Are humans generally good or evil? Does life have any meaning? Does god exist? Many ask themselves these questions. Few ever find a single answer that doesn’t contradict anything. When an answer that does contradict one fact or another is found, either the fact is ignored or the answer is considered incorrect. Logically, this seems to be undoubtedly true: if B follows from A and B can’t be true at the same time as C, then it must be either that C is false or A is false. But the sad truth is, that logic only goes as far as facts do. We can assuredly say that 2×2=4, provided that we know what 2 is, we know what multiplication is, we know what 4 is, and most importantly, our belief system doesn’t contain any contradictions. If it does, then we can prove that 2×2 equals 4 and 5 at the same time. We can do the same thing if we redefine the meaning of multiplication, or if we define 5 to be equal to 4.
The problem of real life is that there are no facts. Well, of course you can see something with your eyes and feel a lot of things in various ways. But first of all, these feelings can’t be proven to be accurate. In fact, they are known to be rather inaccurate sometimes. However, that is not the biggest problem. After all, if we can’t trust our eyes and feelings, what can we trust? So we can assume for now that our eyes are telling the truth.
The main problem is that you can’t see many things that seem to exist anyway. If you can’t see good, evil, god, love or justice, does that mean that they don’t exist at all? You also can’t see numbers, logic, truth, meaning — does that mean that there is no logic, no truth, and nothing can possibly make any sense? This is one of the questions that don’t have any correct answers, but we can assume that these things actually exist. We can do it for two reasons. First, if we don’t, then nothing makes sense, and it would be very difficult to live in such world. Second, even though we can’t see those things, we can feel them in some other ways. But it’s exactly when contradictions come around.
Can you feel justice, for example? Most people can, but not only they can’t define it in the same way that other people do, they can’t even define it completely for themselves. You may think that stealing is evil and that all thieves are better shot on sight. After all, if they are evil enough to even think about getting their dirty hands on other people’s belongings, they aren’t even worthy of being called humans any more, right? Well, then one day a rich bastard shoots an old senile woman for stealing a hot dog from him to save herself from dying of hunger. It makes you think that maybe it’s those bastards who aren’t worthy of being called humans, and maybe thieving itself isn’t necessarily evil and it all depends on circumstances. If you continue to think about it, you find yourself coming to many conclusions that contradict each other.
When a contradiction is found, the next logical step is usually to find a compromise. For example, thieving may be defined as evil, but there may be different punishments defined for thieving in different circumstances. The correct answer is usually defined as average public opinion, or some approximation of it. In most cases, it is perfectly fine for practical reasons, but is this compromise the truth itself? Well, the answer is no!
The reason that forces people to go looking for compromise is that there are two or more truths that contradict each other. Yes, truths! Not just some conclusions of mistaken people, but undoubtful truths! It means that stealing is both evil and not evil. At this point any reasonable people would feel that it is impossible for two opposite statements to be true at the same time. But that rule only works in the system that is not contradictory by itself. And that doesn’t apply to life.
Humans are generally good. Humans are generally evil. Life has meaning by itself. Life has no meaning and can’t possibly have one. God exists. God doesn’t exist. All of these statements are true. All of them can be expanded into a lot of conclusions, and all of them can be proven. The only problem with proof is that it has to be based on something. And, well, that something may be proven too, but this chain has to end somewhere. Otherwise you’ll find yourself proving things endlessly.
When you can consider all possibilities to be true, you become free. You don’t need to search for the meaning of life, because you know that anything is the meaning of life, and at the same time life has no meaning at all. You don’t need to ask yourself whether you are right or wrong, because you know that you’re always right, and you know that you’re always wrong. But it kind of boring to be completely free, so maybe it isn’t something people would want to be. Maybe that’s the reason why people tend to pick only one of the endless possibilities and stick to it, trying to prove it to those who picked a contradicting possibility. This certainly leads to all sorts of holy wars, but then again, holy wars can be fun, especially if you don’t take them too seriously.
Gautama Siddhartha provably had a good reason for inventing the middle way. Absolute freedom is boring, but its opposite is too limiting. You can choose the right amount of freedom, stick to it, and you know you can’t be wrong. Oh well, at the same time you can be wrong, but that’s precisely the point.
Don’t worry. Be happy.