Ministerial Meandering

Philosophy - Schmilosophy

Sheila and I were driving to Fort Langley on Monday this week, when she challenged me with why I was delving into philosophy.  This was a consequence of my having admitted that I had scrambled my brain trying to understand some of the more esoteric of that noble band of individuals.

Philosophy itself, in its simplest definition, might reasonably be described as ‘thinking about thinking’.  It has to do with trying to understand particular kinds of thinking, the formation of beliefs, claims to knowledge - about the world or large parts of it.  It also has a lot to do with how humans find meaning in existence - if, indeed, we do actually exist, and are not avatars in part of some celestial supercomputer 3-D video game, as some have even suggested.

Attempts to define the meaning of life has been a challenge for all those with a searching mind since man first started to walk upright, and we could say, with some degree of certainty, that it has yet to reach any sort of consensus.  Perhaps Richard Adams was right, and ’42’ is as close as we are likely to get.  But I think not.

I believe that we are born with an innate sense of right and wrong - and most philosophers that I have read so far are in agreement with this premise.  In order to progress from totally self-centred hunter-gatherer to a socially cooperative community, we need to play up the altruism and play down the selfishness.  In almost any view, diverse concepts in ontology would support this simple idea.

From it we can derive judicial systems within communities, which will necessarily include punishment if justice is to be served.  This sits easy with us for the most part, because it meshes with our sense of what is fair and right.

The majority of mega-businesses however, apart from a few, such as Big Pharma and those involved in transport and food production, cannot be said to have any form of moral value - and even these mentioned are subject to scrutiny because of significant corruption within the financing of each.  Education, on the other hand, ought to be a reliable purveyor of moral values, and until recently, it probably was - although misguided in some areas of the world.

Where I’m going with this, I’m really not sure - but I thought you ought to be subjected to the vagaries of my mind that come unbidden from time to time.  

So there you are; you can clearly see the need for you to keep praying for your vicar’s clarity of mind - before the little green van with men bringing a funny jacket for me to wear arrives.


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