What does it mean to be alive, to be human, to be you? A form of this question finds itself at the root of seemingly every aspect of society and life throughout our history. The responses to this question have propelled us to many seemingly great and terrifying levels and feats. It is one of the main motivators of communities, religions, political systems, and nations. It defines our journey through life at a foundational level and influences every moment of existence.
Yet for all our responses to this question we remain rudderless, divided, and in precarious positions at seemingly all levels of society everywhere we turn. Why?
Are these failures a feature of humanity? History repeating itself? Punishment from a magic sky wizard? God? Aliens?
Or is it something more simple and aligned with how existence, reality, and nature operate?
Occam’s razor - is a principle from philosophy that states often the most simple explanation to an event is the more likely reality.
History, industry, the sciences, and indeed seemingly all of societies nuances are replete with examples of this principle in action. Through complex actions and sometimes generations of innovation and change we continually find the simplicity in what we previously believed to be inconceivably complex if not entirely impossible.
Yet we still define much of our world through absolute’s.
This short book is an extension of this process applied universally as a simple framework that resonates with reality instead of rigidly attempting to shape it into an absolute form.
This is No Absolutes
What if I told you that your problems could be solved, you could be relieved of your existential dread, and that this existence we call reality is fluid and never absolute and by at least trying to understand this your quality of life would improve?
Likely, your first reaction is some form of non-acceptance depending on the nuances of your background. How could it not be? After all, we're taught nothing but absolutes our entire lives, we're taught that concepts like good & bad, right & wrong, truth & fact, and the general unfolding of reality are all these solid things that happen to us. The reality is quite the opposite. We are, in part, the mechanism which drives this 'reality machine'.
Once this perspective begins to be understood the entire dichotomy of our existence takes a very abrupt and dramatic turn onto a road filled with wonder, amazement, happiness, and joy. This is realized by understanding that the future is formed through our choice & our presence which is drawn from an infinite sea of potential.
As we traverse through life we’re bombarded, accosted, and otherwise inundated with concepts that define not only who we are, but also how we interact with the larger world. They push and pull to our sensibilities, our fears, our joys, and at some level appeal to our human nature. From what we put in our bodies, to how we live our lives, what happens after we’re gone, and every interaction between has a cacophony of ideas striving for resonance.
These ideas peddled as ‘truth’ are the lines that we draw to divide ourselves. We remain discordant in our interactions and find ourselves constantly at odds with the world around us from our personal experience to society as a whole.
If this question were asked of various groups and peoples the answer would vary between religious chest thumps, national exceptionalism, or other forms of tribalistic rhetoric. The much more simple answer is that these imaginary lines in the sand breed hatred, division, and entitlement. It doesn’t take a profound leap to realize that these aspects of society foster discordance and it is that non-harmonious state that we find ourselves in today. This discordance seeps its way throughout our lives through our choices and impacts our relationships and even our relationship with ourselves. Adherence to these imaginary lines eventually leaves us stranded as the world changes around us.
Everything changes, everything is in motion - we can observe this in our personal lives and at a larger level more objectively through every observation of nature, society, even in our most accurate timekeeping creations. Even the cells in your body that make you - you are in a constant state of change, constantly recycling and growing anew so much so that roughly every 7 years most of you is a brand new you.
So, If everything is in a constant state of change what sort of sense does it make to apply absolutes to something clearly not?
What purpose does defining reality through rigidity bring us?
How would life be different without these archaic ideas dividing us?
We can see that rather its the physical reality, the machinations of society, or the machines and systems we create that there is a fluidity to all things there are no absolutes, but so what?
Imagine your life, all of the events that have shaped it, how many of your choices were made because you felt sure about something? Because you knew it was right or wrong? Because it was a fact you had accepted? What if that wasn’t the case - could those choices have been different? Would your life be different for that?
We’re taught in nearly every discipline that is taught that there are absolutes. That there is truth, fact, right, wrong, beginnings, and ends. The reality is that these are perspectives at best and opinions at worst. When you place the world or life in this box of vapors we find ourselves grasping at invisible strings, doubling down on lines in the sand, and ultimately lost when the winds of change show us the majestic reality of the situation.
A reality that likely our lives would be different and by embracing that freedom, by believing there is at least a possibility of something different that there are no absolutes the world changes, you can find joy, happiness, and the wonderment of discovery again, at least this has happened in my life.
Belief is a choice and a choice is what enables all our future choices. If you choose to believe in an imaginary box your choices lie in a box, if you believe in an infinite sea of potential then your choices consequently open up into a vastness that would make the oceans blush.
No Absolutes is about approaching the world with simplicity and through this framework. A framework which is meant to be built upon through your life experiences, a frame of reference to discern insight into life challenges. A way to process that vast and rapidly-paced world around us, a mechanism to create systems for yourself that enable and enrich your life, and a way to approach the world that enables future generations to stand on the shoulders of giants we can be and not rubble of what we dreamed could be.
I created the philosophy of no absolutes from a continued effort to expand and grow my knowledge & myself while finding the place and places I belong and where I wanted to be in life. It began from a search for freedom. I traveled paths known well and many paths less traveled to explore not just the physical world, but all the worlds I discovered. It allowed me to see my experience from a multitude of perspectives. Through that constant kaleidoscope I found balance, a shifting pattern to living. In balance I found sheer infinite potential. The potential to express, experience, and otherwise embrace life in any way I could imagine.
As these things tend to go we rarely see the whole picture while experiencing these pieces of the greater whole, but years later, many thousands of miles traveled, and countless wonders seen both visceral and non, I found the pieces began to connect here and there, until I found myself eventually with a philosophy that seemed to resonate at all levels of life. No Absolutes.
Along this journey I came across pearls of wisdom that worked as guideposts for me, these are 9 concepts that are simple, but helped remind me over time of the larger picture.
When we apply these concepts instead of absolutes to the problems we face in the world instead of each problem being an isolated and separate event they become a fluid collection of experiences which allow us to better frame each current struggle to build to resolutions that foster positive change for all and not a limited solution for the few rather that be individuals, groups, or society at large. Likewise, externally, it allows us this freedom in classifying and comprehending the world around us. This freedom grows into the systems, routines, experiences, and beliefs that find us more aligned with the natural flow of life and better equipped to navigate its waters.