Monday, October 24, 2011

Why not just shave my head?

That question cuts to the heart of what I have come to realize. I have come to realize that there is no meaning in life. The individual cannot, nor the society of individuals, derive a true meaning from life. The individual or the society of individuals can only synthesize a valid meaning from life, which is to say that they can create a non-self sustaining, or non-provable meaning from life. This meaning requires some loosely defined concept of faith. By faith I simply mean an acceptance to be true what cannot be proven. To some extent, even things that can be proven are taken by faith by the average individual. Most individuals do not understand why water is essential to our survival, but we in faith drink water when we are thirsty rather than some other fluid because we have faith that it will rehydrate us.

Furthermore, I have realized that friendships and other non-specific social connections with individuals is an extension of faith. Social connections are made for the basic purpose of exchanging goods. Goods, as I am using it, are anything physical or immaterial that can be given or taken. So what then is the good that a friend provides? A friend can provide many goods, but at the most fundamental level I would posit that a friend exchanges familiarity. Familiarity is a more base concept of solidarity, which is a unifying principle that unites individuals for a single purpose or cause. Familiarity is more abstract and less impacting than solidarity in that it only unites one individual to another and a single familiarity which can be exchanged between two people does not necessarily have value outside of the ongoing transaction between these two individuals. In fact, familiarity can be exchanged between non-individuals such as domesticated animals and plant life. It is taken on faith that the familiarity we derive from animals and plant life is a reciprocal response to our own given familiarity.

Beyond that, there are many more immaterial goods which can be exchanged between individuals which I could attempt to list, but might not be able to satisfactorily define what these immaterial goods are. The purpose of even bringing up familiarity is to show on a simple model what it is that friendship provides for the individual. I recognize that I am altogether neglecting to address the issue of social contract theory, but I leave that to more capable minds. The reason for avoiding this is to stay separate from the aspect of social that encompasses the question of why we form governments and political hierarchy. I believe it is possible discuss the other aspects of social without delving into the realms of political theory. From now on, it should be understood that when I talk of social I am referring to immaterial and to some extent the physical connections between individuals and the evolutions of those connections.

And I have said all this to say that I am deficient of faith in other individuals, moreover I continue to lose faith in everything (not just individuals) that I interact with as I begin to understand more and more the complexity and inconsistencies which all things have. For drawing up a very broad and non-theological definition, I shall call these inconsistencies in individuals sin to denote the negative connotation I wish to associate with inconsistency. I do this so that when I say that I am full of sin and that the promise of redemption from sin by a savior, namely Christ, is a very wonderful prospect. Unfortunately, I lack the faith that there is such a savior. I lack the faith to believe that my inconsistencies can be remedied. Even if the Christ is perfect, that is consistent, I still cannot summon faith to believe that an individual's consistency can inoculate my inconsistency.

But if this is true, why shouldn't I just shave my head? For those not aware of why I am growing out my hair, I am growing it out because I made a seven-year vow to the Judeo-Christian God that I would consecrate myself to better understanding myself and It in relation to each other and the impact we can have on the world. If I do not have the faith to believe in the exchange between a non-physical entity and myself, then it follows that I do not have the faith to believe there would be repercussions for cutting my hair. However, I believe that my own consistency; which I now give the abstract title of righteousness, is at risk if I break this vow. By cutting my hair, I would be rendering myself yet further inconsistent. To the same extent that righteousness might be self-determined, or self-made; sin is also self-determined. I can sin against myself, or be inconsistent with myself, and thus be doing wrong by myself.

If anyone cares to try to show me that there is meaning in life using the terms I have laid out, and not with their own terms unless you can justify why your terms are more appropriate, then I would greatly appreciate the exchange.


1 comment:

  1. I would attempt to offer an idea, but I don't know if it would be considered 'in your terms' or not. To be honest, I'm afraid of what might be said if I do try and it is not to your liking. But since I'm relatively thick-skinned I will proceed with one thought: What is the physical world compared to faith? I was told in science class that in order to get to the current number of Periodic Elements there have been several cataclysmic occurances similar to the 'Big Bang.' Meaning only this enormous disruption could create enough energy to cause these pieces to fuse into larger things and create a new Element. What I'm saying is this - sometimes physical change is 'necessary' to bring about new things. I am not advocating anything painful or permanent when it comes to a human being, however you have modified your name, your circle of friends and your faith. Why not your hair as well? Perhaps it will be cathartic. It could do nothing other than leave you with a cold head, but that is what hats are for.
    Regardless, I want you to know I love you and that you are in my thoughts and prayers.