The purpose of human life is to ensure the continuance of human life.
I think that's probably it.
Is the belief that there is a purpose to human life analagous to a belief that the universe was created for a reason (which itself probably implies that it was created by something/one)? I think it is.
Actually, I think it is except for the one you mention. That's kinda the underlying purpose of all life I guess.
>> Is the belief that there is a purpose to human life analagous to a belief that the universe was created for a reason <<
Not even close, to my way of thinking. "Human life" or even just "life" is an abstraction as far as I'm concerned..
>> (which itself probably implies that it was created by something/one) <<
I don't rate 'creationism' at all. If there is a creator, they are part of your universe, since they can affect you. At any rate, it doesn't work, because then you have "who created the creator". I wasn't trying to tackle that problem.
The point I was trying to make, sounding a little wanky I guess, is that the only reason there is human life, is because the purpose of human life is to make sure it continues.
I had been thinking about 'life' itself too, but I said human life, because I'm not exactly sure how you can define 'life'. 'Life' is a human notion.
It's all just motion.
I serverely limited my scope, and accepted the premise of 'human life'. So, if you beleive human life is a premise (i.e. you beleive you are alive, asserting 'you', 'human' and 'life' (something you can't really do if you beleive in causality (which undermines all significance))), then it's purpose is to continue life. Otherwise, it wouldn't exist to have a purpose. Is that dichotomy?
I'm too tired for this right now..
What I said was true for me.
I think we (you and I, I mean) are having problems with the word 'purpose' more than anything.
See... say you find a round rock in the bush. Say it's even cylindrical, wide and flat. For most purposes, this is a wheel. It might be a bit heavy and cumbersome, but it'll roll just fine.
Now despite the fact that it can roll, the purpose of this rock isn't to wheel. This is similar to what I meant above - our living doesn't suffice to give to give it a purpose.
There's problems with that analogy (most obviously that the rock doesn't have to roll to keep on being able to roll), but it kind of gets my points across about how I see the difference between requirements for living and purpose for living.
>> I think we (you and I, I mean) are having problems with the word 'purpose' more than anything. <<
For about eight years, my consciousness has regularly been distracted by wondering what my "moral basis for life" is. What I mean is that I want to perceive a moral framework that I can use to make decisions.
I believe that if you can assert a 'purpose for human life' then you can begin to construct a basis for morality; 'morality' being rules that you can use to make conscious decisions.
So, when I say that the purpose of human life is to ensure the continuance of human life then I have my premise, 'purpose', on which to construct 'morality'.
So, that's my 'motivation' for purpose.
My definition of purpose seems consistent with social patterns that I observe, such as Nash's "an individual will do what's best for themselves and the group", Darwin's theories on evolution and even just behavior I have observed personally. Further, if we are here for a purpose, we must already be engaged in fulfilling that purpose (or else, we wouldn't be here for a purpose). Humans are clearly engaged in continuation of human life, although the ways and means that we achieve this are interesting (particularly when viewed accepting my definition of human life above). There might be additional, 'greater' purposes for life, but I have not been able to identify them.
On the one hand, such a definition of purpose is weak, because it appears to define a term in terms of itself (don't get me started on language and 'definitions' (all words are defined in terms of other words), or the irony involved in writing this ;). However, you can arrive at it by thinking about it this way: if there was no human life, then there could be no purpose for human life. So in order for human life to have any 'purpose' it must first exist. So, existence of human life must be satisfied before anything else can follow. Now, since I deny all significance, I can simply accept "life for life's sake" as the only purpose for life (because I don't perceive life as anything 'real' or 'meaningful').
I can only make this assertion while thinking in a context that assumes significance of human life. As I was communicating in English, and since it is not my responsibility to find methods of communicating to other sentient beings something I already know but that I have no motivation (given that I don't believe significant communication is truly possible) to communicate to them, and since the English language tends to presuppose 'significance' I didn't feel I needed to illustrate the abstract context that assumed when I discussed 'human life'.
I don't really believe in 'life'. I believe that we are in a state machine calculating the future. We don't have choice, only the illusion of it. Further, there is no 'us'. I believe this. But it's not a particularly useful philosophy to use as a basis for conscious decision making in 'human life'.
If you ask (and some people do): why would I want to live? Then I'd answer: Why would I want to die? ;)
As a result, I accept what I see and adopt a philosophy (just for the sake of it) along the lines of "I think therefore I am". This is flawed with respect to my 'larger' philosophy that denies significance, because I have to assert significance of 'I' and 'think' and 'am'. When you consider what 'think' means, it's really just bits of material moving around in the universe (that is, what is collectively called 'your brain' is simply changing state, and where is the significance in that? Particularly if you believe the outcome of all motion in your universe is deterministic?). The best thing about the lack of significance, is that there is no significance, so I can accept "I think therefore I am" and consider the insignificance of it as insignificant.. :P
By the way, when I say that I deny significance, what I'm really saying is that I can not yet understand a reason why I should accept significance. Perhaps it would be best to say "I presently deny significance", but if I did that then I'd need to assert 'presently' at every utterance, so I tend to let the reader understand that it I consider it an implicit assumption. That is: tell me why I'm wrong, I might believe you.
Brad, one of the problems with your rock analogy is that you will end up having to ask the question: "what is the purpose of a wheel?"
>> it kind of gets my points across about how I see the difference between requirements for living and purpose for living <<
Compare 'requirements for living' and 'purpose for living'. Can you have either 'requirement' or 'purpose' without 'living'? Since you must have 'living' before you can have either 'requirements' or 'purpose' at least part of the purpose (the part that I have been able to identify that doesn't conflict with other observations or beliefs of mine) of life must be "life itself". Or, living is a requirement for the purpose of living and as such constitutes at least an identifiable component of that 'purpose' (and I can not see a possibility for any additional components of 'purpose').
I mean, how could he be the one, if he's dead!?
p.s. I was wondering earlier if humans engage in wars because we are at the top of the food chain, and we are forcing an evolutionary pattern upon ourselves? I reckon Hitler would have said "you bet!". On the subject of Hitler, I can't establish moral grounds for calling him, or his administration 'evil' (unless I was his opposition (which I would have been ;)). A failure. But not 'bad'. In fact, early observation of the implications of purpose as defined above seems to leave me with a morality that states: "you can do whatever you want, if you think you can get away with it". Very interesting.
p.p.s. Oops. I mentioned Hitler, didn't I..? :)
I said "you can do whatever you want, if you think you can get away with it". But what I was driving at was: "you can do whatever you think is in your best interests".
In order to know what "you're best interests" are you need to understand your purpose.
You're, your, yaw..
So then, the term 'good' might actually mean: In the best interests of yourself or your group.
I think I'm on to something.
I really am beginning to understand language better lately.
"The purpose of human life is to ensure the continuance of human life."
It's strange to make that comment unless you know there is an afterlife and you don't. Even so, such a comment could be perceived as pretty ignorant or limited.