Thank you. Sometimes, when I talk about these things...these events...I feel like I'm encroaching on the territory of Buddhism, of Zen...and I don't mean to leave that impression.
All of that is thinking, not experiencing. Oh, I would so much like to just lay there. To just be myself and not be bothered by any obligation.
But I have learned that is not my place, not my pleasure to enjoy.
In The Road...the post-apocalyptic book by Cormac McCarthy...and the movie with Viggo Mortenssen...there is a moment when Mortensen asks Robert Duvall: "why don't you just kill yourself?"
After all, suicide is truly the only philosophical question. The world has ended for all intents and purposes, whether by nuclear war or natural destruction or by an asteriods collision is never made clear. My wife, who shares my beliefs, keeps asking me why she shouldn't kill herself, trying to talk me into a murder suicide pact...this is not just a philosophical question to be debated between intellectuals with Phd's over tea and crumpets...this is a reality I face daily...what to tell her when she asks knowing that her right to take her own life is nothing I can or would take away from her...
Duvall's answer in The Road always comes to me:
"In times like these I cannot afford myself the luxury of suicide."
The next sensation I came to...the one I did not want to include in my post but now feel I must...was and is the basis of my newly found ethics best described by the acronym TCOYOS:
Taking Care of Your Own Shit.
Bear in mind, I am not saying I have any obligation to do anything at all. New-Born Atheist need to be taught this. There is nothing you have to do. As an atheist you don't have to do anything. You don't have to participate in discussion groups like this. You don't have to explain yourself to others. You can sit back and live a life of what I call 'benign hedonism'. Meaning you should do what makes you feel good and stop when it no longer makes you feel good.
My ethics...and these are mine alone and I don't want anyone else to feel I am placing any sort of obligation on them...is to Take Care of My Own Shit.
Or, to put it more succinctly:
Free men fight back.
"Vengeance is mine saith the Lord."
But if the Lord no longer exists then it is up to you to take vengeance.
That is so politically incorrect, so beyond the pale of the psychology of 'forgive yourself and feel good' espoused by most therapist in the US.
But I tell you this, without shame or apology, I live to take vengeance.
Those who have done these things to me...and especially those who have caused me to do unspeakable things to my own children...they will pay. I will present them with the bill they have accrued and I will exact my vengeance.
I am not a sweet, kind-hearted man. I never have been and I see no reason to change my nature this late in the game. I am not one of the Good Guys. I have seen what evil is inside of me, have confronted and had to own this part of me.
I am posting on the Freedom From Religion pages and will reiterate my stand here:
I have been exorcised myself as a part of my religious experience and I have almost killed one of my own children in an exorcism.
Free men fight back.
This is my chosen battle, my personal war, my crusade.
To ban the practice of exorcism in this country and around the world.
To put a stop to this evil, vile superstition once and for all.
I am sorry if I am not the man I appeared to be in my earlier post.
I am both.
I would prefer to live the rest of my days in peace.
But there is a war going on and I have my duty, my obligation.
Free men fight back.
Being absolutely, completely, totally alone while at the same time being absolutely, completely, totally connected to the web of life.
Philip, I too am impressed by your account and by your choosing to share it.
You described well some of what I experienced when, after twelve years in Catholic schools I quit Catholicism. I felt like I was about to leap into an abyss and I refused to not leap. It turned out to be the best thing I'd ever done for myself.
I wish you well.
Duality of being is another of those fallacies given as a gift from ancient philosophers and modern fundamentalists. It means a state of two parts.
Dualism can refer to moral dualism, conflict between good and evil; mind-body or mind-matter dualism presents a continuation of dear old Aristotle and Plato who perceived multiple souls and all their manifestations and of course Rene Descartes with his dualism of splitting mind from body. He claimed the mind represented consciousness and intelligence as separate from the body. Even the Chinese separated existence into Yin and Yang, physical and spiritual.
It doesn’t take very much thinking in scientific terms to discover these concepts are flawed. They just do not stand up to what goes around us every day. Some people have good and evil within them, creating cognitive dissonance for everyone, including the individual. Notions of separation into physical and spiritual represent further constructs of the imagination constructed in the human mind.
One can define spiritual being as an un-seeable, un-hearable, un-touchable being that has superhuman power over Earth and all its inhabitants and who communicates in ways that cannot be verified. A constructed devil imposes evil thoughts and events on life, and there are constructs of angels, divas, explanations for unexplainable events. These kinds of spirituality fill in the gaps of things we haven’t figured out yet. Like, how can something come from nothing? Or from where did like come?
Another kind of spirituality has relation to our sensory organs, i.e. seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling with our heart and feeling with our gut (intuition). This spirituality has its roots in a sense of wonder of being conscious of ourselves and the environment around us, they are those simple and difficult questions children and inquiring adults have, it is the sense of concern as we see individuals, families, communities and all living things on Earth face serious threats to health. It is the ability to see problems as they develop, think about options to solve them, and then to take action to make improvements. It is the ability to discern events, recognizing potential problems before they develop.
Descartes split the body from the mind and then ignored the mind. He didn't feel; he only half-was.
Ooppss! That should have been, "from where did life come?
Oh the pleasures of food! Putting rhubarb and strawberry sauce over vanilla icecream, or vinegar on spinach, or bacon in potato salad, or blueberries in pancakes, or balsamic vinegar syrup over strawberries, or butter and chives on baked potatoes, or homemade chicken soup, or stroganoff with fresh green peas, or macaroni and cheese with toasted white bread crumbs, or eating beans in the garden before they get to the kitchen, or having raspberries the neighborhood children pick, or popcorn on a cold winter night, or raw sugar and heavy cream in my morning coffee. These are the pleasures of life.
Frederic Patenaude wrote that food is just fuel, what you do with your life is what matters. I say that it is not the case that the purpose of eating is to derive enjoyment from the action of putting so called delicious things into your mouth. Not to spoil your fun, but logically, food is not a real activity, it is just a body function. I mean, you don't try to prolong or derive enjoyment from the action of expelling waste from your body so why turn another body function into a big production just because we are supposed to see each other do one body function but not another body function? What about fun hobbies and activities like bowling or sports, games, crafts, places to visit, books to read, music to hear, and so on? Can you still have a nice life even if you never ate the junk you are currently addicted to again?
Yours is certainly a different approach to food. So tell us what brings you pleasure? What do you like to do that keep you refreshed and renewed.
Interesting that you perceive the food I like as "junk" ... well, I suppose it is to some people; you wouldn't have any fun at my house, I raise food and eat it. I don't like sports or games. I did like to travel and did research in 32 nations of the Earth. I read voraciously, love music, like family and friends in my kitchen as we stir up what ever we harvest.
Frankly, I kind of enjoy the excreting part too, not that I want any company when I partake in that activity. I just enjoy my system being open. Sleep is good.
So, I eagerly await your preferences.
Michael, can it be that Frederic Patenaude's cooking is worse than mine?
And this: a man I once worked with opined that having sex is seriously overrated and taking a crap is seriously underrated. I understood; he and his wife didn't get along very well.
Joan, you have some intriguing combinations there.
Try black pepper ice cream. In a three-cup recipe, use half the sugar and add a tablespoon (or a bit more) of fresh-ground black pepper.
Y'all should try wasabi ice cream. It sounds rather frightening, but it is quite delicious and refreshing... almost more of a sorbet. The paste you get in the US is often not wasabi at all, and fresh wasabi is very, very tasty in its own right. If you ever get the opportunity for fresh wasabi (rather than paste) or wasabi ice cream, do try it out.