How do we define ourselves?

It seems to me that rationalist, that is those who’d rather learn through honest objective study of Earth and her systems. Those people who enjoy learning and people who can handle finding out they’ve been wrong, and who are willing to absorb new information, to arrive at more correct answers, than our previous error. Pretty straightforward, simple, and logical.

(As opposed to the Faith Based person who depends on a belief in God and heaven after life, a universal guardian looking down on us from beyond the stars, etc, and people who believe real down to earth evidence can be ignored at will.)

So, God is Dead!, and we’ve had to make our way with our truly ancient mooring points untethered and cast adrift. Truck load of books have been written about this underlying angst that this being left “soulless,” floating in a huge empty uncaring universal void, has created in our society, from art to scholarship.

How does one attach any meaning of life onto that materialist scientific assessment of our material world?

How does one build a foundation of personal contentment, and easy spirituality, including reconciling ourselves with our imminent death, and the overall connecting with something bigger than ourselves? That something that humans seem to need so desperately in one guise or other.

I’m wondering if anyone has any thoughts or ideas to share?

Basically my quest for 12 years now. Having arrived at something, it’s not much of a climax. I had hope for for trumpets and sunbeams through clouds. It’s more like, oh, that’s it then?

But the good news is, it looks like the things that all that old scripture describes, but, I don’t have to worship anything or make sacrifices to keep it. It’s just a bunch of classics, be true to yourself, acknowledge your teachers, share, play your aces, go for a walk, if you’re at a loss then do something for someone else, …

That’s a nice summary. I know what you mean about not much of a climax, although being focused on understanding this Earth’s evolution and such, I’ve had some wonderful memorable climaxes, but time moves on, and we absorb the experience, and it becomes part of our everyday understanding, as we move on to dealing with the next hurdles.

It settles the highs and lows a bit and it’s all good takes on more meaning, even when one’s having a miserable day.

I thought Humanism was supposed to be the solution to that problem.

To what problem?

How does one attach any meaning of life onto that materialist scientific assessment of our material world?

How does one build a foundation of personal contentment, and easy spirituality, including reconciling ourselves with our imminent death, and the overall connecting with something bigger than ourselves? That something that humans seem to need so desperately in one guise or other.

I would say that it is up to each of us to give meaning to our lives.

We are members of the human society. It means that we have rights and duties, to respect others and to be respected.

Death is death.

Why to fear it ?

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Okay, but don’t forget that also includes the biological world.
Nor, that our consciousness is built out of this biological world.

Yeah, that’s what I was musing.

My point exactly.

What was your question?

Perhaps this may be of interest;


Perhaps sometime I’ll have time to watch. Though seems to me a lesson I figured out a long time ago and that’s guide me well.

Another lesson is to strive to appreciate each moment for what it worth’s even if one suddenly finds themselves with a 160 pound dog starting to seriously lose use of its back legs, with an ass full of maggots (well not anymore, copious olive oil), and owners a few hundreds of miles away and nothing to do but give what aid and comfort, stand by all night and in the morning have a neighbor help us get him into town and a vet.

One of those long standing issues that turns into a sudden cascade of problems running its course and I got the bad luck timing of the draw. With all that fur and huge dog, and though I was aware of a problem, they thought vet visit did the trick, and since had very important personal/family event, I was watching him, happen often, so no biggy. Usually easy to watch, so wasn’t paying close attention first day, then came today. He’s so huge the problem was hiding until … , I couldn’t just bath him, or anything, and now, a couple hours back, his back legs gave out and I don’t know how to get him back on his cushion, so here we are. For first time ever, he’s refused his medicine laced Oreo.

It’s not fun, but since when was life all about fun, it’s okay to be grateful for the opportunity and the lessons that the really shitty times provide. I’m learning during this particular all nighter of my life, when I have another opportunity to be of service to others. Trust me I’d way rather try to work on my writing, but every interruption imaginable keeps tripping me up and eating up irreplaceable time.

Gratitude and appreciation and glorying in the moment isn’t all about fun, even if fun is a lot of fun, other not-fun moments are just as worth living.

Mishka and Maddy in May of 2022

How do we define ourselves?

Good question, though tough to answer, we see ourselves in many roles.
Right now I’m particularly aware that service to others is part of my character, so would be part of the description or something that helps define me. Still, there’s no doubt I have a very self serving aspect to me also. I want situations to turn out in a way that’s positive and constructive for me so, and being a willing participating member of a marriage or a group doing my part to help others achieve the same sorts of goals I’m after is the way to do it. My mom loved saying: One hand washes the other.

So we finally fell asleep.
I woke up a little past five, gosh darn bless his sweet broken heart, he’s expired.
The last page has turned and the book of his life is now shut.
From his breathing last night I feared that’s where we were heading. The locomotive breathing of the past day started getting shallower and shallower.

I wonder how Maddy will take it.
Last night I let her in, since she was all upset with me ignoring her most the afternoon and evening, she walked up to Mishka did a couple sniffs, usually at that points she launches into various degrees of licky face. But last night she just backed away and was ready to leave and get back outside.

Family will be heart broken. He was a sweet dog, if too huge for his own good. Now I get to sit here until 7am, when I’m going to have to start with the phone calls and such.

That’s poetry not reality.
Plus those words seem internally inconsistent.
Why fear death, because you are a biological evolved creature that only achieved that status by developing an innate drive to survive.

Trust me, I’ve never been suicidal, but I sure have gone periods when it didn’t matter at all if I lived or died, yet every time death was close, I’ve always reached for life - perhaps it’s one of the reasons why I appreciate that my body is smarter than me and takes better care of me, myself, and I the mind - than my mind does for it.

Which is part of what you wrote.

Denying fear is another thing that seems silly, (or is it pretentious), to me. Fear is my friend, it’s kept me on my toes when I’ve needed it the most.

Seems to me the trick is for me to be able to acknowledge my fear but not let it incapacitate me. Much easier said than done, but it can be done.

And how many understand who “I” is?

You live in the moment, you have memories and dreams and then you die, and it is good.

“tears welling” … :cry:

I have experienced the passing of 6 dogs , the greatest friends one can wish for…
I can only hope that I was devoted to them as they were to me.

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So I’ve listen to David Steindl-Rast.

“Gratefulness is what makes us happy.”
“Every moment is a gift”
“Opportunity is the gift within every moment”
“Rising to the challenge”
“Enjoy and open your heart”

Fair enough.
He forgot to mention we could have been a tree or a frog, instead we are introspective humans - that’s the biggest gift in the universe. Be appreciate for what you have, you could lose it at any moment.

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I know now is not necessarily the time, but it reminds me of “Fear is Never Boring” - an upbeat tune by The Bears.

Oh no trouble now
Are your nerves failing
Don’t come unglued
If your heart skips a beat
Stay on your feet
Don’t throw that moment away

On another note:
I had to put my dog down this past Feb. 3rd time I’ve had to make that decision. It’s never easy.

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That sounds curiously familiar - will have to check my suspicion after I take my little Maddy for a walk. She was touched by yesterday’s happening too and seeing her bud dead.

And I was touched by the thought of losing her.

She walked up and stopped about three inches from him and then slowly backed away. …

I’ll be humming keep in the bright side of life. :wink:

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Sorry to be a stick in the mud, but all the nice sayings in this thread don’t mean a thing, because someone who we’d think of as an evil bastard could hold much the same beliefs. My favorite is, each day is a gift, live it as if it were your last. Sounds great, I personally try to follow it. BUT - so could an evil bastard like Trump or Hitler for that matter. The bible-thumping evangelicals think the best way to spend their days is to remove abortion rights for others.

And I could go on for the other nice sayings. The BIG question is, how can we determine that OUR way is THE way? Theists have it easy, they just point to a book and say There’s your answer. They may be nuts, but they say it, they act on it, and society has changed because of it - just ask the Cons on the SCOTUS and the thumpers that have worked for decades, as if “today is you last day on earth” to get them there.

Take the best from all the belief systems and you’ll end up with a pretty good secular “to do” list.

I quote a secular philosophical merit regardless of the source.
Religions do not have exclusive rights to secular virtues.

This may offer some insights.

The road goes on for ever and the party never ends.

Secularism — The Traveling Team


An “atheist” is one who says there is sufficient evidence to show that God does not exist. An “agnostic” is one who says there is insufficient evidence to know whether or not God exists. The “functional atheist” is one who is apathetic concerning God’s existence. For the purposes of this profile, the term “secularist” will be used to indicate all three.

Might as well toss in the Three Kinds of Truths, according to Degrasse Tyson

Though I just dropped in to test drive this latest edition of thee script, . . .

Inviting Intelligent Critique & Constructive Challenges:

Introducing a New Philosophical Perspective.

Peter Miesler, September 2022

Founded on a life time of learning through the work of scientists.

Earth Centrism

Because Earth is our ultimate touchstone with reality and ourselves.

{And the realization that for this complex living Earth to exist - for us to observe - is proof positive that our Earth evolved down one particular pathway, no matter what people imagine one way or another.

Ours is to figure it out, not to presume to define it.}

We appreciate that we are evolved biological creatures born of Earth’s processes and expressed through its singular Evolutionary Pageant.

We appreciation the profound divide between physical reality, that is matter, biology, laws of nature, on the one hand, and on the other, our thoughts unfolding from within our amazing minds, (or more descriptively, within the realm of our “human mindscape").

We appreciate that fundamentally awareness and life’s “consciousness spectrum” started over a billion years ago with the invention, then prospering, of the unbelievably complex organization of Eukaryote cells (some suggest guided by microtubules).

Keep in mind that in due time these cells created colonies of cells that demonstrated a sense of place and order or the organism would have collapsed into a chaotic blob. Increasingly complex creatures depended at every step on increasing awareness, sensing, processing, internal communication along with improving and refining manipulatory abilities.

By and by, along came one particular clade the eutherians, small nocturnal insect eaters who gave birth to the class of mammalian animals, which begat the primates, which begat hominids, which begat our modern humankind species. We are evolved biological sensing creatures.

Every stage required new refinements and developments within the complex sensing/body/brain system and the mind that collectively produces. Your being is the sum total of all the days of Evolution that went into producing the human form “you” posse during your life, while your mind reflects the sum total of all the days you’ve lived and experienced.

A genuine understanding of oneself starts with the realization that we are evolved biological sensing creatures, and that our consciousness is fundamental the inside reflection of your body/brain dealing with itself and the environment/circumstance it is embedded within.

“I Am, therefore I Think”

{even managed to squeeze in a tip of my hat to Write :wink: }

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I am in full agreement with that proposition… image