Thursday, December 25, 2008

Que sais-je?

I think I have pinpointed the most important philosophical question there is: que sais-je. Albert always said that the most important question is whether or not one should kill oneself when faced with the misery of absurdity. Now, I won't disagree that his question is indeed an important one, but it certainly can't be the most important question. You see, the absurdity of our situation is not that life is without meaning, but rather that we don't know whether or not it is. If there is a meaning, it's completely lost to us. Now, to all you ontological thinkers, I appreciate the effort, but the fact is that at the very end of the day, a leap of faith is required. One can't just say "God is this, and for this to be true it must exist in reality." Necessary existence is certainly an interesting concept, but not very wise.

To say that "God is this" in itself entails a leap of faith. How do we know that existence is a predicate? How do we know that reality actually exists? How do we know that infinity and eternity exists outside of their concepts, and how do we know that to say something exists in reality makes it so? How do we know that it doesn't? I think Pascal was right when he said that nothing can be proved without faith, which is really the only real indication of everything. One can say "I know," but the only way of doing that is through faith, and how can we judge the reliability of faith itself? Surely it's possible that what we "know" through faith is in fact Freudian garbage that we feed ourselves in order to survive. That would, of course, leads us back to Al's question, but the fact is that we don't know that it is. He presupposes that it is, and that's a rather unfair judgment. We don't know, and this is the most disconcerting and alienating thing of all. We want to trust things like reason and faith and mystic experience, and yet we tear them apart over and over again. We're so afraid to be wrong that we're willing to destroy everything we've built just to be right.

I know that it's perfectly rational to be a skeptic, perhaps the only rational thing to do, and yet it's possibly the most boring thing to do. There is no passion within skepticism. There is no power to my argument. Wolterstorff said that the greatest and most powerful reasons we have for anything are those that we found on our beliefs. I'm not even passionate enough to be an atheist; atheism denotes disbelief. To be agnostic is considered fence sitting. No fence sitting, said Pisani. It's apathetic. I'm not apathetic. I just don't want to be wrong. And I know that I am human, and I am not the first that has deconstructed her own life so vigorously in order not to be wrong that she's destroyed all truth. What do I know? I wish there was an answer, but the answer itself is a paradox, because the only thing I know is that I do not know. Well isn't that peachy? Socrates had it right in the first place! So why do we keep searching for answers?

Maybe our misery lies not in that we do not know, but that we crave knowledge that we cannot have. Celebrate the mysteries, we say, but then we search for the truth. We want to know. But secrets are fun, said a rather mysterious lover of mine. He had me there, but the truth is that they hurt us so terribly. We wonder whether things are so much worse than we ever imagined. We wonder why we cannot know. We wonder whether we are being punished, whether we all did something wrong and now we're banned from that knowledge and spend our time ruminating in our own guilt. Hell, we've made it a tenet of the Christian faith, haven't we Augustine?

That’s why it’s the most important question.

Maybe I have been thinking too much.

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