We will never understand the fundamental nature of the Universe. We will only ever gain a partial one, based on what we can perceive. We know our perceptions are incomplete because we perceive aggregations of packets of energy held together by insubstantial forces as solid objects. We know that our reality is dependent upon our perceptions because if a tree falls in a forest where nobody can hear it, it does not make a sound. It is also worth noting that many things which were once metaphysics are now simply physics.

We know that the mind is somehow inextricably linked with the brain because changes in the brain affect the mind far more severely than do changes in, say, the heart or liver. We don't know the hows whys and wherefores in any great detail, and we may never do so. Perhaps we're looking in the wrong places, or we simply aren't able to translate the phenomena into anything our limited senses can perceive. Time will tell as will, perhaps, AI research.

Science takes a materialistic view because, for the most part, it's role has been to improve our material circumstances. Theoretical research is tolerated because there is always the hope that somewhere amid the fermions and bosons, or in among the genes and chromosomes something will be found that allows the engineers to build a better mousetrap or the breeders to produce a more efficient cat!

Such things are important to the man on the Clapham omnibus, his good lady and their 2.4 offspring. Questions about the fundamental nature of life and consciousness, etc., are, to him, matters for stroppy teenagers, documentaries on BBC2 or Channel 4 and those not under the necessity of working for a living. His purpose is to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. Meaning? "Buggered if I know, mate! 42?"

Now I've had my out-of-body experiences. I can read Tarot cards with some accuracy, see auras when their owners are stressed or emotional and sometimes answer my wife before she actually speaks. So what? Doesn't prove anything. I dream, we all do. I may just be good at picking up non-verbal clues, and Anne and I have been together nearly 40 years, so I more than likely know what she's going to ask or say at any given time. Anything and everything is subject to multiple possible explanations, but let's leave the finding of them to people with more brains and more time. I've got a family to take care of, which is all the meaning and purpose I need.

Philosophy is great if it helps you cope with life. I find Stoicism comforting, as it acknowledges limitations instead of asking the impossible. But for the majority of us, there are far more important things to deal with than these high-falutin questions about conscioussness, purpose and meaning.

Snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, walker of paths less travelled by. Advocate-in-Ordinary to His Satanic Majesty.

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