[ExI] The meaning of life (in transhumanism)

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Tue Feb 18 06:30:35 UTC 2014

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 3:14 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> A while ago I started working on an essay called "the meaning of life in
> transhumanism", but quite soon I got distracted (Oh! Shiny!) and it
> languished. Then I got an offer to turn it into a book chapter, and it is
> now up and running. However, while much of it is standard scholarship
> (Nikolai Fedorov's cosmism and its links to Tipler and FHI-style big
> futures) I think it would be sensible to actually ask you in the community
> for your views of what the "meaning of life is".

Would that not be the definition of "life" from biology?  :P

Assuming you actually meant "the purpose of life", purposes come from a
source, which strongly informs possible purposes:

1) If the source is a God-equivalent, then one must prove its existence in
order to prove there is a purpose.  This is, of course, impossible.

2) If the source comes from other people, or from oneself, then there is no
"the" purpose.  There are many purposes, depending on who assigns them and

3) If the source comes from nature, it's pretty clear the purpose is to
survive long enough to breed, genetically and/or memetically.  (Ensuring
the reproduction of someone you wish to reproduce is fine.  Lots of social
animals include members who never have their own children, yet their
efforts ensure the continued survival of their species.)  But a lot of
human beings instinctively reject this, wanting more out of living.

4) If none of the above, there is no purpose.  Life just is.  Of course,
one can assign oneself a purpose, but then it becomes case #2.
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