Philosophy Questions

A guy named Alejandro Barreto has emailed me asking me few of the grander philosophical questions. They were quite interesting and challenging. I found it very enjoyable to express my views to someone who values it. Below, I am reproducing my reply to him. The parts in italics are excerpts from his email.

Hi Alejandro,

Thanks for so much appreciation. I particularly like the comment “you’re actually the smartest Indian I’ve ever met”.. Thanks for this.

“”And a more general question, what is your whole and complete belief about everything? Do you believe in God? Do you believe in existence first of all? Do you believe in evolution? Just what constitutes your “belief framework”? “”

I certainly don’t believe in God. Religion was just made in order to give people a framework so that they could busy without actually taking much pains. See, human mind by its virtue wanders from one place to another. Because it is conscious of its existence, it seeks “something more” in addition to basic requirements of life such as food, etc. I believe that God was invented by those individuals who had no courage to invent or discover new things but wanted to keep themselves busy.

And yes, I do believe in evolution. Perhaps, I can be classified as the strongest believer of evolution. It particularly gives me a giddy feeling when I think that we arose from a mere molecule called as DNA. From little tinkering, evolution managed to produce entities (us) who have power enough to discover the process of evolution itself. So in a sense, evolution has discovered itself (just as we are beginning to discover the intricacies of human body). In this sense, can evolution be called as living as a human being?

Even though we have understood the loose nature of evolution, but we are yet to understand the exact nature of it and the magnitude at which it operates. Perhaps, we might never understand evolution fully. But, I seriously wish otherwise.

“”1. Let’s begin plain simple. What the hell is man’s purpose on this planet? I’m American, and a Roman Catholic, so I don’t know anything other than crappy Christian beliefs of the Trinity and the “purpose of man to serve” — I think it’s pure nonsense. To me, there is no God and there’s no Him to “protect you from sins and dangers”. What is the general Hinduism belief on this? And what do you believe? What do most of the people in India believe? I’ve heard they’re very intellectual and philosophically brilliant. “”

A: There is absolute no purpose of humans on this planet. We are just another biological entity and the unfortunate ones who have (somehow) became aware of their existence. All the animals are born for the sake of dying. But, in this sense I consider humans as special. And that is because, we today have power to rage the war against evolution and may even destroy the very nature of evolution (even though we fully don’t understand it).

I may not be able to comment on the Hinduism philosophy because I don’t know much about it. But, I certainly don’t really comprehend how can more than one philosophy exist in a rational society. I consider that every person has everything clear in his mind, only if he cares to observe the rational and does not get emotional (too often and at irrelevant things). Emotions are very important as they are unique for human species and can be easily employed for brainwashing (as religions do).

“”2. What generally is your belief towards all that you see around you? Do you take that “spiritual path to enlightenment” thing seriously? To me it’s just bizarre because quite frankly, none of this positive attitude therapy works in real life. In real life, if you don’t have money and something to eat, you’re gonna be dead and that’s the end of the story — it’s irrelevant whether you were the potential Einstein or even Tagore in the making. A negative attitude doesn’t work either because it decreases your mental power. I don’t believe in any attitude. You just have to make things work for you if you want to have fun. You have to work things out. And that’s all that matters. Nobody cares whether you were a priest in your previous life or have become a spiritual guru when you can’t earn money straight.””

A: It do not believe in spirituality. It is nothing but a fancy name employed to earn quick money. But, I do believe that positive attitude can be cultivated and is actually beneficial as it proves to be a driving force in life. You start developing a positive attitude when you start understanding the futility of life and everything. I particularly enjoy observing so called “busy” people, don’t they realize that (in the long term) whatever they are doing amounts to nothing.

I enjoy reading calvin and hobbes. It has a lot of philosophy hidden in it. And it is meaningful too.

That’s it for now. And yes of course you may send AUQP if you wish.

And one thing more, do not believe everything I say because the ultimate judge of logic and rationality is you yourself.

Paras Chopra