Date: July 18, 2019 03:52PM
Wasn't the first question in Man's Search for Happiness, "Who am I?" That seems to me to be the appropriate starting point, if for no other reason than we can introspect a few "facts" about ourselves and go from there. I also suggest that it might be prudent to give our humanistic intuitions about ourselves the benefit of the doubt, regardless of what modern philosophy or neuroscience might suggest. That said . . .
we are conscious human beings having freewill to think, discover truths about the world, make decisions, act upon those decisions and more or less determine our own lives. (I realize, of course, personal freedom is constrained by the culture we live in and our social and economic standing, so let's just say we have a potential for such values.)
Where did we come from? I take this to mean where did each individual conscious self come from, and all that such a self implies? My answer: I don't know, but human life, consciousness, cognition, freewill, human creativity, and human morality, most certainly cannot explained by an appeal to materialist science, in any or all of its forms. So, the door is left open, at least for now, for a more transcendent explanation.
2. Why am I here? Well, I am stumped in providing any sort of philosophical explanation. However, when I reflect upon human values, and the ability human agents have to react to the world, and change the world, including themselves, and others, it might be appropriate to assume that somehow in the big picture what we do with our lives does matter. Maybe we should therefore pay close attention to our moral intuitions and try our best to follow their dictates when making choices. Perhaps in so doing we will some day have an epiphany as to why our life matters that, again, transcends arm-chair philosophy.
3. Where are we going (after we die)? My answer: I don't know, but there is "evidence" of a continued existence after death, if one chooses to believe in the reports of such things. Perhaps summary dismissal of such reports is not per se justified by our limited scientific knowledge.
It strikes me as odd (and scientifically unwarranted) that many people respond to this post in a consistently negative manner. Surely no one lives their life with the assumption that they are *just* an organism, whose life in the general scheme of things doesn't really matter. No one teaches that to their children -- do they?
Has leaving Mormonism robbed us of our ability to have any type of non-religious faith that (1) life has an ultimate purpose; (2) we can experience transcendent thoughts and feelings that reflect the real world; and (3) there is room in rationality to have at least a hope for meaning? If so, that, in my view, is the singularly most tragic consequence of rejecting Mormonism and religion generally.