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What does it mean to be human?

Is there more to life than the physical?

What does it mean to live well? To die well?

Is there meaning in history?

Is there purpose to life?

In my experience, everyone is at least somewhat interested in these questions, the largest questions there are, but the art of thinking critically about them has largely been lost. Too many philosophers are busy debating whether a set and a group are the same thing; too many historians are busy theorizing politics from potsherds; too many scientists are busy trying to make electrons into enlightenment; too many screenwriters are busy crafting vague platitudes. And too many crusaders are proclaiming answers without explaining or examining their evidence.

As a result, I believe that we as a society have gotten very mixed up about these questions. We have forgotten how to think; we have forgotten our intuitions; and we have let people who are experts in one thing preach as if they were experts on life itself. We have, in fact, somehow gotten so turned around that not only many of our separate beliefs, but our mindsets and frameworks as a whole, are upside-down, inside-out, and wrong-way round.

It’s time to change that. It’s time to find clarity in a fog of confusion, to find objectivity in a sea of subjectivity, to find intuition in a whirl of delirium. It’s time to go back to the questions that matter and think about what makes sense, without worrying about what’s fashionable. It’s time to figure out where we need to educate ourselves – and where we were right all along.

photo by Eric Kirby

 

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