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41432Stunned by Superstition

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  • Exist List Moderator
    May 30, 2007
      Susan and I are remodeling an older house, which has led us to the
      suite of cable stations dedicated to such matters: DIY, Discovery
      Home, HGTV, TLC, and a few others. I present this as background only
      because of the audience/participants in these shows: most of the
      people are highly "educated" and they have moderate to high incomes.

      So far we have seen a psychologist trying to design around Feng Shui,
      a teacher with crystals, two doctors with I Ching in gold letters on
      their attic ceiling, and a handful of other seemingly intelligent
      people engaged in superstitions as a way to get more out of life.

      The great irony is that these people, with their educations, are
      still looking for some universal controlling power. I met a dean
      earlier this year who was into numerology and "native American
      astrology." I didn't know there was such a thing, but it makes sense
      that superstitions are universal in humanity's desire to explain
      everything they don't understand.

      What really gets me is that many of these people dismiss "religion"
      while rushing to yet another obscurant, another religion.

      The challenge for someone like myself is to avoid rushing blindly to
      science or math as the other alternative, as if there is a single
      explanation for every human experience, if only I could gather enough
      data. Obviously, no one person can / will have all the answers before
      humanity goes poof or dies off from natural causes.

      No real scientists pretend that answers are certain or that math is
      perfect beyond the basics. Like physics, theoretical math reaches a
      point of contradiction making it really fascinating and beautiful.

      But like all the superstitions, science doesn't tell me the answers
      to what it means to live a good, meaningful life. I have to define
      what is good for myself. If I turn to the Bible, Koran, Book of the
      Dead, or whatever else humans have been inspired to write, I will
      still be left with contradictions and paradox. There are no clear
      "right" answers because one rule seems to always contradict another.

      Philosophy, as Jaspers said, is best lived. I do my best to do the
      "right" thing by most of humanity, while admittedly adhering to
      Camus' acknowledgment that family is still special to me and has some
      greater value that I can't defend with logic.

      I don't live according to superstition or science. I live according
      to what I think is right. Problem is... I'll never know if I was right.

      - C. S. Wyatt
      I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
      that I shall be.
      http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
      http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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