In other words, is there some type of separation or barrier between the digital information (silicon-based) and physical information (carbon-based).... which might also be separate from quantum based information systems. What I mean by that is there such a thing as a carbon-based consciousness versus a silicon based consciousness... if so can these consciousness be unable to relate due to a barrier that exists between the type of information system.

David Chalmers has pondered this himself...
For example, if the precise interactions between our neurons could be duplicated with silicon chips, the same conscious experience would arise. The idea is somewhat controversial, but I believe it is strongly supported by thought experiments describing the gradual replacement of neurons by silicon chips. The remarkable implication is that consciousness might someday be achieved in machines.


Another thing worth pondering is whether "information" is embedded in conscious experience? But is this information digital, physical or quantum??

Even a thermostat embodies some information, for example, but is it conscious?

David Chalmers response...

There are at least two possible responses. First, we could constrain the fundamental laws so that only some information has an experiential aspect, perhaps depending on how it is physically processed. Second, we might bite the bullet and allow that all information has an experiential aspect - where there is complex information processing, there is complex experience, and where there is simple information processing, there is simple experience. If this is so, then even a thermostat might have experiences, although they would be much simpler than even a basic color experience, and there would certainly be no accompanying emotions or thoughts. This seems odd at first, but if experience is truly fundamental, we might expect it to be widespread. In any case, the choice between these alternatives should depend on which can be integrated into the most powerful theory.


So is the richness of consciousness depend on how many input streams are unifying together as one.... a human brain has many feedback loops from the limbic system, the neocortex etc which unify our conscious experience into a very rich flavour. On the other hand, a simple thermostat negative feedback loop only has a very simple feedback... which lacks richness.

David Chalmers on artificial consciousness...

Whether consciousness could arise in a complex, synthetic system is a question many people find intrinsically fascinating. Although it may be decades or even centuries before such a system is built, a simple thought experiment offers strong evidence that an artificial brain, if organized appropriately, would indeed have precisely the same kind of conscious experiences as a human being.
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby dijmart » Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:18 am

ashley72 wrote:
Your answer doesn't first explore what life really is... so you've missed the opportunity to ponder the purpose.


I understood her post without a problem! Perhaps if one is over analyzing it gets confusing. Simple concepts and words can and do have impact and meaning for most.
Take what you like and leave the rest.
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby DavidB » Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:26 am

Those are indeed very good and very interesting questions ash.This is of course getting somewhat off topic, but the questions you pose are very intriguing. I might actually start another thread with that in mind. :)
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Campfire tales: What is the purpose of a human life?

Postby Clouded » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:46 am

Yes, but first you have to define what is life?


As usual Ashley, you are always over complicating things with puzzle-solving, headache inducing posts (no offence, but sometimes you write like a robot :? but I think that someone like you will take this as a compliment). I don't know what life means to you but to me it means to exist (to KNOW that you are present), simple as that. Why bring genetics into it? My body went through probably millions and millions of cell divisions in my 20-ish years of life and I am most certain that some cells here and there contain mutated DNA, and yet I am still here, my presence unaffected by my DNA. Your point? Do you think that a change in protein structure and function can affect one's ability to exist? I know that some mutations are harmful (cancer comes to mind) and the result is the body not working properly and it would make a person experience their life differently, but it doesn't stop that person from existing unless it kills them instantly.

Why are you alive, Ashley? Strip away from your ego and tell me why do you think you are alive. Maybe the answer is: just because.
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