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Goal of Life

The goal is to live a life guided by good ideas. Good ideas come from ongoing improvement – learning new things and error correction – while avoiding systematic blockers. So the goal of life is unbounded progress for your ideas.

Discuss below. Ask questions, express objections, try to elaborate on what this means or how to do it.


Elliot Temple on March 4, 2020

Messages (27)

Somewhat related: http://curi.us/2268-curi-quotes

> in short the purpose of life is to do some productive things that you like.


Alisa at 2:20 PM on March 4, 2020 | #15741 | reply | quote

#15741 How do you think that's related and how is it different?


curi at 2:21 PM on March 4, 2020 | #15742 | reply | quote

#15742 I thought the quote I shared was related to the main post because a "goal" and a "purpose" are related, and because both words are used with reference to one's life.

http://www.websters1913.com/words/Goal :

> 2. The final purpose or aim; the end to which a design tends, or which a person aims to reach or attain.

I haven't thought about the quote and the main post are different.


Alisa at 2:46 PM on March 4, 2020 | #15743 | reply | quote

correction

#15743 Missing word (shown here in italics): I haven't thought about *how* the quote and the main post are different.


Alisa at 2:47 PM on March 4, 2020 | #15744 | reply | quote

> I thought the quote I shared was related to the main post because a "goal" and a "purpose" are related, and because both words are used with reference to one's life.

Yeah they are related. Will you consider how the content of the two statements are related? What do productive things have to do with living guided by good ideas? Or do the statements disagree about how to live?

> I haven't thought about [how] the quote and the main post are different.

Want to think about it?


curi at 2:49 PM on March 4, 2020 | #15745 | reply | quote

I agree the goal is as you said, but I would add that the motivation should be truth seeking. I like rands view of using happiness as the state of non contradictary joy that is self made and that happiness is the state of achievement. I think that being the moral purpose and what you said being the means to it would be a good summary.


Mingmecha at 3:02 PM on March 4, 2020 | #15746 | reply | quote

#15746 You say you agree but you're also disagreeing and trying to change what I said. That's social pandering to downplay and hide disagreement. The result is you haven't clearly thought about what my position is, what your position is, how they differ, or what's true.


curi at 5:06 PM on March 4, 2020 | #15748 | reply | quote

I think the goal of life is to maximize my own happiness. Good ideas are an extremely useful tool / means for doing that, but not the goal itself.


Andy Dufresne at 5:15 PM on March 4, 2020 | #15749 | reply | quote

#15749 So you disagree because you think "maximize my own happiness" is a good idea which you should use to guide your life?


curi at 5:48 PM on March 4, 2020 | #15750 | reply | quote

No.

I don't think I understand ideas or abstractions well enough to discuss this to FI standards of precision. I expect to make many errors but I'll give it a go.

I think maximizing happiness is more than an idea. One confusing thing about happiness is that it seems to exist at a lower level abstraction than ideas. But then people needed an idea for happiness at a higher level of abstraction in order to think and talk about it. The happiness idea they created is indeed useful, but people seem to lose the reference to the lower level reality and treat happiness as something like believing the idea "I am happy". And people commonly think of maximizing happiness as an idea exclusively related to mental states.

I think of "happiness" ("flourishing" is another word for it) as describing the total state of an organism. Something like the state which the organism's nature is best suited for living in. That applies to all organisms, which includes humans. For humans of course that includes their mental state, but it's not only their mental state.

Trees (which have zero capacity for ideas) try to maximize their own happiness at the lower level of abstraction. They grow towards sunlight and their roots grow towards water. Not because it's a good idea but because lower level abstractions than ideas determine that sunlight and water increase the tree's happiness.

People aren't trees, and ideas matter to people. Good ideas are as much a requirement for people's happiness as sunlight is for tree's. But to regard "maximize my own happiness" as *only* a good idea would be like regarding sunlight as a tree's *only* requirement. It's not. There's other stuff than ideas going on in my life that matters to my happiness. There are happiness-maximizing goal directed processes going on at lower levels of abstraction than ideas. With regard to those processes "maximize my own happiness" is descriptive rather than proscriptive (proscriptive = used to guide).


Andy Dufresne at 6:52 AM on March 5, 2020 | #15754 | reply | quote

> I don't think I understand ideas or abstractions well enough to discuss this to FI standards of precision. I expect to make many errors but I'll give it a go.

I think we can make some progress on this discussion if you'll answer some questions. So you're arguing happiness (partially) isn't an idea, right?


curi at 12:33 PM on March 5, 2020 | #15756 | reply | quote

Happiness


Freeze at 5:05 PM on March 5, 2020 | #15757 | reply | quote

#15757 What do you think and why?


curi at 5:21 PM on March 5, 2020 | #15758 | reply | quote

#15745 curi stated the following two goals† of life:

> [(1)] live a life guided by good ideas

> [(2)] do some productive things that you like

(1) implies (2), but (2) doesn't imply (1). For instance, Rearden did some productive things that he liked, but his personal life wasn't guided by good ideas.

† For simplicity, I'm considering "purpose" to be the same as "goal".


Alisa at 8:13 PM on March 5, 2020 | #15763 | reply | quote

#15763 How are you doing at (1) and (2)?


curi at 8:44 PM on March 5, 2020 | #15764 | reply | quote

#15756

No. I'm arguing happiness in humans is an idea + other stuff, and in non-humans it's just the other stuff.


Andy Dufresne at 11:02 AM on March 6, 2020 | #15772 | reply | quote

Elaborate the Meaning

Here is what I think the piece means:

>The goal is to live a life guided by good ideas.

Good or useful ideas can guide one’s life. That life should be experienced or undergone by people. The goal or directive is to go through that life.

>Good ideas come from ongoing improvement – learning new things and error correction – while avoiding systematic blockers.

Ideas that are good originate from improvement. That improvement is continuous. Improvement is defined as learning things that are new and learning how to fix errors or flaws in one’s ideas. At the same time, one should solve problems or fix patterns that stump or stop learning.

>So the goal of life is unbounded progress for your ideas.

For the reasons specified in the previous sentences, the purpose of living is improving or bettering your ideas in indefinite ways. The indefinite ways of improving are learning new things everyday, fixing mistakes or flaws in one’s knowledge, and bettering the system of learning. Bad ways of learning can interrupt us too much in our path or even stop us completely.


German at 12:22 PM on March 6, 2020 | #15773 | reply | quote

>> So you're arguing happiness (partially) isn't an idea, right?

> No. I'm arguing happiness in humans is an idea + other stuff,

So if happiness consists partially of an idea, and partially of other stuff, then it's partially not an idea. Right? So you should have answered "yes" not "no"?

> I don't think I understand ideas or abstractions well enough to discuss this to FI standards of precision. I expect to make many errors but I'll give it a go.

I think answering my question correctly does not depend on correctly understanding any complex or philosophical topic. One could have a confused conception of happiness, the nature of ideas, the reality of abstractions, etc., and still answer the question correctly. I designed it that way on purpose and I had in mind some followup discussion of a similar nature. But, so far, it's not working.


curi at 2:09 PM on March 6, 2020 | #15777 | reply | quote

#15777

You are correct. I should have answered "yes" not "no". That answer did not depend on any complex or philosophical topic.

I didn't consider the word partially in my reply. It's like it didn't exist for me. I'm not sure why (but have some guesses).

I know I read your comment two times before replying. The first time I didn't want to comment at the time because I wanted to do something else instead. The second time, I posted my comment.

Some guesses as to what caused the error, in order of my estimation of their likelihood:

- I read your comment correctly the first time but forgot about the word partially sometime between then and the second reading. When I re-read the second time I was especially careless and missed the word partially because I'd already read the comment but overestimated my memory.

- I read your comment incorrectly both times. The fact partially was parenthetical may or may not have contributed to me skipping the word. I don't recall having any specific problems with parentheticals, but it's possible.

- I read your comment correctly both times, but forgot the word partially when writing my reply and afterwards. I think this is especially unlikely but nevertheless possible.

Another contributing factor to all 3 guesses could have been related to my prior statement that I expected to make many errors.

I had, in a sense, given myself permission to make a bunch of errors in this discussion by that statement. So perhaps I felt less need to try than I usually do in FI discussions.

If that was a contributing factor, I don't know how big a role it played in this particular error.

I also don't know what to do about the error other than stuff that sounds like platitudes (slow down, try harder) or stuff I don't want to do (study grammar, do 10 trees of sentences).


Andy Dufresne at 4:24 PM on March 6, 2020 | #15779 | reply | quote

#15773 I think you should try something simpler.


curi at 1:23 AM on March 7, 2020 | #15781 | reply | quote

Yes, I took on something too complex for me.


German at 1:27 AM on March 7, 2020 | #15782 | reply | quote

#15779 I think you should write down the error, and keep a log of problems like that which you have. Because I think it's pretty representative and typical of the sorts of frequent problems people have which make a lot of discussion, debate and learning fail. So at least worth monitoring.

People often double down. Since you didn't, we can try continuing.

gold coins are a physical object, not an idea, but *maximizing* gold coins is an idea, right?

(there's also the idea of a gold coin, as there are ideas about ~everything. but that's not the thing we're trying to maximize. we want more of the physical objects, not more thoughts about gold coins, not more visualizations of them in our head, not more knowledge of their definition, not to give more attention to the concept).


curi at 2:04 AM on March 7, 2020 | #15784 | reply | quote

#15764

curi asked:

> [Regarding goals of life, how] are you doing at (1) [living a life guided by good ideas] and (2) [doing some productive things that you like]?

I'm not there yet, but learning philosophy is bringing me closer.

Learning philosophy is both productive and enjoyable, so that activity counts towards (2). However, it doesn't get enough of my attention to satisfy (2) on its own.

Some people's work is productive, but, although I enjoy my work and I'm fairly good at it, my employer does a significant amount of bad stuff, kind of like the State Science Institute, so my work doesn't count as productive.


Alisa at 10:06 PM on March 7, 2020 | #15807 | reply | quote

why does my quality of life improve the more philosophy i forget?


Anonymous at 2:05 PM on April 15, 2020 | #16366 | reply | quote

#15754 This Is what I understood you meant, and some ways in which I’m still confused of your disagreement with curi.

The idea of happiness I hold, is not a “desire” but more of a description. Happiness is not a feeling, it’s not just some result of doing something. It’s that doing that “something” compels you to keep seeking it. And this are objective reasons that exist. So The correct answer to the question “Why do x?” Is “because x exists”. The way it “is” is the reason why someone discovering it(x) would be compeled act to get it. Because he couldn’t do otherwise voluntarily.

This thing that is happiness is a real property thing have. You think that this means that ideas are just instruments we are compelled to use to get happier. So our prime motivation is not the ideas but keep doing that whe are compeled to keep doing by virtue of they way the are.

If that’s what you mean. Then I’m not decided on wether the logic is complete and correct. For one I could ask. Isn’t it that ideas are proposed solutions to problems, and so all your dispositions, (which are also proposed solutions to problems you are aware of)are ideas. And so living by good ideas is all you really have? I can’t answer that yet.I think this is what the purpose of life being good ideas, is. So curi is right.

I take a lot from ideas about esthetics for morality. I agree with with you if you meant what I explained.. My esthetic theories I got it from Deutsch and Rand. Deutch explains why flowers really are beautiful in a similar whay to the way you thing about the “tree’s lower levels of abstraction”. Nah he class this objective beauty. There’s an entire talk about this in YouTube.


Anonymous at 9:55 PM on June 20, 2020 | #16757 | reply | quote

#16757 correction in sentence before the last: *and he calls this* .


Anonymous at 9:58 PM on June 20, 2020 | #16758 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 1:14 PM on June 24, 2020 | #16772 | reply | quote

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