Thursday, June 2, 2011

What’s the significance of life? Who are we?

Is human life just a dream, from which we never really awake, as some great thinkers claim? Are we submerged by our feelings, by our loves and hates, by our ideas of good, bad, beautiful and awful? Are we incapable of knowing beyond those ideas and feelings?
If we are going to listen to the great philosophers:
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep…
William Shakespeare,
A man who is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea.
Joseph Conrad,
Is the reality we know a reality imposed to us by nature? Is the reality and the meaning of life a creation of men, such as music, or love or colors (science tells us that there isn’t such things as music, harmony or colors in the physic world. Just traveling molecules: There is not, external to us, hot or cold, but only different velocities of molecules; there aren’t sounds, callings, harmonies, but just variations in the pressure of the air; there aren’t colors, or light, just electro-magnetic waves.

Are we – and all living beings – just «survival machines, blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes», as Richard Dawkins states? Are we incapable of knowing beyond the frames imposed to us by nature?
Is there any significance for life in a Universe of billions of stars that ignore us? Is there any significance for life in a Universe whose dimensions and nature overcome our understanding?
Listen to the words of Pascal, in the seventeenth century:
When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity that lies before and after it, when I consider the little space I fill and I see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which know me not, I rest frightened, and astonished, for there is no reason why I should be here rather than there. Why now rather than then? Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time have been ascribed to me?
Why is there something rather than nothing? We do not know. We will never know. Why? To what purpose? We do not know whether there is a purpose. But if it is true that nothing is born of nothing, the very existence of something – the world, the universe – would seem to imply that there has always been something: that being is eternal, uncreated, perhaps creator, and this is what some people call God.

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