"Purpose or Fantasy?", by David G. McDivitt

To: Egoism and Ethics Debate 
Subject: purpose or fantasy
From: "David G. McDivitt" 
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 06:37:39 GMT

I have come pretty much full circle in my consideration of fantasy. At one time I considered myself a realist, you know, real this, real that, factual, provable, sensible, etc. That began when I was young via religious fundamentalism and various other forms of identity fixation. Identity, and what it is, is an excellent thing to consider.

If I could, I would be a determinist. I want to be one very badly, for determinism seems to make the most sense. Unfortunately, there is this problem of personal interpretation, and the fact what we may perceive as determinate factors, are merely our own mental representation of such. The problem is finding an effective link between what we think about, and what actually is.

The best solution is to find a way of discounting the problem. Evolution works very well for this. People undergo adaptation, and through trial and error come upon those things which work for them. "What works" thus becomes a significant concept, for it represents all a person has gone through in life. "Need" is also a significant concept, for what works, works in regard to whatever need.

Surely, when a person lives, what that person considers is significant only to self, for when self is gone through death, no conscious mind exists to harbor the same thoughts. Sometimes we seek to construct shared thoughts. By participating in society, if a person is able to avoid owning concepts personally, the significance of death is diminished, for society lives on. People may seek to avoid having a strong sense of personal identity. It takes a very brave person therefore to be an individualist. Some people come across that way, but when faced with the reality of their own demise, they often find solace in various cultural themes, such as religion or spirituality. A true individualist is one who continues recognizing the uniqueness and term of self, anyway. Flowers are pretty things, but who mourns the loss of one flower when it is gone? Who would mourn my loss but me, but then I won't be here to do that. What a shame, that the best concept of god society can offer is one who views humanity as so many flowers, unless of course a person finds the fantasy of eternal life enjoyable. Life is defined by what we are now. Take that away and we do not have life anymore.

For the sake of argument, let's assume we are each determined into this moment. Whatever factors caused it to happen. Which factors must be realized. This involves defining and forming concepts of those factors. The whole process is quite arbitrary, but several systems of thought have already evolved which suit this purpose. We can then choose one of these existent models, or we can make one up. Does it really matter? By choosing an existent model, do we then become realists, pursuant to that model?

As mentioned, I have come full circle regarding fantasy. What separates fantasies of determinism from fantasies of just, fantasy? I guess it would be whatever need the fantasy satisfies. We all spend our time doing something. That's what we each do. We spend our time, doing whatever we want, responding to this urge and that, until we have no more time. Then we don't do it anymore. Can anyone offer greater meaning?

Thus enters gratification. Here we are living, each to gratify self. The moral posturing associated with it helps us to pass the time. Not only do we gratify self, but we respond to the way other people think we gratify self. There is always the chance so and so will not be gratifying self to our satisfaction. I think if more people truly acknowledged our state of existence, that it comes, then goes, they would be more inclined to give one another a break. We can thank religion for the fact people do not. But I guess the point is whether I realize it, and if so, religion, and the many moralizers, need not make any difference so far as I am concerned.

Getting back to fantasy, I think it's important. If not fantasy then at least visualization. It is the mind which lives. What difference does it make therefore how? We can applaud ourselves by thinking we are realists, but we foster mental constructs no differently than one deemed mentally ill. So what if we share scientific observations with someone else? Do we not still live in the environment of the mind? I guess it is tribalism - tribalism of the mind. Accepting whatever ideas as true qualifies one to be part of the clan.

In life, I think a person should visualize a few things and have fantasy. So the religious people already do that. Good for them. The question is whether I will visualize a few things in my life. Do I have the gall to make up my own fantasies, or will I just accept what society provides? This is not determinism. Granted, whatever unknown and uncalculable factors brought me where I am, and I can go seek them out, hoping to think how I am supposed to be thinking already, but the fact I am already thinking, seems to short cut that, doesn't it? I mean, if I'm alive, why do I need to know why? Is my purpose in life to incessantly ponder my purpose in life? Hey, if a person does that, finding gratification, who am I to say it's wrong?

I would like to think there's a group of people, who share mental constructs and ideas about life, similar to my own. A little gall would be appreciated. Maybe some pride. A vision is a vision. Can you represent that, saying who you are?

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