Life

Life.

I was born at a very young age, though I have spent a lifetime getting over it. Well. Not yet.

Life is a circumstantial situation beyond my control. At least at the entry level.

I am a victim of circumstances beyond my control and to which I gave no consent. I never asked to be here, and I will leave any time I damn well please. No immediate plans to that end, but just making a point.

Speaking of points, life is a broken pencil. No point to it, but accompanied by an eraser to remind us of our errors.

A natural effect of a natural effect is all that I am, and that is all I ever will be.

Existence is a once in a lifetime experience. An annual trip around the mass which is the center of the known universe. A continuous quest for comfort. No rule book supplied, though several have been written. No clear point to the experience, though plenty of theories have been conjectured.

Life supplies us with a natural aversion to suffering and a nagging sense of right and wrong which is continuously convoluted and confused with and by cultural conditioning and subjective standards.

Life is love, laughter, and lunacy. Then 15 minutes of fame. Then the flower garden.

Like two physicians making love, life is a paradox.

Such is life.

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Absurdism and Appendix-itus in Ecclesiastes

The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes merits high marks in my opinion for its philosophical perspective of Absurdism, and its antidotal remedy of apathetic moderation.

The author of the early portion of Ecclesiastes is a realist, one who accepts the finite nature of all life, and thus one who realizes the futility in getting too caught up in the frustrating experience of the human condition. His acceptance of Absurdism as expressed in terms of “emptiness, emptiness, all is emptiness” could not have been expressed any clearer than by Camus; whereas his advised remedy “to eat, drink, and be happy” is Dudeism 101 as portrayed in “The Big Lebowski”.

Sadly enough, the afterthoughts of the author of the Appendix are a real buzzkill to the actual summary of the original author. The whole “fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man” concept is the supplemental commentary of someone who read the text and realized that “alas, this ain’t theology”; and so with a few scratches of the pen, a wonderfully fulfilling humanist existential writing fell prey to your stereotypical theological indoctrinating humdrum.

If ever there was a case of literary homicide by Appendix-itus; then such is the case of the latter verses of the book of Ecclesiastes.

The original text of Ecclesiastes, as concluded in 12:8; offers such deep, real life existential insights, then only to be later diluted by the imaginative indoctrinating theology of a “text tamperer” in the verses that follow.

I suppose that such is only fitting when considered in the framework of the content and the message of the unknown, existential author of Ecclesiastes; “because sometimes a man who has toiled with wisdom, and knowledge, and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by a man who does not toil for it… and who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?”.

What a pity.

“Emptiness, emptiness, all is emptiness”…..

Alone And On Our Own

One of the most basic realities that leads me to maintain my secularist views is the sad reality that we exist in a universe which is simply indifferent to effect and outcome. The universe simply does not care.

It took me a long time to recognize that sad reality. Back in my days as a Christian, whenever I encountered people who were suffering, and questioning God in the process; I would fall all over myself attempting to apologize for God, and attempting to convince the naturally afflicted not to blame God, nor to lose faith, but to see that there is a purpose for everything which happens in life; ours is not to question god, ours is not to reason “why?”; or any other number of my “Christian cop outs” in order to shield god from responsibility for natural atrocities.

But at some point reality set in for me: We are alone.

We have been thrust into a state of existence without our consent. Our existence is random. Our setting is random. And our daily angst is the reality of our own frailty, and that we are constantly “sitting ducks” for some unexpected yet natural disaster to strike. Be it a tornado or a deadly disease; or be it a falling tree in our direction. Natural disasters and natural atrocities happen all the time.

In addition; this earth operates by a cruel feeding chain. Humanity eats the meat of a being, which ate the carcase of another, which may very well have fed off the the carcase of another being while that being was still alive The spider sets a web, and feeds off living creatures. Is the spider cruel? No, but the natural system by which the spider survives surely is.

Now, were there a mind behind this feeding chain, were there a personality which designed such a process, then such a mind would be cruel and insensitive. Were there a mind behind a process which thrusts beings into an involuntary state of existence, only for that person to suffer as we of humanity so oftentimes suffer, and then if that great mind dared to judge us and condemn us to some eternal torture chamber because we failed to live up to “his standards”, then such a mind would be a cruel and insensitive tyrant. But the reality is that there is no such mind to blame for the suffering and cruelties of the system of survival on this earth. There is simply an impersonal universe which does not care because it CANNOT care.

The simple fact of the matter is that ours is a universe which is indifferent to effect and outcome.

Which is why we of humanity should care. We have evolved the capacity to care. We cannot control the universe, but we can care. That may be the best thing any of us ever accomplish in this brief and relatively meaningless existence:

To simply care

The Universe and Me

Every day I observe life, death, and birth.
Everyday I read of each in the local paper (or my Facebook timeline).

Everyday people are born.
Everyday people die.
Everyday people experience being.

Everyday things happen which involve suffering and sadness.
Everyday things happen which involve jubilation and joy.

The tree is the product of the seed.
The seed is the product of the tree.

Certain trees provide sustenance for my existence.
A falling tree can end my existence.

A soft breeze can make me comfortable.
Violent wind can be the source of my death.

Water consumed can sustain my being.
Water consumed can kill me.

The effects of sunshine on my skin can comfort me.
The effects of sunshine on my skin can kill me.

The tree does not care about my well being, yet can provide me shade or sustenance.
The wind does not care about my well being, yet can be a source of energy for my comfort.

Water does not care, yet without such I would die.
The sunshine does not care, yet without such I would die.

The universe does not care about my well being.
Yet, the universe is the source of my very being.

No hard feelings Universe for the hardships of being.
Thanks just the same for being the source of my being.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

Blame it on Eve

According to the Bible, God created EVERYTHING.

And it says he made everything good (numerous verses, Genesis 1).

And so the Bible says that God made EVERYTHING, and that he made everything good.

Then things got out of control.  Naturally it was not God’s fault.  Or was it?…..:

It all started with Eve and ole what’s his name in the Garden of Eden.  Life was pure bliss for the original dynamic due, until that fateful day when Eve performed a deed so heinous, so rebellious, so evil….. that such a very deed changed the entire course of all human history.  After Eve performed her deed of rebellious iniquity, everything bad from a woman’s period to mass murder can be blamed on Eve (AKA:  The mother of all human madness!!).

How was God to know the evil that lay in her wicked sinful mind?  (No wait, he WAS supposed to know the evil that lay in her wicked sinful mind.  He is God, and God knows everything; right?).

Anyway, regardless of God’s knowledge of the evil that lay in Eve’s wicked sinful mind, surely we don’t think he was able to do anything to stop her from performing her heinous evil wickedness, do we? (No wait, he COULD have stopped her couldn’t he?  After all, he is God, and God can do anything; right?  Now that I think on it, why did God not just send a donkey to reason with Eve the way Balaam’s donkey reasoned with Balaam when he was on his way to do his wickedness? (Numbers 22:22-33).

In fact, if only  God would have thought of sending a talking donkey to reason with Eve instead of sending a talking serpent to tempt her to perform her deed which was so heinous, so evil, so reprehensible that such a very deed literally changed the entire course of human history, then surely things  would not have turned out the way they did……

Well, regardless of the fact that an all knowing God should have known what was going to happen, and regardless of the fact that an all loving and an all powerful God would have and could have prevented the horrendous deed of erring Eve; her disastrous deed was nonetheless done.

That said, I can no longer hold you in suspense as to the heinous, evil, reprehensible deed that evil Eve performed that literally changed the course of human history:

She ate a piece of fruit….

From the wrong tree……

Ok, ok, I don’t see the significance either, but damnit man, its in the Bible!!

Yes, yes, I realize that:

“God is great

God is good,

Prevent this deed,

He damn well could”

But he DID NOT prevent this horrible heinousness, this evil evilness, this reprehensible reprehensibleness; IN SPITE OF THE FACT that he could have, and that is simply that!!

A real bummer too, because I would have enjoyed walking around naked all day with a woman at my side, nibbling fruit, tending to a garden, and conversing with snakes, but NOOOO!!!  Instead, I have bills to pay by the sweat of my brow and women have PMS, and there is soon to be war in Syria and ya da ya da ya da…. and all because that rebellious lady Eve just HAD to have that one lousy piece of fruit.

Obviously, once Eve ate that fruit in all her sensuous selfishness, it all went downhill from there.  Her heinous deed of evilness revealed the character flaw in humanity that God in all his Greatness overlooked while he was “thus saying this” and “thus saying that” during his one week’s worth of honest work as recorded in Genesis 1.  Indeed, Eve’s decision to eat that fruit revealed that humankind is an independent lot and that we have minds of our own and that we tend to do as we damn well please.

Well now, in the world of divine deityness such disrespectful independence simply will not do!

And so due to this horrendous deed of rebellious independence which altered the course of human history, God has spent the rest of his loving merciful time since then scheming a divine plan to redeem his lost loyal subjects from the influence of that damned ole devil.

In fact, when humankind got so bad that the thoughts of their heart was only evil (see what picking your own fruit to eat leads to Eve!), then God in an act of merciful loving kindness drowned all the innocent babies in the world in his infamous worldwide flood (Genesis 6-8).

Later, Jehovah exercised even more of his merciful loving kindness by endorsing the mutilation of men, women, and children alike while his preferred clan of humanity (the Israelites) were in the process of taking land away from the rightful owners (those dastardly sinners the Canaanites).

And of course, how could any story of merciful loving kindness be complete without the epoch killing of one’s own son as a sign of your merciful loving kindness en route to trying to persuade would be conditioned minions to acknowledge you as “The Almighty Heavenly Father” (Now there is a deity I would want to call “Dad”; because anyone willing to kill his own son on my behalf is definitely a Father to trust and adore).

Ultimately, in an act of merciful loving kindness for the ages god made hell to eternally torture those of us who don’t love him as much as he loves us.

There you have it folks:  God in his merciful loving kindness drowned innocent babies, endorsed the mutilation of men, women (some pregnant; Hosea 13:16), and children, killed his own son, and has provided a means to eternally torture those of us who fail to reciprocate his love.

And who is to blame for God being forced to impose his merciful loving kindness in such extreme measures?  Who else?  Ole what’s his name in the Garden of Eden knew who to blame:

Blame it on Eve.

The Trial and Error Business of Life

Life is an endless series of social engagements.  Our values are thus results of trial and error on the job training in the business of life.  Circumstances and situations shape and mold our values.  No society or individual’s circumstances and situations are the same, hence no society’s or individual’s values are the same.

Religious and cultural value systems may aid the individual in terms of general moral teachings, yet one’s moral code is incorporated into the trial and error business of one’s personal life, and thus remains but a personal value.  No religion or culture has a Copyright on goodness, hence such matters are personal and are incorporated into the trial and error business of one’s personal life.

There is no preset purpose to one’s life or inherent meaning to our existence.  We are natural beings who exist within the framework of natural principles.  Thus the meaning one attaches to one’s own life is for that individual, the meaning of life.  

And so the process of the trial and error business of life and the endless series of social engagements continues….