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    1. #1
      Christian youssarian's Avatar
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      What's Relevant and Irrelevant?

      Here's a thought I had yesterday upon seeing a friend lament over the death of a friend. OK, so we're all going to die, right? Well then, considering that everything is temporary (sand will blow away, matter decays, everything will eventually fade into nothing), what's the point?

      I found everything to be irrelevant. And temporary. So I asked myself, "What is relevant?" Love, I found to be relevant. Food, though more specifically nutrition, is relevant. I realized that we're so tiny compared to the rest of the universe, and in the infinite length of time we're likewise nothing. I felt pretty small then. Then I realized I wasn't thinking in human terms, where the regular person lives. That led me to this idea:

      Everything is relevant to somebody, therefore, even though it's all temporary, it's all relevant. To someone, pizza matters. To someone, school matters. To someone, bathrooms matter (I have to pee as I type this). People, even Christians such as I, still cling to the temporary things.

      So, now I know. Something may not matter to me, but it does to somebody. (I consider this now and realize, if it weren't relevant to anybody it wouldn't exist.) This is an almost Ecclesiastes train of thought. What do you think? Is this... relevant to you? Hehe.
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    2. #2
      Member TimeStopper's Avatar
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      I've always felt that death was an eraser for life, permanent amnesia really. So why survive? I guess there's a real good survival mechanism that prevents us. So to answer your question, no, I don't really think this universe at all is relevant. In the end, if everyone perishes, no body can think anymore and therefore nothing matters to them. They may think it matters now, but they fail to think beyond the present.

      Although if we can somehow live forever in joy, then it may be different. Since it's eternity now and isn't fleeting. But then again, what's the point of living forever?

      I hope I didn't miss your point.
      "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." -Einstein

    3. #3
      Christian youssarian's Avatar
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      But I'm sure you find something relevant. This forum, for example, is somehow relevant, no? Or else you wouldn't be on it. Clothing is likewise relevant?

      Your opinion is something I commonly see. You're spot on the point.
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    4. #4
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      What's relevant is completely up to you. There's no universal relevant. You can't convince someone that his life is irrelevant, or that univers is irrelevant, if he finds that it is.
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    5. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by TimeStopper View Post
      I've always felt that death was an eraser for life, permanent amnesia really. So why survive? I guess there's a real good survival mechanism that prevents us. So to answer your question, no, I don't really think this universe at all is relevant. In the end, if everyone perishes, no body can think anymore and therefore nothing matters to them. They may think it matters now, but they fail to think beyond the present.
      I believe this position only holds weight when one is simply thinking of oneself. Sure, everyone perishes; lives are finite; our time here is only temporary; but our actions may very well echo for an eternity. The inspiration of a loved one could drive (and often has driven) another person to perform acts or galvanize movements that, in essence, change the world. What if all of the great leaders, inventors, philosophers, teachers, freedom-fighters, etc. all took the same stance. The stance that "it's all going to end, sometime, so why bother doing anything?" What would this world be like? How much darker, less-developed, ignorant (etc) would humankind be?

      A life is short, but the remnants of a life can remain relevant for generations.

      Even things so "trivial" as belongings can remain relevant. My dad passed away in '05, but I wear his gold ring on a chain around my neck every day. It reminds me of him. It often causes me to reflect back on our lives together. Such a material possession is now relevant, for sentimental value.

      There is actually very little in this world that I could think of that is inherently irrelevant. As far as the universe as a whole, we cannot say it is irrelevant, really, because of our frame of reference. To us, humans, this universe is the most relevant thing there is, for without it, we would not exist. I would think the only people who could truly find such irrelevancy in existence are those who feel they really have nothing to live for. Even then, the notion is probably superficial. With enough prodding and perspective and time, I'm sure everyone could find something worth living for. To have nothing is to truly be alone in life, and I don't think there is anyone here whose life is really that dismal.
      Last edited by Oneironaut Zero; 03-06-2009 at 11:27 PM.
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    6. #6
      Member SpecialInterests's Avatar
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      Nothing matters at all. We're just a bunch of beasts running around on a big rock just floatin' around in space.

    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by SpecialInterests View Post
      We're just a bunch of beasts running around on a big rock just floatin' around in space.
      But how does our being beasts running around on a big rock just floatin' around in space imply that "nothing matters at all?"

      One could make the argument that "there is no cosmic purpose to our existing" - which is, in all likeliness, true - but how does our not having a purpose mean that "nothing" matters?
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    8. #8
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      Because there is no purpose of our being here. lol. What happens on this planet doesn't matter. Once all life of this planet is gone, is anything going to matter? No, so why would it matter now? Just mah opinion I suppose.

    9. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by SpecialInterests View Post
      Because there is no purpose of our being here. lol. What happens on this planet doesn't matter. Once all life of this planet is gone, is anything going to matter? No, so why would it matter now? Just mah opinion I suppose.
      It matters now because we are still here, now, experiencing it. Everyday matters, because there are people here to experience ever day. In the end, when all life on this planet ceases to exist (assuming we haven't repopulated another by that time, which is very possible), then nothing will fundamentally matter. That is a time outside of our frame of reference, though. You can't compare now to then, because now there is life.

      Now matters. What the universe will be like when we're gone is what is irrelevant.

      And going back to my earlier point, by the time all life on this planet stops, the human race will have probably found a way to spread to other planetary venues, so again, how is it that nothing matters now?
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    10. #10
      Member SpecialInterests's Avatar
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      What matters is entirely ones opinion. To me, nothing matters in the big picture. Nothing. That is entirely just my opinion. You say that everyday and everything matters as if it's fact. Who are you state that as fact? Are you god? It's just your opinion and your opinion is no more right or wrong than mine.

    11. #11
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      Quote Originally Posted by SpecialInterests View Post
      What matters is entirely ones opinion. To me, nothing matters in the big picture. Nothing. That is entirely just my opinion. You say that everyday and everything matters as if it's fact. Who are you state that as fact? Are you god? It's just your opinion and your opinion is no more right or wrong than mine.
      I'm only stating my opinion. But, with mine, and the logic behind mine, I'm challenging you to state why it is your opinion. To me, "it's just my opinion" doesn't really explain to me why it's your opinion, which is what I'm trying to draw out of you.
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    12. #12
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      Seems like a topic of mere conjecture and opinion. Wordology if you will.

      rel·e·vant Listen to the pronunciation of relevant
      Pronunciation:
      \ˈre-lə-vənt\
      Function:
      adjective
      Etymology:
      Medieval Latin relevant-, relevans, from Latin, present participle of relevare to raise up — more at relieve
      Date:
      1560

      1 a: having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand b: affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion


      Relevance is dependent on the situation, not a measurable or quantifiable subject. It's not such a broad subject relevance and irrelevance, they are words used in conjunction with a specific thought, idea, setting etc... Not a general term like Life.

      Do you understand what I'm saying?
      Last edited by DeathCell; 03-10-2009 at 06:31 PM.
      This was that cult, and the prisoners said it had always existed and always would exist, hidden in distant wastes and dark places all over the world until the time when the great priest Cthulhu, from his dark house in the mighty city of R'lyeh under the waters, should rise and bring the earth again beneath his sway.

    13. #13
      Member really's Avatar
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      Nice topic. There is something for everybody, everything affects and is connected to everything else. Yes, "relevance" and "irrelevance" depends on the context, as I think this thread has concluded so far. Likewise, "meaning" also arises from context. Generally, cars are made for drivers, food is made for eating, dogs are for barking, eye-lids for shutting, planets are made to spin, blenders are made to blend and doors are made to swing. It is irrelevant that cars do not fly in the context of seeing things for what they are made for. Yet it will become relevant for someone who wants to actually make cars fly as a reality.

      If somebody holds selfish view, for example, they'll exclude the possibility to understand others and see them as they are. Instead, they condemn others to their own hypothesis, which most often is totally irrelevant outside themselves. If you think something in the Universe doesn't belong, you can be seen as arrogant and self-centred as if to own the Universe. Yet even to the perceiver who thinks there is something wrong with the Universe, this could be logical in how they think they rule it.
      Last edited by really; 03-11-2009 at 12:59 PM.

    14. #14
      widdershins modality Taosaur's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by DeathCell View Post
      Seems like a topic of mere conjecture and opinion. Wordology if you will.

      rel·e·vant Listen to the pronunciation of relevant
      Pronunciation:
      \ˈre-lə-vənt\
      Function:
      adjective
      Etymology:
      Medieval Latin relevant-, relevans, from Latin, present participle of relevare to raise up — more at relieve
      Date:
      1560

      1 a: having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand b: affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion


      Relevance is dependent on the situation, not a measurable or quantifiable subject. It's not such a broad subject relevance and irrelevance, they are words used in conjunction with a specific thought, idea, setting etc... Not a general term like Life.

      Do you understand what I'm saying?
      It seems the OP has discovered contextual relevance as a preferable alternative to absolute purpose. All meaning being relative and situational is the point, pretty well conveyed by "relevance."

      It strikes me as a positive adaptation, recognizing that the absence of absolute value is not the absence of value. We are each and all the arbiters of value, the architects of being.
      If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.Dalai Lama



    15. #15
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      To me knowledge is what matters, and our purpose in the 'big picture' if we give ourselves a purpose as a universal consciousness.
      “To dream anything that you want to dream. That's the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.” - Bernard Edmonds

    16. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by SpecialInterests View Post
      What matters is entirely ones opinion. To me, nothing matters in the big picture. Nothing. That is entirely just my opinion. You say that everyday and everything matters as if it's fact. Who are you state that as fact? Are you god? It's just your opinion and your opinion is no more right or wrong than mine.
      I think it depends on who it matters for. What we do, matters for humanity, but I find it difficult to believe humanity matters for anything/anyone other than humanity.
      “To dream anything that you want to dream. That's the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.” - Bernard Edmonds

    17. #17
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      Whatever your mind considered worthy of it's attention and focus is relevant. Whatever is not, isn't. The mind can focus and have its attention on anything, but the natural instincts and social norms usually dominate what you will be considering relevant more often than not.

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