Personal Philosophy

On Science v. Love.

Well, it seems like it is that time again. It wouldn’t seem right to not have a a few musings on love show up on this site. I don’t think I have had a proper one in some time. Hopefully my experiences since then in Love and in English make this a more palatable experience.

So, Love, right? Despite appearances I actually consider myself quite the romantic; on that same token I consider myself quite the scientist. Put side by side the two are at odds with one another. Science is cold and calculating, emotionless and logical. Love is crazy and wild, all the cards on the table, reckless. How can these two live harmoniously without being at odds? Well, in short, they can’t. (You thought I was going to give you a reason why they can, weren’t you?) This does not mean that a person with feet firmly planted in both camps can’t live without a massive amount of cognitive dissonance. It just takes some work.

Science allows us to view the world in a way that is objective. As humans we are inherently emotional. These can and often do cloud the ways we view things. For purposes of this example, think of a time when you were sleeping alone, perhaps all along in a big house with no one else around. There was probably a time during that experience when you got a little spooked for reasons that are not entirely based in reality. Science does not allow one to think that way. That’s why I love Science and I base almost every belief I have on it. It is completely logical and makes sound decisions based on data and evidence. But…

How boring would it be to live a life, a human life, only through the lens of the scientific method. To me, as humans, we are given this amazing ability to express and experience emotions. That is why I leave love up to this side of my psyche. Sure, there is science that explains why and how we feel the way we do. You could read it (which I have) and fully understand that love in and of itself is a biological process that is primarily used for procreation, but that is too much for me. We are sentient beings capable of thought. We can control our baser instincts and extrapolate more from them as well. I am driven by love, and I dare say I’m not alone. Most of humanities most beautiful arts are expressions of love, be it new love or loss. This is something that I can’t imagine would have happened if we fully understood what drives us as humans and rejected every impulse.

Love is fickle though. If you live by the sword you also die by the sword, and that means opening yourself to myriad other emotions that may impede your life. The great thing is though by allowing yourself to be hurt you also allow yourself to experience some of the greatest joys that human kind can experience. That is the reward of all this. This is why I will continue searching and why I can not let science interfere. I would be lying if I said I haven’t made some dumb choices that absolutely defy logic for the pursuit of love, but do I regret it? Well, yeah some of it, some of them were really stupid mistakes. That doesn’t mean I am going to stop though. To quote a favorite, if not completely cheesy lyric, “I love love, I love being in love, I don’t care what it does to me.”

Personal Philosophy

On Running.

This topic has probably already turned of the vast majority of readers. I promise this is not about technique or best routes. No, this is more based in philosophy and why I personally run.

A little background. I am training for the Chicago marathon in October. Why? To prove to myself I can do it. I am also reading Haruki Murakami’s auto-biographical book about running. I figured that with a potent cocktail such as that it is about time I wrote about running.

Now, I have never had what you could call an athletic physique. In fact, I am probably the opposite. That is not to say I’m some lazy ass, it’s genes mostly these days (but not always). I am one of those people who will gain weight if I sit still. It sucks, but on the bright side it keeps me aware and active. In high school I was a little chubster. I had a terrible diet and was a total couch potato. Around senior year I got kind of embarrassed and (begrudgingly) decided to do something about it. My girlfriend at the time was all into running; track, cross-country, the whole shebang. (Me being what I was, I must have had just an amazing personality to bag a runner. I kid, I kid…) Anyway she was trying to get to go running so I caved. I actually enjoyed it, I mean beyond the pain, panting, and shin splints. I started to pick it up after that and have been running on and off ever since.

Running is a unique sport. I really think it’s the most human of all sports. You are basically equipped for it naked. You need almost no gear for it, a pair of shoes and a long stretch of road. We are born runners. It’s part of our survival.

Running is also one of the most personal sports. This is why it suits me so well. Aside from races, running is a solitary experience. The only person you are competing against is yourself. This makes only you accountable for any shortfalls that occur. The time when I am running it is very peaceful, almost meditative. I rarely run with music and when I do it’s mostly without lyrics. It’s a chance to escape into my head because the only thing my body needs to worry about is moving forward. If there is ever a problem I need to confront or anger that needs venting I always save it for the run. It’s incredibly cathartic.

There is nothing better than reaching the goal you set for yourself, or finishing a long run. The runner’s high is real and it feels amazing. The endorphins swimming all around invigorating every part of your being. The immediate gratification after running is awesome and keeps you coming back. There is days when you don’t want to run. That never goes away, and from what I read, even at the Olympic level. You just need to push through it.

That’s why I run. It aligns itself so well with my personal philosophies. It’s a matter of you vs. you. That’s what life really is. It is always, how bad do you want it? If you work had enough and have the determination you will get to where ever you want.

Running is a sacred time of day for me. It is my meditation and my soul food. It keeps me healthy, helps me sort through all of life’s crap, and refocuses me. In a nutshell, I need running.

I hope this might inspire some people to take up running even if only to see if they like it. It’s not for everyone nor do I claim that various other activities wont keep you healthy. It’s just my personal favorite. If you do try it and haven’t before or even love running too, leave me a comment, I would love to hear about it!

UPDATE: I didn’t stress it in the above paragraphs, but my girlfriend at the time when I started running deserves a lot of credit. She is the one that pushed me into it and allowed me to discover the joys of running. I am very grateful for that so, thank you.

Personal Philosophy

On Human Development.

So, I pose a question. If given identical Planet Earths and starting with identical male and female humans, would humanity develop in identical ways? In a world of infinite possibilities could two seemingly identical situations produce similar results?

I know the question is quite heavy handed. I don’t expect a succinct answer it was just something I was thinking about the other day. We have so many actions that are ingrained in us that require no thought whatsoever. If we are given a hammer we know that we hold it by the handle and hit a nail. These behaviors are learned though. What’s even more of a conundrum is that actually thinking of the hammer is also learned. There was not always hammers and we dug them up and used them. That’s really the meat of my question. Would the two humanities develop different tools? Would one develop faster than the other? Who would be the first to space?

I think the results would be even more interesting. Say the societies developed pretty much the same way. What does that tell us about out makeup? Are all these tasks ingrained in us? Are we truly not an anomaly? How about if they developed radically different. Are we special? Did we have some spark of evolutionary serendipity to get us to where we are today?

I am really curious to hear what you guys think. What do you think would happen in this hypothetical situation?

The short and sweet is that I think the two humanities would develop differently. I think that due to the incredible randomness of the universe that they would end up in very different situations given the same amount of time. That’s just my feeling. Again, I want to know what you think! Please, leave me a comment!