For at least a couple of months, I want to be more quiet. I want to let things marinate a bit more, without consistently dashing off commentary. I want to see, from a quieter place, what is interesting. I suspect this will result in quirkier, nerdier posts.
For most of my life, and for most of this blog, I've wondered:
If we're all going to die, why do anything? Why make any effort? Why be virtuous? (1)
For the first time, ever, I'm pretty satisfied with my understanding of the why of existence:
First: There's obviously purpose to existence, as God is not a random prankster. Yet, humans are incapable of ultimate understanding of that purpose. Our consciousness are not profound enough to fully comprehend.
I like a scene in "The Legend of Baggar Vance." Golf caddie Baggar Vance represents God come to Earth. Baggar gives the boy narrator a lesson on putting, and the lesson doubles as a lesson about life.
Since you know you want to know, the condensed lesson is: Find your true swing, in harmony with all that is, and let it flow. Get out of your own way.
Baggar patiently answers all the child's questions, until the very end, when Baggar makes a final profound statement and the child asks "Why?". Baggar Vance doesn't answer. Instead, after patiently answering question after question, Baggar abruptly walks away, whistling a happy tune.
This scene cracks me up. God will not answer "Why?" He did not design us to comprehend the ultimate answer. (2).
Second: That life has purpose is not necessarily enough to motivate me to virtuous action. What if my designed purpose is to commit constant unvirtuous action? Why wouldn't it be? Somebody has to do it! Why not me? Why am I not designed for a life free of virtue; and filled only with pleasure-seeking and avoidance of discomfort? What if my eternal purpose is all about failure and hedonism?
Therefore, again: why try? Why put up with pain and discomfort in service of any virtuous action whatsoever? Seems a bad bet.
Short, humanly comprehendable answer: It makes us happy. It's who we are. In this way, our life is about seeking pleasure: doing our best is simply more fun, and more pleasurable, than the alternative.
God acts for eternally useful purpose. We are designed in God's image. Therefore, we are designed to act for eternally useful purpose, and doing our best is a natural part of that. It is fulfilling our highest purpose. It is our happiness. It is our self-actualization. Also, it is a familiar place. Our souls know and love that place.
To do less than our best is to cast ourselves into a hostile wilderness, with only a snow-cone for comfort. Misery is closing in on all sides, and all we've got is this drippy, melty, disintegrating snow-cone. (3,4)
Third: I'm now okay with the design of existence. The difficult stuff strikes me as being interdependent with the pleasurable and good stuff, similar to the way in which we cannot have a front of the hand without an interdependent back of the hand. Consider: Can we have pleasure without pain? Comfort without discomfort? Significant moments without certain eventual death?
There's purpose in difficult circumstance. I'm now okay that discomfort and difficult circumstance will inevitably and consistently happen to me. I'm now okay that I will never make it to a place from which I will be free of pain and discomfort. Hunger always returns. Body and mind always need exercise and sleep. Habit and momentum always need respecting. I'm now okay with all that stuff. It's all good. I shall not fight or lament the design of existence as much as before. I shall find my true swing, in harmony with all that exists, and let it flow. More than ever before, I shall get out of my own way.(5)
Fourth, shifting topic: When I started blogging, I had a passion to learn about, and to express myself about: politics, conservative governing philosophy, media, and Iraq.
At this point, I've attained excellent understanding of these subjects, and I've fully expressed what I've understood:
- Politics is messy - including Republican politics.
- Democracy is the worst form of government, except for every other form of government.
- Leftists are foolish narcissists in denial.
- Free markets work better than chosen smart people practicing market manipulation.
- True compassion resides in seeking equality of freedom and opportunity, as opposed to seeking equality of outcome.
- Media reporting is hugely biased, though media doesn't comprehend the full extent. They do understand they are advocating a liiittle bit, even as they are loath to admit advocating anything at all.
- Iraqis have won Iraq, mainly b/c Iraqis are finally getting it: a) U.S. are the good guys, and b) representative government is better than totalitarian government. Iraq is now a big job which needs finishing. The Iraqi government will no longer have a national policy of encouraging terrorists to attack America.
- Afghanistan: I don't know what to think, except it's good the evil Taliban are not running the government in Kabul.
For a while, I don't want to comment on politics, the left(6,7), Conservative thought, media, or Iraq. I've explored those subjects to my satisfaction. Now, I'd rather read about the greatest athletes ever to wear every uniform number. I'd rather point to the Dallas Cowboys' outrageous domination of all-time uniform numbers in the low seventies.