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

Robin Faichney (
Mon, 26 May 1997 12:09:00 +0100

David McF wrote:
>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".

There's a fascinating synchronicity: not 10 minutes before
reading this I was thinking, hmm, seems there's an emerging
concensus that communication and causation are basically
the same thing. (I can't say exactly what stimulated me to
think that, because I'm practicing the speed-reading and
speed-deleting of large amounts of email (while glancing at
web pages I see recommended), but I'm not very good at
recalling what I saw where, yet.)

If anyone is interested in a thorough, in fact mathematical,
account of the relationships between information, causation
and communication, I have a book at home at which I have
yet to glance, but which I'm told tells all about them. It was
written by a philosopher (not one I've seen mentioned here)
in the mid-seventies.

>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.

Umm, couldn't this be reduced to: the meaning of life is life?

>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
>(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."

Right on, bro!

Robin Faichney