For years I taught children about the various cycles of nature.
The water cycle, I told them, involved the movement of water in its various forms–the rain came from clouds, which were simply vaporized water that had risen from lakes and rivers and the ocean.
I explained to them how the rock cycle involved magma erupting from the earth and cooling into rocks, some of which ended up in the ocean. Some of these, I said, were pressed into sedimentary rock which, due to pressure and heat, could become metamorphic rock. Due to the earth’s movement rock could be buried and become magma–and the cycle would begin anew.
They learned that on mountaintops were the fossilized remains of sea creatures; those mountaintops had once been the ocean floor.
Nature is in flux. Life is characterized by movement. There is no stillness, even if there appears to be on the surface. History is characterized by cycles; phenomena occur in waves. Permanence and certainty are unknown.
Never in history has there been permanence in human affairs, either. There never can or will be.
5 thoughts on ““Things I’ve Said to Children,” by Alpha Unit”
I often wonder if the universe itself is cyclical or a one-shot deal. When all the stars in the various galaxies eventually expend their fuel and die, what happens next? The universe is expanding and accelerating at that. Will the universe literally disintegrate? Will there be a freeze when the last star has died out. Will things re contract into a singularity which then explodes into another big bang?
I love these questions.
Gettin into some heavy shit here, bro. Outa my league. That life and history are cyclical is a common theme in great literature. Compare Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. Major theme in both works. Check out the opening sentence of Finnegan’s Wake.
All things die. Propose we accept then that for things to die is then the natural law. To be a stoic you must accept strive to accept natural law. Knowing this, when should you die? Would any time to die or any path to death truly be any more or less valid or less? Since it is the nature of beings to struggle against death, should you then follow natural law by pursuing this path instead?
Alpha Unit, what I’m trying to say, one of the things that annoys me about your posts, is that you unfortunately sometimes veer into seeming to have a very Stoic sense of the natural law. Humans should live in accordance with natural law, as they have distilled in from observing the universe, rather than strive against it. But there is no natural law, no objective distillation of truths and cannot be. Man is the measure of all things. You can’t say “There is a natural trend, therefore it is right that you consciously act in accordance with it.”. This isn’t meaningful – it’s basically religion. The only thing you can say is “Things that don’t act in this way tend to/tend not to survive. Act as you will bearing this in mind”. Trends in nature and evolutionarily successful paths are not ethical statements or truths nor can truths and ethical statements be derived from them by some ethical calculus. Those people who follow moral codes which are inimical to survival will die out, and their codes with them, but this is not, logically, “proof” that their codes are fallacious.
What alot of folks don’t get is that, for WNs, taking action that would lead to survival of their race IS their Deontological Categorical Imperative. It, alone, is justice and they will have justice be done though the heavens may fall. And there isn’t a damn piece of logical argumentation that you can throw out there, or a piece of common humanity with which you can bind them, that will prove them wrong, because they cannot be proven wrong. The best you can do is convince, so look to that.
Why is it unfortunate that I have a very Stoic sense of the natural law? Unfortunate for whom?
For WNs, taking action that would lead to the survival of their race is their Deontological Categorical Imperative, you say. They are free to believe this, and they are free to try it.
I’m free to believe that the odds are against them, and I am free to say so.
Now, what’s the problem?