"Explain the world to me."

I can explain many things to you. How planes can fly, why America exists as a political entity, how to make a milkshake, where babies come from.

And why do you need "the world" to be explained? You have a good life. You can and do exist in the world successfully.

Yes I can get to work, and do what I need to do to get a paycheck to live my life with a modicum of pleasure, but I am confused. There are so many different philosophy books, and so many religions. Which one is right? Which one should I study? How can I even decide between them? Are any of them right?

Are these real questions? Are questions without answers real questions? How do we know there are answers to these questions?

They seem simple enough. And traditional - smart people have always answered such questions.

There are many things, philosophical, religious and political, where many intelligent people will disagree with you. The metaphor we use here is of something like a math problem (not all higher math problems), or a measurement, or a simple fact where in most common cases there is indeed a right answer. Alternatively we could use the metaphor of a point of view, or alternatively of a taste, which does not demand one way of looking at things.

But we argue about these things as though we are in a contest for truth. This leads us to the first set of metaphors. At the same time we despair of having a correct answer. Which points us towards the second. (Philosophy, though not philosophers, does not even attempt a clear answer. We leave it at that.)

So the question is

[ back ]