I had a discussion with a great scholar about the mind and how it can believe anything it wants to believe, as well as find reasons to refute what anyone else believes.
Philosophers all disagree among themselves on the most important issues, eg. God, morality, etc. Some prove the existence of God and the soul, while others refute their proofs, each side giving what seems to be convincing logical arguments.
Logic can be used to prove and disprove anything, thus, is philosophy a waste of time? Why then are some of us so obsessed with it?
Quoting Ortega: “Our first impression is that of a multitude of opinions on the same subject;… some opinions contradict each other… The philosophical past thus strikes us at first glance as a congeries of errors… Hence Agrippa’s famous argument against the possibility of attaining truth… each new philosophy begins with a denunciation of its predecessor… it is the past itself that is daily committing suicide, discrediting itself, bringing ruin upon itself.” (Ortega y Gasset, The Origin of Philosophy).
A typical example of this “dissonance” is a famous dispute between Plato and his former disciple, Aristotle, both considered to be among the greatest minds in history. Plato is a very strong supporter of the belief in the personal immortality of the soul. Aristotle, (according to most interpreters), denies this idea of personal immortality.
So there is a real problem here for people who rely primarily on their intellect. It seems we’re really in a quandary, and it gets worse: the same argument applies to the claims of scientists, who also are busy contradicting and disproving each other’s theories (eg. will there be a polar shift soon; was the universe created by a Big Bang 16 billion years ago, or did it always exist?
The scholar and I discussed all these points and he then said to me; “So, my rather serious dilemma is: if I can’t have faith in philosophy OR science, and mysticism is not my cup of tea, what then can I have?”
Personally, for me, the author of this article, I have found that if something cannot be proven, such as; is a concrete wall solid, tested by punching it as hard as I can with my hand, I will not trust its validity entirely.
My grandfather always told me; “Trust nothing that you hear, and only half of what you see.” Wise words valid now even more than hundreds or thousands of years ago, because we all know how good photos can be manipulated and how unreliable the ‘fake news’ is.
Humans always want clear answers, but the most important questions cannot be answered, such as; what the meaning of life is. This irreconcilable problem is one of the reasons Ethicalism.org was formulated and published on the internet.
Ethics have always been clear and simple concepts that are irrefutable in their logic and objective validity. Those of us with the same dilemma as our dear scholar may never find the reasons for our existence, but we can all find meaning and direction in life by following the code of conduct of the ethics.
Our belief is simply this; by living a life of ethical conduct, one will feel proud to be who they are and not worry about what comes after death, wishing for entry to heaven or fearing damnation in hell.
Time is precious, and wasting it trying to make sense of what cannot be proven just to have something to believe in is, well, not the best use of life. We hope you find solace in the ethics, and with that, a life of contentment and success.