Philosophy Over Faith: Ethical Pragmatism or Pragmatic Existentialism

If you are not religious (pick a church and/or a denomination), saying that you are “spiritual” is simply social lubricant … a shortcut to avoid the long conversion dialogues and discussions. If I “worship” anything, its ideas and freedom of thought. My creed is science. I have ethics and standards. I have beliefs and conclusions. None of these require me to blindly have faith. I have hopes but no real faith. Humanity, governments and cultures are equally likely to disappoint me as gain my approval.

My philosophy is best described as pragmatic existentialism. By this I mean that I don’t believe in absolutes, just the best possible decision for any given set of circumstances and that inaction is a real choice too. Art, music and nature bring me closest to transcendence where I forget my surroundings and feel uplifted. The best words and stories are immersive and I can read and run the film of that reading in my head, seeing and hearing those characters. That vicarious experience also expands my beliefs and broadens my conclusions.

The thing I truly don’t understand is how; if you wouldn’t want to experience something yourself or have it forced on your friends, family, neighborhood, town, city, state, region or nation; you can justify forcing or facilitating those experiences onto others. I understand fear, disinterest and convenience are motivators. I’ve fallen into those traps, but I am more aware of them today than yesterday and much more aware than in my youth and early adulthood.

Power and greed seem to hold the answers. Having had one or both and being currently in possession of same, those individuals, groups and organizations don’t want to give it up. And perhaps they fear being treated as they’ve treated others. Sorry, misunderstood white men. Sorry obscenely wealthy. Sorry insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Sorry monopolies and big business. Start making adjustments because, even if the other 99% don’t force you to change, climate migration and climate change will. Some of us have both compassion and ethics.