So Many Questions
Bold fellow that he was, Immanuel Kant summed up all of philosophy in just three questions:
- What can I know?
- What should I do?
- What may I hope?
We'll come back to these. But while we're entertaining reductions, let's bend an ear to Albert Camus too. "There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide." Perhaps its solution lies in blissful, defiant absurdity. "One must imagine Sisyphus happy" If you haven't yet, I implore you to ingest "The Myth of Sisyphus". This little gem altered my path suddenly and profoundly, like a tornado that wipes out the farm and leaves a farmer family (farmily?) intact and oddly liberated. Some works of art resonate with such an intricate chaotic harmony, like a fateful nugget of pietersite, that they can blow the doors off my chakras before I even feel a breeze.
What was the first question you asked? Mine was "Why?" I never got an answer; I guess I'm still asking. Did you get an answer?
I remember being small, laying awake at night, wondering "Who am I? How did I get here? Why am I here? Does anyone know?" Is this why many parents involve their children in organized religions? When faced with questions one cannot answer, one can either shrug, admit ignorance, and lose the audience, or spin a yarn. A proper yarn, like the thread of Atropos, need never end if new fibers twine in as the old ones run out. The yarn can then be strung through a labyrinth of mandates, prohibitions, and taboos leading any Hansel or Gretel on a lifelong goose chase through a forest of well-disguised non-answers to the simple questions that plague (I presume) every child as we become self-conscious then hopefully conscious.
Rupert Spira advises us to ask, in times of quietude, "Am I aware?" This is perhaps the key to Prometheus' box.
- Who wants to know?
- Is this a game?
- How do we win?
- Can we win?
- What is there to fear?
- Who wants pizza?
- Is there anybody out there?
- Does the Earth know we're here?
- Does It have feelings?
- Do electrons make choices?
- Is time real?
- Did I really retire?
- Is that cat alive?
- Why is the universe expanding faster?
- Do the laws of nature change?
- How did π, ℯ, ɸ, G, and the rest of the magic numbers arise?
- Is everything made of maths? Quantum fields? Possibility? Information? Mind?
- What tastes worse with bacon?
- What do whales about?
- How do birds navigate the globe?
- Can an AI learn what dogs and cats are saying?
- Will I find true love?
- Am I gonna be lonely for the rest of my life?
- Do I have cancer?
- Can we cure death?
- Is this normal? Am I okay?
- Whose line is it, anyway?
I often wonder, could one write an engaging book completely of questions? This one I feel like I could answer, but right now I just Kant…
|What can I know?||Epistemology|
|What should I do?||Ethics|
|What may I hope?||Ontology?|
What can I know?
Nothing. Everything changes. And that needn't stop us trying. Therein lies the game.
What should I do?
Good. Dance what feels good. We are singular points of awareness equipped with attention to pay and intention to set. Our feelings are our compass. The way is clear and easy, as water finds the valley.
What may I hope?
Anything you like. We began as nothing and everything, then came to know ourself, becoming something. Loving ourself, we played, becoming something else. Yang sprang from yin. And from these two came three. And from these three came the myriads of qualities and experiences that now make up reality.
As we hope, or dream, or wonder, we reach back into our Source, nothing and everything, all possibilities, and invite something new into being. We are the creators and the destroyers, the path and the pebbles.
But then again, what can I know?