Exploring my world view [W]. This is will always be a work in progress. Here are major revisions or related posts in my blog:
My world view is unavoidably intertwined with my personal subjective self; I cannot write my world view in an objective fashion. I can put effort into exploring my world view as if I were not me, just as I might try to explore someone else's world view. However, I cannot eliminate myself while exploring myself. Thus before I continue on with exploring my world view, I will briefly review where I've been and where I am:
In 1968 I was born in the Philippines and came to America when I was 4 years old; My parents had gone ahead and we were separated long enough that I did not recognize them when I arrived. I've been deaf in my left year as far as I or anyone else remembers. I was raised Roman Catholic but although I tried all those years to believe in Catholicism, I don't think I have ever believed in anything mystical. I am an introvert and I abhor parties and social gatherings. It is not that I dislike people or society, but that many things, including myself, seem quite noisy. I have kept a journal since high school; I used to have a great emphasis on exploring myself, but since I realized that it was endless, I stopped worrying about it; I still journal but less intensively. I grew up speaking only English, but since my 20s I have come to appreciate the great cultural and identity loss I have by not being able to speak Filipino. I boxed sporadically as a youth; I did Shotokan Karate daily for 13 years; I've been doing Western Martial Arts weekly since 2003. I've been happily married since 1992; we have 2 girls and 1 boy; Julia and my kids are central in my life. I went to Lane Tech H.S. in Chicago; I got a bachelor's in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I tried to get into the Environmental Protection Agency, but when that failed I bacame a programmer; I currently program and co-own a small company in the health care industry; I intend to never retire. I collected comic books into my adulthood; I can draw but I never developed it; I suck at making music but I like to listen; I read a good amount. I was not into politics until the aftermath of the 2001-09-11 attacks at the World Trace Centers; I have become more watchful since. I explore anything, but especially philosophy, technology, and martial arts. I'm not seeking fame or fortune; I'm not expecting to do anything spectacular with my life; I'm not seeking great pleasure, nor am avoiding reasonable pains; I just want to explore, live sincerely, and do/be good.
Now that I've given some background on myself, I can proceed with exploring my world view. Why am I exploring my world view? What is my goal? Given that my time is finite, I want to give myself perspective on where I'm at, what I want to do, how to do it, and so on. I want a world view that is sincere and personal, and yet beautiful, powerful, and reliable. As a programmer, I also have another goal: Since I'm bothering to do this work, I might as well see if I can construct it in such a generic way that it would be useful for other people too. I imagine that the latter goal makes the former goal harder, but I think it helps me in that it makes me a bit more accountable. I think I will have to be careful about parts of my world view that are specific to me as an instance of a person, versus the world view that would be applicable to people in general.
When it comes to exploring and sharing my world view, I immediately run into this problem: I have practically an infinite amount of material to explore, but a finite amount of time in which to explore; So how do I start? Where do I start? The data points, the possibilities, the perspectives, are practically infinite. To avoid never starting at all, it seems to me that the answer is to just start where ever I am. As Newton said, we're just "playing on a seashore". We can add or discard stones and shells as we go along. A child-like attitude is key: A child is bold, sees patterns, imagines possibilities, experiments, collects data. When it comes to the young there is a great emphasis on growth, but we forget that growth also involves a great deal of forgetting, prioritizing, forgiving, and letting go.
Zooming out, one realizes that "no man is an island": People are also fostered by other people. While a newborn fish can go about and fend for itself from birth, a new person must be nurtured: A person is a person through other people. This concept is nicely encapsulated by the African concept of ubuntu. A person lives in the context of his or her society. Zooming out even further, a person is also in the context of an eco system, an environmental system, a solar system, and so on. It is hard for a person to think in a larger scope in space: We can barely get past our solar system, let alone our stellar neighborhood, or galaxy, or galactic neigborhood, or universe.
Zooming back in, there is the cosmological timeline, the Sun's lifetime, geologic time spans, biological time scales, human history, generational history, my life, my week, my present. Zooming in and out through time and space affects one's world view. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not affects one's world view. My personal perspective is to try to take a general perspective that would apply regardless of one's familiarity with science or religion. This world view would have to satisfy the evidence you encounter and your instincts. This world view would have to work with a broad spectrum of people, a bell curve. This world view will have to jive with works of science, literature, art, and culture from different times and places. This world view would have to answer two questions: How do you know? How do you feel?
OK, I just came back from taking a bunch of the key concepts and manipulating them symbolically on a piece of paper until it made more sense. It's sort of like math but with ideas. I will try to write down what I came up with.
There nodes: self, other, others, and clumps of others. There are different relationships between nodes: self-to-self, self-to-other, self-to-others, self-to-clumps, other-to-other, other-to-others, other-to-clumps, others-to-others, others-to-clumps, clumps-to-clumps. There are actually an infinite of number nodes: ideas, dead or past nodes, virtual nodes, etc., and an infinite number of relationships. The concept is that you have nodes and node relationships, which, in my mind, I represent as a bell curve, but for now I'll use the upper case Omega: Ω.
Ω must be parsed or dealt with. I represent this as a method with a parameter. I'll use the lower case alpha:
α(Ω). The trick then is to achieve the best parsing. α must be beautiful, powerful, reliable. α must apply to the widest range of Ω. The universe is the "α and the Ω", in that nature parses everything according to math and natural laws. In the human context, the same thing happens but we have our own standards of what is a good parsing, of what satisfies our sense of truth, justice, fairness, equitability, efficacy, efficiency, timeliness, beauty, order, etc.
My α(Ω) model may seem too general, but I want it to be scalable and broadly applicable. Here are a few general points applicable to α(Ω):
The universe is α(Ω). Whatever I think or do, whatever models I come up with, the universe is there doing its thing.
To wrap things up, here is a short list of some devices/ideas to layer upon my α(Ω) model. Apply these as well as whatever works for particular situations.
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