Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Meaning of Life

Give a human brain the luxury of a little time to think and it will soon find itself reflecting on the point of it all. Why am I here? What’s it all for? Is there a better way to live my life?

Often these questions are little more than idle speculation - an intellectual challenge, a conversation with the vicar. But sometimes there’s a serious problem that needs a practical solution: "What's gone wrong?" we ask. "Why isn't my life as good as it should be?"

After years of box-office approval, the actor and Oscar-winning director, Mel Gibson, appeared to have it all: not just enormous success in his chosen career but also an apparently perfect family life.

For most of us, life couldn’t get much better than that: a loving relationship, freedom to do what you like when you like, and the respect and admiration of almost everyone you meet.

It sounds wonderful.

But apparently not. When explaining why he'd invested a reported $30 million of his own money to make The Passion of The Christ, Mel Gibson described a time in which ‘I found myself trapped with feelings of terrible, isolated emptiness’.

Emptiness? How could such a life be empty?

Clearly, despite our perception of what it must be like to be Mel Gibson, the experience of being Mel Gibson wasn’t always everything we might assume.

The Religious 'Meaning of Life'

Mel Gibson’s personal understanding of ‘The Meaning of Life' is now clear.

Christianity - like all religions - comprehensively answers our big questions: we know why we exist, we know we're here for a reason, and yes, there is indeed a better way to live our lives. We get clear instructions as to how to behave, and a reward at the end that’s everything we could possibly dream of.

But what of science? Whilst religion tackles our 'big' issues directly, providing comprehensive explanations and detailed solutions, science just doesn't seem to be any help at all.

Which is somewhat surprising. The scientific method has, after all, been a wonderful servant to humanity over the years. We've doubled our life-expectancy, put men on the moon, built our toilets inside our houses rather than at the bottom of the garden and invented mobile phones to give us something to do while we’re sitting there. The life of a Westerner in the 21st Century is unrecognisable in almost every detail from that 'enjoyed' by our great-grandfathers. Which of us alive today could contemplate an existence without hot showers, central heating, computers, cars, electricity and the nearest emergency ward just a phone call away...? And all thanks to science.

But where is science when - despite all these wonderful things - we still feel the need for ‘something more’?

The Scientific 'Meaning of Life’

There is, of course, a perfectly good scientific answer to the ‘Meaning of Life’ question. But knowing that we were created by a blind, un-thinking process called evolution just doesn't seemed to have helped in any way. If anything, evolution tells us that there's absolutely no meaning to our lives - no point, no purpose... it was all just a bit of an accident.

Not really the answer we were hoping for. A 'Meaning of Life' should be helpful, it should give advice and provide definite solutions... But what guidance do we get from science? Not much more than “Eat less donut, take more exercise”. Which is all good stuff and obviously important, but hardly the Big Answer we were expecting. Science, it seems, is poorly equipped to peer into our souls and understand what it is to be human.

Or so we think.

But our perception is wrong.

Science does know the meaning of life. Science does know why Mel Gibson isn't satisfied with his perfect life. And science does know a better way to live our lives…

The only problem is that to understand the answers we have to accept that we’re robots.

Conscious robots… but robots nevertheless.

Next: Science says we must be robots.

Or, for a summary: The Story of the Conscious Robot

Or go back to the home page to see all the pages

1 comment:

Zoichi said...

OMG the spam!!, i hate when ppl do that! anyway, I actually liked your writings, i thought i was the only one thinking that our intelligence and free will its just an ilussion. My blog (in spanish) says as its description "Comments on human observation, its animal roots and the illusion of intelligence and reasoning - the plannet inside the tunnel" and my original idea was to expose those observations in the blog. Later the main idea got miscarried, but i still think we are like robots. Good blog! keep up the good work...