meaning of life (was Re: virus: RE: Why have children?)

David McFadzean (
Wed, 06 Nov 1996 11:47:53 -0700

At 01:25 PM 06/11/96 +0000, Martin Traynor wrote:
>On 29 Oct 96 at 16:01, David McFadzean wrote:
>> I think a lot of people understand (intuitively if not consciously) that
>> in order to have a meaningful life they must have an effect on the
>> world and history.
>Are you revealing to us an absolute truth? Am I nitpicking if I ask

You should know by now that I have renounced my belief in absolute
truth. :)

>you to define 'meaning' and 'effect'? I cannot agree with your

I define 'meaning' to be identical to effect (which makes my statement
above true by definition). I define 'effect' in the usual sense, that
which is caused.

>statement unless you mean 'effect' in a very broad sense such that it
>is *impossible* to live without having an effect on the world, albeit
>incidental. Why can we not derive our own meaning for our own life

Yes, I can't imagine someone living without having some effect. In the
extreme case I guess a zygote could spontaneously abort before the
mother even knew she was pregnant, but even then there would have to
be some minor physiological effects.

>without reference to the world and without leaving our mark on the
>pages of history? Isn't there some intersection here with Richards

I didn't mean that one has to become a historical figure to have
a meaningful life, though real historical figures certainly did
have meaningful lives. For illustrative purposes, imagine the kind
of life that has virtually no effect on the world or history. You
would have to never interact with anyone or do anything. Some poor
sods in the history of humankind probably approached having a
virtually meaningless life by becoming hermits at a young age.
Even if they were happy and composed symphonies in their head
and solved the ancient problems of metaphysics, if they didn't
touch other lives, if they didn't change the world, in the end
they had relatively meaningless lives.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - M. Gandhi

>mind-levels? How many more questions can I fit into a single
>paragraph? ;)

I don't know how this might relate to Richard's mind-levels but I
fear that bringing them into this discussion will only derail it.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus