Thought for the day

2 Mar


Can science, philosophy or religion really explain why we are here?

Rob Kneebone

If one accepts that we are merely a collection of atoms-which by their very nature and definition are soulless inanimate objects-then how does one explain the existence of human emotion, compassion and the capacity we have to love? Can that just be attributed to mere electrical impulses? Are we nothing more than a collection of particles/products of freak chance and coincidence, or is there more to the existence of us than the theories of modern science, philosophy and religion can ever expect to explain?

We may all arise from a primary substance-to which we all ultimately return, but from this explicable primary substance an intangible human soul and consciousness is created as a secondary by-product of our existence, which cannot be sufficiently explained by any scientific theorem. Furthermore, to suggest that we and the extreme complexity of the human mind and the universe itself were somehow created by some invisible spirit (God) is not only ignorant but does very little to explain anything; it just makes our naturally inquisitive minds and impulses reside within a state of complacency. If we attribute all that IS to some God, we are actually providing no real tangible explanation or meaning to what it means to be in ‘existence’ in THIS life.

Science does not provide all of the answers, as much as its fore-bearers and disciples like to think it does. I am no scholar, nor scientist, I am just an inquisitive being who doesn’t take everything he reads, hears or sees as truth or fact. Absolutely everything and anything is subjective and is the opinion of one person or a group of people who think the same. I don’t personally think we are meant to know or understand why or how we are all here, but neither do I think are we meant to just accept that we are here because some ‘thing’ designed us and placed us here in order to live a restricted life according to some rules written in a book on planet earth in order to enter some place called Heaven when we die. To think or believe that is insulting to life itself; and it makes life itself rather futile.

It is up to us all to think and theorise about our lives, about our existence; it is up to us to attach meaning and understanding to our short time here. Science can provide some tangible reasons for the existence of life and provide mathematical formulae for almost everything, from the theories of buoyancy and reflection to more complex quantum equations. Philosophy can provide some interesting, colourful and meaningful theories to our existence and actions. Religion can provide some comfort to those who aren’t comfortable with or have the capacity to think for themselves, nor want to think too deeply about anything for fear of discovering the unsettling possibility that there is nothing after this life but eternal nothingness (like there was before our birth).

I don’t think we are meant to understand or know why we are here or why or how all this happened. We seek answers to our existence because we feel there must be a reason why we are here, because to just ‘be’ here for a few decades for no other reason than to procreate, so that the next generation can ask that very same question, seems rather pointless. May be there is no reason. May be our short lives are just the price to pay for the products made when chance and coincidence collide. May be the only meaning we can ever really attach to our existence is that meaning which is personal to each and every one of us- whether that be human relationships, love of nature, or music or writing or cooking, or whatever makes you want to wake up to a new day.

We are all here for a minuscule amount of time in the great expanse of time itself. We are mere tadpoles in the great expanse that is evolution, mere specks of dust on the time-line of history of the universe. To potentially discover some ‘real’ reason why we are here would, I think, ironically render our actual existence meaningless, because it is the unknown, the quest for knowledge and understanding, which keeps us all going. If we all knew the answer to the X and Y’s of life then it would all be very boring. Nothing stays exciting if we know the outcome. If you know what someone’s gift for you is because you had a peep before they wrapped it, then there is no excitement of anticipation when that person hands you the gift. It is the unknown which provides the excitement.

We all know that absolutely everything in this life is finite, but despite knowing this, we don’t all sit around crying for the entirety of our lives because we all know that nature went to great efforts to create us in the first place, so we may as well appreciate that and make the most of this bizarre thing called life which millions of other sperm didn’t get to find out. None of us can predict what is around the corner, other than an infinite amount of possible scenarios .

One thing science, philosophy or religion will never be able to do is to fully understand the complex capacity of the human mind and its emotions. No one will ever be able to prove what happens to the human soul when our bodies die. The reason we need religion or science or philosophy is to provide us with some comforting reasons and answers for our existence so that we don’t all go insane, but as of yet none of the three tangents of thinking have really provided any concrete answers, and I doubt they ever will, for the intangible can never be explained by some formula or by any amount of words.

Absolutely everything is finite, except nothingness.



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