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."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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