Archive for May 26th, 2012
Ever since I was a teenager, it has been my quest to not rest until I figured out everything I could about why I existed and what it meant to live a moral life. This made loads of sense to me, since I couldn’t know how to live my life until I knew the rules of the game. But now I’m 56, and I need to admit that it doesn’t look likely that I’ll have everything figured out before I die. In fact it looks like I’ll be lucky to scratch the surface before I die. In writing this, I’m not demeaning the work of thousands of scientists. We’ve learned an incredible amount about human animals. It’s just that each answer to each question seems to raise another question or two.
Part of my strategy has been to take a close look at the things people deem to be sacred. These things have always been the head-scratchers for me (e.g. the claim that a virgin could have a baby or the claim that a country that is so politically dysfunction could be deemed “the world’s greatest democracy.” I’m not certain whether it is helpful in the long run to directly question others’ non-questionable beliefs, but that is my faith–I believe that more knowledge is better for all of us, and that exploring these enigmas will help us to understand the kinds of animals we are. Attempting to understand human animals is one of my own sacred endeavors. The saying of Socrates constantly resonates with me: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”