The most important questions to guide a true philosophy and lifestyle of wellness
Philosophers, poets, and many others, whether they are learned and celebrated or ordinary in the sense of mingling with the general population, have long pondered the lingering questions of life. This is how humans guide their way through life. Doing so is, of course, a kind of luxury, a privilege primarily for those fortunate enough to have secured their basic necessities, such as plenty of food, shelter, education, security, and a fair amount of free time. Yet even under favorable circumstances, solving mysteries and possibilities, and arriving at satisfying and effective decisions on existential issues, is one of the most difficult challenges that human beings struggle to master.
In our time, awareness and commitment to REAL wellness lifestyles is likely to bring these issues to the forefront of priorities. In the course of thinking and acting on ways to boost physical and mental well-being, it is natural to contemplate the questions that shape destiny.
Here are some examples:
What qualities do I value most and find attractive in others?
What exercise and diet patterns should I adopt, master, and integrate into daily practice to stay fit for life?
Who and what do I love the most, and how can I experience it more?
Because I am here? What should I choose for my passions and purposes?
Much of what we believe was shaped by our cultures during infancy and early years, primarily through observations, lessons, rules, and other well-intentioned indoctrinations. But, as adults living in a different society in important ways than our early years, it is possible, even likely, that some unconscious prejudices, customs, and / or traditions may not align as well as they once did in life.
Exploring the REAL dimensions of well-being (i.e. reason, exuberance, athleticism, and, in particular, freedom) can be an efficient and well-organized way to put ingrained views through a valuable review process.
A good start, one that affects reason, exuberance, and freedom and is probably shaping up to be the most fertile ground for reevaluation, is religion.
Religions provide answers to existential questions, usually long before those born in religions are old enough to have existential questions, much less answers to them. Later in life, when doubts arise and questions are raised, common responses too often take the form of non-answers in extremis, as, for example, God works in mysterious ways: We must believe, have faith, and pray for guidance. .
Anyone serious about the REAL wellness reason dimension will find this kind of explanation unsatisfactory, with basically no explanation at all. In the deep past and especially in modern times, many, if not most, religious officials, as well as cult leaders, charlatans, and con artists of various persuasions, seek to protect the faith, dogma, and rituals that control followers. . Too often what is represented as the way, the truth, and the light, as revealed in the ancient holy books, is nothing more than babble, chatter, and babble.
Of course there are exceptions: Martin Luther King, William Sloan Coffin, Barry W. Lynn, and, in the second half of the 19th century, Henry Ward Beecher and Caroline Bartlett Crane, are just a few of the many exceptions. The latter, less known today than the others, was the 38-year-old pastor of the Kalamazoo People’s Church when Robert Ingersoll visited him and stated that, if such a church existed in my community, I would have become a member if they had accepted me.
A FINAL QUESTION
James Haught, longtime editor of the Charleston Gazette and senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine, wrote an article titled The Ultimate Question for Us. Haught’s essay posits that there is one question everyone should ask, one that overrides all others accordingly. .
Are you ready for it? Do you think your answer could dictate your entire approach to life if answered yes, as Haught suggests? This is the question:
Is there a supernatural god who can burn him forever in fire after his death? If the answer is yes, it is the most crucial fact in human life. But if there is no such god, religions have committed millennia of fraud and deception.
James Haught is not the first to make this observation. A British historian and the talented American artist Steve Allen took the same point of view:
The existence or nonexistence of God is the most important question that human beings are asked to answer. If God exists, and if consequently we are called to another life when it ends, a series of momentous consequences follow, which should affect every day, almost every moment, of our earthly existence. Our life then becomes a mere preparation for eternity and must be conducted with our future in view.
Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity
I do not understand those who are little or nothing interested in the subject of religion. If religion embodies a truth, it is certainly the most important truth in human existence. If it is largely a mistake, then it is of monumentally tragic proportions, and you must vigorously oppose it.
Steve Allen, silly
If you believe in an all-knowing, almighty supernatural being, someone who, if you don’t please him enough before he dies, will hold you over a burning pit of fire like a marshmallow and toast you forever and ever, with Without a bloody end to torture, then it seems clear what your purpose should be. Your purpose should be to praise him, convince yourself that you love him, and prostrate yourself before him, even if he is invisible and seems quite vindictive, brutal, ruthless, and relentless if you incur his wrath by not living up to it. After all, he loves you, they tell you, so it would be wise to love him in every available waking moment of your entire life, to avoid a dire situation in the afterlife.
Your best bet will be to dedicate your existence to praising thoughts and behaviors of reverence, kind of like Mike Pence before Donald Trump. If that seems like too much, at least bow down, flatter, and humiliate, as Republicans do (with few exceptions) in the service of your steady temper.
AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH
To guide reevaluations, you may want to develop, or simply hone, some REAL wellness skills, such as skepticism, doubt, and critical thinking, as part of the use of reason while safeguarding personal freedoms. Be alert to the dangers of alternative facts, superstitions, and conspiracy theories. Take an inventory of childhood indoctrinations and dispose of crapola, where indicated.
Acknowledge this indisputable fact: no one in this good land has any knowledge of any form of life after death. There may be a hell or a heaven or something else, but no one has an iota of evidence for that, or a hint, a hint of what a promised land might look like.
I would like to think that such a place exists. It would be a place where all my needs would be met but, more importantly, where all my fantasies would come true. But, in moments of sobriety, I know that after a few hours my earthly and changing fantasies would soon be boring, then annoying, and after a few days, not to mention weeks, years, centuries and millennia of engaging with these jejune, stupid fantasies, I’d be begging and begging to be roasted like a marshmallow over a fire pit.
As James Haught observes:
The beliefs are puzzling. No one knows what makes some people want to believe supernatural claims, or what makes pagans … doubt them. Our personalities are made up of subtle factors that are not yet fully understood. But this is clear: if the answer to God’s question, the deepest human question, is no, then religions have been lying since before written history began.
What you think?
In case there is any doubt about what I think, please note that I am with Ingersoll …happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, and the way to be happy is to make others happy.