Monday 25th of June 2018

The greater meaning of meaninglessness...


Dictionary: meaninglessness is described as without meaning, significance, (purpose, or value; purposeless); insignificant:  a meaningless reply; a meaningless existence.

Are we afraid of meaninglessness?…

A million little pains at once
A million little joy
A million details 
A million ideas
a single misunderstanding

The clock has run out of tic-toc

Un milione di piccoli dolori allo stesso tempo
Un milione di piccole gioie

Un milione di dettagli

Un milione di idee

un singolo equivoco

L'orologio ha esaurito il tic-toc

This poem by the pseudo-Italian Faccconi Blatanto (1900-1967) illustrates the human search for meaning. And absolute meaning there is none. 

I placed (purpose, or value; purposeless) between parenthesis as "meaning" and "purpose" contain two very distinct ideas, thus the dictionary is annoyingly ambiguous.

One of my good reference books tells me that the quote below: 

The real sin against life is to abuse and destroy beauty. Above all one’s own, for that has been put in our care and we are responsible for its well-being.
    ... came from Pliny The Elder.

There is a noble sentiment in these lines. It could be an artifice of translation to introduce the concept of sin and that of having been given the responsibility. Here we need to define “sin” and “responsibility” in the context of what we do in regard to nature, to ourselves and to each others. This is meaningless unless we accept that we have made it our purpose to look after life, including nature, rather than the task “being given to us" by a god.
As we evolved, we developed the ability to protect or destroy on a grander scale than just catch a prey to feed ourselves. And this became our choice when faced with various circumstances. There is no sin. There is no evil, just the sensations of doing something painful or joyful to ourselves or to others — and to nature — until our personal clock runs out of tic-toc.
Then our well-organised matter that gave us consciousness goes back into the pile of disorganised atomic dust. We are no more.

But on the net, Brainy quotes attributes this very Pliny quote to Katherine Anne Porter.

So I am a bit lost as to the origin of this quote which I would like to be by Pliny the Elder, because he was a famous student of nature. 

Pliny also admired Laocoön and his Sons, a sculpture about the priest Laocoön to whom Virgil attributes the famous lines:

Equō nē crēdite, Teucrī 
Quidquid id est, timeō Danaōs et dōna ferentēs”, 

"Do not trust the Horse, Trojans
Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even bearing gifts.” 

This is the source of the saying: "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”

This impressive sculpture, carved most likely between 68 BC and 27 BC, though some scholars place it at more than 200 BC — one of the best ever existential sculpture in my opinion — is now in the hands of the Vatican. It somehow represents "suffering with no reward” — or should I be bold “living with no meaning". 

Pliny attributed the work, displayed in the palace of Emperor Titus, to three Greek sculptors from the island of Rhodes: Agesander, Athenodoros and Polydorus, but Pliny does not give a date nor patron. This sculpture is considered "one of the finest examples of the Hellenistic baroque” in the traditional style. But it could have been a copy. It is one of the most famous ancient sculptures we know of, since it was excavated in Rome in 1506.
Why would the Vatican hold onto this gripping piece? The Vatican is a commercial enterprise that sells to us, mere mortals, the concept of “suffering with reward" — the reward of an eternal life next to god, should we believe in god.
Over centuries, the Vatican boffins have done their best to appropriate other religious and pagan rituals to mash them into their own interpretations of life, ultimately using the suffering of Jesus Christ as the motivation for us to accept life as it is not. 

Life has no meaning, but we can chose our purpose in our management thereof.
Democratically, our next important step is to debunk the illusion of god and to understand (or accept) the intricacies of life's mechanics through scientific investigations, in which the profound relationships between complex molecules are essential. These relationships are what give us our choices, to be well or not, receptive or aggressive, until our last tic-toc.
Simple, yet complex.

One of our major purpose is to choose between peace and war. The molecular and animalistic relationships that sustain meaningless life are often in conflict with each other, while others, including conciliators, are allied against the “conflictors”. The ramifications are enormous and are very difficult to manage at our level without delusions, in which we torture psychology and philosophy to squeeze meaning out of what we do.

It is my strong view that our social structures based on religious dictums — the West and the Middle-East especially — need to evolve and accept meaningless purposeful responsibility, rather than absolutism, as an equal humanistic purpose for all, to live in peace. With not any meaning left in this evolution, we could extract a better life for most, possibly for all of us, while managing the "conflictors" in our favour — minimising the suffering.

This would be the greater meaning of meaninglessness: our chosen purpose in a meaningless universe. What a singular responsibility of choice.

Gus the Elder
Your local old kook

laocoön and his sons...

Laocoön and his SonsLaocoön and his Sons

the modern trojan horses...