Thursday, April 15, 2010

Goal of human life

So, I've been thinking a lot lately (because I've been sitting in traffic a lot recently) about what is the goal of human life. (or life in general)
Is it just to procreate?
Is it to get extremely wealthy?
Is it to explore other planets, and search for life on other planets?
Is it to serve other people?
Is it to learn as much about the world as possible?
Is it to discover the fundamental laws of nature?
Is it to put your absolute faith in a higher power?


When one looks at nature, it seems as if life's goal were simply to procreate, i.e. to just "keep on keeping on." But I think that this is too simple a way to look at things. At the level of the individual, the goal is to procreate so that one's genes get passed down. But at the level of a society, the goal because harder to see. It's as if nature has figured out that the best way to _____ is to give the individual the goal of procreating. What I'm trying to figure out is: what is the _____ in the sentence above?

What is it that society is trying to maximize? Wealth? Health? Population? Knowledge?

Ultimately, though, I think that life is an algorithm for maximizing the production of entropy. In the case of life on earth, that's maximizing the conversion of sunlight into infrared radiation at as low a temperature as possible. We live on a planet that is far-from-equilibrium (this is one of the pre-requisites of life, i.e. life can't exist within systems at equilibrium or in the linear region of non-equilibrium.)

If this is the case (that the goal of life is to maximize the production of entropy), what are the ramifications of this hypothesis? Should we just find all the fossil fuels and just burn them as fast as possible?

Obviously not because then you don't leave yourself capable of finding new sources of energy. You need to derive work from a process so that you can use that work to find more sources of work. Ironically, more entropy can be produced when it's not produced in a process. Why? Because the work derived can be used to find more work, and so on and so on.

I think that the goal is to have a combination of group mindset and individual mindset in order to maximize the production of entropy. And for this reason, I don't fit well within the current political choices available in the US.

I think that pure individualism is bad because there needs to be trust in order to form large groups and without large groups, you can't build anything...and hence no production of work...and entropy.
I think that pure collectivism is bad because it removes the "natural selection" that prods us to work hard and produce more entropy.
I'm guessing that the ultimate solution is some combination of the two, and this solution may be different for different locations. But the end result should be the same:
The maximum production of entropy.

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