Existence and Experience

Published on October 22, 2023, filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

An attempt *.

Something exists. (If we know anything, then this. There was nothing if there wasn’t something. The fact that this is here, means there is something. And we are here, too, and must be part of something-exists.)

If something exists, it has qualities; whatever something there is, it must be describable (in whatever way).

But: If something-exists is “absolute” (i.e., it’s one inseparable part), it cannot experience its qualities, and therefore itself. (There is nothing to compare and relate anything to.)

If something-exists is “relative” (i.e., it consists of separable parts), it can experience its qualities, and therefore itself. (Each of its parts can be compared and related to the others.)

Now: Our being able to experience must mean something-exists is relative.

And yet: Something-exists may be able to be both absolute and relative; we might not be able to tell.

❧ What does this mean? It means there’s more to what “existence” means. It may not just mean that something “is there.” Another interesting point is the dichotomy of something-exists being one and several parts; other interesting points arise when we dive into what “comparing” and “relating” means. While this may not answer what it means—it may answer why it matters.

* I paused (academically) studying philosophy in 2018, pretty much halfway through. It ended a period in my life that I invested in experimenting and researching different non-technical topics. I came out with a greater awareness and humility around how little I know. When it comes to this post, I therefore also submit that this may be nothing new. (Whom does this remind of?) And yet it’s fascinating to think of something as fundamental as existence.

Was this useful or interesting? Share (toot) this post, or support my work by buying one of my books (they’re affordable, and many receive updates). Thanks!

About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!