Here is a post I have wanted to write for a while mostly because it is cathartic to put these thoughts out into the universe. No doubt I shall offend some of you and loose some of you as followers (friends?), but I want to make clear my view on the world and my place in it. As some of you may know, I genuinely do not have the desire that you should think or believe as I do, but I absolutely must insist that each of us think for ourselves, that we read, research, be open. I maintain that if our source of information is only the news, media, social posts or headlines – we have heard no news, learned nothing, have simply been manipulated so as to become a consumer of a product – that product is false information whether it be from FOX, CNN, Huffington Post, or elsewhere.
So I want to present the heart of my thoughts arising from the current political and social context– full disclaimer, I am as many define, Liberal, socialist. That said I did not grow up in a liberal household. I did not go to liberal colleges or universities – just the opposite in fact. But then these words liberal and conservative are generally used to refrain, define or confine a way of thinking. I’m really more of an enigma I guess.
So here I am today:
· I have deep anathema to racism. Yes, I am a white (privileged) male. Even still I have experienced racism, for example during the 1st gulf war I was attacked in Missouri by a group of boys (in a pickup truck of all things) who threw bottles and rocks at me, called me derogatory names and screamed that I should return to Iraq. And all my life I have been asked, “are you Mexican?” “are you Arabic?” “are you……?” why should that even matter? I just don’t understand how a human being becomes a racist – to paraphrase Dr. Bill Nye, race is barely even skin deep. This topic is so beyond my comprehension that I honestly cannot fathom how or why this is an issue in our world. Yet it is. I know that I must do more to oppose racism for my silence in the face of racism is my consent. Right now, today, people who are not white are hated because this country, the USA, was founded on the principle that not all lives matter, that some lives matter more, especially white lives. So in today’s climate, the outrage, the riots, the marches, protests MUST happen because without revolt the status quo shall continue to be okay.
· I am opposed to the universal access we as Americans have to obtain guns. I believe very strongly that there must be stronger gun laws; I’m not calling to ban guns, but rather to restrict such easy access. Seriously, it’s easier to obtain a gun than to adopt a PUPPY!!! It is easier to obtain a gun than to get a driver’s license. It is easier to obtain a gun than to obtain a marriage license. Really? This is okay?
· I am opposed to hunting for sport – ever. It is no longer necessary. It is not a sustainable activity. It serves no purpose other than to kill, destroy. It seems to me that “sport” hunting serves no purpose other than to satisfy some strange primordial need to control another living beings presence, to the point of death (yes, yes I know about herd and population management, which is now a necessary evil because we destroyed the environment and healthy populations of natural predator to prey levels). As we study space and search for life outside our known solar system, galaxy it seems that life may in fact be quite rare, unique and special and so too the wonders of life on this little ball of rock should be valued, preserved by we simians who know that life is precious and valuable.
· I believe that the militarization of our police forces is unnecessary and creates unnecessary conflict between the people of society and the militarized authorities (such as a militarized police force). In my mind, police violence becomes so horrific and unbearable especially because the men and woman who are police are thought to be the very heroes and protectors of peace and harmony, yet they fail so much because they are created, trained and taught in an environment where it is believed, as I stated earlier, that not all life is matters. It is the role of the peace keepers to de-inflate, not inflate. It is the role of peace keepers to bring peace, not to bring chaos. I can tell you, if you hand a person a powerful tool, they will want to use this tool. It simply is in our nature. When I was a little boy I dreamt of being a cop. Now they’re in my nightmares.
Those are a few “negatives”, the things that have me thinking, but what about the positives? These are the things that get me out of bed in the morning and offer a glimmer of hope. I post mostly about these things below because they make sense to me and help me appreciate the “me” of myself.
· Biology - Developments in animal study and research in biology amaze me. These last 20 years have been an amazing age of discovery of animal science, evolutionary science and the amazing connections that all living beings share on this little ball of rock. The wonders and mysteries of life, how it is evolved, surviving, and yes in some ways still thriving amaze me.
· Evolution - Research on our simian cousins (and many other species) is literally changing the way we understand not only evolution overall, but our own evolution as a species. Linguistic studies, the pattern of thought and the socialization of these amazing creatures, apes especially but many other animals, have indicated just how very much the same we simians, and all living things truly are.
· Astronomy – now this is the age of discovery. What we have learned in the last 10 years, 5 years and 1 year is unprecedented in discovery. We are literally discovering not only the local solar neighborhood, but are exploring and discovering the very nature of space-time itself. The universe is bigger than infinite and so mysteriously complex that knowing the universe will take all of time and then some to scratch the surface.
· Physics – I wish I had discovered physics more deeply as a young man. Seeing how perfectly math helps us understand matter, energy and how they interact with each other. The pure simple brilliance of the Theory of General Relativity makes so clear how and why the universe is what it is. It leaves us guessing the very first part of how it came to be but that’s okay because so far, as we have started to open our eyes and minds to discovering things that only 100 years ago most believed were impossible I know we shall discover the nature of the universe and her beginnings.
· Atheism – well you surely know I’m a former catholic priest, a former Christian. I became an atheist while in college (before I was a priest) but didn’t understand my atheism until much later. Then upon realizing I was and had been an atheist, I left this pursuit of atheism at the side and didn’t embark on truly understanding my own atheism until the last few years. What I have discovered recently is not just that atheism for me is a valid and rewarding way to live, it has helped me to understand better the human need, the psychology of the human mind that NEEDs religion. I do not question the why of or for existence. I question the human spirits need to have a “raison d'etre”. Our fear of mortality seems to drive us, coming I suspect from our evolved sense of flight or fight (or as new behavior studies say we have a third response to stress which is “freeze”). Anyway, atheism didn’t take anything away from me, but has given me the drive, the desire, the want to not find meaning in my own life, but to better comprehend the discovery of the mysteries of our universe through better comprehension of biology, physics, astronomy, maths and other sciences.
So here’s the rub. I’m disengaging from people who have an agenda for me. Recently unfriended several “family” members who haven’t really spoken to me in 20 years or so, but suddenly feel the need to talk to me about “Jesus” or God. My life is so much richer and full without “faith” in deity or divinity. If your only context or experience with me comes from my days as a priest or Christian you have to move on. Engage me as the man I am today, not the child I was then. Yes I was a Christian/priest. Yes, it was a mistake for me to have chosen that life (I was young and foolish and really didn’t know any better). But I’ll tell you, in the last 20 years that I’ve not been a priest or Christian a lot has happened. I have lived all over the USA, fallen in and out love a few times. I have faced sorrow, loss, illness and health. I’ve read some great books, seen some good movies, drank too much and sometimes not enough.
Listen, if your life is full of fear of losing something because of words or mind-sets like “that’s my heritage” – “you’re stepping on my rights” – “that not how things were when I was a child” – “I don’t like all this political correctness” – or if you’ve ever hated someone because they’re different in creed, sexual orientation, skin color or race, social beliefs, then I don’t know if we should be friends or if we have enough common ground to walk together. Those things are also a source of anathema to me.
I can admittedly be a bigot. I’m trying not to be.
I can admittedly be intolerant. I’m trying not to be (when it comes to supporting others rights to live and let live – I am and shall remain intolerant of hatred, bigotry, cruelty, sexism, greed, or a theology or creed that allows a person to hate).
I am also a lover. I am becoming ever more a creature of wonder. I am an explorer, if only in my own mind, I am exploring. I am trying to let go of the fear of not being significant, because my significance is not relevant, but rather reveling in the joy of being alive is. I am for this unimportant blip in the experience of space and time, aware of myself. That is the wonderful mystery of my own cognitive musings; awareness, this awareness in life as it seems so incredibly rare in the universe, at least from the .000000000000000000000000000000110,000% we have observed, is what makes life have its meaning. I value this life and all those living, wonderful beings around me. I value the fabric of the universe in all her mysteries that seem so incredibly marvelously endless.