Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Posthumously Speaking With Chris (Part I)

I plan to periodically post excerpts of e-mail correspondences between my late friend, Dr. Christopher Whitehead, and one of his friends from the University of Florida. The following is a portion of one of their first exchanges…Chris wrote:
I have a philosophical hang-up right now: are people basically good with evil tendencies or basically bad with good tendencies? This a question that Plato brought up. And he believed that people were basically good. He thought that when people did the wrong thing it was because they did not know the right thing to do. Plato was one of the fathers of western philosophy. The same philosophy that gave birth to science. This type of philosophy was never born in eastern culture.


I think that if you had to label my philosophy it would be transcendentalist. That is the best I can do and that descriptor is not comprehensive. Remember I said I thought the univesrse brought itself into existence to become aware of itself? Well I only kind of think/believe this. The problem is that when I look at the world with my western philosophy I see evolution. I see the universe being born in unfathomable violence, where matter can't even form atoms. Then simple atoms form, these coalesce into stars, which then create more types of matter. These stars die to form new stars and planets; these nice cool planets then give birth to life. This life becomes aware of itself and begins to figure out where it came from. I see evolution everywhere, in everything. I see evolution in my life. From a child to an adult. This is an evolution of my personality. But I only see this way because I was raised in western culture. Eastern philosophers would see it differently and I don't really know how they see it.


People who don't want to wonder, who don't want to find answers should still be huddled together in a cave at night scared of the dark. Sometimes I don't want to think. This is why I rode a skateboard, this is why I am trying to surf. But I feel that my point in life is to continue human evolution of the mind, of consciousness. It is hard to say what a higher level of consciousness is if you have never had it, but I know I have touched upon it.


I think that western philosophy gave birth to all important science and eastern philosophy has given birth to an acceptance and peace of mind and spirit. Buddhism teaches that if you desire nothing then you will never suffer. This is too extreme to me even though true. Western philosophy will teach that if you are good now you be repaid in the afterlife. I can't buy this shit either. Funny thing, they both try to convince you not to enjoy this life. I don't think anyone has really tried to meld these philosophies, except transcendentalists (Thoreau, Emerson).


Happiness is not always feeling joy, it is letting yourself be exactly what you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be it. Then, I don't know... I am striving for a consciousness that can understand this.
I would give anything to bring Chris back; to laugh with him, debate with him, learn from him. I would give him any number of reasons to disagree with me…respectfully of course. For instance, this essay. And one of my favorite songs reminds me of Chris…a lot.

Reconsider Everything

How many times will they do the same thing?
How did they get programmed to, your following?
Everyone’s locked up in their suffering
The only way you can tell is reconsider everything

What if the truth is that there is no truth
The only thing I can prove is there is no proof
Don’t be so sure that your source is correct
People believed it before, before they had checked

How many times can they tell you
Til you just give them their way
How many times can sell you
Til you let them have their say
Every time you will ignore your
Heart it will come back twice more

Never deny your own instinct
Reconsider Everything

Everybody want something they control
Some just want grass some they want gold
Either way does it feel good or feel low
Taking you down not fast but real slow

Rebellion done for it's own sake
Does not a true free thinker make
To go against for it's own sake
You're still controlled by the course that the other man takes

Reconsider everything, reconsider everything
Reconsider everything, reconsider everything
Reconsider everything, reconsider everything
Reconsider everything