Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The More We Get Together


(Written in August, 2014 adapted Nearly August, 2019.)



New years eve I participated in a twitter #ideaparty hosted by Barbara Sher. She suggested Meetup.org for finding local friends. Boy did it work good.

It never occurred to me that atheists would have a meeting local to me. When I saw them on that list, I felt elated. It's exactly "my thing."

Faith and church felt like alien concepts to me. I thought about going to one just for the fellowship aspects. Then I realized that would be so hypocritical and very uncomfortable. I know me, I would say something about inconsistent interpretations of biblical teaching.

What I understand of Christ makes me think that he had some interesting things to say. I have no problem with discussing his philosophical point of view. I know less about Mohamed but I bet he has some intriguing concepts as well.

How other people choose to navigate the social landscape has little to do with me. I ask lots of questions about that which I sense around me. These observations lead me to a conclusion of random happenstance.

Should some evidence of a higher power show in my sensing of data, I would adjust my world view. Until such time, i remain skeptical of the notion of god.

As a small child, I don't remember ever feeling valued in church. My sister loved it and felt the fellowship that comes from participation. I'm not sure how much this had to do with the way I was treated or if the lack of faith was innate in my mind even that early.

The faith came from my family tradition. I don't know how other churches treat children. I felt as though I was a nuisance to everyone there. Plus I was forced to go. I don't suppose that makes for positive memories. I like having choices.

My family didn't want me. That's why my sister and I were living with the devout lady. She didn't want me, she wanted my sister. When she beat me up in church, I felt that no one in the congregation cared. I felt like they thought I was "bad."

I remember Sunday School, but I don't remember learning anything or enjoying any friendship or acceptance there. It's not being different, as my sister has albinism just like me.

I guess I'm strangely grateful that they were unkind. I might have been seduced by friendship and acceptance. I like being an atheist. I like asking questions and chatting with others who question things too.

The more I think about faith, the more I find I have no need for it in my real life. Though it may be a bit of a challenge to find people who think as I do, they do exist and do value my company. Just as important, *I* value my company.

How other people run their philosophical life is none of my business. If someone has a deep faith, I can respect that to the point they don't bother me over it. Some have crossed that and I wish them peace and let them go. Life's way too short to worry over being judged by someone.

It's just an untestable theory, but I suspect I could hang with Christ. I suspect he would discuss things with me, but let me make up my own mind. At least that's my interpretation of his attitude. In a way I am the leper and he hung out with them.

Who do you hang out with and why?

Kind comments encouraged.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Lucky (Woah) Man

A few months ago I read a book by the CEO a major online retailer who said he would rather hire a person who thought they were lucky over a person who thought they were skilled. Um, I'm not getting a job there. Sokay, despite the hype about it being a "fun" place, I don't get a vibe that the hype is real.

Now I'm reading a book that analyzed a bunch of different companies. They suggests those CEOs use planning to overcome "bad luck." I'm more in this camp, but I do think there are amazing life experiences that happen from knowing when to go with the unforeseen.

The Los Angeles Times awarded me and about 30 others small scholarships at a nice dinner and talk in their building. After our meal, they brought all of us down to the newsroom. We couldn't go in very far as we were a large group. It just looked like a bunch of cubicles. Messy empty offices filled with books and papers. Not terribly impressive.

Several months later, I had a job interview across the street from that same building. I had a contact of a guy who had visual problems who worked at the LA Times moving stories to the wire service. I'd never met him, but I thought it would be cool to see what he did.

I called and arranged to meet after I had my interview. Nice man, we chatted while I watched him work and then went to lunch. Turns out his wife ran some big department and after lunch he took me up to her office. Right into the news room and even cooler, she gave me a private tour of the paste up room, explained how they sent the pages to the printer and treated me as if I could work there once I finished my degree.

I never finished my degree and I am not that into newspaper journalism, but I'm glad I got to see all that. Wish I'd known someone in the press room so I could see that too.

Neither luck nor skill made it happen. I think coincidence, the randomness and happenstance that comes with casual networking.

I've done the active planning and seeking contacts, and it seems to not come to as much as that coincidental liaison. I do think that the planning teaches us to know what we want before we see it. I don't consider it "bad" to plan. I do think it's limiting to limit anything to only the plan. Seize the day.

I think my problem with calling coincidence luck comes from growing up in Las Vegas. Yeah, some things are chance, and one can use that to "play the odds." That just seems so erratic. I don't like erratic. I don't like being thought it and living with those around me who live it.

And there's the atheism coming into play. Relying on randomness seems like giving up my power to something beyond my control. It seems like fantasy.

I've heard that when we can't predict most of our outcome, we drive ourselves nuts trying to make things work out. Why rely or even look for something that makes us crazy? Why look for employees that want to tempt insanity? I want to do what works most of the time. I want to do what matters to me.

I think I would say that I am open to the possibilities of coincidence.

How do you view luck?