Monday, May 25, 2009

Secular eulogies

Here are some inspirational thoughts on the meaning of life and death from a secular standpoint. A little something to facilitate the grieving process. An epitaph for the tombstone of an atheist.


To an Aborted Fetus

Well, I can’t say you really missed all that much,
and you were spared an ungodly amount of grief.
All in all, I’d have to say you came out on top-
at least, that is my belief.

And if, perchance, you survived your mortal state,
and are sitting on a cloud in heaven, sipping on something cold with ice,
then thank your mother that you missed your turn at this dreadful way station-
‘cause they say it’s a real bitch, having to be born twice.

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

All that glitters is not gold.
Beneath the gilding, getting old;
as crusts wear thin, and worlds decay,
we, children all, pretend at play.

And if we've lost a step or two,
we'll crow the louder at the few
who linger in this dungeon's pit.
Contriving drool and sharing spit

is, after all, all that is left,
since childhood dropped us here, bereft
of bearing, or of dignity.
Will one of us escape? We'll see...

Trapped on this island, I blink back human tears
and wait for my rescuers-
it could be years!
So, I wait.
I play chess in my head,
and try to accept my fate.
I learn to appreciate my state of affairs-
to count the grains of sand stuck to my lifeline.
I tell myself that everything will
So, I wait,
and I float.
The only problem is...
I've never seen a boat.

It seems we're all tubes
with an 'in', and an 'out'.
We wiggle, and niggle,
and squiggle about,

and are rarely aware
of the motives inside,
which themselves are just scraps
gone along for the ride.

We scrape out a living
on this big ball of dust,
while self-replicating DNA
scrapes out an us.

And we love, and we bitch
(but, mostly, we eat) ,
and we borrow, and lend,
and pretend we're not meat.

I hate this blue sky above me,
this bottlebrush, that pine over there,
this lawn in need of mowing,
these little beads of dew that haven't burned off yet,
this post fence I'm sitting on,
this unlit cigarette dangling between my fingers,
this 72 degrees fahrenheit,
these shoes, these feet,
this ache running running through my shoulders,
these tears, this capacity for tears,
these ghosts of empty affirmations echoing through my head,
this day, this month, this year, this decade, this century,
this icepick at my temple,
this love, these regrets, this need,
these wants, these regrets, this horror,
this empathy, these regrets, this hatred.
If only I could find a noose big enough.

Since most of your brain is neurons feelings don’t really exist, and you’re just a neurological robot, that thinks. You think you have feelings, but what’s really going on is just what condition your physical body is in. If you’ve done something to make your physical brain happy and content its neurons, then you will think that you are happy. But really all you’ve done is achieved a healthier state of neurological stimulus. Or a different chemical balance in your brain. So you don’t need to say “I’m happy” you can just say “the chemicals and neurons in my brain are in the state that I happen to call happy”. I hope you don’t seriously think you’re happy when really you’re just chemically altered. The happiest you ever were was really just a disgusting mess of guck in your brain acting differently than it ever had before. I mean why does one mental condition matter as being better than another? It’s all biology. Does it even matter that you are physically alive? What is wrong with your biological body being dead? That’s just a bunch of neurons in your brain which are now not moving around versus moving around. Your neurons don’t care if they are “happy”. All they do is send off chemical signals in your brain.

You should realize that humans don't really feel anything - Any feeling you have is a chemical in your mind sending off "happy" or "sad". That beauty is just how pleasing the things you see are, there isn't a delusional idea that people really "feel" or "love" Love is just a chemical in your brain. Its not a "truly moving, fascinating, deep, wonderful experience". Sorry to break it to you, but there isn't anything magical going on. No need to be delusional. They're just neurons.

A few hours ago, a 15 year old boy was hit by a train a block from the local high school. The body was still on the tracks when my daughter and her mother passed through. Of course, such catastrophes in their thousand permutations will be repeated every few seconds on this planet. I mention this fact not to minimize the horror of this particular incident, but to heighten the reader's awareness of the universality of tragedy both in essence, and in the concomitant reverberations that will assuredly fan out and engulf those who love and care. Even now I await with dread the release of the child's name for fear that I knew him, or that my daughter knew him. But why should that matter? I know for a fact that for several people today, the sun has fallen from the sky, and may never return. That is enough, and too much.

To the parents and others with close emotional ties, I'm sorry. I wish I could make it better, but I can't. The best I can offer is my belief that he is now at peace. He's returned to where he came from, as all of us do, eventually. It may seem that his life was unfairly cut short; but remember, that's only from our perspective. For the child, all worry, all fear and pain have ceased to exist. He sleeps the most pleasant of all sleeps, untroubled by bad dreams, schedules, and anxiety about the future. His peace is pure, and will last forever.

Rest in peace, young man. I hope your short sojourn here was relatively pleasant.

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