Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Goodbye philosophy (Philo arrête sa philo...)

“What is matter made of?” , “How did our universe came to be?”, “Is this reality or a dream?”, “Do we have a soul?”, “Do we even exist?”

I've spent the 25 first years of my life trying to understand the nature of our reality. I was mightily intrigued by these kind of questions and passionatelly tried to educate myself on all sorts of matters. I read and read and read, and thought and thought and thought, all the time having the illusion that I am on a quest towards understanding.

What naive an idea... These questions have been the same since Aristotle and although their form might have changed, and some possible answers are excluded (you probably do not believe that rain is poured from the clouds by people with buckets ) we will never have the ultimate question to these answers.

But let's assume it is possible to fin answers and let's even assume that we know the answers today..

Imagine that you are convinced that we are living in a dream and what is more, you have in fact proved it. Ok, great. A true breakthrough! Now, if I were to slap you hard on your face, would your conviction about reality make the pain go away? See what I am heading at? The answers to these “grand questions” about life and reality do not matter much. We are here today, there is no escaping that. All you have to do is try to survive.

I have hit a wall, I just realised that my “quest” is not really leading me anywhere. When I think about how I used to judge people who did not share my passion about these “grand questions” I feel deeply ashamed. I used to think: “How can you just live on like that without asking yourself these questions?”. Well today my answer is: “Very well, thank you. In fact I started to enjoy life more since I gave up trying to do the impossible and focused my energy on more tangible things”.

But the old self still has a reproach: “If everyone thought like you there would be no philosophy and no science and none of all progress we made! If no one were curious about understanding reality we would not have gotten anywhere...!”

New self:
“First: You are exaggerating, that is not the only motivation for technological and medical progress. Second: Even if it were so, what has this “progress” really achieved? Sure it's great that today we have all this technology and medical care. Yes, we do live longer and don't have to shiver in the cold, but are we happier? The things that make people happy or miserable have not changed since the first humans walked the earth. Happiness is more than physical well-being. The way our loved ones treat us, the way we treat them, how we feel and think about ourselves and others, that is what makes or breaks a life. Sure, death does too, but that is an inevitable part of life. Third: this is my life and if I do not want to contribute to science or participate in this intellectual sport called philosophy then this is my choice.”

So philosophy, here we are. It's time to say goodbye. After so many years it hurts to let go, but I have truly had it with you. I have better things to do than waste my time and energy on questions that have no answers. At 25 I am finally free, I can go ahead and just live.

Goodbye philosophy.


F. said...

The primary choice is always to say "oh, what a pity" but hey, making decisions is always positive and one has to know when to quit something, even if it's philosophy.
Anyway, I think philosophy is not only about those "big questions"; it should be a helpful tool for the everyday life, and give us good advice on how to be happy and all that.
Hope you don't lose your curiosity and enjoy that new "self"!

Philo said...

"How to be happy" is another big question to which, I suspect, noone has the answer. Guru's claim they do, happy people might think they got the formula, but I think (there goes one bit of my philosophy ;p) that it's extremely personal. Each individual has to create her/his own unique balance in life...
Reading books, exchanging ideas and philosophizing might for example be your personal way of struggling with these question. :) (and to be honest, can't help but be curious about how others handle their life and happiness).
PS: Whether I can enjoy the new "self" is another big question.:p Time will tell. I consider it a personal experiment. ;)

GMSMC said...

Does this mean your blog is over?

Philo said...

@GMSMC: Not really, I can't help myself. :D