Sunday, June 27, 2010

Worldview Part I: What It Is and Why I Think It's Important

Right, so, here I go. I am a complex person. I have complex thoughts and lead a complex life. In many ways, I am comfortable with that complexity, and with complexity in general. In other ways, it deeply disturbs me. Here's why: I am in the process of constructing a logically consistent worldview. I use those three words together almost as a collocation, and the extent to which I think about this notion even comes to annoy me. Nonetheless, it has become somewhat of an obsession in the past few years. Basically, it works like this. I look at my life, in a hard, calculating, incisive way. I take my fears, hopes, ideas, experiences, thoughts, interactions and emotions and treat them as empirical evidence. Then I look for a common thread. SPOILER: there isn't one. Not because humans are too complex to reduce to a bare set of principles or any of that tosh. For me at least, to think this would be a cop-out, a way to give up on finding out what lies at the core of this carefully constructed self that lives within a world inherently imbued with chaos and also massive psychohistorical forces, if I may use Asimov's invented field of study.
I think that that fundamental enumeration is really important; I also don't think I'll ever find it. I think it's important because I want to understand myself and at the same time create myself. My 'inner self' (the reason for the quotes will have to come in a later post), should it exist, is not something that is, or something that happens to me. It's an interaction between who I am now, who I was, who I will be, the actions I have taken and will take along the journey and what it even means to 'be someone/yourself.' I've thought about this a lot, and somehow I never phrased it quite this way, and it fills me with tremendous excitement, because with this framework I can come up with so many reasons why I should be thinking about it, and I want to get them all out at once. For one, that sentence sounds like a description of a particularly difficult and intricate problem, and that makes it fantastically interesting. Why wouldn't I want to take the time to unravel it? Especially because it has a unique appeal: I am the only person, organism, group of molecules, thing that could have a shadow of a hope of figuring it out. And that has quite the allure. I also find that abstracting out my view on life would be exceptionally useful in situations as diverse as moral dilemmas and choosing what to do on a Friday night. Finally, and likely most importantly, I think that understanding and the path to discovery are quintessentially beautiful elements of the human experience, and I find that applying those elements to this problem might prove intellectually, socially and personally fruitful. I also think that the never-ending journey towards discovery is something I want to make a part of my life, hithertofore and forever. It might even be an axiom in the worldview itself.

Follow up: My personal worldview

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