There are many puzzling thoughts in life that we don’t often attempt to think about, but are very good questions. Some of these questions are “Can we doubt our existence?”, or “Do events happen the same whether humans are there or not?”, or “Do we perceive things as they are or as they seem to be?” Some other questions could be “How real are we compared to numbers?”, or even “What is it like in Heaven?” and “How could God have existed forever?” These questions about knowledge, reality, and values can be quite confusing, but sometimes for confusing questions, we need to come up with equally confusing answers.
“I think, therefore I am.” These famous words were first said by Rene Descartes in Latin, later translated to English. We may sometimes, when we think about it, doubt our existence, but I think I agree with Descartes on this matter. If we as human beings have the capacity to think, we must be at least something. Even if everything is happening inside of our mind, our mind is there and has the ability to create these realities for us, therefore I do not doubt my existence at all. For example, when my mind tells me I am on the bus going home from school, I can doubt whether I really am on a bus, but I can’t doubt that my mind is telling me I am on the bus. Another question is this: do things happen the same if no one is there? To use the example on STJ School Forum, do falling trees make a sound if no one is there (or nothing is recording)? We can only guess the answer, and the most common one would be yes, because sound laws are the same regardless of people being there or not. It is an interesting question though. My best answer would be that it is irrelevant. The tree falls either way and the evidence is there that the tree has fallen. It wouldn’t really make any difference whether it made a sound or not. Still, though, we’ll never know for sure until we learn in Heaven.
How real are we compared to numbers? Are we equally real? I would say that we are equally as real as numbers, we are just real in a different way. We are physically real and spiritually real, and numbers are not physically real or spiritually real, but they are very real in that they offer the basis for any mathematical equation that you do. Numbers really help us do what we need to do in our daily lives. Without numbers, it would be hard for us to do some things we like to do. Here’s another reality question: If we are spiritually real forever, what do we do in Heaven? Often I wonder: will I be bored in Heaven if I’m supposedly there forever? If I get bored, would I prefer to not exist at all? If everybody is perfect in Heaven, will I keep my personality? How could God have existed forever? I can wonder and worry about these things, but in the end I just have to believe that Heaven is a better place than here and that I won’t be bored. I need to trust God with things I don’t understand.
Here is yet another question: Should we help people in need even if they have opposite values? For example, in a book I am reading right now, My Friend the Enemy by Dan Smith, a boy and his friend care for an injured Nazi soldier who desperately needs help. A human being is a human being whether they have similar ideas to us or not, so I think that they should be helped if they need it. As it says in the book, if someone we loved needed our help, we would want people to help them regardless of whether those people were our enemy or our best friend. We may value the human life and many other things, but how much do we value studying? Most people would say they would rather do something else because they want to have fun. If you don’t study, you may have more fun for that small period of time, but what about the punishment from your parents after a failing grade? To think farther than that, what about a job? It will be harder to succeed in life if you always failed in school.
My answers may not all be correct, but they are my view on some of these “Riddles of Existence.” These questions on knowledge, reality, and values are somewhat odd questions, but interesting to really think about. Now you’ve seen my perspective, what’s yours?
Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito_ergo_sum (wikipedia), My Friend The Enemy by Dan Smith, my older sister Anna, and STJ School Forum.