Friday, November 28, 2008

The Undefined

I was depending upon a Blogswap today to fill this post, but it is delayed. So I will talk about something else, an abstract thought that has been on my mind since reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence.

In the modern world, science is said to have displaced religion to a large degree. This has led to a higher emphasis on classification, facts and definition. Creativity, abstraction, intuition, and undefined concepts are given a lower estimation of worth. The goal of science and knowledge is to attain facts, to figure out how the world works, to see how one subject relates to another in order to put them together as a group. But I maintain that this is unbalanced. You cannot explain the mechanics of everything. In the quest to know all, we've denied the idea that some concepts are ambigious and undefinable. There are things about our existence that we cannot figure out.

Motivation, the prompting to certain actions. This is mainly what I see as undefined. What makes us decide to practice certain things? Here's a short list of my undefined concepts.


What makes us prefer broccoli over cauliflower? What makes us love bossa nova and not jazz? What makes us believe in the Bible and not the Koran? Where does our intuition come from? Who can tell us what time really is? Why does a plant grow, and what makes it die? What makes us keep up a friendship with Bill and neglect Bob?

There are plenty of physical things that remain a mystery to me (crop circles, ghosts, etc.). But the undefined nature of the ideas above lingers in my mind. Sorry if this post is a bit high-flung or confusing. I've said before that everyday topics get boring for me.

If you have some undefined ideas, please share them with me. And if you didn't get anything from this post, here are a few sites to look at, to make up for the uncertain nature of my thoughts today.

Reid's post about his Ethics class
Advice on How to Be Creative by Hugh McLeod
and the London Pictures of Anna Aven