You can see ROZ’S ROUTE here. Each dot links to the blog from that day.104 nautical miles to go. (This may be updated as the day goes on.)
Roz’s latest Podcast: Sharky McShark is now live.
Final Philosophy Friday
This will, barring unforeseen disasters, be my last Philosophy Friday blog from the Indian Ocean. I wish that I could, like a guru returning from the desert/wilderness/tree, I could get up on my proverbial soapbox and reveal the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.
Unfortunately, that is beyond my pay grade, and most certainly beyond my mental or spiritual capabilities. Additionally, we may have to accept that there is no single, simple, all-encompassing answer… apart from “42”, of course. Life is just not that neat and tidy – and even if it was, we humans would inevitably find a way to make it more complicated.
Even though our collaborative musings over the last 5 months may not have led us to any dazzling new revelations, I hope that they have, at least, made us all look at things a bit more closely and with a more inquiring mind. They certainly have done for me. It has stretched my ocean-addled mind to try and articulate some of my ideas, and your feedback has always provided me with food for thought.
I’m not going to try and speak for all of us, as it will only get me into trouble, but i would like to try and reach some tentative conclusions from our blog-based dialogue. There follows a summary of what I have been trying to say, combined with new ideas that have come from your comments.
For whatever quirk of evolutionary dynamics, we humans have developed an ability to consider the future. That future is not predetermined, but is created through the choices that we make every day. Some of those choices are made consciously, although many are made passively or unthinkingly or “because we’ve always done it that way”.
Given our present situation as an increasingly endangered species – mostly through poor choices by ourselves and our predecessors – it would be a really, REALLY good idea if we started exercising our free will to make better choices. Creating this shift in consciousness is challenging, not least because our “free will” is all too often tainted by preconditioning that we may not even be aware of. We can hope that this present era will see an increase in the number of people who do the work necessary to clarify their thoughts and to make wise choices.
The longer we continue to blunder on blindly, the more we are reducing our options for the future. We may end up painting ourselves into such a tight corner that – although we will still have free will – our freedom of action will become seriously constrained. But even if the worst comes to the worst, remember Viktor Frankl in Auschwitz – he had extremely limited options, yet still exercised his free will in his decision to behave always with dignity, humanity, and sympathy. But let’s do what we can now to ensure that we never end up in such a desperate situation. Let’s maintain Ultimate Flexibility regarding our future, keeping our options open until we have better information available.
Change is undoubtedly needed at policy level, but we can each start by exercising our free will carefully and consciously in our own lives to create a new culture that embodies values such as happiness, resilience, and self-reliance. I believe in tipping points: although it may seem impossible to uplift the 7 billion people on the planet, we can start by working on ourselves, and by spreading the word. We have nothing to lose, and potentially much to gain. As the wise man said, “we don’t know enough yet not to be optimistic”. By maintaining a belief that we CAN change the world, we feel engaged and empowered, rather than hopeless and helpless.
And if all else fails, we can do worse than resorting to that other uniquely human trait – a sense of humour. Write a limerick about the end of the world, read The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy, or whistle a merry tune. Come what may, you’ve got to laugh. Always look on the bright side of life….!
Sponsored Miles: Thanks to those who had faith that I would get this far: Rich and Jolly King, Larry Grandt, Aimee Divine (for Theo Hoath), Linda and Graham Pugh, Louis Girard, Molly McCallum, Gina Alzate; also to Michelle Driskill-Smith, Wolfgang Stehr and Louis Girard – who expected me to go even further!