Saturday, January 26, 2008

Existential Crisis, Pt. 2

Originally this post was going to be my commentary on equality. However, I've been distracted by end-of-semester finals. Thankfully, an anonymous comment left on my last entry (maybe not so anonymous, I think I know who it is) has provided me with a question to address. It also segways into another topic I had wanted to discuss, but had previously forgotten about. This is what I was asked:

Where do abstract certainties like 1+1=2 or bivalence come into your view?

Now this may seem like a store shelf type of answer, but when I was discussing uncertainty in terms of knowledge, I was referring to the physical universe (or concrete objects, if you are so inclined). I should have clarified that. Abstract ideas make the matter far more complicated.

It can be argued that abstract ideas do not actually exist (and are therefore abstract) because they lack a location in space, the lack of casual power, etc. This puts abstract ideas in an interesting position. Can abstract ideas be true if they do not exist? I see no reason why they cannot. Common tautologies include mathematical proofs. To use an example from above: 1+1=2, 2=1+1

I'm not really sure where to take this entry from here, so I'll leave it up to my readers. Any comments, questions, or criticisms are welcome.

P.S. I know I'm one entry behind. I'll try to come up with something interesting to keep you entertained.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Existential Crisis

I was originally intending for this post to be about equality and it's role in our society, but I was worried that some of my arguments/explanations could be misconstrued. I'm going to take my time to write everything out properly and have it reviewed by at least one of my peers. Instead, I want to talk about existential crises.

For a period, perhaps last May to October, I experienced an existential crisis. Recently, this led me to create this little nugget of wisdom:

"Life is an extended existential crisis - and then you're dead."

This wasn't my first existential crisis, to be sure. I recall strong feelings of cognitive dissonance when I went through a period of depression several years ago.

I spent a lot of time contemplating my place in the universe, who I am (and what I am for that matter), and people watching while nursing a coffee at my favorite cafe. (I usually do that last one regardless of what I'm feeling.)

Going back to my 'nugget of wisdom' I had originally viewed it as a bit humourous, but now I see some truth in it as well. I do not think that it is likely that we, as human beings, can know anything with absolute certainty. I do believe however that we can reduce the amount of uncertainty to a negligible degree. We may accept whatever is ~99.99% true as fact, but there is always the slightest percentage that we are, in fact, incorrect. (Or at least incomplete in our knowledge of the subject in question.)

As such, I've resigned myself to an existence of limited certainty and (begrudging) skepticism. For now, at least. Perhaps numbers are indeed everything, as some would propose. I guess that makes life a gambler's game.

I would like to end by paraphrasing Lisa Hoffman:

"Life is like Pi - natural, irrational,
and very important."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A New Year

I could write any one of many tacky sayings here to welcome in the new year, such as 'out with the old, in with the new,' or 'another year gone.' I could even say 'Auld Lang Sane,' which doesn't really seem all that tacky to me. But I won't. Paradoxically, I already have.

It comes to mind that certain people (some less generous writers might call them stupid people) tend to make a resolution that they generally fail to commit to to mark the beginning of a new year on the Gregorian calendar. Or that's what the media portrays it as, at least.

As such, I have decided to throw my own coin down the well with the knowledge that I may very well never see it again. This year, I resolve to blog every weekend, usually every Friday or Saturday, and set aside a time on one of those days to facilitate the writing of an entry.

Bah, Humbug

~The Muse

P.S. If you're wondering what happened to the 'Button a Week Challenge,' I decided that it would be easier for me to put all of the buttons I wore in a single post after the challenge is completed. Seeing as a year has past, the challenge should theoretically be done, but I ran out of suitable buttons. I am always on the lookout for suitable buttons, and suggestions are, of course, welcome.