Life's Issues and Realities; A mini-book compiled of my writings on philosophy
September, 13, 2012
After spending a whole lifetime studying, thinking, and working in the field of engineering and the sciences, and even consciously viewing a focus on the “liberal arts” as something of a waste of time, I have come to realize that the deeper and more meaningful aspects of life are found in the humanities and that a focus on the hard sciences is really a shallow view of life. The humanities opens a window to a view of the world that has infinitely more substance than that which can be described through mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Science has its place. That is to make better approximations to what the reality of nature contains and how the processes of nature work. It is a useful and valuable thing. But the humanities reaches into areas where no scientific discipline can define the rules or establish a formula that fully defines the process at work. These areas are in the realm of knowledge that consider concepts for beauty, truth, goodness, evil, honesty, peace and tranquility. These are concepts of the mind and the character of each exists only in the individual personality, value system, and faith dimensions of each person.
The study of the humanities gives insight to such things. It gives one the opportunity to read and learn what was the view of these things by a multitude of highly intelligent, thoughtful people who spent their lives contemplating such things. It causes one to consider which, of the many diverse views represented by those people, makes sense and which seem to comply with a personal outlook which you as an individual would consider rational, reasonable. In other words it causes one to think about what actually is your belief regarding the truth about life. That is not simply adopting the belief of one of those people and co-opting it as your own, but rather giving synthesis to their writings in the form of ones own individual view, effectively defining your own philosophy.
Among the various studies embodied in the humanities such as literature, history, art, etc. the one that most vividly brings forth this insight is the study of philosophy. The writings of philosophers embrace the entire spectrum of human thought on what life is all about. Some of it makes sense and other parts are clearly misguided and irrational. Reading the variety of writings that reflect all of those conflicting views is the best way to sort out what is one’s own view. It allows one to give ascent to a principle, or to conclude that an expressed concept really has no basis in reality. In this new undertaking of studying the humanities I have focused on reading the philosophers, from the ancient Greeks to some of the modern thinkers.
Within the broad field of philosophy there is a place where the contemplation of life in the natural world transcends to consideration of life’s principles in the supernatural dimension. Moving to this realization is unavoidable since philosophical teachings cannot be fully understood in the narrowness of simple physical existence. Science can do that because it concentrates only on the “how” of life’s processes. Philosophy focuses on the “why”. Ultimately it leads to consideration of the Creator, His creation and the philosophy of the theologians. My study has lead me to prepare a number of writings in the form of essays, or topical “white papers” that contain comments, assessments, or interpretations on these ideas. Some writings were triggered by something I just happened upon, such as a contemporary item published in an internet blog regarding an issue facing the Church. Other writings were initiated by an attempt to paraphrase a reading on one of the schools of philosophy for my own need to digest it and better understand it. This...