Life Philosophy: Step 5 | Boil It All Down to One Question

5. Starting Points & Axioms: Boil it All Down to One Question

This is the Fifth Step in the series, "How to Rethink Your Entire Life: Foundations of a Life Philosophy"

Let’s take all of the above and boil it down to one question.

What is real?

That question might seem a little puzzling. We can ask it in a few different ways.

What is reality?

In other words, what is the universe, including ourselves?

This might still seem like a vague, unanswerable question that we could speculate and argue about endlessly.

But really, it’s closer to being a multiple choice question. While there are several different ways to approach it, the number of valid answers to this question isn’t endless. James Sire in The Worldview Next Door outlined the responses roughly along these lines.

Here are Sire’s possible answers:

A) The universe is essentially physical matter.
B) The universe is essentially Spirit.
C) The universe is both Spirit and matter, but those two don’t really intersect.
D) The universe is some intersection of Spirit and matter, governed by God.
E) The universe is blind chaos governed by chance.
F) The universe is blind chaos governed by chance (except for us.)
G) We have no idea what the universe is.

Here are the answers, but with labels:

A) The universe is essentially physical matter. (Naturalism)
B) The universe is essentially Spirit. (Monism)
C) The universe is both Spirit and matter, but those two don’t really intersect. (Deism)
D) The universe is some combination of Spirit and matter, and those two do "intersect." (Theism)
E) The universe is blind chaos governed by chance. (Nihilism)
F) The universe is blind chaos governed by chance, except for us (Existentialism)
G) We have no idea what the universe is. (Agnosticism)

So, we can boil this down yet again to seven words:

A) Naturalism
B) Monism
C) Deism
D) Theism
E) Nihilism
F) Existentialism
G) Agnosticism

At this point, you can choose an answer.

What’s your answer?

With that answer in hand, much of the rest naturally falls into place.

That will bring us to Step 6, where we follow these pieces as they fall into place.

> Next: Step 6: Forthcoming

< Previous: Step 4: See the Interconnections

< Main Index: How to Rethink Your Entire Life

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