What is meaning? What is purpose?
Do I have meaning for somebody or something? Do I have purpose for somebody or something?
When you think about it is is very hard to define meaning without thinking of it as it relates to something or somebody else.
Do I have a meaning beyond what I can do to other things and other people? If I was in this world, on my own, what would my purpose be? If there was nothing I could act upon then what.....?
If I was in this world on my own, with nobody even looking at me, what would my purpose be then?
I have mixed up two terms - purpose and meaning. I find it very difficult to think of them as being separate. If my life has a meaning then it has a purpose. To a different extent if it has a purpose it also has meaning.
The extent to which purpose gives my life meaning depends on how I view that purpose. What is the purpose of my life?
Well, let's start with the basic purpose of every living thing.
Nucleotides are only found on earth. They are amazing little molecules that could only survive by making an environment that would support them. Nucleotides are not made by anything other than themselves. Through their code, and we are part of that code, they have transformed a universe of gas and rock into the world we know. Through that code they have given animals, bacteria, plants and all that but also thoughts, hopes, imagination, and invention.
The proof that the code works is all around us.
But the code has come from an environment very different to that of today. It began in a primordial electrically charged soup and now inhabits this relatively stable and cool world. Stable and cool means that the code can make more stable things but also means that it can no longer arise spontanseously in any meaningful way.
So the code knows that this earth will also change. It knows that stable and cool won't last for ever. The code does not know what will happen next but it knows that there will be a change at some point.
Up to now the code has managed to stay ahead of change by constantly diversifying.
The next stage is going to be much more challenging. We know that.
We also know that the strategy devised by the code up to now is not that likely to allow for continuity of the code once the world ends. Mind you it has managed to create very resistant trogides that may well survive expulsion into outer space presming that there was sufficient propulsion to get them out there.
The last dominant species on the earth, the dinosaurs, were not equipped to deal with their major environmental challenge.
The code has taken an alternative path with us - favouring development of neurons and big brains over big bodies.
It remains to be seen if that will work
There is no point in deriving meaning from maintaining what we have now if what we have now itself has no meaning. Adding extra duration to something meaningless does not change its meaning.
So what we have now must have meaning in itself.
For me what we have now has meaning. Each persons life is a universe within a universe. Its almost a few kinks in the laws of physics allow for universes within universes.
Take the kink where nucleotides and amino acids began to form. That kink changed the laws of physics.
it transformed physics anx chemistry into biology. Now molecules could alter the physical qualities of the space around them.
Then molecules could also make copies of themsrlves. They could reproduce.
So in that kink there was a change in the laws of physics governing our universe.
Anything capable of changing its environment and capable of increasing its numbers as a result of that change is in a way intelligent. it can do things that alter the probability of its own survival.
A fire is not intelligent as it just dies out.