June 2, 2013•742 words
I was watching the setting sun with a friend when she pointed out how perfectly round it is, just floating out there, and how we have no clue why it's there or what it or any of this really is.
She had a point. It feels like we know so much because we've identified and defined things like gravity and atoms and so on and so on but really, on a fundamental level, we just don't know about any of this. We believe we know how life is formed - a meeting of various forms of matter that create certain conditions to form a different kind of matter. But on a fundamental level we don't really know how. We just know some of what's present in the process and what those things seem to be doing.
As individuals, almost all of our knowledge of history and the world is formed through hearsay. The books were here when we become conscious and we take other peoples' word that they were written by people born before us, giving us an impression of an existence before our coming. But since we personally didn't experience this time, we just can't know. Everything we know of was just here when we came into being, like the sun. It's all just here like we are right now and most of the time we don't even process the absurdity of that.
What is all this? What is existence? Is it the presence of physical matter? Matter existing and colliding, occasionally combining and breaking apart again? As far as physical existence goes we're floating in a seemingly infinite and inexplicable void where matter happens to scatter and collect. Some of those accumulations of matter, like us, are more mobile and have the ability to interact with other forms of accumulated matter using the respective sensory input channels that happened to form in the process. And all of this is occuring on an accumulation of matter forming an insanely complex ball among a seemingly infinite number of others.
Our senses present a huge problem when it comes to our awareness of reality. We're bound by the limitations of our ability to see, hear, feel, smell and taste. As technology has advanced we've found the existence of so much beyond our initial (extremely limited) scope; the existence of far away galaxies, microscopic atoms and organisms, sound waves, scent particles. In showing us so much more than our bodies were capable of detecting, technology has exposed how little we're truly able to know. Until you see it on a screen it's practically impossible to fathom how much must still be going on that simply passes through us.
Given the seemingly infinite complexity presented to us, it seems unlikely we'll ever uncover a significant truth within our given lifespans, at least at the current time. It just seems to me that the best we can do for ourselves is to learn how to enjoy the ride as much as possible while we're on it. It's in our nature to try to find out as much as possible along the way but because of the sheer impracticality, I don't think it should take precedence over leading an enjoyable life. Rather than despairing in the presence of such an overwhelming unknown we should be learning how we as individuals can maximize the pleasure we experience while minimizing the pain. I don't mean pleasure seeking in a hedonistic, overindulgent sense but rather identifying and pursuing consistent, lasting sources of fulfilment.
For the time being we have no way of knowing what actually happens to a person after the body dies. Current evidence indicates that without a functioning body we'd be unable to experience anything, and that the matter that gathered together to form our bodies and create/house our consciousness gets recycled into other forms of matter. But considering how limited our current abilities of perception are that could be wrong.
Anything is possible. If existence has occurred then so can pretty much anything else. There are consistencies that we've identified but there is no answer. Speculation is fine and can even be enjoyable but as far as I'm concerned for the time being, since anything is possible there is no sense in believing that any specific scenario will occur. If we could stopped obsessing over the possibilities and taking assumptions and theories as fact then maybe we'd be able to collectively have a more enjoyable time here.