Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Bring it on...

Both Murph and James have called me an atheist recently. I suppose in some respects I am. However, I'm uncomfortable with this moniker as it seems that I'm being defined by what I'm not, as opposed by what I am.

Yes, I don't believe in the existence of an overseeing god, and neither do I believe that there's a natural, moral order to our universe. However I do feel, like Frankl, that our place in the universe has to be rooted in some meaning. Otherwise we'll end up flaying about like fish out of water.

Which I'll admit is fundamentally confused.

What bothers me most about atheism and existentialism, if you choose to link the two together (and yes, I know of Kierkegaard), is the reductive argument that meaning can only be created provisionally from the point of view of the individual. We must sit, observing the world as if it's absurd and make sense of it from our own, individualistic standpoint. Ultimately then, everything becomes reduced to a selfish, Freudian pursuit of self gratification?

Given that I've struggled recently with concepts such as altruism and interdependence, I'm pretty confident that I'm not some hard arsed individualist. Can I follow existentialism to its natural conclusion then? Probably not.

So, there's an obvious flaw in my thinking. Some piece missing in my jigsaw if you like. Is it God? Unlikely, but possible, of course.

To be honest I've always coveted the beliefs of the religious. After all, their dogmas do provide well for those of a philosophical bent. I've tried so hard in the past to believe in the concept of god. It could hold the answers to many of my deeper questions.

Perhaps I'm so small minded that I just don't get it. Or am I at the "point between being under enlightened and being enlightened" and about to experience an "instantaneous moment of epiphany"?

Convince me then, go on, I dare you...


stuart said...

So, there's an obvious flaw in my thinking. Some piece missing in my jigsaw if you like.

If only more people could admit it. I realised long ago that no-one knows all the answers, and never will. So I am comfortable with the fact that I dont need to use god to explain existence/meaning of life, even tho' I don't know what the answers are.

jamon said...

"I realised long ago that no-one knows all the answers, and never will."

But it's fun trying to find the right questions...

Louie said...

Hey there.

I think you're wrong looking for meaning. It's a non sequitur.

It's like asking what is the meaning to a rock. Rocks and humans are built from pretty much similar things. Except we were built by natural selection, over millions of years.

Meaning is something that we strive for, because we're designed to see patterns and intention.

It doesn't mean that there is any to be found though.

Everything is pointless. But hey, what did you expect? :)

jamon said...

Hi Louie, thanks for dropping in.

Of course, you're right. There's no inherent meaning to our little lot. We simply create our own subjectively.

I guess that our predicament then is how we develop this sense of meaning and purpose?

I started this blog to explore this notion from the point of view of good / poor mental health (the profession I work in.) It has been shown repeatedly that having a sense of meaning and purpose in one's life is correlated with good mental and emotional 'health'.

Many of the people I meet in my professional life talk of 'What's the point' or 'Everything is pointless'. Nihlism if you like.

In a sense I have to agree with them as everything is indeed, ultimately pointless.

However, our task in life I suppose is to find some subjective meaning to keep us alive?

Louie said...

I forgot about this post. So...have you changed what you think? :)