.. not specifically refer to life as we know it. The word life can be easily replaced by the word ‘existence’ to at least come closer to the connotations that have evolved around this phrase as a whole, but the word meaning has no obvious substitute. What is really meant by this phrase it seems to me is some kind of cosmic order. A way, perhaps, that things ought to be, a path that is favored by the universe? Examine some of the theories people have for existence that do not involve deities or creators. Examine the concept of karma, and imagine a universe where every being who was aware had a karma.
To add the workings of karma to the universe really is not to give any meaning or order to our existence. Although karma is often perceived as being a part of ‘good’, a retribution and reward system for the naughty and nice, karma at its core concept is completely neutral. Karma makes no claim as to whether good or evil is the right path, but simply makes sure that if you do unto others, that will be done unto you. Many people have clouded karma with benevolence in the same way we cloud happiness with ‘goodness’. Karma will return to you what you have done, and whether this makes you happy or tortured is irrelevant, karma is only a law of the universe just like a physical law, and if gravity makes you happy, that is not because there is a core of benevolence to it.
So adding the idea of karma to the universe does not establish an order, or even a right and wrong, but simply adds another set of laws to the universe to match the sets of physical laws studied by chemistry and physics. As each possibility for a meaning drops away we are left asking what it is we want, and what it is that will qualify as a meaning for existence. What we want, it seems clear, is a set of ‘real’ values, and a path to follow that is ‘right’. Is there necessarily going to be such a path? Does there need to be a meaning of life? Can the universe be completely neutral, in fact just be? And if the universe simply exists and nothing more, what should we be doing? Clearly that situation invalidates all normal goals. What good can the helping of others or the following of a moral code be in the face of a neutral universe. What good, in fact, is one’s own happiness, what good is anything? And so, what is next, suicide? This is as pointless as any other endeavor, and so is getting depressed.
What should we be doing? If we create a point for our lives, give ourselves a meaning and follow its course, have we no more wasted our lives than has the next man, since all is valueless? From the perspective of a being in this world, the universe seems a moot point. Having found ourselves in a universe with no creator and no goal, we have a reflex to seek power and happiness. This really is a reflex, and is in fact an instinct. We search for happiness because we are programmed to, because those who have good survival traits have a happy and successful life culminating in reproduction. Do we then need to seek an even more impartial state than that which can be reached by careful thinking? The doubting of the observer. If we consider our own awareness to be fundamentally true, we still have to doubt our style of thinking.
We cannot prove the viability of logic, since this is using logic to back up logic. The best way to go about doubting our own thinking, it would seem, is to examine that structure in the brain which deals with logic ( if it is not the entire brain, and if logic is not a part of our awareness itself, and thus separate from the brain ). Since logic seems to allow us to understand the universe, this section of the brain might have some fundamental structure to it that mimics the order and chaos of the universe: this structure might be the embodiment of truth itself. If not, then the structure which allows us to think must mimic the universe in full, and be in fact a simulation of all the laws of the universe. If this is so, logic is an illusion, and conclusions are reached by experimentation and simulation.
One guess at the nature of logic. Evolution has created all things through sheer probability. Every gene that creates a human happened to happen, and this is not amazing, but in fact has a certain inevitability to it. Given time, probability can do almost anything. Perhaps in fact, logic itself is probability. The incredible neuron network simply a random-impulse generator? Screened perhaps by some sort of memory device that remembers what ideas led to what happiness, and so slowly works out the ‘logical’ ideas from the rest? This theory in no way explains awareness or even necessarily gives a working model for the nature of logic and the mind, but it does at least fit evolution’s ‘style’, and a few other things.. Like why people can become so stagnant.
If you don’t beat at your head to clear the clog against ideas that haven’t led to happiness, you end up having the same ideas over and over. Or LSD. A drug that lifts the viel for a moment so that you can have ideas you otherwise wouldn’t have. If this is so, and hallucinations occur with the use of this drug, are we to understand that people, really, literally, only see what they want to see? In any case, it would explain perfectly why people’s thinking meshes with the universe so well, and even explain why we have so much trouble thinking about things that we have never actually encountered, like infinity. Any other theory of logic will either place it in the awareness ( leading to several other conjectures ) or claim that there is some kind of logic circuit in the brain that emulates the universe.
If this second theory is true, then this structure in the brain is truth itself, defined, the pattern of the universe, and we need search no further than ourselves.