The Instigator
ThebigB
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
Puck
Con (against)
Winning
24 Points

Life has no meaning.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
Puck
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/6/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,182 times Debate No: 11006
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (18)
Votes (7)

 

ThebigB

Pro

First to start I offer the following definitions: Life:The animate existence or period of animate existence of an individual.[1]Next the idea of nihilism The idea that life has no meaning. Definition meaning:What is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import.[2]
"A man finds himself, to his great astonishment, suddenly existing, after thousands and thousands of years of non-existence. He lives for a little while and then again comes an equally long period when he must exist no more" From Arthur Schopenhauer.
This is just one of the many examples of the way Schopenhauer's writing can put things in perspective. Like a fickle flam, our existence is small and insignificant in the eyes of the universe. A bit hash, I know, but it's a good way to understand Nihilism. There are many ways to respond to nihilism religion is one of them. Friedrich Nietzsche saw nihilism as a stage that could be overcome. He thought that a god-based value system was, at its foundation, devoid of meaning. He introduced the "death of god" which is the Idea of god. Nietzsche was deeply aware of the implications of the human predicament. One way to respond would be religion. However Nietzsche believed that people taking this route would are only clinging to an idea that has lost force. "Before God! But now this God has died. You higher men, this god was your greatest danger. It is only since he lies in his tomb that you have been resurrected. Only now the great noon comes; only now the higher man becomes lord. God Died, now we want the Overman to live."
Now I present the steps to become overman.
1. Realize that life is meaningless.
2. Enter a "magic circle"
3. Dissolve said circle.
4. Continue being in said circle create your self as Art.
5. Appreciate the analogy between The circle and Life. Now make yourself in everyday life Art.
Nietzsche saw that a god-based system was devoid of meaning. He thought that the idea of an all-powerful, all loving, and all knowing being was not a strong enough view for people in the new western scientific world view. The scientific view tell us that Humans are not so great. We are not the center of the universe. We are one planet revolving around one star that is one of billions of others.
The overman: a being that transcends the accepted value system and goes on to create his own values.
" Let us therefore limit ourselves to the purification of our opinions and valuations and to the creation of our opinions and valuations and to the creation of our own new tables of what is good. We however want to become those we are- human beings who are new, unique, incomparable, who give themselves laws, who created themselves." Nietzsche.
These new humans who "give themselves laws" and "create themselves" are Overmen. The Overman is a being who cares only for everything. He hates none, and loves all, he cares for none, but helps all. The overman is the stage at which man becomes god. All caring and all loving. One who lives simply to live and enjoy the wonders of life.
A reason to live? None. God and an afterlife is not necessary for an Overman. He simply lives with the knowledge that it has no meaning and that he will continue to love despite that fact.

What I am saying is that the idea of God is dead in a modern society today. It has no matter anymore. However people who realise this and continue with regular life become an overman because they believe that they are still happy and without the need for such things. I believe this is true can you argue? I hope so. I want to enjoy this debate. Thank you my opponent.
[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...
Puck

Con

-----------------------
The Meaning Of Life
-----------------------

Given the definitions, namely life - that of an individual, one can word the resolution to be more accurately: Individual life has meaning.

Though Con, he has surprisingly chosen Nietzsche for his champion of this idea, surprising because a more than cursory reading will show that Nietzsche was not at all opposed to life having meaning (just from a particular source). Nietzsche I will deal with last, since it is of lesser import than the meta theme of the debate itself; whether an individual life can have meaning.

At its most basic, a secular view (no argument from me on that particular Nietzschian point), is that life is an end to itself. What this implies is that meaning does not come from any greater source than one's own life itself. No deification of the Mother/Father land is needed no greater service to humanity, society etc., simply, that meaning is derived from individual existence.

By the simple decision to continue one's life (and hence even if only vaguely implicit in one's mind - it is a value) one is in a process of life. Yes it may seem a simple statement, but corollary to such and of import is that your life is of content, and the content is what gives your life meaning - meaning which is connected with those things we find intrinsically satisfying and not simply means to an end.

Those things that make your life worth living to you, purposeful, give it meaning. Since we are talking about individual lives here, it really is as simple a concept as that. Nietzsche correctly condemned notions of the afterlife as sole prerequisites for giving life meaning (life as a process towards 'something else after'), preferring the existential notion of life as is when alive.

Of course not all things give equal meaning, some have more value than others, there will exist a hierarchy within which 'things I value and give me satisfaction' shall be arrayed, a hierarchy of 'this provides benefit and happiness', none of which would be possible without first that recognition that life itself is a prerequisite.

Indeed even though a secular notion, it does not deny the religious meaning in their pursuits in that regard. Though we may consider it immoral, or simply unnecessary, it does not preclude it from providing meaning itself. Nietzsche condemned traditional religious values as outdated and unnecessary yes, and it is it is a stance of a particular ethical nature. Condemnation of it however does not remove it as source of meaning (merely the meaning is constrained within the life of the person itself). Misguided yes, certainly arguable as immoral depending on your particular ethical position, however that does not equal making it *meaningless* to an *individual* who derives value and happiness
from its pursuit.

------------
Nietzsche
------------

Quick overview and argument from your Nietzsche quotes. How any of them relate to the lack of meaning of life I'm not sure, since you don't create a coherent argument in that regards, simply 'religion is unnecessary' variety which is insufficient.

Magic circle stuff I won't touch till you can source it coherently within either, Nietzsche's writings or in the context of this debate. It's certainly not something I've come across in his readings, and the only apparent reference to it I can find is from a blog about a WoW book.

http://epicdolls.com...

The idea that Nietzsche expects us to transform is a flawed interpretation, one aided by your use of quote mining out of context, or more correctly only in part from, The Gay Science.

The full quote in context runs like this:

"...human beings who are new, unique, incomparable, who give themselves laws, who create themselves. To that end [of creating ourselves] we must become the best learners and discoverers of everything that is lawful and necessary in the world: we must become physicists in order to be creators in this sense while hitherto all valuations and ideals have been based on ignorance of physics . Therefore: long live physics!"

Nietzsche was a Determinist; physics and science was his way to gain insight into correct action (by knowing the correct values and actions that hopefully science will provide answers for. Even if the specifics were unknown the patterns revealed through science were to be guides to action).

The �bermensch follows from this. Zarathustra has no need for other worldly values (affirmation of the existential atheist stance of life is living on earth). Hence science, the practical nature of the modern, the living, and of Earth, was
his key to action.

Your notion of man to become art is again a flawed interpretation. It's a sample of his solution to a lawless morality
(the need for a standard, cf. beyond good and evil) and again relates to his denial of the transcendent. For Nietzsche aesthetics provides the *standard* to judge one's actions, one does not literally become art, it provides the means to give meaning to one's actions and their source whether impulses, drives etc., and this aesthetic norm is the role of the acting �bermensch. [1][2][3][4]

[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...

[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...

[3] Thus Spoke Zarathustra

[4] The Gay Science
Debate Round No. 1
ThebigB

Pro

If you wish to view it as " life is an end to itself." I must re argue this. Life is a means to a 'supposed' means. If you go to religion it is a 'means' to an 'end' afterlife. If you look in the manner of Nietzsche you would see that life is a means to a means. Living to living to fullest. "Those things that make your life worth living to you, purposeful, give it meaning." Perhaps, however, simply because you love something and make it your life's work, I will use baseball, does not make your life have meaning. Allow me to explain, when a player plays from little league all the way to majors he believes that this is what he was meant to do. However when he retires and people begin to forget him with new stars in play how does he feel? He loses that meaning of life he once had. He is not meaningless he has done nothing true to be remembered. However he can overcome this with the Overman idea. He can keep on living enjoying everyday just because he is there.

Allow me to give you what you ask about the magic circle. I believe this is the article http://gamestudies.org... However I will list others it could be. I am sorry forgot to save this to my favorites. It could be this http://www.jesperjuul.net... I use the magic circle as a reference to real life.

"For Nietzsche aesthetics provides the *standard* to judge one's actions, one does not literally become art, it provides the means to give meaning to one's actions and their source" I did not mean literal art. I meant an art work in life as one is when he dreams. To become that which you always want to be. How you want to look, how smart you are etc. You become this artwork of your imagination and push yourself to it.

I use Nietzsche because I agree with his idea of the Overman who is the ultimate being which transcends normal life and its life values. However I do like your ideas. But, for the sake of debate I will continue to assert my views.
Puck

Con

"If you wish to view it as " life is an end to itself." I must re argue this. Life is a means to a 'supposed' means. If you go to religion it is a 'means' to an 'end' afterlife. If you look in the manner of Nietzsche you would see that life is a means to a means. Living to living to fullest."

Yes life is it own end. What gives meaning from being alive is the content of that life, that things which are meaningful and purposeful. Life is a means to means makes no sense. A means to what? What higher value is meaningful to? Life of course, which is what I stated. Meaning by itself is insufficient, it must have meaning towards, for someone, otherwise it simply has no meaning. Should note that you concede the debate in those sentences too. Perhaps next time if you want to argue religion, phrase it as such.

"Perhaps, however, simply because you love something and make it your life's work, I will use baseball, does not make your life have meaning. Allow me to explain, when a player plays from little league all the way to majors he believes that this is what he was meant to do. However when he retires and people begin to forget him with new stars in play how does he feel? He loses that meaning of life he once had. He is not meaningless he has done nothing true to be remembered. However he can overcome this with the Overman idea. He can keep on living enjoying everyday just because he is there."

Simply because one individual loses a specific aspect of something that gives them meaning =/= individual life being meaningless. Firstly even if granted in that scenario, he does not deny his life itself has value, hence meaning (no suicide). Secondly a single individual is a poor attempt to garner a meta argument, I can just as easily construct a tale where one has meaning till death. Your resolution was that life (for the individual) has no meaning. Not only are you blatantly contradicting yourself here, you fail to argue away the simplicity of meaningful action, pursuit of value in an individuals life, is what gives that life meaning.

"Allow me to give you what you ask about the magic circle..."

Link 1: "In this context, Homo Ludens singles out Nietszche's emphasis on competition as a rediscovery of the playful aspects of philosophical competition. " - sole reference.

Link 2: No mention of Nietzsche.

You have failed to bring that set of paragraphs into any meaningful context either of the debate or Nietzsche.

"I did not mean literal art. I meant an art work in life as one is when he dreams. To become that which you always want to be. How you want to look, how smart you are etc. You become this artwork of your imagination and push yourself to it."

Life as one when dreaming? You simply list those things one may seek as value, that provide worth and hence possible*meaning*. While it's not Nietzschean in itself (using the word art in relation to action doesn't make it a Nietzsche claim necessarily) it does however go towards my arguments of individual action being able to provide meaning.

"I agree with his idea of the Overman who is the ultimate being which transcends normal life and its life values."

Again an iffy interpretation. The role of the �bermensch was not to transcend reality and life but precisely to live amongst it, treating it as the sole domain for values (the meaning of earth). It is in direct contrast to the need for
otherworldly values, design, morality etc. The �bermensch was precisely the counterpoint to religion - life is on earth, living is on earth, value is on earth, meaning is from living. [1]

[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...

==

It seems you are/were unclear about what was up for debate here. Nietzsche wasn't opposed to life having meaning (simply intrinsic transcendental meaning). Maybe next time frame your debates more carefully if anti religion is your purpose.

Regards, Puck. :)
Debate Round No. 2
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by theorusso 7 years ago
theorusso
I'd say life itself is an invented human idea, but that the idea of it has no purpose. We are only pre-programmed to survive and reproduce, and thats about it.
Posted by pradhan 7 years ago
pradhan
GodSands: I respect your reverence ...But that answer needs to supported ..

Everyone can't accept that Jesus is the meaning,....
Posted by GodSands 7 years ago
GodSands
Ology means 'reason why' or 'study of'. The Greek word for logos means reason why, and the word 'word' in Greek also means logos. For Jesus is the logos of everything, but everybody just seems to be interested in certain ologies. -- Jesus Christ is the meaning.
Posted by pradhan 7 years ago
pradhan
So much about meaning ..

So what's the meaning of meaning?
Posted by GodSands 7 years ago
GodSands
The fact that you can even think of the concept of life having no meaning gives life meaning. The meaning being the discovery of life having no meaning. So life actually has meaning. Just not a meaningful meaning.
Posted by Maestro 7 years ago
Maestro
ThebigB might sound "emo", and his profile picture also suggests so; however, I think he did a fairly admirable job of bringing up the topic of the meaninglessness of life.

Unfortunately, my vote still goes to Puck.

Best of luck, ThebigB.
Posted by Rockylightning 7 years ago
Rockylightning
emo
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Puck
Cheers for RFD. Yeah poor misunderstood Nietzsche. :(
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
S&G: Tie, though some of ThebigB's arguments were confusing.
A: Definitely Puck - he had a much better grasp of Nietzsche. The killing point was that Nietzsche was NOT a nihilist in respect to the meaning of life, this is quite a misnomer that has been latched with his name (the man is quite frequently misunderstood).
S: Puck, given that PRO used his sources illegitimately.
Posted by ThebigB 7 years ago
ThebigB
@ Kinesis.
Ouch. D: You have stabbed my poor heart and I feel unloved....Not really.
And I am still not atheist.
A douche maybe, but not an atheist.
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Maestro
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ThebigB
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