Thursday, November 16, 2006

Life, the Universe and Everything... One; the movie

HT Dave Justus. Don't know where the questions come from so I copied then from DJ...


1. Why is there poverty and suffering in the world?

Poverty is comparative. A ni-Vanuatu is poor by ‘western’ measures; by Sudanese standards he would be rich beyond measure.

By American standards, I might be considered ‘middle class’; by Samoan standards I might be rich.

I would consider most Americans to be ‘rich’; I would consider Samoans, or ni-Vanuatu to be rich also, but to a different measure.

I consider myself most fortunate.

Suffering is comparative. A person suffering from terminal starvation in Chad would probably have the same emotions as an American suffering the final few hours of terminal cancer. A person suffering from arthritis in Britain probably has the same level of pain as a New Guinean who broke his leg and was fortunate enough to survive.

2. What is the relationship between science and religion?

Science – the 'religion' of what is; of reality.

Religion - the 'science' of anything we do not understand or know.

3. Why are so many people depressed?

Why are so many people ‘happy’?

One of the very great factors leading to ‘depression’ is the expectation generated by our current culture that everyone must compulsorily be happy all of the time. As a consequence of denial of all of the other (equally valid) emotions, the ability to adequately compare and control states of happiness, sadness, or anger, has been lost. Incidentally, I suspect that is why so many try to find their happiness and solace at the bottom of a bottle, or at the Oz end of a drug-induced rainbow.

So depression, other than clinical depression, can be thought of as a disease of our culture rather than of the mind. It springs primarily from the social myth of perpetual happiness and a consequent inability to cope with reality. It is the anorexia of the soul.

Clinical depression is a much rarer, and a totally different state of mind. It is provably caused by a chemical imbalance within the brain. There are very few who suffer true clinical depression.

4. What are we all so afraid of?

Uncertainty. It is the ‘not knowing’ that has led to science, to religion, to soothsayers and astrology.

5. When is war justifiable?

Is it?

War is two sided. There are never any ‘one-sided’ wars.

Defence is justifiable. Attack and aggression are not.

6. How would God want us to respond to aggression and terrorism?

What God?

I would respond to aggression and terrorism by defending myself using every, and any, means available to me. That might include becoming a terrorist.

I would take great care that my defence did not extend to the point where I became the aggressor.

7. How does one obtain true peace?

Peace of the mind? .

If you are Bhuddist, the question might equate to ‘Peace of the spirit’. If you are American, I suspect that it might equate to ‘everyone else leave us to pursue our own interests'.

But let’s take a slightly different path. The greatest enemy of peace (as in tranquillity) is uncertainty. Generally I am at peace with the world to the extent that I have reconciled myself to all known uncertainties. As and when a new uncertainty arises, I might not be at peace until the uncertainty is resolved. I know that I will die. That is certain. I do not know when. That is uncertain. I will not allow the uncertainty to affect my enjoyment of this life.

Aren’t I a smug and self-satisfied ol’ probligo?

Peace of the world?

Peace between people is far more complex and difficult. ‘Why can’t we all just get along’ does not cut the mustard. Nor do any of the other trite political and religious platitudes.

It is to be striven for, but will never be achieved. Because humanity is not homogenous - see 20. - there will always be individuals and groups who believe they have the right to control or direct others to a particular way of thinking or acting. Enforced change - as distinct from evolution - will always give rise to uncertainty and conflict.

8. What does it mean to live in the present moment?

Ummm, so that is what was next?

9. What is our greatest distraction?

What might be…

Sorry, can't separate those two.

10. Is current religion serving its purpose?

If the true purpose of religion is to ‘justify’ war, then yes it is.

If the true purpose of religion is to provide a path for individuals to a ‘better’ and ‘happier’ life then that is debatable – I suspect that it does not. Certainly my brief and very futile brushes with organised religion did nothing for me. Contrast that with any person who is devout in their religion and you will immediately prove me wrong.

11. What happens to you after you die?

There is no ‘after’.

12. Describe Heaven and how to get there.

Look around me.

Look around you.

13. What is the meaning of life?

Look in the dictionary. It is a word.

Seriously, I can only think of ‘life’ as the total combined accumulated effect of certain, very complex chemicals, attempting to provide for their own replication and perpetuation in an environment which is doing its utmost to wipe out the existence of the complex chemicals.


I am. That is enough.

14. Describe God.

How? I have no concept, knowledge, nor understanding, of what ‘God’ might be.

15. What is the greatest quality humans possess?


Sorry, I can not separate these either.

16. What is it that prevents people from living to their full potential?

Measurement. ‘Full potential’ compared to what? A monkey?

What is ‘full potential’ for a new-born girl in Sudan or Nigeria or China, compared with a new-born girl in NZ or Australia?

See 13.

17. Non-verbally, by motion or gesture only, act out what you believe to be the current condition of the world.

Fetal position if you are American.

Everyone else hides behind something (put your hand over your eyes) so that they can not be seen, and nor can they see.

18. What is your one wish for the world?

Good luck!! You are going to need it!!

19. What is wisdom, and how do we gain it?


(There are three intended meanings in that one word. )

20. Are we all One?

No, we are all individuals. And am I glad of that!! Imagine how boring life would be if we were all like George Bush, or Osama bin Laden, or Auntie Helen or worst of all, like me!!

Yes, we are all one species. Nothing more certain than that.

The truth – somewheres in between.


Eugene Tan said...

Can I use the questions for my blog too?

The probligo said...

Be my guest!! Sorry - I have been detailing... didn't realise that someone had already been here!