Is existence a zero-sum game? How do you deal with its perceived futility?

 V (@Volod)5 years, 6 months ago

I don’t know (I should just stop right there)… I don’t know how I came to be the being that I am, both in a grand scheme of self-aware consciousness and in the narrow personal narrative. Regarding the former I have some ideas, some theories and guesses based on theories and guesses of other people. And of course I have some ideas about my own little causal chain, a history framed by fallible memory.

Even the factual feels vague and tenuous when considering from within.

More to the point of intended discussion, I don’t know, but it seems that all is for naught. It feels almost trite to say now, but a roaming black hole might lap up our solar system or you might slip, fall, hit your head and die. So I suppose my perceived problem here is finitude (not a word?).  

Granted, maybe I’m only constructing some grand existential concern to mask my own ineptitude at existence.

Said concern might not even be that deep, but really just a shallow shutter from the fearful ego of the unenlightened.

If any of this resonates with you please throw some words at me. I’ll take words of cosmic wisdom, words of practical advise, or those humor and distraction. 


Thanks to all in advance


-V

November 24, 2015 at 11:57 am
Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Death and impermanence awaits us all. But does that automatically mean all is for naught? Perhaps. But that is your decision. It is your responsibility to deal with that perspective. 

Perhaps it is enough to ask, if so, so what?

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V (1) (@Volod) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

I do not deny that I am largely responsible for crafting such downer narrative for myself. Interestingly though, its not all bad at all times in my experience, this outlook has brought me calm and comfort in difficult times. And asking ‘so what?’ has led me to a something of an absurdist outlook/philosophy, which has brought me genuine joy. Yet the feeling of ‘what it is all for’ lingers in the background (most of all I just do not want to feel alone in that feeling anymore). But then I also recognize the impracticality of such a mindset in day-to-day life and that is what I am currently trying to work through. 

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Anjelica (101) (@Anjelica) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

I used to be this way a lot. Resolution comes from not needing resolution to be in your presence. Seeking cognitive closure clouds your true charism. Sorry if that doesn’t make any sense. everyone needs to work it out for themselves.. But people spend a lot of energy philosophizing that they don’t matter and causing themselves pain with the justification that it’s the truth so walking around nihilistic is  logical? It takes just as much faith to decide life is meaningless as it does to consider it meaningful 

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V (1) (@Volod) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

It makes sense on an intellectual level, but the moments when I experience that sort of ease are very rare. And over-philosophizing can certainly feel draining at times; and worse it can seem like it produces an answer, but a very unsatisfying one. On this topic, doubt has brought me closer to peace and acceptance than has certainty. Yet faith has never a component of my character, and I’m almost envious of the people that have it. 

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Anjelica (101) (@Anjelica) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

It requires a lot of faith to be so sure that life is probably meaningless that it affects your mood. 

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Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Plus, faith is not a quality of character, it is a leap which anyone can make. Of course, this concept has been so watered-down that it is now used for almost any justification, ‘it is just I believe in’. But that is not the same as what I am talking about, it is much more of an existential turnaround, a letting go, a floating, a trust, a re-connection or remembrance. I believe it’s there for everyone.

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V (1) (@Volod) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

There is a varied degree of natural [biological] predisposition to having ‘faith’, like any other characteristic. It seems that mine is lower than some (or than many perhaps). 

And why do you believe that this existential turnaround you’re talking about is accessible to anyone and everyone? 

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JonH (1,139)C (@IJesusChrist) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

I think it is a fruitful effort to attempt to remove the existential question of “Why?” from your daily life. Don’t stop questioning, but don’t bog yourself down with something that may be impossible to truly understand,.

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V (1) (@Volod) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

It’s just that generally asking “Why?” is so critical for proper motivation and inspiration in an avenue of life, it’s sometimes difficult to ignore the big one. Merely ignoring it does not seem like a healthy solution. Adopting some spiritual answer does not fit me unfortunately. And just letting go would require letting go of a lot of what makes me what I am… maybe that’s what;s holding me back? And I suppose I’ve convinced myself that it would require an almost inhuman level of strength and wisdom or complete and utter ignorance. So here I am stuck somewhere in between.   

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Ben (231)M (@benjamin) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Alan Watts gave me my answer to this question a few years ago:

Basically, of course it means nothing!  But that means youre totally free.  It’s a pretty existential point of view.  Life is meaningless, but that means you get to make your own meaning.  Ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, you are not chained to a meaning that was created without your consent.  Human life has limitations, has opportunities, and you get to create whatever you want with the circumstances you’re given.  So instead of wallowing in meaninglessness go make your life into a beautiful work of art.  Craft yourself into a wonderful response to life.

Ben @ http://www.syntropulse.com

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V (1) (@Volod) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

A wonderful and freeing approach!

Hard to keep it up sometimes. Or rather its hard to genuinely embody it. It feels like I’m performing an act, though hopefully an amusing one. I’m not even sure who I’m trying to amuse, you or me. 

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Jleebs (19) (@Jleebs) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Maybe changing your approach can help you come to some understanding that is logical. I search for the same answers as well, but it is seemingly impossible to intellectually reduce life to have a meaning. I can’t rationally explain why we are here, right now. Perhaps life doesn’t have meaning.. meaning is finding the root, the cause, the why, but in order to have meaning there must be a concept. A poem that has meaning, a reason, a why, has a concept. I don’t think life or the questions we ask of life can be intellectually conceptualized, because it would need to have “underlying” meaning, something that’s not directly expressed. Whereas I don’t think anything about life is truly hidden, but rather clouded by ideas of what it could be or should be. I know it might not be a comforting ideology, but truly everything is up to perspective.. Who are you in this world? To be someone born with a burning cosmic inquisition is a gift in itself.

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Everyone (3) (@Freymar-Marinosson) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

You are a god of the highest caliber, Imagination is your key and love the fuel.
I’m not sure you can reach those heights in this space and time, its up to you.
Just be nice and help people, broadcast love into the ripples of your existence and you will be welcomed into higher being after your death.
But you will be stuck there with others, just waiting for the next door to open for eternity.
Its never a bad place, but you will still be seeking what you are now.
Words will never grasp the complexity of being and the word endless will never describe the feeling of it.
Words and thought can only get you so far, let go of everything and feel your way forward.
I will always be on the other side waiting for you.

Once you are the most powerful being in all the universes, you don’t want to be – you want equals.
I will forget this world. There is no need for memory, it only holds you back.

When you can feel the endless universes in a raindrop falling on your face, you will never swear it again. 

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V (1) (@Volod) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Coolio

:)

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martouk (67) (@martouk) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

The only futility I see is how humanity demands to stay the same, never advancing its species consciousness, always defending what was and never seeing what can be. I have never seen a more misguided race of beings than the human race on this planet operating strictly from the ego consciousness, defending, intellectualizing, demanding its view of reality and always challenging anything that rubs against the grain of this system of consciousness. I do not find my life futile or without meaning, but what I see everywhere in the world is futility of limited consciousness when there is so much more to be had.

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JonH (1,139)C (@IJesusChrist) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

advancing – advancing to what? To what end? What level of consciousness is enough? Isn’t ‘advancing’ futile in itself? For you can never reach an end… no?

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martouk (67) (@martouk) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

It is the journey itself that is important, but there are goalposts along the way. If you consider conscious advancement futile, and choose to not pursue that path, you will never know whether it is futile or not. Staying the same is always the safer game, but generally unrewarding in the end.

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JonH (1,139)C (@IJesusChrist) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

I assume you’re aware of buddhist ideologies, in which nirvana, a state of simply being, is the ultimate reward, there is no advancement, but rather a removal of all advancement, all wanting, all desire for anything at all. 

There is quite a lot of psychology saying that the seeking of ‘advancement’ is actually detrimental to rewards. See materialism. Although, I must confess that materialism is likely different than the advancement of consciousness, it is still a desire.

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martouk (67) (@martouk) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

What institutional Buddhism teaches about Nirvana is not what Buddha meat by coining the word. Nirvana is an advanced state of consciousness. The only modern author I have found that recognizes this without relying on institutional religious overtones is Endall Beall in his Evolution of Consciousness series of books. If you are interested, you might read a few of them, at the very least, maybe Willful Evolution.

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JonH (1,139)C (@IJesusChrist) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

It isn’t a complicated subject, in so far as it can be explained. Actually contemplating what it means is somewhat difficult, otherwise we would be able to attain it, albeit fleetingly, and thus buddhism wouldn’t be a li….. nevermind.

It is just the reaching of an egoless state. All desire ceases, and unity with everything is seen. It is meant to be perceived as blissful, but many buddhists realize that this is false since bliss would imply pain. Thus they believe it is the absence of bliss or pain – and thus pure contentedness.

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martouk (67) (@martouk) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Buddhists have it wrong, as do most mystics, unfortunately. Advanced consciousness has nothing to do with oneness or perpetual bliss, yet that is what everyone seems to be seeking but can’t find. It doesn’t exist except as an expectation.

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V (1) (@Volod) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

So you’re saying lets move on along, try some new stuff and see what happens (better than being static at least)? I’d be down for that actually. 

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martouk (67) (@martouk) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Yes, it’s called evolving our consicousness.

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JonH (1,139)C (@IJesusChrist) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

You don’t know. None of us know. Beyond that, every word of ‘advice’ or ‘wisdom’ is just either going to be one of two things:

Fear

or

Hope

That’s it buddy. Figure out which you prefer. 

Fear will tell you hope is false. Hope will tell you fear is naive and foolish. None of us are getting out of here alive, so pick your weapon and live it out. Maybe it matters, maybe it doesn’t. The fact that you exist and experience by itself kind of lends some meaning to it all, but who am I to truly say?

I’m not God, after all…

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K4RM4 (19) (@K4RM4) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Are you sure you’re not? To clarify, I’m not saying you and you alone. Martin Ball’s “Being Human” book argues that every human being is a God bio-vehicle. Humans are a fractal energetic representation of intuitive creative consciousness. It’ s a worthy read for philosophical contemplation about the grand scheme of life. The metaphor that makes sense to me is that of fingers connected to a hand/arm/body/brain; individual human incarnations with unique sensory perception equipment connected to a source consciousness. It’s an excellent way to run a simulation and experience that which exists in three dimensions.

To put it another way, consider what Ram Dass wrote in “Be Here Now“, which essentially says that “I’m Christ, you’re Christ, we’re all Christ if we choose to be… the key is living at the Christ vibration that’s rooted in peace, love, compassion (4th chakra) and includes conscious communication (5th chakra) of knowledge (6th chakra) and self actualization/divine living (7th chakra).” This doesn’t mean everyone will live a perfect life free from any falls in consciousness (to contrast Jesus’ life story), but that we may each be “brothers in Christ” as is written in the Bible. “Let this mind be in you that is in Christ Jesus”  is in there too. Though any human that is not a perfect incarnation as Jesus is thought to have been, all may operate at the optimal vibration. Despite the falls, as Terence McKenna said “nothing is wrong; everything is on track.” The important part is to learn, to improve, to awaken.

What’s the purpose of this existence? The best I can come up with is “to positively evolve consciousness.”

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JonH (1,139)C (@IJesusChrist) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

I wrote it as a strange kind of sarcasm :P

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martouk (67) (@martouk) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Your final sentence is what counts. Advancement of consciousness is the purpose of life.

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V (1) (@Volod) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

But I’m so indecisive!

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jocelynk (4) (@jocelynk) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Anyone for Camus’s idea of reveling in the absurdity of it all? Faith and belief in one’s self is necessary and beautiful, but for me personally it’s not a satisfying answer. Also, V, I like your perspective. 

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V (1) (@Volod) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Yep. That approach has made me look markedly cooler and be way funnier. I’d like to keep the humour, but the Camus-like rebel approach just seems like a passing stage one goes through in their early twenties (not sustainable), so for now I’ll take it. 

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jocelynk (4) (@jocelynk) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Fair enough. 

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Peter (116) (@Gismo) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

“Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?”

I’m agnostic so the quote is not nessesarily meant in any religious context, but sometimes I feel my journey/experience is progressing in ways that I couldn’t even have imagined and I can’t help the feeling that the my existence is somehow being moulded in some form or shape by whatever this that engulfs “me” is.. Since I found the inner strength to let my life be lead by my gut feeling, learning as I go and accepting myself in my experiences as I am at that current moment whatever progresses, I have found life starting to unfold before me in ways previous many years of strainous effort has not.. My experience of existence sees no red thread other than for me to learn and evolve in order for me to increase my happiness and the expression/spreading of it.. Yes the world can be ‘hard’ but sometimes it’s a hard lesson we have to learn in order to ‘move’.. I don’t know the correct word for the concept, but the belief that the universe will keep throwing the same kind of experiences at you untill you learn what you “are supposed to learn”, appeals to me and correlates with many experiences in my life looking back; trusting your gut feeling and letting yourself ‘be’ and evolving ‘naturally’ through what these experiences provides being some of my hard learned lessons..

Meaning is a word/concept created by humans, it hasn’t nessesarily any substance in the ephemeral experience of a human lifetime in the vast scope of the cosmos.. What meaning holds a candle to the dark other than to light it..

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