[thechat] Need a punchline...

Chris Spruck cspruck at mindspring.com
Wed Nov 27 03:17:01 CST 2002

At 00:58 11/27/2002 +0530, Madhu Menon wrote:
>Hey Chris, dat you?

'Tis I - delurking when I should be doing a million other things, not to mention sleeping... really bad punchline at the end - you may want to skip ahead.

At 04:20 AM 27-11-02, Erika Meyer wrote:
>hm... how many people on thechat have lost faith in the universe?  Is
>this a recent phenomenon, this loosing of faith?

Recent phenomenon? That may be relative. I grew up as a "Cold War kid" (I'm 32 now), with that "will I live to see 2010?" worry that a lot of us had until the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Now it's more like "Do I get the smallpox vaccine or wait until I *need* it?" or "Will my kids or grandkids ask me some day if I remember trees?". I think it's been a gradual deterioration of "faith" for me at least - beginning early on with the broader level of "are we gonna get nuked or what?" mindframe and moving to the more recent "people suck" (and aren't getting any better) train of thought.

At 10:25 11/27/2002 +0530, Madhu Menon wrote:
>Well, I've never *had* any faith. Faith isn't in my dictionary at all.

My "faith" in the universe is great (mentally reciting Jeff Goldblum's line from Jurassic Park - "Nature always wins" - or something to that effect). It's my "faith" in humanity that's gone down the tubes.

Faith (purposefully in quotes above) tends to imply religious undertones and with my intense scientific background, that's not what I'm about. I think for me it's more like hope or expectation. And my general expectation of people and humanity as a whole is for people to NOT do the "right" thing, NOT act "humanely", NOT treat me as I expect to be treated and as I treat others, and so on. Easy position to take, having been burned enough times. Pretty cynical and probably not mentally healthy, but makes for pleasant surprises now and then when someone exceeds your expectations.

I used to have more hope, but I think that comes from reading too much sci-fi. (Where ARE the flying cars, the colonies spread throughout the solar system, and the peaceful aliens we can learn and benefit from? Maybe that's more like "wouldn't it be cool if..." stuff as opposed to more base-level hope, though.) I don't have much hope for the environment or hope for peace in the Middle East (or anywhere else, for that matter) or hope for medical cures (or any number of things really) that exist under cover and that we could probably have tomorrow but won't, because there are too many other overpowering forces working against those sorts of issues, whether it's big businesses and their political machinations, religious fanaticism or, um, big businesses and their political machinations, among other issues. I'd hope humans and humanity would snap out of it so to speak and get more on track towards bigger and better things and away from the spiraling-out-of-control, destructive entropy we see more and more of every day, but of late, that hope seems to be a lost cause and that's just sad. People tend to chalk things up as "human nature" and that's getting to be a real disappointment. It's often embarrassing to think that we're the most advanced or highly evolved animal on the planet and to see where it appears we're heading. Are we as good as it gets? Jeez, I hope not.

>We make our own destinies.

I'm definitely of the "make your own destiny" school of thought, hence my recent interest in some of the Eastern philosophies of "self" like Buddhism and Taoism. Ultimately, *I'M* in charge of me and that's the bottom line. I want to live more simply with less stress, less negative impact, better relationships, etc., so *I* have to do something about it. Some kind of canned religion dictated to me by someone else sure isn't going to do that for me. (I could even do all that on my own without reading a single line of Buddhist dharma anyway.) Since we've had our Santa hats on lately, I could just as easily place my faith in Santa! Come on - he's a benevolent guy who rewards the "good" folks (for that matter, it could be the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy too) - this is a huge generalization, but that sounds a bit like a lot of people's basic perception of their deity of choice - "I just gotta kiss up to the big guy upstairs and it'll all work out in the afterlife where I'll have my every desire with the snap of a finger". Can you tell I grew up in an area (at least not my family - whew) where religion was hammered into you as early as possible and any deviation or questioning was considered freakish? I went to third grade (8 yrs old here), surrounded by little evangelists. Ugh. I've seen so many people making a mockery of what the "living right and treating people well" teachings of religion ought to be about anyway. Disgusting. It's those "pencil me in for an hour on Sunday and I can be a complete idiot the rest of the week" types that I really just want to slap some sense into. Organized religion is obviously not my bag.

Anywho - I initially started off on another tangent for a few paragraphs here on the scientific method, which could be construed as "faith" in a sense, and my trust in that "system" as a scientist, having more tangible "proof" and so forth, but that's a real metaphysical ouroboros and this is already way long. If anyone wants to get into that or hear my thoughts, speak up.

>I wish a simple joke could restore my own faith in the universe. :-)
>         Joe <http://artlung.com/>

Elephant punchline:

"... tell the bartender to cut me off when I get too trunk to drive."

Or perhaps for you inversive types, it may work better as "...too drunk to trive".

Sorry Joe, I gave it my best shot for 4:15 am. :-)


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