Philosophy in Seconds: Where did we come from? Where do we go? The answer is in you.
The real hard questions to answer surface at different times throughout our lives, and are often picked at with tweezers like a splinter, until they are driven too deep back down into the quick to retrieve them, just to resurface again at a later time when we've grown more intellectually. Yet, even then, as conscious beings, we still struggle to come up with logical guesses to the riddle that we are of so large a part. Particularly because, in part, we are asking questions about something that we have no outside experience of.
With age, and the cooling of our hormonal furnaces, wisdom eventually gives way to an acceptance of complete ignorance. As derived from Socrates, "The only thing I know is that I know nothing." For how can we prove anything at all if no basis for proof ever exists? There are, of course, those like the Great Thomas Hobbes who grasp tight to the mechanistic view of a Universe, in which nothing immaterial exists, and that even our own consciousness can be broken down into little pieces and somehow explained. Who would do the breaking down of one's own consciousness with any real validity, if it ever were to be done? How would one know that the consciousness that were broken down were the same as the one who did the breaking down of it? Indeed, even if discovery said that our consciousness were but a million little pieces of micro-conscious, would any revelation really be given to its origin?
Perhaps a more simple creature such as an ant, or a tree for that matter, could similarly ask itself to know experiencially the origin of its own consciousness, it would have no more luck than the more complex human on-looker. The make-up of a thing has no weight when held to the light of Descartes's decree, "I am thinking, so I must exist" better known as, "I think, therefore I am." The search for the exact moment that consciousness takes hold is seemingly just as impossible to demystify as the origin of the stars. The only acceptable conclusion to these inquiries will be believed on an individual basis and only on the merit of how close the answer comes to the subject's initial hypothesis.
In a more modern summation of this debacle, and in danger of being too abstract for some, while avoiding the trap of political philosophy, it is akin to the hard-working employee who cannot know if the job he does for his boss is satisfactory or otherwise. Until an employee's superior affirms the right or wrong action of the individual it is really all potential. This, being the only fitting argument for the worker who assumes his efforts are prestigious until scolded by his employer and corrected otherwise. "Yes sir," the man will respond, "I assure you I have the potential to be the employee you wish." He then can only redirect his energies in another way more alike to his overseer's image of 'prestige'.
Einstein's first law of thermodynamics makes clear, energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only changed from one form to another. Whether the beginning of evolution or a revolution, for that matter, it all started from energy's purest form. The one thing that is nothing but can become- Potential. An energy so observable outside of our own consciousness, as we plunge a seed into the deep dark of fertile soil, or fertilize an egg with a single sperm. It all happens within something. Just as the pure potential of our answers and the development of our own liberated consciousness is found deep within ourselves.
As for myself, I tend to lean toward this idea of self-potential transformation as an adaptive spin on the Hindu idea of expending Karma (actions resulting in repetition) through Dharma (conscious correct action) in a positive hope for Moksha (the escape from re-evolution or re-birth).
But the only thing I can say I know for sure to the question, "What happens when we die," is reminiscent of the elegant response of the great Keanu Reeves.
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Jay M Horne
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