INTRODUCTION TO PART 2
By Roland Watson
In the very first article, the Introduction to the University of Life, I discussed the five basic subjects that we need to learn to have a good understanding of life. To recap, these are the fact that actions have consequences; what we can know, what we can't know, and why; what the universe contains and how it is organized; how things change; and what it all means.
The website is separated into four different parts. In the first, I talked mainly about the 1st, 3rd and 4th of these subjects, to present the various things that people need to know to make the most of their lives.
Most importantly, I covered the idea of form. I discussed personal appearance, or physical form, and also behavioral form: the process by which we are influenced by other people and social institutions. In this context, we saw that however you are shaped by these influences, their actual effects, or consequences, occur in the moment, in all of the situations to which you are exposed.
Following this, we expanded the perspective even further to that of your complete form, or identity, comprising all of your characteristics, influences, beliefs, plans, thoughts and, most importantly, actions. I described how the crucial balance for an individual is the degree to which his or her identity is composed of deterministic influences, versus expressions of free will, and presented the idea that the most important goal a person can have in life is to ensure that the bulk of their identity derives from their will, not conditioning.
What we are building towards, and what I will review in great detail throughout the balance of the website, is a further expansion of the term, to what may be called the form of existence. This is the final and ultimate form, the vessel that contains all aspects of the human experience, of human life, including your own.
In this process, I will consider all of the forms to which people are exposed. And, I will specifically address the issue of where human nature ends, and behavioral form begins.
This is relevant because the first forms we will consider are in fact the most powerful forms of all, and constitute the essential conditions of the human experience. They are important not only because they define - they are - the foundation characteristics of our nature, but also because they are regularly used against us by the sources of form that come from society.
There are a number of different ways to distinguish form, and I'll use them as appropriate.
There are forms that give us life; those that make us human; and those that make us individuals.
There are forms we are born with, and those we acquire later.
There are physical and mental forms.
And, there are forms that we can change, and those we can't.
For the last, your goal should be to be able to minimize the effects of as many of the forms that you cannot change as possible - these are largely genetic, although it is up to you whether or not you actually choose to do so.
In this, the second part of the website, I will review these essential conditions, which may also be described as the dimensions of the life experience. In this case, there are five different subjects as well, as follows:
We live in the universe.
We are not immortal - we die.
We live on the planet earth.
We are a species of life, and which evolved from prior species.
And, we have evolved a complex, modern society.
In this part, I am therefore going to consider the question of organization in far greater detail, and I will also introduce the basic subjects of knowledge and meaning.
I will continue in the next article by examining some of the important characteristics of the universe, and their significance for us.
© Roland Watson 2014