Monday, April 3, 2017

The Meaning of LIfe: Our Mind is a Stomach

C.S. Lewis and others have argued that there must be an ultimate meaning to everything, and that desire for ultimate meaning is God. But what if our mind works just like our stomach?

What is the meaning of our stomach? To digest food. But there is no one food that we could eat that would allow us to live forever, or at least the rest of our lives, without ever having to eat anything ever again. There's no "one" food that satisfying every hunger we have, forever.

So, what is the meaning of our mind? It is to derive meanings, but not necessarily so we can know a "god" or a moral code that such a god so often ignores, but perhaps only so that we can learn to adapt and survive. If the leaves begin to turn bright colors and fall from trees, we know this means winter is coming, and if bushes shake in the jungle we know a lion may be not far behind.

When the days begin to get longer, we know that spring is coming, so we can plant food, and can hunt as the animals come out of hibernation. We can know the meanings of all kinds of things that keep us alive, but that does not mean there is any ultimate meaning that will sustain our curiosity for all eternity, any more than there is any food that will satisfy our appetite for the rest of our life.

If we wish to understand anything, we can only understand mostly ourselves. And in that, we can see that religion, science, politics, and even economics, are all pursing the same quest of immortality, of both the person, the mind, the state, and the financial empires that will support such a pursuit.

But that humanity wishes to be like the gods, does not prove there is a God who wants us all to be like him, or her, or "shim" (she-him), it only proves how much humanity changes its understanding of God.

The Greeks, after all, did not aspire to be like the God, for example, for they believed it was the gods who sought to be like them, and they  took care not to offend them as a result.

Christian theologians like Augustine and Aquinas, however, pilfered all of the philosophers of Greece, and used them to engineer the exact opposite conception of God with which to rule people's minds.

And today, everything from the killing of the Amorites to Auschwitz has been committed in pursuit of that moral and racial perfection, in pursuit of the great meaning of life that only makes life almost entirely meaningless, since it serves as nothing but an anteroom to eternity, as full of torture as it is steeped in terror of hell and desperation for heaven.

 And one day, that dire need for the ultimate meaning of life may very well be the thing that swallows us all.

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