Friday, 3 April 2009

And You May Ask Yourself, Well, How Did I Get Here?

That's a question I've asked myself a lot since I was a teen-ager. Sometimes I ask myself, How the hell did I get here? Like when suddenly I find myself at home and having no memory of driving myself there. Other times it's a why question. Why am I here?

I've been taking a philosophy taster course these last six weeks at my daughter's school. I think the seven of us who attend have basic philosophical questions about the meaning of life (which Monty Python answers somewhat) and the origin of life. Of course, we're all in middle youth, so we've come to a few conclusions already. The neurologist thinks along the lines of Richard Dawkins, though he claims not to like him. The grandfather is more traditional in his views. I'm an "intelligent design" sort of person. I think atheists take the easy route and agnostics are just fence-sitters. It's easy to say there is no god. It's easy to say religion is the root of all evil. But contemplating the creation of the universe, what caused those factors to happen at that time, is more difficult.

I suppose going to parochial schools spurred on my curiosity about religion, or more specifically humankind's need for religion. The neurologist in our class suggests humans are hardwired to need religion or to believe in God. Then what happened to atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Madelyn Murray O'Hair? Are they anomalies? Are they faulty somehow? How did we come to be hardwired in such a way? And why would we become hardwired in such a way? Some scientists suggest that those who believe in God are not as intelligent as those who don't. Hmmmm. Who created intelligence tests in the first place? Scientists. Could it be they created them in their image, so therefore anyone who thinks differently won't score as well?

Then again, there are those who hide their ignorance behind their religion. Is ignorance bliss? Or is it stupidity? So many questions.

I've been taking another class as well: How to start your own business. This, too, has opened up my mind and provoked me to think in a different way and to ask myself the questions, Where will I be and How will I get there?

Our attempt to buy a publishing business is not going as well as planned. The owner is throwing a few spanners in the works, to use a British phrase, which we hope can be sorted out. But we've had to face the possibility that we may need to walk away. And then what? Hubby has been out of work for a year now. He has applied for several jobs. He has narrowly missed out on many of them. I can't begin to describe the roller coaster ride that has been the last year.

But the second course has given me food for thought. It's given me confidence that we could go out there and make our own way in the working world. The course was run by a marketing guy, so of course the emphasis was heavily on marketing. And you know what? I think I could do it. Market myself, that is. I do it every day in fact. We all do as we stand in front of the mirror getting dressed for the day. We are preparing ourselves to send out a message to the world: this is who I am.

The philosophy course has helped me answer the next question: this is how I think I got here.

12 comments:

Kaycie said...

Living in the Bible belt as I do, I am an oddity because I am not a fundamentalist or even an evangelistic Christian. I have trouble with labels. For instance, atheist has an opposite: theist. Agnostic also has it's opposite: gnostic. The first deals with existence, the second with knowledge.

My husband, like you, thinks agnostics are just hedging their bets, but a true agnostic can lean toward theism or atheism. The first type says that God may exist but we cannot know him. The second type says that God does not exist therefore there is nothing to know.

I was raised in a straightlaced Methodist Church where we studied the Bible in Sunday school, did readings in services and took Communion once a month. In college, I read and learned things never made available to me in my small town school and my outlook changed. As I've aged, it's changed more and developed. I think if one is spiritually and intellectually curious, religious views and faith are a never ending journey.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

kaycie: You're so right. And I find the journey so entertaining and enlightening. I think it's boring to be an atheist, in fact. Far better to be a religious explorer.

Fire Byrd said...

I find orgainised religion an anathama.
But do feel that life has a profound spiritual side.
And I don't need any priest/vicar etc to tell me how to do it.
xx

Eurekapaws said...

On the first topic, as I've aged I've become mellower about religion (used to feel a need to explain to everyone why there isn't a God). I think there is a hard-wired need for some kind of organizing structure for our lives, and many people find that in religion. Some scientists find it in science, and certain types of intelligence derive greater satisfaction from making a new discovery of their own than in adopting someone else's.

On the second topic, I've been living the dream with starting my own business for a while now, and marketing and a positive attitude are the sine qua non. If the marketing guy inspired you, take that and run with it!

On the other hand, Same as it ever was...

DogLover said...

Having been fascinated by astronomy from a very early age and learnt that there are a 100 billion stars like our Sun in our galaxy, which is only one of 100 billion galaxies, I've always found the idea that a Supreme Being created the Universe a bit hard to believe.

Yes, it's bleak being an atheist, but for me that doesn't mean there's a God!

And I have brother who is a firm believer! Perhaps some of us are hard-wired and some of us just aren't!

And OK, if the Universe wasn't created by God, where did it come from? I know, I know, I don't have the answers!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

I have a spiritual but not a religious belief. As a lapsed Catholic I dislike organised religion but I believe in a hgher power. I don't believe in a hardwired need to have religion in my life as I believe that people have agency to choose. Free will is what makes us individual and conscience plays a huge part in our choices.

Those courses sound great for you and I truly hope you get some good news soon. This must be a very stressful time for you all. You seem to manage it all so well as you have such a great attitude, even when you are feeling down hope shines through. All the best with the publishing deal.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Fire byrd: I know what you mean. I don't like anyone telling me how to think or believe.

Eurekapaws: Ah, a fellow Talking Heads fan. I think we all get mellower as we grow older. Just not worth the effort to argue about, is it? I just want to get on with my life and live the dream.

DogLover: I think the diversity of all of us is what makes life interesting. Unfortunately, though, there are those who think we should all think the same way.

MOB: Free will, absolutely, is what makes each of us individual. Thank you for your kinds words.

Sparx said...

Hiya - good luck with the business; and with the search for god - we are all searching for something, even the atheists; it's just what we call it that makes the difference, I think.

Fred said...

I often think the same thing, too, although my thoughts revolve around school.

For instance, when I'm at a pep rally, I wonder how I acted and whether I was having a good time. Or, what was my graduation like? Sure, I have a few pictures, but age has chiseled away at my memory.

I got here, though. So, I guess I had the right map.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Sparx: You're right. It's all a matter of language.

Fred: Long time no see. So are your thoughts philosophical in nature or has your memory let you down. Memory is a funny thing though. It can turn events and feelings about them into whatever we want them to be. They are not objective in the slightest, are they?

Fred said...

It's mostly memory issues. I just wish I could remember more about myself when I was in my teens. If only we had digital cameras back then...

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