Personal Philosophy and the Bliss of Ignorance
Discussing my own personal philosophy makes me question it further, which has to be a good thing. After all, it’s always been my opinion that unquestioning faith is a harmful state of mind to be in, so any excuse to challenge ones assumptions has to be taken as a blessing rather than a curse, an opportunity to learn more about the world and about yourself.
What brings this up is some discussions I’ve had recently with a friend which lead to some further analysis of my own thoughts on the nature of reality, truth and understanding. What I decided, tentatively for now, is that my personal philosophy takes a certain inspiration from Constructivism, Empiricism, Epicureanism and Philosophical Skepticism. Now, one might instantly jump upon this as a sign that I promote relativism in my world view, and to an extent, that is true. However, I don’t believe that all things can only be expressed relative to others. There is an absolute truth out there somewhere, but I’m neither foolish enough nor arrogant enough to think that anyone had found it yet.
Essentially I operate my life under a set of assumptions. I don’t believe anything, but rather work under the perception that all truth, all facts, as we know them are constructed from our own observations, that in observing and measuring the world, we create it, define it, refine the nature of reality down closer to a level that approaches that absolute truth that underpins everything. One set of truths can be said to be truer than another, all things being relative to a degree, but through empirical analysis one truth can be said definitely to be ‘truer’ than another. That we can ever know the whole, real truth, with any absolute, justifiable certainty I can’t say, but I don’t think we have the right in the current development of human consciousness and understanding we have any right to say so.
So yeah, I live my life in a world of assumptions and uncertainty, supported by the evidence of sense experience but taking into account that any experience I do perceive isn’t reality per se, but that constructed reality that exists inside my head, my own distorted vision of an absolute truth that we all share but can’t see through the twisted glass of our own perceptions. Some people might find that frightening, but I find it incredibly wondrous and exciting, the mere act of living, of experiencing, is an act of discovery, a tiny accumulation of self-knowledge and world-knowledge, free from any burdens of belief, of faith, that narrow that scope of learning.
To be honest, I find the entire concept of believing in anything alien and scary. The very thought of clinging onto anything as ‘certain’ or ‘true’ seems abhorrent to me, a deliberate, wilful act to reduce your ability to learn, to observe. To me it seems like a deliberate shutting away of a portion of your mind and of the world, from your conscious mind and I find that a horrifying and scary thought. Above all though, I find it sad, mostly because I take such a joy in embracing my own ignorance and basking in a world that is eternally mysterious, knowing that everything I do is a learning experience and form of personal growth. To me, anything that restricts that sense of personal, intellectual freedom seems wrong.
Saying that though, I don’t really care what others choose to believe, whether it be in some Abrahamic god or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I’m comfortable with other peoples choices in how they perceive the world as long as they don’t force them on me or others. One of the worst crimes someone can commit is that of indoctrination.
I don’t consider myself an Atheist per se, but a lot of my opinions and points of view tend to overlap with that particular world-view, so I suppose you could say they share common elements, perhaps one being a subset of the other.
Anyway, I found it an interesting experience to take a look at some of the various philosophies out there and how they compare to my own. No doubt things will change, I’ll find new modes of thought to adopt as my current mode exposes different ideas to me. It’s an interesting journey and I hope I never settle down and start thinking I know how the world really is. That will be a sad day indeed, the day wonder dies.
Here’s to discovery and to learning, every day.