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Ask HN: What is the meaning of life?
5 points by mechnik on Dec 12, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments

The Christian bible indicates God was lonely so created humankind to keep him company. Thus my flippant view: I exist as entertainment for a cosmic intelligence beyond my understanding. I am probably more entertaining when screwing up. So it's all good. I am free to treat life as a "sandbox" and try shit and see what works. God can watch on days when he finds me particularly amusing. He can do other shit when I am boring as sin.

Edit: I am not Christian. Just to be clear here.

Why does life need to point to something beyond itself? Life isn't an abstraction upon anything, there is only truly "Void" or "suchness" in the Universe. Since life isn't an abstraction it points to nothing, leaving no "meaning" to life. Therefore, one cannot "get" anything out of life. When the past and future are seen as they truly are, illusions all one is left with is the current moment. From here one sees living is nothing but the current moment, ever changing and impermanent as is nature and all of existence. All that is left to you at this point is to laugh, and realize you are part of an impermanent organic system: "all of this".

What do you think the meaning of life is? Because that is really the most important thing. If you don't have an answer then by all means seek out the opinions of others, read about the creation of the universe and the theories of what will become of it in 4 or 5 billion years. Life could very well just be order out of chaos. This could be one of infinite universes and it just happens that everything was in perfect alignment for planets to form and life to exist.

The meaning of life is what you choose it to be for yourself. What comes beyond life, space-time and the universe? Now that I'm more interested in.

There is really no meaning of life.

All we do is an absurd, is chasing after the wind, the idea is not novel, read the book of Ecclesiastes to realize this question has been asked (and partially answered) many times by humans before.

We're here to discover as much as we can about all the beautiful things that we can do like create music, art, mathematics, science.

We're here to evolve and to continue creating life so that that new life can do more/better than that previous life.

Evolution is the reason for life.

I have been working on this question for a long time and I think most people have been fooled into believing an incorrect answer. My research indicates that it's actually 41.

From the best comic writer[0] how he found the answer to be a little more than 41:

    The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke.
    It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number,
    and I chose that one. Binary representations, base
    thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense.
    I sat at my desk, stared into the garden and thought
    '42 will do'. I typed it out. End of story.
There is no amount of research that can take this away from me.

[0]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42_(Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the...

Mormons love to be asked this question


I tried writing this a while ago

The humans

There are at the moment, 4 stages in the development of the universe and I will describe each in detail.

1. The "big bang"

A few points about the big bang, no pun intended. It could not have been a bang (because there is no sound in space) and it certainly wasn't even an explosion. The universe was a single point of all light compressed so hard that no light could escape, similar to a black hole where the gravity is so tight that no light can escape.

This single point has so much energy and is spinning VERY fast by itself inside a vaccum, eventually it spins so fast that photons start escaping the gravity and slowly but surely over time, photons are escaping everywhere and the point is becoming visible and a lot larger (because light is pretty fast)

2. The formation of the "galaxies"

A few trillon years after light started escaping from the single point that used to make up the universe, other particles have also started escaping, hydrogen, helium, oxygen, carbon etc. These particles form huge gas clouds which also, have a spin to them.

If you rotate a tin really fast, the wind will be around the edges of the can and not on the top and bottom so if you could visualize the air, it would slowly create a flat disc. All the particles have by now started creating real physical formations like rocks and while spinning around the disc, started colliding with each other, creating bigger rocks.

If you need a better visualisation, go and look at a picture of saturn.

3. The "planets"

These rocks have been building up for billions of years and have started separating themselves into planets which have their own orbit around their own future black hole, or sun. These planets hold each other away from the sun by their own gravity. Ill explain gravity in another conversation (its really cool too)

Slowly but surely, some of these planets will cool and all the water vapour in the air will become heavy and fall down as rain, creating oceans. Because of the huge kinetic energy of this process, atoms in the sky become charged and electricity is formed.

Because of the huge potential energy, this electricity was able to bind atoms together, to create what we now call "life"

Life evolved through billions (possibly more) of years and eventually a particular species came about. Chimpanzees, which possess traits like, fear, courage and teamwork. They live in fear of other "tribes", they have the courage to rise up and fight to survive and use teamwork to live together. These apes were different to other animals, they had the ability to associate feelings with physical things. Blood with Death. Fighting with Hurt. Objects with ability. They connected the world around them to enhance their bodies and extend their minds.

4. The "humans"

The apes that had the best chance of surviving, the ones who could associate best, were the ones that started small cultures, associating sounds with feelings and recognising that they all had the same feelings. Language structure was created and the land was built up into towns and cities. The now "humans" were the kings of the world because they could change the world. But, they still have the same traits as the apes, fear, courage and teamwork.

What happened?

How did we get from being a rotating point of compressed light to where we are today?

5. The ""

Yes, theres a 5, I said there was only 4. This could be the most crucial point though as its happening right now. The humans are leaving their planet, they are using their teamwork and leaving their fears behind them and venturing off into space, where they used to be.

Soon they will have to leave their "tools" behind and adopt the new way of doing things.

Imagine a glass of red wine, sitting on the edge of a table, if the glass were to smash, the shards of glass and the wine contained inside would fall. Just like all living things before now, they live, are smashed and die. Because we have the ability to change the course of time with our minds, the atoms don't have full control of the universal system and we have complete free will.

Now Imagine, that same glass of wine, sitting on the edge of the table. If the glass were to smash, the wine would stay in the same place. The people don't need their tools anymore.

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