A few hours after posting my last post, I happened to follow a link that led to a blog of a friend of a friend. The blogger seems to be a pretty decent guy, probably a great engineer and to my mind is very confident in his worldview. I am guessing here of course, but for the purposes of this follow up post let’s take it as accurate.
Anyway, shortly after I finished whining about it’s hard to understand our (meaning my) place in the world, I read how this guy reflects on a recent birthday. For him asking questions like “What is the sound of one hand clapping” and “How do I know I exist?” are “useless claptrap”. You know, pretty much every blog post I have ever written.
OK, the “how do I know I exist" is a pretty lame, but I suspect he would find all my caterwauling pointless and easily grouped with calculating the number of angels on the head of pin. If I understanding his post, for him knowledge is only “useful” when it has value beyond your own existence (even though he admits he enjoys some of this useless knowledge).
I am only recording it here to remind myself that probably the majority of people in the world, IF they happened to stumble across this well hidden blog, would find me intolerable. So I carry that around with me and wonder if my worldview is actually just a bunch of philosophical BS ( and low grade philosophy at that) ?
But then I can’t stop myself…
[NOTE: the following is NOT meant to criticize this fellow blogger. This is to point out how my mind works, and as a side effect, why I am a horrible dinner guest. I get an idea and start riffing on it, which often leads to some discomfort in the room]
If useful knowledge is only something that has value beyond my meager existence, what about the next person that it helps out? What makes their job or car or house or life any less of a pile of BS? And if my knowledge helps me fill out more TPS reports in triplicate at work, what if the TPS reports are really just another pile?
I may be reading into it, but I think he means to say that useful knowledge is only something that helps you fix some mechanical or structural problem. So that eliminates all fiction and poetry, most movies and TV shows, all of comics and graphic novels.
And the more I think about it, we all will someday return to the earth, be food for worms and end up as worm-waste. It’s a closed circle, the existence beyond my meager existence is just as meager. Isn’t it? None of it is “Useful” if you take the long view.
Jeepers….I am hopeless.