Marcus Yong

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Will we ever find the true meaning of life?

As my question states, we are on a journey, to find our own meaning of life. But is there actually one true meaning of it? Life is a journey, not a destination. Is it fair to say that life has not one, but, a lot of different meanings and purposes? How do we define life? Different emotions give us different perspective on life. Different ways of thinking makes life different for each and everyone of us. The way we think changes through experience. Each day we live gives us new experiences. So, what do you think? Will we ever find the true meaning/meanings of life? Is it permanent or ever-changing? Please share your thoughts, and also tell us your meaning/meanings of life today.

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    Nov 4 2011: For one thing, we're not living things, technically. We're just a niche for replicators. They reproduce, not us.
    And they have no purpose.
    Glad this whole "meaning of life" problem is out of the way. Let's get back to what we're chemically rewarded to do.
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      Nov 9 2011: I think you've read too much books about "the selfish genes". Why do you participate in this "talki" when you don't believe in possibilities of human's mind? It's unlogical. Niches for replicators shouldn't discuss
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        Nov 10 2011: I do believe in possibilities of the human mind. I just don't believe the question of a meaning of life has any meaning.
        Niches for replicators add a perspective, I feel, to this discussion. This is why I brought it up.
        I find it particularly interesting to know that I'm not in charge, that my happiness is a by-product of chemistry. That the reason why I'm typing all this is that both my parents went from a single-cell organism into adulthood, had a mutual desire to have children and take care of them. Amusing to see that I myself have grown into an adult with the same goals and am taking care of children of my own. Funny how the reason why I take care of them is that they need to become adults and need my help for this, they need me to help them out in becoming reproducing adults themselves.
        I accept (and this gives me infinite amounts of pleasure) because their maturity will produce children, and because these children will be 25% of my genes, of me.
        All this life, all these parties, argues, sleeping, sex, meals, friends, carreer... In the end, my existence is an explosion initiated by the cell division and which purpose is the ignition of another explosion.
        I'm part of a chain reaction, and I'm loving every minut of it.
        • Nov 10 2011: I read and read your comment. And honnestly, it sounds very primitive. And I hope that you don't teach your kids that the sense of their life is to reproduce, only... because nothing good would come of it. Give those little people/person a chance to have real values, emotions and life.
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        Nov 11 2011: Dear Pocahontas,
        The way genes survive is reproduction and to do that, organisms need to reach sexual maturity.
        This I will teach my kids as soon as they may understand it.
        However, this has nothing to do with "real values" as you say correctly. It's just interesting facts everyone should think about. Gives you a perspective on things.
        Don't worry, I am encouraging creativity in my kids as much as curiosity, kindness and seeking simple pleasures. I believe that a good person is a happy person and I believe in happiness.

        Yet, on another level, I know that I'm being tricked by a bunch of genes. But who cares, if being fooled makes me happy?
        It's the selfish gene and the happy fool, isn't it?
        • Nov 11 2011: Hello Gerald,I have only one question for you before to send you my humble opinion.

          Do you think that you are a good person (i.e May your actions now and in the past bring you to a conclusion that you are a GOOD person, who may give a proper example to a child)?

          Thank you in advance for your response.My comment to follow
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        Nov 11 2011: @pocahontas

        I wish I could answer YES, but I don't know what a good person is. I know what an altruistic deed is, I know what self sacrifice means, I know what kindness and compassion mean...
        So before this one answer, one single question for you ; what is a good person?
        • Nov 15 2011: Hi. I can tell you what I think is the meaning of "good person" - good person for me is a person who can have the basic values that I have. For me to be good person is:
          1. to realize that we all have feelings, and those feelings should be treated with respect and not just respect but greater than respect.
          2 A person has two hearts: one that loves to do the right thing, and one that prefers to be selfish. I have preference towards people who prefer doing the right thing than to be selfish. To be selfish is a weakness for me. Unfortunately, people prefer to be selfish coz it is easier. The good person has the strength to face the difficulty and save the other people who love him/her even if that means to hurt himself/herself. This for me is the meaning of a GOOD PERSON.
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        Nov 16 2011: @pocahontas

        I don't understand why self sacrifice has nothing to do with selfishness. Don't you feel happy when you give money to someone in need? Is that not self-interest, then?
        Anyway, I guess you would consider me to be a good person, since I seem to go out of my way to make people around me happy, and never do anything to hurt their feelings. So my answer is yes.
        • Nov 16 2011: I did not say anything about self sacrifice in my comment, exactly for the reason you are mentioning. You are absolutely right about it. But maybe you should read my comment again in order to understand what I actually meant. And I really hope that you did/do what you say. IIt would be wonderful if it is so. However, I am a bit concerned considering another comment that you made once re: my question in TED "Have you ever hurt someone who loves you. Why?" - coz there man you said other things...
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      Nov 12 2011: Hi Gerald

      So millions of miles of DNA, Tens of thousands of miles of blood piping, tens of thousands of miles of nerves, & trillions of cells as complex as a city all just happened to get together to reproduce. Once together they set about repairing & replacing themselves at tens of thousands per second, so that after 10yrs or so we are brand-new again. Does it not seem as though maybe someone has thought this through ? Does it never cross your mind that just maybe there is a plan ?

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        Nov 13 2011: : Very often, people misunderstand theories on evolution as theories of chance.
        And indeed, the odds required to luckily assemble all the pieces that make a living organism are against it.
        So we have elegant theories that successfull explain all the wonders you're talking about, which have nothing to do with chance.

        But still. Chance is a better explanation than intelligent design. If you know anything about nature, it is obvious that there is no plan at all. Also, it's poor philosophy to think that creation is explained by the existence of a creator without a creator.
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          Nov 13 2011: Smart & all as we are the mechanisms are way beyond our understanding. For natural forces without any intelligent input to achieve what is before us is just a non-starter as far as I can see. But each to his own; if it works for you.

          An eternal creator would not require; indeed couldn't have; a creator. I cannot explain that, but it's logical. Also requires less faith than the 'natural forces' route.

        • Nov 30 2011: The other 29% is land and ice.

          Maybe if this "creator" was truely omniscient, he would know how to make a system where we could drink the salt water! It is called nature...
      • Nov 30 2011: Hey Peter,

        I don't believe that there is a plan. Who would plan us to be on a planet with only 1% of drinking water? while the other 70% of water is not drinkable? Whoever planned it must have been pretty stupid. We are here due to Natural Selection, or evolution. No one created anything, it just happened!
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          Nov 30 2011: Hi Blake

          if 1% is drinkable, & 70% non-drinkable, what about the remaining 29% ?

          Seriously, water is water. To get clear water it has to evaporate & fall as rain. It then gets contaminated by salt on it's way to the sea. If it didn't go round in the cycle then once it got contaminated it would be lost.

          What process would you expect a 'smart' god to use in order to keep us supplied with fresh water ?

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    Dec 1 2011: If you were told you would have to pay with your life to find out, would you?
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    Nov 6 2011: Certainly Marcus, we will for sure ! But in the meantime, live LIFE like there is no tomorrow, time is passing by, get busy leaving your life to the fullest. This is another day that God has made, choose to rejoice, and be glad in it.

    Circumtances, situations, difficulties, happiness, loyalty, blessings, all part of life, just live what's in your path, this is your OWN experiences. There will never be another November 26 2011, never again, so better freakin enjoy it when is there!

    Meaning of life : JUST LIVE IT, and you will see at the end, the meaning of it. Give your 100% in all, even when you are doing the dishes, give your 100%.

    For me the meaning of life, is to go after my passion and conquer over my fears and become the best human being I can ever be. It hard to change habits etc., we all know what good and bad within us, I believe we are here to change, that thing within us, to become better. If you have anger as in issue, you have to do the work to change this within yourself, to become a better person, by doing so, new doors, opportunities come your way, to have it more easy, more peaceful life.....

    Embrace it, enjoy it, cry it, dress it, bless it, give it, share it for somebody else's life to be better !!

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      Nov 6 2011: Life is for living well and helping others live well. Lovely!! Well said Mirella.
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        Nov 6 2011: I really hope that you have a full and bless life Juliette ! You deserve it!!
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          Nov 6 2011: Soyez béni également vous-même, avec la transformation de votre vie et autorisé à augmenter le bon pour les gens en ce monde avec amour. (Voyez !! merveilleux que vous m'avez déjà inspiré a vous écrire dans une autre langue ;-)
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    Nov 19 2011: Marcus why you dont attempt to invent your own true meaning of life?
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    Nov 10 2011: Once you stop looking, your on the path brother.
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    Nov 8 2011: Hi again Marcus !

    Here is a link that may or may not address your question. When I was about your age, one of this author's books entitled, "Man's Search for Meaning", touched me very deeply... and still does.

    All the Best !
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    Nov 6 2011: Hi Marcus,

    Maybe the question should be to each and every person as an individual, "will you ever find the true meaning of your life?"
    It is up to each individual to create the meaning for their own life. Yes?

  • Nov 6 2011: Life is like the last three letters of the word life.

    It's "if" "e" (iffy)

    Life is experiencing everything we once knew,
    But never had to go through.

    Find yourself.
    Love yourself.
    Share yourself.
    Die yourself.

    Because at each step:
    The mind creates the abyss,
    And the heart must cross this.

    And above all:
    Be present.
    Now the present is,
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    Nov 5 2011: Hi Marcus,
    The meaning of life is whatever meaning we give to life...don't you think? I agree with you that we are on a journey to find our own meaning. I also agree that life is a journey...not a destination. To me, life is an adventurous exploration in which I will be the best that I can be in each and every moment. That is the meaning life has for me, and it takes in a HUGE scope of possibilities:>) For me, it is ever-changing because one of the most important elements in an exploration is that it may be constantly changing.

    You may have noticed that many people here on TED define the meaning of life in many different ways? Different perspectives? That's what makes life interesting to me:>)
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    Nov 5 2011: Uncertainty is the companion of adventure !
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    Nov 4 2011: I agree with you that life is a journey but it's a journey none of us had planned to do.
    Everyone began this journey for someone else's will/wish. It's the strangest and fascinating of all journeys for which it was not you to pay the ticket.
    I never tried to find a "true meaning" in my life, I don't think there is. The only true meaning, in my opinion, is living: discovering new feelings, emotions, doing new experiences, learning new things...and like any journey it has a begin and an end. :)
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    Nov 19 2011: to love
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    Nov 15 2011: Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

    A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

    {Westminster Confession; Shorter Catechism.}

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      Nov 30 2011: Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; 
The proper study of Mankind is Man. – Alexander Pope
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    Nov 9 2011: Thanks for all the feedback so far. I can see a lot of different opinions from each and everyone of you. As you all can see, each of us have different views on life. We all go through different experiences at different times. In my opinion, this shapes the way we think, and the way we see things. Its great to see your answers and your personal views on life, so, keep them coming! :)
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    Nov 7 2011: Objectively no. The question really is searching for an objective answer to the existence of human life, which I do not think can be answered objectively.

    But since most people cannot deal with this reality, religious traditions are created. Immortal systems created by society and culture also plays a role in this. All and all, we (human beings) create meanings through our various actions and the vicissitudes of our experiences.

    From an existential/subjective perspective, we can create our own meaning for life and this may indeed be fine but this is not what most people do. What is done is that the experiences that one has and the significance of these experiences are then imposed on other individuals and passed off as truth. Meanings through subjectivity does not get one closer to any real meaning of life and if subjective meaning and the significance that comes out of it happens to play a role on the true metaphysical nature of the world, this is certainly almost by accident.

    Sorry to sound almost nihilistic but I really do not believe that there is an objective meaning to ones existence. This is not to say that ones life does not matter (at least to the individual) and this also does not mean that ones experiences do not matter. They do matter, but they have nothing to offer to the world objectively (at least in this context).
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    Nov 7 2011: Asking this kind of questions could sound deep and interesting, maybe misterious. And theres a lot of theories about...boring theories that demonstrate that is like dig in the wrong place....the gold is in a different place.
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    Nov 7 2011: @Juliette Zahn:

    Superbe, la langue de Molière ! C'est beau le Français n'est-ce pas !

    Je persévérai jusqu'à mon dernier souffle à être honnête, loyale, intègre, et d'apporter quelque chose à autrui, que je le ou la connaisse et je vais contribuer largement dans ma société : le monde.

    Je reçois vos vœux très volontiers!!

    Paix, amour, joie et passion....sont à vous !
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    Nov 6 2011: Marcus the life is a funny story tell by a shadow. Just live it. But if you want to spend your life finding things that maybe doesnt o.k.....
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    Nov 5 2011: I think we will never really find the true meaning of life as it all starts with two questions;"who am I ?" and "what am i doing here?" these can never be truely answered.We all search for the answer through our lives,but most of us are searching at the wrong places , we try to get closer to the answer but we are accually running away from it,because in the end that answer is right here,within ourselves.Yes the answer will never be clear,but we can get get close to it by questioning ourselves,trying to look at the world through different perspectives and see the big picture,so we are no longer lost in the details,so we can see what role we play in that picture,what are we doing right? what are we doing wrong? and finally notice that we are all in this journey together,we are all searching and that we should savour every bit of it.
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    Nov 4 2011: I think that we each have to find our own individual conceptualization of the 'meaning' for our own lives. I am not convinced that life has a meaning other than to expand, to grow and to learn.
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    Nov 4 2011: We still don't know what dark energy is and it makes up 70% of the universe. 'So what?' one may ask. Until we can see the forest through the trees, the 'true' meaning is unknowable, in my very humble opinion. In the meantime, for all those that have responded thus far - thumbs up!
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    Nov 4 2011: 1 purpose = EVOLUTION , 1 goal = ENLIGHTENMENT , 1 state = BLISS , many roads, many starting points, the jurnay and goal is one!