X-Message-Number: 12350
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 23:48:37 EDT
Subject: Badger on meaning..bravo!

In a message dated 08/30/1999 5:03:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Scott Badger 
  Knowledge acquisition doesn't give us meaning . . . we give knowledge
This is Rudi Hoffman writing.  Usually I just lurk and enjoy the wonderful 
minds on cryonet, but I had to express my enthusiasm for the seminal and 
creative posting of Scott Badger.  Especially the last part of the posting, 
which I copy here.  If you read it before, it is worth taking another look at.

Badger writes:

My eventual take on the question, "What does my life mean?" was to ask the
 same question of any other life form.  For example, what is the purpose of a
 Birch Tree's life?  What meaning is there in the existence of that
 particular species?  One might respond by saying that the Birch is very
 meaningful to other species that rely on the birch for their well-being.
 It's part of the ecological web of life and thus has purpose.  But this
 implies that the Birch only has meaning as long as it is *relevant* to the
 lives of other creatures.  And that's what meaning comes down to for most of
 us.  Something is meaningful to the degree that it is relevant to our life.
 Is there then no intrinsic meaning to my life? . . . no purpose beyond the
 context of my relationships with others and the environment?
 This is pretty much the existential crisis many of us confront isn't it?
 Many deal with this crisis by becoming morose and depressed when they
 conclude there is no *true* meaning.  Personally, I find the idea quite
 liberating.  If there was an intrinsic purpose, then I would be restricted
 by the limitations associated with that purpose.  Instead, *I* am in charge
 of establishing the purpose in my life.  I can construct or deconstruct
 whatever meaning I choose to.  I'm not bound by some pre-ordained directive.
 I am gloriously free in this respect.
 We're not here to find meaning.  We're not here to do anything.  We are
 simply here, we're in charge, and it pleases us to create meaning where
 there is none.
 So I eschew the notion of purpose.  I simply am.  I am a human . . . being.
 We are humans . . . being.
 Being is good.
 As a cryonicist, I seek to continue being.  It's just about that simple.
 Best regards to all,
 Scott Badger

Thanks, Scott!  I truly had a paradigm shifting mind change as I asked myself 
 "What is the "Meaning" of life for *other* life forms.  The birch question 
is beautiful!  

I don't pretend to understand or completely define "existentialism".  But the 
"AHA" moment that followed the reading of your posting was delicious.   Kind 
of like an existential zen koan.  

It is much easier to see the possibility of no "intrinsic" meaning in the 
case of a birch tree than in the sentience of humanity.  This is the reason 
your analogy is so powerful in it's paradigm shifting.  

I also agree, Scott,  with your basic premise.  Life HAS NO intrinsic 
meaning...other than that which we CHOOSE to give it.  And this is 
delightful!   And liberating!  We are creating our own meaningful and 
profound future. 

 How limiting it would be to have some mythical god or gods to define what 
our meaning is.  We are adults in the universe, folks, not babies.  It is 
time to look around and realize that human beings, not superstitions, are how 
we should define meaning and morality.   We... as thinking, cutting edge 
leaders of rationality are creating a wonderful future.

And cryonics is a wonderful tool for the rational expansion of this 
meaningful, created, unbounded future.

Rudi Hoffman
Daytona, FL 

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