Order and Chaos

Updated: Dec 10, 2018

Philosophy is often viewed as impractical. Why is it necessary for us to ask questions to live a happy life? For many people, it might not be necessary. For others, it may be completely necessary. Either way, there is a good point to be made in questioning... well... the art of questioning. The sole driving factor of all evolution is survival. Finding a purpose is only an obsession humans have developed to aid survival. These arbitrary reasons to keep living and these random things we're forced to find value in are an attempt to combat the human's unique inability to conceptualize randomness. So we must try and complete meaning from meaninglessness, which seems like additional abstraction that worsens the arbitrary nature of happiness.

But let's not abandon this idea so soon. Music is ultimately just randomness. We arrange sounds into meaningful patterns, and we arbitrarily decide that some of it is "good" music and some of it is "bad" music. The only consistent property of all music is that its natural state is to be shared. The performer develops a relationship with the listener, and the two can gain variants on the same message from the same organization of sound. Hence, there is no absolute meaning we can find, but there is meaning we can find with others. We can't create meaning alone. Things are meaningful because we share them with others. It is meaningful because we all interact with the same meaninglessness and organize it in similar ways.

Yet, that still quite isn't meaning. It seems the existential question revolves around the notion that meaning must exist to justify life. The raven (the real one, not Poe's) cares not for a greater purpose its action, but is beautiful regardless, and its worth is still apparent to us, so much in fact that we have associated symbolism to the raven. We do not, however, attribute symbolism to humans. We consider ourselves too multidimensional to represent one single thing. One can never be sure if the existential problem exists because humans consider themselves far more complex or far more simple than they actually are.

A majority of Western thought is (implicitly or not) informed by the notion that humans are far too complex to be completely understood. However, the line between simplicity and complexity may be simpler than we think. Order and chaos have a mature and sophisticated relationship. Individual ants following simple rules can create chaotic or complex behavior as a colony. But on the other side of the coin, the apparent randomness of subatomic particles and quantum mechanics somehow breeds reliable, predictable behaviors, like organizing into molecules. So are humans too simple for us to understand? Or too complex? Or a little bit of both?

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