It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I feel it’s time to resurrect the blog. This blog began as a marked assignment in a science communication course. But, the paper has ended, the blog has been marked, and the blog can be reborn a little freer from the constraints of anticipated academic judgement.
Talk of resurrection is apt because I just recently watched Sam Harris’ speech (embedded below) from Melbourne in April about death and the value of living in the present moment. For many, certain aspects of death would appear to be outside the purview of scientific inquiry. While this is not true, it is the central axis around which all religions orbit, some sort of of denial of death apart from the now obvious answer, that death returns you to the state you were in before you were born.
So why shatter people’s illusions (delusions?) and deny them the comfort of an eternity of consciousness? Well, that’s where Harris has been so interesting lately. Rather than simply tearing down, and it’s easy to point out flaws in religious thinking, the Harris of late has been building up.
He offers us The Moral Landscape as a way to establish a secular objective morality. In Free Will (my review) he attacks the classical notion of free will, but spends plenty of time offering up reasons to think this may indeed be a refreshing change in view and shows possible knock-on benefits for individuals and society.
His discussion of death is not just to point out the problems of death denial. It offers ways to inject new kinds of vitality, urgency, and appreciation into people’s lives. His points will make you reexamine how you spend your time, and at best offer more happiness and fulfilment than any religion ever could.
This is well worth your time: