Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Philosophical Discussion

9 strangers meet in a brasserie. Salutations. Drink orders. Reshuffling of chairs. A Thomas Hobbes quote is lobbed into the circle and discussion ensues. Is man a wolf to man? Would we destroy one another without societal structures (government, religion, taught morality) in place? Is there a place for every human on the earth? What role do wars, rebellions, colonizations play into it? What can we learn from the savage vs civilized man?

After a long and energetic banter of French debate (that I can’t quite keep up with), the question is posed: Did God create man, or did man create God? Immediately the answer is given than man created God. Around the table 7 heads nod in agreement, adding their own reasons for the simple response. I nod for the opposition, and another inquisitive mind asks questions like “who is God to you?” and “don’t we all have our gods whether we create them or they choose us?”

Later, the question is raised of why a creator God would make things like jungle parasites that do nothing but feast, kill, and destroy. I admittedly have often wondered about why God had to make mosquitos, I can’t stand those things; do they do anything good? One man shares that when he was 13 he left the church after dissatisfaction with his priest’s answer to the question of why God allows suffering and disasters. The table generally agrees that the notion of God is outdated, silly, and insufficient.

The discussion eventually moves to the topic of old age, disease, and death. Should we be able to choose our time to leave this world behind? Is it better to give up than to endure oncoming sufferings? Does the medical community have a responsibility to save lives, ease suffering, or follow patients’ wishes? Finally a topic with disagreement... but the depressive nature of the topic is too heavy and the group starts to dissipate as the bar closes down.

This is the world in which we live. And right now, there’s no place I’d rather be.

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