Friday, January 7, 2011

CONFIRMED: "No one is in charge. And honestly, that's even cooler."

On BoingBoing I came across this speech on living a meaningful, irreligious life given by Adam Savage, of Discovery Channel's MythBusters. The talk was given when he was accepting the Harvard Secular Society's Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism on behalf of MythBusters.

I particularly like the following section about the (chilling) moment of realization that the real world is not what you were raised on:
The fiction of continuity and stability that your parents have painted for you is totally necessary for a growing child. When you realize that it's not the way the world works, it's a chilling moment. It's supremely lonely.

— Delivered to the Harvard Humanist Society, April 2010

Adam is just talking about "growing up" but there is a parallel to an OTDer's shift from believing to unbelieving. I remember sensing my personal moment (at the end of my long search) when I came to the conclusion that god doesn't exist. That moment that evoked many feelings: acceptance, clarity, relief. But mostly there was an unfamiliar sense of "This is it. What you see is what you get." It was (and is) both reassuring and frightening. I was no longer worried about literal bogey men but then I was more worried about the real dangers in the world. You might say I felt more control over my personal destiny (what I would make of my life was MY fault/credit) but at the same time recognizing I was at the mercy of The Universe (i.e. car accidents, recessions, natural disasters, illness).

Have you experienced an "Ah Ha!/Oh Shit!" moment of your own? What emotions did it bring out of you?

4 comments:

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

Why-O-why dost thou havest hardboiled apathy, my friend? You certainly know we're gonna croak, then, where art thou gonna be if you haven't yet received the Grace to literally riseabove? I fear for thy soul, my friend. And I don't wanna lose you --- If you think this life ends at death, can I turn-you-on to procreation in Heaven?? In the Exclusive Landscape Upstairs, higher than the NYC El and muuuuuch better, outside the stanky, litter box of earth, a Beyond-Wonderfully-Delicious-Panorama of guys or girls await you. So dream BIG, America. God loves that. God loves for U.S. to ‘pull Him outta the sky’ and fantasize about where we’re going. God can and will provide if we have a seed of faith. Type in your browser ‘Pascal’s wager’ …and you’ll soon realize this lifelong demise is merely the tip-of-the-iceberg for the two eternities. God bless you with discernment.

YA said...

Glad to see your marriage has been patched up. I think I can tell also from the fact that you write wife instead of wifey now. I'm sure there was soul searching and hard work. Hatzlacha Rabbah.

Rabban Gamliel

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Please write me at advanpropcons at aol dot com. My name is michael.

I really think we can help each other. I was a child prodigy, who made discoveries in quantum mechanics, and other fields of human knowledge. Today, I am an entrepreneur.

I was also once a member of Lubavitch. I am an atheist today, and an entrepreneur. I still eat a somewhat kosher pescetarian diet for moral reasons and aesthetics.

There are still a lot of things I love about Lubavitch, yiddishkeit, Chassidus, the Talmud, the Bal Shem Tov, R' Akiva, etc.

I would like to help ex-Lubabs, othrodox and Chassidic Jews with their new life.

I have a pretty good answer to every important question.

I am still, a very religious person. My new religion is performing acts of loving-kindness, and tikun ha'olem.

I don't believe in a creator, or a supreme being, but I do believe in the parts of the torah, the talmud, the medrish, and chassidus that teach love and compassion for every living thing, every creature, every Jew, and especially every human being who like myself is loving and caring.

I wish to create an extended family where the members care more for each other than most parents care for their children, and most members care more for each other than Chassidic Jews of each chassidic sect care for each other.

I believe in justice and empathy. I don't believe in G-d, but today I find the existence of G-d one that is really irrelevant.

If the creator of the universe, and the G-d of the five books of Moses suddenly appeared before me, and spoke to me today, I would not change the way I live my life one iota.

I would ask G-d for his help, that is all. There is too much human and animal suffering in this world.

I believe we all have a moral obligation to help each other. We may not be each others keeper, but we are all connected, we are all family.

There is a part of us in every sentient (human or otherwise) being, and there is a part of every sentient being in us.

I can not be happy so long as any sentient being is in distress. I will never prevent myself from feeling the pain another creature feels.

I do believe the universe is unified. If the bottom of a wine bottle was our universe, and we could somehow exit our universe and look down at, we would see the past, present and future are one, we would see hidden symmetries, and a hidden unity.

Likewise a b

Anonymous said...

I independantly discovered Pascal's wager when I was a child. Today, I have a slightly different take on it.