As a person who thinks his own thoughts to develop his own view of existence, I aim for a completely sensible construct. By that, I mean one that anybody with any brain at all can figure out and see as correct, and for which evidence and working examples stay readily available. Such a process tests one’s integrity, bravado and dedication in ways that cannot be foreseen at the outset. It costs friends (but you meet new ones). You get a reputation as someone with a personality that attracts people to you (and then drives them away when they discover what’s behind it). It tries relationships (but I married a wonderful woman more than a half century ago who learned to understand and trust me, and adopted my quest).
My quest began at about age fifteen when I, on a bicycle, had gained enough freedom to begin widening my circle of acquaintances in the rural area where I grew up. As I aged, my range increased while I wore out several old Studebakers to widen the circle to match. Some guys were mean, girls standoffish and troublesome, so most of my friends from beyond the immediate neighborhood were of the previous generations.
I found the older generations to be the most interesting. They knew and did things from which I could learn without the risk posed by an education gained with my own generation. They ran shops, garages, stores, and most would let me lend a hand as long as I did no damage. I felt privileged to be so taken advantage of, and gained an eclectic, hands-on education as a reward. Old people lived in a world of different smells and sounds in which I reveled. I learned to use tools collected over a lifetime of work, and to treasure the quality crafted into them. I often felt my curiosity roused by their widely divergent views about politics and religion, and the nature of queries some would lodge about my own simple views.
Politics seemed easy, and (until I hired into a factory) everybody agreed: republicans are good; democrats are evil. Simple as that. No brain needed. But, religion became more mysterious as time passed, until I felt threatened enough to make a promise to God. “All of the things people tell me are true can’t be, because each of them makes all the rest untrue. Only one way can be the right way. Guide me to that way and I promise to follow it, no matter what.” Slowly, by the tiniest of increments, God led me to become an atheist. That seems to me like a mystery greater than all the mysteries posed to me. It is plain to see: The god named God does not exist, nor do any others, but I shall keep my promise.
I have learned, over all my years, that what does exist is an astounding, multilayered universe that answers only to Nature as that presents in each layer. The layers are constructed by and of the processes contained within them; the processes originate in the ongoing sequences of events concatenating through time within each layer as appropriate to itself. You and I exemplify minor processes appropriate to the layer wherein we exist. The universe, itself, represents the ultimate process we recognize as Nature, which I acknowledge as a proper noun. Any event becomes, by its nature, a process until it, and the subsequent events it initiated, have played out. While all of what is not entirely accurate, it’s the easiest way to express it in a small space.
Words like ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are value words that describe the nature of some events/processes that have an effect on us or things we care about. Recognizing that we, and everything we see, are processes within those that amount to the totality of existence enhances our ability to recognize relationships between all the elements at play by which we become affected, and thereby enhances our ability to understand their roles relative to our own. A theory that everything can be understood in terms of their components is called reductionism. What you have just read goes beyond that to posit events as the most basic component of existence. Simple, but complex enough to sound like gobbledygook to strangers, it forms the basis of what I now accept as true.