Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ravish response

Sorry for the delay in responding to your considerable comments. I run my own business and this is a busy time.

I am still in the midst of getting thru Peikoff's book. Since I am now taking on an apparent case of arthritis in my knees, I have detoured into reading about that particular ailment.

But I want to respond to some of your statements.

I don't think it's so rare for people of a certain age to be seeking philosophical answers. I recall a story about W.C. Fields who was known to be an athiest. A reporter found Fields not long before he died reading the bible. The reporter asked why he, Fields, an athiest, was looking through the bible. Fields was reported to have responded: "Just, lookin' for loopholes."

I'm sure that many people who are getting on the back side of middle age start considering where they are philosophically. I rejected the possibility of god over 35 years ago. Once that decision was made, I pretty much put the whole issue on the back burner. I finished college, married, had a couple of kids, and have spent the better part of the last 30 years making a living at jobs that I generally hated, but that's another story.

Over the last several years, my parent's generation has largely passed on. My parents, my wife's parents and several of her uncles (she had 9) have slipped off their respective mortal coils. Additionally, my oldest brother died at age 60. My wife's youngest brother and sister also are gone. The death of those close to you has a way of putting one's own mortality into a different perspective.

Additionally, the rise of religious fundamentalism both in this country and beyond over the last several years has brought my feelings to a head.

I don't have any problem with refering to myself as you say via a "negative self-description" with the term "athiest." We have tons of "theists." I don't mind being an a - theist or antitheist.
It does signify what I don't believe in, and it's very much to the point. It actually tends to move a conversation toward just what it is that I do believe. (Unless, of course, it shuts the conversation down cold. In that case, I doubt there could be any useful discussion anyhow.)

I don't feel that I suffer from "inadequate conviction in {my} beliefs." There is no waffling in what I believe. I don't vacillate as regards my godless life view. But, I have not done a great deal of philosophical study. My desire is to educate myself more completely as regards philosophical thought. I happen to find Ayn Rand interesting and more or less aligned with much of my current thinking.

As to my "concern about what others might think," perhaps you would look upon this differently if you were yourself of a certain age. I came of age during the 1960s. I observed and occasionally took part in the counter culture. We did a great job of being obnoxious and succeeded, through our own ignorance, in offending an entire generation. I think we were generally right in challenging authority, but our methods were at best draconian. We thought we had all the answers. We were sure that our parent's generation was without any scruples. That they had become totally materialistic with no values. We didn't have a clue. We had no appreciation for what they had experienced and endured. We thumbed our noses at them. We alienated them. We dismissed them.

I often get angry about what is happening in this world. I could get on this thing and go into a diatribe, filled with vitriole and obscenities. I'm sure it would feel great. But it would serve no useful purpose beyond my venting. Granted, sometimes it's good to vent. But I would likely have even fewer readers than I have now. I would like to reach as many people as possible.
I have a pretty good discourse with Sweet Jazzy Cat. We are more or less diametrically opposed to each other's views. He is totally imbued with christianity. I am not. But we have a level of discussion wherein we respect each other's position without accepting it. I told him that if we were to be in the same room for any length of time, we could well wind up yelling at each other. At least this way, we read each other's posts rationally and respond in kind. You may find that uninteresting, but look at what anger and hatred has wrought. It's name is Osama.



Gregg100 said...


I just want to check in and let you know that I'm alive and kicking. The long gap in my own blog is the result of an extended trip to France ("April in Paris")to join up with my youngest daughter and her husband as they celebrated their 10th anniversary and exchanged gifts on a very nice dinner cruise on the Sienne below a sparkling Eiffel Tower. (At night they light it with hundreds of stobe lights randomly flashing to make it look like it is sparkling!) We stayed in Montmartre and absorbed the artsy history by hitting all the little bistro/cafes that the famous artists patronized. Great fun!

Unfortunately, I got a bear of a cold about two days after returning and just didn't have the motivation to do much. Well, I'm back hitting on all 8. By the way, I checked into "". Oh my. I hope I'm around when that young lady gets her intellect pointed in the right direction. It will be interesting to watch.

Terry S said...


First, it's great to hear from you. Yes, Dooce is something else.

I remember your mentioning your pending visit to Paris. In just a slight bit of irony, my son spent about 10 days in Paris as well last month. He auditioned for the Paris opera. His girl friend joined him a couple of days later and they spent about a week seeing the city.

Nick spent a couple of nights at a hostel which, as it turned out, was directly across the street from a place called The Indiana Cafe. It served burgers, fries & etc.

He and his girl friend then stayed in a pension which was next door to a cafe in which the lead character in one of their favorite movies, Amalie, worked in the film. They also visited the Moulen Rouge. (Unfortunately, he did not get called back to the Paris Opera, but they did have a nice vacation.

Nick had been to Paris briefly a few years ago and at the time wasn't impressed. But this time - again being there in April - he came to realize what a beautiful city it is.

Good to hear that your trip went well. It's great when you can share it with family. Our trip to Germany in December and January was cold, but otherwise great. We hadn't seen Nick, our oldest in nearly a year. My wife, Joan, myself and both of our boys were together. The tough part was once again leaving Nick, not knowing when we might see him again.

Gotta go start carbo loading. I'm walking a 1/2 marathon on Saturday. My arthritic knees are not cooperating. I'm not sure I can hold up for 13.1 miles, but I'll give it the old non-believer's try. My younger son is coming in from Chicago to run the thing. I'll have to remind him to wait up for me, as I likely will be lagging far behind.


Zoe said...

Thinking of you Terry. How did the knees hold up?