We don’t get to choose the reality we want—no matter how badly we want it. We can, at best, use our powers of observation and perception to try to understand the one we have. And if we are to be true to this process, then we must neither add nor detract from that which can be perceived when we provide an account of our observations. But the questions that we must address in this pursuit are not insignificant. Within the mechanical aspects of a material universe, questions of meaning and purpose seem illusory, even out of place, but their weight and significance cry out not to be ignored… we yearn to understand, to have a sense of the purpose of our being.
Inevitably, it must all come together at some point, even if that point lies outside our current level of understanding. This work, which owes so much to the efforts of countless others, is but a simple attempt to point in that direction.
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Octavio Melo’s second philosophical work, Departure from Indifference, argues that consciousness matters in a material world. The book uses questions to frame the argument. Is the material world all there is? What else is there? Is there a God? Is death the end? Careful to adhere to the premise of the question, answers are reasoned in succinct language, without jargon, and with reference to common experience, not unfamiliar ancient texts. The book addresses a message in today’s culture: that humans are ruining the planet. Is Earth better off without us? Melo argues that this question answers itself. The material world doesn’t (can’t) care. It is indifferent. Matter can’t feel. But people do. People manifest intangible elements - consciousness, feelings, good, bad, right, wrong - in our actions. Our very questions and concerns, which drive us to act, we are evidence that we have a purpose here. These questions and concerns in turn become a defense of yearning to learn and understand as the means of expanding and perpetuating human consciousness in the material world. “[O]ur mere presence on this Earth - on this field of obstacles - is indicative of our desire to take the opportunities found herein and use them as catalysts for growth” (76). Consciousness not only matters, but is our, and the world’s, greatest asset. A tight and positive conclusion to a pithy philosophical inquiry.