Sixty One

I’ve started listening to a podcast – The Partially Examined Life – which is basically a bunch of dudes discussing a paper written by a philosopher. The episode I listened to today was on “An Absurd Reasoning” by Albert Camus.

They were talking about life and meaning and how meaning in life was to be meaningful to someone. Does that make sense? Basically, there is meaning in life if you mean something to someone. Then one of the hosts made a comment about how that was the function that deities, or religion fulfilled. That is, religion gives meaning to people because they feel that the deity finds meaning in them.

Is that all religion is? A tool to hold human beings back from nihilism?

Oh man, I don’t know. I don’t know how to deconstruct my faith constructively. I don’t want to just pull it apart and leave it at that. I want to seek truth but I don’t know how to do that honestly and objectively. But maybe it’s not possible to do it objectively? Damn it, I keep coming back to this issue with free will. I know that I’m born into a life where I’ve inherited a lot of the decisions that other people have made for me (we all are), so my thinking and values and beliefs are already skewed from the get-go. All I can do is my best with what I know.

…But what do I know?!

Eleven

My lappy’s running low on battery so let’s see how fast I can articulate my thoughts before it dies.

Does free will exist? I used to think so, but the more I think about it, the more I talk about it with people, the more I read about it, the less convinced I am. Every time we start studying a new text in class, there is a context lecture on the author and the social and political climate of the time. This is so we have a foundation to build a meaningful analysis of the text. Every time, we find things in the text which reflect the author’s background or common views and values of the time that they’re writing in.

I don’t think this is intentional on the author’s part, I think it just comes out naturally. So if we can find reasons for why the author writes what they write, does this mean that they’re just a product of their society, that they’ve been conditioned to be the way that they are? If free will truly existed, then theoretically, writers would be able to write for an infinite number of different topics and these would have no reason attributable to it.

Or is it a matter of defining what free will means? Is free will, infinite choice? Can you have free will if your choices are limited?