Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Richard Dawkins is busily drafting part 2 of his autobiography (An Appetite for Wonder). For an atheist, that must be terribly deflating. 

The timing is tricky. Ideally, you wait until the final years to write about your life. But, of course, if you wait too long, you die before you get the chance. Likewise, some people begin to lose their long-term memories before they die. 

Some people pen their autobiography after their career is over. That makes sense if they live for their work. 

Dawkins is known for two things: atheism and Darwinism. He wrote his magnum opus on atheism (The God Delusion) in 2006, followed by a book tour. Then, in 2010, he wrote his magnum opus on evolution (The Greatest Show on Earth). 

So, what's left? His autobiography. And after that? 

Thing is, an autobiography is an epitaph. An admission that you're life is basically behind you. You're a has-been. You will soon be a thing of the past.

If Dawkins finishes part 2, once he clicks the "send" button, that will be a terrible let down. What does he do for an encore? 

And, of course, even as he writes about his life–indeed, especially so–he must be acutely aware of the fact that he has nothing to look forward to. He has no future in this life. He lives for the world, but the world doesn't live for him. 

1 comment:

  1. That's insightful Steve in how you put his biography(ies) in perspective of his atheism.