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

Martin Traynor (
Fri, 8 Nov 1996 11:44:47 +0000


On 7 Nov 96 at 17:52, David McFadzean wrote:

> Maybe our definitions are not so different. Consider:
> "This X means a lot to me" == "This X is important to me" ==
> "This X affects me deeply"
> "This is a significant change" == "This change has many effects"

Maybe you're right.

> > This would imply that a life can have meaning without
> >reference to anything external to itself.
> It could using my definition as well. A life can have meaning
> by having an effect on itself (which is in fact unavoidable).
> >By your definition of meaning, yes. By mine, no.
> I didn't say meaningless, I said relatively meaningless. Wouldn't
> you agree that the life would be more meaningful if it touched
> many other lives? Even assuming your definition of meaning is
> different than mine?

I agree with all of this. My text parsing sub-process had completely
missed the 'relatively', which was absent from your original post:

>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.

My disagreement was with the apparent absolute measure you appeared
to be using, with that 'relatively' in there I have no more quibbles
(relativity again - good ol' Al ;).

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Those found guilty of thinking linearly will be punished by thinking they live in a linear world. That is cruel, but not unusual. Anders Sandberg