When it comes to the idea of a supreme being I am an apathetic agnostic. Our motto of “We don’t know and we don’t care” seems to sum up exactly how I feel about gods, religions, and all that other stuff. I don’t hate those things, but I don’t care for them either. That was not always the case though. I used to be religious.
It was a long time ago but I still think about it to this day because I feel it’s important to understand how experiences completely shape who we are. My experiences were mainly shaped by the very conservative and religious mid-Michigan town I grew up in. Luckily, I was born to a family that had a religious past, but wasn’t overly religious in its own right making my upbringing atypical among my peers. The pressure to conform was too great however, and by my middle school years I found what I thought was god. Time has since shown me that was not god, but was instead my own inner dialogue but with an artificial authority. By the time I was a sophomore in high school I was thoroughly convinced that my concept of god was critically flawed and began looking for more answers. They did not come and considering the fact that a good 90% of my friends were overtly religious and the other 10% seemed to be religious to a lesser degree it was no wonder I felt out of place and simply chose to live a lie to make my life easier until another opportunity presented itself.
College was that opportunity and I flourished in the environment it provided. There were a token few who were religious, but for the most part it didn’t seem to play a huge role in the lives of my new friends and was a complete 180 from what I knew in my hometown. By this point in my life I knew for a fact that religion wasn’t for me, but I was still unsure about the question of a god’s existence. In fact, I’m still unsure, hence my agnosticism. In practice I live my life as an atheist but hold out on the explicit denial of an atheist or antitheist and I’m happy with my position because it meshes with the rest of my worldview based on naturalistic materialism (the pretentious way of saying science).
So now I’m happy with my lack of a belief system based on a non-natualistic philosophy. I don’t know if there is a god(s) and based on what people have told me of their various gods I don’t care to know or worship any of them.
I like to think of myself as a fairly sharp individual who picks up on verbal and non-verbal cues. Apparently, I’m wrong.
Yesterday, I was at the wedding of two of my college friends and me and a bunch of buddies were swapping stories, reliving old times, and just generally having a good time. The best part was focusing on a single person and telling the funniest, most embarrassing, and most memorable shit we could remember to everyone in earshot (like my best friend who described his first rimjob experience: “it was like seeing a color you’ve never seen before,” by far the funniest of the night).
Unbeknownst to me, I was most well known among the people at the table as a heart breaker. Every single one of them had a story of me inadvertently breaking a girls heart. Even worse was that most of the people were talking about different women, so in total there were at least five women that I hurt and had little to no idea. I knew some of them had crushes on me that I thought was kind of cute at the time, but I didn’t think I lead any of them on. For instance, I gave one girl a kiss on her birthday. I knew she had a little crush on me and I thought it’d make her night if I gave her a nice kiss (don’t remember exactly, but I think it was tongueless), and I was right; she perked right up and had a great night. That was a bad idea. She soon developed a much larger crush on me to which I was not privy and thought I shared feelings for her due to her birthday kiss. One friend in particular had to console her though several crying sessions of which I was the unknowing cause. It still baffles me to this day how I couldn’t have known how much she liked me.
That was actually the least painful of the stories I heard and I won’t go into any of the others since I played a slightly more active role in them and you’ll probably think slightly less of me for them since I may have played a more active role in what transpired (in my defense, it WAS college). What hurt me most though was my personal view that I was good at reading people was being directly contradicted by these stories that my bastard friends had the gall to remember and retell. However, upon close examination of my past I have noticed that I’ve always been a little retarded in the “how girls feel about me” category while I can read people very well in just about every other regard. This is a problem I’ve had since middle school and something I’m going to have to change since I will soon be back on the market.
Don’t you hate it when friends make you think about self improvement? Fucking bastards.
Being back in my hometown brings back memories. They’re split roughly fifty-fifty, but I try to focus on the good memories. Looking back I have noticed a number of milestones that a lot of people don’t typically consider milestones but I do. Of course you have your first kiss, first job, prom, graduation, and all that other bullshit associated with that time of your life, but I’m more interested with things like the first time you evaded the cops or the first time you got into a fight. Or, for us guys out there, the first time you acquired a porn mag (is it the same for you women out there?).
The parallels between a twelve year-old looking to buy his first porn mag and an adult looking to score some weed are uncanny. You find the shadiest person you know personally and broach the subject up in a very round about fashion and hope the other person catches on. The person you happen to know doesn’t sell the stuff himself, but he invariably knows someone who does and puts you in contact with him. You talk to the shady dude’s even shadier friend, details are hashed out, prices negotiated, and then the goods are delivered in an undercover fashion. It’s all very exciting.
I kinda feel bad for kids these days in this instance. They don’t have to go through back channels to see their first naked lady posing because they can just google “boobs” and be left with enough porn to last them several lifetimes. More than anything getting my first porn mag wasn’t so much about the magazine itself and what it meant to my life at the time, but the process of obtaining it. Does this just mean kids need to start buying weed at the age of twelve? You tell me.
It’s important to get outside of that comfort zone and take a fucking chance sometimes. That is what this is all about. I knew plenty of kids who didn’t take any chances and they were boring as hell. Don’t be one of those people! Go out and buy a porn mag!
Science reporting of new advances often pisses me the fuck off. Take this for example.
Sounds great, right? Of course it does! It’s a fucking miracle antibiotic because it doesn’t trigger resistance. Too bad it’s pure shit.
This isn’t the first time we have thought we could outsmart simple evolutionary processes and it won’t be the last (Carl Zimmer’s book Microcosm covers one or two of these false hopes if I remember correctly – it was an amazing book by the way). The problem is that a single-celled organism is a very complex beast that has numerous ways of getting around nearly every problem it can come across because this organism doesn’t act as an individual. Evolution works though populations, and an entire population of bacteria can arise from a single individual cell. All it takes is one (what I term the Highlander Cell); this poses a serious public health issue.
These bacteria are crafty little buggers and every single year we learn more interesting things they do to survive and thrive in the face of even the most extreme environmental insults. All we can do is attempt to slow their progress though an intelligent use of our current arsenal of weapons while continually developing new ones. Current antibiotic resistance issues arise mainly because we use the few weapons we have in a very haphazard manner, and articles such as this one will do nothing to better educate the public to respect their single-celled invaders and urge those in charge of public health to act in the best interest of the public. Instead, I see this therapy going the exact way every other antibiotic has gone in the past; it works great at first, but it is a false sense of security that will then lead to its overuse and eventual resistance.
I know I’m looking at the glass as half empty, but what else do you expect when ALL the glasses you’ve seen have been half empty?
I am an avid listener of This American Life on NPR. A while back they had a show called Plan B (and you can listen to it for free! If you like it donate a few bucks to keep the show going) about how lives don’t typically pan out the way you think they will. I’m not sure exactly sure what spurred this, but recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how I thought my life would work out and how it actually has.
As far as I can tell I’m on at least Plan E and I’m only 25. Pitiful I know, but that’s just how life works. I’m 25, entering grad school, soon to be divorced, two jobs post undergrad, 400 miles from home, and pretty damn close to being broke. It’s funny though because as much as I want to believe my life sucks it is in fact quite incredible and I’m glad it has gone the way it did. Of course, there are things that happened that I wish didn’t, but such is life and in the end I think everything turned out for the best. (Not exactly sure where this eternal optimism is coming from, but I’m glad it’s there)
So, the occasional person who reads this blog: what plan are you on?
Most of my family is christian and the last thing I want to do is hate what they believe, but others associated with what they believe keep doing ridiculous and idiotic things that essentially leave me no choice but to think less and less of christianity as a whole. MAYBE, if such people were ridiculed by more intelligent christians might I disregard the actions of the few. However, I’ve seen far too much of this that the christian community not only condones, but endorses. Just when I think they hit bottom someone throws them a shovel.
And people ask me why I’m an apathetic agnostic…