here is something I like

even if you don’t read the whole blog, this alone I find is quite good

In conversation with a believer

To be clear, I do respect anyone who does believe with integrity. Who does treat others with respect, those who do not share into the same belief. Or those who do not want to believe at all in any form of a higher being. Because, without that principle in place, the believer will not receive the respect he or she is craving.

I do not believe in any higher being or deity, nor do I adhere to any mystical belief system.

For me, the adherence to a “believe” is an absolute private matter! And in my opinion, has nothing to do with any religious affiliations. As I understand if a person needs the embrace of a religious group, there must be doubts about the validity of the held beliefs. If one is convinced that there is a deity in existence, then there is no need for spiritual support of that conviction. One is free to worship on one’s terms!

To me, a belief is personal, and like our imagination, are emotional responses of the individual. As far as I can count, there are currently around eight billion individual emotional responses possible on this planet.

As an atheist, I take responsibility for my entire existence!(Here is where we say AMEN-my own) I alone must account for my actions and my thoughts, including my demise into nothingness. For me, life is a one-off experience, and I feel lucky to have that experience. There is no one to blame for my bad choices, but myself. I am aware and respectful to the fact that I am part of a universal cycle; consequently, I treat my life with the utmost reverence. Of course, we all make mistakes and fail in our quest on occasion. There may be one religion I would call myself an adherent to, and that is the religion of universal love!

I am suspicious of people who are in need to convince others of the righteousness of their beliefs. To me, it proves they lack convictions!

On a more general note, if we human beings had decided a long time ago to adhere only to one single belief system, we would have died out by now! Because only through the challenges and variety of conflicting ideas has the human mind progressed to this day.

On religion

by Kurt Vonnegut

Palm Sunday is a collection of some interesting essays by Kurt Vonnegut that I would recommend to any one as summer, winter or whatever season reading. They are full of humour and every once in a while something to make you think. One of the essays is titled religion and I want to just share some passages that I found to be quite good.

His uncle Clemens, he tells us wrote

whoever entertains liberal views and chooses a consort that is captured by superstition risks his happiness

and I think this is true for both men and women.

The portion I liked best is this farewell from the same uncle addressed to friends and opponents & to next of kin present to deliver his body to the earth

Do not mourn! I have now arrived at the end of the course of life, as you will eventually arrive at your. I am at rest and nothing will ever disturb my deep slumber.

I am disturbed by no worries, no grief, no fear, no wishes, no passions, no pains, no reproaches from others. All is infinitely well with me.

I departed from life with loving, affectionate feelings for mankind; and I admonish you: Be aware of this truth that the people on this earth could be joyous, if only they would live rationally, and if they would contribute mutually to each others’ welfare.

This world is not a vale of sorrows if you will recognize discriminatingly what is truly excellent in it; and if you will avail yourself of it for mutual happiness ad well being. Therefore, let us explain as possible, and particularly at the departure from life, that we base our faith on firm foundations, on Truth for putting into action our ideas which do not depend on fables and ideas which science has long ago proven as false.

We also wish knowledge, goodness, sympathy, mercy, wisdom, justice and truthfulness. We also strive for and venerate all of those attributes from which the fantasy of man has created a God. We also strive for the virtues of temperance, industriousness, friendship, and peace. We believe in pure ideas based on truth and justice.

Therefore, however, we do not believe, cannot believe, that a thinking being existed for millions and millions of years, and eventually and finally out of nothing – through a word- created this world, or rather this earth with its firmament, its sun and moon and stars.

We cannot believe that this being formed a human being from clay and breathed into it an immortal soul, and then allowed this human being to procreate millions, and then delivered them all into unspeakable misery, wretchedness and pain for all eternity. Nor can we believe that the descendants of one or two human beings will inevitably become sinners; nor do we believe that through the criminal executions of an innocent one may we be redeemed.

Quoting Bertrand Russell famous declaration that in case he met god, he would say to him, “Sir, you did not give us enough information” that he would, “All the same, Sir, I’m not persuaded that we did the best we could with the information we had. Toward the end there, anyway, we had tons of information.”

On the White House prayer breakfasts (and now we have our own version of national prayer days) he writes the

lethal ingredient in those breakfasts wasn’t prayer. It was a virulent new strain of hypocrisy which did everyone in.

And I agree with him when he writes

I don’t think anybody ever dreaded hell as much as most of us dread the contempt of our fellow men.

To end this already long post, I will add one last thing, about community. He says if you are going to be a leader with a mission to help us find an amazing future, then you should consider helping us find an intelligent and imaginative way back to some of the more humane and comforting institutions of the past. Say extended families for example. He argues the nuclear family doesn’t provide nearly enough companionship.

So, my friends, go and be lonesome no more.

Happy weekend everyone.


and while we are still here, I hope no one who reads this blog also believes in this

A tribute to old friends

and those we have lost along the way sort of.

as i was going to bed last night, it occurred to me there are bloggers who have disappeared from our lives quietly without a trace. What happened to them? I will just name a few that I can remember off head.

There was Jericho Brisbane and his beautiful wife. Does Nate still blog? And Victoria (Neuronotes) last Swarn (?) wrote about her, she was planning a move or something. Then there was Daniela of Lantern Post. One very lovely person from New Zealand (I miss her 😦 ). There is Holly, the other V and Silence of Mind- what happened to him? Did he get arrested or something? I never met a person so repulsive as he was. And then there was Emmy of unbuttonedorundone what happened to her? And where is Ruth? Sonel, her of great south African photos and sites (Ark is no match for hers 🙂 )

I still miss myatheistlife who left us too soon. He was such a brilliant young man.

Most of all, I miss archaeopteryx1 that old fossil who could not be persuaded to move his blog to wordpress even when the site that had been hosting it before was no longer active. This fossil was a kind man, sometimes acerbic and I know he could get into people’s nerves but he was the first person who I had lengthy conversations with once I started writing on this spot.

And finally, to the friends new and old who grace this humble spot, gracias.

I think I should schedule a post to report my demise, you know the way Moses writes of his death and burial in the bible. Something in that class.

Happy week everyone.


In other news, a friend shared this link with me this morning. The similarity with Christianity is unmistakable.

Is death bad for us?

Epicurus would say no. In one of his famous letters, he writes death is nothing to us, for when we are, death is not with us and when death is come, we are not. Lucretius is of the same view; before we were, it didn’t bother us, after we stop being, it should likewise not bother us.

I generally believe death, sometimes, is a great good, for it is a release from suffering. For example, for those terminally ill and in pain, death is a release, even though most people even in such circumstances want to prolong their lives.

Benatar, in Human Predicament, argues that there are ways in which death is not a good, to the person who is dead. Death, he writes, deprives us of meaning, if for example, our life had meaning because of our associations or the projects we were doing.

Death, he adds, is also bad because it obliterates us. Annihilation that comes with death is a bad in the whole. It is here also that he disagrees with Lucretius. The argument by Lucretius proposes a symmetry between not having been and not continuing to being. He says the two are not symmetrical. Not having been born doesn’t cause you harm. But to stop being, as a result of death, is not a good for one, it deprives you of possible goods you would have continued to experience, among other things.

Is death a good or a not?

Clerambault: The story of an independent spirit during the war

I am no Clerambault, but I agree with most of his declamations against war. He is no blind pacifist. But he sees war as a waste of humanity, which I think it is. There are those of you enamored by big military complexes. For me, they represents the greatest of human folly. You can argue all day, if you wish, that militaries have made some very useful and great inventions, that maybe be, but it still a monument to human folly. Arming itself so it can spread peace, democracy and whatever else they convince the common people to believe. To each their own, anyway.

I don’t think I can do the book any justice by reviewing it. It is enough for me to say that I liked it. I disagree with Romain on his reference to Africans as savages. I don’t think he could find Africa on a map. His views on women can only be excused to have belonged to that time in history.

What I can do, however, is to share some of the passages that resonated most with me. I have shared some previously.

About the Buddha,

It would not be enough for me, and I cannot content myself either with the wisdom of a selfish Buddha, who sets himself free by deserting the rest. I know the Hindoos as you do, and I love them, but even among them, Buddha has not said the last word of wisdom. Do you remember that Bodhisattva, the Master of Pity, who swore not to become Buddha, never to find freedom in Nirvana, until he had cured all pain, redeemed all crimes, consoled all sorrows?

On warring people

Why do they not see the imbecility of their conduct, in face of the gulf that swallows up each man that dies, all humanity with him? These millions of creatures who have but a moment to live, why do they persist in making it infernal by their atrocious and absurd quarrels about ideas; like wretches who cut each other’s throats for a handful of spurious coins thrown to them? We are all victims, under the same sentence, and instead of uniting, we fight among ourselves. Poor fools! On the brow of each man that passes I can see the sweat of agony; efface it by the kiss of peace!

On fate

A man’s fate is made every day by himself, and none knows what it will be; it is what we are. If you are
cast down, so also is your fate.

On the secrets of life

He who has deciphered the secret of life and found the answer, is no longer bound on the great wheel of existence, he has quitted the world of the living. When illusion vanishes, nothingness resumes its eternal reign, the bright bubble has burst in infinite space, and our poor thought is dissolved in the immutable repose of the limitless void.

On anti-natalism

Why bring children into the world, if it is to butcher them like this?

On freeing others

You cannot set others free, in spite of them, and from the outside; and even if it were possible, what good would it do? If they do not free themselves, tomorrow they will fall back into slavery. All you can do is to set a good example, and say: “There is the road, follow it and you will find Freedom”.

On life or meaningless of life

Since he who is destroyed, suffers, and he who destroys has no pleasure, and is shortly destroyed himself, tell me what no philosopher can explain; whom does it please, and to whose profit is this unfortunate life of the universe, which is only preserved by the injury or death of all the creatures which compose it?”

If you have time to spare, this books for light reading. You can add it to your reading list as recommendation from yours truly.

some truths

Yes, it is a truth- the vastest, most certain of truths, if one will- that our life is nothing, and our efforts the merest jest; our existence, that of our planet, only a miserable accident in the history of worlds; but it is no less a truth that, to us, our life and our planet are the most important, nay, the only important phenomena in the history of the worlds.

The Buried Temple by Maurice Maeterlinck

on cultural appropriation

I readily admit I could be wrong, or even naïve but I don’t seem to understand all the noise about cultural appropriation.

Recently I heard one of Canada’s leading export to the US was accused of cultural appropriation for adopting locks as a hairdo.

As students of architecture, we had a class on cultural anthropology and one of the things we learnt about culture is that it is dynamic, adoptive and many more.

My great grandfathers used to remove their lower teeth as initiation. We no longer do, just in case you were thinking I am toothless. I wouldn’t give a rat ass if some bloke from Europe decided to do the same thing tomorrow. Can’t people just grow up?

The adaptive nature of culturepdf