After the limits of capacity, what do we have left?


Leandro Castelluccio

Part of human activity involves escalating in degrees of complexity with respect to what we do. What we can do taking into account the rules of the world has become more complex, and this is not an exclusive phenomenon of dimensions such as science and technology, but is something fundamental to human self-esteem. According to my criteria, self-esteem is cultivated based on what we can do, which is complex, and where we are escalating in complexity as we develop our potential. A key question that arises taking into account that reality has certain limits, and as being part of it we cannot escape them in the end, then what would happen when in a certain future when we reach the limits of our capabilities, of what we can do as an entity or organism? There will no longer be an economy to expand in a certain way, no new differential technology to invent, no particular need to cover, what will we do? 

Why do we do what we do?

If we understand that life has no purpose as an end in reality ultimately, then one might think that one should establish one’s purpose, one’s life has to have a meaning, otherwise one would be adrift of existence. Why is that state bad? If we identify that state as something we do not prefer for our existence, there must be a reason, what is the standard? Why do we refuse to that state of life? Why is it outside of what we would prefer? One might think that a life with a purpose would be a better life, but why? There are no people without sense, the people without sense are dead, every action has a cause, some of the causes present a future, others remain in the past to put it in a way, but those of the future are there for most of what the the human being does, and yet there are still unhappy people. One cannot say that a life with a purpose is better if one does not have a reason to make such a claim. The problem is that the very concept of “better” needs a standard here. What determines what is best for you? What is the force, the cause behind that word? To have meaning is not exactly the most important here, for years people have preached that one must have a sense, a direction, a purpose in their lives, otherwise their lives would be wiped out by a vacuum that would harm them, but in the search by a sense, men have forgotten that the meaning, the purpose, has to have a standard to be chosen, people have forgotten the need for a criterion by which to choose a meaning, a purpose.

A person with sense can be just as miserable as someone without sense, if his purpose does not do more for him, than simply keep him alive, keep him tied to existence, without any greater reward. Or if the end is destructive to oneself and others, it is useless to carry out a life with meaning, we must therefore investigate more deeply what moves the human being and favors his life in some aspect.

People currently try to define the parameters of happiness by observing people who claim to be happy and identifying the factors involved in such happiness. But what if that standard is poor? What if the human being obtained greater reward under standards that do not enter the notion of happiness of many people? 

Many complain that they do not find meaning in what they do, what they are really saying is that what they do does not reward them greatly. That is the danger of the purpose detaching itself from self-esteem. Another problem here is coherence, man needs integration, but you can only need something for a reason, like someone needs food and water if he wants to live. So, what is the reason? What is the force, the reason, that allows us to integrate the rest of the aspects of a person’s existence, such as the purpose? The answer is its nature. And its nature, as I just mentioned, is the reward, man works through it, his standard of preference is the nature that rewards things. What we do is a consequence of something, nothing we could do if there were no causes, it would not be possible. The most important thing is self-esteem. Nature allows and seeks a state that could only be described as sublime, expansive, and permanent in the long term (the state of reward) when combined with other things, as in the case of self-esteem.

Self-esteem-happiness refers to high reward states, the highest we can manifest, as they extend in the long term and imply that they favor one’s life in some aspect (that do not destroy it and do not affect the possibility of self-esteem-happiness of others in the long term).

As indicated at the beginning, cultivating self-esteem implies what one can do, which scales in complexity. However there is a limit, what will happen to our reward following this evolution? Thinking in religious terms, we could ask in this sense if God is unhappy to be in the limits of power.

Eternity, capacity and creation

Different possibilities can be given for the events that will occur in the universe, including our history in this, but what if the exhaustion of the possibilities of the universe is inscribed in the fundamental structure of reality? That is one aspect, the universe can be totally finished at some point, without new possibilities, a fact from which we could not escape. We exist because the primordial structure still allows it, but it can reach a point where no more combinations would be possible, no more universes (if there were multiple), or no more existence for ours (no new combination), only a primordial structure would remain incapable of giving rise to nothing new. But this is only a possibility, and the return also (Big bang-Big Crunch, for example), if certain conditions are given in the nature of reality, but to imagine that the first option is possible seems an attack on self-esteem. What if a paradise was tied to this option? There would be no true eternity, so neither the existence of a life beyond this would guarantee immortality. This can attack our self-esteem (at least a particular definition of it), man usually wants eternity. He wants it in another life or in this one, living forever. What does it matter that God died following Nietzsche? The human being seems never really interested in a god, only as a means to guarantee certain things, such as immortality. The man can tolerate his absence, but can he really live with the possibility that the universe does not allow more possibilities? Or can it coexist with the idea that a life “beyond” is subject to this possibility, where eventually nothing will exist or will it be possible?

Everything that attacks man’s self-esteem must be confronted, because self-esteem demands it. The death of God? It would be necessary to proclaim perhaps the death of eternity, and this possibility must be overcome, partly based on the consideration everything matters in reference to oneself, if actually occurring or not. Self-esteem does not require eternity, it is worth what one can do and the reward that manifests itself in reference to one’s life. 

How does one live with these possibilities? Thinking that it is possible to experience the greatest possibilities of existence. But for our future capabilities, as a species, we also reach an inert state, so to speak, we reach a limit. How do we resolve that? The answer seems to be in creativity. Just as a great composer may not ultimately generate a new concert or symphony that is more complex than what he has already done, he can generate infinite and distinct variations of something that results in reward and pleasure for himself, as well as for others.

So, along with self-esteem, creativity is intermingled, which does not necessarily imply building a greater capacity, but working with what one has to generate something new, and that is part of our happiness. Creativity allows us to experience new things that encourage reward. Perhaps for this reason, if there is a God or an “intelligence beyond our comprehension”, the creation of matter, of forms, of life, is what it does more than anything else.

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