In general, I think it’s hard for people (especially young people) to come to terms with the fact that they’re insignificant in the eyes of the universe. So, they attach themselves to various myths and mind-fuckery which allows them to become delusional just to the point where they can endure the anxiety of living in a bottomless abyss of darkness.
However, do atheists out there feel or believe that there is an advantage to coming to terms with the fact that we are not even a speck of dust in the grand scale of things?
Ego death and all that? Or is it better to believe in something … anything?
My experience with Biology in university was unsettling. The more the professors taught a study of life based on the scientific method, the more and more empty I became. Everything was genetic. Phenotypes were a deterministic mask worn by the almighty double helix.
I’m not personally concerned with mattering or not. But what is the atheist approach to our purpose in the universe? Do we have one?
As mammals our purpose is to eat, excrete and procreate ( not necessarily in that order unless you are Cog) and then return to the earth as a valuable nutritional resource.
As a human, our purpose is what we individually decide and that which is permitted by the society we live in…
I think I’ll eat bananas in the morning. A little bit of fructose to wake you up.
But, this society I live in allows wealthy, powerful people to set the prices of the things I require in order to live. And regardless of how high and unjust the prices are, this society forbids me from taking aggressive/homocidal action towards those same people who are proverbially fucking me in the ass.
In retrospection, there are many, many more people like me taking it up the ass than there are people like them setting the prices of commodities to the point where I don’t have a penny to spare at the end of the month.
If I feel like rallying my fellow feudal serfs in order to execute the feudal lord, take control of his land and his possessions in order to distribute them fairly, who has the final say as to what is permitted in my society? Who determines what is fair? Gas gouging is okay? But righteous killing is not?
There have been many, bloody and fewer non violent revolutions against the social order in modern human history. Most just replace the unacceptable with the unpalatable, for a while, until a new social order emerges.
You speak from an American perspective where your once youthful national idealism has been subverted by that which you set out to encourage.
Yes a new revolution is looming…but which? The revolt of the wage slave against the faceless corporations? Or the revolt of the self styled “righteous of the Lord” against the modern hedonism and rights of the individual? One of them will prevail in the short term.
The current “establishment” is doomed, victim of its own success and devoured from within by the the twin intestinal worms of political self interest and rampant corporate corruption.
There is no “atheist approach”. The sole determining factor on atheism is the lack in belief of a god. Full stop. Different atheist have different positions.
So what? Life is what you make of it. Do you feel anger, do you feel lust, do you feel love? Good for you. You are confusing the mechanism with the wonder of feelings and thinking.
The advantage to coming to terms with our insignificant dust speck-ness, IMHO, is that admitting to ourselves such a great truth of our existence enables us to more readily accept (and perhaps discover) other truths among the sea of potential knowledge.
And FWIW, the religious can have their religion in order to delude themselves about human significance.
They can have it to comfort themselves with stories about what happens after we die, or that all we need is love to create a vague utopia.
Fine. Just leave the rest of us out of it.
@rat_spit It is estimated that there are over 100 billion galaxies in our universe. And in each galaxy it is estimated that there are over 100 billion stars. The investigation for planets leads us to believe that each star has at least one planet. And if our understanding on how life can form is accurate, then there are very many planets with the capacity to have life.
Our planet earth is huge by our personal standards. Yet it is just a tiny speck in an average galaxy in a multitude of galaxies.
One does not measure oneself by such standards but on a personal level. Am I happy? Do my loved ones like me? Am I kind and generous and tolerant or just an insufferable prick? Happiness and contentment comes from within. It is not generated by the dopamine release from a “like” on social media, but from one’s own internal self.
I suggest you watch any videos from Simon Sinek.
@David_Killens what about the inevitability that we grow old, get sick, wither and die (usually in excruciating pain)?
Gazelles on the plains of Africa are taken down by lion pacts, jaws dug into their necks, eaten even as they bleed out?
There are a million ways to die, many worse than others and the universe does not care how or when we meet our fate, nor can our friends and family prevent say, an inevitable vehicle accident, or a horribly painful heart attack.
Does not it all seem so senseless and pointless? Harsh and unforgiving? We really don’t mean shit at all.
You can also go the other way around (I almost got myself a phobia as kid with this shit). You can think about all the other life forms living in us, around us and on us. We literally have micropets living on our eyelashes and eyebrows, and I don’t mean like bacteria, there is another level (maybe you could even say two) of sizes between smallest insects that you can see and bacteria. We are their entire world.
Everything dies. But most of us humans have the luxury to die without pain and humiliation. Consider yourself lucky, because the inevitable fate of every antelope in Africa is to be caught, killed, and eaten.
You are focusing on the end of a journey, and ignoring that the journey itself can be long and wonderful. I am 71, I have done a lot of crazy shit, created wonderful and insane memories, had many fantastic adventures. When I die, that moment will be a minuscule slice of my entire life.
Mean shit to who? I give meaning to myself and my loved ones.
@rat_spit Here you go, Ratty. Maybe this will help a bit.
You mean like Buddhist bullshit or Overloards? Really ratty? You are going to talk about people attaching themselves to “Mind-Fuckery?” Of all the people on this site "YOU’ are the one person with absolutely ‘NOTHING’ to say on the subject. ‘NOTHING.’
Demonstrate there is an ‘Ego,’ Demonstrate that it can ‘Die.’
This is such an easy question. (And you think you have studied Buddhism? Sheesh. Buddhism 101 would have given you the answer if you were paying attention. Not that Buddhism is the sole provider of any mystical answers. The answer is all around you. Go look in a mirror.
Your purpose is to ask, “What is our purpose in the universe?” You are what you do. If you want to see your purpose, go look in a mirror. Your purpose is to search for a purpose. That’s not my purpose, and it is not the purpose of others. If you think there is some magical ultimate purpose, then your purpose is to think there is a magical ultimate purpose and, ‘good luck to you with that.’ The easiest thing in life to remember is that “YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO.”