My death is

coming swiftly. In a moment of idle thought today I worked out how many days I had left if I made it to 80. I have 21,993 days left. My wife thinks that expecting 80 years is pessimistic. I don’t think it is. Now I’m left to work out how I spend these days. If I could stock pile unused time in a savings account to use near the end of my life I wouldn’t do it. I don’t know how to save money, much less time. My wife thinks I shouldn’t bother myself over how I spend my time; a bucket list is healthy, but striving to color each day’s schedule with cosmic meaning isn’t worth the effort.

I also asked my wife what the top five on her bucket list were. Here they are in order.

No. 1 To have a large family. Preferably with 12 children.

No. 2 To see as much of the world as possible.

No. 3 To finance normal life and such adventures comfortably.

No. 4 To live on a beach.

No. 5 To start our family’s own holiday traditions.

When I asked her she said this top five wasn’t going to change.

My top five are

No. 1 On my deathbed, to be at peace with what I did up to that point.

No. 2 To see as much of the world as possible.

No. 3 To write beautifully and meaningfully for a career.

No. 4 To love my family so that I can help them, to have many good relationships, and to be true to my humanity.

No. 5 To publish writings that last beyond my death.

I often worry that I am living wastefully – that I am not doing things that matter. I also find myself in moments of happiness because life hasn’t handed me the bristly end of the stick yet. Eventually it will. Many deep thinkers have been mistakenly understood as insecure people. I think most of the “insecure” people are just intelligent. Life has tricked many; to me, it’s the people who recognize when they’ve been tricked who eventually do something that helps humanity. Confident people are the stupid ones, but that isn’t always the case. It’s always a good skill to know how much salt to mix in your judgment of a person. Everyone needs at least a grain.

After you’re dead, you won’t care about anything that you did while living, but the people who outlive you will either have better lives or worse ones because of what you did. That is why life is so serious. Almost every thing that I do will affect people who are alive today or will be alive tomorrow. It’s responsibility and guilt that haunts me every day. But, I know that I would be more annoying than inspiring if I took each moment so seriously. In the end it is probably wise to treat each diminishing day as seriously as Jim Carrey, and as comically as the holocaust.

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Partisanship: Thinking as a Non-Thinking Herd

It betrays me to say that I don’t typically like clubs. Clubs in the other sense rather than the sense in which one refers to “clubbing”. I believe this dislike arises from my experience in group identity becoming a gossip game in which I would ignore some people and listen to others, all the time defending my own brittle clique regardless of it’s actions. The Mayor of my town is an elder of a Presbyterian church that I used to go to (I still stand as a member) . I also had a physical trainer who happened to know a bit about this elder/mayor figure. This physical trainer was involved in town affairs and attended each town meeting. During one of these meetings it was noted by my trainer that the Mayor said very inappropriate things during this documented but unbridled public forum. The Mayor said some insensitive things and also made a false accusation of this man during this meeting. I remember the timidity with which I began friendly conversation with my trainer for weeks because of my affiliation with the Mayor which overshadowed what I held to be true. In the same way, I find it impossible to have rational discussion when all involved are merely speaking for their herd.  Democrat and Republican and all other parties (herds)- these distinctions should not be made. It is not acceptable for the representers of America to assemble as a mob.

Bible, Belief, and Basics.

How do we know that the world isn’t simply a simulation of some sort? How do I know that my own thoughts aren’t a script or some program that is being played out by some celestial computer? We can’t know that. We could doubt and suspect almost anything- even our own consciousness. But at some point we have to come to terms with something. We have to adhere to an ideal or believe, if you will. This is understood. This is what my fiance’s parents and my own and countless Christians have asserted for centuries. “You must have faith”. Maybe we should, but not in that sense of the word. Not in a blind sense but in a sensible and checkable affirmation of something that cannot be immediately demonstrated at the moment. To find this faith, you have to start somewhere, so the best thing we can do is start at the most basic level.

For example, we must believe at some point that two plus two equals four. I can show you with any available objects that this must be believed. I can show you now with a sort of diagram.

Here is an:

o
Another. o
Another. o
Another. o

In different languages the sum total of o’s is represented in different phonetic sounds and letter characters. Four, quarto, saddex, quatre, vier, chetyre, etc. These representations sound and look different, but they mean the same thing: oooo is oooo; ooo is not oooo; o is not oooo. It has been stated like this: “A” is not “non-A” at the same time and in the same sense. This is basic but profound, and fundamentally applicable in the most invaluable of ways. This has been called “the law of non-contradiction”. If you can understand this you can understand anything, for this is the basic law that all others must answer to. If something contradicts itself the something is not “true”. If the word “true” means anything, at bottom it means that when you look at four crayons on a countertop, you’re looking at four crayons on a countertop.

If the apostle Peter was flawed in his assessment of Judaic law in relation to the New Covenant (Galatians 2:11), then that means that his faculties of assessment and reason are flawed. If his faculties of assessment and reason are flawed in one instance, then it should be assumed that he can be flawed in other assessments of his. Those assessments being his assertion that God has made his writings infallible, to name a big one. To say that his words are infallible is to make a contradictory statement, if he has shown himself to be fallible at other points. His assertion that he wasn’t flawed in one assessment of his because he was miraculously impeccable when he penned some of the letters in the New Testament must be untrue.
It is a seemingly dangerous and scary thing to admit that you may be wrong about something. No one wants to do it. In the case of the bold statements of the Bible it had better have overwhelming evidence that it’s claim to infallibly is true or it must resort to claiming a miraculous endowment from an assumed and unprovable God that it’s words are infallibly true.

Human beings do not have perfect and impeccable understanding. Paul didn’t as every writer of the Bible didn’t. If they are fallible we must be consistent and treat their statements as possibly fallible. To say that you cannot disprove that the Bible is inerrant isn’t saying anything either, because the burden of proof is always on the one making the assertion.

Tracing the words of the Bible back to the authors, it must be conceded that they were flawed and therefore their writings cannot be inerrant or infallible. And if the writers were fallible at the time they wrote it then their claim that they weren’t fallible proves that the Bible isn’t infallible after all- it’s contradictory. It is merely a work of human beings trying to eternally settle the why and how behind what is beyond their current understanding. And thus, I rest my case. The Bible’s claims to infallibility are inconsistent, and therefore untrue.

Weezer, Voids, and Worlds Left Behind.

“The world has turned and left me here
Just where I was before you appeared
And in your place an empty space
Has filled the void behind my face”

When something leaves it never goes unnoticed unless it left because there was no room for it to stay. If something takes up a large space in your heart and suddenly leaves you notice it. But what do you do when you have a life long and all-encompassing world view stripped away at the most pivotal point in your life? That is my situation. My world has turned and left me, leaving me with an empty space, a void behind my face.

Christianity has found a way in the past two millennia to slip through the cracks of reason and sink into the fabric of the social and philosophic thought of western culture. It has been the starting point, the foundation of thought, for some of the greatest thinkers ever. Not all, of course, but many.

Christianity provides answers for those little spots on your philosophic wall that need caulking. Without Christianity you have to come up with those answers yourself. You have to find a reason for morality. You have to find a reason to live- to really live. If you don’t want to work to find this reason just become a Christian. It will supply all of that for you. But, what comes along with the quick and assuring answers to these fundamental questions will place lawful demands on what you can think and feel, forcing you to think in a specific rubric based on the fear of punishment. This is not liberty. This is not thought

Almost in tears a few months ago, I had to look deeper than I’ve ever looked to find a reason for reason, a basis for action, a basis for thought. I am an atheist, so I have to rationally consider what I think is a true age and origin of the earth, for example. I can’t appeal to an unquestionable authority like before. I also can’t ask an all-knowing person how it happened because there isn’t one. In this veil of tears the only ones who cry are people. In this world of thought only people think. We don’t have a mind in the sky to consult. “Do you know where the original substances that started the big bang came from?” No. Happy? I’ve struggled with this for some time because I’ve criticized this attitude all my life and had found iit dreadful. My only response is that I want to know; but I also know that if one uses the wrong methods to understand things (not following basic fundamentals of sensible thought) their conclusions are all but guaranteed to be wrong.

Moving into the void I have to bring my own blanket because it’s cold. Without other bodies to snuggle up to you can get quite miserable out here. So, I’ll build a strong fire and watch people flock towards it. That’s all it takes, really. If it’s cold, build a fire and people will come. If people are looking for truth, provide thought, and people will come. My only request to newcomers is that they eventually grab a log and throw one in there. If they don’t, I will. I will be doing it regularly anyway.

Convenience Stores and Fat People.

More frequently than not life mirrors a common experience at a convenience store. The particular experiences where you spend more money on junk food than on gas, you know. You purchase your road trip goodies and huff them down, and as you finish licking your fingers clean of sugar and chocolate you suddenly reflect that you’re not out of the parking lot yet. Soon you find that your two dollar pleasure cruises cost more than you realized after your ass is fat and your wallet it thin.

Convenience store living is a reality, and that reality is incarnated when you bend over and your stomach blocks you from tying your shoes. That’s a problem. Dieting won’t help and refusing to go to the convenience store doesn’t either because there are other stores to help you fulfill that said reality. The solution is a refusal of immediate pleasure in most all it’s forms. Sex being one exception. And contrary to schoolboy fantasy, even sex requires a considerable amount of investment. If John Doe can pay a dollar or two to satisfy his hunger you probably shouldn’t follow his example. This is to be read metaphorically in the broadest sense. What I’m talking about is a resistance to do anything without work and care and skill and thought.

He who suggests that you must live at the convenience store because “you only live once” has never lived. His life amounts to the sum total of convenience stores his taste buds have benefited from. He will be forgotten because he has lived at the convenience store, where everyone is busying themselves, searching out prepackaged foods to satisfy the insatiable desire that nags them as they awake and before they lay their heavy heads to rest. If you will live only once, I implore you to pass over living it at some shack where everything is handed to you premade, precooked, and stuffed with side effects that lead to an unhappy and bloated end.