As we walk through time our view of the world is constantly in flux. One day I think this, the next day I think that – nothing is ever static. There is always something new to learn, and that new thing might well knock down a wall that previously blurred your view.
The problem, it seems, is that more veils that are lifted, the more one wonders how many layers still remain. Slowly through our lives, and probably through our death, the facades that surround us are exposed. We slowly peel down the layers of the onion, and maybe only in death do we discover our true core.
For me, this unveiling process began with some radical realisations surrounding the religion of my upbringing. I was born into a religion. By that I mean I was brought up being told that religion was Truth. I could accept it (and go to heaven) or reject it (and go to hell). With no seemingly comparative alternatives on offer, I chose the former: I accepted it with a full heart, adopted it as part of my identity, and used it as a framework to evaluate my surroundings and give my life some purpose.
As I “grew up” and my social network widened, this framework evolved. I started to question. The first veil lifted.
I looked out at the world with new eyes, curious about the beliefs of other cultures and past civilisations, curious to understand how different groups have evolved to see the world so differently. I started to question:
- How do I know if a story is true or false?
- How can I evaluate right from wrong?
- If evangelising to the world is not my life purpose, then what is?
Ahead of me I saw a much bigger more dynamic world, albeit more scary it was beautiful and exciting.
As I learned about history and science and culture, I began to look at them more critically. My favourite analogy for this is to think of it as analysing the “stories” that they are made of. As I pulled them apart I realised that every story has its biases. There is a story behind every story.
Every story is the result of events that have occurred throughout history – that all aspects of our lives come from our ancestors and how they adapted to fit environmental changes, or how we are taking this position and adapting to changes in our environment.
I guess that what has led me to philosophy. It seems the question at the onion’s core is: What is “reality”?
Slowly, slowly, I feel I am getting closer to determining what it means (to me) to be “alive”. Or at least I’m figuring out what story of reality makes the most sense to me.