I used to call the philosophy I worked out on my blog "existential cosmicism," because I combine the pessimistic metaphysics with more hopeful existentialism. The idea is that nature is absurd, but the presence of intelligent life within nature is anomalous, so all bets are off. We are not fully natural. Something has emerged within nature which calls for other forms of explanation (hence biology, psychology, sociology, ethics, economics, and politics). This is roughly the Cartesian dualism which Buddhists and other mystics say they reject, except they don't. The dichotomy reappears in their philosophy, as the distinction between consciousness and maya, reality and illusion, and so on. Mystics need a theodicy too.

If you want to say that nothing matters in the whole universe, that means nothing we do matters. Why, then, end suffering? Why not be selfish rather than selfless? Why bothering following Buddhism or any monistic, mystical path to enlightenment? Only if you reconstruct the Cartesian dualism between mind and matter--or between personhood and nature, as I'd put it--can you motivate the enlightenment process.

Instead, I'd say nothing that nature or sheer physicality does matters. But as for what emerges from those absurd, amoral, indifferent interactions, the higher order interactions can be meaningful. Indirectly, then, nature isn't wholly absurd since its biproduct is meaningful and even potentially heroic, moral, honourable, and enlightened.

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Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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Benjamin Cain

Benjamin Cain

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.