A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.
Terry Gross of Fresh Air recently had a rather unusual interview with one C. Peter Wagner. Wagner is a leading figure in the New Apostolic Reformation, a growing Christian movement in America with unsettling ties to Seven Mountains Dominionism and presidential candidate Rick Perry. Give it a listen, you’ll be entertained and probably a little creeped out.
Playboy: If life is so purposeless, do you feel that it’s worth living?
Kubrick: Yes, for those of us who manage somehow to cope with our mortality. The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning.
Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism — and their assumption of immortality.
As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But if he’s reasonably strong — and lucky — he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s élan.
Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining.
The most terrifying fact of the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment.
However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
Wired posted an interesting interview with cyberculture writer Douglas Rushkoff, whose book Program or be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age just got added to my must-read list.
If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.
In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
Where there is evidence, no one speaks of ‘faith’. We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence.
You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time. I’ve decided to roll the domain name dice once more and try to come up with a domain that I like. So from now on, eightbits.org is going to be renamed to chiefly.org. Most everything should be switched over already, but eightbits.org will continue to redirect to this site until my registration expires.
I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.