Looking out for “number one,” is the default directive of the plant and animal kingdoms. So it’s not a shock that this knee-jerk reflex turns up in people. But, as Richard Dawkins insightfully pointed out, “number one” doesn’t refer to individuals, but to genes.
In a surprisingly large number of organisms, Dawkins’ selfish genes flip the dog-eat-dog world on its floppy ears, and create individuals who look out for each other, even at their own expense. Mostly, this occurs in ants, bees, wasps, and a few other bugs. …
One of the giant questions we all face is why we’re here. This is no trivial matter since the ultimate purpose of life gives us our sense of direction, and an inaccurate answer can lead us far astray.
Some of us get a bye on the question with the ready-made answer that God plopped us here. But even for those lucky enough to believe in one Almighty Creator or another, this answer really isn’t an answer at all since it begs the question of why in God’s name God would do such a thing.
First of all, it’s important to say that I am blessed with one of the worst possible TV memories. I can happily rewatch things I’ve already seen, over and over again for the first time.
While I didn’t remember most of the details of what happened on LOST, my general impression was that the first seasons were terrific fun, but then it became deeply confused and finally flat-out fraudulent.
In the last of its six seasons, I remember my wife and I looking at each other in horror when they announced that there were only three episodes left. Both of…
Working on speculation, or spec as they say in the biz, is a shorthand way of saying that no one actually needs me or cares if I exist.
When I write a book, it starts with a sketch dummy that I create without anyone having asked for it. I have no idea if someone is going to like it or want to publish it. It’s just me, alone at my desk, sweating the details, hoping that it, and I, will eventually find approval and acceptance.
I would be hard-pressed to find a worse distraction than writing. Even meditation is better. Yes, you read that right. Sitting quietly, alone, with nothing at all to take my mind off my mind, still provides a better distraction from my fears, doubts, and grief than trying to write.
Coffee and pastries work great, but only until they are gone which is always too soon. Sometimes, a sugar stupor can lay me out for a nap which is quite effective for fifteen or twenty blissful minutes, albeit decidedly unproductive.
I was already well into my twenties when I learned how critical the first years of life are. And how screwing them up, as I already had, would have lifelong consequences for my brain development, emotional stability, and baseline central nervous system functioning.
I used to be very successful at blocking out other people’s pain. I’d hear stories on the news or TV and marvel at those around me who would seem to react to the plight of strangers as if they were dear friends. Why did they care, I’d wonder. Was it just a performance to prove how much more empathetic they?
My wife and I have had both of our shots now and we’re slowly starting to make plans. It’s exciting. I can actually imagine this shit storm passing, and finally, it feels like a safe time to look back.
The nightmare kicked off with a blur of new concepts and terminology.
I can’t shake the feeling that no one really cares for me. I worry that everyone I know is just tolerating me until I go away or eventually die. This may or may not be true, but wherever I go, I can’t escape the feeling.
It’s possible that what I’m feeling isn’t completely personal to me. It may just be run-of-the-mill, normalized indifference in a world that has grown increasingly distant and isolated. I can’t really tell.
I’m not an evangelical denier on the issue, but I see no evidence to support the idea of a god that is busily choreographing everyone’s lives. Unless of course, that god happens to a horrible choreographer. I have a much easier time believing in a god who set everything in motion and then took a long nap. But that’s a hands-off god who needs an alarm clock more than our prayers. Between my lack of a personal religious history, and the overbearing, confused antics of “true believers,” I don’t expect I’ll be hooking up with an off-the-rack god anytime soon.