Lesbians, Vegetarians, Atheists, and Feminists. If you're not scared off by now, stay and read a few more things I have to say.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How do we know that we exist?

So, I'm not an expert on Israel/Palestine. And, to be honest, despite the years of news coverage, I still don't know whose "side" I'm on. And, I certainly haven't thought of a solution that isn't ripping someone from their home for hundreds, or thousands, of years.

But, for our purposes, it's okay that I'm not an expert on this, because the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is only the backdrop for this blog post.

Now, you may have heard that Chile is the most recent country to acknowledge the existence of an independent Israel. The exact quote, if that matters to you, is that Chile recognizes a "free, independent, sovereign state, coexisting in peace with Israel."

Okay. So, no one is too surprised. There's been a trend among Latin American countries to agree that Palestine exists.

But wait...did you miss it? That is the part that I find so fascinating. The political divisions of nation-states has, of course, consequences and is of the utmost importance to those who live there, but the even bigger part, the part that becomes philosophical, is that agreement of existence.

For nations, international politics dictate that you only get to exist if everyone else agrees that you do.

But, what does this mean for the rest of us?

Do we only exist when others agree that we do? Without other people affirming that we are in fact here, alive, breathing, do we exist at all?

If everyone agreed that you weren't you - or that you weren't alive - would you still be you?

How much of what we are depends upon others accepting that as truth?

Israel often talks of existential threats to its existence. But, it is easy to understand that threat. We all know that nation-states are a concept, an idea that we all just believe in, and that once we stop believing in it, once we stop agreeing to its existence, it will disappear and cease to exist.

But, are our individual lives that fragile as well?

P.S. These questions are not rhetorical. I'd love to hear your answer, since I don't have one of my own yet.

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