Friday, June 14, 2013

Questioning the Unquestionable

I read the following in a blog called Sovereign Man:
Human beings are not meant to exist in isolation. We strive for inclusion and acceptance of our peers. And the forming of social groups, whether families, tribes, dynasties, and kingdoms is as old as human civilization itself.

I'm sure few people would argue about that.  It seems to be one of those universal truths on which we all agree.

Yet, I am going to question.  I do agree, however, with the second and third sentences in that paragraph.  They are observations which reflect my own experiences.  It is the first sentence which I want to examine.  

Begin with the principle that just because you observe something doesn't establish the cause.  Just because you see a black cat running in a field of red poppies doesn't mean that red poppies are the reason black cats exist.  Even if you observe this hundreds of times and you've read about this in writings of scientists and artists and religious leaders written hundreds of years ago, still does not establish that red poppies have anything to do with the reason why black cats exist.

So, in this case, the fact that humans have from, the beginning of time, tended to form groups doesn't establish the fact that human beings must form groups.  All that we can say with absolute certainty is that, based on all recorded evidence we could expect that humans will want to form groups with others.

Where does this notion come from?  Who, or what established that humans "are not meant to live in isolation"?  

There are religious arguments that God may have decreed this and will point to various scriptures in sacred books, but even if a person does believe in God, it cannot be known for certain that what is written in these books are really the true words of their deity or merely a widely accepted interpretation created by some man.

Some people might argue that humans need to couple with others in order to reproduce, and survive as a species, yet in spite of being true it does not establish a cause for a long term or permanent relationship between several or many other humans.

I don't raise this objection because I have concluded that this is an issue which merits a great deal of debate, but rather as an illustration of how passively we let very basic questions go unanswered in our lives.  Perhaps, the question is of gigantic importance and if we were to seek to find an answer to this we might start to completely reshape society.

The attitude I'm proposing, more than anything, is that we should be continually questioning statements we hear, and habitually examine ourselves to see if things we say or believe are based on solid principles and, if not, start to wonder how things might be different if a new foundation were established.

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