philosophy, unsorted opinions

You take too much for granted

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Initial Perspective
  3. Alittle More Abstract
  4. Bringing It Back Down


First, the title isn’t meant to be offensive. Rather, this post is about opening your mind up to some things that just about everyone takes for granted. I’m even talking about daily life things that you aren’t going to discover or realize (perceive as a reality) without some serious thought. I intend to at least get you started on discovering those ideas as much as I’d like to do the impossible and share-with-you-my-eyes so to speak.

The Initial Perspective

See your hands? They move, don’t they? While this post should go on my philosophy blog, this isn’t going to be as deep or mind-blowing as it could be. I want you to just realize the plain fact. That’s actually harder than it sounds, especially since already you are taking it for granted and seeing nothing special about it.

As a kid, I, like friends of mine, wanted super powers – perhaps things like the ability to see through walls or manipulate matter without lifting a finger to do so. When you get older, those dreams don’t necessarily go away. Why’s that? I think the reason for that is because you don’t really know what you have.

People often ask why, if God is good, He permits evil. The answer to that is simply “to bring out a greater good”, but it’s an answer related to this topic. Whether or not you believe in God, you ought to recognize the old adage “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. If good goes, there comes a better understanding of what was lost. “Back in the good ol’ days…” is a thought that comes to mind, as well as “hindsight is 20/20”. In other words: “Oh gee, we shouldn’t have done that [evil/stupid idea/etc.].”

With that in mind, put yourself in the shoes of a plant. Oh wait, plants don’t have shoes. Isn’t it nice to have shoes? Isn’t it nice to be able to walk around? What about sight? You can see. Plants can’t do that. They also can’t hear or smell things. Gee, it’s nice not being a plant, or a rock. But let’s not stop there.

Alittle More Abstract

Now that you’re aware of your hand moving, I’d like you to think about this scientifically, that is, pure observation. I don’t mean like-you-think-a-scientist-views-things, which for most people seems a daunting task. Forget about the math. It’s not important.

See your motion? Isn’t that cool? You can move. The plants can move. Everything around you can move. How is that possible? No one knows. There is no way of actually knowing it.

Saint Thomas Aquinas said that everything in motion needs to be “pushed” into motion, and each “pusher” needs to be pushed. Since this cannot go on to infinity, there must be a “first pusher”. I assume his word for “pusher” was substitute for something indescribable, and while it does address how things got into motion, it doesn’t appear to address why motion was possible in the first place or what keeps it there.

Sir Isaac Newton observed that objects in motion tend to stay in motion and objects at rest tend to stay at rest. This isn’t so just because Sir Newton says so, and yet it seems people stop right there. They think that as soon as there is a label for something, it must be known. This is true for just about every scientific topic as well as countless other topics, including religion and God. But more specifically related to this topic, it relates to motion. Just because we call something motion and we have some theories about the dimensions of the universe and such does not at all diminish much less eliminate the original question, which was “How can we move?” The answer is not “Because there are dimensions,” and this isn’t simply because we observe that objects can remain at rest.

The question is so deep and fundamental it often slips by us. Why? We take it for granted. I’ve always moved, therefore, I hardly consider it anymore.

Bringing It Back Down

“Touch the Sun” by PatrickRuegheimer on DeviantArt

In my opinion, the purest of all philosophical perspectives is that of the child in the womb. Put yourself in their place for a moment. Never before has that child experienced the dimensions of the physical universe. Never before has that child seen light or even encountered darkness!! Never before have they smelled or heard. Then, as they develop in the womb, that all begins to change. Slowly but surely, as their ears, eyes, nose, and other senses develop, they experience… life. Reality. They become aware that they now have a tangible form. They have a mind. They have a memory. They have a consciousness.

What they don’t have is assumptions.

———— Philosophical aside (for those interested)
Babies in the womb know all there is to know without really knowing anything at all (that’s a very difficult statement to interpret, sorry. I call the concept “nowlos”, which I wrote about here).
Do note, this seems debatable, especially if you’re trying to think of instincts. But that’s not the case, and it’s missing the point in this article. It’ll will have to be explained in another article.

(Resuming where I was…)

Thus, having no assumptions, they aren’t taking anything for granted.

Once you experience life long enough, you take more and more things for granted, but it’s these fundamental things in particular that you begin to take for granted at an early age. By “taking for granted”, I not only mean that you assume they are always so but that you also disregard them and, notably, you lose your curiosity in them.

Now that I’ve got you to reconsider these things, are you asking yourself more questions? What about your body? You have a back, a spinal chord. You have… a physical structure. Isn’t that amazing? Somehow, you have a consciousness connected to a physical form!! Now that is special! That is way cool!


Enter the space and time of my little world... Welcome Earthling.

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