On life and Existentialism
Life is existence and existence is everything, because it is contrast to non-existence, which in turn is nothing and therefore is not life. A simple example would be to look outside for a moment. Everything that exists at all is part of life because it contributes to and lives under the systems of life.
Some would say that only complex organisms are alive, as apposed to inanimate objects, which cannot act upon their own. This is of course a sham set up by people who are scared of the consequences of the original statement that existence is life. To the unlearned man, if existence is life, then every object he breaks or uses in some way is killed in the process and I would say that to some basic extent he would be right in his assumption. But as is so common among our species we fail to look at the larger picture. Whatever object is being used is killed in that it no longer is in the state that it previously resided in (ie. a rock being melted into its metallic components). But what is important to remember is that the entire object is changed into new objects and therefore new life. When a tree is cut down it dies, but its material is used to build structures that in turn have a new life. What is most important to note here, is the cycles of death and rebirth and that in essence they are the process of life.
After hearing this revelation, the unlearned man yet again misunderstands. He explores the statementís implications shortly and doesnít realize that these principles apply to his own life as well. The unlearned man applies the newly realized principles to objects only, for now he can see that when he creates a tool or eats a vegetable that the system of life is not disturbed. But since he knows that he is a much more complex form of life, he naturally assumes that he must have his own distinct set of rules. This is a by-product of the arrogance formed through being the highest form of life in our small knowledge of existence. If the unlearned man does understand the possibility of his death in the context of the statement, then there is one last pitfall for him to maneuver past. Namely, that death, and especially his own death, is insignificant because of the irreversible and inexorable rebirth that occurs following that death. When an organism dies in the forest, it is decomposed of its basic parts and used to create new life. Anyone who gardens will have a very clear understanding of this fact when they compost and fertilize their crops.
Once this idea sets in, its consequences are both beautiful and horrifying, hence why so many weak and delusional fools prefer not to think about it. It is horrifying in that each of us must recognize the impermanence of our own lives, but beautiful because we see how the process feeds itself unendingly.
The fundamental reason why so many people are fooled by lifeís beauty is the idea of ownership. Ownership in all its forms are misconceptions and only proved true in short periods of time. Most people think that they own their lives and their possessions, but I insist that we do not. If we truly owned our lives, then there would be some system in place to keep us from not owning our lives. Also, we would never lose our lives because in owning our lives solely, no other would be able to own anotherís life. Furthermore, since we could never lose our life, and another could never own it, we would live eternally in a physical state. This is obviously wrong, for no one as of yet has lived much past one hundred years. If you can't keep something forever then how can you own it?
The more realistic interpretation about life is that you borrow it from the universe. In this I mean that you own your life in a limited period of time before you must give it back and have it turned into other lives, which will in turn be borrowed. Since you are borrowing your life, you are also borrowing your possessions and it is futile to amass copious amount of anything. Your so-called "possessions" are there to be used for sustenance, learning, expression, and enjoyment. If you truly accept impermanence then you will realize that as far as material wealth goes, it is overrated; and as far as "owning" anything, you only need what keeps you alive, expands your understanding, allows you to convey ideas and emotion to others, and a small amount of pleasure with whatever time you have left in the day. Most people today focus on the hedonist perspective where enjoyment is the only real pursuit, but they fail to understand the enjoyment that stems from the other necessities. When a person is granted sustenance, he should feel enjoyment out of being alive. When a person understands the world around him, he should feel delight in the knowing of his surroundings. When a person conveys an idea or emotion to another, they both feel an enjoyment in the connection because everyone wants to feel connected and a part of something bigger than themselves. This is where the hedonists miss out; when they think that they are giving themselves more pleasure, they are, in reality, robbing themselves of their own potential.
If we study physics and causality in nature, then the existential viewpoint will be ratified unarguably. This is found easiest in the Theory of Conservation of Energy, which states that the sum energy in any closed system will be equal before and after an interaction has occurred. This is easy to demonstrate on a pool table where the energy that originates in the playerís muscles gets transferred into motion of the balls and friction, which causes heat and sound to occur. Universe means that everything in existence is classified as within it, and so therefore it is a closed system. Moreover this means that every interaction between all matter present has its energy conserved. Energy therefore, cannot be created or destroyed. If Einstein was correct in thinking that matter was equitable to energy, then it too cannot be created or destroyed. And finally, if matter cannot be destroyed (made non-existent), then life in its totality cannot be destroyed because its material will always exist. All that can ever happen is a change of state, or a death and rebirth.
If all this is understood, then we must all to turn to the most pertinent question of "How are we supposed to use our lives?" The answer lies in each person once he is able to find his place within the world and within the universe.
April 24, 2007
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