by Benjamin Scott Campbell
Recently, I witnessed a conversation which went something like this (vastly abbreviated):
Man 1: There are many intellectual scientists who are proper idiots when it comes to philosophy, and that’s unfortunate since philosophy is thinking about how to think. Though you cannot always test truthfulness, you can disprove things.
Man 2: Philosophy belongs in the museum with alchemy. Science proves with concrete evidence whereas philosophy speculates, passing supposition as theory without actually applying a test. Further, you are quoting scientific method.
Man 1: …Which came from Aristotle, a philosopher.
Man 2: But why waste time sitting around drinking coffee while trying to figure out something beyond scientific method? The purpose of life is to find joy in learning: understand that everything can be explained and valid explanations can be tested. Enjoy life for as long as you can.
This dialogue encapsulates the breadth of that conversation. But I want the reader to pay careful attention to the last thing Man 2 said.
The Purpose of Life, According to Man 2: Enjoy it for as long as you can.
Watching, observing, the question burned through my skull until it drilled its fine path through my cortex and out to this page.
Scientists do not hate the Why question. It’s where they live and perform all their tests on things. It is the substance of living–the Why of existence, not the why of things–which makes them turn away, waving dismissive hands. That is precisely what Man 2 has done; that is precisely all that Man 2 can do. He cannot test why he exists, so he reduces it to a pithy and altogether groan-worthy “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we… but let’s not think about that.”
Man 3 joins the banter: I simply don’t see philosophy holding the same value to our lives as medicine.
Why bother if someone lives or dies? Of what do you deprive the ill if not the feigned sense of otherness with which the universe persistently drowns us?
Man 2: My 6yo knows more about weather patterns and money management than most 20-somethings I’ve met.
Yeah, but… who cares? Why does it matter if your daughter should grow up a successful meteorologist? It might feel as though it matters to you, but, really, the cold facts of the universe can’t prove your feelings, so I guess they’re irrelevant. Or what difference would it make, really, if she experienced a brain injury rendering her bed-ridden?
Man 2: Just have fun. Find joy in learning.
I’d like to see Man 2 try to convince Syrian refugees or a bloated Ugandan orphan with terminal skin disease and missing leg (has he ever touched one such person?) that knowledge and enjoyment are the purpose of life. And if knowledge and enjoyment are the purpose of life, why is it that only the privileged get to have it?
I’ll say that again, just in case you were skimming: If knowledge and enjoyment are the purpose of life, why is it that only the privileged get to have it?
We’ve just shoehorned 99% of humanity into the dumpster of worthlessness. That is what an exclusively materialistic (i.e. mere matter) worldview dominated by science does, and put in that environment, a collective existence that’s 99% worthless fails the test of proof. It’s rubbish.
The only people this historically infantile worldview benefits are the scientists who propagate it, they and the sheep who blindly follow them into the slaughter pen, unwilling to acknowledge the existence of purpose beyond matter, beyond the veil of vision.
Benjamin Scott Campbell enjoys thinking, telling stories, and breathing, all primitive practices we ought to ridicule and condemn. Email this oafish savage at BenjaminSCampbell@outlook.com