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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Philosophical Ruminations


(Me with a bad haircut and in slightly better shape than I am in actuality)

What is it that we strive for most?

1) To be liked by others
2) To fit in
3) To understand what's going on

All of these seem to be important. When it comes to 3), clearly stuff is going on in our lives. Many things are apparent. There's a primary contest going on right now between Obama and Clinton. I am not denying that it's occurring. But is it truly important? Is the world of our sensible experience a kind of silly show that is distracting us from what's really going on?

And concerning what's really going on, is it totally abstract, perhaps mathematical, patterns of numbers endlessly fluctuating, or is there some emotional aspect to it? If what's really going on is some math equation, is there any room for meaning - meaning in the sense of value, something that we can feel good about? Or perhaps our feelings are irrelevant and silly.

Many would agree that the world of our experience is reducible, at least in a sense, to scientific laws - laws of biology, chemistry, physics, etc. But many would also say that the feeling of love is not the same as the atoms that make up our neurotransmitters. So there seems to be some sort of duality between our experiences and the "stuff" that literally (or so it seems) makes them up.

It is easy to say logs make up a log-cabin, but not easy to say that atoms make up happiness. Or that atoms make up the desire to know what atoms are and their philosophical implications.

There is some sort of wall that's been hit with this kind of thinking. There's no way to connect the equations of physics with our strong urge to understand just what is going on, how we should live, etc. But like I sort of said, perhaps our feelings of wanting to know what's going on are just silly and stupid. But we have them! Yes, we do, but that doesn't mean they're appropriate. But why did these feelings arrive in the first place?

I could keep going with the questions but only more questions will pop up, never answers!