WHY IS THIS WORTH TALKING ABOUT?
Because it's the greatest of all mysteries. And because every sentient being on the planet to some degree is concerned about it. Humans have evolved a very big brain that is self aware and reflective---it ponders its own origin, purpose and destiny----and consequently suffers three fundamental ANXIETIES: DEATH----GUILT---MEANINGLESSNESS.
ANXIETY: a deep uneasiness of our being---(different from fear--which has an object--like fear of a snake or failure) ( humans cannot bear pure anxiety--they morph it into fear--inventing an object if necessary--to make it bearable)
ANXIETY OF DEATH: Knowing we are temporary--unease about our end.
ANXIETY OF GUILT: Knowing there is a gap between what we are and what we could be.
ANXIETY OF MEANINGLESSNESS: Feeling a need for something----around which to orient our lives----in terms of which to define ourselves----to which to give our energies.
WHAT IS LIFE?
Things that metabolize, replicate and evolve.
WHAT IS MEANING?
Significance, importance, intent, value. But that's not much help! What people are really asking is: 1. What, if anything, is the overall purpose of the universe? (metaphysics)
2. What, if anything, is expected/asked of me? (Ethics)
HOW HAS HUMANITY DEALT WITH ANXIETY?
By inventing religion: Mythical stories about our origin and destiny---Rituals that ease our guilt---and codes of conduct to ease our anxiety of meaninglessness.
HAS IT "WORKED"? WILL IT CONTINUE TO "WORK"? IF NOT---WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?
To some degree, yes, it has worked: Humans coped with their anxieties---survived--multiplied---created elaborate cultures and eventually science. And no, it no longer "works" and even threatens to destroy our planet. (over population---war--ecocide) Science has shattered the myths---- and ethical codes need radical revision. The major world religions, Islam, Judiaism, Christianity---all pretend to have access to CERTAINTY. It is the CLASH OF "CERTAINTIES" that account for most of the current wars.
SO WHAT ARE YOU RECOMMENDING? AND WHAT'S YOUR METAPHYSIC AND ETHIC OF CHOICE?
I'm recommending humility---to all the religions of the world---STOP PRETENDING THAT YOU HAVE MYTHICAL AND ETHICAL CERTAINTY!
I'm recommending: 1. That we create new myths---BASED ON OUR BEST SCIENCE.
2. That we take responsibility for our ethics---admit that we are making it up as we go---that it may always need tweaking---free ourselves from cruel and outdated "holy book ethics."
That's enough for now---I'll complete my theory later.