A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.
Can you grapple with something intangible? I guess you can, right? You wouldn’t be literally grappling with it, as many Americans would have you believe, but you can still grapple with an idea. This idea is probably one that has engulfed the minds of even the most proud philosophers. Yet, it goes unsolved or even explained in any good detail.
If I was to speak for certain religions, which I will not do, I will merely speculate, would they say the meaning of life is to go to heaven? Or to be a ‘good’ person and live by some commandments from a book written over three thousand years ago? Fables, parables or whatever they should be labeled. Do these same principles etched in stone (probably literally) many moons ago still apply? Maybe.
So here is the thing, all I hear about from people is that the world is changing, whether it be global warming, something none of us common folk really understand, technology, sports, business, education, it really doesn’t matter, all you hear is that things are changing. I would argue that things are not always moving forward but they are changing. If they are changing, why doesn’t the bible or other religious texts evolve? The commandments from a piece of literature that old still sparks war and controls trillions of the dollars of the world’s wealth. That is not overly healthy or from my perspective, easily understood. It is unfathomable that religion still has the impact that it does today. Perhaps it is a guise or a misjudged scapegoat, in any case it is at the epicenter of the world we live in and many of the unpleasant aspects of contemporary life.
I have always thought that religion was created at a time when what we would call simple pleasures were paramount. They were fundamentals in society. That being, congregating on a Sunday and being a contributor to your village or town. A place to talk with the local baker, blacksmith and tailor. Enjoy music and song, much like we do today, although slightly less controversially. Doing something as a family and wearing your ‘Sunday best’. So many things we cherish in today’s world yet in a slightly more modern format. Many families have a Sunday night roast or Friday night meal. Many still share a birthday and Christmas and they are highlights of the year. We don’t call them religion but they are essentially the same basic principles. Gathering with your closest and laughing, singing, drinking and eating is nothing new or extreme. It is so fascinating that when the word religion is added or blamed or suggested or put forward the whole situation can blow up. I guess, from what I once imagined religion was, to how it has evolved, there can be no comparisons, only nostalgia.
Just because many religions take on the after life theme or a certain form of god in existence, doesn’t mean that one cannot be true. Maybe there is a religion out there that is the ultimate sweet elixir and just blows everyone away. They get every aspect of our lives and after lives correct, to the millimeter. I would love to believe in a divine being and ‘heaven’ and lots of other stuff but there is no rational reason for it. That doesn’t mean it is impossible. I believe it is not possible though. There is no tangible evidence. There is no reasonable suggestion that it could even be remotely true or that it is impossible. What would a religion created today look like? Would Facebook be a modern religion? If everything evolves, except the Bible (no hard feelings), the meaning of religion can too. Can congregating online, watching vines, reading funny quotes and admiring photos of friends be the contemporary breaking bread, drinking wine and singing? If I created a religion today, would I need brick and mortar or would I Uber my way to an Air BnB apartment playing Temple Run and decided there what to create?
That said, if I had of told you 100 years ago that gay marriage was legal and gay couples would safely and freely walk the streets as sexual equals, you would have ran me out of town. Something like that was incomprehensible a century ago yet now we just cannot understand the alternative. Nazi Germany happened, less that 100 years ago. The Holocaust. Is there a current modern holocaust going on that we will look back on in 100 years and say with all this technology and resources how could we let ‘that’ happen? Probably.
What is our generation’s equivalent of gay marriage? We all think murder is egregious and incompatible with a functioning society. Maybe in 100 years it is accepted and they will look at us and think we are moronic for being so against it. I think there is more chance that ‘the 100 years from now version of me’ will be saying how did they let all the poverty in the world go unnoticed or why did we decide to turn the Amazon rainforest into an Apple store and an IKEA. Ill tell you why ‘me in 100 years’, its because we cant stop looking at our phones, or augmenting our bank balances, or do away with greed and the addictiveness that power brings. We may be making a shift with many of the world’s 1% donating most of their stockpile to charity. Who knows, maybe in 100 years if you amass the equivalent of today’s $50 Million you have to donate it all back to charity. Human beings are blessed and cursed with the ability to think, to rationalize and to make judgments, for better or for worse and yes, sometimes people make poor judgments, that s the power we have. Without this advantage we wouldn’t be society as we know it.
Ants always seem to be doing great, working well together and creating Ant Marriott hotels all over the place. Can you imagine if we couldn’t think? Would we be ants too? Not like your little brother doesn’t think when he leaves the stove on which burns the steak which blows up the fire alarm which alerts the fire brigade who call your parents who fly back from their vacation and ruin your ‘free house’ for an alone night in with your new teenage boyfriend. Not like that. More like, if we actually couldn’t make choices and we just did what savages do. It is funny because our instincts play a much bigger part in our lives than we understand or accept. This has nothing to do with anything I was alluding to earlier so I better realign.
Many people are fascinated with the idea of a legacy. A legacy, to me, infers that there is some form of after-life. Some type of recognition for our life’s work. We are so ready to accept praise, it is difficult to absorb the idea that we do so many things just to be remembered or noticed. For those who believe we die and that is it, why would there be any point for a legacy. Yes there are the unselfish reasons. Numerous unselfish reasons. A lot of them revert back to the tree falling in the woods idea. If no one is there to see the tree fall, does it actually fall? I suspect I am probably in the minority on this one so maybe it does actually fall? Before you read this paragraph you had no idea about any tree falling in the woods. Three minutes ago the tree in the woods had not fallen. By me telling you about it, it has fallen. You believe it to be true because I told you about it. Regardless if it is true or not or happened or it didn’t. The fact is that until I told you, the tree in the woods had not fallen. Now you believe it has. So did it really fall?
Let me put it to you this way, if you tell me that there is nothing, by referring to that ‘nothing’ as you call it, there is something. Now, to you, that something is nothing, but regardless, we are debating something, too bad if it turns out you think it is nothing. Does that make sense? I thought so.
Most people say that the tree falls in the woods. Yet most people also say that nothing is not something. The tree and nothing are the same thing yet we arrive at different answers. That is why no one likes logic.
I was trying to discuss the meaning of life and some different perspectives that I have but I got lost in the religious tree falling in the woods and then something about nothing. Man, way too much religious stuff. Yikes. In any case, perhaps, it would be appropriate to discuss it some other time.