Stephen Hawking: What is the Meaning and Purpose of the Universe? What is the meaning and purpose of humanity?
Does the universe care?
Not exactly the right question. To be sure…..we are actually here. We’re not dead….so it may be the universe cares ALOT more than we think.
To date we as a human race haven’t been killed by hurricane, asteroid, or the sun imploding. Wow….that means the universe might just like us….we have actual people that are alive and breathing….sure some populations are struggling….but where there is struggle you also see other humanity often pitching in to help out (ie development assistance) and otherwise lending a hand. We’re imperfect humans–but with an eye for helping out our fellow human being.
Of course when you don’t ask the right question…..in the right perspective….you rig the game (or rather rig the perspective so that people don’t have purpose)…..as those who assert there is no meaning are apt to do.
Is radical skepticism about the meaning of the universe justified?
Well first, it seems to radically prefigure our answer. So maybe other perspectives can come to the party and contribute rather than having the singular voice of a few select and published scientist speak for an issue art, literature, philosophy, and theory has addressed multiple times through the milllenium. Sources of wisdom that you can’t just imagine away…..especially if you have a degree of humility about the nature and purposes of science.
What difference would we be to the universe?
Death of citizens. Death of civilizations.
Intelligent and sentient
Even Darwin, when pressed would have to say something evolutionary about the purpose of the universe rather than de-contextulazing and de-subjectivizing (ie taking all the marrow and choice and humanity out of humanity). Thats a prescription for not knowing what humanity is about or where its going.
At a 3 million mile view…..we are just specks. Thats functionally important. What can we do? What are we capable of? What do our potentialities suggest we can do? What does our history suggest we can do? What are the greatest achievements of humanity? What does humanity do that suggests meaning?
What does this perspective set us up for? What new universe does this pronouncement call into being?
I want a science (or rather worldview/philosophy/belief system) who says not only what is here (ie description) but also maintains a notion of hope and possibility for a new day. I think others in the human community similarly want a system or multiple systems of thought which can do those two functions.
If we define “science” and “scientists” by a strictly naturalist definition….we are probably…..particularly if we decide to worship at their alter of if our lives have meaning or not. To me….I don’t let others make subjective and capricious decisions about my life…….and certainly without grounds to do so. I believe in human possibility far too much…..I realize its been less than perfect…..
Here are a couple more questions to consider in this regard:
• What is our best hope of improving meaning?
• What is our best hope of creating meaning in the future?
• What is our best hope of creating positive difference?
As written this leaves the reader to figure out their own definition for meaning and purpose in the universe.
Why is it that Stephen Hawking, et al have decided to rig the game by looking at a 3 million foot view…..rather than looking at the 3 foot view…..of people eyeball to eyeball or looking at the ground-level reality of people helping other people…..or of leaving great acts of service, community, brotherhood, social change, transformation, progress, and innovation.
And ultimately if there isn’t a purpose to humanity….there is much purpose in the lives of anyone…..or of scientists. It seems to me this philosophy is a fundamental cul de sac–a dead end in terms of worldviews.
Why haven’t the world’s scientists come out against such a view? Why are they all in lockstep behind Stephen Hawking? Apparently they didn’t read Simon Sinek’s book (or TED Talk here). They haven’t watched and taken seriously any TED talk about meaning or purpose. That millions have read and watched his TED talk and not realized what a cognitive dissonance exists between a world portrayed without purpose and meaning–and the absolute need for purpose.
• Why teach?
• Why do science?
• Why write?
• Why make? Why build stuff?
• Why build companies?
• Why be creative?
• Why get up in the morning?
• Why care for your kids?
• Why struggle through adversity?
• Why be on Quora?
• What drives you? What drives those around you?
I’m not content with a hyper-abstracted view of reality…..detached from my experience and entirely detached from the world of reality that most people experience.
Its sad…..we live lives bathed in purpose and meaning…..and yet since its become invisble to us (and it takes sometimes an immaterial form) except when we write it in our journals or goal lists…….but our entire lives circle around our purpose.
Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. You have dreams. Humans have dreams. We want to push forward–we want to progress–we want to discover…..Those are lives of purpose….those are lives of meaning.