How convenient. After debating god and consciousness and the origins of each in the last RRRR, I came across this piece in the Chronicle for Higher Education, a broad-ranging article concerned with history and the future of humanity. I strongly encourage you to read the link, but for those without ten minutes to spare, Ian Morris, author of the 2010 book Why the West Rules - For Now, argues that history is shaped by biology and geography. According to him, "Change is caused by lazy, greedy, frightened people looking for easier, more profitable, and safer ways to do things." Individual historical figures and cultures matter less than material circumstances. The rejection of "god-like kings," brought about by the expansion of societies, leads to intellectual thought that sets about to explain the world.
So, in my mind, there are many reasonable explanations of why we're here, but not necessarily why we exist. If we ascribe our existence to the Big Bang and evolution (material causes and physical processes), can everything that followed, including consciousness, eventually be described physically? Does that matter? Does humanity have to serve a greater purpose, or is our existence important in and of itself? Why are we so uncomfortable with mortality? Why, why, why? Thinking that my brain is thinking of my "self" which is directing my brain to think about the chemical processes happening behind my eyes resulting in me typing this freaks me out just a bit. Which brings me to this: Do y'all believe in free will?
Basically, do you drink IPAs because the concept of you as a social construct wants to enjoy them as necessity? Or are you biologically predisposed to seek more hops than the average swill-drinking ‘Murican because of thousands of years of migration, advances in technology, geographical advantage, exposure to war and disaster(or lack thereof), and familial progression that finally lead to your current residence and lifestyle? Both? Will the grand chain of humans having gone through similar but separate circumstances while forming social bonds ultimately lead to the destruction of our species? Why?
Do you have any Big Questions that you need answered? Now that we have the luxury to dig deeper do we have a moral obligation to do so? Or is this all masturbatory and we should simply get on with our daily lives, plodding toward our own mortality while not exploring the why or how?
Proceed with normal RRRR-ness, please, in a calm and orderly fashion.