Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 9 - Post 8 Walking and Life's Big Questions

Two birds with one stone…so to speak. The Adam Gopnik article combined with the question:

  • Do you think a deeper understanding of evolution would bring us closer to "the answers to life's big questions" (assuming the answer is probably not "42")? What are some of those questions? 

The two go hand-in-hand. What better time to think about life’s big questions than while walking…in silence without earbuds. Gopnik’s article deals primarily with city walking and the closeness the walkers have with their environment. The article mentions using a Walkman or iPhone to drown out the traffic noise. In some respects, the two men become one with the city. They love the city. They also seem to love the city people they meet as they walk.

I haven’t done a search, but I bet someone has written a similar article about walking in small towns, rural areas, national and state parks, and wilderness areas. The Walls of Jericho, Stone Door, and Savage Falls come to mind. I used to walk these places before they became popular destinations for nature lovers, before the days of Walkman and iPhones. There is something about clean air, blue skies, and the sounds of nature that help one maneuver through the maze of thoughts and come to reasonable and logical conclusions concerning things of difficulty. It is of no significance if those things are matters of the heart or matters of science. The solitude of walking through God’s creation, alone or with your dog, helps bring clarity of mind, mental acuity and it helps to sort out and evaluate “the answers to life’s big questions.” It helps one to focus on the important things of life and many times it will bring understanding.

Most people will agree the three big questions of life are: 1) Where did I come from? 2) Why am I here? 3) Where am I going? If the first one can be answered, the other two answer themselves. These are questions that everyone asks themselves at some point in their lives, but there are few people who actually explore the questions in depth. It has been said that most people don’t want to take the time to investigate the scientific evidence for evolution or for God. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to the answers. They require study. They also require detaching one’s self from any emotional connection to preconceived notions and inherited beliefs. It requires a person to challenge everything, including conventional wisdom. It might require one to leave the herd and become an independent thinker.

The answer then, is yes. A deeper understanding of the science behind the theory of evolution would bring us closer to "the answers to life's big questions." An examination of both sides of the debate would reveal much.

1 comment:

  1. "1) Where did I come from? 2) Why am I here? 3) Where am I going?" - I find those questions take on added significance when posed pluralistically: Where did we come from, why are we here, where are we going... the questions thus become more explicitly involved with an understanding of our species identity and destiny. It's what William James was asking when he wondered about "the really vital question for us all... what is life eventually to make of itself?" It's not that MY fate (or YOURS, or any ONE's) is unimportant, it's that all fates are inseparably connected. If you can learn to really feel that core identity with your species, the sting of personal death is not quite so sharp. And then, if you're heroically Saganesque about it, you can come to a feeling of solidarity with ALL life (not just homo sapiens). That's the richest source of meaning there is, for some of us.