By Nina Titternes
We are put together by matter that came from the universe and we are conscious which leads to the conclusion that we are at least in part the universe itself becoming self-aware/ or conscious. I thought of this myself only to learn much later that other philosophers had already pointed it out before me, it's not the first time that happens, though maybe that goes to show that certain lines of thinking are just logical. As other animals possess degrees of consciousness, with some animal species sharing the level of intelligence that we see in young human children, it could be that other species could also possibly develop a higher level of consciousness over time. I have argued that, since consciousness the way that we experience it might be unique, that we have a responsibility as the only conscious beings around that we know of, to protect ourselves/our consciousness, our planet and other species.
I have written about Utopia and about how we should aim for the best possible world, but when I present you with the concept of Utopia I should specify that it is not to mean a perfect world that is some final and static goal, but simply a relative Utopia. It is relative because it is a better world relative to some past version of our world. In that sense our world today is a Utopia compared to our world during the past when life was harsher on a general basis. I argue that our aim as a species should always be to work towards the best possible world/ or a relative Utopia. It will also be relative in the sense that individual humans will always construct individual mental images of their idea of the best possible world. By working together over time all of our individual contributions will partake in our creation of our future world. There might not be any meaning to our existence, but we can create our own if we want to and I argue that we should make life as happy as we can.
I will argue that the contributions of all individuals are of importance even if single contributions might be small and that our attitudes matter. What kind of an attitude we possess both mentally within ourselves and during communication with others could impact the world. If we truly believe that we can overcome the problems within our world together and do something in order to contribute, wether it's a small contribution or a big one, then that is a powerful thing. That belief, that genuine belief, I believe that to be very important. In the sense that, we can make progress without it as well, but with it we would be much more effective.
I spoke of an idea of mine during a meeting with Effective Altruism at uni yesterday about putting effort into making promotion videos that would be as short as possible, eventhough that's a difficult task, in order to arouse hope and motivation among other humans on Earth about how the world actually is better than it used to be (which is true) and about positive change that we could potentially achieve. About how we could possibly use our creativity to create something pleasurable, something happy and inspiring as opposed to focusing on the negatives that we wish to change. It's just an idea, we were just talking and we discuss many things, but my point regarding this is about how I personally believe in changing our focus. Over from ideas such as the idea that things can't change because it's too difficult. Or from focusing too much on various problems as opposed to on how we want things to become. Feeling discouraged because the world consists of so many other humans, companies, different countries- in other words because of feeling small, is another example. In stead I argue that the most imporant thing to change first of all is our own belief to the belief that we can in fact achieve a relative Utopia.
I believe that we could potentially achieve a prolonged life. That we could eliminate poverty for example. Continue our development of medicine and health care. Improve the accessability of education and improve on our education systems in general and other progress of this sort. I believe that our scientific development could continue to grow and flourish and that other progress that we can't even know of as of today, could also be achieved. I hope that country borders could be erased in the future at some point and that one day, we could all live in peace. Perhaps it won't ever be like that, perhaps your idea of a better world looks different, but there is some kind of a better world out there and I argue that we should all work together to secure it.
I argue that we should all ask ourselves: "What can I do as an individual to contribute to a relative Utopia?".
I have previously argued that a lot of our collective focus is directed in an unfruitful way. One way in which people could feel motivated to direct some more of their focus or time on doing good for the greater good somehow, could be by focusing on positive consequences that this can lead to. It doesn't have to be a contribution involving the donation of money, what we say and do or how we may influence others for example is also an important part of contributing to the world, but with that said.
Living in a mansion for example, might be fun, but not as fun as living in a mansion within some future where the most grotesque suffering would be gone, where there would be no more hunger and living in a mansion would not only be exclusively for a select few people to enjoy. I argue that living comfortably, but not excessively, while contributing positively to the world in one way or another is one example of something that would be beneficial. Being intellectual is also beneficial as we need honest progress by people who understand how to distinguish between fact and between what is not reasonable. Some people are good at caring for others... Some people are artistic, we all have different qualities. For example, if someone is mentally ill then self-love and self-care might actually be the number one priority to start with because we can all come to contribute with something uniquely positive, no matter how small, we all matter. We also seem to be free. We don't have to contribute with any more than we are already doing for the greater good, but I see the importance in certain things. In viewing strangers as a part of a whole with friendliness, as we are all living together on the same planet. Planet Earth... I see the importance in viewing Earth as our home first and foremost, before thinking of different countries or ethnicities. Some of us have developed to become quite different from one another. When I write about ethics I struggle to come to terms with for example, deeds that we deem as immoral or with suffering, but without the contrast of light and darkness for example, how would we be able to tell what light is? Maybe learning through experiencing, through making mistakes and so on, maybe that is the best way to achieve some greater form of existence either way? That way we can always look back in order to remember how we learned why something should be in one particular way as opposed to some other different way. Or maybe the nihilist is right...
Either way we seem to have free will and we don't know why we're here or why the universe is the way that it is, but we know a lot more now than we used to after investigating ourselves and this world that we have grown up in as a species and we have been able to build a better world for ourselves by the aid of such things as rationality, creativity, logic and empirical research. Even across different country borders we have achieved cooperation and while our world is not perfect and while we are not perfect, is it not possible that we could come to achieve even more progress? I look back at the Industrial revolution or the stone age or the Roman empire and on other impressive chapters of our past and I see hope. I look at what we are, at what we really are, I look and I look, trying to see again what I have already seen with new eyes and I see more than what I used to see because sometimes we are so used to something that we forget what it really looks like. What we are is shocking. We are the universe, a part of it, we are the universe becoming self-aware. Growing, learning, making blunders and achieving progress and there might be no purpose to it, but that which we make for ourselves, but it is still incredible. You're allowed to disagree with me of course, this is my take on it, maybe you believe for example that our consciousness exists separate from our bodies/aka the matter that came from the universe in the sense that it could exist without a body, or in something else...
Regarding ethics I'm more inclined towards ethical antirealism and to believe that moral truths do not express objective universal law, but I won't rule out the possibility that we're moving towards some kind of goal that might be natural to life either. Maybe evolution and morality is closely interlinked? However it might be regarding morality I argue that we can and should of course still act in ways that we perceive as morally good. A lot of our ideas of what's morally right are acts that are practical in order for our societies to function well and we obviously want to avoid pain and hardships as those things are negative for us both as individuals and as people living together in societies and on Earth in general. The more we can come to terms with eachother and build on our general ideas of what we perceive as good, the better for all of us. I argue that acts that benefit humanity as a whole benefit us as individuals and should be desired if we desire general wellbeing and happiness for ourselves as individuals. Especially in the long run. Based on common sense.