My Philosophy: An Essay About My State of Mind

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Well it is a brief summary of my philosophy that I would like to share with everyone.

Submitted: August 23, 2015

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Submitted: August 23, 2015

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My Philosophy: An Essay About My State of Mind

Dakota Hudson

 

In analysis of my personal views, I think that it is time that I codify (that is write them down) those views I hold dearly. As with all things, they are subject to change and I will amend them accordingly. This is the way science is done. In light of newly established hypotheses and demonstrable/falsifiable theories. Thus, my views as stated above are subject to change when new evidence arrives to amend or refines those views. To start things I will examine my philosophy and provide reasons as to why I hold to these views. The core of my philosophy is the maxim “to question everything.”

 

One of my fears, which can be derived from the ancestral fears that plague humanity is uncertainty. In everything, there is a certain amount of uncertainty. Even the basics that make what we perceive as reality has a fundamental uncertainty (in Quantum Mechanics as Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle). The search for information that can be regarded as truth is riddle with much uncertainty. Therefor in an effort to minimize this level of uncertainty (and in relation to minimize the accompanying fear) through the learning of new information and using that knowledge in daily practice.

 

The use of this information lends itself to the process of critical thinking which leads to more questioning to ensure that said information and thinking are reasonably accurate. However with answers, even those that are conclusive, still have a remaining amount of uncertainty which leads to another line of questioning. Thus, the game is once again afoot. So, what can come from this seemingly circular process of question and answer with the uncertainty thrown in? Well, from my experience each set of questioning determines how bold one is in the pursuit of answers even if they never acquire these answers.

 

This boldness shows how you deal with uncertainty, and thus how you face this innate fear. So, question everything and never take anything on faith. Which leads into the next topic for my essay.

 

The subject of faith is a muddy, undefined, and most certainly a form of imagined fantasy. It has been equated to trust, fidelity, and confidence. It serves as a foundation of religious belief. Yet, no matter how self-convincing it can be, faith in my experience is an element of self-delusion. Faith is unquestioned in all religions and prevents the needed testing to confirm if said beliefs are reasonable to hold. Usually, faith and religious belief are held to be unchanging and to me this a clear sign that there is a flaw in this whole system.

 

Nearly everything in the nature of reality is subject to change whether it be fast or slow,  small or large. Change is necessary, even for someone such as myself, who struggles with my genetic inheritance (which is Asperger’s Syndrome). Without it, life would not evolve or perhaps not even exist. So why is it that faith should remain unchanged? Why is it considered to be a sin when someone questions faith? I think it is safe to assume for most general purposes that faith is questioned, then it is subject to change. If it is subject to change, then it cannot hold authority to dictate a person’s or persons’ lives.

 

Therefor, in order to defend the suffocating security and control, a self-imposed delusion  is in order. This in turn shackles the mind, and furthermore makes one become a slave even if the faith is sincere. Thus, with this statement, I imply that to deny questioning is to deny yourself to have freedom and rights. Faith in this context is the rose-colored glasses of what wiser people than I warn against. That is why I never take anything on faith because of my core view to question everything. I demand evidence for the answers I receive. That way I can demonstrate my views and to ensure that this evidence is solid enough to withstand scrutiny. I must question it and test it. I cannot pretend that faith is what I need, nor sincerely have views or beliefs based on it.

 

Faith cannot lift mountains. It just makes you believe you don’t have to do anything to lift that mountain. Plus, it allows ignore the issue all together. Faith not only makes you ignore reality, but also uncertainty and change. Both of these things are found in everything. It allows you to hide it away and allow to pretend that none of that exists.

 

So, we can conclude that faith is dishonest to one’s self and this can spread to others like a disease. It is faith that makes superstition reality by being dishonest to yourself by tricking yourself into an illusion. This is harmful, and spreading faith makes it more so. How can faith be morale? Coming in at my next topic is my view of the question of morality, its origins, and its applications.

 

This is my view is there is one unifying objective theorem: does your action harm others and/or yourself? We can determine what is harmful, but do not be fooled by the this simple premise for there is a lot of grey. Especially when the elements of uncertainty and change become involved. Before I get into that, I will give a brief overview of what I think the origin of morality is based on, thanks to the scientific research going into the matter. Granted, it will simplified here and I won’t be able to give my sources (for now), but I am outlining the basic idea.

 

It is thought that communities of species come together to improve the odds of survival through mutual protection and mutual resource gathering. This would allow for greater reproductive success. This cooperative trait(s) would be passed down to the next generation and hopefully be reinforced by natural selection and other selective forces. Those who don’t work toward the common goal of what the group needs, they risk being ostracized and being cut off from the much needed resources and protection. These uncooperative members would set themselves up to poorer rates of reproduction and possibly extinction provided if they do not adapt quickly enough to compensate for this.

 

This mutual sense of working together, as stated above, was naturally selective over time with each generation becoming social and more group dependant. This would evolve into what we would called morality. This is where my thoughts on the subject begin.

 

As time moves onward, morality seems to change with the times and there are numerous examples I could provide as evidence, but I will focus on one example and I encourage the readers of this essay to look into other cases in order to test my notions. The case I mention is feature in one of my old anthropology book:
 

Suppose that an Australian Aborigine kills his infant child considering his tribe lives in a harsh land that can only support few people, has he committed murder or performed a socially useful service?

 

[This quote was took from the book Anthropology: The Study of People by John Friedl and John E. Pfeiffer (1977) on page 331]

 

Of course, many of us would consider this murder in the most cruel degree. But let’s suppose that the child was allowed to live, but due to the harsh environment and conditions the child unfortunately died of starvation because of the lack of resources. It would seem the “lesser evil” is to give the child a painless death over a harsher and painful death. Before I continue, I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not agree nor support this notion of moral relativism. However, in the mindset of a scientist I must examine the evidence no matter where it leads.

 

To the Aborigine, he is not doing anything wrong. This is the way his culture defines the situation. So is it immoral what he did? This demonstrates what I mean by morality seemingly changes with the situation based on external influences such as culture, the times, etc. By this point, it would seem that this could count as evidence for a subjective view on morality through relation to the influences that are a part of a person’s make up. However, I will point out that this could make any “evil” moral. To me, the notion of morality is undergoing selective pressures to be improved upon toward what looks like a simple goal: do no harm to a fellow human being that compromises hers/his health, well being, and state of or pursuit of happiness. I think that this could be extended to include all life, but the harsh reality is we haven’t got there yet.

 

Thus, like all of nature, we adapt to change. Through change, our social adaptations improve through whatever is selected as the most adaptable to change. So in some contexts ‘do no harm’ is probably the most adaptable. So, I question what is moral in order to encourage it to evolve amongst our species. This leads into another pillar of my views.

 

I am a strict evolutionist. This doesn’t just extend to biological evolution, but I think the total collection of human conscious evolves with time. Notice how trends change? Each of these changes are built upon the previous generations. When thinking about this, I cannot go without a lyric from the song What A Wonderful World:

 

I hear babies cryin, I watch them grow

They’ll learn much than I’ll ever know…

 

With each new generation, we make an investment into the accessibility of knowledge in the future. They build on the foundation we leave them. If we can ensure that they can properly question and use the natural curiosity to examine and explore the cosmos, then nothing can be or shall remain unaccomplished. So, in pursuit of knowledge we must ensure to leave a sturdy foundation that is willing to be put to the test and subject to be amended.

 

With each new discovery, there is potential to overturn the status quo. This is why we should question the past held notions and see if they continue to hold up. If they survive the peer review, then it can reasonably affirmed that they are still relevant and beneficial to our species. If not, then it will be refined or discarded. More often than not, unsuccessful facets of this foundation are removed.

 

On the surface, you will most likely draw a parallel to the scientific method. You would be absolutely correct. To me, the scientific method is the most efficient, and possibly the best, way to acquire knowledge and to pursue questions honestly. Mistakes do happen, but ultimately the scientific method will discover and amend these mistakes. Each mistake tests the status quo and give a new opportunity to learn. Time and time again, this method works and is the basic frame for free thought. Plus, this method is the only way to ensure the freedom of questioning. By this point in the essay it is no secret that I am a scientist at heart. So now I will give the readers look into how I view science.

 

I love science, and I dare say I have an almost zealous adherence to its rules. I apply what I’ve learned in all that I do and I thirst to learn more. I’m addicted to learning. New discoveries excite me and I am eager to add my contribution to the ever-growing body of knowledge and to the method that is science. In summary, science is the closest I’ll ever get to a “spiritual” experience thanks to the awe and wonder I get from learning from it.

 

However, as I said earlier I can demonstrate what I have learned. Unlike religious and/or spiritual beliefs based on faith, what I’ve learned must be questioned, testable, and falsifiable before I can consider it to be true. I do not wish to fool myself with faith’s self-delusion. I oppose it because it causes harm to one’s self and other.

 

Lastly in this essay I will share how I have evolved in my views. I have to thank my mom for instilling in me this boldness to question everything. At an early age, I was encouraged to find out why things were the way they were by asking questions and by looking up information to seek out the answers to my questions. At the time, we held a generalized view of god with some Christian under-trimmings. As a child, I never seriously consider this belief an obstacle because we were raised with the idea that anything science discovered reveal how this god did it. This began to change when I was nine years old.

 

During the summer break we would go to a Vacation Bible School at one of the local churches as an opportunity to see friends from school during the summer. Of course, while we were here, we had to learn watered down lessons about the Bible and Christianity. It was rather boring. However, this time we were learning about the myths in Genesis. I was already well informed for my age about the history of our planet and how it was billions of years old. I also knew about evolution and why it was fact. Hell, I even had the basics of abiogenesis down. So, I treated the Genesis myths as metaphors and symbolic. I never once thought it to be literally true, though during this time I am certain it was being taught in such a fashion.

 

As went we through the story, skipping over the more obscene verses, a question had took root in my mind. It was a simple question. Now, I wasn’t trying to be a smartass or trying to disrupt the class (if you would call it that). As an act of pure and noble curiosity I asked the instructor (or rather the indoctrinator): “Why did god create the universe?”

 

I thought that if the Bible supposively had all of the answers (which I found that it was lacking in dinosaurs and other cool things) and was the actual word of god, then surely he would of been willing to share with us why he created the whole damn thing to begin with.

 

Alas, I didn’t receive an answer. Instead I was punished. The indoctrinator said “That’s not a question you can ask!” This was the first time I had ever encounter this notion of not being allowed to ask questions. The concept was alien to me. Was there questions I could not ask? This deeply puzzled me as I sat in time out away from the “class”.”Why am I in trouble for being curious?” I asked myself that question silently.

 

Afterwards, I recounted the event to my mom. She taught me that religion doesn’t like curiosity because it challenges their faith and in turn their limited perception. Che concluded that there are numerous views, and that everyone should seek out what their own views are. Once they had them, they should question them to see if they fit what is true.

 

I took this to heart and began a long journey to study the various worldviews/religions in order to understand them and how they fit into reality. In the meantime, I continued my studies in science. I noted that it became clear that none of these religions provided any sort of evidence for their claims. At first it would seem that since religions were early attempts to describe nature. Nature I thought, could have been the driver of religion. In short, I thought at the time that nature itself was the deity, deities, or high power(s) and the sum of them all.

 

However, this too was overturned when I found that nature has no mind in of itself. Nor was there a means for it to dictate anything meaningful to reality. Plus, there is nothing to separate nature from reality. So, I thought that this was question that would remain outside the realm of science (the question being is there a god or gods, etc.). I turned to agnosticism around the time I turned sixteen. I remained so for the longest time.

 

Thanks to my questioning, I wasn’t completely convinced in the existence of a higher power of any sort. Nor did I have any good reason to believe in one either. When I entered college, I made friends with several atheists They pointed out to me the physical harm caused by religion and the question of morality in said systems. Granted, I acknowledged the harm done by various religions in the past and present. However, I naively thought that religions changed with time in order to become better. Well, I soon found out I was wrong and learned much about how harmful faith is. This would lead to the foundations of my current views.

 

After college, I was an inch away from becoming a full atheist. I became fully convinced when I got to observe firsthand how faith brainwashes people and how it manipulates them. It can drive even seemingly rational, or at least mostly rational, people into unwarranted stress to the point of denying themselves happiness. Now what I’m about to recount as I had already alluded to acted as a catalyst to pull together my transition into atheism. It was not the cause, because it has been established that my questioning is what ultimately led me to this point.

 

This event that lead me to fully realize that I was an atheist was caused by an ex-girlfriend. Her family had and college (she went to Reinhardt University which is sponsored by the United Methodist Church) continued to indoctrinate her with faith that was akin to reinforced tank armor. Very harmful to her well being as she was in a perpetual state of stress. With this in perspective, when the end of our relationship came she took what I would consider a cowardly exit.

 

She wanted to end the relationship on the basis that she had to put god first and denounced what we had as nothing more than “to talk about our problems and sex.” I assure the readers that my expected duties as a boyfriend at the time exceeded the standards and there was far more to it than those two items. We dreamt together, lived together, and helped one another through emotion and physical support. At this point I must stress above all that this event acted as a catalyst and nothing more. I had already had the questions and objections deeply rooted in my mind. I kept these notions to myself for the most part, but I did voice my views to her on a couple occasions in a most respectful manner.

 

I admit that when she broke it off, I was angry. Not at religion, mind you, but at the excuse she used. As I sat and thought about this, I calmed myself. Then I realized how much religion and faith had infected her mind thanks to her family dynamic. Originally, I thought her family to be on the liberal side of their religious views. After my mind was cleared of the illusions, depression, and anger, I finally questioned this observation. Overall, it was a terrible situation with such enforced religion. I won’t go into details because I wish to be respectful and allow them to remain anonymous. However, my new observations made it clear to me that their views were harmful to themselves and to others. I was harmed by it.

 

After the grief passed and wounds healed, I reconsidered my views. It was clear that I was an atheist since I didn’t hold to such extreme notions such as faith. Plus, I had no inclination to control and harm people. So I gave in, and declared myself to be an atheist. I am less gullible now, though I was always a skeptic. Before I finish this essay I briefly explain my political view: I am a liberal, secular, humanistic, and democratic socialist bastard. That’s all I’ve got to say on the subject.

 

The price of questioning everything is that you’ll never be bored and you will live a much more fulfilling life than most. Because when you question everything, you’re in the pursuit of knowledge.


 

Additional Notes on Random Topics [Note: These will be updated accordingly.] 

 

“Playing god”

One day, I think we will create artificial life in a lab thanks to our understanding of life’s origins here on Earth. Some would say this would be playing god. I’d argue that it’s not playing not god. We would have to use science to achieve this. We would be playing god if we took a lump of clay shaped it into a person, gave it CPR, and it sprung to life magically.


 

“The Christian god”

There is this strange idea that there is an invisible man that performs impossible feats of magic who planned out all of reality with flawless execution, yet it appears to be riddle with errors. The same man also watches you and everyone with intensity of the worst kind of stalker. This same man wants your attention all the fucking time. If you don’t give him that attention, then he will send you to a terrible place to be tortured forever. Yet, this man loves you because he created you and is perfect in every way. Does anyone realize how fucked up this is? What is even more fucked up is the fact that countless people believe this shit! For no good reasons! But that’s not even the most fucked up part about this. No, the most fucked up thing about this is the fact that most people never stop and think “This shit is fucked up!” “Why the hell do I believe this shit?!”

 

“Afterlife”

A lot of people like the idea of an awesome place awaits them when they die. This idea is commonly heaven. A place that is absolutely perfect for everyone. So perfect you have to fool yourself into believing it exists. A reward to treat yourself to for believing that it exists. Yet, if you think about it, really think about it, is a perfect place a great reward? If everything is going to be perfect all the time, it would get boring real fucking quick. Then heaven becomes a hell when you realize you can never leave. Not even for a short break. On top of that, you have to kiss some narcissist’s ass for rewarding you this hellish place. Not to mention that if you don’t kiss this guy’s ass, you go to another place that’s just as bad. Overall, I reject heaven and hell both because in the end they are the same concept. A concept so low that it preys upon our selfishness and fear. AT THE SAME FUCKING TIME!

 

“Prayer”

Prayer: the act or idea that doing nothing will accomplish something if you pretend hard enough.

 

“Creationist Stupidity”

If you think that a T. rex’s arms were small to keep the animal from masturbating, then you need a quick lesson in dinosaur anatomy. Dinosaurs (birds included) have a single orifice where their excrement comes out and where their reproductive organs reside. This is called a cloaca. Do you realize that a T. rex would have to shove its hand up its ass to masturbate. Now do you see how fucking stupid creationism is?

 

That ‘Secret’ Meaning of Life”

Why does god give meaning to people’s lives? If you ask me it’s an admission that they aren’t adult enough to take responsibility for their actions and won’t choose their own goddamn meaning.

 

“The Once and Future Earth”

The Earth is like a grand stage play, and the rock layers are the pages of the script. It’s a drama that surpasses any story wrote down. Yet, despite this grand story there are people who ignore it. Instead they promote a ill written fable with magic fruit and talking snakes. These same people are fucking over our Earth. This is the only home we have for now. So, imagine the parts of the script we will leave behind. Let’s hope that future species learn from our mistake and treasure the Earth and its story.

 

“More On Fucking Faith”

Arguments from faith are like pieces of cheap toilet paper. The more you force it, the more likely you’ll get shit on your fingers.

 

“Ridiculous Things”

Why would anyone think that extraterrestrials come here after traveling many, many light-years of distance just to rape some goddamn redneck anally? It’s kinda like saying a god became human to sacrifice himself to himself in order to fix the shit he caused due to bad planning. It just doesn’t make any fucking sense to me.

 

“Science and Intellect Are Your gods!”

When did science and intellect become my gods? Last time I checked I don’t believe in gods. This is news to me. It almost sounds like you’re projecting your position on to me because you ran out of shitty arguments.




 

“On Being A Doctor (and not the one who gives out jelly babies)”

You know, I would really hate being a doctor or surgeon. Because I would put in 8 to 10 years of my life of hard work in medical school in order to learn how to care for people, and most of those people would never thank me. Instead they would thank someone with a questionable existence. You’d think they would thank or at least acknowledge me for performing the surgery. Nope, it’s either the guy who’s playing the everlasting game of hide ‘n seek, or it that’s guy’s son who got nailed to a cross 2,000 years ago. I highly doubt they deserve this thanksgiving. I’m the one who did the work to help this person, and I would be damned that these mother fuckers were “working through me”. I didn’t see them help me with my medical exams. This shit would drive me to commit malpractice. So, I’m not a doctor or surgeon.

 

“Gaps Of The god”

god loves his gaps. They are the only places where he can pretend to fill a spot in our lack of understanding. If he keeps this up, he’s going to get evicted soon.

 

“Everyone’s Got One”

 

Everyone has personal experiences, like everyone has an asshole. Don’t let those experiences turn you into one.

 

“Speaking Gibberish In Tongues”

Another one of religion’s ideas: once you achieve an emotional high so profound that you can’t help but to blurt out any nonsense is considered a secret language of the lackeys of the head honcho(es) of the religion of your choice. Never mind that it doesn’t follow any patterns of normal speech. My question is why is it that two people (in the same worship service) doing this at the same time can’t understand one another while speaking this blurted out nonsense?  

 

“A Quick Lesson In Humanism”

Look at all of the achievements we accomplished. The times that groups of us came together to do something good. For better or for worse, we set the standard of our own standards. We should really try to use that to everyone’s benefit.

 

“The Only Good god”

In my humble opinion there is only one god that was actually good to humanity. Like all the others, he’s fictional too. That is Q from Star Trek. That’s because he tests the crew of the Enterprise on humanist principles. Not faith. He never forced faith on on the crew and he didn’t expected faith from us. Q didn’t need it to begin with considering he willing showed himself to the crew and demonstrated his abilities. Being a bit of a show off, Qis an annoying asshole. A reflection of ourselves when put ourselves on a pedestal. However, he helped the Enterprise crew out by alerting them to the Borg in advance.While Q did this to see how arrogant the crew was, he was surprised to find that Piccard asked him for help to save the crew. Hard to think that a god could be surprised by mere mortals. With each episode he was featured in, Q tested the crew’s humanism. In conclusion, he wants humanity to better itself in order to share its compassion and curiosity in the journey of exploring the universe. He didn’t blackmail the crew into believing in him through faith. So, Q is the only only good god because he tests us on we should be tested on. Our collective humanism requires constant improvement in order to better ourselves. If there is a god who doesn’t test us on that aspect, then that god is not worthy of our respect. Q earned respect from the Enterprise.

 

[I do not own Star Trek or any related materials, which belong to CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures.]

 

“Marriage”

Marriage is a legal thing that says who gets my stuff when I die, what kind of discount do we get from taxes, who gets my right of attorney when I unable to speak for myself, and has nothing to do with religion. It’s a fucking legal thing. Only the wedding (AKA the ceremony) has any religion trimmings. Even then, why should we include religion in the celebration of a marriage?  

 

“Scientology”

The only religion that is honest about being a money making venture. The fact it was founded by a science fiction author should be a red flag. They claim that 75 million years ago, spaceships carrying frozen aliens crash landed in volcanos on Earth (though most of the volcanos they claim were the crash sites didn’t exist back then), and then destroyed using nuclear bombs. I will give them the volcanos crash sites for the sake of argument, but I have a few additional thoughts. One, the crashes would of took place in the early part of the Late Cretaceous period. During this time, dinosaurs roamed around and still had another 10 or so million years before the K-Pg extinction event. This is one of the most well researched time periods in paleontology. Keeping this in mind, now I’m fairly certain that if a nuke went off in a volcano, the volcano would erupt (unless I am wrong; if I am, someone please correct me). The ash and lava flows from the eruption would carry traces of the radioactive fallout with it. Those traces or at least the breakdown products of the fallout would be preserved in the sediments formed by the ash and lava. Now, being that there are multiple events of the same nature occurring at the same time, the sediments would preserve much of this fallout material or products there of (not to mention in the affected fossils of the time). With this time period being well researched by geologists and paleontologists, how come none of these professionals haven’t found this fallout material or the breakdown products? Honestly, it should be evident that this religion is bullshit like all of the others. It is also just harmful and full of monetary vampires.



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