Thursday, August 20, 2020

What Is Important to Me?

I am an economist and statistician by training, a software entrepreneur by occupation, and a  rose-colored-glasses philosopher by genetic disposition. 

Ever since I was an adolescent, and became aware of myself with respect to others, I have struggled to understand the purpose of my life, and the purpose of life in general. To this end, I have built a deep, personal, and long-lived (over my lifetime) belief system concerning the very definition of life, the purpose of life, and how I, a nearly infinitely small and temporal blip in the universe, fit into a nearly infinitely large universe spanning across all time.

I define myself as a message, a particular and unique message, delivered to a particular genetic address. I am a link in a chain that goes back at least 2 billion years, at which time messages became permanent enough to pass on through DNA. So I am a message, in a conversation that has been going on for a long time on this planet. In many ways, I am a product of this planet, its unique systems and processes, that led to the preservation of information through DNA. As such, I am hesitant to disown my heritage, and must acknowledge, that I am just a very small part of what’s come to pass on this planet. Furthermore, I am not prepared to break from the traditions that have served to yield me as their result, and therefore accept that there is AT LEAST a requirement on my part to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem, and accept my responsibilities to survive, and pass on survival, as best I am able, using the tools and knowledge passed on to me from time past.

I accept that survival is an important component of my purpose. I also accept that my survival as an individual (both through my genes and through my memes) is subsumed by the purpose of life in general, and of human beings in particular. I am committed to the survival of life, of which I am a member of the human species, and therefore committed to the survival of our species, above my own survival. In other words, I am willing to sacrifice my life, my beliefs, if I believe it is in the best interest of humanity, or even more importantly, in the best interest of life itself.

Luckily, the answers to the question of my own sacrifice are outside my ability to understand and decide. And if I should, at some point, become persuaded by the delusion that my own death will benefit the human species or life itself, it would be well to remind me that my delusion is more likely supported by an inflated ego and self-importance than by any reasonable argument.

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