We spend too much time trying to figure out what life means. Why bad stuff happens. Whether or not a malevolent deity has it in for us. It’s normal to wonder if the reason you are sick, broke or miserable is the result of something you did or failed to do. To accept the total randomness of events is rough.
Like you, I’ve put a good bit of thought into how come my life keeps falling apart. I know I’m not perfect, but come on! It’s not like I ripped off everyone’s retirement money or slaughtered thousands of people because I think they are ethnically inferior. Whatever I’ve done wrong, it’s pretty small potatoes in the scheme of things.
I was pondering this stuff when I was a teenager, which is why I studied it in college and kept exploring it through the decades since. One day, I woke up and realized I knew the Truth. All had been revealed.
I Don’t Know Anything. Neither Do You.
Suddenly random happenstance is as meaningful as anything else. What a relief to realize I don’t need an explanation. Stuff happens. I spent years — decades — thinking in circles, but now I am perfectly content displaying my lack of knowledge for all the world to see (and admire).
Just like when I was 12. I’ve been considering founding a church. I could enlist a lot of followers. My church would require no beliefs. It would need no contributions of time or money. It wouldn’t even require that you show up, unless you happened to feel like it. There would be no rules to follow, no standards to live up to. No angry deity to get pissed off if you behave badly. It would ideally suit the modern lifestyle, don’t you think?
Faith and Proof
Faith is not proof. Faith is opinion in fancy clothing.
You can believe what you want, but you can’t know any more than I do. You take the same leap of faith believing in God or declaring yourself an atheist. Both positions require you take as absolute something for which you have no proof and for which you can never have proof.
If believing in a loving God makes your world feel rational, that’s good. It could be true. If it turns out you’re right, you’ll have backed a winner. If believing there is no God, and science is the path to Truth, go with that. Regardless, you’re making a faith-based choice because there’s no proof God exists or doesn’t exist.
As for me, I don’t know. Really. I don’t know and what makes me smarter than you is I know I don’t know.
Accepting that one knows nothing is a big step, so the next issue to tackle is how can you can cash in on your new understanding. What’s the point in knowing the meaning of life unless you can awe people with your brilliance?
No one will be dazzled unless you know the right words. Terminology is important.
Big words (4 or more syllables) when used in an appropriate setting, can showcase your education and intelligence. People will make little cooing sounds indicating their admiration.
Employing big words enhances your likelihood of getting a management position.
You can write important books.Have a blog like me. Big words can take you a long way if you are skilled at deploying them.
Note: Make sure you know how to pronounce them. Mispronouncing big words will cause unexpected laughter … not good unless you are aiming for a stand-up comedy career.
Let’s start with epistemology. This is an excellent catch-all word you can drop into any conversation. Most people will have no idea what you are talking about but will be too embarrassed to admit it. On the off-chance you encounter someone who actually recognizes the word, you can use this handy-dandy definition from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the philosopher’s convenient source for everything:
Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits?
I bet you still have no idea what it means. The awesome truth is that epistemology doesn’t mean anything because it means everything. Anything that means everything means nothing. Equally, when something claims to do everything, it has no actual use. This applies to people, concepts, and appliances. In practical terms, everything and nothing are identical. (Remember infinite sets from college math? It’s like that.)
On to phenomenology. When I was studying religion in college, phenomenology was a way to prove the existence of God. Phenomenologically speaking, all human experience is proof of God. Except the same reasoning can prove there is no God. This is the joy of phenomenology.
Phenomenology can help you prove all things are one thing, all things are God. You are God. I am God. I am a warm cup of tea and you are a daffodil. If this doesn’t clarify it for you, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy offers further elucidation:
Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object.
In other words, you can use any and all human experience, your experience and anyone else’s, to prove whatever you want. Phenomenology is fundamental to all belief systems: religion, politics, and Fox News. Lots of people believe in religion, politics and Fox News, so maybe they will believe in you too.
Becoming a Fount of Wisdom
You can now explain anything. Everything. You can prove things based on something a couple of friends said years ago while under the influence of powerful hallucinogenic drugs. Although others may fault your logic, in the world of academics, everyone disbelieves everyone else unless they are citing them as a source, so you might as well stick your oar in the water.
There are people who will attack you using faith. Faith is based on itself making it hard to dispute. Not to worry. The only one who is ever fully convinced by faith is the one who holds it. Nor does it really matter how many people believe or disbelieve it.
Having more believers or followers doesn’t transform faith into fact.
If it did, we could achieve some really nifty things. Like, say we all believe in magic and therefore, it exists. Cool.
Thanks for reading. I hope I’ve clarified everything. If not, feel free to have your people call my people. We’ll talk.
Categories: Ethics and Philosophy, Humor, Magic, Religion, Supernatural, Words
Reblogged this on frijasroxanne.
Thank you for the reblog 🙂
Sure. No problem 🙂
Sure. No problem 🙂
I believe you may enjoy my post today on this topic. King Solomon on Meaning of Life
Regards and good will blogging
Reblogged this on Life of the Little Mermaid and commented:
Don’t forget to learn big words. Pomposity counts!! Thanks for the reblog. This is one of my all time favorite posts 🙂
I know what you mean, but my Faith in certain things is because of what I know/learned through my direct personal experiences. It’s Faith based upon experience – not Blind Faith.
And yet, strangely enough, (on more than one occasion) i have still been placed in situations where I had absolutely nothing to fall back on except my Belief or Faith – that everything would somehow work out.
But I’ve always observed Doubt as a positive thing – because it spurs me to get the Truth – that I can only gain through my direct personal experience. Often not an easy thing to do.
Maybe this is why they say that those who become the greatest believers (Faith) are those who Doubted the greatest.
I have long reveled in believing that I am really a dumbass. Thank you for giving me reason to justify that bit of self-depreciation! 🙂
I think we are ALL dumbasses 🙂
I believe you are right. The hard part is convincing everyone!
Jolly good! We’ve traveled the same roads, and come to pretty much the same conclusions. I’m a follower of Douglas Adams…. the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. ‘nough said.
But … what is the QUESTION!
Unitarian-Universalism comes about as close to the church you’d have founded had you founded a church. Don’t judge all by one congregation — they are “congregational,” meaning that there’s no hierarchy to tell them what to do.
I like the UUs.Our local congregation went out of business due to local hostility and lack of business. This isn’t really about churches. It’s about all that time I spent trying to figure out The Truth only to realize whatever truth exists, I already had as much of it as I every would. Did you ever take any of Wekerle’s courses? He was big on phenomenology.
Not being the word person… you have me speechless. Great read though.
This post has gone through a LOT of rewrites. It really IS a summary of my higher education and as such, it’s very funny to me. Hilarious, actually, though often I feel like I’m the only one who gets my jokes 🙂
Hilarious and wise! I love the vocabulary, Marilyn. Excellent post all round! xxx
Thanks!! This is the summary of everything I’ve learned and studied in a single post! It took me all these years to realize I don’t know anything 🙂
I enjoyed this post of yours 😀 looking forward for more 🙂
This is most of what I know summed up, which is to say — I don’t know anything. It merely took me a long time to recognize that it all adds up to nothing. But if you learn the vocabulary, you can still wow your friends and competitors 🙂
Faith vs Reason – the endless debate and one of my favorites.
It’s a great debate because no one can ever win, so it’s an eternal debate 🙂
Also the variety of tangents it can travel to is almost infinite – fascinating and fun.
“I don’t know and what makes me smarter than you is I know I don’t know.”
This line smacks to the face of an individual who has spent all his/her life proving he/she knows.
Perhaps, it’s because we think we own what we know.
We are proud consumers of information! -_-
I’m with you 100%. Couldn’t agree more. Let me in your church. I’ll bring beer.
I would like to point out that this pretty much sums up my entire formal education. They gave me a BA for this 🙂
Phenomenal post. It’s good to know that you can be both right and wrong about everything all at the same time.
And be a warm cup of tea AND a daffodil! You see? Your education wasn’t a complete waste of time and money!