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GoatLord

The ultimate riddle

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The capacity for humans to question their own existence is much more profound than we tend to assume. If we look at the big picture of things, and assume the entire universe to be one single system, then we see that one very small part of that system has become self-aware, and is attempting to reflect back on itself. So when we ask, "Where did I come from? How did I get here? What is my purpose?," we are tapping into metaphysical issues that are extremely difficult to address. If ever it becomes possible to answer these questions--possibly through millions of years of evolution and the spread of high intelligence throughout the galaxy and beyond--it may disrupt our existence on a scale that is completely unfathomable. Answering such a question would mean that the universe finally woke up and remembered its origin. Then what? Do we direct ourselves to that origin? And if we do, what will we find and how will it affect our innate obsession with figuring things out?

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Does blue taste like linear algebra?

Predicting next year is impossible. Trying to predict answers to questions so open ended as to be useless even as thought experiments is the mark of a man who stands on his toilet too much.

I'll do it anyway. No information on its own will ever change humanity's obsession with figuring things out.

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Uh...I'm not trying to predict anything. I'm just thinking about the fact that these existential questions are ultimately swirling groups of atoms trying to remember how they got here.

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I'd handwave it by saying that sentient beings would "ascend on a higher plane of existence" before reaching that level of ultimate knowledge, and that itself is already something unimaginable and incomprehensible for myself or anybody, so that we don't have real basis for (not even) thought experiments about it.

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That's really frustrating, but that's how it is. We can ask meaningful questions which don't yet have meaningful answers and not even meaningful speculation.

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Maybe we're just an uncommon occurence in the universe, as I believe there may be other planets that support life(although they're so far away from us that we can't communicate). Maybe every lifeform that develops the capacity for rational thought also develops this sense of self-importance as a result. There may be no particular reason for us to be here, "life" could just be something that happens in the universe if certain conditions are met, but with no real purpose. In the same way chemicals will some times react to each other in nature and form new chemicals, for no real purpose, other than the fact that they met by pure chance and reacted. It may sound depressing, but I think it's a very comforting thought. We don't have an objective reason to be here, but we still are, and we're trying to improve.

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GoatLord sits precariously on the knifes edge between rational thought and new age woo. He's been sitting there for some time, but he's starting to slip.

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Humans as a specie are social and inquisitive, we rely on it to further better ourselves and our position. To better our position we must first know where we stand and how we got there and what it takes to improve. Add imagination to the mix and we will start asking such questions. This is just a by-product of our unique nature.

Choose Faith, choose to ignore, choose whatever to sate your curiosity as we don't have a definitive answer and chances are we never will. Just don't waste your life, enjoy it to the fullest.

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scifista42 said:

I'd handwave it by saying that sentient beings would "ascend on a higher plane of existence" before reaching that level of ultimate knowledge

If sentient beings on other worlds are anything like us, instead of achieving enlightenment they'll most likely engineer their own demise.

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I dunno what you've been smoking lately, but you'd better have enough for all of us.

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Life was probably a mutation in the surroundings. When we were inanimate, then possibly these adapted through some unknown change in the environment and the ball starts rolling. Evolution of these organisms, slowly increasing in efficiany... like a disease to the cure. We probably weren't meant to be here. And I doubt there are any aliens out there that are changing their planet into something unrecognizable, like buildings. Artificial architecture. Technically life is a bunch of atoms constantly working to keep us "alive". And for what? What will happen that we have go through so much trouble with evolution, energy, intelligence just to have a legacy and survive? Why?

What exactly does our existence mean? Thats my question.
To destroy landscapes? To create swarms of humans? What is the answer?
And love... A reason to participate in the making of your legacy. What is wrong with us?

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*hits blunt*

Does it make me a nihilist if I believe we have no cosmic purpose, but that the lack of cosmic purpose is just as meaningless? We make our own meaning/purpose. It's the most subjective thing that could even be fathomed. I don't think the search for meaning is pointless but I think too many people put too much stock in the belief that they'll find one. Kind of like spending your whole life looking for your nose when it's right there on your face.

My purpose is to live a happy life and do what I can to help those around me live happy lives. Beyond that is all just kind of extra stuff both and neither good or bad.

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BombChel wrapped that up rather nicely, that's essentially my view as well. I'd also have to echo what GreyGhost said.

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You go to the swimming pool, but instead of water, the pool is filled with shit, then you wade through it to the other side, and then something fires a bullet into your body, the impact blasts you sky high and you die.

The trick is to see that the pool is filled with shit and there's a gun waiting at the end... and just go away and swim elsewhere. But since we're all here already, I guess it's pretty damn hard to refuse something like that. What to do when somewhere in the middle of the pool and it's infinitely wide, there's someone coming from behind pushing you forward and the lanes next to yours are just as shitty and filled with people and things as the current lane?

Maybe someone jumps up and runs over other people's heads. Maybe someone goes forward and tries to dodge the bullet. Maybe someone fashions a duplicate from the shit and place that in front of the bullet.

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Nihilism...Let's keep in mind that it can be treated one of two ways. If you're a passive nihilist, which I imagine most nihilists are, then you're trapped in existential despair. You've reached that intellectual apex at which it becomes apparent that any meaning anyone assigns to existence is subjective and therefore open to scrutiny. People who have this revelation can end up bitter and angry at the universe for having been born without consent. If you're actively nihilistic, you can shrug off the subjective attempts at meaning and come up with your own, knowing that it's not the truth of the matter. That isn't important; what's important is using that nihilism to form a philosophy that works for you.

Personally, I see the universe as a chaotic and bizarre place that, through its fluctuations of swirling matter, infrequently generates enough consciousness to allow us to have this conversation (across electric networks, nonetheless!). I think that if one reaches that point, there is an obligation to create as much balance and harmony as possible. It's wonderful to see how happy and productive people can become when you try to radiate positivity. That is the path I'm attempting to take, in which one models themselves after a messianic figure (such as Jesus or Buddha), knowing that you can never actually become as powerful as those figures are portrayed.

This is where I find meaning in existence. To realize that you've been given a very short amount of time to take advantage of the ability to think and act on your own volition. So why not try to radiate positivity? It's difficult as shit, though. I'm always making mistakes and I make almost no income because I spend a lot of time trying to do things that have a positive impact on the lives of others. I get frustrated because I don't spend a lot of time alone, as there are many people out there that I know can use my help. I have existential dread that creeps up on me as I judge my actions, wishing I could do more to help others (including myself). This is a burdensome lifestyle and I have no idea what I'm doing. But it has given deep, deep meaning to my reality.

Voros said:

And love... A reason to participate in the making of your legacy. What is wrong with us?


Love is literally the answer to everything. If every human loved one another, and themselves especially, we would have a lot less war, subjugation and greed in this world. Any problem you can think of, is solved by the idea of radiating love to everything in this universe. I am learning to love every human being, even those who have hurt me, and those who have hurt others. I have never, ever had misfortune by appealing to love.

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GoatLord said:

[snip] ... Answering such a question would mean that the universe finally woke up and remembered its origin. [snip]


I love this! I have had similar musings on humans as an abstraction of the Universe's evolution, but I have never formed such a coherent and elegant thought about it. Thanks!

Some of the responses in this thread highlight one of the sadder tendencies of human behavior. If Gez or some other especially intelligent member had made the exact same thread no one would be putting him down, but since GoatLord has a reputation for hitting his blunt before he thinks, people try to find an angle on his posts where they can perpetuate his reputation for making ill-thought-through posts. GoatLord has posited a very interesting and well articulated cosmic philosophical question that I just don't see how there is any wiggle room to be putting any part of it down.

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Hellbent said:

GoatLord has posited a very interesting and well articulated cosmic philosophical question that I just don't see how there is any wiggle room to be putting any part of it down.


Because this is a website about the video game Doom. Not the Shroomery boards or a philosophy classroom. To be fair his question is quite good and definitely got me thinking but at the end of the day there is never any way to properly answer his questions. They are all speculative and really there is no way we will ever be able to answer "why we are here" because that is impossible to prove. Or at least an answer that everyone agrees with as fact is impossible to achieve. If it IS possible please explain to me how it would happen. Goatlord's answer is simply "through millions of years of evolution and the spread of high intelligence throughout the galaxy and beyond." That sounds like a line from a fairy tale or Star Wars movie and basically extrapolates to say: "we'll just keep getting smarter and smarter and then all of a sudden answer the question of life itself." Well, that's cool. But guess what? Maybe we won't. Maybe the world will self destruct from the stupidity of man. Who knows.

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RUSH said:

Because this is a website about the video game Doom. Not the Shroomery boards or a philosophy classroom.


TBH "It's off topic" isn't really that much of an excuse for ad hominems, especially when this particular part of the forum is FOR off-topic discussions.

GoatLord said:

Nihilism...Let's keep in mind that it can be treated one of two ways. If you're a passive nihilist, which I imagine most nihilists are, then you're trapped in existential despair. You've reached that intellectual apex at which it becomes apparent that any meaning anyone assigns to existence is subjective and therefore open to scrutiny. People who have this revelation can end up bitter and angry at the universe for having been born without consent. If you're actively nihilistic, you can shrug off the subjective attempts at meaning and come up with your own, knowing that it's not the truth of the matter. That isn't important; what's important is using that nihilism to form a philosophy that works for you.


I think I'm somewhere in between, tbh. Maybe it's kind of "hyper-nihilism"; I don't really "actively" embrace the philosophy, I just kind of go a step further than the "passive" peeps and feel there's no point in being bitter about it and being a cynical asshole doesn't accomplish anything. ;P

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BombChel said:

TBH "It's off topic" isn't really that much of an excuse for ad hominems, especially when this particular part of the forum is FOR off-topic discussions.


Yes but it's still a website about Doom meaning people here are less likely to give a shit about deep philosophical questions pondering the existence of man and the universe. I'm sure there are other places where the subject would garner more serious interest.

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RUSH said:

Yes but it's still a website about Doom meaning people here are less likely to give a shit about deep philosophical questions pondering the existence of man and the universe. I'm sure there are other places where the subject would garner more serious interest.


Right, and I apologize if I'm getting on folks' nerves for being so persistent. But I talk about these subjects with everybody, be they my neighbors, girlfriend, parents, strangers on the Internet, etc. I am frequently engrossed in these subjects and so that's what tends to be on my mind when I start chatting. I also find the "hits blunt" thing (which I can't see for some reason) funny, because I rarely smoke before making these sorts of threads.

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*wishes he had blunt*

Forgetting could be a neccessary mechanic for evolution. Too much baggage from glorious events or horrible mishaps of the past might serve to stop us in our tracks, on our journey to whatever end.

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GoatLord said:

Love is literally the answer to everything. If every human loved one another, and themselves especially, we would have a lot less war, subjugation and greed in this world. Any problem you can think of, is solved by the idea of radiating love to everything in this universe. I am learning to love every human being, even those who have hurt me, and those who have hurt others. I have never, ever had misfortune by appealing to love.


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RUSH said:

Yes but it's still a website about Doom meaning people here are less likely to give a shit about deep philosophical questions pondering the existence of man and the universe. I'm sure there are other places where the subject would garner more serious interest.

Other places that AREN'T filled with nerds (such as ourselves) obsessed with a 90's shooter. See, there's a hugely different (and considerably less appealing, generally) market on literally the rest of the internet. There's a lockdown on stupidity here - usually, anyway, and that is rarely true elsewhere.

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Doomkid said:

Other places that AREN'T filled with nerds (such as ourselves) obsessed with a 90's shooter. See, there's a hugely different (and considerably less appealing, generally) market on literally the rest of the internet. There's a lockdown on stupidity here - usually, anyway, and that is rarely true elsewhere.


To be honest I'm not even sure I would know where to go publicly discussing questions about merging with technology, "edible wetware" or mankind's existence. Perhaps this is the best place after all. I'm sure Goatlord has a similar problem which is why he keeps coming here.

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I find that I enjoy posting on doomworld the most of any forums I have visited on a myriad of different topics. I suppose the only topic-specific forum that bests doomworld in my experience would be the Honda-tech forums. But even a cooking forum I signed up for to get advice on cooking was annoying; a bunch of stuffy purists who like to blow a lot of air about authentic Alfredo instead of just giving advice on how to improve the "non-authentic" Alfredo I was asking help about. Plus, if you go look up some philosophical forum to post in you'll probably get bogged down by more purists who use a lot of jargon and reference a lot of philosophers you've never have heard of etc. Basically, laymen asking laymen interesting philosophical questions in doomworld EE is the best place to discuss such things.

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