I wanted to continue my contemplations on the nature of humanity, but not from the perspective of ideas inspired by another’s philosophy or personal mode of thinking, but by my own observed thoughts and behaviors. Truly, this has been a focus of mine since late middle school when I first wondered why it was people did the things they did and were so diverse in attitudes and personalities. This lead to my interest in psychology and philosophy, particularly moral and ethical philosophy, which helped me learn more and more about the human condition and the differences but also the similarities in all our experiences. As I somewhat described in the previous post, what it means to be human is only really described by the qualities of our experiences, and ethical behavior is derived from the most balanced way between harmony and conflict. If we are to try to define the human experience though, it would be best served outside the confines of rational skepticism, and peered at through the narrow, but enlightening phenomenon of art.
The word art refers not just to some creative production, but the skill or technical significance of a person or methodology adopted by one. In this way, the mastering of a technical skill is the perfection of one’s art, and the introduction of creative rather than destructive elements is that which is judged by moral philosophy. But besides the judgments, what do we think of the extreme variety of the many different ways a human life can be spent? Not only do we have a myriad of experiences filled with different cultures, different environments, different emotions, and different thoughts, but we also have the same experience of identifying with at least one of each of these. In this way, by referring to the relationship between our behaviors or actions and our will or our nature, we can begin to imagine the range of the inherent differences between all our minds and hearts. It would seem ridiculous to think that either all people are exactly the same, or that all people feel the same. The differences in appearance and expression between people become more subjective and superficial, but the perception of their behavioral patterns becomes even more clear as you can see through the abstractions we define our physical existence with, and you see the accompanying mental reality the more you learn of their patterns. It’s like gaining a track of the different ways in which you have been yourself, and you can develop a more intimate understanding of not just another individual, but also yourself, and the rest of humanity as well.
In all that I have experienced in the soon to be 23 years of my particular existence is that narratives about humanity coming from absolute right or wrong towards the other are mired in the moralistic judgments of that perspective of humanity. As I said before, we are best understood by our circumstances and our relation to them. Humans did not descend upon the physical like fallen angels, but were grown here. Any claims about the inner reality beyond space and time is only a synchronized phenomenon, not a cause of something else. In reality, there is no such thing, as far as any record is concerned, of a discovery or realization of cause and effect. That is because it is logically impossible to observe causation.
Causation is a relationship of two distinct events, involving the interaction of separate things, but these notions are all misinterpretations of physical reality. The physical phenomena go with the metaphysical phenomena, but not in a causally related way. The two merely co-exist, just as our “things” on Earth co-exist. And it is impossible to co-exist without inherent differentiation and conflict. If things were truly treated exactly equally, they would be considered the same thing, and not doing so would be like thinking there were two types of H2O. It is a cognitive impossibility to think that two different things are literally “equal”, unless it is in context to an attribute of the thing, and not the essential property of the thing itself. So when asking what is the core of humanity, what makes it it, you have to consider that the answer is “humanity”, and we can paint its picture anyway you’d like because every re-representation is a fiction.
How I view Humanity is in terms of different dualistic principles of existence and their relation to our behavior, which I think is the most variable quality between all of us. The frameworks of our personalities can be describe as our relations to the Sacred and the Profane, the Individual and the Community, Law and Lawlessness, Good and Bad, Light and Dark, Heaven and Hell, Pain and Pleasure, Freedom and Imprisonment, and any other polar, interpretive evaluation you can come up with. The range of our differences are most directly demonstrated by the range of our perspectives, because it is our experiences and our beliefs about them that are the actual abstractions and “things” which we make our lives out of. The very notion of life and death is most likely the most essential, and at or adjacent to the core of every person. We know we are supposed to be afraid of death, and we are supposed to go on living. Even though it isn’t objectively set in reality, that seems to be the only purpose and accomplishment to our existence at all, to continue through and in spite of the changes. To not be stuck in a single pattern of behavior, but to evolve into new forms and to attempt new things. To grow to new heights, or to have the field laid plain so as to start again. There are so many different relations to death and life that we even mirror rebirths and cyclical lives within singular lifetimes, and spanning across many more. But the essence of humanity, as I see it, is in judgment itself. If what we are meant to do is to act, with no particular goal or no particular drive, hence the mass variety of what is accomplished, then why do we judge things? Why did we question whether or not certain things were really what we wanted to do? Why do we have such confusing relationships to the things in life we interact with that seem to cause such emotional strife within us? And why would we even have the capability for such intimate and deep emotional understanding if we are only meant act.
You could say that it’s because we were meant to do more than act, but to refine action itself to some high end in aversion of some defeat; or, you could say that it’s part of the game of existence, that there’s nothing to really fear, and that you still must act. Don’t act regardless of what judgments you feel, but from the core of them. Become your emotions, and just see what interesting things you go on doing. There’s always something to be done, and some value in doing it. So go on as long as you’d like to. If we really are a part of this world, even the least expressive of our existences have vast complexities and intricacies. There’s always something to do, and something more to explore. If you’re reading this, I’ll assume you aren’t dead yet, so consider this personal encouragement from my soul to yours, that it doesn’t matter what you do so long as you do something for the sake of doing it, just like we feel things, and even begin living just for the sake of doing it.
Next post, I’ll go over human action, whether or not any action at all is justifiable, and the significance of Free Will.