Why are we living? LO30776

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@postino.up.ac.za)
Date: 11/12/03

Replying to LO30758 --

Dear Organlearners,

Leo Minnigh <minnigh@dds.nl> wrote:

>What a pleasure to see signs of a recovered man.
>Perhaps our gladness is why you are living.

Greetings dear Leo,

Thank you.

>At, your question is perhaps the oldest question on earth.
>It is a deep question, but it is also a strange question. Now,
>10 years after my screen saver, I think differently. And I
>will explain via another question:
>"Why is there gravity?"

Yes, it is a very old question.

Although some question it, the book Job seems to be the oldest in the
Bible, written at the times of Abraham, some 500 years before the five
books of Moses. The last ten years i came deeply under the impression
how the book of Job in some sense foreshadows the rest of the Bible.
"Why are we living" is one of the questions which Job struggled with.

>I think that the question of At implies a REASON. And
>why should there be a reason? Life is intrinsic to this world,
>it is simply there.The same with sand grains and atoms and
>other elementary particles.

Leo, thank you for this profound input to the dialogue:-
   why <=> reason
I myself did not think of it. But thinking of it now, it is because of
our reasoning faculty that we can consider the question "why are we
living?" You are right -- it is a fact (another outcome of our
reasoning faculty) that life is intrinsic to this world. But i think
that with the question "why are we living?" we want to connect this
fact to another fact as the cause of it.

>But if you are not satisfied with this view, and if you alway
>need a reason and a goal, my answer to At'question is:
>Because of entropy production.

Yes, this is Prigogine's insight. A living system needs entropy
production. It is impossible without entropy production. Completely
isolate any living entity from its environment and it will surely die.

But is "entropy production" (two words, one concept) a fact like
entities living is a fact? It is more than a fact -- it is universal
fact, i.e., it can be formulated as LEP (Law of Entropy Production) --
the entropy of the universe has to increase.

I must admit that during all the time in hospital i did not think even
once of LEP. What shocked me is that a few doctors seemed not to care
whether their patients were actually living or dying. It made me
think. Do i really care whether a person is living or dying? If i care
that a person is living, why should i want that person to live?
Perhaps you have given the answer with:

>Good health and much learning to everybody

In my opinion, after dozens of years of observation, a person who does
not or cannot learn lives a pitiful life. In other words, if we live
without learning, then "why are we living?" In the end Job had to
conclude that he had not learn enough to understand what was happening
to him.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@postino.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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