Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Zen and the Art of Nothingness


I get emails from time to time from you readers who ask what my spiritual background is and where I stand today. I guess I do throw out a lot of mixed signals, and generally come off as a hard core atheist.

I grew Catholic. I even worked in a Catholic seminary for ten years,(for those who read yesterdays post the jobs there were switchboard operator, librarian, night watchman) not teaching by the way. That was enough to make anyone question their faith. The shit I saw go on there would amaze the average church attendee.

From there I studied Christianity. I listened to the late night radio preachers on AM radio. The carrier waves would make their trip up north to my radio from WWVA in West Virginia and other 50 thousand watt stations from North Carolina would beam in as well. This got me reading the bible, but I found so much conflicting information there so in a short time I decided it was all bull shit.

In my mid 20s WNEW FM, a New York progressive rock station would play a 45 minute Alan Watts lecture at 6:15 am every Sunday. I got in the habit of setting a timer to record every Watts lecture, and I still have a drawer full of tapes.

The better part of this Sunday ritual was leaving the house just before the broadcast began. I drove to New York City for breakfast every Sunday. I’d listen to Watts as I drove. I always had to take the George Washington Bridge because I’d lose the signal if I took the tunnel. I’d near my favorite café’ as his show ended.

Sunday mornings in New York were always magical. I couldn’t stand the city the rest of the time, but Sunday mornings were at time I could be there. After breakfast I’d either do something in the city or drive back home listening to Vin Skelsa. It was a wonderful time in my life.

So I ate up all the Eastern philosophy I could, but one day I had enough of it, and I realized that there is really nothing out there. It was evident with all the pain and suffering, and injustice. All the miracles that had been reported since the beginning of time were actually nothing out of the ordinary. Sure the stories are fun as is an Ouiji Board, but that doesn't make it real.

Now I’m not trying to convince you believers out there that there is nothing, and I’m not trying to convince the non believers there is something. There is simply nothing for me and I'm totally OK with that. There is nothing I can do about it either way.

I do find it funny that I never believed in Santa Clause, and I knew that by age 4, yet I believed in God until I was in my mid 20s. Santa makes more sense to me now than God does. For some people the changing leaves or a beautiful day is enough proof for them that there is a monotheistic deity that keeps everything going. To me, I feel that no one could ever be that much of a control freak and micro-manager.

So which ever side of the fence you are on I will conclude this article with a tale of two deaths.

It is said that the night Alan Watts died he was sitting on his couch tossing a balloon into the air. He said, “This balloon feels like the spirit leaving my body.” He died moments later.

When physicist Richard Fenyman was on his death bed, one of his graduate students asked, “Richard, you have been a lifelong atheist, if you meet God when you die, what will you say to him?” Fenyman replied, “I’ll ask why he never presented any proof.”

11 Comments:

Blogger Zoe said...

Don't you find it funny that most atheists have spent more time thinkning, studying and searching for god, religion, and meaning than the devout (insert religion of choice here).

9:31 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Interesting observation, Zoe. I was speaking with someone recently who brought up the convictions of someone who is very Christian. He said that he(the person I was talking with)wished he could have the sort of blind faith that the Christian fellow has because it would feel good having some kind of a net to fall into when things get really bad.

2:22 PM  
Blogger LeLo in NoPo said...

Thinking about that net, it seems so many recovering addicts are born again. Do you think they go from one net to another?

8:02 PM  
Anonymous portosan said...

Hmm... Here is a scenario that made sense to me.

God or no god.

Try to live a life that is honest, compassionate, speak the truth, don't screw your naighbors wife, be kind, try not to judge others, help someone - those that cannot help themselves. Love one another even, A good custodian of it all.

Then at the end, if there is no god, cool, I lived a good life and contributed to the well being of myself and other's.

If it turns out there is god and the whole judgement deal, fine, I did what was right and good.

In the meantime I get to have a great life with all the wonderfull experiences of being harmoneus, nurturing to the planet and the people I meet. A clear conscience.

Damn, An addict is better off, shit the planet is better off when an addict is able to do anything other than being an addict. I could think of worse beings than being born again.

Which reminds me of a joke:

If an alcaholic steels your wallet, next day they will feel bad and give it back to you.

When an addict steels your wallet, they will help you look for it!

Damn I hope my spelling does'nt send me to hell, 'cause I think I'dd be screwed.

9:14 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

All valid stuff you folks are bringing to the table.

There was a post long ago, and someone replied giving me a bunch of crap, to which I replied, bthe the following is something I included which sums it all up:
Hell is a concept by Dante. And an eternity of all Joy, who could possibly stand that? If there is a heaven I want to be able to participate there in all the sins I denied myself on earth.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous F.Lee said...

Did you hear about the new Dial-A-Prayer service for atheists?

You call the number and nobody answers.

10:45 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Nyuk, Nyuk...

5:01 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Do you live in Astoria still. I too, have some similar circumstances also, and I am planning on moving to Astoria to get into the seamenship program they have at Job Corps at Tongue Point.

Here are my pages.

http://www.myspace.com/mackyshane
(I know. Only kids have Myspace, right?)

http://www.myspace.com/kevinshappyside

I was going to use that page for another reason but aborted that and started my own page about my interest in belief and philosophy. I've been trying to find others in Astoria that are Atheists, and perhaps find an Atheist group to talk with ahead of time.

6:11 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

An Atheist organization in Astoria. Now that's funny! Rather than organizing we just like to tell the Christians to shut the fuck up.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Hmm. I didn't think Astoria was a very religious town. Are there many Atheists in Astoria including yourself though?

1:09 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

More churches than bars here.

9:43 PM  

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