03 The Meaning of Life

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Whatever you choose it to be.

A logical conclusion so what is interesting is how we get there. And if you were to ask what is the point of life, you are asking the wrong question.

We need to start with null, because we need to see what the problem really is. Null is used by coders because they discovered a problem when using databases, and that problem is the difference between zero and null. Zero is the specific amount of nothing, where as null is absence of a result. If you have a question of ‘how many coffees have you had today’, that you write on paper and put a square box next to it and copy 30 times. You have 30 nulls. Lets say you walk away and come back later and look through the paper. When someone writes a zero in it you have a single data point of zero, the other 29 blank pages are nulls. You don’t have 30 data points because you printed 30 copies, that is not real.

So why does this matter? Well the question is, what is the meaning of life? If you were to see a poster of a tree and it says, a tree doesn’t worry about the meaning of life, so why should you? Be more tree.’ The poster is nonsense because the tree is null worried about the meaning of life where as I have zero worry about the meaning of life. I’ve already thought about it.

What is interesting is where the null ends. I might be wrong, but I don’t think a fox parks ups and contemplates existence. Cats seem to revel in the animal, knowing exactly what it wants to do. Dogs just want you to be happy. It seems the question is only really contemplated in the ape mind, maybe specifically the human one. So the question is in the machine, which means it’s a logic problem.

With no obvious answer you might be led to thinking that life is pointless, although that might actually be a null answer. We can say that the true answer can never be known but what is very interesting is if you try and apply this practicality, and we get a real answer that is also practical. We get it because the answer forks but both sides of the fork get the same answer.

Pointlessness is Pointless

Fork 1. Life is pointless. What next?
Let’s say for a second that life is pointless. That means everything you do is pointless and that means it doesn’t matter what you do. Total pointlessness is totally pointless so you can act anyway you want. Total pointless is total freedom so if you get to choose to be happy or sad, be happy, just please the animal. You can go full hedonist if you want but that won’t help you log term. The point is that pointlessness actually gives you the freedom to choose the point of it, as after all it doesn’t matter.

I know this can be a bit of a head smash like arguing that we exist because for there not to be anything in the universe, truly no something, then you have true nothing and to have a true nothing you must also have no nothing and boom suddenly you have everything. It’s a verbal trick of a negative negative

What’s the point?

Fork 2. There is a point to life. So what the heck is it then?

If life is pointful, and yes I did just coin the opposite of pointless, we need to work out what that is. I’m not aware of some divine purpose given, and for me I’d have to hear it for myself, not have someone else tell me what it was in a bit game of ‘pass it on’. So we need to look around us for inspiration. We can look to the animals, they all seem to be getting on with things, so maybe it’s follow the animal. Now we have tribal abilities as part of our animal so maybe fathering the tribe. Or maybe it’s the good things we need to do more of. Maybe its scalable and we can just worry about our bit. Ultimately you’ll work out what you think you need to be doing… which is just another way of saying you have the freedom to choose the point of it.

So, the meaning of life is whatever you choose it to be. It doesn’t forking matter if there is a point, although you can choose which fork to follow.

Now for some practical help

Things to remember are that the machine doesn’t care if life is pointless, making the question doubly pointless. It is tasked with the calculations of life needed by the animal and is incapable of caring. If it’s lifted some existential threat for you, from the machine sense of saftey, then I’m happy, but most likely this conclusion is actually not important to you. The key to happiness is way more important.

Love and Happiness

Remember you brain is also a machine built out of animal parts. Bad things can make you sad, but also that sadness is physical, captured in a bio-electro-chemical soup and it might be having a problem with the soup part. Like an old computer that might be having problems because it’s got a virus, or maybe the hard drive isn’t spinning properly because there is builders dust in the thing.

If you are lying on the floor, dumbfounded by the pointlessness of it all, thinking you are slowly dying, put some food in your mouth that tastes nice. Wear clothes that bring you joy. Go for a walk and let the endorphins make you happy. Dance. Watch a great film. If you lightly slap yourself in the face the animal will tell you to stop, let it guide you. In short, please the animal and see if you can get out of the funk.

What do you want it to be?

Maybe you’re looking for a way to better the tribe. Some life aspiration where you may want to take an intellectual approach. Some lofty goal or idea that maybe more theoretical than practical. Think clearly how much this is to win as a machine and how much is to be happy as an animal and look to ditch the first perspective. Don’t aim to be the best teacher, instead recognise that you enjoy teaching. It’s not to be rich beyond measure, it’s to know you can afford to go and sit on a beach on the other side of the world and watch the sunset. People who try to go around the world in 80 days without flying realise they optimised for leaving and arriving and really regret not stopping at that village with the horses. People say life is about the journey. That’s too simple for me. I’d say it’s about the journeys. The overlapping beginnings, middles and ends. The ending of going out partying an the beginning of being a parent, while still having your best friends. Fundamentally, I can give you this one piece of advice to live by:

Whatever you measure yourself by, you will find yourself limited to.

If money is everything to you that is all you’ll have. If you don’t value money at all and try to give give give, don’t be surprised when you can’t go on holiday with your friends. If you care only for your career and not your friends don’t be surprised when you’re lonely and not understood while people see you as successful. It’s like eating. Everything in moderation. Make friends, see the world a bit, be kind, help others but charity begins at home. Maybe like me, dance like nobody is watching.