We are all Schrodinger's Cat. That's my quick analysis of life, I guess...

There are countless sources on everything science; theories that have been conjured, enduring, and found consistent or irrelevant, but I'm hoping for some more personal answers, as opposed to some lengthy science lecture on why we have brains. From what you all have learned, what is your analysis of our universe; of our seemingly meaningless and meager existence?

The most popular, or rather well-known, theory is that the Big Bang is the beginning of our universe. But now, there seems to be findings that the universe may in fact go on in either direction forever, and merely reverse itself in its entirety before the Big Bang. There is also the idea that our universe is actually just a hologram, which inspired my "Shrodinger's Cat" quip. Are we the hologram or the real thing, for instance? Either way, we both exist and do not exist at the same time.

I consider myself more of a philosopher than a scientist, but these queries and ponderings astonish me. What are your thoughts, fellow humans?

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From what you all have learned, what is your analysis of our universe; of our seemingly meaningless and meager existence?

Assuming my (or anyone's) analysis means anything...

We evolved (as many animals have) with an illusion of purpose, because it serves us as a species. Illusion or not, it feels real, and any speculation of whether or not it's just a simulation seems irrelevant... to me, that is! Ditto about Free Will. It's an illusion, but it's useful, and I prefer not to fight the feeling that I have it. Cognitive dissonance, perhaps, but at least I'm aware of it. "I have Free Will because I cannot choose not to have it" sounds like a paradox, doesn't it? How many angels on the head of a pin.

The above might sum up pretty well my non-scientific beliefs. I'm more of a science kind of guy, often annoyingly so.

Your first line makes me feel nerdy, because I found it profoundly funny, in that I suppose not knowing even the greatest truths doesn't make them untrue and yet we still yearn to grasp the eluding knowledge. This is obviously common sense to intellectuals, but your wording was simply so candid. Thanks for the giggle. lol

I don't necessarily agree with the Universal Hologram idea, it merely catalyzed my Shrodinger's quip. I think, as I stated above, that whether we know the answers or not, they still are what they are. I just really like to explore all the possibilities... a side effect of being creatively inclined, I'm sure (and though I say that, I think the majority of people, especially intellectuals, are creative in their own right).

On the matter of Free Will, I actually consider it to be another fabrication of our assumed "Superiority" in the world. Like thinking we are greater than apes - when we are quite literally related to them - or any other animal in general. We are still in fact animals ourselves, and merely delude our minds with thoughts like "Purpose", "Rights", "Obligations", and so on.

"Free Will" is nothing but an infinite mathematical equation our minds could never comprehend. Any choice you could fathom, and especially those you cannot, are all variables in a problem that have countless possible outcomes. It simply reveals itself as "Free Will" because, as I said, our minds could never fathom an equation so broadly complex.

Not saying you're right or wrong, I agree with your cognitive dissonance resolution. I think that is a major problem with us as a species, in that we tend to shy away or turn a blind eye to things like change, difference, or common sense. So, I think it's important that we realize such things for what they are, even if we don't agree with or completely understand them.

On the matter of Free Will, I actually consider it to be another fabrication of our assumed "Superiority" in the world. Like thinking we are greater than apes - when we are quite literally related to them - or any other animal in general. We are still in fact animals ourselves, and merely delude our minds with thoughts like "Purpose", "Rights", "Obligations", and so on.

In practical terms, I think most animals have some natural sense of rank, especially in social interactions. We humans have the capability (or flaw) to overthink it, and think in a million new ways how to gain or maintain superiority... which is sometimes beneficial for the species, or at least groups in the species. Competition is built in to us, because a being choosing not to compete often lose something important, if not their life. Only recently in evolutionary history have we humans been able to stop and think about it, or spend enormous amounts of creativity and time on questions like Free Will, which is a question possibly as meaningless in reality as "what's zero divided by zero".

Along the lines of that, even I keep forgetting perhaps the most overlooked problem of all wrt discussing Free Will: None of us can even define it in terms that make sense to each other; what are we even talking about, specifically? The only "concrete" manifestation of Free Will I can think of is that maybe we exist as a spirit separate from our meat bodies, which (of course) also means maybe we can exist as a consciousness after body death. (Scientologists have a version [imo] of this called MEST.)

So yeah, good point, our persistence in claiming to have Free Will is not really the same as actually having it, or even knowing exactly what it is, but what does make humans "superior" in a way (or just unique, at least, maybe even terrible) is our unique ability to drastically affect the physical world around us with our behaviors and social policies, affect the world's future, and affect all the other beings that exist in it.

(I'm not talking down to you btw, like a monk to a grasshopper... I'm just always thinking of new ways to understand and express these things, myself!)

These theories often seem more metaphysical and philosophical than theories barraged through the scientific method. I wouldn't bother hedging my bets on any of these. I'm actually editing a translation of a book on this very topic and one entire chapter is on the multiverse trying to justify why it is a valid theory and while I'm dazzled by it...I don't buy it that we have any convincing reason to take any of the flavours of multiverse seriously. Even if we confirmed that one of these were the case...that wouldn't add any particular value or give meaning to the Universe or our lives. As far as we can objectively know there is simply no factual meaning. That is not a bad thing. The only way you'll get meaning (if you must have it) is if you create it...and I'd say the more authentic that meaning is the better. This is assuming some hidden meaning doesn't pop out of nowhere which is a remote possibility...don't hold your breaath. No multiverse theory is likely to help you out much with your own authentically created meaning unless exploring alternate universe based on "what could have been decisions" you made in the past...is important to you.

I think you should be careful with the word "meager". I may have no reason to believe that there is a factual meaning to the universe but saying our lives are meager opens up a massive can of worms. Meager compared to what? A divine spectacular supernatural life? Being super heroes who know everything? Living on a planet the size of the milky way?

I think I'd enjoy reading that book when it's available. The multiverse has always intrigued me as well.
I'm not overly familiar with multiverse theories, but I do think something similar is quite possibly legit. Among the billions upon billions of galaxies in existence, exactly what are the odds there isn't another planet with a form of life? And upon those results, how many have human-like life? There's a good possibility that there is another "David Goodman" or "Elli Leimone" somewhere.
But I digress, I suppose. I don't pretend to be intelligent enough to even begin comprehending scientists and their reasonings for believing that these theories and ideas have even a remote possibility of being factual. For the matter of this post, I simply named the reverse time and hologram universe ideas because I just recently learned of them. I don't necessarily believe them. As I said to Pope Beanie, I don't really think it matters whether we know or not, but I don't think we should forget about it completely, as finding out might unlock some very important knowledge, like when we first learned there exists microscopic bacteria that can kill us with illness.
What I do think is that we have quite more important things to concern ourselves with at the moment as a species, such as social corruption, deforestation, overpopulation, animal extinction, GMO-grown food, an ever growing rate of illnesses, pollution of land sea and air, etc., etc.
I realize this topic should be fairly far down on our "to do" list, I simply wanted personal opinions on your own lives in respect to the universe, be it scientific, religious, or none at all.
As for using the word "meager", I thought I was stating a fairly conformed thought. I think we have meaning and importance to the earth in a Darwinian sense, but in comparison to the universe or anything else? Who knows. I don't need a meaning to life in order to live it, and I don't believe anyone else should either. I truly think we are fooling and hindering ourselves by thinking otherwise.

I don't care to, or mean to, offend anyone, btw, if I do. Just stating my observations.

I don't care to, or mean to, offend anyone, btw, if I do. Just stating my observations.

I've gotten no vibes like that from you, be as free as you can stand it here.

 I don't need a meaning to life in order to live it, and I don't believe anyone else should either. I truly think we are fooling and hindering ourselves by thinking otherwise.

You mean there's no meaning? (Tricky semantics there, I'm just messin' it up.)

I'm feeling these days that it's better to help people understand where their feeling of meaning comes from than to tell them there is no such thing. I don't think you were trying to say that, but a lot of atheists here will insist there just is no such thing as "meaning". I focus on people's need for meaning, from denial of it (which is fine but can sometimes be pathological, like a serial murderer) to the extreme, which is also counter-productive or abrasive to other human beings.

Seriously, if anyone really felt absolutely that there is no "meaning", why do they pay such attention to ways to avoid pain or danger, and why (e.g.) do they invariably conform to some degree with what society expects from them, like how to dress, and how to talk? I don't want to put you specifically on the spot... I just think the topic of meaning is more complex than most people fathom, perhaps especially for atheists who find it easiest to deny the existence of meaning in everyone else, even if they don't obviously feel it themselves.

Thanks for the reassurance.

And no, I agree with you completely in that matter. It is better to target the catalyst or process rather than the result, both because it's more strategic and because it's less 'impeding' and invasive (if you care about that kind of thing, lol).

I often have no urge to explain myself further on such a fairly common topic, unless the other person is actually interested in my opinion. Otherwise they have most likely heard my argument or have no interest. I'm more than willing to expand if the latter is opposed, but there's no reason exposing your thoughts to someone who is simply going to skim over your words (not saying anyone here necessarily would).

I see it this way: from the beginning of our earliest ancestors, we've had two primary biological priorities. That is self-preservation and reproduction respectively. One can say there is no meaning to life, but people still generally have a sense of self-preservation; primary reason why suicide is so difficult and there are often some serious psychological tampering/damage done and/or failed attempts before succession, especially in the case of females.

So the alternative to suicide is "conforming", or putting on a mask of conformity. It's just easier, not preferred. It's also smart, so long as you don't fall for your own facade. These cases are often sociopathic, at least from what I've seen.

And by all means, attain meaning for your life, just don't let it abrupt or hinder the progression of me or the rest of humanity; one of the many reasons I abhor religion.

So if you need meaning, you can find it in Darwin. Not some material item or invisible best friend. If there is meaning in anything else, I don't think we have found it yet. Because if we look around us, we can see that everybody puts "meaning" to their life in a million different ways for a trillion different reasons. This obviously isn't working. There's no unification of us as a species because everyone is taught they're special and unique. Well, we're not, and there's a thin line between importance and arrogance.

I just get frustrated when people overcompensate their "meaning". It's unhealthy, for everybody.

P.s. I was in the process of replying to your previous comment not long ago when my phone decided to throw a fit and erase most of it. So you'll get that shortly...

I just get frustrated when people overcompensate their "meaning". It's unhealthy, for everybody.

I'm thinking of movies now, where one character says to another something like "So what do you stand for?!", which is usually at point where someone is deciding how to behave like a hero, or at least "appropriately". Personal commitment is by large audiences. The problem (as you say) in real life is when one's commitment forcefully impinges on another's.

I can't tell right now if I'm on topic or saying anything meaningful. But I know for sure that ISIS needs to be exterminated. Does that count? Only question is, how to do it without killing innocents. I wonder what the stars think (celebs and/or those pinpoints of light at night), not that it really matters to me. I'm just curious, as always.

It is what it is. <-- Daniel Dennett has a name for that kind of phrase, but I can't remember what it is! Some kind of ism.

Ah, found it! Took this old brain a few minutes of progressive googling:

Deepity

But I don't think now that it is what it is qualifies.

I was going to say "defeatism", which should be hilarious to a realist. Lol xD

No, no, I can see it. In one sense, it is exactly as it is, and there's not much you can do about it. In the other, it means something in its most basic form. So I think it counts. Good on you. Lol.

I can't say whether you're on topic really or not, but it doesn't matter to me. I'm enjoying your replies. :]

On ISIS, my opinions are mixed. Do I think they are going about it all the right way? Maybe, maybe not. I'm not sure I consent, but my home country was not bombed and invaded persistently. My country was the one performing these acts. So, am I in a place to judge their pain and anger? Not really. But like I said, I'm not sure I agree with their tactics, regardless of how justified or unjustified they may be.

I do know that there is no 'innocent' life our government finds valuable in any sense, much less to save. Besides, if they wanted ISIS stopped, they would have done it by now. There is obviously something going on between them, or at least there was. I haven't been keeping tabs the past month or two. It's just become redundant, just like this never-ending "war on terror"; literally a war against a concept.

From what you all have learned, what is your analysis of our universe; of our seemingly meaningless and meager existence?

Like you, I'm more of a philosopher than a scientist, but I'm a pretty serious science appreciator.

On the gross level (molecules and larger) the universe operates in a deterministic manner according to the rules we learned from Newton and Einstein. This is the world in which we live our daily lives. The subatomic level involves randomness which may spill over into the gross level from time time. Or may not. It's hard to know when and where it happens if it does. Neither determinism nor randomness seem to offer much in the way of what we commonly call "free will."

I think the hologram idea is a little farfetched. It would mean we are thinking holograms. Does that make sense to you?

While I'm curious about whether the universe started with a big bang or went on forever into the past or is cyclic or whatever, I'll likely go to my grave without a definitive answer. I'm at peace with that. The solution won't change my life in any important way, should the solution finally present itself.

If you don't mind, I am going to repost a little of what I told Davis as I am on my phone and it is a nuisance..

"I don't pretend to be intelligent enough to even begin comprehending scientists and their reasonings for believing that these theories and ideas have even a remote possibility of being factual. For the matter of this post, I simply named the reverse time and hologram universe ideas because I just recently learned of them. I don't necessarily believe them. As I said to Pope Beanie, I don't really think it matters whether we know or not, but I don't think we should forget about it completely, as finding out might unlock some very important knowledge, like when we first learned there exists microscopic bacteria that can kill us with illness.

What I do think is that we have quite more important things to concern ourselves with at the moment as a species, such as social corruption, deforestation, overpopulation, animal extinction, GMO-grown food, an ever growing rate of illnesses, pollution of land sea and air, etc., etc.

I think we have meaning and importance to the earth in a Darwinian sense, but in comparison to the universe or anything else? Who knows. I don't need a meaning to life in order to live it, and I don't believe anyone else should either. I truly think we are fooling and hindering ourselves by thinking otherwise."

As a more direct answer, no. Thinking holograms does indeed sound absurd. But, if you take two computers, for example, and wire them together so that one functions as a perfect mirror to the other in a matter of milliseconds, that second computer is still functioning, or "thinking". It is simply thinking unoriginal thoughts, copying the first computer's functions.

This metaphor sounds reasonable to me, but then my opinion is biased, so I'm sure their are loopholes. Do you concur?

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