Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Futile Attempts for a Purpose in Life
It is often the case that as people try to find purpose in life, they often redefine the universe to suit their feelings. Often, they feel they know the truth, and that by just closing their eyes, and touching the spirit of the universe, the truth is revealed to them. These people are not necessarily religious, not in the organized sense. In fact, many moderate religious people believe that there is some truth in all religions, and often attempt to explain that they all lead to a similar path of supposed enlightenment. It's as though all the roads lead to a place that they seek, and from which some type of esoteric truth can be discerned. The actual truth is that human curiosity can lead to numerous imaginary, but false roads, when in fact, a decent rudimentary knowledge of science can actually illuminate the processes that govern our universe. Outside of any solipsism, where one believes that their own mind is the only reality that exists, and all others are subject to one's unique thought processes, the physical properties of our universe are there to be uncovered and understood through the empirical and rigorous process of the scientific method. Besides a world-view entrenched in solipsism, we can make a few general assumptions governing properties of our universe that we can use to explain the emerging physics, chemistry, and biology found within. Of primary importance is to realize that there are certain physical laws common throughout the length and breath of the universe, and that these laws have resulted in complex interactions that have lead from random fluctuations in quantum physics, to arrangements of atoms into chemical structures. Furthermore, we know that in at least one closed environment (the Earth), the natural laws were favorable for chemical reactions that lead to complex information carrying molecules which subsequently arranged themselves into biological structures, eventually leading to the human species. With mountains of data in various different scientific disciplines, there is very little contrary evidence to this. Naturally, gaps in the processes that lead to life on earth do exist, but as we progress, both technically and scientifically, we come to understand a great deal more. As old questions are answered, countless new ones are generated, and the accumulative power of the scientific method is strengthened. Furthermore, with the discovery of extra-terrestrial life, using comparative methods, we may indeed get nearer to understand how life got a foothold, and perhaps to define life itself. Still, even with all of this scientific progress, there are spiritual types who believe that we are all bound by some undefined energies link us all together in some kind of soul or spirit (depending on who is asked, some believe that every living being has a soul, others that every object within the universe, and still others that only sentient, self-aware life). These people are just hoping for something, out of fear, comfort, and ignorance. They are far from stupid people, in fact, many are very intelligent. Yet, they compartmentalize their minds and due to a highly active emotional response, keep areas of their brain from letting go of constructed garbage, and in doing so, accepting credulous nonsense. These days, the credulous things have evolved towards new-aged religions. It's an offshoot of principles from their indoctrinated traditional religious views, mixed and melded with tolerant principles of other religions. They have drifted from defining a sense of God in a personified form, into defining it as the "binding spirit" of the universe. In essence then, defining God as the prime mover, or the prime observer, or the binding energy of everything, for some just living things, while for others, all that is matter and energy combined. It all sounds wonderfully poetic and meaningful, but ultimately childish. It's hard to break this attachment to a higher authority, and realize that we're on our own as human beings. All we have for comfort and support are other human beings. This understanding will not destroy civilization but save it from religious hysteria, illogic, and inherent hypocrisy. Progress is possible, even with the interjection of spirituality in daily life, but ultimately, the process is slowed by archaic notions and traditionalists who attempt to define reality by altering the governing processes of the universe.