Sometimes it’s hard to accept that your mental activities do not depend on any particular individual at any particular time.
It requires an understanding of people in general: namely, that any given advice at any given time is not guaranteed to be objectively correct, that individual desires can exist independently of other people, that conflicts of desires are a complete inevitability, and this conflict will not create a hole in the spacetime continuum, in which God sucks us into and punishes us there forever.
There seems to be this teaching within religion that says we must all get along with each other all of the time, or else we are sinning and will suffer forever. This is interpreted as “love”, and I know this because I heard it and I thought it myself. This means that a lot of my childhood was constructed around fear of conflict, because it felt unloving and sinful, and that meant to me that any conflict could send someone to Hell forever. When you are afraid of Hell, you perceive any little thing as a conflict, and you immediately want to extinguish it. This includes (at least in my case, and I would say is true for other people) any disagreements between people. Not disagreements in the sense of screaming or physical altercations, but disagreements such as what types of food are one’s favorite. This may sound irrational to you, and it is, but if you’ve never believed something irrational, then you’ve never been afraid of Hell before.
In my mind, conflict was to be avoided so strongly because the fear of Hell was so powerful that any diversity whatsoever between what were people’s favorites could lead someone to Hell. I didn’t know how, but all I knew is that this was a “conflict” and that at some point, this could send people to Hell. Philosophically, this just isn’t the case because that means that any comparison between any two people could send everyone to Hell: if I meet someone whose favorite food is also spaghetti, then we are both “safe”: if I meet someone where this isn’t the case, then we are both going to Hell, and likewise if someone else whose favorite food is spaghetti, then both of those people are going to Hell as well. It seems as if going to Hell is a rather random and uncontrollable process, and I know this sounds crazy and in reality, it is. But if you have never believed this, consider yourself lucky. You have never been part of conservatism.
I was a conservative for many years, and although I can’t really explain everything that went on because I don’t really want to remember it all, this is certainly a prime example of what happens within it. I’m sure most sane, rational people have heard stories about “crazy pastors” and “religious nuts” and the like, and I assure you that they are real, sadly.
For years I have believed what I have previously told you about “conflict.” It caused me to live a life of terror among disagreements and diverse tastes. I lived in a constant state of Hellfire for many different reasons.
But today, thankfully to God above, this does not seem to be the case to me anymore.
It does not make sense anymore to believe that diversity creates Hell, essentially. Philosophically, diversity of tastes and disagreements and conflicts mean something else rather than an immediate Hell sentence. I do not have a good explanation for the diversity of tastes, but all I know is that they exist. Some will say “diversity is good”, but diversity in itself is not good: for instance, it would not be good if I cut my leg off because you have two, simply for “diversity”‘s sake. Rather, diversity means something else.
Diversity has to deal with individual desires. If individual desires are homogeneous between people, then that doesn’t necessarily imply a “problem.” Rather, individual desires are what is key to the philosophical understanding of life: not “diversity” itself.
Therefore, if we look at life from a perspective of individual desires rather than diversity itself, the problem does not go away, but the solution is much easier. If we say that existence exists (or rather, that people exist) simply to be diverse, then that means that similarity is bad (if our existence exists solely to be diverse: any similarity would be a diversion from our existence, and therefore, similarity would be opposed to our existence). But rather, similarity is a great thing as well.
If people have something in common (say, a love for card games), then this does not inherently imply a “bad” thing. Therefore, diversity cannot be our sole usage for understanding people. Rather, individual desires are a better way for us to understand the world and the people in it.
Individual desires are the driving force for all activity in the world. Diversity itself is not what drives the world, because if that were the case, things like NASCAR wouldn’t exist because there could only be one driver, and other people would have to be doing something different. Even if there are differences among the drivers, and these differences are interesting and make us feel happy, the point is that each of these drivers are doing what they individually want, and this is more important rather than the fact that these individual desires just so happen to create diversity, which is random and spontaneous, completely dependent upon individual desires.
In summation, the point of life is not diversity for diversity’s sake, because then that eliminates the possibility and the natural value of similarities. Rather, the point of life is people getting what they want. This doesn’t mean that it always happens, but it doesn’t mean that something is evil when people get what they want, either. Wants to not implicitly nor explicitly imply evil. Rather, individual desires are the driving force for all actions that take place in the world, and their existence is valuable in and of itself, regardless of whether or not they are “diverse.” Individual desires may find value in diversity, but diversity is not the existential end goal in that if there was some level of diversity that life would be in perfect harmony, because some people aren’t going to like certain types of music, and there will be other people similar to them. Rather, a perfect harmony would exist if all of these individual desires, which could either be similar or diverse, depending on the factors that create individual desires themselves, which is a topic for another day.
June 25, 2014.