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Tristan Walde

Final Paper: Personal Philosophy


Metaphysics
To begin, I believe there is existence beyond my individual conscious experience.
Perhaps that was somewhat of a given, but I also believe that my individual experience cannot
be separated from the space of existing non-experience that I have just declared faith of. In
other words, I don’t conceptualize my experience as existing outside of my non-experience, I
believe they are inherently interconnected and dependent on one another for them to exist as
they do. As product, I am far from an Existentialist or Romantic, which predicate their beliefs on
an assumption of self that is necessarily independent from their cosmos. In a literal sense, I do
not believe in individual free will because I do not see the individual as being separate from
their environment.
To be more specific, I see my conscious experience as a finite interpretation of my non-
experience. In a holistic sense, reality is simply the sum of my experience and my non-
experience. What truly encompasses the reality of my non-experience is necessarily elusive to
me, yet predicates what I see. My conscious experience is limited to what it is and is dependent
on my non-experience being what it is.
The role of a ‘mythos’, then, becomes a form of ‘truth’ in a non-scientific sense. A big
emphasis in my ethics is to leave yourself as open minded as you can be; both rationally and
emotionally. This necessitates an understanding of inevitable non-understanding of yourself
with respect to everything else. Thus, the role of the ‘mythos’ is delegated to a non-literal form
of truth, which becomes subject to our own judgements. The ‘mythos’ in our lives do exist in an
objective sense, in that they are abstractions intertwined within the reality of a given moment,
but don’t necessarily function in the form of a rigid, causal truth of how things came to be. As
far as I can tell, that would limit our capacity to openly interpret new elements of our non-
existence that may reveal themselves to us in a given moment. Finding purpose for a ‘myth’ as
an ‘abstraction’ becomes a truth oriented question; one that examines how to ‘properly’ live
life in a non-scientific fashion (I’ll refer to this as the Truth of Wisdom).
The role of science as an all-defining mythos is also made moot because the human (not
really relegated to just the ‘human’ experience though) is necessarily unable to actualize
holistic truth as long as it continues to exist within a finite, interpretative realm of experience.
Science is a good tool to establish validity and confidence in a given judgement about how our
world functions within our non-experience, but it can never be more than that. Science can’t be
given the status of a rigid, causal truth either. To do so would be to stumble into the pitfall of
naïve, ideological thinking, which undercuts the Truth of Wisdom.
History provides us with a deep, enriching body of thought in which we can base our
judgments off of and is hardly without value. However, given that the realm of experience is in
a constant state of change, how historical ideas are interpreted will invariably change and our
judgements of them will as well. This sort of moment to moment relativism is similar to
postmodernism, which is a philosophy that makes good points in terms of how it exposes the
fragility of any conception of truth that is overly rigid and absolute. However, like many
historical philosophies that over emphasized the absolute role of reason, postmodernism falls
into the similar trap of devaluing the Truth of Wisdom. This is where openness to emotional
understanding within our own, individual conscious experience becomes important. It’s okay to
make a judgement that may not be validated by an ‘absolute’ and ‘true’ reason because, even if
that kind of ‘true’ reason did exist, it wouldn’t be fully comprehendible within our finite
experience anyways. This gives mythos the necessary room to operate within my metaphysical
framework.
Essentially, my metaphysics are defined by what I don’t know, what I invariably can’t
know, and is what I’ve been referring to as the ‘abyss of non-comprehension’ all quarter. In my
head, I picture ‘true’, ‘objective’ reality as a black abyss and my own experience as a miniscule
sliver of light within that abyss. My truth, ultimately, is a finite, inverted truth of the Everything.
I am not defined by being something that will one day die to become nothing. I exist as less
than Everything (while simultaneously “One” with Everything) and will one day die to become
Everything. The question is, when I die, will the abyss completely lighten up or will my little
sliver of light simply extinguish? Or is there even a difference?

Epistemology
My conception of ultimate truth, then, is defined by the Everything. The Everything and
ultimate truth are the same thing in my opinion. It is also where the subjective and objective
converge because you cannot separate the finite subjective experiences within the context of
the Everything from the Everything itself. This is why I am not opposed to being identified as a
pantheist, if you were to construct God as being synonymous with ultimate truth. Whether God
is ‘benevolent’ or not becomes irrelevant (I suppose you could also call me a ‘pandeist’ if you
want *Ba Dum Tsss*) because of my metaphysics, since the truth of it being ‘is’ or ‘isn’t’ is
undermined by it being unknowable. This can be said, theoretically, for anything ‘spiritual’
because, once it becomes known, it would no longer really be ‘spiritual’ as far as I’m concerned.
Spiritualism becomes a non-literal means to describe the abyss of non-comprehension.
The function of spiritualism with respect to truth can be related, again, to the Truth of
Wisdom. I will define the Truth of Wisdom more specifically, by calling it a means of generating
greater emotional reconciliation with the unknowability of the Everything. This is where finding
the balance between the various dichotomic constructions we discussed over the quarter (such
as order vs. chaos, left brain vs. right brain, dove vs. serpent) comes into play. The myths that
enable us to actualize the Truth of Wisdom, to find the highest form of emotional balance
within our framework of an inherently uncertain reality, become necessary in order to produce
judgements that will maximize acceptance of ourselves and reality.
By saying that, I am assuming that complete emotional balance is defined by absolute
acceptance; the actualization of complete contentment with yourself within the context of the
greater reality of non-experience, which reconciles you’re finite experience with the Everything.
I define this as the actualization of Transcendent Love, which is, obviously, not really
actualizable, but, rather, an ideal to strive towards. To actually actualize Transcendent Love
would be akin to experiencing death while living (or conceptualizing the Everything within your
finite, interpretive experience). Ultimate emotional truth, in other words, is not so different
from ultimate scientific (or ‘objective’) truth, in that its realization is necessarily limited by our
conscious experience.
This is what makes experienced life what it is; it is defined more by what it is not than
what it is. It is through greater emotional balance that a greater capacity of knowing is achieved
because it limits emotional biases that cloud ‘objective’ reasoning, while also leaving people
open to their own emotional judgements. As a greater level of self-acceptance is actualized,
moment to moment emotional judgements are greater understood and accepted as well. The
paradox of striving towards Transcendent Love is that, by trying to transcend judgement
through complete acceptance of the is, you wind up having a greater capacity to confidently
accept the emotional judgements you do inevitably make. You’re actions, in other words, come
to define the you of the moment less and less as you get closer to Transcendent Love (I suppose
you could call me an Inverse-Existentialist).
It is rigidity in belief that limits a given person’s capacity to discern truth and judge
wisely, thus my pervading endorsement for openness. Perhaps it’s naïve, but I believe true
openness is the guide to achieving balance and navigating the Truth of Wisdom. This means
embracing the invariable uncertainty of ultimate truth within your finite experience and
trusting your emotional judgements to guide your moment to moment actions, while also being
skeptical of the “truth” of that judgement. It requires introspective analysis to understand why
your judgement manifested the way it did and then to apply the new understandings brought
to you by being the product of a new moment to see if you still hold the previous action as
‘true’.
These judgements are inherently emotional ones, which is why, with respect to the
Truth of Wisdom, the action itself supersedes the ‘objective’, scientific cause of the action,
while, with scientific truth, the opposite is true. Ultimately, in the space of ultimate truth (the
Everything), the two forms of truth converge, but, from our finite perspective, it becomes a
handy practical way of discerning their differences. Scientific understanding becomes a tool for
the Truth of Wisdom, a tool for guiding our judgements and actions.

Ethics
Our ethics are defined by our judgements, which makes them intertwined with our
cultural (and really existential) context.

http://faculty.washington.edu/jwhelan/Disenchantment%20Site/Documents/Assignments/Fina
l%20Paper%20Prompt.pdf