Thoughts on This Thing Called Life

The reports of inherent meaning and intentional purpose to our existence have been highly exaggerated.  We have been misinformed as to the source of our being, and we are all too often conditioned to attach superstitious meaning to natural developments.  Surely so long as we remain under such a delusion we are likely to approach death with a degree of uncertainty and apprehension.

I offer alternative thinking to the prevailing theories of this thing called life:

I suggest that there is no inherent meaning to life, as there is no evidence of a grand scheme, nor of a grand schemer.

I suggest that our existence is due to the natural developments of natural developments.

I suggest that the universe is impersonal and therefore indifferent to the well being of anyone.

I suggest that the natural course of all living sentient beings is to be born, to live, and to die.

I suggest that the pursuit of our best interests is the natural instinct of all sentient beings.

I suggest that all are free to choose their every course of action, but all choices are limited by context of opportunity or the lack thereof; and furthermore each and every choice one makes has naturally developed and seemingly attached consequences.

I suggest that life may be experienced, enjoyed,  and embraced with an enthusiasm which is natural to the human condition, or it may be spent in an indecisive state of fear, worry, and depressive misery.

I suggest that an understanding of the reality of the natural course of events is actually quite liberating and encouraging.  Especially in the light of a death which is inevitable and unavoidable.

Such as they are, these are my thoughts on the matter of this thing called life.

On Chaos and Commandments

The theory was presented to me recently by a very good friend that if there is no “objective” standard of “right and wrong”, then everyone can do just whatever they want to, and then that would lead to chaos.  The example was further presented to me that under such circumstances there would be nothing to prevent a person from murdering another if they wanted to commit the deed.

Indeed, it is the case that everyone can do whatever they want to (so long as they are willing to deal with the consequences), but as to whether that reality leads to chaos is up to the individuals of any given setting.  Furthermore, it is the case that in spite of the fact that there is an objective standard (the Law) against murder in every city in the US, nonetheless murders do all too oftentimes occur in those very locales. Thus, an “objective” standard to regulate a deed is not necessarily sufficient to deter the deed.  

It seems to me that only an individual can sufficiently regulate one’s actions.  There can be chaos with commandments (and such is oftentimes the case), then again there can be harmony among heathens like me who see no reason to unnecessarily harm another.  

Ultimately, chaos or peace is up to the individual.  Or so it seems to this individual.

The Pursuit of Ones Own Best Interests

It seems to me that the pursuit of one’s self interests is the founding principle of activity of all sentient beings. In fact, I would postulate that each person’s life is a continuous quest for one’s personal interests. And there is nothing wrong with such. In fact, it is simply the nature of nature if you will. No one chooses to do anything unless they truly believe it is in their best interests. That is not to say that each choice actually is in one’s best interests, that is merely to say that every person seeks their own interests with each and every decision.

Even submission and sacrifice for another is founded upon the pursuit of one’s own self interests. When a person agrees to watch a TV show that they do not care for in deference to the personal tastes of another, they likely do so because they feel that decision is in their own best interests. If for no other reason than to keep the peace, such is an effort towards one’s own personal interests.

Christians who “submit to” and “surrender” their life to Christ do so in pursuit of their own best interests. Since they truly believe that there is a “Heaven” and a “Hell”, then they choose to go to “Heaven” as a matter of seeking their own best interests throughout all eternity. In fact, were there really an afterlife with an either/or choice of Heaven or Hell, by all means the only logical choice would be to choose Heaven if for no other reason than to avoid Hell. Hence, Christianity is a prime example of an ideology based upon seeking one’s own best interests.

The pursuit of one’s best interests then being the quest by which we deliberate and make our every decision, then it seems to me that any individual’s morals and ethics are established within that context. The “best” of people live decent, clean, law abiding lives in pursuit of their own best interests. And, such a life likely is the most reasonable course as one seeks their own best interests.

Yet ultimately each person must choose and decide for themselves precisely what is in their own self interests. Such is life, and such is living. Or so it seems to me.

There Are No Guarantees

It seems to me that life is “probabilities with no guarantees”.

In an indifferent universe, there simply are no guarantees.  The cosmos does not care one way or the other about my well being, peace, or security.  There is no evidence of gods or guardian angels watching over me.  On the other hand, there is no evidence of demons or gremlins out to get me.  Life simply is what it is, and that would seem to be:  “probabilities with no guarantees”.

Life is not fair.  Then again, life is not unfair.  Life is simply random events in an indifferent universe.  Seemingly wise decisions may affect my well being, yet there are no guarantees.  For example, the person who never drives and simply walks may seem to be less likely to die in a car wreck.  Yet the safe pedestrian could be run over by an erring driver.  The person who never flies and simply drives may seem to be less likely to die in a plane crash, yet a plane could crash into a busy highway and kill drivers unawares.  There simply are no guarantees.

Wise decisions may yield positive results.  Yet there are no guarantees in life.  There are smokers who live to a ripe old age and die “natural deaths”, then again there are non-smokers who die prematurely of lung cancer.  There simply are no guarantees.

I figure the wisest personal policy is to make the wisest choices possible based upon reasonable probabilities, and to accept the chips that fall where they may.

Or so it seems to me.

I Am Natural

I am natural.

I am a natural development of a natural development.  As are my parents.  As were my grandparents.  So forth and so on.  Everything about me seems to be natural:  I require sustenance and air to survive, I ingest and digest, I inhale and exhale, I sleep and I awake.  I am aware of myself and all else that I encounter in a natural setting.  I think, I deliberate, and I choose.  I make some good decisions.  I make some bad decisions.  I have been hurt.  I have hurt others.  I live and I survive.  One day I will die a natural death (all deaths are natural) Its all natural.

I am natural.

The Trial and Error Business of Life

Life is an endless series of social engagements.  Our values are thus results of trial and error on the job training in the business of life.  Circumstances and situations shape and mold our values.  No society or individual’s circumstances and situations are the same, hence no society’s or individual’s values are the same.

Religious and cultural value systems may aid the individual in terms of general moral teachings, yet one’s moral code is incorporated into the trial and error business of one’s personal life, and thus remains but a personal value.  No religion or culture has a Copyright on goodness, hence such matters are personal and are incorporated into the trial and error business of one’s personal life.

There is no preset purpose to one’s life or inherent meaning to our existence.  We are natural beings who exist within the framework of natural principles.  Thus the meaning one attaches to one’s own life is for that individual, the meaning of life.  

And so the process of the trial and error business of life and the endless series of social engagements continues….

A Theory on the Meaning of Life

It seems to me that inquiring as to the meaning of life seems to miss the point of the experience.

When you sit out and enjoy a pleasant morning, must you attach a meaning to the morning in order enjoy the experience?

When you take a walk in the woods,must you attach a meaning to the trees in order to enjoy the experience?

When you enjoy the company of friends or family, must you attach a meaning to the people in order to enjoy the experience?

I am inclined to question whether there is any meaning as such to life.  I am further inclined to question the relevance of the matter.

The simple joys of life do not require a meaning in order for the experience to be worthwhile.

Life and Death

It seems to me that life and death is as good as it gets.

The appeal of heaven is to live among friends without enduring any pain and with no fears of going to hell.  Well, the best evidence that nature has to offer indicates that life is all that there is, so the joy of living among friends in this life is for all practical purposes heaven.

Now the dread of hell is suffering without an end to the process.  Life is certainly not hell, for whatever sufferings this life may entail will end at death.  In that regard, death itself holds a similar appeal to heaven in that there is no more pain to endure.

And so it seems to me that life and death is as good as it gets.

Some of the Nicest People I Know

Some of the nicest people I know are Christians.

Some of the nicest people I know are not Christians (among those:  Buddhists, Muslims, Humanists, Skeptics, Atheists, Agnostics, Naturalists, Pantheists; and a few “free lance humans”.)

It seem to me that  people are what they choose to be; albeit the climate of one’s immediate and regional cultural influence surely lends a role to the process.