The tragedy of life is that people live; They do all the regular things that are done in this world. And in the end they hope some sense might be made of their life. Some decide their purpose from start and live accordingly even if it makes no sense to others. Others let others decide their purpose. Yet still others realise their own purpose only when it’s time to enter the grave. The purpose of life is not something to be pondered. It is something to be lived.
The mass of men are instruments of other men.
Are you a higher man or an instrument?
Also, keep in mind: freedom is not free.
Here is a question I read in a philosophy handbook on morals:
Question: John is a moral philosophy student and he believes in moral relativism. His professor, who believes in moral absolutism didn’t like John so he failed him in an exams though John got good grades. Is John right to be angry or to protest the assessment of his paper?
Answer: All beliefs are personal convictions and personal convictions should not have a place in professional/academic relationships. John was supposed to be assessed based on the absolute merit (rightness or wrongness) of the answers he gave in the exams and not based on his personal beliefs.
I find this scenario very interesting because I think we all encounter it daily in human organisational systems. It’s like saying: Mr. A, believes he can live without breathing in oxygen. If Mr. B suffocates him and he faints, has Mr. B been immoral?
The premise of the existence or nonexistence of a single supreme being as is postulated in philosophy is in, and of itself, an erroneous premise. This is why the theist against atheist arguments will continue perpetually. Pantheism has instead been relegated to the field of theology.
When asked whether there is a god, the indegenous African answers that there are spirits or forces. He does not specify whether a force is omnipresent, omniscient or omnipotent etc. This is because he believes spirit forces are metamorphous (what appears good suddenly becomes evil and vice versa) and are also associated with a particular tribe or race. The gods are brought down to the level of human understanding and they even partake in human activities. The indigenous African never conceives of or gives serious thought to the idea of an all umbrella spirit figure. He believes there could never be an all emcompassing spirit force who presides over such diverse life forms across space and time with myriad weaknesses and strengths, whose chief activities are characterised by brutal predation or the “survival of the fittest.”
To the practical mind, metaphysics cannot solve any real world problem because it is an abstract conception and when elevated to the apex it completely breaks off from reality (observable phenomena). This is why I think as long as metaphysical arguments concentrate on a single all encompassesing supreme being there will be no end or solution to those arguments. It’s like trying to tie the lose ends of something that cannot tied.
Many theists believe their god is separate from the cosmos. As to whether he actively paticipates in the affairs of the cosmos it’s not clear. Deists claim he has abondoned the cosmos. Jehovah Witnesses (they visit me every sunday) claim in one article that the world in which we live is ruled by Lucifer but Jehovah remains the ruler of the universe which I find funny. A god separate from the cosmos as theists posit implies that:
(a) God is outside of the boundaries of our consciousness.
(b) God, or any maximally powerful being (separate from the universe -from our consciousness), is therefore unknowable. For the purposes of this blog lets assume creationism is a fact and god has a purpose for our lives.
(c) But what is the purpose of the life of animals? Couldn’t we eat herbs, fruits and nuts as herbivores do and do away with slaughter and predation? A cow eats grass throughout its entire existence but grows and reproduces just fine and there are creatures in the sea that no one has ever set eyes on before. Animals could not exist solely for our benefit.
Many people claim to know or have experienced god. Some even claim he once rode a donkey on the streets of Jerusalem. Would you be surprised if I told you my African ancestors used to bump into gods in the woods cooking yams? You would say the ancestors were crazy.
Us pantheists, have answers to all this questions. God could not:
(a) Be separate from the cosmos. Every aspect of nature represents god. Therefore god is synonymous with the cosmos. We can liken it a mosaic picture. The whole picture is God not just a single dot or particle that make up the picture. God therefore has dynamic nature or modalities.
(b) Since god is the cosmos, he is knowable but only through natural agents or events in the cosmos which may be “good” or “evil” to mankind. God is unfeeling and uninterested in our domestic affairs and moves the cosmos in the direction he alone wishes.
(c) The social world (from which many derive their anthropomorphic gods) is nothing but a construct. To truly know god we must have a stronger connection to the natural world – this is where the real value of knowledge lies. Once everybody recieves this valuable knowledge concerning an understanding of the natural world, all humanlike “feeling” gods will cease to exist.
(d) Concerning happiness, we can obtain ultimate fulfilment and happiness by living in harmony with both our nature and the natural world. Our moralities must harmonize with our higher nature not conflict them. We must not depend on others for our happiness but we must also not live in such a way that our activities bring sorrow to others. Last but not least, since reason or logic is primarily an instrument of the individual self, it must be guided by intuition (collective self) in order to arrive at an accurate knowledge of the universal god.
Considering that human nature is very fickle and unpredictable, I’m convinced after much deliberation that good is not the opposite of evil as many people believe. Good and evil are parallel to eachother and one can never predict how another person might act when provoked (which is even worse among the so called born again). When a supposedly evil person suddenly turns kind we should not be quick to say that he or she has changed but rather he or she has simply switched lanes. At any point in time evil can set in again. Everyone has the capacity for both kindness and evil and it is the social environment that brings out the best or the worst in us. Treat children with kindness and they will grow to be kind. Be mean to them and they will be mean when they grow up. I have realised that, for most people, whatever they experienced or are taught while growing up is what they accept to be true for the rest of their lives. Whether as creatures of god we are innately good or descendants of apemen we are innately evil is a difficult question because of the parallel nature of good and evil.
If Creationism (the nudist escapade story in Soyinka’s words) is a fact then we can understandably say that it was not included in the plan of creation for mankind to be happy. Because the sweetest apple was planted nowhere but at the center of the garden. Was it supposed to be perpetually tempting or what?
Again, concerning creation, what can we say is the purpose of the life of tiny living organisms which are not visible to our eyes but which cause us diseases. Are these also created? By who? I have speculated before that maybe the devil also created certain microorganisms in imitation of the creator if there is one. And for god so loved the world that when he found out that the devil was antagonising him he kicked the devil out into the world.
Do you eat chicken, beef or mutton? Do you think these animals scream in excitement when being slaughtered for their meat? What would make one think one deserves eternal life when one slaughters animals enmass for their meat daily? Is it moral to eat other living organisms. If our mortality is as a result of we having violated life, then that makes more sense to me than to say we die because someone ate an apple many thousands of years ago.
Those who followed this blog recently, welcome to a meaningful and a meaningless blog.
Whenever arguments are advanced concerning the study of nature (as in human nature and the natural world which is the main subject matter of poetry) they always include Freewill. The idealists define freewill as the power of making free choices unconstranied by external agencies. But these external agencies have far reaching influence on human life and actions. They say we have the freewill to do this or the freewill to do that which I find delusional. Because all our actions are reactions to the environment.
We can’t control planetary orbits nor alter their laws. We cannot control the climate and the seasons that come with it. We are locked in our genes which informs our instincts, emotions, behaviour, culture etc. Even concerning the natural world, in circumstances where people were informed of disasters such as rains, storms, tsunamis, disease epidemics etc. still we are at the mercy of such external agencies which strike unexpectedly. We are simply walking egos.
Unless the Freewill which they speak of almost in ecstatic way have limitations which I suspect to be related to human societies? If Freewill has limitations then our life is to a great extent determined in advance. For instance, one has no freewill to choose which gases to inhale. All animals must inhale oxygen in order to live. If we continue to carelessly cut down trees and destroy virgin forests and consequently become short of oxygen, we can only wait to die. Where is freewill in this?
What do people mean by positivity? Offering half truths? And hoping for the best outcomes. There is an objective reality that is much different and independent of thoughts and feelings. Different cultures have different truths but one cannot live in all cultures at the same time. One lives in only one society at a time and therefore the universally acceptable morality within such a society applies. What one feels is one’s truth but only as regards “the self” not the external world of matter.
I have encountered many people present nefarious ideas as “truth” simply in the name of “positivity”. Whoever teaches that the universe conforms to our thoughts and feelings must test his or her assertions by writing a job application, put it under his or her pillow and simply wish for a job. It’s an experiment. Or wish to travel from one location to another and then suddenly, since the universe conforms to our wishes, one’s destination is brought to one’s doorstep, thus saving one from the arduous journey. It’s another experiment. I’m sure the proponents of “positivity” or selective truths will oppose such logical applications of their own philosophy. So what then do they mean by “positivity?” Must we dilute or sugarcoat the truth? Is that not immoral? Could the scribes not have simply said that Stephen died after being stoned? Why did they write that he fell asleep. Sleep is completely different from death.
I’m a realist and I believe that in order to be sure of what’s happening in every single aspect of our lives we ought to perceive our social world with as much realism as possible. Our consciousness has to be as clear as a flowing stream. It’s the only way to perceive the whole truth to the bottom and there is some comfort and inspiration in finding the whole truth – both positive and negative.