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DR. NICK RIVIERA
11-18-2007, 01:29 AM
MEANINGS OF LIFE
ESSAYS AND QUOTATIONS


Insignificant mortals, who are as leaves are,
and now flourish and grow warm with life,
and feed on what the ground gives,
but then again fade away and are dead.
Homer, Century IX b.C.


What's the significance of life? Who are we?
Is human life just a dream, from which we never really awake, as some great thinkers claim? Are we submerged by our feelings, by our loves and hates, by our ideas of good, bad, beautiful, awful? Are we incapable of knowing beyond those ideas and feelings?

Listen to Shakespeare and Joseph Conrad:
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep…
William Shakespeare, The Tempest (Folger Shakespeare Library)

A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea.
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (Penguin Classics)



Is the reality we know a reality imposed to us by nature? Is the reality and the meaning of life a creation of men, such as music, or love or colors (science tells us that there isn't such things as music, harmony or colors in the physic world. Just traveling molecules: «There is not, external to us, hot or cold, but only different velocities of molecules; there aren’t sounds, callings, harmonies, but just variations in the pressure of the air; there aren’t colours, or light, just electro-magnetic waves», said H. Von Foerster.).

Are we - and all living beings - just «survival machines, blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes», as Richard Dawkins states? Are we incapable of knowing beyond the frames imposed to us by nature?

Is there any significance for life in a Universe of billions of stars that ignore us? Is there any significance for life in an Universe whose dimensions and nature overcome our understanding?

Listen to the words of Pascal, in the seventeenth century:

«When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity that lies before and after it, when I consider the little space I fill and I see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which know me not, I rest frightened, and astonished, for there is no reason why I should be here rather than there. Why now rather than then? Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time have been ascribed to me?»
Pensees (Penguin Classics)

Love and cruelty on our lives
Love gives meaning to our lives – as do friendship, or art or faith in God. These are factors of true happiness, of inner peace, of feelings of harmony, allowing meaning to our existence.

But there is the other side. There is the cruelty of life, the pain, the evil, not to talk of death. They are the hidden tigers, ambushed and ready to attack the imprudent, to use an image present in the Buddhist Scriptures.

Is between these pendulums - the positive, the one that gives happiness and meaning, and the negative - that our lives are lived. And when we meditate about all that, we arrive at a diverse and disagreeing set of thoughts about the meaning and purpose of life.

Poetic reflexions about the brevity of our lives

Insignificant mortals, who are as leaves are, and now flourish and grow warm with life, and feed on what the ground gives, but then again fade away and are dead.
Homer, Century IX b.C., Greek poet, The Iliad (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Speculations on our place on the Universe

When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which know me not, I am frightened, and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then. Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time been alloted to me?
B. Pascal, 1623-1662, French philosopher, physic and mathematician, Pensees (Penguin Classics)

Speculations on the purpose and meaning of life

Why is there something rather than nothing? We do not know. We will never know. Why? To what purpose? We do not know whether there is a purpose. But if it is true that nothing is born of nothing, the very existence of something – the world, the universe – would seem to imply that there has always been something: that being is eternal, uncreated, perhaps creator, and this is what some people call God.
André Comte-Sponville, French philosopher, The Little Book of Philosophy

What is the purpose of life? I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy.
Dalai Lama, Tibetan political and spiritual leader, Voices from the Heart; The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

Thoughts about love and friendship in our lives

At our mother breast, we tasted not only milk but also love – just enough love to know that it was the only thing that could ever satisfy us and that we will miss it forever.
Compte-Sponville, French philosopher, A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life

Philosophy of life thoughts

Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient.
Bible, Matthew, 6:34

Sarcastic and well humoured thoughts

I see the better, and approve. But I follow the worst.
Ovidius, 43-17 a.C, roman writer, Metamorphoses (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana)

Thoughts connected to science

We are survival machines - robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.
Richard Dawkins, English biologist, The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition--with a new Introduction by the Author


......

Share your thoughts

Koolish
11-18-2007, 10:29 AM
Taoism says to me certain things about purpose.

there is the all encompassing ever existing Tao, who is the originator of everything. from Tao's existence comes the universe, and all that we see in the universe is from Tao.

"I do not know whose son it is. It seems to have existed before the Lord."
- Lao Tzu on Tao

from the beginning of infinite Tao is. from Tao all is.

our purpose here on earth? to find harmony with the nature that is the universe and be able to peacefully exist with nature. those who have perfectly achieved this are said (by the Neo-Taoists, i believe) to have found supreme happiness.

DR. NICK RIVIERA
11-18-2007, 11:04 AM
LIFE IS BUT ILLUSION AND DREAM; CONSCIENCE IS JUST A SMALL FLAME


Berkeley doubted even of the material world. To him, everything was but an illusion.



The presence of dream and illusion in our lives are a current theme in philosophical and literary thought. In its most radical presentation, this concept proclaims that men live immersed in dreams and illusion.


Behold! Human beings live in an underground cave. (…) They only see their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave.
Plato, 428-347 b.C., Greek philosopher, in The Republic


Castles in the air – they are so easy to take refuge in. And easy to build, too.
Henrik Ibsen, 1826-1906, Norwegian writer, The Master Builder


We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep…
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, English writer, The Tempest


A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea.
Joseph Conrad, 1857-1924, Anglo-polish writer, Lord Jim


What is life? An illusion, a dream, a fiction, and the biggest well is small, because all life is a dream, and the dreams, themselves are only dreams.
Calderon de la Barca, 1600-1681, Spanish writer, Life is a Dream


In the night that brings the sleep, the dreams laugh of us, wandering in front of our eyes.
Petronius, Satiricon, I Century b. C., Roman writer


Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?
Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1802-1809, English poet, The Higher Pantheism.


Those who compared our lives to a dream have more reason than they thought.
Montaigne, Essays, 1533-1592, French writer and philosopher



MAN CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ILLUSION

Some thinkers, mainly modern and contemporary, defend that man can’t dispense with illusion. It is part of human nature, and is a way of escaping from the difficult side of life, from the suffering and lack of meaning present in our deeper existence. Life demands the dream. Man can’t tolerate the inner side of reality.


What men do when awake they do when asleep.
Heraclitus, 540-480 b. C., Greek philosopher, Fragments


A mere trifle consoles us, for a mere trifle distresses us.
Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662, French philosopher, physic and mathematician, Thoughts


The Human species does not tolerate too much reality.
T. S. Eliot, 1888-1965, Anglo-American writer, in E. Morin Method V


Men have always fought reality with all their strengths.
Jean Servier, French writer, in E. Morin Method V


Take the life-lie away from the average man and straight away you take away his happiness.
Henrik Ibsen, 1826-1906, Norwegian writer, The Wild Duck


To man, as important as the technique is the creation of an imaginary world and the fabulous proliferation of myths, beliefs and religions.
E. Morin, French philosopher and sociologist, Method V


There exists a universal propensity to believe in ghosts and spirits, to believe in sorcery and, yet more frequently, in the efficacy of magic and sacrifices.
E. Morin, French philosopher and sociologist, Method V


The illusion occurs throughout history, in all societies and all individuals. All spirits, as soon as they get out of a disillusion, are ready to fall into another one.
E. Morin, French philosopher and sociologist, Method V


The archaic lived in a world inhabited with spirits, supernatural beings, fabulous legends, chimeras, miracles. Dreams were part of reality.
E. Morin, French philosopher and sociologist, Method V


The myth fortifies man, because it hides from him the incomprehensibility of his destiny and because it fills up the nothingness of death.
E. Morin, French philosopher and sociologist, Method V



DREAMS ARE A PART OF OUR REALITY

The dreams and our imagination give meaning to life, though most of the times dreams are just what they are: just dreams.


Blessings on him who invented sleep, the mantle that covers all human thoughts, the food that satisfies hunger, the drink that slakes thirst, the fire that warms cold, the cold that moderates heat, and, lastly, the common currency that buys all things, the balance and weight that equalizes the shepherd and the king, the simpleton and the sage.
Miguel de Cervantes, 1547-1616, Spanish writer, Don Quixote


Only in men’s imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination is the supreme master of art, as of life.
Joseph Conrad, 1857-1924, Anglo-polish writer, Some reminiscences


A man is always a storyteller; he tries to see his life as if he were telling it. But one has to choose: to live or to tell"
Jean Paul Sartre, 1905-1980, French philosopher and writer, The nausea


I had a dream, which was not all a dream…
Lord Byron, 1788-1824, English poet, Darkness


When I play with my cat, who knows whether she is not amusing herself with me more than I with her.
Montaigne, 1533-1592, French writer, Essays


Do what you will this life's a fiction
And is made up of contradiction.
William Blake, 1757-1827, English writer, Gnomic Verses


Once, I, Chang Tzu, dreamed that I was a butterfly and was happy as a butterfly. I was conscious that I was quite pleased with myself but I did not know that I was Tzu. Suddenly I awoke and there I was, visible Tzu. I do not know whether it was Tzu dreaming that he was a butterfly or the butterfly dreaming that it was Tzu.
Chang-Tzu, século III ou II a.C., Chinese taoist philosopher, Book of Chang-Tzu

Koolish
11-18-2007, 12:33 PM
awesome last quote there. i haven't read through the Chang Tzu yet but that's a powerful chapter.

i cannot personally recall ever having to fulfill basic needs in my dreams, such as thirst, hunger, and rest. these all exist when we awake. that to me speaks reality.

though i have heard that dying was like waking up from a dream...

DR. NICK RIVIERA
11-19-2007, 01:08 AM
that goes together with the fact that dreams have deep emotions...and when dreams are cut short we always feel some emptiness

Koolish
11-19-2007, 10:30 AM
shit that's very true. and there's the dreams you swore were reality.

perhaps dreams are just a different perspective on the same reality, the difference being in sleep you are deeper in the mind.

TSA
11-19-2007, 04:50 PM
the meaning of life is to preserve energy


not very poetic...but yeah.

DR. NICK RIVIERA
11-20-2007, 11:17 PM
then show us how 'to make it'......Life is everything sewn up together...

LORD NOSE
11-20-2007, 11:29 PM
"life is what you make it"

LMAO

then someone else comes and takes it LMAO

DR. NICK RIVIERA
11-21-2007, 08:19 AM
but can anybody say what is the meaning of life in only a few words....I think nobody can, even the Abbott couldn't :)

Meaning of life = Life itself...

All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.
-Samuel Butler

We don’t live as we wish, but as we can.
-Terence

Life is a dream, and the dreams, themselves are only dreams.
-Calderon de la Barca