“People let me tell you I work hard every day I get up out of bed, I put on my clothes ‘Cause I’ve got bills to pay Now it ain’t easy, but I don’t need no help I’ve got a strong will to survive I’ve got a deeper love, deeper love inside.”
We are now deep in the winter doldrums, when some mornings it is tough to just get out of bed in the morning, let alone get to work. Even without the political turmoil of our times and uncertainty of our future, it is a difficult time of year to find motivation to get moving.
I noticed that there was little talk of New Year’s resolutions and I think that is because we would all just like things to go back to “normal.” I am not sure that we can go back, but I do know we can move forward. It will, however, take more courage and perseverance than “normal.”
The next few posts I am working on will drop some of the “heavy” science and philosophy stuff I have been talking about lately and focus more on practical and mental health issues that we face at the beginning of a new year. I, myself, have lived through times that only a strong desire to overcome my situation was the only thing that got me up in it the morning. I would not stop fighting for a life of my own.
Your life is worth fighting for – now – this moment, this day. Don’t let these difficult times let you forget that.
This morning, on a Facebook philosophy page, I saw the following post: “The concept of Death makes the entire human existence meaningless.”
I believe our culture’s loss of life’s meaning comes from the Existence vs. Essence debate we have covered earlier, but I wanted to add another thought about our physical existence that might lift some spirits.
When one thinks of the odds of life happening for anyone it is truly amazing. From the size of the universe, the distance between the stars, the odds of a planet forming that can support life, the eons of evolution, the DNA that managed to form us out of countless combinations, and then surviving the birth process when so many pregnancies end in the womb. The odds against us existing at all are astronomical. Yet, here we are.
Life is always an extraordinary event in the Universe. Celebrate your life.
The Heat Death of the Universe was first proposed by Lord Kelvin in the late 19th century. It is a conjecture that the universe is expanding and will continue to expand until all the thermal energy of the universe is expended causing all physical processes to cease.
This faulty and uninspiring mental image of the universe has been a part of the cultural milieu of the scientific community for so long that it has become a part of the popular culture’s understanding of Reality and is rarely challenged.
This apocalyptic vision originated from the observation of physical and chemical processes under specific, local conditions and then extrapolated to include the fate of the entire universe.
“It’s just the abyss, dear. Try not to gaze into it”
We call this kind of analysis empiricism, which is a bottom-up approach to knowledge. While empiricism is a powerful scientific tool, it has its limitations.
the theory that all knowledge is derived from sense-experience. Stimulated by the rise of experimental science, it developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, expounded in particular by John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.
Physics gives us knowledge when observing concrete (physical), local systems. We can control and submit these local systems to scientific experimentation. We fail sometimes to realize how little we can observe about the universe. From our tiny perch on this small planet whirling about in the vastness of space what can we really know for certain about the fate of the universe?
The concept of essence is so fundamental to how we view our individual existence that it not only affects our understanding of how we came into the world and how we will leave it, it also affects how we order and live our lives. How we arrived at this divide requires a look at the historical development of ideas concerning our experience of reality.
Culture is a catch-all word that encompasses a great many categories and ideas about how human beings live. On one level, culture is about what we do every day. For example, if we leave our homes to go to work our culture is about why we go to work, how we go to work, what we wear to work and what we do at work. Our behavior and attitudes towards work are part of our culture.
Another meaning of culture is the art and ideas that a group of people produce. To be cultured, means one is familiar with and understands what is considered the best of one’s culture.
On a more abstract level, culture explains who we are as well as our individual roles in society. A stable culture offers explanations of itself to us that are consistent and understandable. To do this effectively it must answer three fundamental questions about human life:
Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?
An example of a cultural response to these questions is the Baltimore Catechism. It was the text used to teach young Catholics about their faith. As you can see, the first few questions from the very first chapter answers these questions in a clear and straightforward manner: