This evening Debbie and I attended a book club potluck dinner. After the first hour of general conversation and a half hour of eating, the group of two dozen people formed a large circle and we discussed the book Stealing Fire. I reviewed that book a couple of weeks ago and didn’t care for it much; consequently, I didn’t enter the conversation. Why bring a good party into a conflicted discussion? About a half hour into the conversation the question was asked … Why?
Why, what? Just why! Why should we pursue the question of stealing fire, intellectual/motivational/emotional fire from the gods? I liked the question and mentally tuned out of listening to the conversation because it had moved on to other ideas and instead I thought repeatedly over the recycled question … why?
The others never got specific about that question and never related it directly to any particular potentially productive task they were attempting to do. But I started thinking about my current project, the writing of a diet book based on what I think will make a real impact on the billion overweight people.
But – why should I do that? Because I want to help those people. Why, why not let them take care of themselves? Because I am involved in humanity, they are my fellow species members, my DNA, and I want to preserve my humanity and thus a portion of myself. Why? Because I won’t live many decades longer, and humanity might, and so I should help them, and in so doing help myself into a partial future life. Why? Why help humanity? Because it is helping the Universe become all that it is capable of becoming. Why? Because it is the natural flow of things to form an organization of matter and interactions of matter that form thoughts. Why? Because it seems like the right thing to do.
And those are the kind of thoughts I was mulling while the others were Stealing Fire.