Archive for May, 2009

Incoherent

Posted in Ranting, Uncategorized on May 25, 2009 by Emlyn

I don’t have a well formed idea for what I want to write in this post, but there’s something. This one’s going to be an interrupted kind of stream of consciousness I guess, what will be will be.

Interrupted because I’m typing on this tiny little asus netbook, which really has far too small a keyboard. Damn it’s so frustrating to use for this! But I’m sitting in bed next to my darling wife, so I’m not going to switch to another machine. I’ll just put up with the annoyance.

And, you know, this little machine has brought me a deal of happiness, even though it is irritating. Not because I needed another machine, far from it, it’s the ninth in the house, I have a giant beast of a notebook just in the other room to use whenever I like. But I’ve really wanted this thing for a while, because i had a vision of a tiny machine for reading books on and generally treating like a book, and going away from commercial tomes and toward free material, and I’ve realised it with this thing.

But otoh it’s just more stuff, isn’t it? Stuff is just a collection of anchors.

Rambling. What I’m trying to say is getting closer to beginning to come out. I’m getting a glimpse of the themes. They’re something about love, and about meaning, and how you can live inside this arbitrary thing we find ourselves in.

But it’s no clearer than that.

Ok, love. What’s that all about?

Ever since I can first remember thinking about anything, I’ve found myself in a meaningless universe. Most things are inconclusive to me, many possibilities, no clear lines. With meaning though, I’ve never been able to escape the clear absolute truth that there is none, at least in an absolute sense. There just can’t be, all arguments for it are circular. Absolute meaning can only come from outside the system, and as soon as it tries to intrude, it’s sucked into the milleau, losing its special status.

Related to this, is the problem of relative morality, the thing believers criticise us Atheists for. If morality is ungrounded, then you can just be for anything, can’t you? There’s no reason to hold one moral code or another, no reason not to go smashing stuff, and all the nihilistic crazy talk.

Actually, the sophisticated atheist will say, hey, wait, we evolved to do all this social stuff, and you know, evolution gives us our moral code. Which is the naturalistic fallacy. You can’t fall back on evolution, because you can’t get to aught from is.

And so I get lost in that stuff. There really is no ground. Why get up in the morning?

And yet I do. I live a moral life, and a happy one, and it’s a pretty standard one. Family is at the heart of things for me. How can that work?

I think what is central is that, when I think nothing matters, I just have to remember the people that I love, and who love me. Jodie, and my beautiful kids, primarily. Try as I might, there is no way for me to feel that they don’t matter, they just always do. And then from there everything else falls out, there’s my moral floor. For instance, it’s from reasoning based on these close relationships that I can see that each individual matters, is important, embedded as we all are in the web of social networks. So I come to my clearest basic universal moral tenet; it’s all about the people. People are a good, in and of themselves. That is my guide in all things.

I know this is still deep in the naturalistic fallacy, that, to quote a famous toon, it’s just the way I’m drawn. But I don’t think I can reason myself around it. I’m glad about that.

So I’ve been thinking about why I blog. Who the hell am I writing to? It’s not like anyone much really reads it after all (well, a few awesome people do, you guys rock, of course, but it’s no mass media publication is what I’m saying).

I’ve realised that it’s from a sense of deterioration with age. I look back on 37 years of life, and it’s hazy. What things have happened? When did they happen, and with whom, and it what sequence. I’ve noticed that I can’t answer that stuff anymore. Much of my childhood is just gone, I think, and my adult life too. I know I must have lived it, must have done stuff, but I couldn’t tell you what. Moreover, the things I do recall I often don’t trust. We make up most of our memories I think.

I lost a lot of those memories through lack of rehearsal. A lot of the past is painful, and I figured out at some point that it’s best not to keep on going over it. But, if you don’t take the old tapes out and play them once in a while, they degrade. I also think that the very requirement for rehearsing memory makes it suspect in any case. Iterative biases and reinvention must dominate over time. What’s left is barely a memory, it’s a fictional narrative of how each of us, as the main character of the universe, takes fates gifts and punishments.

So I’m really writing for me, and for those close to me maybe.

I guess I’m writing into the future. I’m writing to future Emlyn. Hey there future me, I hope that brain hasn’t gotten too much shakier, and I hope you got that neural internet interface we always wanted. I’m not editing this, so it’s real, you didn’t fabricate it. For what that’s worth.

Also, maybe my kids will read it one day? Hi you guys. I hope we’re still on speaking terms, families do fall out. More often than not, if my statistically insignificant experience is anything to go by (which it probably isn’t). Maybe I’m dead by the time you see this? Man, well, that’s a bit suck. I hope the future is working out. Maybe I screw shit up royally sometime between writing this and you reading it, I hope not. But I tell you what, I love you guys more than I can say. I can’t work out how I get theĀ  privellege of being your Dad, it’s a hell of a good trick. I’m so damned proud of you.

(I can’t really write anything like this to my wife in the future because I know she reads this, but hey there love, you’re beautiful and you blow my mind every day, I love you!)

Anyway, how sooky! holy crap.

What I’m trying to say is, the meaning of life is other people, the people that you love. Everything else is bullshit.

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