• Log In
  • Sign Up
    • The thought of Bezos sitting in the same ring of Dante's Inferno as Socrates and Virgil scared me a little, but I like the idea of humility Bezos proposes. Any justification seems to be an ultimate desire for humility. Whether your meaning is to be liked or passionate, I see anyone who has great meaning as humble and true. The hard part, for me at least, is finding a meaning to hold onto. There are so many great reasons for living!

      Somewhat unrelated, your reply brought to mind this poem by A.R. Ammons.

    • I know, it sounds insane to quote Bezos and Couric in a discussion of Socrates. 😁

      It reminds me of when Steve Jobs went to India in search of enlightenment and came back with his famous quote: "Thomas Edison did a lot more to improve the world than Karl Marx and Neem Karoli Baba (the guru he was seeking, who died before they could meet) put together."

      I don't mean to diminish the philosophers, I love to read what they write, but I always come back to "Let's build something, take some photos, climb a mountain and enjoy the view."

    • Simple answer, I don't and I don't see any reason to. I'm just a cosmic accident and IMO, so is everyone else. But I don't consider that a reason to despair. I value my connection with other people, my enjoyment of the arts and humor, and the rare and fleeting feeling that some things make sense somehow. I just don't really understand why anyone would need to justify their existence. Justify to whom?

    • In college I studied these people. I was a philosophy major. I had an ineluctable void within myself which I could not identify. I studied world religions in hopes to gain a better understanding of myself. When is got to the social sciences I realized a psychological need for the concept of God to balance the mind, in a way.

      In my early twenties. I realized existence was selfish. I had to take water and food to stay alive. What was I giving back? I had merely been doing what I wanted. I was motivated by my own desires and will. I had achieved everything I wanted to achieve in life. I felt fulfilled, but I kept on living. My life got very dark and I struggled to survive. Then came existence outside and beyond myself.

      I prefer poetry to philosophy. So much more truth can be conveyed in so few words. That being said, mental health issues and addiction drove me into self-destruction. In recovery I have learned to be of service to others, to give back. After losing my son, I realized, my life was better lived the best I could live it. Observing all of the people my son had positively and profoundly effected in his short life gave me an example to live by and motivation to do more and be more.

      I have learned, I am responsible for myself, my experience, my motives and actions. I am also responsible for my attitude or approach to life, the way I think, what I chose to believe and how I am in the world. These are the only real things I have any power over. And that power is limited on my own accord.

      To the original point, what makes my existence valuable or justified is my constant progress in becoming more helpful to the people in my life and the world at large. I believe I am spirit having a human experience. I need to learn and grow my spirit and what I do with it. This is practiced through mindfulness, for me.

      When I am to serivice for others my existence becomes valuable beyond myself. I think the measure of my existnebce is the measure of positive impact my actions have had on others and the world as a whole. My existence is the net result of the effect I have had on others. If I have more positive impact than negative then that’s a start. Otherwise, it is a constant process of becoming more of my true self so I can be more of who I am meant to be in the world. I find my greatest purpose is in being my greatest self.

    • My thought is that to ask why we exist is irrelevant, it may only serve as a biology lesson. What we enjoy and whom and what we are passionate about and what we do with our existence is relevant and makes it worthwhile, at least in my opinion - to each of us, and loved ones, and to a greater extent the surrounding world of people many of whom we may never meet or know about. To me the question should be - what have I done today that made my life worth while. And the perfectly reasonable answer for each person would be so diverse as to make the humanity "painting" look like a milliard of stars in the sky. Looking at the world, it is as much the mirror of our mind as it's own reality, and we can and do change a little of it.

    • You do know and I also certainly hope you feel awesome forever about it, because every moment those on ADV could not have connected the way we did, without it being what you made it. It's a gift to the world, and like most precious ones, they aren't ever valued in currency.

    • Thank you, Dracula. 😁 I shake my head in wonder about it sometimes. I often ask myself why does it exist and why such an important thing in so many lives? And yet it is and so I keep it going.

      That little piece of software has hundreds of us going to Wisconsin in August to camp and ride together, and to stay up late in the night talking. 2 million people a month come to read the posts.

      Few of my friends irl know about it and I don’t list it on LinkedIn. It’s just this strange love we all have and I can’t explain for Adventure motorcycling and each other.

    • Hi Blake.

      You pose an interesting question.

      Two things I’ve recently read come to mind—

      Midlife: A Philosophical Guide (written by a philosophy professor at MIT) ponders your question from the perspective of one who has lived past the age most people who are going to change the world have done the bulk of their work. He uses plain talk along with occasional references to various philosophers to explore questions of personal meaning that people in midlife tend to get all wrapped up about. (This has also brought up recollections from Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, another thought-provoking look at mortality...)

      And the second item: a recent article in the LA Times that profiles a woman who was caught in a hostage situation last month, and how her life’s work and self-discipline (if that’s the right word) had an incredible impact on the outcome of that situation. Unlike the SWAT team that responded to the situation with militant efforts to resolve it in a textbook way, she mediated it very differently—in a way that reveals how she had developed a type of justification for her existence over many years.

    • I recently found great meaning in the birth of a new cousin: THE POWER OF LIFE! I kept writing friends. The moment the new baby emerged, I was struck with awe. “This is our only reason,” I thought. PROCREATION!

      Then I had to clean the baby’s diaper and rock it for hours while it yelled at me. Procreation might be a meaning for others, but I don’t know if it’s for me ...

    • 1. All life is a manifesting of an unfolding Reality, called by many names: God, Tao, Allah, Nature, Brahman etc.

      2. Human beings have an innate capacity to know this Reality. Methods of access include meditation, swimming, cooking, washing, touching, watching, listening. More likely to occur in the silence at the end of a conversation, than in the heat of discourse.

      3. If recognition of this Reality does not induce compassion, humility, and a desire for
      connection, then it is possible that you have been playing an intellectual mind
      game. Maybe you have mistaken Reality for the nose which sticks to the front of
      your vision.

      4. The recognition of Reality, and the action which unfolds, unwilled, from that recognition, is the highest human calling.

    • via the action which unfolds from a recognition of Reality.

      meaning cannot be known via articulation, theory or visual expression.

      That said philosophy, art and conversation can certainly be useful ways to dislodge fixed internal assumptions, clear the way for the contemplation which necessitates action. Laxatives, if you will.

      When we recognise Reality, we act accordingly.

      I have found the writing of Simone Weil to be useful when thinking about the type of action which is necessitated -- when a free action is comparatively liberated from the vacillations of choice.

    • What are you looking for? Justification for existence or are you looking to form a serious understanding of existence?

      Justification is a form of conclusion, which is a dead.

      Understanding is active and living.

    • What do you mean by:

      Justification is a form of conclusion, which is a dead.

      Justification is your belief of why you are living. But it changes through time and circumstances. For example if you had a life changing event such as an accident or fortune, it will change your justification. You might find a completely different reason for living and maybe even a new calling to help others.