science

The Human Condition

human condition

Always remember that sometimes it is your expectations that are the problem, they can hold you back.  This sounds counterintuitive, but think about it: it is old philosophical news that we act upon our emotional rather than rational motivations.  Our expectations are often our long and hard sought rational musings over possible situations, and when we finally act those musings often do not coincide with how we feel.

But should we, as rational beings , act upon our emotions?  Our intellect informs us that we are acting emotionally and tries to override how we feel with what we think. Do we act or do we think?  We are capable of both, but eventually we will act upon our emotions.

This is problematic for rational-capable beings such as humans.  We think knowing all along that we will act emotionally: we have no choice.  We know that we will act emotionally and that knowledge is not enough: this is the secret.

Our expectations will always be squandered, they will never be met because they are the product of our understanding.  My friend, Chris Ransick, and I have often debated (over scotch of course) terminology (he is a poet and I a philosopher/farmer).  I think that we are arguing this exact point: the intellect is our ticket to freewill, but we will consistently act emotionally knowing that we give up our freewill.

This is not a new discussion, it is centuries old in philosophy, and it will continue even given the knowledge that how we feel will determine the outcomes of what we think.  This, I believe, is the human condition: we must continue to think seriously about what we feel and why we feel that way.

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Rant #1

extinction

“Our global society has started to destroy species of other organisms at an accelerating rate, initiating a mass extinction episode unparalleled for 65 million years.”     -http://sciencemag.org

When will we remember that we are not the only species on this planet, nor are we the only one that matters?  The time for most creatures on this planet is nearing an end, because of us.

We are arrogant.  We are selfish, and we are violent.  We do not deserve, nor will we inherit this planet.  The weak will not inherit anything except pain and misery before they die.  They will welcome death long before it comes.  The strong will win nothing.  They will live to see their children die and the things they’ve cherished so much go to ruin and realize in the end that it was not worth the price they paid.

Human beings are capable of so much, including choice, but we tend to choose the easiest, the shiniest, the quickest, and the most at the cost of the best, the right, the quality, the moral, the many,  and the few.  We create amazing ideas and horrible monsters.  We are capable of love and torture, of empathy and psychopathy.  We are our own saviors and our own destroyers.  We are capable of intellect and kindness and act stupidly and mean.  We understand how to understand the universe we live in and dismiss the the only method that will give us Truth for superstitious mysteries that will lead to our demise.

We dishonest with ourselves, even when it comes to saving our selves.  This is on us, our parents, and our grandparents and it will be our children that will bear the brunt.  We know this and yet we soldier on.  We talk about problems rather than solve them because we do not face them and hence cannot find solutions; solutions that are often right in front of us.

Mother nature is the ultimate assassin; she takes no prisoners and we will not be an exception.  We can pretend and we can lie, but we cannot change that truth.  We can argue, we can choose not to confront, but like us truth will also soldier on…blindly.  Mother nature will win; there is no contest no matter how much we believe that there is.

There is only one thing left to do, and that is the right thing.  We know what it is, and we know how to do it.  It is only left to us to humble ourselves, to realize that we share this planet, and must work together and within the parameters that it holds us to.  We must earn the respect that we believe we are entitled.  We must make the most of our capacities and act like the intelligent human beings that we are capable of being in order to save the animals that we are.

The Real World

the world

What is the real world, but the result of our actions? How we act defines not only who we are, but the purpose that we define for ourselves. In order to live in the world as it is, we must act according to the reality of the world not what we would like the world to be. While this may sound complicated, it isn’t. What is complicated is why we nevertheless continue to act as if we define the world and not the other way around. Examples abound:

“House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says he’s “not qualified” to debate the science of climate change, but insists that President Obama should “absolutely consider” a ban on U.S. travel to West African countries experiencing Ebola outbreaks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he’s “not a scientist” when it comes to climate change, but also says it would be “a good idea to discontinue flights” from Ebola-affected countries. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal — who studied science in college — says he’ll “leave it to the scientists” to talk about climate change, but says it’s “common sense” to institute a flight ban.”

                -Kate Sheppard, Huffington Post

 

The fact that there are individuals and corporations that would like to insist on the “illusion” of climate change does not change the consequences of climate change. The fact that individuals react in fear does not change the nature of what is feared. Again, Ms. Sheppard:

 

“Meanwhile, actual doctors and medical professionals have made it clear that Ebola does not spread through the air, it is not “incredibly contagious” and there is little likelihood of a large-scale outbreak in the United States.”

-Kate Sheppard, Huffington Post

 

Irrationality is part and parcel of the world in which we live. However, we can change not only who we are, but the purpose that we define for ourselves. To say that we must live “in the real world” is not to say that the world is defined by those who live in it. Rather, it is to say that we must adhere to the real consequences of our actions and our beliefs.  Reason can happen.

Make no mistake: the real world in which we live is defined in a relatively exact, measurable and wholly reasonable way. However, the world by which I mean the one in which we make decisions and create beliefs is dependent upon us as individuals and as societies. We can only hope that there is some way that the quality of the relationship between the idea of the world and the real world itself can rise to the occasion. Otherwise, the often very unreasonable world in our minds will eventually determine the very real world in which we live.