All righty! I'm gonna take some issue now. 1. Things DO CHANGE but they also DO LAST. That's why you're here. If you dismiss all things as ephemeral then you're not doing your duty as a living thing. Even a little hamster wants to have children. In its tiny hamster way, it still knows what it's for. Its job is pretty simple, but that doesn't make it any less important, not just to all hamsterkind, but to that individual hamster. We humans have the double-edged sword of symbolic language. This means that the idea of propagating ourselves becomes very complicated, because we don't only need to have children - if we just have kids and then ignore them, then they are adopted by the TV and the church and so on, and cease to think of you as being part of their lives. When this happens, it will HURT. It's not about pity or posessiveness. It's about realizing that you ceased to have an effect, like if you tried to touch someone but your hand passed through them instead. So, we also try to pass on what we think to our children and hope that they learn to think like us, or ideally better than us. This is our hope for humankind - not that it's perfect now, but that it will keep improving. More difficult than the hamster! But as a reward for being in the society, we get the better life, and the better life came from the process of passing on ideas to our children in the first place. Generally it is only the comfortable person who wishes for suffering. Those who are already suffering wish that they could be comfortable, because experience has made them wise to the fact that suffering is not the best thing in the world. MALAISE. Malaise is one of the diseases that can come to the comfortable person, like bedsores from someone who sits for too long. It usually represents the extreme boredom of painless inactivity. Some people get very bad cases, and commit suicide. Others sit and yearn for a feeling strong enough to prod them into doing something. This is why comfortable people often wish for suffering. "What fun it would be to be chased by wolves!" They think to themselves. "To be a samurai in an ancient war! To be a gladiator in the Circus Maximus! What unity of feeling, what intense sensation that would bring me." This idea usually comes from a misunderstanding of what it is to be in those situations, since the samurai, the gladiator, and the lupine pursuee would switch places with our modern person in a heartbeat. It's true that being in terrible danger tends to unify your philosophy and straighten out your priorities, but it's generally not worth the risk. The danger of malaise is that it brings with it a misunderstanding of the benefits of your life; people under its depressive spell often denounce all aspects of their life because they all fall under its greyish cloud. As such, people in this condition will despise their material conditions as damaging, even if they are not - that is, a family that loves them, a society that provides for them, a worldwide network that lets them communicate relatively freely. MATERIAL CONDITION. Being concerned with your material condition does not necessarily mean rubbing fistfuls of money on your face while oinking like a pig. When it comes to things like feeding yourself, taking care of your family, preventing your own death and so on, they are things we should take very seriously. These are all deeply related to our material condition. However, when people are afflicted with malaise they may disdain even very basic benefits as being harmful. When they do this, they lose sight of the fact that what they hate is the system that made them, and their thoughts. However, what they should be concerned with is where the ideological failure came from, not the physical one. Physically most of us are much better taken care of than the Roman gladiator. Ideologically we suffer certain problems, usually that the things that we are taught to believe are insufficient to even explain what we see in the world. This is why people often don't know what to do, because the current popular philosophy is a disaster. THE TRUTH. As such, to salve this particular problem, there are many different people who will sell you the truth, in one form or another. They'll tell you it's God, or Environmental Psychology, or Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. They're all trying to explain things for us, in exchange for some service. Religion is particularly interesting because the service that they require is that you believe them. You don't even need to give them money in many cases. All they ask is that you believe "the truth" and tell it to as many other people as you can. Information all propagates virally, in a sense. But - how do these people know? They know because someone else told them. They know because they heard a thing and it feels right to them. They know because it fits with other things they believe, and they know because it fits with such evidence as they have compared it to. This is not the truth - this is circumstantial evidence. Unfortunately, there is no other way to learn things. This is why Hume did not believe that it was possible to truly know anything - because your experience is miniscule compared to the world as a whole, so you can't take it to be representative even of a general trend. Our view of the world is necessarily restricted to what we are able to learn, and obviously the things that we learn are not canonical descriptions of reality, because they can't be. The reason why symbolic language is important is that it permits us to give a wider scope of experience to our children, and to other people, than they will get on their own through trial and error. Does that mean we should believe everything we are told? Of course not. Does it mean we are qualified to judge the veracity of the things we are told? Probably not very well. But, it does mean that we can admit one thing to ourselves. Anyone who tells you that they know the truth is almost definitely lying. Why? Because there's no source. Great efforts have been commited to try to invent a source, but the only things you can know are those you have experienced yourself and those you have been told by other people. Why don't I believe the argument from faith? That is usually everyone's next question. I can only say it is because, if you want to see something badly enough, you'll see it eventually. In this sense the old Medieval Christian White Magic (you know, Hagith, Ophiel, Aratron) is as true as anything else. Say something enough times, and you'll believe it. Anyone who doesn't agree is just an infidel. Since we don't know how other people see things in the first place, the fact that other people believe something to be "the truth" in this sense is no reason to believe it yourself. And the fact that it works if you try hard enough is not a reason to believe it either. So, how do we operate in the universe? By attempting to correlate our personal observations to create a unified whole. The whole of our observations will never be the whole of the universe - that's life. (Apparently.) WHAT'S THE POINT? Don't talk to me about objective experience. Our experience is subjective by its nature - that's why science is difficult to advance. The idea of a pure, objective, inner sense is PROBABLY something that's been invented to describe another of our subjective experiences, and even if it is real THERE'S NO WAY TO KNOW. I don't care if you say it feels right or you know it's the truth. Everyone says that about everything. So, why don't I afford your beliefs the same status I do to, say, gravity? Because a thousand other people believe a thousand other contradictory things that they believe just as strongly as you believe yours. I still have fundamental questions that no one has been able to answer, even if they "know the truth", because there are still questions that DON'T HAVE A TRUE ANSWER. But I'd still like an answer to one of my most important questions. Why do you have a name for your own formlessness? Naming is not objective by any measure. Why "warrior" or "ghost"? Why not "banana", if none of them fit?