AuldSoul, this is additionally irrelevant, centrifugal, and possibly inconsiderate. “a long-range plan whereby the entire world could be controlled by one nation.” If this is not a metaphor for cultural de-centralization of the individual, such a fear if actual is probably transferrence of adolescent anxiety, probably never dealt with, over paternal hegemony. The odds of any one nation getting political, economic, cultural, military control over “the entire world” is (adding…) Zero. For instance, Rome, however great its power has become in our historical lens of looking back upon some great Republican heritage (not those Xi-oxide emperors), had its ass handed to it several times. Unity is inversely proportional to minimum threat distance, and distance only. Even if we discovered a Klingon empire with laser vision in the next solar system, 4 light years away, even this threat would not be enough to caused every last political earth unit to recall their prerogatives and yield for the greater good to one supreme crisis manager. To get this planet to the point where “the entire world could be controlled by one nation” would require an imminent extraterrestrial threat that would foreground the likeness of our species vis-à-vis that of the Other, so that our self-preservation instincts and leopard brain socialization skills would slap everyone (way down) into the mode of being acutely sensitive to the subtle minutiae that ultimately distinguishes poser-Alpha male from asskicking-Alpha male. Until that point, the resistance power of any one individual to such a Marvel/DC/Star Wars/GIJoe/X-Filean monolithism (all mythic, observe ) is inversely proportional to his or her investment in the enterprise. Yes, a great portion of the planet does not resist imperialism because they do not have the resources. Yes, a small portion of the world does have the investment to perpetuate imperialism. But at the minimum-size political unit of “one planet,” in the absense of a context of other planets, the Other-ness of other peoples under other political units, upon which elite investment in “not causing a palace coup” is predicated, evaporates. At a planetary scale (in the absense of peers) you cannot sustain the investment of enough elites to counteract the erosive forces of the unenfranchised, because you’ve gone and broken open the Freudian closet of where it is we abject our worst feelings about ourselves; i.e., upon “other peoples”. I am really convinced now that I am resisting finishing this damn archaeology paper on “seismic agency, access and architectural change at Knossos.”
Why do so many people NEED to believe in a greater purpose?
Funny that both sides are conceding to existentialism.Hell,even JW's are conceding it to it as well.Even God/Jehovah/Allah/Guru Narnak/all Hindu,Shinto deities,etc can't ever control every single one of our individual thoughts and actions.Otherwise, we'd all be "perfect." I believe that that the word "purpose" is too arbitrary to define objectively. Is the purspose refer to oneself? All others? Animals? The Planet? The universe? God? Did Ivan the Terrible,Atilla the Hun,Napoleon,Alexander the Great,Adol On another note, if you feel good about being an atheist,then why even ask the question/topic up in the first place?It seems (in another incredibly existential move) that others will take notice.When one practices her/his belief, she/he is affriming it for all humankind. When a Nazi is practicing her/his belief, she/he is doing it, in his or her mind, for all woman/mankind.
Very early in life I came to the disturbing, somewhat shameful realisation that I did not want anything. Or, as Hermann Hesse puts it in Demian, "“I did not want anything except to live what wanted to come out of me all by itself. Why was that so difficult?” The moralistic insistence on will and purpose always made me uneasy. I felt a stranger (hear Camus' overtones here) to what was presented to me as the common human evidence -- will and purpose to make one's life meaningful. I never was clinically suicidal, although some of the rare people who came to know me sufficiently suggested I should be. Actually they were wrong, because I did not even want to die.
I guess that is, paradoxically, the deepest reason why I bought into the JW "greater purpose" at age 13. And most probably would have bought into another (e.g. political), perhaps just slightly less silly, hadn't I been offered this one by chance and through my family. Just to hide my conscious yet unavowable "lack of purpose" behind some "greater purpose".
Of course nobody can flee from his/her own shadow eternally, and at some point I had to face it. I could only do it when I felt loved and understood enough to do so. One chance in a lifetime. Then I realised that what I had loved in religion and "God" was never the sense of purpose and meaning, but instead a mystery where being and non-being were inseparable. I could see it in the combination of compassion and indifference of the Christ and Buddha figures, for instance. I could love them because they didn't amount to a "purpose". Credo quia absurdum?
Is this egocentrical? I'd say yes and no. To strive for individual eternal life or nirvana bliss is no less egocentrical than to strive for "happiness" or "pleasure" in a so-called "worldly way". I don't strive for anything. And yes it is a sort of "faith," perhaps inseparable from "laziness".
I couldn't fit in to the plan set for me, either. As far as I could tell, the plan was to leverage my good grades for a college degree, marry, buy a house in the 'burbs, have some children, and retire. Such a future depressed me. But my reaction was different.
After bailing on that suburban agenda (teen pregnancy, battered wife, welfare mom) I sought out a higher purpose. I tried the self-actualization thing, but I found the same performance-related ambitions that had plagued me before. I find greatest satisfaction in making my world a better place, and encouraging other people to be better. The more noble and futile the goal, the better I like it. I fight entropy.
lol jgnat. I would say my wife is not too different from you. She pursues the Good (at all costs), and I pursue the Unknown (at all cost). I think we work well, and I don't always understand how.
Why do I ask this question? I see too many people always striving to please someone who I believe does not exist. It makes me very sad.
It is nothing new. Humans have always looked for deeper meaning.
"Humans have always looked for deeper meaning." exactly....
rmt1: AuldSoul, this is additionally irrelevant, centrifugal, and possibly inconsiderate. “a long-range plan whereby the entire world could be controlled by one nation.”
In my opinion, recognizing and commenting on someone else's impactful purpose (greater purpose) is not irrelevant, centrifugal, or inconsiderate. Germany had developed a purpose for itself prior to World War II. The U.S. has developed a purpose for itself. My point was that both as individuals and as societies, we develop greater purpose for ourselves. These two examples of purpose (whether or not the purposer is capable of realizing the purpose) are each very impactful, and are therefore greater purposes.
In my estimation, the impacts have been a mixture of both negative and positive. I have hope that the net outcome will be positive, but I have no reason to expect that outcome.
Narkissos: Then I realised that what I had loved in religion and "God" was never the sense of purpose and meaning, but instead a mystery where being and non-being were inseparable. I could see it in the combination of compassion and indifference of the Christ and Buddha figures, for instance.
I agree. This sort of mindedness is very appealing to me as well.
gringojj: I see too many people always striving to please someone who I believe does not exist.
You don't believe I exist? If it pleases me to believe in more than just the tangible universe, am I focused on pleasing someone else by my belief? What harm is done to anyone by my belief? No more harm than is done by your disbelief.
"a self-serving, nihilistic asshole who finally fell off the edge of the world."
That sounds like a purposeful person to me..
As for so-called "nihilism",if you look at it a certain way, it's not true nihilism, since a TRUE nihilist would annihilate themselves and would therefore forfeit their connection to anything in the world and kill themselves.Yet, you're still alive,obviously,so you have an interest in something (you yourself mentioned "self-serving" and "selfish")which i take, is yourself. The continual (since you haven't killed yourself yet) interest in your own gratification is proof that you have a reason to hang on to life.This can be viewed as a "purpose" (which would be life) or at least a project of some sort, even if it's not rigorously defined.
Think about it:the nihilist knows that he is alive. That's where his failure lies. He rejects existence without managing to eliminate it. He denies any meaning to his transcendence, and yet he transcends himself. A man who delights in freedom can find an ally in the nihilist because they contest any seriousness or importance in the world together, but he also sees in him an enemy insofar as the nihilist is a systematic rejection of the world and mankind, and this rejection ends up in a positive (as in actively pursuing, or on purpose) desire: destruction. Any project of annihilation or destruction can still be viewd as a positive undertaking, especially if you continuously dwell on it and affirm it.
What I'm trying to say is,unless you successfully kill yourself,you are still caring about SOMETHING/ANYTHING,therefore you may have a purpose,as "weak" as you may perceive it to be.You are still connected to something in order to prevent you from killing yourself.
i know exi, it's a paradox... and so am i... and i love it. why? because i am nihilistic silly! you have to be nihilistic in the first place to commit the ultimate act of nihilism. which means: "who are you to say that i m not?"....