What Is the Essence of Living? (If We Dilute Life Down to Its Simplest Form)

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MICHAELSD, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040


    Jul 13, 2008
    Whenever I find myself pondering about the core of the meaning of our universe (with a focus on our own existence), I come back to one generalization that frankly can't be reasonably disproven: if our world were to be destroyed today by war, unforeseen natural occurrings, or what-have-you, then the lives and existence of our entire species would not have mattered. At that point who lived, what they did and didn't do, and how far we've come as a species would have a relative amount of zero significance in the universe.

    Thus, what is the essence of living on this Earth? More so than even Freud had hypothesized, survival of the fittest is perhaps one of the greatest driving forces of life itself. The force that created the human condition made it inherently fragile: it's far too easy for a life to end. Another matter of concern is that there are naturally-occurring diseases as well as man-made diseases which leads one to realize that nature and the force that created the world doesn't work with us... or against us. Our civilization is fending for itself in every regard.

    With this in mind, I can only postulate that from a purely biological perspective the essence of our existence relies on survival of the fitest. This is why humans are the dominant species on Earth, why we have the genetics we do populating the gene pool, and why we have natural diseases. Survival in itself is perhaps the most important aspect of life from a biological standpoint.

    When we combine survival with the ability to freely think and create, what should we be doing? It can be easily argued that the essence of life is to push the human race forward. Yet, our ability to move us forward also has developed a tendency to move us backwards (i.e. nuclear weapons, man-made diseases).

    Our society is too concerned with where we could possibly end up when we pass and what created us that it neglects to reflect on what life truly is. What society created and has developed into is absolutely fine, but once we get to the core of life that doesn't matter. For the essence of life is perhaps one of the most bewildering topics... and also the single most important one.

    When we dilute life to its simplest form without all the additions that we as a species and a society have made to what should define it, what are we left with?
  2. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    It's all a big mystery. Some Atheists think because there is no scientific proof, there is no purpose, we just happen to be here. On the other end of the spectrum , the religious weave their dogma to explain what we don't know and comfort themselves. Although I profess Agnosticism, when I regard how my brain works, the good vibes and experiences I've had, I think there could be more to this life than a one time biological existence. What could that more be? Besides the things we can't imagine, spirituality is a strong contender. :)
  3. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    My question, from the Universe's perspective, what would it take for a species to become significant? After all, the impact on the Universe would only be recognized by other intelligent species. If we all exist in isolation, there is no impact. The Universe just is. What we do really makes no difference. This is another reason why humans find religion compelling.
  4. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    It's 'survival of the fittest on average'. There is no guarantee in evolution that the fittest (and by the way this does not equate to the healthiest or the smartest) will survive, or indeed anything will survive.

    In any case, I find meaning in my life by looking in befuddled amazement at the people around me growing, changing, and dying. Frankly, if I were alone, I would find no meaning in life. Perhaps I would enjoy the solitude for a while, but in the end I think I would terminate my life. No doubt my source of meaning woudl not satisfy others, but then again I don't care. :p
  5. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    Which is precisely why a lot of people, such as myself, don't buy into this whole "sacrifice everything in your life in order to get by" mentality.
  6. kingalexthe1st macrumors 6502


    Apr 13, 2013
    (My highlights). From a biological point on view, 'survival of the fittest' is actually a bit of a misnomer as it implies evolution equals advancement and progress. 'Fit' could also mean slowest, fastest, slimiest, brightly coloured, dimly coloured and everything in between. It's more like 'survival long enough to reproduce' (or in the case of the peacock, 'survival of the sexiest'.)

    Biology and evolution argue that we're here simply as vehicles for our genes. Imagine your car asking itself what the meaning of its life is, and you tell it that it's to take you from place to place. That's what our bodies are. It's a bit of a depressing answer, really. But it also means we are free to make whatever we want of our lives, and I for one am perfectly content with that. Contribute to the world, go down in history. That's my version of 'life after death' and 'living forever'.

  7. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    on the Western Slopes, with E. A. Poe
    There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
    And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

    And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
    And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

    Robins will wear their feathery fire,
    Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

    And not one will know of the war, not one
    Will care at last when it is done.

    Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
    If mankind perished utterly;

    And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
    Would scarcely know that we were gone.

    -- Sarah Teasdale (1920)

    I find this little poem applies in a lot of situations.
  8. aaronvan Suspended


    Dec 21, 2011
    República Cascadia
    Mankind's existence is brief, insignificant, and purely by chance.

    Some day, perhaps, some alien eye or eyes,
    Blood red in cold and polished horny lids,
    Set in a chitinous face
    Will sweep the arch of some dark, distant sky
    And see a nova flare,
    A flick of light, no more.
    A pinpoint on a photographic plate,
    A foot-note in an alien chart of stars
    Forgotten soon on miles of dusty shelves
    Where alien beetles feed.
    A meal for worms,
    Sole epitaph
    To mark the curious end of restless man,
    Who for a second of galactic time
    Floated upon a speck of cosmic dust
    Around a minor sun.

    "E=MC2" (1961) by Rosser Reeves
  9. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Less is More(?)

    From a cosmic perspective, we're irrelevant.

    Video: Adjust Your Perspective
  10. lannister80 macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2009
    I dunno if we're really "dominant". Think about how many fish are in the sea, or how many millions of ants live in any square mile of land. Or how many billions of bacteria are swarming all over you right now.


    "The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you”

    --Neil deGrasse Tyson
  11. Liberty. macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2008
    The only valid answer.
  12. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040


    Jul 13, 2008
    Elon Musk, visionary behind PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX, agrees that the survival of our species is dependent on humans living on other planets, as he attempts to prove that a civilization can't perpetually exist on a single planet. Musk has a vision of SpaceX eventually making Mars livable for a million people.

    Source: http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/the-elon-musk-interview-on-mars/
  13. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
  14. Tinmania macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2011
    On far less than a cosmic scale, that is like moving out of your house into your barren and inhospitable backyard. There are millions of uninhabited square miles on this planet that are more hospital than Mars.

    Traditionally species and organisms migrate to areas that are better suited for their existence or adapt to changes in their existing environments. What is better suited about Mars?

  15. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended


    Jun 6, 2005
    Universe 0 Timeline
    Depends. If you take the really long view, nothing and nobody gets out of this universe alive. Either it's the heat death or the big crunch awaiting all life with nothing remaining to say that life existed.

    "You are a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here.
    Deteriorata. Deteriorata."
  16. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Seeing as humanity is but a blip on our planet's timeframe, let alone the universe's, I'd like to think:
    That in a small way, the accumulation of my creative ideas, my emotional development and capacity, and my ability to learn to understand others achievements during my lifetime - will all add to the richness (or poorness) of the universe.

    I've always felt that my life is both a fabulous opportunity and a solemn responsibility. Insofar as is appropriate, I'd like to leave the universe a better place than I found it- both actually and metaphysically.
  17. theBostonian Suspended

    Apr 15, 2012
    The fundamental essence of living is twofold: procreation and ensuring the survival of your offspring to further procreate.
  18. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    In the case of the male preying mantis, only onefold.
  19. Symtex macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2005
    The answer to life, the universe and everything is 42.

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