Photo is by Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay
What defines consciousness? Do you think other animals can be considered conscious creatures?
I personally define consciousness simply as the ability to experience. I believe that the majority, if not all animals are conscious, and we as humans often dismiss that idea because of our inability to perceive and understand the way in which animals communicate/express their consciousness. I think simply the amount of study done on the minds of animals is a major indication of the fact that animals are conscious creatures.
How do you create meaningful experience in your life?
The idea of creating meaningful experiences is interesting. Any experience can be meaningful if you focus your attention on the right things. Combining your inner dialogue with an active presence in whatever moment you’re currently experiencing is typically enough to make the experience meaningful in some way. On the other hand, you can also literally create meaningful experiences for yourself by spending the bulk of your time doing things that will move you towards the things you’re passionate about/the things that you find meaningful. By cultivating a lifestyle that’s in league with those things you’ll naturally come into contact with effortlessly meaningful experiences more often.
Donald Trump is a tangible example of increased absurdity (aka entropy) in the universe, can you name other examples?
This is going to sound funny, but I think memes are possibly the best example we have to date of increased entropy in the universe. We have this constantly expanding macrocosm of images that reference some sort of pop culture or some sort of joke, and jokes that reference themselves, and references that reference parodies of themselves. In a sense any individual’s ability to recognize and understand memes past a certain generation could be an indicator of said individual’s connection to the amount of absurdity in the world.
Sartre posits that the existence of desire is the best proof that humans are basically in a state of “lacking”, if man were “what he is(a being-in-itself)”, he would not need anything to complete him. Is there anything that can make a human complete?
Death is the only thing that can complete a human, as death is the completion of the human cycle.
In Albert Camus’ famous novel ‘The Stranger’ the central character, Mersault, is able to tolerate life in prison fairly well because of his general detachment. Is it fair to say that many people in our society “detach” as a way of coping with the violent unjust system that has been thrust upon us by history?
Yes. I think for all of history humans have sought detachment in order to cope with the cruelty of the reality that they live in. The most common ways historically have been through use of mind altering substances and through use of escapism via entertainment (social media today, roman coliseums centuries ago, etc.). In a sense, our emphasis on personal achievement and a dynamic life path is also sort of a means of detachment. We absorb ourselves in our own personal narrative, and at a point that narrative becomes the only connection we have to the outside world. This can be observed in the fact that as we get older, the amount of connections we have to others decreases, and the prevalence of dementia/insanity/senility in old age. You could even say existence a gradually increasing state of detachment until reaching a complete state of it in death.