NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!

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Retired Posts : 808 Registered: 4/17/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 1, 2008 8:10 PM Go to message in response to: serendipity3033

I stand by the remark about age. I was 8 when my mom was 50, and she was there for me the whole time, in addition to a trouble-making 12 year old and three other grown kids who always brought their own drama into the house even though they were grown up. Maybe we were tamer than other children, but I doubt it. My parents just didn't let age get to them.

It's hard to say that I don't want to give someone else what my parents gave me, because they have been the greatest and most influential people in my life. And it's hard for me to admit I don't want to give my own child that same opportunities and love that they gave me. But I hope I can give that love to other children who really need it in some way.

I'd never say anyone shouldn't have kids or should. Most people know what's best for them, and I leave it at that.


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SocalGal Posts : 456 Registered: 6/3/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 1, 2008 10:56 PM Go to message in response to: serendipity3033

I'll bite -

To start off with, I don't believe the world is a terrible place...I think that terrible things happen.  I know it sounds like splitting hairs, but it's true.  Saying the world is a terrible place is ignoring the good that happens, and the random beauty that lies underneath all the chaos.  It's all too easy to focus on the negative...it takes some effort to see the positive.  Most likely, this is because it seems like the things that happen on the larger scale (widespread poverty and disease, whole countries undergoing massive political turmoil) are all negative, wheras the positive seems mostly on the smaller, more personal level (witnessing or experiencing a random act of kindness, a good conversation, etc.). 

You've probably guessed by now that I am a perpetual optimist.  Strangely, many (most) people seem to think this means that I've never experienced real tragedy, or that I must not be very intelligent.  Actually, it's the opposite.  It's because of all the crap I've dealt with that I'm optimistic...if I wasn't, I wouldn't still be here.  And as far as intelligence is concerned, I know that there are other, far more intelligent people than I in the world (a few on these very boards!), but I can string a thought together and articulate it.

I am a religious person.  I'm not sure if this contributes to my optimistic outlook on life, but it isn't the only cause of it.  I've known atheists to be optimists, and religious people to be pessimists.  More to the point, I've been religious (in varying degrees) throughout the entirety of my life...not so for being optimistic.  I used to be extremely cynical and fearful.  Then I made the choice to be in control of my own life, instead of letting faceless people and "what-ifs" decide how I was feeling at any given moment.

I want to have kids.  Some of my reasons are selfish (as Art brought up, all of the decisions we make in life are for our own benefit, even if it's only in a small way).  But the biggest reason I have for wanting to bring a child into this imperfect world is so that he or she can experience all the little things that make life worthwhile.  The arguments about overpopulation don't phase me...if everyone stopped having children, the human race would die off.  (I do, however, think that having lots of children is a little ridiculous, considering the economical and personal obligation that even a single child requires, as well as the ever-burgeoning population). 

I don't think that either side of the argument is more or less selfish than the other...deciding what is best for you is selfish, regardless of what that decision is.

I'm not afraid of death.  It's an inevitablity.  Besides, if I constantly think about the multiple ways I could die, or obsess about when it's going to happen, I'll only stress my myself...and stress leads to heart attacks, which can lead to death (worrying about death leading to death....how's that for philosophical, LOL).  I'd much rather spend those moments before falling asleep pondering the really important things in life, like how great my life really is.  I have a loving husband, a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear...in short, I have everything I need, plus an awesome bonus. 

Hahaha, I think I've rambled long enough.  Thanks, OP and all the rest of you who have responded for another great philosophical discussion...and to those of you who've actually read this whole post, thanks for your time!

 


True love never has a happy ending; true love never ends.

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HappyGirl13 Posts : 1,298 Registered: 4/21/08
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 1, 2008 10:57 PM Go to message in response to: serendipity3033

I think the question of whether to have kids in the face of being scared to have them (b/c of the state of the world) is interesting. Dealing with the fear of having kids if you're struggling with whether or not to do it is something like the idea of dealing with the danger of just walking outside and driving your car to work, or getting on a plane or train to take a trip or whatever. Most of us don't consider giving up going outside of our homes or getting in some kind of transportation--we just know there's a risk and deal with the possible danger b/c we have our lives to live, and why should we stop living?

So if somebody thinks they want to have kids but is nervous about it because of the dangers and, often, the hopelessness of the world, that's one way to look at it: why give up something that could be a really good thing because you're afraid?

And that brings me to the hope thing: A lot of us probably wake up every day with some sort of hope or belief in the fact that we're going to have at least a somewhat productive and satisfying day even if there are crappy things going on all around us in the news, so it just comes back to each of us trying and hoping to make our little corner of the world better.

I'm in my late 30s and dealing with the question of kids: yes or no, so I'm sort of talking to myself here, too. Serendipity, thanks for asking a good question. 

 

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serendipity3033 Posts : 363 Registered: 5/11/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 2, 2008 12:21 AM Go to message in response to: HappyGirl13

OK, Im feeling better now... on a few levels... 1.  because I think editing the first post brought the thread back to where I had hoped it would go.... which leads me to 2.  Im giving more thought into how much "good" really is out there... Im believing SoCal (and others)... it takes more effort to see it....hmmm... but if it takes more effort, is it more prevalent?  Now Im just busting chops.

 

and Happy... you had to bring up driving!!!!! omg... lol... now that is something I really should fear MORE... Just this morning, FH said to me, you should really only drive in Hawai'i.  lol... its true... it is such a laid back atmosphere... no cutting people off, no squeezing people out, no beeping the SECOND the light turns green... its so much more relaxed... now I wish I was in Hawai'i already... hurry!!!!

 


 

 

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SocalGal Posts : 456 Registered: 6/3/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 2, 2008 2:01 AM Go to message in response to: serendipity3033

I don't think it's busting chops...it's a valid question.  I think the only reason it takes more effort to be optimistic is because society as a whole tends to be more negative...just look at the news...horror stories take the top spots, and anything positive is usually just some schlock.  It becomes ingrained in us to be negative...cynical has been renamed as "realistic."  But think about it...how much happiness can you get some something as simple as a well-timed nice gesture?  For example, I work in a flower shop.  I had an extremely harried bride come in looking for rose petals.  I didn't have any on hand, but I offered to sell her some of our mostly opened roses for a third of their normal price.  She agreed, and while I was in the back wrapping them up for her, I heard her small son ask if he could buy a red flower too.  She said "Honey I wish I could let you, but you know we can't spend any more money."  So, when I came back out to give her the roses, I gave her son a  big red daisy...free of charge (well, I paid for it...my boss would have a fit if I was giving flowers away).  She actually started crying!  The next day, she came back alone.  She told me how terrible her day had been up until she came into the shop, and how good it was after she left.  I don't tell this story to brag about my good deed...just to illustrate the power of positivity.

But yes, I really do think that good is more prevalent than bad.  Small as each individual happy moment is, when you add them up, they far outweigh the unhappy moments...especially when the unhappy ones are in the past, or don't directly involve you (I'm not saying that problems in other countries aren't relavent...they just aren't as personal as, say, a giggle you get from reading something on these boards).  When you boil it down, how you feel, and how you see the world, is a choice; you can dwell on the negative, or you can dwell on the positive.  It's entirely up to you.

 


True love never has a happy ending; true love never ends.

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Beachwed Posts : 782 Registered: 9/19/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 2, 2008 9:51 AM Go to message in response to: SocalGal

You've probably guessed by now that I am a perpetual optimist.  Strangely, many (most) people seem to think this means that I've never experienced real tragedy, or that I must not be very intelligent.  Actually, it's the opposite.  It's because of all the crap I've dealt with that I'm optimistic...if I wasn't, I wouldn't still be here.

So incredibly true. I am also a very optimistic person (as you could probably see from my first post) and I do also feel that it's because of the things I went through. I had my father in the hospital when I was young, and I remember the doctor telling him he only had a short time to live. He taught us right then and there to ignore the bad and focus on the good, it's what will get us through our lives. Because of that outlook, he is still alive and doing better than ever. Any other person would've sat in bed, feeling sorry for themselves and growing angry at the situation. He DID something about it, he got up and lived and was happy. And he still is alive.

To the OP, when you mentioned what you would do when your grandfather passed away, everyone deals with emotions differently. But one thing I have learned is to act how that person would want you to act. For example, if I died tomorrow, and I was watching from the heavens above, I would want to see laughter and celebration. Honestly. I would want my family and friends to get together, and talk about all the good memories they had with me. Of course some would cry, but overall I would want them to remember the good, never grow angry, and just live their lives that much fuller because they remembered not to take life for granted. That's how I then act when someone I love passes away. I focus on all the positives and hope that they can see me smiling from above.

I am an eternal optimist, that annoying happy person who never stops smiling at work. I live in a "bubble world" as some people say, but I guess I just have learned to ignore all the bad in the world, I choose to focus on the good. There's good in every situation if you just look for it. It might be hard, or you might have to create it yourself, but that's what makes people keep on fighting that great fight. 

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 2, 2008 4:22 PM Go to message in response to: Beachwed

I have two comments on this (and as someone who is trying desparately to get pregnant, I think about kids often, lol!)

1. I have older parents.  My dad was 40 when I was born, my mom close behind.  Because of this, I really, really want kids when I am young, for the reasons Gin stated (more energy, etc).  My mom's opinion is that people should have kids younger than she did, IF they are ready.  She would not recommend waiting until you are older just because.  She waited because that's when she got married.  She wishes she had had more energy and the like.  So there is an opinion from an older mother.

On the other hand, she has a lot more energy now than many people her age because we kinda foreced her to "keep going".  So there is a bit of a plus side to it.

Second, to the poster who wrote this: "I really want to have a baby and FH is so-so on the subject.  Whenever he asks me to explain why I want kids, I have a hard time coming up with a reason that doesn't sound selfish to me".

This is not a judgement at all, but I think this could potentially be a BIG problem, and something you should figure out before you get married.  The kids vs. no kids thing is almost always a deal breaker, and you definitely want to be on the same page BEFORE you committ to each other for life.

hth

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serendipity3033 Posts : 363 Registered: 5/11/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 2, 2008 6:18 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

I just wanted to say there are so many good responses here... I have to keep re-reading a lot of them to make sure I dont miss anything.

 

Something Im noticing... a number of you have said the tough times are what made you optimistic.  I have to say, Ive been pretty lucky up to this point in my life, so... maybe that in and of itself is why I fear tragedy so much... I dont have much experience to draw on, leaving me somewhat emotionally immature... yikes!  I didnt expect that concept... but thats good... thats good stuff...

 

No one's mentioned what they think our "purpose" is...  I had a friend who thought our purpose was just to reproduce.  I think it'd have to be something a little more than that... We have the ability to reproduce so that __________.... so that one day we complete our "mission"  then what?  Surprised  so that we continuously supply something to the universe?  other beings??  so that we evolve into something ?  PLASTIC????  lol  Do you believe there are other beings?  Do you believe in evolution??  I was watching the Universe on the History channel... I particularly liked the one where they were searching for another earth... another planet that had similar properties... are other earths out there?  or was this one just a fluke?  Can this really be the ONLY planet that can sustain life as we know it??????? 


 

 

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newsjunkie Posts : 3,417 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 2, 2008 7:10 PM Go to message in response to: serendipity3033

With the vastness of the universe there definitely is intelligent life outside of Earth though it surely isn't anything like us.  I am not religious and fully believe in evolution and it was such a loooong period of time with various little things happening here and there that eventually created people and animals and life in general as we know it that it is too hard to believe that the SAME thing could have happened elsewhere in the universe. 

A friend of mine is a retired astronaut and has been to space several times and I asked him what he thought about the possibility of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the universe and he, too, agreed that it was inevitable.  The universe is more vast than humans can imagine (the whole concept of "infinity" makes my head spin) and there is no possible way that in all of that out there we are the ONLY intelligence in existence- just not possible!

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SocalGal Posts : 456 Registered: 6/3/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 2, 2008 9:43 PM Go to message in response to: serendipity3033

I think a person's definition of purpose depends largely on their belief system.  So, with my beliefs being Christian, my main purpose on this earth is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ (I can already hear some people's blood start to boil, LOL).  I don't think our "mission" is ever finished...the idea that our only reason for exsistence is to make more people, is, frankly, kind of twisted and depressing.  Our purpose in life is to live it to the best of our abilities, and I think that we all try to do this, whether we recognize it as a purpose intelligently, or just sense it intuitively.

I don't believe in evolution to the point that humans evolved from monkeys or that all life sprung out of some primordial goo.  I see too many holes in those lines of thought...holes that have nothing to do with what my religion states.  I do believe that species change and adapt as their situation requires...but the idea everything on earth was the result of a single-celled organism?  I don't buy it.

I don't really know what my thoughts are on the existence of life elsewhere in the vast universe.  On the one hand, I don't think that humans are ever going to be able to go to the farthest corners of the universe...if such corners even exist.  But on the other hand, when you consider that even the smallest change in Earth's make-up would have made it uninhabitable, it kinda seems to me that the creation of a life sustaining planet wasn't a fluke, an accident or the result of a prehistoric collision...it seems more like there was a divine plan.  

I've heard more times than I can count that I'm foolish/ignorant/down-right stupid for believing what my religion tells me.  I guess my only response to that is that I don't just blindly quote the Bible as my only reason for believing the things that I do.  I research...maybe too much, sometimes.  It just so happens that I tend to try and find evidence that synchs up with what has already been put forth in the Bible, as opposed to trying to prove that it's all a bunch of worthless fairy tales. 

LOL...I'm sorry...I seem to have veered way off topic.  If anyone was even remotely interested in what I had to say, great, and I'd be happy to respond to comments or criticims.  But I doubt that my opinions are really that interesting anyway.

 


True love never has a happy ending; true love never ends.

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 3, 2008 2:21 AM Go to message in response to: SocalGal

"I am not religious and fully believe in evolution"

Newsie, did you know that Charles Darwin was a Christian himself?  (no real reason for me saying this, I just find it interesting ;P )

I am a Christian, and also believe in evolution (certain types of evolution are proof anway...the shape of the human head, for example, is evolving, and I will not blind myself to what is real).

As for our purpose in life....want to know what my theory is?  We don't have one.  At least, I don't think we all have the same purpose.  I think the whole point of life is to figure out our own purpose, and strive to reach it the best we can.

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 3, 2008 1:46 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

I completely agree with your idea about the 'purpose of life,' Birdie. I've always thought that our purpose in life is to figure out who we are and what our purpose is...and everyone's is different. I really don't believe that there is a single 'meaning of life' that is true for everyone. I think our task is to figure out what we were meant to do. And I don't think that we were all meant to do great deeds - I think some people's purpose is to indirectly influence events or others' lives so that things go according to some general cosmic plan. And I do believe that everyone is somehow connected and that things we each do create ripples that affect those around us, which create MORE ripples, etc.

On the evolution comment, don't most Christian denominations accept evolution as scientific fact, now? I know the pope approved it, as long as it is viewed as 'part of God's plan' rather than random.

Just a funny observation - I think it's interesting that many of the optimists here describe themselves as 'happy, bubbly' people. I'm totally not. I get annoyed about little things ALL THE TIME and rant about them (see the hate thread), I frequently yell at my TV when I watch the news, I often come across as pretty sarcastic and cynical when I talk about my view on world events...but I have a very positive outlook on life. I believe that the world is a generally good place, I have faith that most people are inherently good (very deep down, sometimes), I believe that the good generally outweighs the bad and that good will eventually triumph over evil. I also know that there is a lot of BAD out there, but I just don't let it ruin my day (most of the time). I rant about it for a few minutes, and then I'm done. So while I would certainly describe myself as an optimist, I wouldn't describe myself as happy or bubbly AT ALL. I'd describe myself as a laid-back person with a positive outlook on life who just doesn't think most things are worth getting upset about.


DaisypathWedding Ticker

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Beachwed Posts : 782 Registered: 9/19/06
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 3, 2008 2:11 PM Go to message in response to: ArtBride

I love these kinds of discussions.

As for our purpose in life, I disagree with people telling me it is to have children (I've heard it before). I agree with others on here that everyone's purpose is different. We all intertwine and if one person had not ever existed, things would be altered. It's crazy to think about the complexity of everyone's purpose, because then you get into criminals and murderers and all that. Maybe in some twisted way, they do have a purpose? I don't know what, it's just interesting to think about.

As for evolution and life on other planets, I am catholic (or was confirmed catholic) but I don't follow the religion much, so I don't know what their beliefs on all of this are. With evolution, I do think there are forms of it out there, yes. Like animals and people adapt to their surroundings. Their surroundings change, they must evolve and re-adapt in order to survive. And throughout all this process, new species came about. 

I do absolutely believe there is some form of life on other planets. The universe is infinite (also an insane thought). There are just so many planets out there that have not ever been discovered, and will not ever be discovered.  With so many planets out there, I absolutely believe that there are many others with some form of life. Who knows, maybe one has dinosaurs, another has tiny little creatures that look somewhat like humans, I don't know. But I think they're out there somewhere.

 

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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 3, 2008 2:44 PM Go to message in response to: Beachwed

Going on instinct, off the top of my head, I'd have to say that my purpose is:

1) Be happy.

2) Make other people happy, too.

Sounds simple enough, but the details will get ya. . . .   :-)


__________________________________________
"I'm asking you to believe.  Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington. . .I'm asking you to believe in yours." - Barack Obama

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CallieNicole Posts : 14 Registered: 3/28/08
Re: NWR- Kids, life, existence... lets get philosophical!
Posted: Jul 3, 2008 6:30 PM Go to message in response to: serendipity3033

Hey SocalGal,

I love your post on our purpose in life.  I’m a Christian too, and your post summed up what I believe beautifully!  It’s nice to know there are other like-minded people on here!

 

Going back to the kids topic, I personally want to have kids because it leaves a legacy.  Sure, this world can be pretty terrible, but then what better way to improve it than to raise a godly child?

 

As a side note, has anyone on here read “America Alone” by Mark Steyn?  It raises some interesting points on the topic of having kids, and suggests that Europe is in a decline because of the failure of native Europeans in having children.  Very interesting book; I would highly recommend it!


"Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold."   -Maurice Seitter

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