Armchair Brain

I found myself, yes I did, all alone and weary one Sunday afternoon, arrested by a thought: what IF we really all are just the imagining of a weak and impatient God, a God maybe who couldn’t be bothered with all the little details such as complete self-knowledge, true understanding, infallible trust in our fellow beings, and so forth and suchlike? Am I really to blame for all my many manifold faults? Or rather is it that being just a human being, I come into the world without form and without full disclosure regarding the terms and conditions of existence? The first seemed more appealing whilst the latter more realistic, and I wondered to myself yes I did by George whether I should like to be a realist or a happy man, and then I came to the consideration, in fact that perhaps that was not a decision that I could really make, but rather was in my genes or programming say or else perhaps in the circumstances of my existence, the shaping of me which took place, really, in all chap-like honestly, very much out of my hands, so to speak. And then I thought very well, but aren’t I rather walking around the issue rather than, as it were, plunging into it directly? I thought, and perhaps this was my most sensible thought of the day, that I should make a cup of tea, or maybe, seeing as I had it, some coffee, so that I could really get down to the bones of these issues which, yes, I would say, are rather fundamental to well, life I suppose you’d call it.

Perhaps I’m being over dramatic in all this re-telling, but it seemed to me that I really was onto something, you see, because once I had sat down again, with a cup of steaming tea in hand, anyway, I had the most tremendous idea, it seemed to me, that afternoon, especially seeing as I hadn’t really tackled these kinds of issues before, you know, what with my damned work interfering all the blasted thundering time, as I suppose it does for many men. The splendid idea I had, not to toot my own trumpet with too much self-congratulation, was that the whole issue, that is to say the problem, yes, of humanity itself, life, the fragility of the human mind versus the enormity of the cosmos etc. can in fact be boiled down to a simple analogy which I shall here illustrate: The kettle does not sing. A singer, even an amateur one such as myself, brings differentiation to raw noise. The mere noise produced, yes, by the kettle when it is ready, is not a note. It may be measured as such by clever chaps with glasses and white coats and recorded upon their jolly clever scales, but, by George, the process of doing so is a dilution, if you will, of that raw sound so unique to the kettle when it is keening on the hob announcing my tea. This, I said to myself, is the nature of the universe, and the nature of the human being: the human being, the man, is a kind of creature which divides the raw data into chunks such that they may be easily digested, I suppose, and yet this breaking down, if you will, is the root of all humanity’s great problems. Tea, as it were, or coffee? Yes.

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2 thoughts on “Armchair Brain

  1. A clever identification of the problem, but is the solution as easily identifiable? If we are to accept that we, as confused beings in a universe too vast for us to measure and too fast for us to catch, do not truly understand the sensations transmitted to the brain, that our understanding of the universe is a simplification that the human mind has latched on to, not out of choice but out of desperation for an answer, do we also accept our limitations? We are problem solving scientists, we measure everything and give everything a value, a sum, and we must also accept that these values our just OUR understanding; not THE understanding of the universe. If we are to accept this and then carry on as if nothings changed, we are simply actors on a stage; we act out the scenes, we play the part, but we know it to be fiction. But we lack the ability to take off the mask and accept reality, as we are only aware of one truth: there is no truth. The ironic twist is that to be the realist is to accept a loss of reality: and so the happy man’s position becomes more and more enviable.

    • Must an admission that our understanding is rooted in a human perspective necessarily mean that we admit it to be false? We have shuddered under the revelation that our perspective has no monopoly on understanding reality, yet we continue to use it. The realist’s only option is simply to take the loss of truth as just another fact about the world. In other words: the knowledge that our evaluation and categorisation of the world into comprehensible pieces is not a process which leads to knowledge of the things themselves is just another consideration that we have to add to our process of calculation as we continue to categorise, weigh up and diagnose reality. I will admit it is a difficult and interesting problem, the scope of which I did not feel I could address in my eccentric little piece.

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