Monday, July 11, 2011

The Philosophy of Apathy and Failure

That which happens is that which matters. Stated in another way, if something really matters, then it will happen or will exist. If it does not happen or exist, then it did not matter; for God will bring about those things which must be. If you obeyed a particular moral commandment or requirement at a particular time, then what you did matters given that it happened. On the other hand, if you failed to obey a particular moral obligation or even outright rebelled against it, then this too matters matters given that it did happen. In fact, whether you do right or instead do wrong is something which actually matters inasmuch as the identity of this proposition seems to be this: either to actually (not hypothetically) choose between the right and the wrong, or to actually do the right or the wrong thing in this instance.

As a hypothetical matter, whether you fulfill every moral obligation of yours does not matter. Instead, what matters is what actually occurs at a given instance. Moral obligations and the facts concerning what sort of blessings and curses are commensurate with moral obedience and failure, meanwhile, are very much real and actual; therefore the obligations and facts always matter and the obligations themselves are binding. (So, imagine for example that a person lied to himself and said that it does not matter if what he does next is right or wrong; then that person goes and does what is wrong. The act of wrongdoing is real, and it therefore matters. The unjustifiable act of wrongdoing is also something that makes the person worthy of punishment, which is something that one could intuit before the act was even committed. That person will wrongly deem something as meaningless and rightly be punished for his wrongdoing.)

As a hypothetical matter, whether you fulfill every goal of yours does not matter. Instead, what matters is what actually occurs at a given instance. Again, what matters is what actually turns out to be the result of your attempts at obtaining the goal, whether good or bad. For example, a person full of youthful zeal and the desire to “win the world for Christ” might set out with the goal of compiling an exhaustive and definitive encyclopedia of rebuttals and counterproofs to all counter-Christian arguments and philosophy or of converting every last unbeliever he ever encounters. However, as time goes on this person will see what is either the futility or extreme ambitiousness of his efforts, and after a few years he may come to realize that his goals are looking perfectly unrealistic. If he is given the maturity to see the writing on the wall but does not have a social life to distract him from the reality of the situation, the next stage in his life is existential angst. Having discovered the seeming paradox of moral obligations to maintain a 40-hour job to pay his bills--and how many jobs out there both pay the bills and allow for serious efforts at Christian apologetics?--and moral obligations to invest 40 hours per week in his apologetic efforts if he is to succeed, he will soon reach the conclusion that nothing in life really matters.

Such a person would also be correct in his assessment of life: nothing matters, as even wise King Solomon concluded in the book of Ecclesiastes. Of course, anyone with an ounce of understanding realizes that some things are relative and other things have more than one connotation or intension: in a sense, nothing matters as some matters in life are matters of psychology as opposed to teleology. At that point, one must realize that only two things really matter in life and that these things are to be respected and pursued enthusiastically: one is obedience to the divine commandments, and the other is happiness. You should indeed eat, drink and be merry, because morale is life; without morale, you shrivel up and die or you jump from a bridge. And of course, you should obey God’s law, because this is the first order of business in human existence. If one will do these two things, it will hurt less both to fail and to curb his enthusiasm.

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