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josie's avatar

Whether or not it is clear to you, isn't it reasonable to assume that the universe is unfolding as it should.

Asked by josie (30926points) August 31st, 2015

A little re working of “Desiderata”.
I think it is pretty good advice, given the implacable nature of the universe.
But it seems a lot of folks on this site would dispute the idea.
Why is that?

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18 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

Yes, I’d say that’s quite reasonable. Of course, part of that unfolding would be human efforts to alter the course of events. Maybe that too is as it should be.

Cruiser's avatar

I think it is more reasonable for us to take a step back and admit we have no real clue what the universe is doing. How ostentatious is it of humans to begin to posit that they in their short tenure here on earth have any real idea what is up or down with regards to the universe. We cannot even make heads or tails about global warming or climate change let along folding/unfolding of our universe but as you pointed out @josie there are plenty of know it all’s here that are dead sure they are a major threat to humanity.

rojo's avatar

Works for me, there are things I know; things I don’t know; things I know I don’t know and things I don’t know that I don’t know.

Until we know the rules of the game, how can we know whether or not they are being followed.

zenvelo's avatar

The Universe is unfolding, as it is wont, as it will.

But I would avoid saying “should” as if there was an alternative way to direct it.

kritiper's avatar

“Unfolding as it should?” As if by some preconceived notion? No. It is just unfolding if you want to call it that.

josie's avatar

I am paraphrasing Max Ehrmann’s poem. Admittedly making assumptions about what he might have meant by “should”, but I suspect the reason he didn’t use words like “wont” and the like is that it did not sound as reassuring or folksy.

On the other hand, you are sort of helping me make my point.

kritiper's avatar

Then the use of the word “should” was a boner.

josie's avatar


ragingloli's avatar

You can not derive ought from is.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Passing judgement on the unfolding of the universe is weighty business. That “should” is a word I trip over when used in connection with the behavior of the universe. The word implies that the universe can somehow misbehave or be downright naughty. The universe unfolds as it should, because it’s unfolding DETERMINES how it should. The universe writes the rules. It’s another take on the ancient legal proverb that “the will of the sovereign has the force of law”

rojo's avatar

I have always thought that it is more along the lines of those in Deteriorata: “And whether you can hear it or not, The universe is laughing behind your back”

Pachy's avatar

For questions like these, Hamlet’s words always come back to me:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy._

Strauss's avatar

The universe, as I know it, and I can only refer to it as I know it because that is all I know! is constantly unfolding before me as it must, corresponding with my discovery experience of it.

cazzie's avatar

The Universe has no moral imperative. Everything is as it because of entropy. It’s physics. Gravity, chemistry, radiation.. that’s it.

thorninmud's avatar

Einstein once said that the most important question facing mankind is this: Is the universe a friendly place?

He explained: “For if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that which is unfriendly and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.

“If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.

“But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives.”

Basically Einstein frames this as something we decide, a framing that determines the quality of our life and the future of our species. He isn’t proposing that we make an empirical, objective evaluation about some intrinsic property of the universe, but rather that we decide whether or not to live as if the universe is friendly.

I’m pretty sure that this is the sense in which this piece of poetry is asserting that the universe is unfolding “as it should”. At least, that’s how I choose to take it.

cazzie's avatar

@stanleybmanly time is relative to gravity, it isn’t separate.

Strauss's avatar

time is that function of the universe that keeps everything from happening all at once.

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