WHAT IS LIFE?
D. R. Khashaba
What is life? Let me begin by stating my position bluntly. I see ultimate reality as living, intelligent, and creative. This position I do not arrive at by reasoning and it cannot be defebded by reasoning nor can it be refuted by reasoning. It is simply the view in terms of which I can find the world intelligible.
Being, life, mind, becoming, freedom (creativity) are ultimate irreducible mysteries. Science searching empirically for the origin of life or mind or becoming will only delve infinitely into beginnings that have further beginnings. Philosophy, employing pure reason, when sane and wise, stands in reverent awe before these mysteries and pays homage to them by inventing myths to intimate their ineffable reality.
Such is our knowledge for in truth we know nothing. And let no one jump eristically at this statement describing it as a paradox or a self-contradiction, for our knowledge of our ignorance is not knowledge of something objective but is our immediate awareness of our limitation. The apparent paradox is only an indication and a consequence of the ineluctable imperfection of language and of logic as well.
What is the use of science and of philosophy then? Science gives us useful practical knowledge (please don’t jump at the word) about things and the ways of things, about phenomena as Kant would say. This know-how knowledge at its most advanced, most astounding, most sophisticated is humbled by the like knowledge exhibited by a bee, am ant, or by an amoeba. As to philosophy, philosophy gives us to probe into our inner reality, commune with ultimate realities and with the realities created by the mind, the realities of love, of beauty, of loyalty and honour. This and only this is understanding. In philosophizing we exercise our intelligence and live our life as intelligent beings.
Does my position imply that all things, animate and those we call inanimate, have life and mind? Yes, but it is in vain that we try to imagine how a rose or a pebble feels. All the efforts of scientists to probe, by whatever ingenious experiments and devices, into the interior life or mind of a fish or bird or even a primate, are in vain. They yield objective phenomena that can be variously interpreted, including reductionist interpretations which falsely and deceptively parade as explanations. If God wanted to know how a frog feels he has first to become a frog. But as I have put iy somewhere, I cannot but think that a butterfly must be as beautiful within as it is without.
D. R. Khashaba
January 20, 2017.
Posted to https://philosophia937.wordpress.com and http://khashaba.blogspot.com