Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
I realised when I was about 12 or 13 years old that there
could not be any ultimate meaning. I was very pleased and
excited with this discovery, and ran around trying to explain
it to people (mostly drawing blank looks, as I remember).
It seemed to me just another interesting fact about the
world, like scientific and historical facts. It inspired me
to start reading philosophy, looking up words like "nihilism"
in the local library. It also encouraged me to question
rules, laws and moral edicts handed down with no
justification other than tradition or authority, where these
were in conflict with my own developing value system.
Overall, I think the realisation that there was no ultimate
meaning was one of the more positive experiences in my life.
But even if it hadn't been, and threw me into a deep
depression, does that have any bearing on whether or not it is true?
It's encouraging when one sees that one is not entirely alone in
breaking free of the patterns of popular thought.
I came to a similar realization at a similarly young age, and when I
tried to share my wonderful and powerful new idea I received not just
blank looks, but reactions of concern that I intended to abandon all
morality. At that point I learned that I had better not discuss these
ideas, but continued to read and think with the belief that while there
was no absolute meaning, at least the scientific method could provide
It took me until my early twenties to realize that science was also
fundamentlly incomplete. I then had an experience I call "passing
through the void and coming out the other side" seeing that everything
is just as before despite lacking any absolute means of support or
justification. It was intensly and profoundly liberating. I saw
clearly that I could never know any absolutes, but being an inherently
subjective being, my subjective awareness was absolutely appropriate.
Since then, paradoxes of self, personal identity, free-will and morality
became clearly resolved, extending to a theory of collaborative social
decision-making that becomes increasingly moral as it promotes
converging values over diverging scope.
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