Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The "wonder" of existence

In the end I think it comes down to this. The naive faith that every cause has an effect and every cause has an effect is a abstracted bloodless version of the very human propensity to ascribe agency to changes in surroundings. With a loss of faith in some other world undergirding or maybe surrounding or maybe something else there is no "something" to "cause" change or to manifest itself to us. The old cliche "shit happens" comes pretty close. It's not that event "A" doesn't cause event "B", but that "cause and effect" is one way of organizing experience and perception. The similarity between "cause and effect" and the attribution of agency as the cause of events is uncanny. Our reliance on agency is a consequence of homo sapiens being a highly social animal. Our evolutionary history means that our primary concerns are with social standing which in turn means agency. Our attempts to understand the world around us (= physics) is a misapplication of the social phenomena of agency. With the loss of belief in the fairy tale of God being behind it all (the so-called Will of God) events are uncaused in any sense of causation that we can grasp. The world and things in it appear. It's as close to magic as anything a human being is ever going to encounter.

In pseudo-mystical language, each moment is the universe giving us presents, not all of which we know how to open.

The so-called "sense of awe" and the endless twaddle resulting from "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is the brain confronted with a puzzle that it is unable to resolve. Philosophy and all forms of inquiry begin with puzzlement and perplexity. The traditional translation of the ancient Greek word for wonder used by Aristotle in "Philosophy begins in wonder" must be a mistake. Wonder and awe at existence is the brain overloading or maybe short-circuiting. It is a brain fart. Many people find this experience to be a pleasant brain fart, the fact remains that it is the brain encountering something which its evolutionary history and development in no way prepared it for. There is nothing behind the experience. There is no cause to it. It does not indicate anything. Any language and claims to esoteric knowledge is an attempt to use symbol and metaphor to express the absence of all things human. Claims to contrary are ravings of madmen or wishful make-believe of mystics.

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