Consciousness: Discovery or Dictation?
In a bid to want to dictate things, do we lie to ourselves that we attribute meaning and purpose?
In our post, What is Consciousness, we linked consciousness to the ability to distinguish between what is good and evil. The distinction is a tricky concept for humanity as almost everyone has developed a view of morality based on societies and personal preferences. A subjective approach to matters of morality creates a division, especially when my good collides with your bad, hindering the discovery of true morality. This approach to morality often leads to the dictation of what is good and evil rather than its discovery and can lead to a skewed view of what is right and wrong. If true morality is discoverable then the knowledge of it appears regardless of time, place and being. It is objective.
In discussions of meaning and purpose, many individuals argue that humanity gives meaning and purpose to things. The argument stems from a belief that things do not have significance or importance unless humans claim otherwise. The belief is shared by many around the world. When we look at history, the age of enlightenment can seem to have started the train, but this belief is old and has been a human struggle. It exploded during the era due to the departure from Christianity, whose core premise was that we humans do not give meaning and purpose to things.
In the late 1800s, Fredrich Nietzsche claimed Christianity made people weak and that for people to move forward after departure from the Latin church, they needed to create their morality. Of course, he was not stupid as he said that humans are incapable of making an objective morality; for that to happen, there needs to be what he called an Übermensch translated to beyond man or superman. He also predicted the age of nihilism, where after they departed from Christianity, people’s belief in belief systems would collapse. The collapse happened later in the centuries that followed and has propagated to date.
Nietzsche saw a problem but never fully explored the workability and sustainability in his solution of creating morality. Humans cannot create an objective morality but can discover it if their motives are from a selfless nature grounded on love.
The issue in modern times is the utility of this philosophy as a cushion not to change and do whatever one wants. The collapse for Nietzsche was of belief systems, but another had already happened, that of true meaning and purpose. Morality concerns itself with right and wrong, good and evil. Dictation of meaning and purpose is evil: while the discovery of it is good. People claim that they grant meaning and purpose to things. The issue, however, is that if humans accord meaning and purpose to things, what or who gives meaning and purpose to them?
Unconsciously, there was a shift of meaning and purpose to the group, to the masses. As a result, people seemingly have value when accepted by others, and none if not. Such a shifting also led to the belief that the truth is in the masses. It is why people can create a value system based on what they deem valuable or important; like a guitar played by a famous person valued higher than another guitar. The guitars are the same and ideally serve the same function the assumed value is in the group belief.
Group dynamics state that there is fragmented information in a group. Take an example of children playing together a game with rules. If you separate a child from the group and ask what they are doing, they will state that they are playing. If you ask the name of the game, they will say it if it has one. However, if you ask the game rules, they may attempt to explain what they are doing but give an incomplete picture of the rules. But, when they go back into the group, they have a deep understanding of the rules, acting them out perfectly.
So, the rules appear to be fragmented between individuals as they exist within the group structure, as a group can hold rules and information that affects the individuals. As they grow up, the original individuals that made the group and its rules have the advantage of knowing they are the authors of the game rules. What about a child who joins the group? They will have to learn the rules from observation, communication, or active participation. There is an embedded history in the group that the new member has to learn to be a part of the group.
If this applies to a group, it applies to society, as society is a group. So, society has rules and knowledge embedded into it. Individuals who join society learn the rules. They can understand the rules, or they act it out, becoming a product of socialization. To develop an in-depth understanding of society, look at its history to trace what is embued in the group. Should we be concerned with this as society has some order; it is not in complete chaos? But how would we know some rules are problematic if we do not study their origin, their history. What if the rules are looming chaos? Worse still is when individuals benefit from such rules giving them power with control. The establishment of society was way before people were born and the rules and knowledge added upon over time, dictated by specific individuals who represent the group.
Ignoring history will not enable us to understand and learn from it. We will go round in circles as individuals and as a society repeating the same mistakes. Remembering or keeping records of what happened is not enough. We need to study and understand as individuals and as a group what happened in our history.
The claim that humanity gives meaning and purpose to things is an issue, as it is not the truth. An issue that has a history and has embedded itself in group dynamics. It is this belief that has obscured the meaning of what creation is. Creation is defined simply as making or bringing something new into existence. Making may include putting parts together or combining substances. If you take components and combine them, they don’t necessarily have to form a new thing. Sometimes you have to try different combinations of the parts to create something new. If something exists, then it has expressed itself. Its expression means it has significance, as if there is no significance, then there would be no need for it to exist. Creation does not include giving meaning and purpose, instead, you are discovering it as the potential for it existed. One cannot create from nothing; you create from potential. If so, the meaning and purpose of something exists because it exists. It is the same belief that we give meaning and purpose to things that birthed the idea that humans created the concept of a creator, regardless of this motif appearing across different cultures.
Meaning is what things express or signify. If something has expressed itself or has been expressed, then it has meaning. Meaning in itself has significance/ importance, and it is from this that purpose can be derived. It is why meaning and purpose always go hand in hand. Meaning and purpose are not given but discovered.
Understanding and accepting this is vital in helping one realize that everything has a meaning and significance and that they too are significant. Regardless of other people or society’s opinion, you are significant. An individuals importance is not determined by the masses as it exists and therefore is. Accepting this also means that the underlying cushion for doing whatever one wants disappears.
The choice is simple yet complex; to abandon dictation means acknowledging one has an innate significance transcending groups. But casting aside dictation also means a new way of life where you cannot just do whatever you want as everything/everyone has a significance that should not be infringed. Thus the journey to discovering objective morality will begin, guided by perfect love.