© Copyright 2021 UnderstandingXYZ.com, All rights reserved.
Old Anima
What Shapes Us? I believe in the theory that my physical body is only a holder of an individualized, eternal, inner core that is essentially part of a greater good and divinity, but I can’t prove it. Our bodies eventually disintegrate into bones buried under ground, stored in mausoleums, or burned and grounded by cremation services into ashes. Our souls, our inner selves, however, never die and go on after death into something extraordinarily stunning. Such a belief is soothing, a calming balm in a world of confusion and unanswered mysteries. The problem, of course, is that we rarely, if ever, see any proof positive that our souls live on. Yet, while many of us do have highly emotional transcendent experiences whereby glimpses of the eternal seep into our very being, those experiences slip away quickly, and we are back at square one as imperfect and forgetful humans struggling to survive comfortably in what often seems to be an awfully cagy and mysterious world. British philosopher Mark Vernon in “How To Be An Agnostic” eloquently harkens back to this kind of thinking by referring to Socrates. He describes Socrates as “an observer of the night sky humbled by the immensity of the universe, his idea of philosophy was not of inevitable progress towards the bright stars of certainty and illumination, but was a dawning awareness that the forces that shape the world stem from dark masses and unknown energies.” A well-known quote attributed to Bertrand Russell expands on this notion of the unknown: “Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind is also rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.” What does Russell mean by “the greatness of the universe”? How does one contemplate it? Is it a series of random cosmic events, exploding and bumping chemical reactions without a specific intelligence or mission other than to expand? Is it basically malevolent, benevolent, or both? Can most of our planet’s main life, a small blue dot within the cosmos, be simply obliterated by an asteroid as it has been in the past? How do we as a species fit into this vast universe we witness in the night sky? Why does there seem to be no other similar lifeforms in the enormity of it all? Does it even have a “highest good” as Russell suggests? Such mysteries seem futile to contemplate, yet many of us still consider deep unanswerable questions in an unending quest to know more. What is that drive in us that keeps asking such questions, seeking, as Russell claims, an enrichment of our imaginations far away from close-minded dogma? My answer, in brief: your inner self. If you pay close attention to your inner self, you ask more questions. You journey down mental pathways that bring relatively brief moments of enlightenment. Those brief moments are worth the effort. Thanks for stopping by, George
“Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions.” - Bertrand Russell
Old Anima
© Copyright 2021. UnderstandingXYZ.com. All rights reserved.
What Shapes Us? I believe in the theory that my physical body is only a holder of an individualized, eternal, inner core that is essentially part of a greater good and divinity, but I can’t prove it. Our bodies eventually disintegrate into bones buried under ground, stored in mausoleums, or burned and grounded by cremation services into ashes. Our souls, our inner selves, however, never die and go on after death into something extraordinarily stunning. Such a belief is soothing, a calming balm in a world of confusion and unanswered mysteries. The problem, of course, is that we rarely, if ever, see any proof positive that our souls live on. Yet, while many of us do have highly emotional transcendent experiences whereby glimpses of the eternal seep into our very being, those experiences slip away quickly, and we are back at square one as imperfect and forgetful humans struggling to survive comfortably in what often seems to be an awfully cagy and mysterious world. British philosopher Mark Vernon in “How To Be An Agnostic” eloquently harkens back to this kind of thinking by referring to Socrates. He describes Socrates as “an observer of the night sky humbled by the immensity of the universe, his idea of philosophy was not of inevitable progress towards the bright stars of certainty and illumination, but was a dawning awareness that the forces that shape the world stem from dark masses and unknown energies.” A well-known quote attributed to Bertrand Russell expands on this notion of the unknown: “Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind is also rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.” What does Russell mean by “the greatness of the universe”? How does one contemplate it? Is it a series of random cosmic events, exploding and bumping chemical reactions without a specific intelligence or mission other than to expand? Is it basically malevolent, benevolent, or both? Can most of our planet’s main life, a small blue dot within the cosmos, be simply obliterated by an asteroid as it has been in the past? How do we as a species fit into this vast universe we witness in the night sky? Why does there seem to be no other similar lifeforms in the enormity of it all? Does it even have a “highest good” as Russell suggests? Such mysteries seem futile to contemplate, yet many of us still consider deep unanswerable questions in an unending quest to know more. What is that drive in us that keeps asking such questions, seeking, as Russell claims, an enrichment of our imaginations far away from close-minded dogma? My answer, in brief: your inner self. If you pay close attention to your inner self, you ask more questions. You journey down mental pathways that bring relatively brief moments of enlightenment. Those brief moments are worth the effort. Thanks for stopping by, George
“Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions.” - Bertrand Russell