The Thoughts of R B Lyons
Hey! Did you ever wake up one morning and decide that you're gonna figure out what 'reality' is? I mean, like we all walk around pretending like we know what 'reality' is; but do we really have any idea at all?
I think a good definition of 'reality' as such is as follows:"Lifeworld is a whole, composed of the entire sum of its parts. Culture, economy, resources, technology, territory: all are intrinsically connected. For human societies, reality exists as perceived. It is, in its entirety, a phenomenon created in the human mind."
The previous definition was found in a book called Indigenous Peoples of the World by Brian Goehring. Well Ya, I actually do read once in a while! Seems to me that there is a bit of an oxymoronism ( geez, I think I made up another word ) going on here. I mean, like, how you gonna say, on the one hand that 'reality' exists as perceived, and on the other, that 'reality' is a phenomenon created in the human mind? I mean, like; you really think an Empiricist and an Idealist are ever gonna agree? Well, that ain't never gonna happen, so the definition above is simply an attempt to satisfy all customers as it were!
Ok! Most of us make a fundamental mistake right off the bat when we consider 'reality,' in that we naturally confuse the notion of what is 'real' with the concept of 'reality!' Ooops! Big mistake doing that! You wanna know why I think such a thing? I'll tell you anyway! You see, existing things are only 'real' to the extent that their connection to the concept of our personal view of 'reality' will allow for! That's why I like that little definition up there; it takes everything and puts it all in one place and lets you do the walking through the intricate synaptic maze of your own mind!
I gotta put in some kinda example here so I can figure out what I'm trying to say! ok! Say you're an Empiricist who owns a sawmill! You look at a 'real' tree and all you see is paper and two-by-fours. I mean, like, you've made the connection between the 'real' tree and your concept of 'reality' in that 'real' trees are used to make paper and two-by-fours! In essence then, 'real' equals 'reality' in that it is agreeable to your concept of 'reality' because you've made a 'connection' between the two! Remember; the fiction I'm referring to here is an Empiricist! Well and good! He or she is quite satisfied with 'reality' as he or she sees it! Flip this whole scenario around and you probably got yourself an Idealist! Well and good too!
Now, here's where the problem arises; I'm an Indian and I see a 'real' tree too! ok? But I think that 'real' tree also has 'spirit!' I know, crazy Indian, running around talking to trees, oughta be locked up in the nuthouse! Think what you may, don't bother me none anyway! Back to the point here. I'm a bit of an Empiricist cause I ain't totally stupid. Of course the tree is 'real!' Then again, maybe I'm a bit of an Idealist too, cause maybe I only think the tree is 'real!' Hmmmm! But, I'm obviously a bit of a Rationalist too, cause I think that the tree has 'spirit!' By considering the tree to contain 'spirit' I have added another element to be connected along with the 'real' before I can say that this is 'reality.' At least 'reality' to my mind at any rate!
Anyway, the point being is; that if we consider the 'real' to be equal to 'reality' or the 'real' to be a physical impression of 'reality' then we create an illusion which allows us to dictate to our conscience that we have the inalienable right to destroy and completely eradicate any 'real' thing which we deem to be lesser than our applied concept of 'reality!' In other words, by making the 'real' and 'reality' the same thing we can measure the relative importance of 'all' things on a scale of conscienceness and guilt! Hence; to heck with anything except humankind's desires!
Ooops! Almost forgot about that Indian, Me! Hmmm! Well, my 'reality' ain't the same even though I admit that my notion of the 'real' is! I threw a nut into the machinery when I said that the tree had 'spirit!' You see, the minute I did that I gave the tree a lot more worth as an existing 'real' thing and my conscience hesitates to chop it down without asking it first! That little scale of guilt thingy up there steps in and alters my concept of 'reality!' Silly Indians anyway, always screwing something up! Trying to live in harmony with everything! Having respect for trees just cause they say that trees have 'spirit!' You know something else! They even treat animals, plants, and rocks the same way! If their way of thinking ever caught on, civilized lives would be destroyed forever! Or so certain factions would have the people of the world believe at any rate!
Bottom line; some members of western society continue to indiscriminately destroy 'real' things because it considers it to be their inalienable right to do so! Somewhere along the line they forgot the true 'reality' of things in that; the Earth is the sustainer of 'life' and not simply of 'lifestyles!'
I am, by no means, painting everyone with the same brush! Hey! I know that we live the life we're dealt! In this society we have no choice but to follow the path laid out! I mean, like, starving to death ain't an option! But we gotta at least try make a new path somehow, before the entire earth gets paved with asphalt! You think?
Hey! A friend of mine came over this morning and asked me if I believed in God! Seemed sorta strange to me cause he aint asked me that in the 25 years Ive known him, but hey; who am I to question why? Anyway, I told him Well Ya! I do believe in God! And that was that! He never asked why, and spoke no more about it! Eerie! Anyway it got me thinking about some questions again! Why do I exist? How did the universe come to exist? Does all that exists have a beginning? Does God exist? Remember now, these are only my views and I aint shoving them on anybody! Its up to you to think what you want to think. Aint none of my business whatever!
Anyway, those questions above are but a few of the numerous philosophical inquiries that have plagued mankind, both individually and as a collective entity throughout history. The need to know, or rather, the need to at least want to know, is all-consuming. It can be safely said that everyone at some time or another has asked questions such as those above, both of themselves, and of others! I have reflected upon these same questions over and over manifold times and I have read countless theories which attempt to answer them. There is, as of this moment, nothing thought, nor written which I am capable of grasping as being sufficient to satisfy my search for the cause of humankinds existence to be found within the realm of the finite universe.
If In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, is true, there is no problem and no reason to search for the source of existence. For He, Himself would be the infinite cause of all finite things, including humankind!
Conversely; if it is considered that God does not exist, then; in order to prove that God does not exist one must prove that the universe and all there-in exists with either a finite beginning and an end, or is a finite self-contained universe. Since, for God not to exist, all that does exist must be finite since it could not then be supposed that we live in a universe created from an infinite location, for there could then be no such thing. That is; if it can be known in any manner by the use of one's senses; then it is without doubt finite! The further one searches in space and time for the source of existence, the more one finds that can only be finite. As stated, if it can be found, it must unequivocally be sensed and therefore be perceived as something which is finite, since I dont know anybody who can sense infinity!
When one does find the beginning, does one find the beginning of all finite things? And if so; does that beginning have to be that exact transition point between the infinite and the finite? Or is the finite all that there is? In other words if we say that there is no God and therefore no infinity we are simply stating that what is; is all there is, and nothing more! That seems rather silly to me because its a paradox; for to say that everything always existed, and no matter what form we put the words in, we have to revert to that implication; is to state that we and every existing thing are infinitely finite, and that is not a logical possibility even if you think about it while you're standing on your head!
Anyway, if it is logical to consider that time and space existed before something and nothing, then time and space are infinitely immeasurable; and if it is conceded that time and space are only ideas; is it not logically required to also consider that these same ideas come from the mind of someone like God, who is not finite?
If the universe is indeed a closed universe, or a universe which has a beginning and an end; then humankind has simply not yet proved that it is closed, nor found the beginning of, nor the end of it. When that occurs; if that be a possibility, we will have found infinity, and therefore, God; the necessary infinite source of finite existence. For to state otherwise is to declare ourselves infinitely finite and thats not even a possibility which can be remotely considered!
Oops! I think that this thought has gone a little too deep into the philosopical waters! Geez! It's even confusing me, which really ain't all that hard to do at any rate. See what you can make out of it anyway! You never know; you might be the next Einstein! As for myself; I just type them out; nothing says I gotta figure them out! After all, good scientific method dictates that somebody has to prove me wrong, so I ain't even gonna try to prove me right!
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This page last updated October 18/1997
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I have three more pages about 'Indigenous People' which I am currently working on which may prove to be of interest to you. One is an ongoing paper about 'values.'The second is about 'Kant and the Ojibwe People,and the third is about the Indigenous People of Canada.You can get to either one of them by clicking on the links below!
First Nations Values
The Indigenous People of Canada
This page © Copyright, 1997, R B Lyons