Whether we swim in the seas of Bentham’s utilitarianism (sacrifice for the good of the many), or John Locke’s forests of natural laws (for the good of the one) or rattle around in Kant’s canyons of rights (for the good of reason), one thing is equally familiar from such trespasses is that the philosophical bent of morality relies on the construct of the human mind and its relation to mortality. There are circuitous paths that devolve within, into productivity, entitlements based on goodness, humility, greed based on badness, yet all such paths ultimately stare at the same fate, death!
So in this entropic climate of living, why has the human train of thought so evolved into this form of attribution substitution away from reality? Everyone is exercising they’re purposed thoughts into productive creation of personal wealth to the detriment of any and all. Yet everyone knows that the common fate lurks closer at each passing second. The finite in the seemingly infinite is the reality and all else is a substitution of that reality.
Oh, I don’t mean to be morbid about the whole thing, but what fascinates me is the human mind in general and how it behaves against the odds. Human life is entropic, a linear progressive chaotic event with only one ending. We might consider freezing, brains, heads, or even whole bodies to resurrect later, but the whiff of the soul once gone can only return in the minds of the Nuevo-riche, pseudo-intellectuals. For them the world will go on forever and if it does not then it must be somebody’s fault.
What then makes us substitute for reality reality for this pie on the land? This collection of “somethings” that eventually is strewn to the wind as “nothings.” What makes people who they are? What makes a tyrant a tyrant and a seemingly benevolent master an ill-begotten hiding in the shadows, monster? For, if all fate is conjured up as blackness or as light, it still remains an “undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.”
The precept of this underpinning is enormous. It gives some direction, some meaning to life. The enormity is so overwhelming to the most intellectual of all brains, that even it cannot fathom the consequence of such an inevitability, even with all probability projections and all theoretical conjectures laid out, even Einstein bluntly stated, "As I have said so many times, God doesn't play dice with the world." By “world” did he also mean the people that inhabit it? Of course he did! So if the world according to this genius is not to be trivialized with the game of chance, then why do we continue on this path? Humans by nature are survivalists and that is also their detriment.
We are perpetually rolling the dice in economics, masquerading cleverer and clever themes of minute asymmetries to exploit fortunes and hiding those gains from the necessary taxes to keep society at its best. In medicine we also throw caution to the wind in search of a probability function that points south when all needles say “north.” None of the heretical, probability and correlative massages soothe the reality of what is and how to fix it. But through it all one certain fact remains constant that life will terminate for all and that is a 100% surety. No Confidence Intervals or mean errors or z scores needed here!
Authors, and so many of them that I have lost count, write about the immortality of the human being. Some conjecture the Von Nuemann’s self-replicating machine what will co-evolve with the human DNA and create a whole new species that will inhabit another planet when we as race start to spill over earth’s capacity, or press the dreaded button and evict ourselves into oblivion. The hubris that is human intelligence has a remarkable capacity of substitution. It substitutes where it meets a dead-end. For in mathematics, which is the language of life, there cannot be an absence of a solution to this conundrum of extinction. For example, Andrew Wiles solved what seemed impossible to solve for many decades; Fermat’s last theorem. And yet every hour 3 species on the planet go extinct and nearly 1.5 billion have laid down themselves as fossils in the sediment on this earth’s mantle, and we continue thinking, and continue to exploit asymmetries for personal gain at all levels.
On the other hand, if we are to comprehend this inevitability, then what are we to do about it? Charity, real compassion and empathy towards each other would be a good start. And we might stop trying to substitute meaning for reality.
True we are living in the ocean of Biggish Data. Even though we have Femtophotography that takes 1 trillion frames per second and all the data-warehouses will, by 2020, have 8 exabytes of data that is 8,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. What are we to do about this vast empire of digits, logically and truthfully? What is apparent is the manipulation of a biased selection of this data to prove a personal viewpoint. The heuristics of the limited mind to get ahead is to manipulate the minds of the others to gain access to the legendary place of self-importance. But what happens then? Eventually the ruse is unearthed by a smarter mind and all things revert to the mean, so to speak and life is roughed up just a little in passing.
I come back to the premise of life. The existential preface must consider the inevitable postscript and the potentiality beyond before contemplating action.
Is it right?
Is it just?
Is it good?
Live in Grace.
Live in Harmony.
Live in Peace!
Truth has never been told in better words than these...
"There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow.
If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come,
it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—thereadiness is all.
Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is't
to leave betimes, let be." ~ Shakespeare