Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#38: Bamboozled!

Well, life is sure something.

I've got curve balls coming in from all directions it feels like.

Mostly in the area of loans. I thought I had a lot, then I figured I had a lot less, then I discovered I had more than I thought I did the first time around. It sure is something. The phrase "hell on a cracker" comes to mind, and as I'm pretty sure I've never actually heard that spoken before, then I can't really say I've got any good examples for how to use it. Except now I'm hungry.

Today has got me thinking. A lot of things are a mystery. So much of life is based on "what we know," or "who we know." But what is knowledge really? Is it what we assume to be true? All those things we learn in elementary and high school are the basis of rudimentary knowledge, and everyone should have fair access. Yes I agree. Fair access. MMM-hmm.

Well then, why are we so focused on educating ourselves with information that is all based on assumptions, or on some STORY that someone once told to someone else?

Of course, this all makes perfect sense. In ancient Greece and Rome, philosophers debated things day in and day out. They never tired. Ideas then were so new, so fresh (so clean), that it must have been very confusing indeed to really find a way through all of the mental sludge.

They talked about politics and sex and government and democracy and what that means to a people; they talked about education and who was the better philosopher and they solved puzzles that never had a moral to them in the first place and yet they were "satisfied" on some level.

Does this mean they were not satisfied with some of their discussions? Sure. But they sat around and THOUGHT about what the meaning or implication of a certain thing was or what it could be. How convenient! To have nothing better to do with one's time than to think and to talk!

But they were in for a change I'm sure. And who's to say that Plato or Aristotle didn't hoe their fair share of dirt in their day? After all, the beauty of thought lies in that you can do it while completing some other task. For instance, right now I am thinking about 1.) how much I don't want to do the dishes, 2.) that student loans suck and how did I accrue so much to begin with, and 3.) this conversation about philosopher's that break a sweat.

If we take it one step further, we could say that all animals or organisms have "thought" on some level. They can think about what they need to do according to what nature has divined that they shall do. They can think about the pecking order in their pack or how much food they need to eat before winter or how to hide in the bushes to avoid their predators. The same creatures also have emotion, and can experience pain, sadness, loneliness, love, heartbreak, happyness and contentment.

I feel then, that it is fair to say that those same creatures as mentioned above do not think about the things that humans think about. They aren't concerned with democracy (though we might call them democratic in their actions and behaviors, that is only a projection of our understanding of things onto them as a species or group). They are not concerned with how to further GAIN knowledge. They have a certain knowledge yes, and have the capacities to learn MORE certainly, but they do not actively strive for "knowledge." They do not strive for power through knowledge, unless it was through some knowledge they already possessed. We have a curiosity, a THIRST, to know more than what our instincts are.

What then, separates us from these animals? Well, thought of course. We cannot claim to have language all to ourselves, though we might be able to claim that we have the most different TYPES of language per species (but I am not a scientist and cannot prove that, nor do I wish to assert that my claim here is entirely 100% "true").

As humans, we THINK. And with "thought" comes sophisticated things, such as the concept of wearing clothing. What other animal actively puts on a garment before associating with other animals of its own or of a different kind? None that I can think of. And sure, little monkeys might put a leaf on their head to protect them from the sun, but that is not a daily routine, and those leaves are not washed, dried and reused on a daily basis.

Something else that separates us from animals is RELIGION. So far as I know, there is not (or are not many; again, I am not a scientist) an animal or species outside of ourselves that actively worship any higher being which we have NEVER seen with our eyes. You may claim that you've had visions, or dreams, or seen pictures, or someone at some point in time DID see the diety, or the proof thereof. I am not meaning to sound like a skeptic here, or renounce my faith in any way, but I personally have not laid eyes upon the true God. I have spoken with him, or in some way communicated with him (speech wasn't really involved, it was way more internal than that, a THOUGHT) in the past, but have not witnessed any monkeys or koalas, lizards, donkeys or anything else actively building shrines and temples and churches and then congregating in their structures (or even in a holy place) for any action outside of eating, drinking, birthing, and dying. What spurs us to be so motivated to search for and believe in something that is SO truly unique to our species?

Religion cannot be limited to one or even a few human cultures. Every single human culture has had the following things: thought, language, religion, suicide, music and song, war, politics, scandal, murder, marriage, birth, and death. (I am not an anthropologist, so if I'm missing some utopian society by throwing in "suicide," "war," "scandal," and "murder," I apologize for my inaccuracy).

These are things in this life of which every person can be certain.

Again I ask you, why do we seek after these things which no other creature holds to be of any importance? Does that not mystify you? Of course it does. And if you feel you have an answer, please share it. I am open to all theories, this just happens to be mine.

I was reading an article today (I forget the title, the anthology, and the editor that put it all together), about fantasy fiction. The article discussed how we (in the royal sense) strive to discover that which is unknown to us, but that we also recognize that some things are better left undiscovered, unsaid. The question here is not how we differentiate or if we should, or whether or not one way is better than the other, but merely, WHY? Why do we have this YEARNING to know what is unknown? And better than that, WHY ARE WE SO SCARED OF IT?

Think about it!

What is one thing that is completely unknown to ANY and ALL humans?

What happens after death!

I mean, what does happen?


I know this has got to drive a lot of people crazy.

*back on track now, promise*

As I continued reading the article about curiosity and the known vs. the unknown and why we are so obsessed with it, it discussed in more detail how we (again with the royal) are not satisfied with not knowing, but if we did know, we STILL would not be satisfied!

Such a conundrum!

What a quandary!

And then there was a bit about something C.S. Lewis said, that I cannot remember exactly, about being "constricted to this earth," or something of that nature, dealing mostly around the word "constricted."

And then I thought to myself, how glorious! How marvelous and uncanny (also topics of the article)! To be set here, upon this earth; to have descended from who-knows-what (since we didn't have a written or very well structured oral language waaaaaay back in the day) and become what we are; to desire a thing called "knowledge," regardless of who bestowed it upon us or in what manner--

To think we are the only creatures we know of that are this way!


To think that, if we are so different from other creatures in life, then who can REALLY claim that we will be so similar to those same other creatures in death?

Upon death, will we cease to exist entirely? Will we go on to be with the Lord? Or will we find some other method of being released from this "constriction of life" as it were?

I think that this is enough mind-boggling for one afternoon, and now must see to the dishes that I mentioned earlier. ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment