The Road Ahead

Before moving on I want to briefly summarize the argument that has been put forth in the first three blog posts. I will then discuss what the next portion of this blog will focus on.

The key aspects of the argument are as follows:

  • There has been a secularization and decline in traditional frameworks for morality and meaning in the West throughout the past few centuries.
  • This can be partially attributed to the role technology and science has had in explaining the world around us. No longer are we convinced that a storm or hurricane was caused by a higher power or ‘the gods’ seeking retribution for our actions. We now turn to scientific explanations to explain the natural word.
  • The decline of these traditional frameworks for meaning in the West, such as religion, has had a twofold impact:
    • On the level of the individual it has resulted in a sort of existential angst. We have lost a comprehensive framework that provided us truth and purpose. To quote Charles Taylor again, “People no longer have a sense of a higher purpose, of something worth dying for.” Consequently, it is up for us to make sense of the world. This can either be daunting or liberating.
    • On the community level, we have lost the moral underpinning, the ‘glue’ that has held society together for so long. Furthermore, there has been a shift in the 20th and 21st century from community to individual values. This has allowed us to exercise freedom and self-expression, but this can often get taken too far when it leads into narcissism and the disregard for the wellbeing of others.
  • What has resulted from this is the rise of moral relativism and post modernism. An attack on any sort of objective values or truth that can be derived through rational methods such as science or reasoning. This is evident in ‘identity politics’, polarization and degree of confirmation bias we now see in our society.[1]

Within the next ten articles or so I want to discuss practical philosophical approaches to the meaning crisis , a term used by John Vervaeke to describe the issues we face as a modern society.

I will focus on three approaches that have personally resonated with me. By no means will this be a comprehensive or systematic framework. Nonetheless, I will demonstrate what evidence we have from modern science to validate these ideas. These philosophies/ideas include:

  1. Stoicism
  2. Buddhism and Mindfulness
  3. Nietzsche’s idea of Amor Fati and the Eternal Reoccurrence

Again my focus going forward is to search for what practical wisdom can be taken from these three philosophical approaches. In addition, I want to point out how philosophy is not a discipline that focuses on abstract thinking or concepts that have no relevance to our day to day lives. Philosophy can be seen as a tool we can use to navigate through life. Philosophy is a way of life.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s article!

AA


[1] I recognize that this is a complex issue, and warrants a more thorough analysis. I will consider coming back to this topic and providing my critique of post modernism and relativism in later blog posts.

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