Sunday School

Sunday School January 20th 2019

This topic contains 44 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #25209

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Who do you want to matter to? Why do you want to matter? Why do you feel your life ought to have meaning? Where does the desire for meaning come from?

    This a good question: do we need meaning, and if so, why?

    We naturally matter to ourselves, and most of us need to matter to others too.  Because humans are so heavily into cooperation, each (most) of us is both an “I” and a “we”.  It’s seen as “higher” and “more spiritual” to join with the “we” than to stay within the limited circle of “I”.

    Without meaning, life is meaningless, and it seems that people don’t like life to be meaningless, it goes along with “aimless”, “pointless” etc.  I think this shows the connection between meaning and goals: when something affects a great goal, there is great meaning attached to it.  If we don’t have goals, we don’t feel alive: it’s distressing to live like that.

    I think we need goals because of the pressure to thrive: if we’re not actually pressing on forwards in some way, we feel like we’re marooned on a desert island or something.

    #25210

    Without meaning, life is meaningless, and it seems that people don’t like life to be meaningless, it goes along with “aimless”, “pointless” etc.

    That is quite the tautology Simon.  For many millions of people life means being born to suffer. They live on the edge of starvation and famine and often know nothing other than civil war and conflict. Their goal is to simply survive. They only understand the pressure to survive another day and give little thought to thriving.  But yes, I am sure that they feel like they are marooned on a desert island or something like that.

    #25211

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Their goal is to simple survive. They only understand the pressure to survive another day and give little thought to thriving.

    I am sure they also want to thrive.

    When someone’s back is up against the wall, small things take on a great meaning.

    #25212

    _Robert_
    Participant

    For many millions of people life means being born to suffer. They live on the edge of starvation and famine and often know nothing other than civil war and conflict.

    I cannot even comprehend that level of suffering, In fact, I wish to not even think about it. But it’s real..and in the time I take compose this drivel, many little children will die in agony. I have had bursts of energy when I have helped with holding fund raisers but it doesn’t amount to much. Empathy has an emotional price that is easier to bear in groups and secular based charities are finally starting to emerge.

    #25213

    One easy way we can all help is to make small loans to people. $30-$100 is probably nothing to most of us. If in the unlikely event of never getting it back we will still eat tomorrow and sleep in a bed afterwards.

    Here is how to do it. Kiva Lending

    Come on folks….you know you want to 🙂

    #25214

    Unseen
    Participant

    For many millions of people life means being born to suffer. They live on the edge of starvation and famine and often know nothing other than civil war and conflict.

    Add to that the supreme irony of being born at all on the planet Earth, the only place we know of anywhere in the cosmos with any life on it at all.

    #25215

    Strega
    Moderator

    Thanks for Kiva, Reg. Good website.

    #25216

    Strega
    Moderator

    @simonpaynton

    ”Without meaning, life is meaningless”

    Was this statement worth the font it was written in?  It’s more fun to note that without Ruth, life is ruthless.

    I don’t have an award for stating the obvious, but if I did, I’d be awarding it for that one

    #25217

    Davis
    Participant

    I am sure they also want to thrive.

    Simon, your “thriving” meme has sort of morphed into a false dichotomy of either:

    1. People are compelled by nature to thrive

    2. People are not compelled by nature to thrive.

    Things aren’t remotely this black and white. There are thousands of consideration that go into human decisions and life choices and jamming them into “thriving” (whatever that means) and “not thriving” is a pointless exercise.

    Baring the fact that we are yet to have a good clear detailed definition of thriving (especially when translated to say, insects or bacteria) that isn’t already obvious and explained through other means) not every person has the slightest consideration of thriving. How do you thrive when you live in fear every day of doing something that angers people who abuse or oppress you. How to you thrive when you’ve been given next to no education nor even the “idea” that you could, say in another world, thrive? How many millions upon millions of Hindus in India take life as it has been given and accept and respect that while only making the slowest and most careful changes in their lives/culture? We are talking an enormous chunk of human beings here. How many pre-civilization culture/tribes engaged in slavery, cannibalism and conflict? What century in the last four millenia did NOT involve HUNDREDS of wars with millions killing millions, including raping mothers and then killing them or burning entire towns of “thriving people” to the ground? Humans have an enormous propensity to cruelty, especially with warriors/soldiers dedicating their lives to destruction and suffering. I don’t know how all those millions of soldier were “thriving” while they were sticking their spears in little boys and shackling up girls to become sex-slaves. And no, this behavior is not exceptional. It is NOT an aberration. It is near universal in pre 20th century civilizations. And how does it even make sense that nature is prone to and develops thriving when one person thriving is often based on limiting another person from thriving? Is there some kind of natural drive to pseudo-thriving? Or maybe thriving-of-the-lucky or thriving-of-the-smartest? or thriving-of-the-non-oppressed?

    #25218

    Davis
    Participant

    ”Without meaning, life is meaningless”

    Have you found some cosmic source of information which suddenly says “humans are entitled to meaning”? MUST that meaning be inherent? Is it possible that most “meaning” in life is dictated by manipulative religions/ideologies/insanity? Perhaps the greatest meaning of all is what an individual objectively works out on their own? Is it not very possible to have a meaning in life which is the antithesis of “thriving”? Just survey the last 5,000 years and you’ll see just how much “meaning” has led humans not “thriving”. The history of man and civilization is not the kind of world we are fortunate to live in now. What we experience in the West is not remotely close to human history and it would help if you tried accepting that human civilizations involved a lot of systemic cruelty, dark ghastly deeds and suffering…that life for many was not kind to the idea of “thriving”.  Just take a walk around most of Africa and you’ll see this even in our privileged century. Disease, war, prostitution, hunger, drought, infant mortality, maternal mortality, short lives, religious poison, exclusion, witches. There is not a whole lot of thriving going on in Southern Sudan or Somalia…and these places, are a whole lot more similar to human history than ours is.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Davis.
    #25220

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Thanks for Kiva, Reg. Good website.

    Yes, I think it will be fun selecting. What a great idea !

    #25221

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    There is not a whole lot of thriving going on in Southern Sudan or Somalia…and these places, are a whole lot more similar to human history than ours is.

    I’ve never said that everybody thrives, I’ve always said that everybody wants to thrive.

    #25222

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    how does it even make sense that nature is prone to and develops thriving when one person thriving is often based on limiting another person from thriving?

    Natural selection is relative.

    #25223

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    a good clear detailed definition of thriving (especially when translated to say, insects or bacteria)

    A state of physical and psychological health and strength.

    Is it not very possible to have a meaning in life which is the antithesis of “thriving”?

    One definition of the meaning of X is the way that X is relevant to one’s goals.  So, if one’s goal is not to thrive, meaning is relevant to this goal.

     

    #25224

    Strega
    Moderator

    What if ones goal is to be a perfect serial killer?

    Seriously, using the term ‘thrive’ is like using a blank card that you declare anything you like to be written on it.  It’s a contextual term that doesn’t have specific meaning between contexts.

    I’m still waiting to hear why ‘meaning’ has any significance to survival and species proliferation. Once we decide that only humans seek ‘meaning’ we move away from the animal kingdom and into the realms of human philosophy or religion. It eliminates the animal kingdom’s instinctive behaviors.

    To have external ‘meaning’ there needs to be a someone else to whom the meaning matters.  Not some blurry wellbeing of society – that’s too easy to say and too pointless to debate.

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