Reading Philosophy

Jun 13, 2006 00:49 # 43016

simon18 *** has an idea...

A thought, that led to an idea, that led to a philosophy

92% | 2

Greetings,

In recent years, as ive come to know myself and understand myself better (such is the life long journey of the mind, or so my mother once told me) i have also come to understand what really makes me happy, angry and what genuinely makes me scared.

Im not sure what influenced me or caused this thought when it came to me, or perhaps it had been there for a while, dormant, waiting. But i realised my greatest fear is my own mortality. Knowing beyond doubt that one day i shall cease to exist and be forgotten, is a fear without rival, because there is no hope in that. There is no chance that it might not come to pass. Then once it has, it is eternal.

This of course isnt a religious belief, but i dont want to make this a religious post. It is my belief that there is no afterlife. I am building to my philosophy slowly but surely!

When you have thoughts like this, and it appears other do not, you question why that is. Why do i fear my own mortality more than others?

This debate took a new twist recently during a conversation with a friend. He believed that the human population wa growing too large for the planet, or that it would eventually. He argued, that this would mean a major disaster would have to occur. This would be fates way of managing an overgrown race.

Bear with me on this. I had another conversation with another friend. He spoke of human evolution and how it is still occuring. That humans are getting taller, blinder and more intelligent. Points on which i agree on. It did make me wonder more about how the mind is evolving, about what this gain in intelligence would lead us to find or believe.

Putting all my thoughts together, i came up with a thought. What if, our increase in intelligence *is* the way in which the population will be cut back drastically. In evolution, is it not correct that first of a single being is different, then more, that certain creatures at the time have this evolution and other dont?

So could it be that certain humans have a difference in their brain. A very small difference, but one that makes them see the world in subtle differences.

I must go back to my second paragraph now. So, i thought, knowing that we will all die someday and our actions will probably be forgotten, how can we go on? How can we cope with the strain of knowing nothing lasts. But we do, we go about our lives not thinking about it. But what if more people start to think like me. What if in the gain of greater intelligence we come to understand our existance so well, we cannot bear the reality? Of course, in theory it could be the other way around. We cold find eternal happiness by understanding our existence. But that is not how i feel.

Could it be an evolutionary change in the mind could lead to such a global fear of mortality, that all reason is lost?

I want to know, how do others deal with their mortality? Ive had looked at many reasons, and though there are many that are good, none answer it fully, none give a final solution.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry that wasnt too cheerful chaps. its nice to be back after 2 years, i look forward to your comments

Regards,
Simon

Jun 13, 2006 05:18 # 43017

MelMel *** replies...

Re: A thought, that led to an idea, that led to a philosophy

*gasps* you! *hugs*

My brain is currently in that post-exam-fried-state, so i can't say anything in response to your post, but a big big Welcome Back!

-Mel

Look at me! I'm a prostitute robot from the future!

Jun 18, 2006 12:02 # 43092

Magnifico *** replies...

Re: A thought, that led to an idea, that led to a philosophy

92% | 2

how can we go on? How can we cope with the strain of knowing nothing lasts. But we do, we go about our lives not thinking about it. But what if more people start to think like me. What if in the gain of greater intelligence we come to understand our existance so well, we cannot bear the reality?

Stop believing in time.

The most dangerous act of any rational mind is to consistently assume, in the world of perils both great and small, that the future is guaranteed. I find a lot more comfort and defense against this kind of mentality by trying to live in the moment, spending more time focused on the present than the future. It's difficult to do this all the time, of course, and this isn't always the proper course (rallying cry of the hardened subjectivist) but a lot of the time, it can put things in perspective. Especially for those of us lucky enough to have the free time, liberty, and money to spend on connecting to the internet and posting on message boards. Are we, or our memories, or our legacies, immortal? Of course not. That doesn't mean that what we do, from the daily minutiae to the great acts of our time don't matter. In fact, if you're thinking on a more of a day-to-day basis than looking to the future, it means the world.

Slight tangent: I think it's pretty ironic that even though Western society is very focused on time, efficiency, etc. we still fear change more often than we embrace, or at least accept, it. Time is change, and with the passing of every second we become different than we were just moments prior. Having had friends who were extremely wrapped up in not wanting things to change was somewhat good for me, because it helped me realise that we are nothing without change. I was shocked at how much my last girlfriend before college was completely paralysed at the thought of losing who she had become in high school to the changes she would experience later in life, as though at that point in our lives we had reached some kind of perfection. Seems like kind of a downer view on life, eh?

I'll believe in anything if you'll just believe in anything

Jun 19, 2006 13:21 # 43106

simon18 *** replies...

Re: A thought, that led to an idea, that led to a philosophy

?% | 1

Its not really change i have a problem, ive always welcomed change and the excitement i find in it. But i look at my life and the lives of others, so many things we do is aimed at benefiting us in the future, we cant live for the moment, that would make us reckless. But if were going to think of the future at all, then surely we must think of the long term. Then theres no denying the fact that you will die. And no matter what effects you have on the present, time will wash away all trace of it. How do people cope so peacefully knowing this, i just cant understand. Why try so hard? Why work everyday to protect your own existance? Why does it matter?

I wish that i could change things, that i could effect the universe so much that time itself remembered me, that the possibility was there to do something that would exist forever. If i had a goal, the achievement from which i knew would last for eternity, then i would be motivated. Without that, i know the constant struggle everyday carries no meaning, and neither does the small problems with which we trouble ourselves everyday.

Jun 28, 2006 11:07 # 43175

windu * replies...

You're not alone.

91% | 2

Friend, you're not alone. Like me you did it the hard way -- you thought your own way to a very sobering truth about our existence. And boy is that a lonely experience. But, as it turns out, quite a few folks have preceded you (and me). Try reading Albert Camus. I suggest "The Myth of Sisyphus." Talk about bravery. It's all about staring your mortality right in the eye, and refusing to reason it away (falsely, since you can't reasonably prove an afterlife), and refusing to "take the leap" of faith. He says there's no place for hope. Hope is no different than any unfounded religious belief. All are just happy pills that people take to avoid the truth of the conditions of our existence. Camus insists that you must maintain a state of revolt against the truth of our purposeless existence, instead of lying to yourself or freaking out. To me, it's like saying every morning "Nature, I know I'm going to die, and you suck for that, but you can't break me, dammit!"

Here are the conditions as I like to state them: (1) We exist. (2) We are alive (unlike, say, rocks, which exist but are not alive). (3) We have finite lives (i.e., we die, and stay dead -- no afterlife). (4) We have no given purpose, and even if nature has one for us (even if it's just to breathe and process oxygen), we're free to ignore it. (5) We live in fragile bodies, which decay and are subject to illness. (6) We are self-aware, i.e., we have the mental capacity to aware of these conditions I'm rattling off. (7) We have the emotional capacity to feel a range of emotions, which unfortunately include sorrow and pain, including sorrow that results from being aware of the these conditions. Sucks hunh? Now for some positive ones: (8) We are completely free to do whatever the f#@$% we want, subject to the fact that (9) nature is free to do what it wants (like send hurricanes or disease to kill you, or make alligators hungry for your left foot if you exercise your freedom to swim in the Everglades) and the fact that (10) other people are free too, which means they are free try to restrict your freedom (and often succeed, whether by using a gun or by banding together and passing laws/rules that they enforce ultimately with physical force). I should clarify that as part of number (8), we are free to fight nature, as we do everyday (curing disease, artificial insemination, fighting aging, stem cell research, using rockets to escape gravity, cloning and cryogenics, etc.). You mentioned evolution, but you left out the fact that we've given the finger to natural selection. The weakest among us don't die off. Instead, we do things like invent sunscreen to defeat the effects of that huge, burning hot star we orbit around. Now that's freedom.

Anyway, like you, I at first found mortality to be a cruel thing, but now I see life as being cruel and beautiful. We have the capacity to feel joy. The lack of a purpose gives us freedom to do anything, and now that I realize that, my freedom from other people's rules/preferences/force is of utmost importance. The most tragic things on this planet are therefore slavery and oppression. We're in a free-for-all, where people are fighting to impose their preferences, literally what makes them feel good or stop feeling bad, on others. Some use brute force, some use deceit, some use moral persuasion (guilt), some try reasoning, but it's all the same thing -- an attempt to have one's way on this planet during this short life.

You wake up in a huge room holding a can of paint and a paintbrush. There's a huge endless wall. All around you, people are painting the wall, a bunch of things have been painted, some haven't, some people have dropped their brushes and sit alone, some take other people's paint away, some dictate what others can paint and what colors may be used, some paint over other people's painting, some spend the whole time asking "what are we supposed to paint?", some paint the known history of the painting of the wall, some paint myths about the purpose the painting, which none of them know. I don't know about you, but while I'm here, I'm going to paint, and Im going to paint whatever I want. We are free to choose our own purpose, since none of this matters anyway. For me, the purpose is to find a way to be truly happy without resorting to irrational belief in an afterlife. Not easy. To me, it's like climbing Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen and without being half-carried by guides and sherpas. It's going to the gym and hitting the benchpress instead of getting pec implants. Mind you, the believers are damn happy taking the happy pill of irrational faith, but for me, that's not an option. I bear the burden of knowledge. I know and accpet the truth of our existence. Ignorance of it probably is bliss for those that have those beliefs, but for me there's no going back.

A couple of the comments here also touched on Buddhist ideas about the impermanence of the universe (i.e., everything is always changing). Try reading some Thich Nhat Hanh (you can get podcasts of his talks at Itunes, search "Zencast" or go here -- http://amberstar.libsyn.com/). He says you must get over the fear of death to be truly happy, and to get over it, you must come to realize that there really is no death, just change. I find this to be "taking the leap" and avoiding the reality of a finite life, but I haven't studied it deeply. To me, if the conscience dies when the oxygen and blood stop flowing to the brain, which I believe it does, then it's over, even if my body transforms into compost or gets divided up for transplants for you lucky bastards that get to stay a while longer.

(sorry for errors, not proofed)

Jun 28, 2006 18:30 # 43178

Salvial_Ten *** replies...

Re: A thought, that led to an idea, that led to a philosophy

?% | 1

I must go back to my second paragraph now. So, i thought, knowing that we will all die someday and our actions will probably be forgotten, how can we go on? How can we cope with the strain of knowing nothing lasts. But we do, we go about our lives not thinking about it. But what if more people start to think like me. What if in the gain of greater intelligence we come to understand our existance so well, we cannot bear the reality? Of course, in theory it could be the other way around. We cold find eternal happiness by understanding our existence. But that is not how i feel.

The plain and simple truth of the matter is that we go one because what else is there to do? Bring death on a little quicker? That would be rather counter productive. I mean, suicide isn't the best way to deal with a fear of mortality. Granted, suicide isn't the best way to deal with anything but that's a tangent.

However, the fear of mortality does bring on some rather interesting questions as to why humans do certain things. For example, smoking, heavy alcoholic consumption, the ingestion of narcotic substances, and other things we do to ourselves as a race really do seem baffling if deep down people do fear their own mortality. I'm not intending this paragraph as a "Stop Whatever" campeign so please don't take it that way. Each of the above has been proven totally detremental to extending ones life time, yet people do indeed start up addictions to them. Or perhaps as you've mentioned earlier, the world is becoming over populated with humans and our life ending addictions are part of a subtle, subconcious effort to control our own population?

Anyway, I personally go on because as I said before what else is there to do? Die early? Then again, I don't think I have a particular fear of my own mortality. This does not mean I'm going to actively go about seeking the end of my mortal coil, I just don't have any particular fear of the inevitable. Perhaps dying and going through an afterlife that may or may not exist is the best thing that could happen. On a global scale I'd have to say we're all pretty fucked anyway, with trigger happy world leaders, global warming, horrible polution, and genocide happening all over the place. That doesn't mean that their aren't good things going on, but how often do you hear about them?

--Jami, the pessemist.

--Jami Yeah, that's gonna sting in the morning.


Small text Large text

Netalive Amp (Skin for Winamp)