Sunday, January 25, 2009

Update on what's coming and what I am thinking about

The wheels are ever turning and looking over my search for the meaning of life notebook I realized I have a lot of themes and ideas

to explore. Here is a short list of some of the things I will be covering in the near future.

  • Essays: I have several more essays coming:

  • The Operation Instructions

  • A Video called "Inside the Box"

  • Venus over D'angelo's

  • The Plasticity of Time

  • Resonance

  • Separating the I from the us

  • Are we being lied to?

  • "A" truth versus "The" truth

I will be covering a lot of ground and this week I plan on taking a trip to boston. As an aside to the real reason for the trip I am planning on stopping in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to take a look at a painting by Gauguin called: "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?"If they allow pictures I will take a picture of it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Endless loops and the Happiness of Sisyphus

I have a definite fascination with Sisyphus and I am even envious of his plight. I will explain the envy at the end of this soliloquy.

Thinking about the plight of Sisyphus gives me an overwhelming sense of irony. First off there is the whole repetition of his quest which is a circle within a circle - that goes on forever. From here you have to start thinking about Sisyphus and how he relates to you and me. The metaphor of him doing his meaningless task on and on is obvious and has been well covered by Camus as far as how it relates to all of us. Is this really what we are all doing? Rolling a nonsensical rock up a hill over and over?

But, lets ask some questions about Sisyphus. The first and most important question is: Is he happy?

That alone starts us on an absurd cycle of further questions. What is happiness? Is there a happiness? Or is there "the" happiness. Is happiness defined by the person? Or can people fool themselves? What the heck is happiness even? A chemical response? A charade? a malleable and ever changing thing?

See what I mean, It's like the typical exploration of anything philosophical. The more you ask the deeper the circles go and the less you realize you know... kinda ticks me off because it feels like I'm rolling a rock up a hill.

Anyway, About Sisyphus and why I envy him.:

At least he knows why he is doing what he is doing.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Socrates, Einstein and Now

Odd Title but let me tie it all in.

Socrates was famous for walking through the streets and asking questions. He saw the people of Athens as living only for money, power and fame. Through his relentless questioning he tried to get them to examine their lives; the why of what they were doing.

Ok, now Einstein. And I can sum up the right impression with a quote from him:

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed". - Albert Einstein

Now the Tie-in:

We are all stuck within inches of the skin of this remarkable and frail little blue planet. Its quite an enigma and quite the mystery; while the universe spins on around us every direction forever. we are bombarded every day by rays of wonder, amazement and astonishment. Yet we don't seem to notice. We too often tend to just continue the ant march following the same paths every day, doing the same things and chasing after the same meaningless things.

I have a task for you:

Roll up your sleeve and look at the inside of your wrist. Watch the veins as they pulse with blood and life. It's absolutely astonishing. It's a little thing we seldom think about but it is part of the schema that surrounds us. Take a little time out from your day today to think about the mystery and the riddle and the enigma and the puzzle and the conundrum and the why of it all.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The funnel

I was thinking the other day about the possibility of people having spirits or souls. Well, this got me to thinking that there is quite a large number of spirits or souls traversing across the living mesh of this planet.

I thought it would best be described in a picture:

Now this is just a visual metaphor for the concept that I am talking about. You and I don't really see the spirits and souls flowing in and out of the mesh of life on earth. But it is something to think about. And if this is really happening then why?

Some interesting stats about life/death About 150,000 people die every day and 350, 000 are born every day. Its quite a large number of spirit souls isn't it? Well of course I haven't really verified those facts but here is a very interesting site with some mind boggling statistics. Click on the daily button The World Clock

Beginning and Ending

Is is true that everything that has a beginning, has an ending? Its a concept. But is it true.
Let's take a look at life, mine, yours, everybodys.

As far as I can tell I had a beginning. And before that beginning there was nothing. So if the beginning/ending theory is true then I will truly have an ending.

Here is the real question, the one we can't seem to know: Is the ending of this simply the beginning of something else? And of course that leads us to think that this beginning we are in now is actually the ending of something else. Is there an endless chain of beginnings and endings?

This just brings me to a thought about the big bang theory. If it is true that the universe began, then is it also true that it will end?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Thinking about "Free Will"

Free Will is really big when it comes to philosophy (and religion). But I have to say that I am skeptical about it.

Here is the typical philosophical conversation:

"Why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?"

"Because we have free will, that is a gift given to us, and it is up to us to make the right choices."

I think this free will stuff might be an illusion. Let me explain why.
Free Will, by necessity means knowing all the facts about a situation. There is no free will if you don't know all the options.

Here is an example: (Pretty much a metaphor for life I would say)

You wake up in a labyrinth and you see lots of corridors you can go down. So you get up and start walking. There are plenty of corridors and you get to choose whichever one you want. But is that free will? Do you know what is down each corridor? Do you know the goal? Do you even know how you got there? Do you know what the goal is or where it is? Or if you even want it?

Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope and nope. You don't know any of these things. So how can it be free will that you are engaged in? You are making decisions based on nothing.

Heres the nutshell:

If I don't know how I got here, where I was before I got here, why I am here, or where I am going after I am here then where is the free will?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Philosopher in Meditation

This is a painting by Rembrandt. It is called "Philosopher in Meditation" and it is one of a series of paintings Rembrandt did on the subject of philosophers. Now the remarkable thing about this painting is that it captures more than just a philosopher in meditation. It is a commentary or speculation by Rembrandt himself on the very same issues that philosophers think about. The symbolism of many things in the painting are very clear including the light shining on the philosopher from the window, the curved staircase that goes both up and down, the figure stoking the fire in the lower right and the circle that is almost in the very center of the painting. Of course the over abundance of darkness is also very important.
If you have any thoughts or comments on this painting I would love to hear and/or discuss them. -Will

Friday, January 02, 2009

My Second Biggest Fear

In the previous post I discussed one of my biggest fears in my search for the meaning of life. It was pretty easy for you to interpret and it pretty much can neatly be summed up in a couple of ways. First off, and the best explanation, is running in circles. The hero in the story is doomed to run in a big circle forever, never getting even one inch closer to his goal, yet he is standing on the goal all the time.

This second fear is a little more visceral and I think even more tragic. You see, the first fear implies that there is an answer and I just don't know how to find it. I don't have the tools or I am going about it the right way. That's kind of tragic but this second, to me, is worse:

The second fear can all be summed up by A comic from the 70's "Flip Wilson" . He had a character named Geraldine that had a few different funny one liners. The most famous of which was "What you see is what you get!"

Therein lies the angst. Is it possible that Geraldine is the greatest of philosophers and it comes down to "what you see is what you get"? This is traumatizing for me. Will I, we all, return to that place we inhabited before consciousness - nowhere? Is what we see all we get? Is there no more?
It evokes a certain sadness to think about an absolute end to the self.
A geraldine video: Fast forward to about 2:05 if you want to hear the famous line.