Category Archives: Atheism

“To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” -Dumbledore

I am a little shocked at just how sad I am about Alan Rickman’s passing. He was my Snape and a dozen other wonderful characters I loved.

This seems an appropriate repost.

Wary Wonderlust

cemetaryI am going to die. There have been times in my life when this fact scared me. Two unknown details of my demise still have the power to worry my weary mind: when and how. I don’t want to die young, before my children have grown and blossomed. I wouldn’t prefer a painful death. Other than that, the certainty of my finality no longer fills me with introspective angst.

Most humans are brought up with a pervasive faith in an afterlife. A common thread is found in the tapestry of life-after-death beliefs: retribution. How exactly that retribution will be paid varies widely. Some believe that a caste or species change is in order. Others are certain that a supernatural world awaits them on the other side. Regardless of the specifics, the idea of one’s actions being tallied and answered for is ever-present. While the rewards and punishments differ, religion in…

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“PRAY(v.) To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.” -Ambrose Bierce

Given the tornadoes that ripped through towns a mere 30 minute drive from my home (and the response that followed them), I feel the need to reblog.

Wary Wonderlust

My thoughts can’t help but be drawn to the tragedy in Oklahoma. If you don’t know, an EF5 tornado hit a small town, south of Oklahoma City, called Moore.

tornado

This is what one neighborhood looked like before and after:
tonadobefore

I always get increasingly annoyed with news coverage of natural disasters. What do you say to a person that just lost everything they own? What do you say to someone that just lost a loved one? Apparently, you ask them how they feel. You ask them if they are scared, if they realize what happened. Seriously? These stories are certainly newsworthy, an entire town was practically wiped off the map. I get that, I just wish they could give people more than 12 hours or could at the very least come up with some better questions.

It never takes long for someone to blame a natural disaster on a lack of…

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Why? Why? Why? Why?

I have been listening — listening to the words of books and blogs, to the words of those I follow and see, and to the spoken gems of podcasts and stages. I’ve been listening to my village. This is what they’ve said. This is what I’ve learned.

Why? Why? Why?
Ricardo Semler took over his father’s company. He ripped out the time clocks. He let employees set their own salaries. He even let his employees vote him out of his executive position. What gave him the courage to give his employees more freedom? He asked why. Then he asked it again and again.
I find that this method of exploring the reasons why we do what we do is effective in every facet of life. I find that asking an additional ‘Why?’ makes egos shrink and stars glow brighter.

It’s not about me.
Some of you have already read Vance’s post ‘Calling My Shot‘. The post has stuck with me the last couple of months. I seek to learn all I can and live each day in hopes of bettering myself and the world around me. But isn’t improving myself tantamount to improving my our world? Our greatest happiness comes from making others happy. When we consume ourselves with the joy of others, we find that we are cared for from without and within. But is there really any without?

I am just a little person, one person in a sea of many little people who are not aware of me, yet each potentially a simultaneous understanding of the other; each, in a sense, a simulacrum or synecdoche for all others: if I understand myself sufficiently deeply, then in that moment I understand the other, however remote my presence to them.
Hariod Brawn

It’s not about me. What does me even mean? Whatever me is, it doesn’t exist without all of us.

I am going to die.
I mentioned in a previous post that I recently went to an Amanda Palmer concert. One of the standing traditions at her shows is an ‘Ask Amanda’ segment where she answers questions audience members have written down before the show. When I attended, one question was something along the lines of “How do you snap out of it when you’re in a really deep, dark funk?” Amanda’s answer was simple: “I just remember that I am going to die. That tends to put things in perspective.”

Today, Victoria posted about a recent study that showed that much of believers’ disdain for atheists comes from a fear of death. Our culture has a deep fear and aversion to death. We all but pretend it doesn’t happen. Religion exacerbates this fear with its various versions of afterlives and hereafters. Our mortality should feed our zest for life, not dampen our desires.

Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination.
-Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination

The book this quote is from was quite a ride. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it until the last few pages. That’s true of many books I read. It is now one of my all-time favorites. The stars are my destination. The stars are your destination. The stars are our destination.

Why?
It’s not about me.
Why?
I am going to die.
Why?
The stars my destination.
Why?

?

What now?
How?
Act.


I celebrate myself;
And what I assume you shall assume;
For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.

All goes onward and outward—nothing collapses;
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable;
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

I bequeath myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.
-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.
―Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost
*Special thanks to Victoria for reminding me of this wonderful quote.*