Thursday, November 15, 2007

Relativity & Humanness

Imagination is more important than knowledge. The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others. Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature. Life is an exciting business and most exciting when it is lived for others. You cannot do much about the length of your life, but you can do a lot about its depth and width. -Albert Einstein, Charles Baudelaire, Albert Schweitzer, Eric Hoffer, Helen Keller, and Evan Esar

I came across that quote on John Maeda's website. TED talks have been my latest obsession and through TED, I was introduced to John Maeda and his talk about simplicity, which led me to read about his book on The Laws of Simplicity, which led me to think about the idea of relativity.

It seems simple enough: everything in our lives is based on one comparison or another. We experience happiness because we've experienced sadness. We feel stupid sometimes because we've felt smarter in other times. I used to think that our experiences in life are purely based on relativity, until I thought about babies. New-borns come into this world not having experienced anything until they find themselves gasping for air, which, by their crying, indicates displeasure. So when you really think about it, life isn't so relative when you're talking about pain & pleasure because innately, our bodies discern between the two right when we're born. But then how does the body decide what is painful and what is pleasurable? Going back to my point about a crying baby coming out of a mother's womb, I guess you could say that what ever hinders us from basic needs of being alive is considered painful and/or unpleasant. So then what about pleasure? Continuing on with my need-to-live explanation on pain, I guess pleasure is anything that enhances our desire to live. But I don't really like that explanation... seems a little strange to say that we feel the desire to live at such a young innocent age. So how do you explain why babies smile and laugh? It's hard. Maybe it's because I'm talking about humans as if we're just a simple cell struggling to survive and forgetting that perhaps we innately know about happiness and pleasure because that's what makes us human.