I clearly remember my first ever real conscious thought when I was 4 years old. I was running at home, trying to escape from my brothers in a game where we chased each other. I stopped in the hallway for a second and realised for the first time ever that I exist.
It was a peculiar eureka moment. Realising that I'm a separate from the universe, that my perspective is my only one. They don't know what I see or think. The simplest game ever, hide and seek, taught me that I can truly be alone.
It took me a few years of experimentation afterwards to get used to this. But my first conscious question at that moment of realisation, stick with my ever since.
Why do I exist?
Which over the years fragmented into, how should I exist, when is it now, am I important, do others exist, is this real or imagination?
As I grew up I've battled through these questions on my journeys. I've seen all my friends transition through the same questions. Many lost their way in the maze of life and our societies contradicting conflicts. Many have lost faith in our systems, our religion, sciences and questioned everything to the point where nothing really matters and abandoned the idea of believing in anything. So they settled on the passive side of existence because they don't know how to approach people or problems having the confidence to know that at the end everything will be just all-right. I've watched them stop caring, with the deepest sadness and sympathy. But it gave me even more reason to keep going.
But there are those who never gave up the search for answers. Among them, here I am. However there is one difference between my and my friends who kept searching. I've had the priviledge to have mentors, clients and friends from 3 continents with wildly varying characters and ideals. They all showed me different perspectives of life which in many cases conflicted with my or my other mentors beliefs not to mention my friends. I had no other choice than compile the best of all perspectives.
I have gathered the most effective ones:
And the 4 most dangerous ones:
- Splitting (also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking)
I say dangerous because they are not necessarily evil but the most potent for it. Although history is not necessarily the most reliable source of information, it is our only window into the actions of our past ancestors. Historic events suggest that the most evil acts are a result of these beliefs.
So how do I approach life?
- Mostly with Empiricism
- Sometimes with Rationalism
- Always with Pragmatism
- Always with Faith
I hold contradicting beliefs. Empiricism and Rationalism don't always go together. Empiricism teaches us that all information we have is coming from our senses as such it is the base of any thought which can only operate on information coming outside of our body and mind.
However I also believe that without Rationalising that sensory information, it is all meaningless. When we rationalize we can come up with sound and unique information that only we have and nobody and nothing else.
I can't think in black and white. For one problem I use an empiric thougth of line. For others the rational. This is what Pragmatism is, an approach that evaluates theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application. And to make it all work I have Faith. In the end it will be all good, and not just because I believe that people innately have good intentions, regardless of their actions and our subjective opinion, but because I believe there isn’t anything that that can’t be figured out with the right attitude.
To me, beliefs are tools and not the end game, no belief system can answer the "Why?" of things not even Rationalism which advocates reasonable answers. They only show us the how things work, but not why. Altough they provide a pointer to the next node of problems which seems like a logical step closer to why, it is not the final why. This creates a cycle of splitting problems and going deeper in them. But this is an endless quest. An infinite journey into the world’s knowledge. But never a definite final answer, just relations. So you see beliefs are only instructions, recipes, rules that govern the relationships between entities. For this reason, for some of us who see the world with a Pragmatic view, beliefs are as exchangeable as clothes.
Why should I approach life?
Now this question is really a piece of work. It's one of the most twisted questions ever. The answer requires a rational answer as the adverb "why" seeks a reason or purpose. But if Rationalism is not a belief system that can answer for the purpose of things, then how the hell can anyone find any purpose in this world?
Let’s flip the why question to it’s synonym:
What's my purpose?
The funny thing is, every science and discipline will give you a different answer. Biology says pro-creation, religion says serving "God"'s will and reaching the heavens, chemistry says stability, physics says lowering entropy, art is saying expressing yourself.
There are as many answers to this question as many people, cultures, images we ever had. And if this is true, having that you believe in philosophy, logic and math, the only logical conclusion is:
To choose your own purpose.
You were not born with purpose, you were not born into serving or to pro-create. You were born to create your own destiny and judge yourself according to your own beliefs. Even with your best intentions the world will judge you ruthlessly no matter what you do anyway, but the harshest and the final judgjement is always what you give to yourself.
You're part of God, the Universe or whatever you call it, not God itself, nor anyone elses. But you are part of it all, and you share it’s powers including the biggest power of all, to create.
You can only fail in this game by failing to pursue your purpose and denying to act on it. And you can only succeed by choosing your cause, and fight for it. Every day.