What is the meaning of human life?

Let's reconsider the topic of our first meeting!

Both theists and atheists agree that human life does not make sense because of the possibility of suffering and death. Both theists and atheists agree that human life, as it is currently structured, was not intended by a beneficent God. Theists blame the problem on created free agents, such as Adam and Eve, while atheists claim that there is no God. Eastern religions agree that earthly life is deficient, a lower form of existence to escape from. Complementing this scenario, existentialists assert that there is no meaning inherent in human life.

In this meeting, we will discuss these issues, and in the context of this discussion, I will present results from my comprehensive theory of human life. The results are as follows.

We observe from personal experience that the exertion of effort is necessary for meaning. But the feature of effort, or willpower, implies a system of energy transformation, and that, in turn, implies the possibility of suffering and death. Hence, if life were created by a beneficent God, it would be subject to the possibility of suffering and death. Complementing this insight, we will see that there is meaning inherent in human life in fact, the only possible meaning that could be provided for a race of intelligent free agents.

The organized meeting will last till about 4 or 5, as per group preference as we're proceeding with our discussion. You can leave whenever you want to. I've reserved the room till 5:45 for whoever might like to stay for informal conversations. Feel free to bring a non-alcoholic beverage that won't stain and that is in a container with a lid in order to minimize the chance of spills. I'm responsible for damage to the room.

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  • Philip B.

    Dewain, thanks for your feedback! You're right, but, as per Christine's suggestion, I guess it wasn't clear that the open discussion would follow my interactive presentation.

    February 1, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I love the theme of this meetup, but I felt like your presentation was geared more toward trying to explain whatever it is that you believe, and less toward an open discussion about whether or not human life makes sense, and why. The lecture quickly becomes disconnected if one does not fit into your given axioms as I, for one, do not.

    February 1, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I actually appreciated the time you spent getting to know people in the intro, as it is part of creating that relationship, and the small group allowed for that. I do like the interaction, though since the material being provided is as is, maybe time spent facilitating an open discussion may be more meaningful for attendees. Bullet points of the whole would be useful and/or flexibility in presenting the material if engagement is desired during initial presentation.

    January 29, 2012

  • Philip B.

    Christine, thanks for your feedback, too! Next time I'll start with a handout that provides the main bullets of my presentation (without the details) so that people will have an idea of the whole at the beginning. As for time, I want to present most of the material interactively and then open discussion to all relevant ideas. The first part will take an uncertain amount of time, but if many people must leave before we complete the agenda, then we can continue the topic at the next meeting.

    January 29, 2012

  • Philip B.

    Nick, thanks for your feedback! I have in mind that the personal intros are an integral part of the meeting because one purpose of the meeting is to give people a chance to get to know each other. I also felt that a brief history of the origin of western and eastern religion in the people living near the Caspian Sea would be helpful in establishing a historical context for the ideas that dominate our world today, as they have for 2000 years.

    January 29, 2012

  • Philip B.

    Nick and Christine, we can discuss any relevant idea, but my theme is to begin with the dominant ideas: western religion, eastern religion, and atheism. These all agree that, due to suffering and death, human life does not make sense from the point of view of design. But I show that if life is to be meaningful, it must have the feature of willpower, and this, in turn, implies the possibility of suffering and death, as explained above. Thus, life can't be designed to be any better than it is.

    January 29, 2012

  • Philip B.

    I was fascinated to hear from everyone during the intros, during the interactive presentation, and during the open discussion. Unfortunately some people had to leave before we finished the agenda, so I think that we'll continue the topic in another meeting.

    January 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Session could have benefited from a critical minimal structure (aka basic agenda) presented right from the beginning. Explicate time allotted for presentation of theory and time allotted for full discussion might have allowed for consistent engagement for an obviously significant topic. Deeply in gratitude, though, for bringing the subject to light.

    January 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Too much time spent on introductions and extraneous topics and not enough on the topic.

    January 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Nick, on the surface it would seem easy to ascribe to tthat axiom of life not making sense because of suffering. But I agree with you, I no longer feel that way. Meaning for me is everywhere (pain, joy, death) and that really is the only thing that does make sense. A rejection of meaning of any kind, is what I think might not make sense. I hope it is up for the discussion as well.

    January 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Since RSVPing to this Meetup I've been thinking more about the preface above and wondering if I should attend today given I don't subscribe to the axiom that "life does not make sense because of the possibility of suffering and death". Will that be up for discussion?

    January 28, 2012

7 went

  • Philip B.
    Organizer
    Event Host
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
    +1 guest

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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