|Posted on November 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM|
Some say that the world was created by an omnipotent God to serve some unknowable divine plan. Some say that our world itself is a Spirit, one which all living beings are part of. And some say that the world is a product of simple chance, our planet part of a clockwork orrery in an uncaring universe. Who is right? It isn't my place to say. Above all tools of certainty, I value logical deduction the most; yet to this question there are no underlying certainties, no axioms that I can rely on to prove a case. As I write this, there is as much concrete evidence to suggest that the world is of divine creation as to suggest that the world lies on the back of four elephants on a turtle; there are no "ares," only "could-bes" and "perhapses." Whether we like to admit it or not, the origin of this world is a mystery that hasn't been solved before, can't be solved now, and may never be solved hereafter.
Such is likewise true for other great mysteries of the universe. Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we headed? The eternal philosophical debates about the meaning of life, the state of humanity and the direction of mankind are eternal for a reason: there are no facts and no truths in speculation, and any guesses we make are at best shots in the dark. As the ethics, traditions, religions and philosophies of different cultures clash, we see them crumbling under their own weight, for even the soundest of logic makes a shoddy building material when vague and uncertain principles form the foundation. Therefore, we are left to construct our life philosophies from the ground up, on the ruins of the beliefs of the past, with only the unsteady lights of other people to go by.
Let me tell you what I see in this world. I see a tiny blue marble we call Earth, infinitesimal relative to the scale of the universe; I see the little marble grow hot and cold as ice ages come and go, and change in color as continents come and go. I see thousands of plant and animal species bloom into existence, only to be eradicated when the surface of the marble freezes white. And in just the last couple of eons, I see that our civilization has popped up on the surface of this marble, like a fleeting spark over a campfire, unaware that in just a couple more eons all our great works will be swept away by the hand of time. In the grand scheme of things, we are just momentary bursts of sound and color in a universe of white noise. I don't see a God. I don't see any underlying truth that humanity ought to strive towards. I don't see an afterlife, or any way that we are rewarded for our virtues and punished for our sins. Maybe I'm just being shallow, but I see things as they are.
Is that a pessimistic view? Not necessarily. The sweeping light of a new dawn, the sweet cry of a songbird, the warm glow of companionship and the contentment of a job well done – even if there is no proof of divine creation, you need only open your eyes to see that miracles happen every day. Even if all the beautiful, pleasurable and wonderful things in the world are merely cosmic flukes and white noise, that doesn't stop them from being great. And even if the joys we come to experience in our short lives are fleeting and transient, that doesn't stop us from enjoying them. It doesn't matter if there is no underlying meaning to life, no script, no questline for us to follow to completion. As long as there is happiness in the momentary sparks of our lives, then we don't need any higher meaning for our lives to be worthwhile.
Someone once asked me what my code of morality is. The answer is, what morality? As far as I can tell, there are no commandments written across the heavens, no all-powerful cosmic decrees of right and wrong. For this reason, I never judge people based on their actions, and I am most furious when others apply their own moral standards to me. I believe that in order to attain true happiness, we must first free ourselves from the blinds of morality and stop expecting others to conform to our own standards. I care for others not because some higher authority tells me to, but because I feel genuine pleasure through accepting and gaining the acceptance of my peers. I don't steal, blackmail or murder because I genuinely hate ruining others' lives more than I hate punishment. The appreciation of the wonder of everyday life doesn't come from instilling fear and obedience in others, but inviting everyone to experience wonder with you.
I write this not just because I want you to understand me better, but also because I want you to rethink the ideas and concepts that you have about reality. I feel that the simple pursuit of what makes us happy is something that has been lost in our society, and that the people I know have been working blindly in the pursuit of an ideal that will ultimately prove unfulfilling. Happiness should be an end, not a by-product; we should strive not to reduce ourselves and become humble, but to empower ourselves and rise to our fullest potential. Above all things, we should appreciate all the pleasures of life, no matter how small, before they fade away with the passing of time. Our lives are as fleeting as sparks on a bonfire, each a little moments of brilliant beauty that fade into nothingness. Bask in your brilliance and seize the day, before you enter the endless night.