Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Sphere in the Void

A chain of value proceeds like so: I value X because X supports or furthers Y, I value Y because Y supports or furthers Z, Z I simply value in itself, Z is what I want.

A chain of inference is similar: I believe Z is true because it is supported by statements Y, X, and W, I believe Y because it is supported by statements T, U, and V, I believe T because it is supported by Q, R, and S, which are my first principles or my basic presuppositions, or my Lenses.

Thus it is for all chains within the world: one link is supported by another link and so on, but its terminus comes down to human satisfaction. There is simply a point at which we stop digging and are content with the situation as it stands. This is not laziness, this is not the result of us failing to be rigorous, this is the necessary state of human endeavor. For if we continue digging - that is, if we fail to accept something as being desired without further justification or something as being true without further evidence - we eventually come to nothingness.

This is the picture of life as a sphere in the void:  a sphere formed by chains of desire and inference overlapping, connecting to one another, providing context for one another, but ultimately connected to nothing. We imagine that in those places where we terminate our chains there should be an Absolute, but no Absolute makes itself apparent. The chains hang on nothing, and therefore there is no chain that cannot be removed as nothing supports it save other removable chains.

This tempts us into nihilism. For this means that there is nothing out there that holds our social world together. In lieu of those absolutes, however, we can find rest, but responsibility, in seeing that the social world is held together by that same human satisfaction that provides the terminus to our chains. Human nature provides the overarching context that the sphere resides in, rather than an unchanging Absolute. We find rest knowing that we can continue forward, a system still in place. We have responsibility in knowing that we are fully capable of shaping our values and epistemologies - possibly to destructive ends.

For the individual, however, this has the consequence of meaning that every puzzling question does not puzzle us because its answer is unclear. It is puzzling because we must choose the prime desire or the first principle that we shall choose to live with. The active shaping of our worlds is full of opportunity for us to introduce insanity; it is full of opportunity for us to forge a better system for ourselves.

What then might we use as a guiding principle in all this? If our world exists in the context of our own nature, then authenticity is the route to our satisfaction.

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