Giving Thanks… No Thanks
Yeah, I realize that this is exactly the wrong moment to do that title, or so it seems. Let me try to explain before you click on the imaginary down vote button.
I read tonight where the apathetic theist wrote about being small and thankful… and that kind of twists me up inside along with some other things I think are wrong.
While the sheer immeasurable nature of the universe makes me feel quite small, it also makes me marvel at its wonder. My wonder is also multiplied by my belief that the universe has no maker, that it happened by chance. The fact that my birth came about through a series of chances that have been happening over billions of years is far more breathtaking than if someone had planned it all. When I feel insignificant and lonely, I remind myself that the chances of my ever coming to exist were almost nil, and translate this knowledge into the charge that I must make the most of every day.
First, lets deal with the thanks and giving and stuff.
- I did not ask to be here
- If I had, I would have asked to be a bit more affluent
- I would have asked for a planet that is not full of people trying to prove they only recently climbed down out of the trees
- I would have asked for a better body, one not prone to so many ailments and such a short mean time to failure
- I would have asked for a lot of things I did not get
- In fact, I didn’t get much at all… beating heart, breathing lungs and half a chance at survival. Most pond scum get about that much.
This point of the year when people talk about what they’re thankful for sort of irritates me. They don’t seem to willing to go share that wonderment with anyone that would be thankful for a cold turkey sandwich or even some left over mashed potatoes.
If you want to tell me you’re thankful for things in your life… just don’t fucking do it. Go online to a charitable web site and donate some of that stuff you’re thankful for. I don’t want to hear about your damned blessing. I only want to hear that the world is better off next month than it is this month… then we can all be thankful for something together.
Now, that thing that twists me up. It’s the idea that non-believers have to imitate believers in ill-perceived notions of well being.
The idea that I have to make the most of every day because I don’t believe in a deity is complete hogwash. Let’s face it, nobody makes the MOST of every day. Day after dreary day passes and we barely make a dent in our personal debt or world hunger. Life sucks. Get used to it. Your shitty neighbor is still going to be shitty tomorrow. This is how life is. Thinking you can and SHOULD make the most of every day is a very limiting statement when you put the constraints of real life on it. I do not have to be happy all the time or find the love of my life or a true vocation. All I have to do is … well, nothing. Not even surviving is a have-to-do thing.
Gratefulness or thankfulness is an emotion. Emotions are hardly what you should base the judgement of your life’s effort on. That I feel awe or inspiration is neither here nor there. I am not bound by any law in the universe to feel these things. Non-believers like to compare and say they feel the same things as believers claim to feel. The trouble is that even believers don’t feel those things, not all the time. Life is not how we like to describe it. There is no one-size-fits-all emotion set we need to have. Fuck, if you are depressed, live in it for a bit, figure out why, get help if you need, move on. There is no shame in it. It just is.
The USA is a highly religious place. More than 70% of USAians claim to be religious and still there is a 50% divorce rate. Do you think all those people are happy? As much as 50% of the adult population are living unhappy lives. I call bullshit on this religious bit where you’re supposed to have happiness and peace. Their deity doesn’t give it to them and there is no value or basis for claiming that it is what you get with religion or what you should have in life. Clearly the statistics show us that this is not so.
No, no sir. I don’t try to make the most of every day… instead, I simply try not to waste any day. Some days the best you can do is grab a beverage, sit comfortably, and watch the ants crawl up the wall while trying to relax and not die from stress. Fuck it, some days that’s all there is. I don’t try to make the most of every day I have in this life. I didn’t choose it, but sometimes, the ride is pretty good so I endure the parts that are not. I’m never going to claim that I’m making the most out of every day… that sounds like an incredibly tiring amount of work.