Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Hierarchy*

The academics among us have struggled with nature, nurture, natural and supernatural for centuries.  Among those who must understand everything in scientific terms, describing humanity and human behavior has been a difficult challenge.

  • Art and music, literature, and philosophy make little scientific sense and remain beyond adequate explanation.  
  • Class and conflict are perhaps just competition, like monkeys might do.  Or Wall Street.
  • Free will is scientifically impossible, or so the scientists tell us, 
                  ... and the entertaining debate continues.
The rationalist prefers a 'self and survival' based reality.  For them, even charity and philanthropy are self-serving, and as Ayn Rand popularized, selfless sacrifice is a fiction.  Pursued further, such reasoning quickly descends to an end of meaning for existence, an end of value for life or labor.

In our hearts, we know better, and every time we touch the truth, we're reminded.  Our lives are filled with purpose and opportunity, with difficulty and challenges and transcendent experiences, all of which require us to grow and learn.  And, there's extraordinary joy along the way, not in satisfying our own selfishness, but in truly loving others as we love ourselves.  Funny how that works.

*Maslow's Hierarchy is one of many attempts to contain the human experience in a defined context.  Popular for years, it has been generally abandoned by academics in favor of even more narrowly specified behavioral mechanics.  Scientific rigor is everything, we're told.  Are they right?  Or is there even more beyond a life purpose of loving others?  

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