Friday, May 22, 2009

A Purposeless Driven Life

What follows will be part 1 of many :

A Purposeless Driven Life.

A Purposeless Driven Life®

A Magnum Opus by Romius T.

Subtitled: A compendium of all the things I have learned.

There is no purpose to life. A fact you are well aware of.

Two days have passed since your birthday. No one acknowledged your birthday.

No one should have.

By not acknowledging your birthday your friends have given you not just you a gift, but the best gift they can give you. The gift is that of awareness. Awareness of the emptiness of life.

You feel alone. Good. You are alone. There is no god.[1] Even if there is a god, he does not care about you. No serious person could believe in a personal god. But many serious people claim to believe in a non-personal god. I think you call that belief Deism. [2]

In this essay I had hoped to get around talking about the existence of god, but since I brought it up and since so many of you will have some kind of belief in god I guess I might as well tackle the belief head on.


Deism is not an acceptable answer to the purposeless driven life. That’s because deism allows many of its practitioners to see purpose in the world. The more pernicious deists see agency in nothing more than random patterns. Usually deists see the agency “behind” the phenomenal world.

Many deists see “design” in the universe and believe that means there is a god. [3] But not all deists make such easy to refute claims. Einstein:

"[If you]try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious." [My emphasis]

Einstein was a great man. He was also a very smart man. He was much smarter than me. But is what Einstein talking about god? "Yes, you can call it that.”

Actually. No. You can’t. That’s not god.

The awe that humans feel when confronted with the “inexplicable” is understandable and it is what drives every great scientist and philosopher to truth. The desire to make sense of the world is natural. Every child is born with it. Curiosity may not be limited to humans, but it certainly is one of our finer characteristics. But it is a giant leap to go from confusion to god.


The problem with the Veneration of Mystery.

I don’t worship anything I don’t understand. I don’t know why anyone would. That's why I am more of a Troy Aikman kinda guy and less of a Tony Romo kinda guy.[4] Even still. That seems like a personal choice of mine and not a logical argument.[5]

Let me break down the “logical” argument for you in to several parts.


Deists act like Atheists.

Einstein said that he “venerated” the “force behind” the seeming logical consistency of the world. But did he? Did he go to church? Did he light candles? Did he worship? Did he pray? How did he devote himself to the force?

The answer is he did not. That is why Spinoza was excommunicated.[6] And rightfully so. Deists never get around to really doing anything religious. They love a good mystery. They make terrific writers of constitutions, but they really have no place for gods as most people understand them. Because Deists don’t act like religious people they often get confused for Atheists. [7]


The world may not be so darn comprehensible.[8] Einstein was not a fan of Quantum Mechanics. He once famously said that “god does not play dice with the universe.” He was wrong. God does play dice. Even if god does not play dice I just wanted you to know that I knew that quote by Einstein. Also, I knew that the second I started the sentence “Einstein once famously said…” you expected me to use that quote. So I did.

I guess my point is that if Einstein would have just paid more attention to Quantum Mechanics he might have been an Atheist and saved us all a lot of trouble. [9] But he didn’t. And that is another good reason to dislike religious thinkers. (But that is still not a good enough reason to not believe!)

[1] I know there is no need to instruct you on the silliness of a personal god. All I have to do is point out that Zeus is not real. Nobody prays to Zeus anymore. Speaking of praying. I have no idea why people pray, or light candles. Really! When the fuck did lighting a candle ever do anything? If you think that lighting a candle can do something other than increase your contribution to the alarming growth of green house gasses into the Earth’s atmosphere then you are fooling yourself. What you really believe in is magic. And that is sad. There is no such thing as magic. I know that saying that “there is no such thing as magic” seems like a big claim, and maybe it is. You might even want me to prove. Well I am not gonna. And I think you are an asshole for suggesting to me that I should. By the way, if you believe in magic you can’t claim to be a deist. If you are not a Deist then you are in the same category as the monotheists and the crazy right wing creationists. That category is the crazy folk.

[2] At least the dictionary says it is.

[3] Do I really need to suggest to you that you go and read Kant? If you don’t want to do the research for yourself then you HAVE to take my word for it. The ontological argument is an argument only an idiot could like.

[4] I still think Tony Romo is going to win me and the Dallas Cowboys at least 2 Super Bowls.

[5] If you like big words you might have used aesthetics.

[6] I suppose you don’t know who he is either. Einstein based some of his understanding of the god force on the pantheism of Spinoza, "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."

[7] There is a huge fight between Atheists and theists over Einstein. It seems everybody wants a piece of him.

[8] We could play a bunch of logic games here. If the world is ultimately incomprehensible (i.e. the thing in itself that is the force behind the apparent lawfulness of the universe) how could the world be comprehensible at all? We probably need to read more Kant.

[9] Interesting side note, Einstein’s religious thinking may have clouded his scientific mind to the point that he overlooked Quantum Mechanics and thus avoided reconciling the new science with his theory of relativity ultimately dooming his quest for a theory of everything. The ultimate theory of everything would prove god does not exist which would make this whole introduction parenthetical.