Thoughts galore

I was writing this back in March and never finished it.  Too much time has passed to restart it in the right way so I’ll leave it like this.

I’ve got too much going on in my mind and have to make some sense of it.  For one I’ve been exploring world views, that is explanations for why things are the way they are.  The desire to make sense of things is so very human, and maybe it’s nonsense to try, but here I am trying to piece it all together.  In fact the analogy of putting together a puzzle makes a lot of sense for what I’m wrestling with.  You get a box of pieces with various stimuli on them and try to start making connections, groupings, little sections of the puzzle that you feel do go together.  The world view is then the picture on the box, which gives you an idea of how to sort the pieces and maybe what to expect to help speed the process.  At some point in life I decided that either I had put together inconsistent sections of the puzzle or had the wrong box picture.  So now I’m looking at lots of pictures and comparing them with what I’ve got and seeing if maybe what I’m working on is this picture or that.  In this little visual it seems pretty fruitless there are a lot of pictures to look at and I could probably pass right over it since I have so little pieced together anyhow.  At the very least it’s a good skill to practice since anyone who seems to think they have an answer or the answers has a picture and you’ve got to be able to compare their explanation of the world with what connections you’ve made.  Or maybe the right way to do it is just get up from the table and go play Yahtzee or paint your own picture.

Right or wrong I keep looking. This week I looked at at least three distinct concepts of the world.  The first was Alan Watts’ explanation of the Hindu world view, and while I was able to see the world that way it was a lot of fun.  Here it is: Imagine you had the power to control your dreams, make them as real as you want, populate the dream with anything, etc.  What would you do?  At first you would probably dream up anything you’ve ever wanted, make some dream which feels like 25 years of life as king or with super powers or whatever.  After a while of having dreamt up great joyful things you might get a bit bored.  So you try to have an adventure dream, and go slay a dragon or what have you, but you know it’s a dream and you’ll wake up safe.  So after a while this gets boring too.  So maybe you try to dream that you forget you’re dreaming so you really feel the excitement and forget that you’ll ever wake up and when you push this far enough you’ve got a reality like this one.  Bam, that’s what the world is.  We’re all the dream of a diety trying to convince itself that it’s not dreaming, and our experiences and drama and so on are fantastic performances.  All the world’s a stage… So while hearing that (and riding on a French train) I look at people’s cranky faces and think… bravo, you’re really feeling it, that’s great work.  It was sort of fun to look around at things as part of an ongoing play, because then you want to take things seriously but in the back of your mind you know it’s not real.  Another part of this is that everyone and everything would be made up of the same divine source.  This is very different than the western tradition in which God made the universe which is now an object, and we try to break down the object and understand what makes it work, to create a blue print.  Here we could (and I do sometimes) see ourselves as automatons in a universe which coldly obeys it’s internal machinery.  This becomes a techno-world and God the ultimate technician who understands everything.  Alan pointed out that this viewpoint is still hidden in non-religious/secular western perspectives, as we break things down always trying to understand how the universe put itself together (as opposed to how God put it together).

Playing with that viewpoint was nice because I could see a lot of anxiety of mine as a result of the basic disconnectedness inherent in the western perspective.  We are isolated from everyone and everything else and in that isolation trying to make sense of things on our own, maybe with no real hope of success.  The dramatic world view lightens the load a bit, in that case playfulness pervades the universe and understanding would take a back seat to the thrill ride (attempting to understand is sometimes very exciting too).  With as many movies and books and TV shows that we’ve all seen I think that my generation is exceptionally talented at understanding what makes a good narrative, how to make the heroes feel real and their predicaments believable without having it be too easy for the good guys or the bad guys being too absurd or powerful.  In this case maybe the feeling that there the odds are against you but you have a chance at winning is how so many people feel just because it’s good drama.  It’s not a very predictive model of the world, more of a coping mechanism for when the world seems too much.

The next world-view I toyed with was the Libertarian way of seeing things.  Specifically I read Murray Rothbard’s “Left and Right: The prospects for liberty”.  (End of draft)

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