The Meaning of Life(tm) (was Re: virus: Religion)

David McFadzean (
Sun, 25 May 1997 13:54:47 -0600

At 10:12 PM 24/05/97 -0500, Eric Boyd wrote:

>> > What is the meaning of life?
>> To answer that question you will first have to tell me what you mean
>> by "life". Whose life? All life in the universe? Life on Earth? Human
>> life? Your life in particular?
>Well OK, I'll split the question into two parts:
>1) What is the meaning/purpose of all life in the universe?
>2) What is the meaning of life on a individual scale? (ie Why am "I"

The CoV definition of "meaning" is effect, as in cause and effect.
There are two types of meaning: real effects (actual meaning) and
intended effects (purposes). For instance, when I say "Sorry, I didn't
mean that", I'm trying to convey "I didn't intend my actions/words
to have that effect".

Now applying that to all life in the universe, the real effect is
the high end of the complexity spectrum we observe in the organization
of matter and energy, including human consciousness and civilization.
The intended effect of life seems to be more life, more complexity;
as far as I can tell, if life has a purpose it is to animate (literally
"breathe life into" the universe). Catch phrase: universal animation.

Applying the same definitions to an individual life yields a different
but related set of answers. The meaning of your life is the effect of
your life: how is the world different because of you? The intended meaning
(purpose) of your life is up to you: how do you want to affect the
world and the future? I think it was Ghandi that said "You must be the
change you want to see in the world."

Personally I wish to create a better future by infecting as many people
as possible with my favorite memes:
- memetics
- rationality (especially pancritical rationalism)
- critical thinking
- game theory
- systemantics (meaning = effect)
- evolutionary psychology
- transhumanism

I'm working towards these ends mostly through the Church of Virus, but also
by supporting related projects (,,,
the Zero mailing list, etc.). I realize that the CoV has a limited audience so I'm
quite willing to support other vectors (maybe even the Church of Jesus Christ Humanist :)
through web site and mailing list hosting. Send me some mail.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus