Thursday, September 22, 2011

September 21, 2011

Living humans are born into an already existing social and natural setting. A personality learns what it is to be human by other people. Because each person exists before they are defined, the learning process is interactive and the personage is in part responsible for whom they become. Choice and options are interrelated. Options are largely determined by the social environment and more often than not beyond our influence, but always leaves with a choice no matter how limited that we cannot escape from.

The history we create has results largely beyond our command. While it is true people more often than not fashion their own history, to a greater extent write their own history more often than not with out all the information. Then the history they create is beyond their command. This is like falling on the ice; while we created our history we never really saw it coming.

The choices before us are inescapable. The options that limit those choices are set before we choose. Determinism or necessities are the existing raw materials. From the world set before us options will appear. Not all option is known at any one time, but they are out there. Freewill or agency is part of life. To live is to act. To act is to choose and there is always more than one choice. Once a choice is made and action taken necessity is forever changed.

The debate is not a debate. But the discussion is a disagreement. This wasted a lot time for philosophy.

Illusions become real because we treat them as real. Either we react to what we believe to be real or we react to situations of our own creation leading to an authenticity belonging to us and of our own invention.

Life seems to elude many people. Our definitions come close in many ways to the lives we live. But for some their faith never really captures the meaning of their own lives beyond the hallucination and fabrication of a weaken acquaintance with veracity. For others their lives are defined within the social, cultural, and historical setting of the dominant culture of their time and place. Alternatives are just beyond the horizon. If reason falls short of telling us what life is about, feelings and intuition does even a worse job. Human subsistence in the beginning means nothing else but to stay alive. Being is to be. Existing is to exist. This leads nowhere. Life is an unremitting loop then death erases everything. We live but very short lives on earth. The earth has no consciousness, yet we are alive only because of the earth. Our understanding is only limited to what we experience or others tell us about. The way I choose to live my life becomes a decision I cannot escape from. To believe in a god of some sort or to reject the divine can help only a little and is ultimately irrelevant because even with a god we are still alone with our choices. To the believers what is most painful; even without believing in god or gods many have at least as full and rewarding a life as the life claimed by the women and men of god. To the people of faith this seems as most unfair. For many non-believers no one would know unless you asked her. Again this must be painful for anyone who lives with God.

Both the atheist and theist have the same life problems to overcome. It doesn’t matter weather we believe in God, the gods or not. The animal side of our nature must be dealt with. Then our social lives must be understood, and then our creative selves nurtured. To have a meaningful life is to have a sympathetic understanding of others, to live with a sense of social responsibility, to embrace life and to accept our place in the world. This is equally true for both atheists and theists. Spiritual commitment or religion is a choice.  Both can have an equally rich life.

All that exists is part of an ever-changing universe. To live is to be a part of this life within the eternally altering creation. To live is always at best temporary, but for some not only is this all we need. But, the temporary nature of life makes each split seconds the perpetuity of existence in and of itself. This is because a person is a thing among things within the material universe, making god a choice for some and not necessary for others.

Liberation theology works for social justice and is inclusive and not exclusive. This offers an opportunity we of the secular persuasion to work closely with Catholics as friends and comrades. For this reason I feel closer to Catholics.
We must come to know the difference between what is and what should be. What is exists before we define it. What should be can be anything we say. This then is the problem, with competing should be statements we have a source of conflict. What is, is a matter of empirical data and is a waist of time to argue about it. What should be reflects objective possibilities base on real data. What should be also reflects competing material interests, i.e. what Marxists call class conflict.

Should be offers no easy answers or solutions. This becomes the manifestations of class struggle, inter-ethnic conflicts, and imperialism vs. anti-colonial wars. Distribution of resources, divisions of wealth and power, concepts of social justice requires real objective data, but the conflict remains between conflicting interests.

Sources of data for our research would include scientific, historical and phenomenological studies. Phenomonology is a study of what we experience without assumptions, definitions, preconceptions, or hypotheses. The claim is we can get at pure descriptions of the immediate and direct experience of the external world.

Through the use of phenomenology the experience of existence is studied directly. With the truth we obtain is not a mental category, but something outside of our consciousness. The claim of phenomenology is to obtain an awareness of not only how we think, but more important to describe existence without a preconceived identity or a prior definition. The phenomenologist’s claim to truly comprehend how awareness operates or is achievable is to look at oneself as just another object. Subsequent to this investigation it is learned that the individual exists in a field of definitions after the fact. The self is the only constant in this study. The most significant difficulty with phenomenology is that is needlessly awkward and probably really adds nothing to the findings by means of the scientific method.  The issue is to expand our understanding of the objective world around us.

Can we describe humanness in the beginning without a pre-established concept of being human? The word human with its fixed personality characteristics always comes later. Cross culturally there is no fixed nature to the word human. All the philosophers lie when they start a sentence what separates humans from other animals, because they really do not care about this unique separation but only in establishing their argument. Human nature is historically and culturally specific. Yet each culture sees its definitions of humanness as universal.

We are who we are, and all the rest is a footnote. It is what we can become that is really important and the beginning of any serious study of social movements.

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