October 11 2016
My familial foundation and stable employment have led to my present state of semi-retirement with room to breathe and a chance to reflect on my total experience. Map of Life Character is fate, and I am driven. My ambitious nature has allowed me to explore careers, subjects, and situations quickly and thoroughly, while leaving in its wake a trail of emotional endings and burnt bridges. My self motivation has been the engine of my determination, and with it came an arrogant ego and a strong inclination for deriving a narrative where none may exist. My sensitivity to perceived slights and my spontaneous retaliation to injustice are balanced only by my equally strong sense of guilt when my wrath is unleashed upon those dearest to me. In my emphatic crossing off items from the list of life, I have defiantly closed off unnecessary social circles and tried to shut-out external influence so that I can spend the currency of my life, time, on what truly matters to me. In the capitalistic age where our self-worth is intrinsically tied to economic units of measure, it has been difficult to extricate my aspirations from visible trappings of success, even as scientists have long proven that we humans underrate the role of chance in everything and engage in narrative fallacy to attribute gains to our own merit. In fact, the fewer the data points, the greater the fallacy in the stories I tell myself, and my fertile mind is ever at ease with such narration in my quickness to judge. Randomness prevails. Through the noise of life, I have been blessed to have discovered my love of family and it has become the end for my means. My career serves to strengthen the stability of my family while also satiating my ambitions for power in modern society. A mixture of chance and choice have bestowed upon me stable employment with both control and freedom that suits my character well, granting me plenty of time to nurture my familial ties and to devote myself to meaningful pursuit. As such, I have tried to read widely to gather wisdom from across the age of language to distill the essence of human knowledge in order to discern the next targets on my list of life. Map of Knowledge I separate all human knowledge into two types, the Natural and the Social. The Natural are focused on the external physical universe we live in. The Social are focused on the interpersonal and internal lives of humans. Natural knowledge is inter-dependent. Physics is the study of atomic forces that govern the fusion process at the heart of stars. This hydrogen-helium cycle produce heavier elements necessary for more complex structures. Chemistry is the study of molecular interactions of the heavier elements in the formation of planets. The Geosphere is the study of the environmental systems of our particular planet, and Biology is the study of self-propagating living systems that developed on Earth. Natural knowledge also deals with ever-increasing complexity. Even the most rudimentary living things on Earth are more complex than any star and planetary system. Life on Earth is the culmination of complexity in the universe. Social knowledge focuses on humans as biological beings who have mastered our planet. We captured all of the energy on Earth and dominated the food chain; our only existential threats are extreme cosmic events and ourselves. Politics is how humans apportion the resources of the planet. This includes government, economics and political systems of distribution as well as the science and engineering required to extract energy and refine it for use. The fundamental idea is justice and fairness. Once a society has figured out a relatively stable system of allocation, we turn inward. Psychology is the study of our internal lives and the values we choose to live by. Collective learning has enabled factual knowledge to be passed down through generations, but each human being is born anew with basic instincts to distrust instruction and live by experience. So we grow: together and alone. Once mature, having a calibrated value system and with acceptance by the political system at large, we turn to the existential. Philosophy is reflection on what is means to be alive, on consciousness itself. The study of consciousness seems to wrap itself around to the natural sciences. Physics suggests our mental state has a physical effect on the natural world, and Philosophy suggests the natural world is a projection of our mental selves. So the quest for living an examined life brings us back to the study of atomic particles. The vast majority of the universe's history was spent in the atomic domain: the birth, death, and resurrection of countless stars and planets. These meaningless cycles have given rise our arrival: the most complex social beings that have ever looked upon the universe, yet trapped in physical bodies as insignificant as specks of sand on the infinite shores of time. The universe beckons us to reconcile our enlightened mental selves to our ephemeral existence, to find meaning in a meaningless world.