Most people like to take control- the highly individualistic culture of the modern society demands that people take responsibility of their actions and make decisions that is in accordance with their short and long-term goals. Today people are used to schedules and well crafted plans; they ought to know what they want and they make sure that they stick to such.
People do whatever it takes to create a sense of meaning in any form work, personal life, achievements, ventures and other sorts of interests. However, what does it really mean to create a fixed notion of the self – the self which revolves around what is necessary in the eyes of the market; the self that is accepted and applauded by the society; the self that has meaning in the perspective of the spiritual?
Sophie, the protagonist in Gaarder’s novel said that as people grow old, they become buried deeper and deeper inside “the rabbit’s fur”. The rabbit a metaphor for the world as we know, is a place where people can choose to explore reality above whats apparent; or could be a venue to succumb in between the thick accumulated strands of norms and man-made reality.
Way back in college, my professor used to tell us “What does it mean for us philosophers to continuously speculate on things and eventually not arrive at a single conclusion?”
On retrospect, what sense does it really make? To continuously question and doubt everything; to think of possible realities and what might have been; and to create an overlapping thread of meta-analysis? Is it the goal of science to replicate the mind of “god”; to eradicate ignorance; and to create a world that is beyond human imagination? If people keep on doubting the world together with the body of knowledge as we know, would it be like cancer spreading in a healthy body?
But then, the greatest knowledge contribution of humanity came from people who are labeled insane, insignificant, and even social cancers. The infinite loop of arguments on epistemology and truth juxtaposed with the human psyche could either bring forth a unique theory or recycle everything that have been pointed-out in human history.
In effect, for the sake of simplicity and practicality, a working definition is necessary. The self must be defined, controlled and made to conform. Albeit, there are still these instances of alienation when a person feels something is not right… and so speculation and searching goes again. Yet on a scale of success, most endeavors are reduced on a dead end – a reduction to a state of absurdity.
Still, the mind needs to be challenged – the state of certainty and absolute control shuts down the continuously shrinking window of man to have a glimpse of understanding the rest of the universe. Funny, this brings us back to square one.