I listened to a new podcast today. It was about philosophy. Philosophy is Greek for the love of wisdom. Philosophy is interesting because it explores the fundamental nature of our knowledge, reality, and existence. It is the study of underlying things, when you try to understand the basic reasons for things. When your mind starts to wonder about philosophy you are actively looking to understand fundamental truths about yourself, the world you live in and the relationship between yourself and the world. At times reading or listening to words of philosophy can be mind boggling. But if you can grasp these fundamental truths with an open mind, a new sense of self will emerge. A more open minded, and accountable self will start to show.
In philosophy the state of becoming is falls under the study of ontology. “Nothing in this world is constant except change, and becoming. Everything is impermanent.” A good statement to make this make sense is “A man never steps in the same river twice.” The river is constantly changing daily. New sediments are getting dropped off, while old ones get carried away. The river is not the same as it was yesterday or a few minutes ago. It is steadily becoming, changing every day. This thought process was introduced by Heraclitus. Heraclitus believed that you and the world around you were constantly changing and evolving, becoming themselves daily. Nothing just is, it is always becoming its self.
On the opposite hand you have Parmenides who says that “What is, is. And what is not, cannot be.” Parmenides believes that the world around us is not changing, that this is how it is and the changes we see are illusions or a way of opinion. He believes the truth of the world are a single, eternal, and unchanging reality. Earth is Earth as it has always been. A cup is a cup, as it has always been. If you were to say Dragon to Parmenides, he might say “Either dragons are out there; in which case you are uttering a lie, or there are not, in which case your word and your thought are ‘nothing’.”
To make this make sense in my head I related it to Back 2 the Future. If reality was like Parmenides describes it, Doc Brown going back in time to fix the time line would always be what realities time line planned on. There were no actual changes just an illusion or a thought that there was, when in fact that was eternally how it was forever going to be. If reality is like Heraclitus theorizes, Doc Brown went back in time because of what that future became. It had the ability to change by a course of action. Therefore, the future is not just being, or there.
Learning about these two theories on reality it got me thinking of a few things:
- A part of me wants to agree that things are the way they are eternally. Primarily because I see the history of the world constantly repeating itself. It fields me to believe that this is just the way of the world. Our world is just what it is. It is a being. BUT in contrast, there has been people and events that drastically change how the world runs and what events happen. Right?
- On the other hand, WE are constantly changing. I believe, because it’s true for myself, that even after reading this your mentality will change. Is this because you are becoming or were you always meant to achieve this state of mind that you are evolving to, it is apart of your being. Is it just reality that we grow like this?
- I often ask this question with language; I believe that many others have the same thought every once in a while. How do we know the word for elephant is elephant? Who made these root words? Did we come up with a series of grunts that defined what we saw, or was an elephant just always meant to be called an elephant?
In my opinion, I believe that both philosophers in a sense are correct. Things are constantly changing in reality, BUT reality is and cannot change. Meaning we are human beings, but we are constantly becoming or changing. I believe that some things are just the way they are because of science and biology, BUT it is possible to grow and evolve from the biology. Change in its self is eternal, just as Parmenides describes being. So, isn’t becoming essentially a part of being?
This poses other questions that I thought about. Please comment your answers below because I am very intrigued to hear the answers! Be mindful that there is no right or wrong answers. These topics are deep and discussions only make them easier to understand.
Do you feel as if change is the only constant thing?
Is reality just reality or are we constantly building it every day?
How do you know that what you believe isn’t totally wrong?
Who gets to give people their view on the order of things?
Who do you side with? Heraclitus or Parmenides?