Many of us modern humans can get a bit grumpy with any mention of magic or unsolvable mysteries. Since the eighteenth century, we have been using science to replace superstition, and this has led lots of folk to conclude that there is no room for magic in the world. There is also the ‘science of the gaps’ argument that would have us believe that at some future point the remaining mystery in the universe will be cleared up by science. This cocky attitude arises because of our ability to ignore the egocentric predicament. The reality of course is that the universe is just as magical and mysterious now as it has always been.
What is the Egocentric Predicament?
The egocentric predicament is the truth that we can never understand reality outside of our own perceptions. We can’t even be sure if that thing we call reality is even there or not – maybe we are living in a simulated universe or maybe this is all one strange dream? It doesn’t matter how many scientific tests we perform, or how many new things we discover, because at the end of the day, there is no way for us to know if anything that is being tested actually exists. It means that anyone who makes any claims about reality will be doing so on the basis of faith.
The egocentric predicament can be a hard pill to swallow, and this is why most sane people prefer to ignore it. Science has allowed us to shine light on the dark places that used to scare us, but the egocentric predicament might mean that our efforts have not brought us one step closer to the truth. Of course, none of this should be taken as a criticism of science. It is the best tool we have for getting to know this thing we call reality. It has produced some amazing advances, and it has made life far more comfortable. Science is great when it comes to producing technology, but when it comes to the ultimate truth of things, it may be little more than a side-show.
My Three Reasons for Loving the Egocentric Predicament
I have grown to love the egocentric predicament. Even as a kid, I spent a great deal of time fixated on questions about the nature of reality. I would share my ruminations with other people, but it was often treated as a taboo subject. This is understandable as questioning reality is the best way to get locked up in a mental institution. Over the years, I’ve grown to love the egocentric predicament for a number of reasons:
It is a Reminder That I Live in a Magical Universe
There are plenty of modern scholars who try to convince us that we are mere meat-robots, but this goes completely against my experiences as a human. The fact that we are even here in this universe to appreciate any of this is truly magical – there is no better way to describe it than magical. This sense of magic and mystery is further increased by the knowledge that we have no real idea about what is behind it all. Anyone who claims there is no magic out there just isn’t looking hard enough.
It Teaches Me Humility
A great deal of suffering has occurred throughout the centuries because groups of people became convinced they understood the truth of reality. They then took it upon themselves to try to covert other people to their truth or kill them for doubting it. The egocentric predicament keeps us humble because it reminds us that nobody really knows what’s going on. Even those spiritual people who claim to have achieved enlightenment may just be experiencing a more intense delusion than the rest of us.
It Means Every Second is Precious
By viewing life as one huge mystery ride, it means that every second is precious. It is too easy to fall into the trap of taking life for granted. The world around us is truly miraculous when we pay attention to it – there is magic everywhere. Nobody knows if there is anything after this life, so to just treat what we have now as somehow mundane seems a real shame. It is only things we are convinced we understand that we take for granted, so the realization that we are surrounded by mystery can spice our life up immensely.