On a meaningless world

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cntrational
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On a meaningless world

Post by cntrational » 30 Jul 2015 16:40

I remembered Chagen's conworld and the arguments I gave against it, but I realize now that I never exactly explained why I argued so. So, here.

Edit: to be clear, this is my personal philosophy, not objective truth
I've often heard people say the world's meaninglessness is scary. That they can't handle the idea that there's no purpose to the universe.

No human-like god exists. There's no purpose to the universe, or to our life, or to our cultures, that is intrinsically built-in. And you know what? I think that's great. We're free!

There's nothing to tell us how to live our lives, other than ourselves. We don't have to bow towards and work towards a higher purpose. We are still limited by many things, but we can eventually get rid of them. We need not work towards a goal that all life shares. We can all decide our own.

The world is filled with many things. We have far right capitalists like Ayn Rand to far left revolutionaries like Karl Marx, we have advocates for transhumanism, we have advocates for pastorialism, we've fought wars, we've invented medicine, we kill animals, we save animals, we fly to space, we explore the ocean, we create operatic sonatas, we create slangy rap, we create uplifting stories, we create stories of misery, we have cultures of pacifism and peace, we have cultures extolling war and conquest, we've lived in deserts, beaches, jungles, mountains, cities, villages, and even in space. There's no theme, there's no unified meaning to it all. Everything has created its own meaning.

To me, conworlds should be the same, if it is to be a real world. Some aim towards this, but many do not, and I find those who don't, rather unappealing. Meaning should be local, not universal.

And leaving philosophy and opinion aside, there's a practical point to making your conworlds meaningless. If your entire world is too focused on one particular type of story or theme, then it becomes difficult to use when telling a story that doesn't fit your world's mould.

this has been philosophy hour with cntrational
Last edited by cntrational on 30 Jul 2015 18:21, edited 1 time in total.

Salmoneus
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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by Salmoneus » 30 Jul 2015 16:58

So, short version: "any conworld whose creator disagrees with me politically or theologically, or who would even entertain the thought experiment of disagreeing with me, is inferior"...

EDIT: when will people finally get tired of shouting at each other "no! you should do your hobby the way I do it! it's the only way!"

EDIT EDIT: it's not even relevant. All that diversity? A theist can write about diversity too. And a postmodernist atheist can create a conworld that explores only one particular issue.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by cntrational » 30 Jul 2015 17:32

I think you're taking it rather hostile-ly, Salmoneus. I think focused conworlds can work, but have to be written well. I criticized Chagen's conworld because it was bad in general, this is just me elaborating on one point.

And the theism thing was about the real world, not conworlds. Conworlds with explicit god(s) can be diverse, though I don't often see them.

Edit: Added a line making clear this is my personal philosophy, not objective truth. given that my entire point is that there's no objective way to do things or give meaning to the world, it would be rather silly to claim otherwise

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by gestaltist » 30 Jul 2015 19:14

cntrational wrote: No human-like god exists. There's no purpose to the universe, or to our life, or to our cultures, that is intrinsically built-in. And you know what? I think that's great. We're free!
How do you know? I am not a believer myself but you’re making a rather strong assertion here. I would say, there is something there that you could well call an intrinsically built-in purpose. Maybe it is nothing more than the physical laws and such, but the Universe still has a „backbone“. And life definitely has an inbuilt purpose: its own perpetuation. I really don’t see why positing some other set of laws for a con-universe should make it any less rich or believable.
There's nothing to tell us how to live our lives, other than ourselves. We don't have to bow towards and work towards a higher purpose. We are still limited by many things, but we can eventually get rid of them. We need not work towards a goal that all life shares. We can all decide our own.
Very J. P. Sartre of you. It’s debatable whether we can ever get rid of our limitations. I don’t think you can ever truly forego your biological imperatives, and it is hard enough to free yourself from the cultural norms and parental directives and such. If it weren’t, nobody would need years-long psychotherapy.
The world is filled with many things. We have far right capitalists like Ayn Rand to far left revolutionaries like Karl Marx, we have advocates for transhumanism, we have advocates for pastorialism, we've fought wars, we've invented medicine, we kill animals, we save animals, we fly to space, we explore the ocean, we create operatic sonatas, we create slangy rap, we create uplifting stories, we create stories of misery, we have cultures of pacifism and peace, we have cultures extolling war and conquest, we've lived in deserts, beaches, jungles, mountains, cities, villages, and even in space. There's no theme, there's no unified meaning to it all. Everything has created its own meaning.
You really don’t see any themes in culture? Unlikely. I suppose you are exaggerating for the sake of the argument.
To me, conworlds should be the same, if it is to be a real world. Some aim towards this, but many do not, and I find those who don't, rather unappealing. Meaning should be local, not universal.
I don’t think we can ever create a „real“ world. We can pretend we do, but as working on the climate for my conworld has taught me, there are a lot of things that science has no answers for, yet, and so many others that require powerful computers and calculations to get approximately right. A „real“ world is definitely out of my reach as a conworlder.

And as I already said, I don’t really buy that „meaning should be local“. There are absolute truths whether you want it or not. In our world, it may be gravity, the speed of light and whatnot. In another world, it can be an all-powerful intelligent being. Why not?
And leaving philosophy and opinion aside, there's a practical point to making your conworlds meaningless. If your entire world is too focused on one particular type of story or theme, then it becomes difficult to use when telling a story that doesn't fit your world's mould.
But what if I want a world for the purpose of telling one specific story? What’s wrong with that?
cntrational wrote:I think you're taking it rather hostile-ly, Salmoneus.
Well, that’s Sal’s way. But he has made some valid points.
I think focused conworlds can work, but have to be written well. I criticized Chagen's conworld because it was bad in general, this is just me elaborating on one point.
Chagen definitely lacks experience and can improve his writing but I don’t think the premise of his world is bad. „Divinity“ in his world is basically an additional type of energy. From what I was able to see from his stories, the „Ascended“ can be equally despicable as the bad guys and they make some questionable choices.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by Salmoneus » 30 Jul 2015 19:29

cntrational wrote:I think you're taking it rather hostile-ly, Salmoneus. I think focused conworlds can work, but have to be written well. I criticized Chagen's conworld because it was bad in general, this is just me elaborating on one point.

And the theism thing was about the real world, not conworlds. Conworlds with explicit god(s) can be diverse, though I don't often see them.

Edit: Added a line making clear this is my personal philosophy, not objective truth. given that my entire point is that there's no objective way to do things or give meaning to the world, it would be rather silly to claim otherwise
Your initial post was hostile. You're telling me how I 'should' do things, how my conworld 'should' be... all on the basis of your own religious views (which I don't think even justify your ideology even if we all accepted them, which we don't).

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by Creyeditor » 30 Jul 2015 19:34

cntrational wrote: Meaning should be local, not universal.
I think you've got a point there, but I think that the only thing we can learn from that should be, that there are different POVs in our conworld (including our own). So in a more general sense, Chagen, and all the others are creating conworlds that conform with your criteria, as long as they create more than one POV.
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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 30 Jul 2015 20:36

People can make conworlds however they want. My conworld has lots of stories with gods and spirits and mythical creatures, and I'm not going to stop writing stories about the daily deaths and rebirths of the Sun Goddess or meetings with the demons of the Abyss or the ballad of the drunk guy who rode a pig down a hole into to underworld or battles of submarine captains with merpeople just because you're a determined antitheist who also can't accept there's a such thing as fiction. My conworld has a lot of stories about meaning vs. meaninglessness, with bad things happening to people for apparently no reason fairly often as if it were a Kafka story, and it doesn't fit the Judeo-Christian worldview, but it doesn't fit yours either. In my conworld people have to figure out how to have morality despite the gods being bad sometimes, and the fact that different cultures have competing gods also makes things quite complicated, and that's more interesting to me than making a materialist caricature of Earth, and I'm going to do my thing regardless of what you think of it, just like you're going to do your thing regardless of what I think of it, and I would encourage everyone to do the same with their own ideas, even if they happen to suck at writing and/or ideas.
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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by Lambuzhao » 30 Jul 2015 20:42

For every Universe where there is no g-d, there exist an infinity of Universes where a God exists.
For every Universe where God exists, there also exist an infinity of Universes with no g-d.

Both Religion and Science, and the 11 heavilty-travelled dimensions of space-time (maybe all 42 dimensions, but at least in the 11 heavily-travelled ones), will bear me out.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by thetha » 30 Jul 2015 20:45

gestaltist wrote: And life definitely has an inbuilt purpose: its own perpetuation.
I don't see how we can conclude from the evidence we have that life is *inherently* purposeful; self-perpetuation is a thing it is very good at but as far as we know all creatures die so life has just as regular a record of ending as continuing.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by elemtilas » 31 Jul 2015 00:24

cntrational wrote:I've often heard people say the world's meaninglessness is scary. That they can't handle the idea that there's no purpose to the universe.

No human-like god exists. There's no purpose to the universe, or to our life, or to our cultures, that is intrinsically built-in. And you know what? I think that's great. We're free!
Of course, what makes this interesting for us as geopoets is how we approach this from the Outside and how we come to understand how those Inside perceive the situation. We inside our own universe do not know with certainty whether there is Purpose or not, whether there is God or not. Except by faith and reasonable conjecture. There is no science or instrument that can tell us yea or nay.

We can thus explore various permutations: I could declare for my subcreation "Purpose" but "no God" and wonder at how those Inside evolve and perhaps one day discover the Truth. Or perhaps "God" but "no Purpose". We can explore how, or even if people Inside choose one path or another; whether there are mechanisms whereby they may know with certainty what we *here* do not.

You say of this universe that no God exists and there is no Purpose. I say that is a statement of great faith! If that is your choice, then make your Purpose a good one!!
To me, conworlds should be the same, if it is to be a real world. Some aim towards this, but many do not, and I find those who don't, rather unappealing. Meaning should be local, not universal.
Here I would disagree. An otherworld should simply be what it is. It is no less real if it has Purpose or if there is a God. Or if there are competing Powers and Purposes are at variance with one another. Just because it doesn't fit with what your own faith doesn't make it any less -- and likewise, just because you believe differently from me, doesn't mean I hold your own otherworlds to be less real. Or, indeed, that I must accept yours as the only way to do this. I am content to enter and revel in another's otherworld and accept it as it is revealed to me! I don't find it less real simply because it doesn't fit my own preconceived notions.
And leaving philosophy and opinion aside, there's a practical point to making your conworlds meaningless. If your entire world is too focused on one particular type of story or theme, then it becomes difficult to use when telling a story that doesn't fit your world's mould.
This doesn't really make much sense. Are you not equally guilty of focusing on one particular theme" (that of meaninglessness)? What kinds of stories do you think can not be told in otherworlds wherein there is Purpose?

I'd rather not be told, in a story, too much about the nature of the world in question. Let me experience it as one on the Inside. If Purpose reveals itself, fine. If Meaninglessness reveals itself, that's fine too. Let me just go along with the hopes, dreams, assumption and right or wrong conjectures of the people living there!

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by cntrational » 31 Jul 2015 01:58

Alright, fair enough, I overreacted in calling focused conworlds not conworlds. My bad.
Salmoneus wrote:Your initial post was hostile. You're telling me how I 'should' do things, how my conworld 'should' be... all on the basis of your own religious views (which I don't think even justify your ideology even if we all accepted them, which we don't).
Also my bad. Sorry about that.

And to be precise, my views are that there is no human god. If god exists, which is possible, it's far too unlikely that he thinks like a human being. YMMV.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by elemtilas » 31 Jul 2015 02:19

cntrational wrote:Alright, fair enough, I overreacted in calling focused conworlds not conworlds. My bad.
No worries! I think it was perhaps more the tone or perhaps force of speech & the way the ideas were presented than the actual ideas themselves.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by Serena » 31 Jul 2015 11:18

cntrational wrote:There's no purpose to the universe
I really don't think so. According to our most recent physics, it really looks like every single bit of the universe does have purposes.

Conservative thinkers have been trying to convince us that everything that happens has causes. A ball moves because it is hit by another ball. The boat moves because it is pushed by the wind. I am a jew because my mother is a jew. Everything in your hyper-conservative view of the universe is determined by the past.

On the other hand, lots of people don't view the universe like that. A ball hit by another ball, for example, moves because its particles are trying to reach the lowest energy state. And there's no cause, there's just a purpose.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by gestaltist » 31 Jul 2015 11:26

Teddy wrote:
gestaltist wrote: And life definitely has an inbuilt purpose: its own perpetuation.
I don't see how we can conclude from the evidence we have that life is *inherently* purposeful; self-perpetuation is a thing it is very good at but as far as we know all creatures die so life has just as regular a record of ending as continuing.
I meant „purpose“ in the sense of an „internal governing principle“. Why do we like sex so much? Why do we fight for resources and try to achieve the highest status possible? Because we have inbuilt imperatives supposed to help us further our genes.

Also, „purpose“ doesn’t mean „destiny“.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by Tanni » 31 Jul 2015 13:58

Serena wrote: Conservative thinkers have been trying to convince us that everything that happens has causes. A ball moves because it is hit by another ball. The boat moves because it is pushed by the wind. I am a jew because my mother is a jew. Everything in your hyper-conservative view of the universe is determined by the past.
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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by Ear of the Sphinx » 31 Jul 2015 14:21

gestaltist wrote:
Teddy wrote:
gestaltist wrote: And life definitely has an inbuilt purpose: its own perpetuation.
I don't see how we can conclude from the evidence we have that life is *inherently* purposeful; self-perpetuation is a thing it is very good at but as far as we know all creatures die so life has just as regular a record of ending as continuing.
I meant „purpose“ in the sense of an „internal governing principle“. Why do we like sex so much? Why do we fight for resources and try to achieve the highest status possible? Because we have inbuilt imperatives supposed to help us further our genes.
These are “causes”, not “purposes”.
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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by gestaltist » 31 Jul 2015 14:24

Ear of the Sphinx wrote:
gestaltist wrote:
Teddy wrote:
gestaltist wrote: And life definitely has an inbuilt purpose: its own perpetuation.
I don't see how we can conclude from the evidence we have that life is *inherently* purposeful; self-perpetuation is a thing it is very good at but as far as we know all creatures die so life has just as regular a record of ending as continuing.
I meant „purpose“ in the sense of an „internal governing principle“. Why do we like sex so much? Why do we fight for resources and try to achieve the highest status possible? Because we have inbuilt imperatives supposed to help us further our genes.
These are “causes”, not “purposes”.
Depends on your stance on the teleology of nature.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by Salmoneus » 31 Jul 2015 14:47

Debating whether things have purposes is pointless unless you uncontroversially define 'purpose'.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by gestaltist » 31 Jul 2015 15:17

Salmoneus wrote:Debating whether things have purposes is pointless unless you uncontroversially define 'purpose'.
Exactly.

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Re: On a meaningless world

Post by thetha » 31 Jul 2015 16:27

gestaltist wrote: I meant „purpose“ in the sense of an „internal governing principle“. Why do we like sex so much? Why do we fight for resources and try to achieve the highest status possible? Because we have inbuilt imperatives supposed to help us further our genes.

Also, „purpose“ doesn’t mean „destiny“.
"We" like it because it feels good.
I don't think even this is true anyway, plenty of people hate sex and throw away their resources. There's nothing 'built in them' that drives them to further their genes, but they're definitely living.

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