Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Epicurus and the word Arbitrary
Favorite philosopher(just one of them): Epicurus
I have to start with the disclaimer, that I hold no true favorite; however I take strong interest in his argument regarding the fear of death. I agree that if we do not fear the time before birth, why should we fear the time after death. During our lifetime, we will not experience death, and when we do, we will not exist to experience it, so why should we fear it. This concept may cause one to begin thinking about how insignificant life is, but truly, I agree that the constant worrying is just as meaningless. Further more, constant worrying will only make the brief time spent on earth even more miserable. What Epicurus claims is so simple, yet it strikes me with great influence. It seems that we the living rarely think about what came before life comparatively to what comes after.
I personally like to take time to consider both. Please excuse the tangent I am about to embark on, but after the first round of presentations and the heated debates that were ensued, I have since felt compelled to share my opinions and personal philosophies. After those debates I left class sharing some of my own philosophies with others, one student nearby even asked if he could walk with us after being so Intrigued with what I had to say. The following paragraph are my own concepts as they have been influenced and built around my own life experiences.
First: the word arbitrary is the most important word in the entire existence of the human race. (This will take a while to explain, please stay with me until it comes full circle)On a large enough scale, the entire history of humanity takes place on one small insignificant planet in an average sized solar system on one arm of an average sized galaxy. You get the idea, my point is essentially that the brain named itself. Every word ever developed in every language can only be as powerful as we make it. Essentially, this “its only as significant as we make it” claim is the definition of the word arbitrary, so why shouldn't that word be the most important. On our peripatetic walks we often discussed scientific theories as they applied to philosophy, one such recurring point of interest is the concept of time travel. By now we are all surely familiar with the claim that time is relative. Stephen Hawking believes that something moving fast enough can travel backwards in time. In another branch of science, new theories are coming to light proposing the existence of other dimensions that we are not yet acquainted with. Some are beginning to consider the possibility that our consciousness may move dimensionally when we die. I personally like to take all possibilities into consideration. I once heard that infinite possibilities exist simultaneously, to me this seems very analogous to the concept of a fractal image. If you were previously unaware, a fractal is essentially the image form of a non terminating, non repeating decimal.
Combining all of my influences like this I have developed my own philosophies. Please for a moment suspend all current beliefs and imagine the Fractal as an analogy. You can endlessly zoom into a fractal image in any direction, and it will never be the same and it will never end. Much the same way, I believe life and the universe operates similarly. The universe could perhaps extend infinitely in every conceivable and inconceivable direction. You may say that the universe is finite, but that is only the observable universe. We must consider the possibility that it expands in more unconventional ways. If infinite possibilities do exist simultaneously then that can very well mean that the universe can be traversed in space, time, and dimensions. In another dimension possibility A exists, and perhaps point A also exists in the dimension, simply at another time and place. As we move in space, time progresses in one direction or another, and if we were to return to our original position, time has still changed. Possibility A has aged during the time we left and returned. In this way, no matter where we travel in the universe, we are never seeing true repetition (like a fractal)
I believe in life the fractal is analogous to the concept of reincarnation. Life is recycled in an endless loop that never repeats the same experience twice. In another direction, it is speculated that the observable universe bears resemblance to that of a brain cell. People have long believe that the big bang was the start of the universe, but what if it is merely another cycle. Perhaps the universe expands until it slows down and contracts again, and as it contracts it speeds up until reaching some kind of critical mass causing it to explode once again. You are reading this in the midst of experiencing eternity through the never ending life cycle of the universe. To me, that is the time before and after life. As Epicurus says: do not fear death. I say: fear is yet another arbitrary creation by the human race. Think all of this like a circle that you can go infinitely around without ever seeing it the same way. When you move in one direction, time changes, in another, space changes, and so on. The infinitely small is the infinitely large. The time before birth is the time after death as well, it simply changes. Whether you agree or not, it is all arbitrary, because life goes on and so does the universe. (please excuse how informally that was all arranged , its hard to get down on paper without becoming convoluted.)