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Shaper
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:40 pm    Post subject: Why? Reply with quote

All this philosophy over the past little while has reminded me of a very old question, one which I used to ask myself when I was young quite often, and that is 'why do things work the way they do?'
Think about this; often we can come up with an explanation for how something happens, and what is needed for something to happen, and we may even be able to show when something happens and who did it.....but apart from our own little earthly endeavors, we can seldom answer why these things happen.
For example, gravity. What is gravity? It's an attraction between two things; particles, you and planet earth, the earth and the sun, etc. But why does it do that?
Why do the electromagnetic properties keep me from falling through the earth's surface right to it's core?
Why are the laws of physics what they are, why are they not something else?

I guess I've made my point

The next part of this why problem is how we try to rationalize the universe to come up with an explanation. My favorite example is "God did it," because it's short and sweet, and people are usually content with that answer. However, I don't believe we can actually understand the 'why'....it's just beyond our comprehension.

Your thoughts?

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Atheist
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've just asked the biggest question of them all, Josh. smile

As much faith as people have in our ability to discover how things work, the question of why things happen the way they do still manages to leave us scratching our heads. It's the most significant problem I've thus far encountered with the idea that life and the universe are strictly physical systems that exist in their own right and were created by the very rules that control them. By toying around a little with the concept of time, we can rest well at night in the knowledge that the universe didn't necessarily have a "starting point" (circular or spherical time theory), and for a lot of people, that helps to dimiss the idea that it was all originally created by God. But that idea doesn't comfort me at all, because regardless of how long the universe has been here, the fact that it is here (as opposed to there being just... nothing), means that it had to have been created at some point, by something. I mean, doesn't it? eek2

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see what you mean.
When I think of all the 'stuff' in the universe and why it's here, my mind just stops dead. I tell myself that there has to be something that started it off, a singularity which exploded and created everything like in the big bang theory perhaps....but then I wonder, where did that come from? Did it even exist like we suspect it did? Did something or someone put it there? And of course, why did it all happen in the first place?
I guess this is the point where people start thinking about whether there is such a thing as a divine plan. It would be a lot easier for me to think "Well, I suppose that's just they way things work," but I don't think that's a sufficient answer. That's like answering a question with "because," it just doesn't get you anywhere.

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TAG_One
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't there use to be beliefs that in the beginning there was chaos and the out of chaos rules were born. It sounds like the best explanation to me, the only one that really makes sense. I suppose if that ideas correct then there is no "why" everything is just completely random probability (except probability would have been born out of chaos and wouldn't have existed in the beginning, if there was a beggining). The chaos probably also would have needed to create itself at some time. In fact now that I think about it maybe the reason we can't say why things are this way is because we are wrong about how things work. Maybe human logic doesn't actually work, but we are under the impression it does.
Now I'm confused.

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Atheist
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh. I think you're right, TAG, in that our own sense of logic just doesn't apply to the nature of the universe itself, and that's why we only succeed in confusing ourselves when we try to understand it.

Even God is not a sufficient answer to the question of "Why". You can't just claim that a sentient being has always existed, even before time itself. Why does he exist in the first place? What were his first thoughts, and what happened before them? Why did he wait for eternity before creating the universe? Whichever way you look at it, we as humans always have to consider things on the basis of time (it's how we function), and because of that, we just don't seem to be capable of understanding how things could have "always" existed. It's not a concept that fits into the structure of our brains, just as our brains are too complicated to fit in a computer. But that doesn't stop us from trying.

And even if we ignore the problem of what came first, and where did it come from, we still aren't any closer to understanding why things started to exist in the first place. Or if they never had to "start", why are they here at all?

"God works in mysterious ways," right? smile

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samzen05
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know some people can answer this very simply as "because", in actual fact they are saying " be the cause".
If you thinking about it is not as vague as it sounds, as their is always a cause and effect, and the effect can make a new cause. It really depends one what your trying to seek ? and if you are trying to seek something are you tring to reach a ground of some sort.
Like if your in a large building and your on the 10th floor and you can't find a lift nor some stairs nor a window, how do you get to the ground floor or are you comfortable staying where you are?

I am not sure where your intention is with, I suppose I could answer most questions, but without knowing your intention, any of my answers could be wrong as I see your thoughts yet.

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Bruno
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you guys ever stoped to wonder about the idiom "to make sense"?

I think it's a very nice expression and here's why: it means you're giving sense to something. You are looking at something and making some sense out of it.

Things don't have a particular sense. They may, as I believe, have essences, but no particular reason, no particular sense. You are the one who makes the sense out of it.

So there's my answer to the big question—things just are, they don't have one reason, or only one reason. They are there and you are the one who makes some sense out of them.

I hope you guys get my point.

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Kava
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive been thinking about the laws of phisics espesially..."To objects, cant occupie the same space at the same time" This aplies to everything, even water, and air? Is there anything on earth that comes close to braking, or bending this law?

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Area 51 wrote:
Ive been thinking about the laws of phisics espesially..."To objects, cant occupie the same space at the same time" This aplies to everything, even water, and air? Is there anything on earth that comes close to braking, or bending this law?


This reminds me of the Zeno's Paradox thread ^^

I don't think anything really breaks this law, or even comes close...and that makes me ask 'Why is reality this way? Why is this law even there?'

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sage
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Asking why? will only lead to frustration. Avoid the question. It's better to ask who am I? That's a question that you can at least find an answer for. And since the universe is experienced from each of our own perspectives, it's the most important question we can ask ourselves, and the only one that really matters.

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Draginvry
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Why are the laws of physics what they are, why are they not something else?


The question in itself is fallacious. It can't be answered.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that there is something else. Let's say that gravity doesn't exist. In that reality, you would be questioning the why of the non-existence of gravity.

For example, let's say that there is no gravity, but there is Bebopipism, which controls the movement of mass. In this scenario, you would be questioning why Bebopipism exists. In fact, it doesn't matter what controls the movement of matter, because it could have been a thousand different ways, and in each thousand scenarios you would be questioning the existence of that particular scenario.

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StEvE21
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VeryGnawty, when I read Josh's first post, your answer is exactly what I planned on saying. I saw how many people answered, and I hoped nobody would say it but you got here before me lol.
Anyway... basically whay I wanted to point out was-
"But why does it do that?"
Because it has to do something.

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Atheist
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a good point, Gnawty. But still, regardless of what properties this particular universe or dimension appears to exhibit, it's a fair question to ask why we have what we have, instead of simply nothing at all (which seems more reasonable). Often when an event takes place in the world, we can explain why it occurred. We can look at it, apply our understanding of the laws that govern physical phenomenon, and we can form an educated conclusion. "That structure broke because this particualr beam wasn't strong enough to support the weight of the materials resting on it."

But when we're talking about the laws themselves, we just don't have the same ability to calculate the cause that must have generated the effect. If everything that happens in our world has a perfectly reasonable cause, then what event must have happened to cause the laws of physics to come into existance in the first place? Surely it couldn't be a physical event. And so, it would seem that we can never answer the question of "Why". That doesn't mean it isn't fun to discuss, though. smile

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StEvE21
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"it's a fair question to ask why we have what we have, instead of simply nothing at all"
Now we have what we have. In this lifetime, this is what we're stuck with. When/if there was nothing at all, there was nobody to question why there was nothing. If someone was around, they would have asked the same thing. If there was nothing now we wouldn't be talking about it. As long as humans are around, we will have these questions. And about the laws of physics... Thats a bit tougher to talk about, lol. Maybe they just spontaneously appeared tounge2

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Shaper
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Atheist wrote:
That's a good point, Gnawty. But still, regardless of what properties this particular universe or dimension appears to exhibit, it's a fair question to ask why we have what we have, instead of simply nothing at all (which seems more reasonable).


That's exactly what makes this question so interesting to me smile

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