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    (Original post by telephone)
    These are excellent questions. I will reply with the same.

    You acknowledge that identity is something unique between individuals, has this concept a scientific basis, or is it beyond the constraints of science to define?

    Can you accept that time can go on forever when it is accepted that time had a beginning?
    ultimately there is no such thing as time, just a string of memories and this is one reason death seems scary. These are just ideas that our mind makes and these answers can't be found. You just need to experience life but sometimes we need to exhaust ourselves first before we can give in.

    (Original post by telephone)
    You are right, avoiding suffering is very important, opression especially is amongst the worst of things. However, do you mean suffering for ourselves or for the whole of mankind. Because if it were just for ourselves then surely causing other people suffering to achieve ones happiness is acceptable?

    But if it is a case of happiness and lack of suffering for all the people, then this is only achievable through sacrifice. But why should I sacrifice for others, surely it would be more desirable for me to enjoy my short life as much as possible whatever the consequences for other people; as we will all die in the end and will then not exist to reflect upon how good or bad our lives were?
    I think as you learn more about being happy is that the reason you make other people suffer is because you suffer yourself. When you are kind to others you aren't worrying about your needs which actually makes you happy but you first need to look at yourself. Many of the things we do that we think make us happy but they don't, it's easy to think things are inherently good but we are like a project out ideas onto the material world.
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    (Original post by 0x2a)
    Can you remember what your personality was like 5-10 years ago? Also the atoms that make up my body now will probably be completely replaced by a set of new atoms in a few years time.

    As you can see you cannot rely on your physical manifestation for identity, nor your mental state, thoughts or behaviour for a constant definition (past, present, future) of "I", you can only define "I" as it is in the present.

    Like I said, you constantly shed your memories, but they are things based on past experiences, therefore the best chance at defining our own identity is looking towards our memories.
    Identity surely does not require a constant definition; the world is dynamic and ever-changing, and so is a person's identity.

    Identity is just a label - you can say I WAS this person, I AM this person, I am BECOMING this person. In the same sense that someone else can label your identity, "he is this person", etc. I reckon the label exists as an evolutionary construct to provide "meaning" to our lives.
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    (Original post by Doctor Dolittle)
    Identity surely does not require a constant definition; the world is dynamic and ever-changing, and so is a person's identity.

    Identity is just a label - you can say I WAS this person, I AM this person, I am BECOMING this person. In the same sense that someone else can label your identity, "he is this person", etc. I reckon the label exists as an evolutionary construct to provide "meaning" to our lives.
    Perhaps I used the word "identity" too freely. The OP asked if "you" are always still "you", and my response to that was that if we want to construct a definition for ourselves that doesn't fluctuate too much over time it would best to use our memories than our personalities or physical appearance.
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    (Original post by 0x2a)
    Perhaps I used the word "identity" too freely. The OP asked if "you" are always still "you", and my response to that was that if we want to construct a definition for ourselves that doesn't fluctuate too much over time it would best to use our memories than our personalities or physical appearance.
    Even memories are so flawed with all different heuristics and biases taken into account, along with the emotional component. Probably the most accurate way to construct a definition of ourselves would a constant biographer slash analyser from birth to death; albeit not the more practical.
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    (Original post by telephone)
    We are born, we grow up, we live, we die. Whatever we did today may or may not help us tomorrow. For example, we cannot taste the food that we eat and enjoy in the same way, after we have eaten it and are excreting it. The 'best years of our lives' at university will nothing more than a memory after university has finished. However, some will argue that these things do have an influence on later event in life - I do not deny this and I don't think anyone else will.

    But when we die what difference will having had an amazing or terrible life make to those bones under the ground?

    Very well, some may say there is a sphere of influence on other living people, possibly a legacy also. How about when those people die? How about when humanity ends? Surely then it won't matter if it ended tomorrow or in 1 million years.

    If we're all going to cease to exist completely then there is no point in life at all. However, the rationality of the human being rejects this as we all have aspirations. Doesn't this suggest a flaw in the materialistic school of thought?
    You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
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    (Original post by DaniilKaya)
    You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
    .


    What does happiness consist of? Is it acceptable to opress others to achieve happiness, though the accumulation of wealth which leads to the development of society? Because if we look at Africa for example, and certainly the Middle East, is it fair to say then that it is acceptable? If it is not acceptable then is it made tolerable by our obliviousness to the reality of what is happening to some people, provided it is not happening to us of course.

    What about happiness 200 years ago? Surely what was perceived 'happiness' back then is certainly not the same as now? So who's happiness is the correct one?

    We must be active in trying to answer questions that define the mentality of our society, otherwise others will be which will either be good or bad. It is not the same as those who are happy to eat the hamburger provided they haven't seen the slaughter, are we just making ourselves ignorant?
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    Personally, I find the meaning of life to be very obvious, and that is progress.

    Progress. To make things better, to advance society economically, socially and technologically. It's what humans have been trying to do for thousands of years and continue to do today.
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    (Original post by telephone)
    We are born, we grow up, we live, we die. Whatever we did today may or may not help us tomorrow. For example, we cannot taste the food that we eat and enjoy in the same way, after we have eaten it and are excreting it. The 'best years of our lives' at university will nothing more than a memory after university has finished. However, some will argue that these things do have an influence on later event in life - I do not deny this and I don't think anyone else will.

    But when we die what difference will having had an amazing or terrible life make to those bones under the ground?

    Very well, some may say there is a sphere of influence on other living people, possibly a legacy also. How about when those people die? How about when humanity ends? Surely then it won't matter if it ended tomorrow or in 1 million years.

    If we're all going to cease to exist completely then there is no point in life at all. However, the rationality of the human being rejects this as we all have aspirations. Doesn't this suggest a flaw in the materialistic school of thought?
    Aspirations and optimism are merely an evolutionary advantage over pessimism. Aspirational, ambitious and optimistic creatures overcome adversity and as a result tend to live longer and breed the next generation, re-enforcing the effect.
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    I think that meaning is merely relative to the context in which you ask the question. Of course if you look at the issue from a universal perceptive, you will find no meaning, However if look at the issue from a more focused scale (e.g political movements,scientific research and decreasing world suck ) there is plenty of meaning in the world.
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    As short as I can handle this question:

    There isn't, okay, there simply isn't one and that in itself becomes the whole point of life.

    Would you really want to live in the world where your life has clear objectives, point, destination, fatalism? I really don't think so. There's just as much of a 'point' of suicide as there is of being the new Tony Blair.
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    (Original post by telephone)
    We are born, we grow up, we live, we die. Whatever we did today may or may not help us tomorrow. For example, we cannot taste the food that we eat and enjoy in the same way, after we have eaten it and are excreting it. The 'best years of our lives' at university will nothing more than a memory after university has finished. However, some will argue that these things do have an influence on later event in life - I do not deny this and I don't think anyone else will.

    But when we die what difference will having had an amazing or terrible life make to those bones under the ground?

    Very well, some may say there is a sphere of influence on other living people, possibly a legacy also. How about when those people die? How about when humanity ends? Surely then it won't matter if it ended tomorrow or in 1 million years.

    If we're all going to cease to exist completely then there is no point in life at all. However, the rationality of the human being rejects this as we all have aspirations. Doesn't this suggest a flaw in the materialistic school of thought?
    well we all have a chance to to live, breathe and think.. why waste that time and wait for death when you could be experiencing something new.

    Everything in the past is a memory, but the feelings and emotions memories bring back is what counts.
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    I think the answer to this question, if there is one, can vary considerably depending on your perspective.

    You could say, from an evolutionary point of view, that it is simply to procreate, to advance a species. We could be considered to be highly evolved organisms that have no greater purpose in life than an insect, a dog etc. Many would probably consider this highly reductionist however. We are often taught as we grow up that we have a purpose in life (though I'm making broad generalisations here) and those of a humanistic view place much importance on the subjective experience of life, and the part each individual has to play in it.

    Perhaps there is a purpose to our lives, perhaps there is not. Either way, our opinions on the matter won't change whatever is true.
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    (Original post by Llewellyn)
    I don't understand the habitual perspective that any life should, by default, hold some special point or purpose. I suppose it stems from some sort of egoistical bias towards the self or perhaps it is some vicarious thought that is pressed by society.

    I suppose it depends from what perspective you derive your meaning. I don't know. I believe in the reality I am able to perceive, and it is through the nature of things that all meaning is derived. My actions or choices may or may not be classed on some arbitrary scale of significance that is meant to be important to me due to the aforementioned ego bias. It makes no difference. This is who I am, this is who I chose to be. It has meaning, but even if it did not I do not see why that should change anything.
    But did you choose to be this person, or were you made into this person by the circumstances that you were born into and grew up in?
 
 
 
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