Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Meaningless Flash of Brilliance

I know that he's borderline bipolar on religious issues and that he recycles material faster than a girl scout troop on a sugar high, but riffs like this are what make him The Godol.

"As for meaninglessness, I think it’s reasonably true that a hard core secularist/materialist ideology inevitably leads to the conclusion that mankind is here by chance, and even worse, we are probably just meat machines with an illusion of free will and consciousness. This could in theory lead to despair, nihilism and hedonism, though in practice it doesn’t seem to. This may be because the kind of people who get to this point intellectually are usually the kind of people who have the mental abilities to not descend into despair, and are also usually the kind of people for whom hedonism is probably not that attractive anyway. In fact, if you look around, the people who live hedonistic, nihilistic lifestyles are more often the simple, shallow types, who would probably claim to have a belief in God and the afterlife."

And, actually, this could be not only amusing, but true.


Blogger jewish philosopher said...

It's hard to say really. My dad was actually very intelligent but atheistic, nihilistic, hedonistic and desperate. He basically just drown his misery in beer.

Don't push your luck.

March 01, 2007 8:28 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

XGH asks and answers his own question yet still doesn't recognize it himself...

His 'theory' is that a materialistic explanation of life leads to 'despair, nihilism and hedonism', but he himself admits that the evidence doesn't support it. Now most people would at this point discard the theory, but this would destroy one of the key things he is clinging on to, and so he cannot give it up.

JP, you seem to not recognize that the issue at hand is one of causality. So, as much as it saddens me to hear about your father, I don't see how it in any way establishes causality for the general case.

March 01, 2007 9:25 AM  
Blogger dbs said...


Your right, I think that this is part of GH's worldview. Although it may not seem like it though, this statement is a sort of evolution for him - he is recognizing that it doesn't really work the way that he assumes. I took it that he was sort of poking fun at himself while coming up with this rather creative alternate theory (of why atheists are not, in fact, nihilistic hedonists in despair).

The real reason (in my nutshell opinion), and something which GH (and a lot of religious people) don't apreciate is that the lack of a "grand design" for creation is not the equivilant of life being "meaningless".

March 01, 2007 10:32 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Furthermore, the 'grand design' doesn't really buy you much in terms of understanding your purpose in that grand design. In other words, how does G-d want you to live your life? This is really the crux of most religious disagreements, both intra and inter religion.

March 01, 2007 10:58 AM  

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