The Search for Enlightenment
Nature, I think we can deduce, refers not only to animals, plants, and mountains, but rather to the universe as a whole--the entirety of the physical universe ranging from human nature to quantum nature while also including, plants, animals, and mountains as part of this greater whole. It has been the search for knowledge and truths of the wonders and mysteries of "nature," or rather the universe (in other words science) that has, over the past few years been the underlying motivation in my life. Not only do I find the search for knowledge exciting and intellectually stimulating, but I have found that this motivation gives meaning or rather a direction to my life. I don't wish to imply that science and religion give my life, nor events that occur during my life, meaning. I have always found that life is inherently meaningful without aid from science, religion, or purpose.
But why does the search for knowledge hold such importance for me in providing motivation and, hence, meaning/direction? Is it nature or nurture? Is it due to my personality type (INTP--Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceptive [Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and my innate drive for competence or is it culture and socialization? Is it possible that my motivation and direction is not based on rational grounds but rather on a biological instinct that tends to create a generalized desire for competency? My drive for competency which, whether it has been unconscious or conscious at times and stimulated by both biology and environment, seems to motivate and direct my search for knowledge. I have realized that what has attracted me to science and the search for knowledge, is not that "science tries to explain what life is in order to teach us how we are to live," (Dostoyevsky 1980, p.216). This in essence being the replacing of a God or religion I don't believe in with secular ideology. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of science and one that I disagree with. Instead my drive for competency has made science seem attractive, not because it tries to replace God and metaphysical ideology, but rather that it explains the universe without having to rely on untestable assumptions (which we can't know to be true) about how the universe should or would make sense to be. As I believe that there is no God or transcendental explanation for life or the cosmos, I aspire to understand human behavior, not in terms of metaphysical and transcendental explanations, but rather in an empirical approach based on logic, reason, and the "consiliecnce" (Wilson 1998, p.8) of the sciences and knowledge.
Yet, my innate desire for competence leads to another important motivation that affects my being, that is the quest for authenticism. To be authentic, I refer to being original, honest about my thoughts to myself and others; aware and skeptical of the motivation and assumptions of culture and society; attempting to recognize and dissect assumptions of...