There were two mice sitting upright, discussing the matter of their existence. Fully realizing that their existence among those of humans seemed woefully unimportant, they had set about finding an answer. They had scavenged a bit of cheese from the kitchen counter, found some grapes, and prepared a small feast for their intellectual adventure. The first mouse, of a grey coat, was named Luis. The brown mouse called himself Clark. It was just before dawn when all humanity appeared to be dormant, and so they began. Clark, breaking first wind, ventured a timid question.
“What importance does our existence have in this home?” he asked.
“Well I could give quite a few practical answers to that,” responded Luis, “But that would be counter the metaphysical nature of our question.”
“That might be true at first glance, but who is to say that practical questions have no bearing on the metaphysical?” Clark pondered. “In fact, is there even a difference in importance between the two?”
Luis thought for a moment, scratching his minuscule head. These questions were beginning to confuse him. “Let us define practical versus metaphysical then. Perhaps that will make our argumentation more directed.”
“Very well,” said Clark. “Let us first define Practicality. I propose we define the practical as being that which is of importance from a material sense. Or in other words, that which holds absolute, truthful bearing only in the fictitious, artificial world of humans.”
“So you are saying that which is practical has little bearing on the workings of the universe?” Luis asked quizzically.
“Yes, Practicality is apart from Reality.” He stopped realizing he had to define another concept. Luis gave him a tired look but welcomed the challenge.
“We must put Practicality on hold so that you might define this Reality of yours.” Luis said. “What is it, then?”
Clark paused for a moment, and gathering his thoughts: “Reality is the physical existence of that which is present. It is where it is apart from the conjectures, perceptions, values, and morals of those who experience it. That which is Reality requires no external validation, it simply exists by its own merit of being present.”
“But is it present if no one is there to experience its presence?” retorted Luis.
“That is another question, shall we set it aside for now and focus on arriving at our original question?” snarled Clark.
“Very well, very well. I was simply interjecting a thought I had.”
“We will come back to it at a later point. Let us continue.” responded Clark.
“So then Clark, Reality is the state of being, the state of physical presence. This is assuming that all that exists has a physical property. What about light, something far less tangible than other forms of matter.” Luis carried on.
Clark was stumped; he realized there was a serious shortcoming in his conception of Reality. “Then perhaps we cannot define Reality as physical being. Besides, that is not true to what my conception is.” Clark stopped momentarily considering the last bit of his comment. But he brushed it aside for the time being and continued, “So let me define Reality thus: Reality is the essential nature of existing. It is physical not necessarily in the sense of tangible matter, but physical in its state of being present.”
Luis nodded in consent, “That sounds reasonable, but only to an extent. I once again arrive at the question of how something exists if something or someone is not present to acknowledge its existence. It seems to me that the question of the existence of your Reality relies utterly in the existence of another to affirm it.”
“But we stray,” said Clark, sighing deeply. “What is important is that we have defined Reality.”
“Oh how I despise the nature of philosophy.” agreed Luis “So now that we have defined Reality, let us return to Practicality. What were you referring to?”
“The defining of Practicality seems irrelevant now, considering Reality. In stating that I could think of a few practical reasons for our existence among humans, I was referring to the effects our actions have on their lives, for better or worse.” stated Clark.
“Aahh, but this is relevant! For the practical impact that we might have affects the World in which they live.” opined Luis.
“World? And what is that?”
“World is my counterpart to your Reality I suppose, Clark. World consists of the subjective, sometimes communal, constructs that are the basis of human Life.”
“Life! Another term we must describe.” Clark said bemoaning the process of philosophical discourse.
“Well, my initial thoughts are that Life is wedded to World. It is fictitious, artificial. Their opposites are Existence and Reality, respectively. Life and Existence refer to living organisms, although Life is far more philosophical and therefore requires greater sentience of its host.” explained Luis.
“So returning to Life, what is that?” asked Clark quizzically.
“Life is the subjective state of being. Whether that subjectivity is communal or personal makes little difference. An example: a person’s Life is defined by the values that person assigns to their actions, goals, and general outlook. These can all be derived from communal standards, of course. There is also the Life created by the communal, which consists of standardized values and objectives deemed customary of a personal Life.”
“Hmm…” thought Clark “So Life is the fantasy of Existence, the ordering and familiarizing of an otherwise incomprehensible and sometimes alien experience?”
“Quite so,” responded Luis “Despite the immediate truth of Life to the personal and the communal, it bears little truth to the actuality of Existence.”
“And what of this Existence?” asked Clark.
“Existence refers our physical presence, our state of being. In essence, Existence is different to Reality only in the fact that it applies directly to human being.”
“Does not Existence apply to other life forms as well, then? For if, as you say, Existence is physical presence, how can one limit it to one form of physical presence?” remarked Clark.
“True, very true,” responded Luis, “So Existence is simply Being, the mere nature of being present within time and space. It was foolish of me to claim that only in human being was Existence paired.”
“Very well then,” interjected Clark “we have now defined Reality, Existence, Life, and Practicality.”
“Wait!” chimed in Luis hurriedly “You lie, we have not defined Practicality yet!”
“Don’t yell at me you twit!” yelled back Clark “And besides we have already touched on it.”
“Watch that nose of yours, don’t hold it too high” squealed Luis “I do not think we have adequately defined Practicality. Let us work on it some more.”
Clark grumbled and glared but nodded in consent.
“Practicality, then,” continued Luis, “has to do with the material, emotional impact something has on the state of a human’s being. I do not consider it particularly important at this moment.”
“And what of the Metaphysical?” pondered Clark. “I suppose we have only to look at contemporary definitions of it to arrive at an agreement. I would consider it to be the philosophical questioning that we are engaging in.”
“Why of course. So now that we have the definitions sorted out, where do we go from here?” asked Luis.
Clark thought for a moment. “Wait! Our discussion on what merit our existence has among men was the initial question! We have strayed!”
“Well that sounds sensible to me, my dear Clark, for men are innately arrogant creatures. For they see no other worthy being than themselves. So I propose that our natural digression be all but appropriate.”
“Aye, they are so arrogant!” responded Clark. “But perhaps through them we might learn a greater truth about this realm we live in. They fill their lives so fervently with action and material, and to what end?”
“I believe they do so to mask the truth of their Existence, my friend.” responded Luis, taking a bit of cheese and nibbling it delightedly.
“So do you believe that all humans, at their core, are lost and lonely beings?” asked Clark.
“Yes, I dare say so. And even if they wholeheartedly believe that their Lives are full of purpose and passion, in truth that very purpose and passion is merely a construct, a truth only within the context of the World they have constructed.”
“So do you say they do so consciously?” Clark asked in a puzzled manner.
“Nay, I believe their Lives are reactions to the gradual movement of humanity, movement that at its core is a subconscious search for meaning.”
“Ah! They sound like marionettes to the great comedic play of civilization!” squealed Clark.
“It does appear so.” said Luis.
“But let me ask you this, Clark, how do we know, with any veracity, that what they construct is in all actuality without merit in the universe? Indeed, it would be presumptuous of us to say that we know the universe does not hold their ambitions as truth! For we are after all only mice.”
“And they but men!” retorted Luis, with a smirk.
Then Clark squealed with excitement. “Wait! my dear friend. For now we may return to Practicality. For perhaps their Life plays have a practical impact on the universe, an inkling of cosmic importance.”
“How say you?” asked Luis in obvious confusion.
“Well, we defined as Practicality as being truthful and material impact within the construct of their Lives. But perhaps it is also truth in the context of the universe. Perhaps, just perhaps, their actions do have some import in the revolving cogs of expansion and recession of the universe.”
“But you have confused me, Clark!”
“Perhaps their practicality is as important to the continued existence and being of the universe. Perhaps their Practicality has impact, perhaps it is impactful to its continued being!” Clark responded, still with excitement.
“So,” spoke Luis, “Their Practicality, or in other words their actions, their beliefs and their musings, are as intrinsic to the universe as are the particles that compose it?”
“Exactly! And if so, and as I said just now, then perhaps their desire for Life is as important to the continued Existence of the universe and Reality. Perhaps not all is necessarily trivial!”
“Well, that is a tenuous statement, Clark. But interesting nonetheless.”
“Quite so, I must admit,” agreed Clark. “It is difficult not to see all that composes Reality as merely being a product of chance, of circumstance.”
“And all that what humans desire are just the meager attempts to supersede this trivial nature,” continued Luis.
“So where do we stand, then? That all Life and World is without merit?”
“I shall say ‘Yes’, at least for the time being,” answered Luis.
“And so shall I. Let us then return to our feast and speak no longer of these matters,” said Clark.
“A splendid idea! Let us be merry and not consider. Let us be human, all too human!”