Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Imagine a World without Metaphysics

Untold hours are spent across planet Earth trying to resolve questions that are unresolvable. Such questions include the existence of God, what happens after you die, whether there are other universes, what happened before the universe, and the ultimate purpose of the universe. It's not just that scientists haven't found these answers yet; rather, the answers to these questions are impossible to obtain. The questions themselves are literally senseless: our senses cannot ever access information that would help answer them. As the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein believed, there is something wrong with trying to answer metaphysical questions with the language we use.

The cosmic paradigm is essentially the rejection of metaphysics as a legitimate field of inquiry. For a cosmic paradigm to prevail, humans will have to fully divorce metaphysical questions from the realm of public policy. I believe that if secular societies dominated the landscapes of our solar system, humans will eventually quit demanding that others live by their metaphysical assumptions; indeed they will eventually turn away from seeking objective answers to metaphysical questions entirely.

Though some will always cling to metaphysical interpretations of life, I believe people will largely begin to seek solace in this world, in this life. I believe that what energy has historically been channeled into metaphysical projects, such as the building of magnificent cathedrals, will be diverted into projects whose rewards are unambiguously intended for this life. What wonders would be possible in a world without metaphysics?

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