"When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect – but do not believe him. Never put your trust in anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel Laureate, may be wrong... So you must always be skeptical – always think for yourself." --Linus Pauling


Some preliminary thoughts on the divine.

I go on a lot in this blog about the things I love: Movies, books, comics, etc. The obvious reason for why I do this is that the material in question is very compelling to me and since you're reading here it might be of interest to you too. The less obvious one (but far more accurate) is that I write about other stuff so I can avoid writing about myself.

Thursday morning, 2:23 ayem. I am alone, which is not in itself strange. I am always alone, and especially when I'm not. That just seems to be the way of things.

What use is this heart of mine? My heart seems forever locked in the doldrums on the edge of the known world. I'm following charts empty of useful coordinates. Nothing but great distances to cross with no safe ports of call to head for.

Uhm. Yeah. Moving on...

Today I went to the library branch close to my house to inquire about transferring there. The Hollywood branch sports a vastly smaller building, smaller collection, less interesting patrons and more crazy ones. However, it's a five minute walk from home (saving me over an hour in commute time), I might be encouraged to pack a lunch regularly instead of eating out, AND I'd be trading the endless amount of bullshit with management for a pittance or just the same bullshit in a new locale.

Whatever. I hope the transfer goes through. I am very bored with the library and can feel the rot setting in.

Recently I picked up Freethinkers: A History Of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby. Pretty self explanatory title really. It chronicles America's illustrious tradition of atheists (like Thomas Paine, the man responsible for giving the Founding Fathers the idea of a Republic by the people, for the people, etc.), deists (Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln), and the like.

Jacoby wrote this book in response to the ever increasing movement of fundamentalism emanating from the White House. The separation of church and state really has never been more in jeopardy than it is these days. Such an important issue (Washington's absolute commitment to it is the main reason he was chosen to be the first president), but the very religious of all sides fail to realize that it is meant to protect their rights not limit them.

For my part, I have no religion. This simple fact pleases me no end. More than having a religion ever did, that's for sure. As Thomas Paine said, "My mind is my own church." Or take Alan Moore's quote: "The domain of thought is the one place that gods inarguably exist." That I can perceive a sort of connection between these two geniuses so different from one another stokes my imagination. And my religious impulse, if you will.

1 comment:

D said...

I came across an interesting quote of Thomas Paine's the other day.
"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression."
You've referenced Thomas Paine a couple of times, and I thought you might find it interesting. I've written it on my dry erase board at work in response to the opinions of my coworker who does not believe that any efforts should be taken to change conditions that contribute to things like crime, poverty, terrorism, etc. He says that he would rather his tax dollars go towards paying for more prisons and police. To me the quote underscores my own opinion that in the long run, ignoring the problems of those around you is not a workable strategy.