Graham

006 The Meaning of Life and Other Tall Tales

In Meaning of Life on November 4, 2009 at 12:06 am

METHODS OF INQUIRY REVISITED

Most of us, at one time or another, expend a fair amount of energy in wishful thinking regarding something we want, or something we want to do. It turns out that the more energy we put into the thing we want (i.e., the more we invest of ourselves, and our egos) the more we tend to believe that we are entitled to it. There is something about pursuing a goal that the longer you pursue it, the more you think you should achieve it.

So where am I going with this? Let me suggest the following: religion is not trivial; most people have expended a lot of time thinking about what they believe. Many are still asking the questions, i.e., have made a huge and continuing investment in the decision. And most have arrived at an answer based on emotion, often fear, and irrespective of the facts.

On the other hand, we often agonize over these decisions for no justifiable reason. Nothing is permanent (fact), and all paths lead to the same place (opinion), which in English goes by the name of Death. Through Death, we either find the missing piece of the puzzle (i.e., through some form of life after death), or we find that life has no meaning (at the instant of death). No amount of wishful thinking will change this.

As much as we possibly can, we will construct fact-based arguments, which (ideally) are proven to be true. Remember what we said earlier:

  1. A fact is a data point that can be proven true or false.
  2. An opinion is a data point that cannot be proven true or false.

There are many types of opinion. I have already mentioned that an opinion in the scientific world is often called a theory. Wishful thinking is an opinion-driven argument. Speculation is the expression of an opinion. We can have an informed opinion, or a misinformed opinion. Regardless of what we call it, it’s still an opinion, unless proven otherwise. Therefore (in my opinion) The Meaning of Life, when taken in its totality, weighs in as an opinion unless we prove otherwise.

Intuition (and a certain amount of stubbornness) tells me that we might be able to prove pieces of the great cosmic puzzle. You might see this as an inconsistency, for only a few posts back I pointed out that we were missing part of the definition: The Meaning of Death. Taken in its totality we had to consider both sides of the coin.

But if we can find a smaller “piece,” taken in its totality, we have a better chance of proving that smaller piece. And if we find enough smaller pieces that are facts on their own, we might be able to discover some new truths, through combining some older ideas.

Copyrite © 2009-2010 by Tad Laury Graham

“The Meaning of Life and Other Tall Tales”

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  1. Outstanding article.

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