What organizing principle, operating at what level, causes life to appear, to survive, and to flourish, in so many highly different environments?
Cosmic forces dwarf we little humans and our personal designs. Perhaps we should respect them.
Asteroids stream by us, earthquakes open the ground beneath us, sub-zero temperatures freeze all living things solid. Hot, burning, dehydrating temperatures
are contrasted with pouring rains which last for days, deluges and droughts. The infinite vacuum of space is all about us as the molten core of the earth simmers deep beneath our feet. Life, in its myriad forms, flourishes with dogged resilience in this universe of extremes.
How should we understand the insipid and insidious actions of uncomprehending humans, seeking their circumscribed notions of personal wealth, often at the expense of others and of the very matrix of life in which they have their being?
What animal destroys its own habitat?
What creature massacres its own? Momentary exceptions perhaps, but on a regular basis, and with calculated and spurious intent? Whoa!
One should not use another as a tool. This seems a basic enough truth.
Honesty and sincerity are necessary in establishing meaningful relationships.
The world is in a state of hubris. We believe we are powerful, insightful, able to control and overcome all challenges. Our hubris is collective.
We are a collection of largely self-concerned individuals.
The tone of expression today is one of untempered sureness and single-minded progress towards one’s goals, little concerned with the ulterior effects of one’s words and deeds.
We criticize others and their cultures without real insight. We are quite lost, while believing ourselves to be masters of our destinies. We delude ourselves regularly, using language to justify our actions, building elaborate webs of specious reasoning.
Our presumption is overblown.
There have been far too many broken promises amongst peoples.
Treaties signed in good faith, though often under duress, are later ignored or violated.
Advertising makes many claims that later prove to be false, misleading, even diametrically opposed to reality.
Sickness originates in many industrial processes, manufacturing materials, toxic residues, unreflecting application of technologies and chemicals, suspected of having deleterious qualities or effects. Where profit beckons, no eyes can see.
It was once possible to lose oneself in the world and in nature. It was actually quite easy. Now, it is almost unthinkable to leave no trace of one’s passing and of one’s present position on the globe (GPS).
Our outer reality, the world in which we live and move, can be seen as a cross-sectional view of an ongoing process which “contains” both space and time.
In order to consider questions of identity, and of living in time, imagine cutting a cube of space-time from the infinite matrix, of which it is a small part.
Imagine this cube to contain a room, with all of its windows, doors and walls. We can see where people have entered and left the room. We can also see their trajectory through the room over time, something like a worm, winding its purposive way through the room. Interactions amongst worms (humans moving through space in this space-time cube) would appear as vibratory phenomena, transmitted and received by the various worms, via organs designed for this purpose (ex: mouths and ears).
Since the wormlike beings which “move” throughout this world, seem to have no beginning or end (their movement continues outside the space of the cube, before they enter the room and after they leave it), their very existence and behavior questions the notions of identity and individuality.
One question, or paradox, about identity consists in this: If one were to cut ones finger off (imagine the cut to be impeccably clean and straight) and the finger lay there, across from oneself, on the table. Is the finger, over there on the table, still oneself, and if not, when did it cease to be a part of oneself?
A related question might be: What are the contours of ones actual self? When does self cease to be self, and become an object, over there?
A similar question pertains to the air we breathe. When does it become a part of oneself and when does it cease to be a part of oneself. How far from the body must exhaled air be, to become “the world”?
This begs the question: “Are we, in any real way, separate from the world we inhabit?”
Does a being, unable to reflect on what is happening, or on itself, as experiencer of the world, have “self”?
How has my sense of self evolved over time?
How much of this questioning is based on purely semantic considerations?
I have formulated a question that begs to be answered, for we love to answer questions.
The simple fact that a question can be formulated does not mean that it merits or needs a response.
The question may, in fact, be misleading or even untenable. What use, to answer such an interrogation?
Are we sharing similar assumptions about the definitions, the meanings, of the words we are using to talk together?
Do we mean the same thing when we say a thing is so and so. What is your so and what is my so?