‘If the world is not fallen, then it is not in need of saving…’

Here is an excerpt from a post-philosophical conversation note I wrote to one philosophical friend today.

All of the assumptions below are typically made. My tacit suggestion is that they amount to what Gilbert Ryle famously terms ‘category mistakes.’ Of course, some things are problems; but, logically speaking, a human life cannot be a problem. It is neither a problem nor a pseudo-problem nor a non-problem. Etc.

The implication is that one has to let go of all these assumptions (e.g., that human beings are broken) before one can come to greater understanding of oneself and the world in which we live.

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See whether you would go along with these unorthodox theses?  

1.) If the world is not fallen or lost, then it is not in need of saving.  

(Compare: a Christian believes that human beings are fallen beings as a result of Original Sin; thus, they are in need of saving. This is where Christ comes in. But our world may not fit the Christian description. If it does not fit this description, then it is not clear why people think that it needs to be–or that it could be–saved.)

2.) If human beings are not inherently weak and full of needs, then they are not necessarily in need of [my, our] help.  

(Compare: a baby has some needs (though not a lot of needs) and is physically weak (i.e., dependent on another to secure these needs). So, it will need helping, e.g., being fed, etc. But a mature human being isn’t like a baby. A mature human being is strong and has few needs. In the spirit of wu wei, he may do well to let him come around to sorting things out.)

3.) If human life is not a problem, then it does not call for a solution.  

(Compare: a math assignment consists of a set of problems. All of these require individual solutions. A conundrum is a kind of problem. But a human life isn’t like a math problem, and it isn’t, writ large, a conundrum. )

4.) If the mind is not numerically identical with the brain and if the mind cannot be ill (though the brain can indeed be sick), then the mind does not need healing or curing.  

(Compare: an older man may be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. But the fact that a man is grieving over the loss of his wife doesn’t make him ill; it means that he is in the midst of bereavement. [And bereavement is neither ‘sick’ nor ‘healthy.’]

(A human life is not the sort of thing that can be ‘ill’ or ‘healthy.’)

5.) If a human being cannot be broken, then he is not in need of fixing.  

(Compare: a car can be broken; thus, it can be fixed. But a human being is not like a car. So, there is no way in which it could possibly be fixed.)

6.) If a human life cannot be dis [hyphen] ordered (though Daoists believe that a mind can be out-of-order), then it does not beg to be restored to some prior state.  

(Compare: after a storm, a house may be out of order, things having fallen this way or that, broken off, etc. Thus, the house may need to be restored to some prior state. But a human life is not in this sense like a house: it does not call to be restored to a prior state. If Smith is longing, e.g., it could be that he is longing for a higher way of being. Hence, he has no interest in being restored to a way of life that couldn’t possibly overcome (say) the challenge posed by nihilism.)

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