Where in the world…?

If we are all merely the product of random chemical reactions, then where in the world does creativity and love and Gouda cheese come from? If I’m the result of random chemical reactions, then typing these words is also a result of the same thing. How does one derive meaning from random chemical reactions? Can randomness equal meaning?

I’m sorry (no, I’m not) to dump a load of philosophical ponderings on you so late in the summer, when all that should be occupying our minds is the possibility of a last trip to the beach, snowcones, and freshly-picked corn. However, don’t you wake up every once in a while, late at night, flip on the light and say, “Honey, what does it all mean? Are we alone in the universe? Is there any pie left in the fridge and, if so, does it have any inherent meaning, or is merely a random arrangement of chemicals, just like you and me?”

After she hits you with whatever is close at hand (pillow, alarm clock, golf club) and instructs you to take your random arrangement of chemicals and go sleep on the couch, I hope you stay awake for hours, clutching your pillow and wondering about these questions. Like the guy said (or the fortune cookie), the unexamined life is not worth exhuming. Or something like that.

6 thoughts on “Where in the world…?”

  1. Christopher, whenever I find myself wondering about the meaning of life, I watch the movie. Or read Hitchiker again. You know the answer is 42 right? 🙂

    1. Ah, Hitchhiker. Those are some of the best books ever. I was unable to find the meaning of life from Douglas Adams, but he did make me laugh like a lunatic.

  2. For even more fun, consider the opposite scenario: that there is no such thing as random. That what appears to be random is really still completely ordered, but is merely too complex for our current scientific understanding to model. Then consider that because there is no random, the fact that you’re considering that there is no randomness is itself not even random, but the obvious result of the way the neurons happened to align in your mushy brain at the time. Oh, and it only gets more fun from there!

    1. …and to complement the discussion, Amy and I are now watching The Adjustment Bureau for the first time. Thanks, Mr. Bunn (and Netflix).

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