In our annual travels around the sun each year, we humans mark milestone occasions with celebrations of all kinds. The timing of these events are often the same (if not very close) for all of us, but the content of the celebratory phenomenon vary wildly. Most have some kind of religious origins. Even if those origins just served to explain some kind of natural occurrence that our ancestors were too primitive to understand.
Most of these ‘holidays’ are opportunities to unite with family, relax with time off work, and generally just blow off steam. And as a secular member of our species, there are generally ways to enjoy the day without having to acknowledge the religious implications that most of the rest of humanity projects onto the day.
Then there’s Easter. Oy…Easter! I realize that the origins go back to the spring equinox celebrated by pagan civilizations far back into antiquity. However, in fundamentalist America, there’s little one can do to avoid the seemingly endless poundings of “He is Risen”. Or “Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice”. Or “The powers of Hell are defeated”. Yadda yadda yadda!
In my atheism, I’ve grown more and more weary of this day each year. I know I could just ignore it, but I’d have to nearly live as a recluse in order to avoid all that mumbo jumbo. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about living in a world where the M.O. is “To each, his (or her) own”. However, it seems the reality is that I’m living in a world where that viewpoint is very much a minority perspective. I don’t, however, want to be a grumpy old man when it comes to these things. I’m trying to find a way to leave it be, and not drive myself nuts in the same breathe. That’s the challenge. I never want to tell someone what to believe or think or how they should celebrate (and I never would). I just wish that was reciprocated more. And Easter seems to be the one holiday where that reciprocity is violated more than any other.
On that note, I’m going to send out a Happy Equinox and Happy Spring to ALL members of humanity. I will be doing my best to enjoy ushering in longer, warmer days, green and multicolored landscapes, and the prospect of life beginning once again.
So, upon reaching another milestone (or I should say 23,343,648,000 milestone) is seems natural to sit back and take a little ‘life inventory’. ..
40 trips around the Sun!
Those trips have been educational. The bumps and bruises along the way have molded me into the person I am now. It almost seems like these first 40 were just a preparation for a life that starts now. I feel like I can take the things I’ve learned, apply them to my life, and live better for the next 40. At least that’s the plan!
Learn, learn, learn, and then learn some more. I don’t have any grand delusions of making a huge impact on the whole world (though at one time I did – at least I hoped). However, if I can be a positive example on my little circle of influence, then maybe the exponential ripple will travel far. Constant learning and growing, that’s the plan!
Happiness! There’s nothing more important, in my opinion. I’ve seen the darkest of the dark in my own mind at times during these 40 trips. So I’ve learned to value the importance of just being happy and content. I intend on traveling these next 23,343,648,000 miles as happy as I can possibly be. I will try to take life’s lumps as they come, handle them, chalk them up to experience and learn to be happy through it all. Life is way too short to waste a single day in misery. I only wish I’d learned that sooner!
Lessons yet to fully learn: Patience & tolerance to name two (oh and to cut back on the road rage!). Always more to work on in those two areas for me.
So with that, how about a stupid little poem:
40 trips around the sun
Some were tough but most were fun
Don’t know how many I’ve left to run
maybe 40 more before I’m done?
The world is a slightly darker place this morning. We’ve lost a maverick, a pioneer, a visionary. Often controversial. Often combative. Always brilliant! A literary mastermind was Hitchens. He could turn a phrase like none other. His mind seemed to be a Rolodex of information and life-experience that he had the ability to sift through and access any bit of information at any time and bring it to us in fabulous poetic prose.
As a part of the free-thinking, anti-religious movement he was invaluable. Loud and boisterous and yet always eloquent. He was a bright light of reason in an often dark ignorant populous. This is where I believe he will be missed the most.
I wish I could say I knew him personally, but through his writing I feel I had the privilege to get a peek into the machinery that was his thought process. I’m sure that his close friends and family are feeling this loss deeply and my thoughts are with them.
This evening I will raise my glass (several of them most likely) to the man who helped me on my personal journey from delusion to enlightenment.
To Hitch! You will live forever in the words that you’ve left behind!
Well, here we go again. I’ve been in a down-mode for quite a while now. It’s left me feeling completely unmotivated. I just don’t really get it this time. I don’t feel overly sad, actually, I FEEL kind of content overall. I just lack any kind of motivation to do the things I usually like to do. Exercise, take photos, write, etc. I dunno. I’m sure it’s some kind of seasonal affective disorder, but the random nature of it bothers me. It doesn’t seem to sync up to the same times every year. All I do is work, go home, sit on my ass, get up the next day and do it all again. I feel like this cycle is endless and there’s nothing I can really do about it.
I’m going to start a new series of posts called, completely derivatively: “What Grinds My Gears!”. Since I’m really good a bitching and complaining about various things, I figure I should be fairly good at putting my bitching and complaining down in words too! So, here goes…
The local news stations around here have, over the last several years, really started abusing the word ‘miracle’! Everything is miraculous anymore. “Miraculous car crash survivor“, “Miraculous surgery for conjoined twins“, “Miraculous birth“, etc etc. I find that this is really starting to cheapen the meaning of this word.
The lady in the car crash story above had to be removed from the car and is in the hospital recovering from her injuries. A miracle in this story would have been the truck falling over on the car, and the car staying completely untouched and the woman walking away unharmed.
The miracle surgery for the conjoined twins is nothing more than the amazing medical technology that we have developed as a society. The skill, talents, and knowledge of the surgeons and medical staff. To call it a miracle is to discredit the amazing work of these people. A real miracle in this instance would be the twins being separated after birth with NO intervention from surgeons or doctors at all.
The one that REALLY grinds my gears is all the people who tout the ‘miracle of child-birth”. “Our baby is a miracle”! “Childbirth is such a miracle”! Ugh! There are 7 billion people on the planet right now (not to mention countless billions of healthy births throughout human history). If child-birth is such a miracle, I would think that healthy human birth would have to be a truly rare thing indeed. However, it’s quite obvious that is not the case at all. Humans are baby making factories. We pop the little packages out at impressive rates. Hardly what I would classify as a ‘miracle’!
To me, a miracle would be something that occurs completely outside of the normal operations of the natural world according to the laws of physics and science. When news, ministers, and average believers start labeling every day occurrences (even if they are surprising occurrences) miracles, I believe that really starts to water down the significance of that word. Granted, I don’t believe that miracles actually occur, but there’s definitely a threshold of occurrence and would give me pause, and NONE of these stories qualifies.
I really do not care about being comforted by mythology. I’d rather have the harsh truth and learn how to live with it, than believe myths that are just band-aids to cover reality.
This statement popped into my head today, so I figured I’d share it. It really represents the realist in me. Most people misinterpret my realism for negativity. I do try to remain positive in general, but when life experience is combined with evidence, a lot of times reality just isn’t that positive. I firmly believe that I’m not being negative, just realistic.
In the case of this quote, I’m obviously referring to religious belief. To me, I feel a lot of believers hold those views as a comfort. A security blanket if you will. They try to run and hide from the inevitable reality that we all live in. The fact that each of us will have to face our own demise. There’s no escaping it for any of us. I prefer to accept that when I’m gone, I’m gone. It’s helped me a lot lately to value each day more. I live a much fuller life now. Today is a certainty…tomorrow is not. So, today I chose to live the HELL out of life.
Yep! You read that right, I admit it, I’m intolerant. I’m intolerant of…
Intolerance (yep…I’m intolerant of intolerance)
The list goes on. But yes, for these things, I willfully and happily accept the label of ‘Intolerant’