Member Rara Avis
Sven, I have chosen you to pick on because you speak with an air of authority that I find fails to convince. In the time I have I want to focus on your idea of the 'perfect life' that awaits us.
The problem is that we can choose. . . and those choices will either take us closer to, or farther away from, that "perfect" life. . .
Two things here:
1This begs the need for an infallible definition of the word 'perfect' and every person's access to that.
2This also implies that anything less than this loosely defined concept in one's own life is deficient and unfulfilling.
Let's expand on #1
The term perfect, like so many others, is entirely subjective. It cannot be measured against one standard. Here you might interject and claim that you are well aware that perfect might mean different things to different people and so the perfect life is indeed waiting. However, in essence, that would defeat the idea that we aren't 'masters of our fate'. If we can therefore determine perfect for ourselves, surely we could navigate our own way there. Nothing spiritual in that I'm afraid...doesn't speak to me of a created place 'waiting' for us.
Added to the philosophical flaw, let's look at the practical reasons for why there is not a perfect life waiting for everyone.
A - there are not enough resources per person in the world to support a 'perfect' life for all. 77% of earth's population (stats from 1999 sociology class) exists in suffering - from a socio-economic pov. Where, do you suppose, are all these people - on their unwitting journey towards their perfect life - going to find the necessary resources to outfit an extraordinary transition from misery to perfection?
B - such a premise would assume that this perfect life occurs for some. Could you please point out enough examples of a perfect life, whether in history or in the present, to affirm this? Can you also explain how you determine that those lives consititute a perfect life?
C - You mention choices as if the social condition a person finds themselves in is solely a matter of personal choice. I believe, and sociological, psychological and anthropological research supports this belief, that the values of one's culture becomes entrenched in one's life. As a result of this, I don't think all actions are a matter of 'choice'. Hence, a near-starving mother of 5 hungry children in India, does not have a lot of choice to strike out on her search for her waiting perfect life. The practical reasons are obvious. However, her cultural beliefs, class system, and her gender identifications will also bind her.
I personally do not want the waiting perfect life you imply. I will always strive for personal happiness. Frankly though, I'd be bored horribly in a perfect life. Life for me has seen many trials, many times of despair and loss. These times have taught me many things, given me much strength. I am grateful for that. I think difficult times - times that fall far short of the perfect life - are necessary for our growth and wisdom. Seriously, the idea that a perfect life waits and we have to make choices to get there undermines this. It implies that choices which bring us pain are bad, and therefore stunt our designed potential as humans to find our perfect lives.
But have there been times in your life where you just knew that you were doing the right thing? That you didn't even think about the other option because you knew that it would be the wrong one for you?
I agree that many people would have times such as you describe certainly, (those of course that are able to make choices...), yet in all honesty, I find this to be a matter of commonsense more than any guidance from an anonymous creator of our perfect lives.
Which brings me to this:
You have a fate for your life. . . it's been chosen for you. . . clues have been left along the way. . .it's up to you to see them and to find them. . . don't miss them. . . they're always there. . . we just get too caught up in things sometimes to see them. . .
I am afraid this comes across as solely a romantic notion, primarily because you haven't assigned any creator or entity as responsible for this fate. I am curious - and this is not a criticism per se, but true curiousity - how can you, or anyone else, place unshakeable faith in a perfect life created by an anonymity? Without a personal relationship to work from where is the evidence for personal faith?
You also speak of clues. Which brings me to my concluding point.
Basically, from what I understand, if I were to put your whole argument in one sentence it would read something like this:
There is a being who has chosen your fate, he/she/it leaves clues for you to find, you look out for them, and depending on your choices you either arrive or don't arrive at a 'perfect' life.
It seems inherently contradictory to me that our Anonymity picks out perfect little lives for 12 billion + people in the past and present and who knows how many in the future and then doles out a few clues to help us on our way. Humankind, as a whole, is either very dense, or there simply aren't any clues...
For really - what is the POINT of designing this great, perfect life if no one ever gets there? (Please refer to my first point #1 B).
I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable having faith in an Anonymity who created a path for our time on earth that no one has ever reached the end of.
And to sum up: choice and fate are simply just oxymoronic in the same sentence.
"He looked across the
silky surface of the Severn...
it was a famously difficult
river with fierce tides..."
From Jack Maggs
[This message has been edited by Severn (edited 10-12-2000).]