I’m not a radical atheist. Everyone believes in something. The belief that god, or anyone else, has a plan for this existence confounds me. If there is a god then where did it originate? We create our understanding of existence based on our experience and observation. It seems reasonable to believe creation of the world, that I am experiencing, is the convergence of random events resulting in my reality. At this very moment, my reality is separate from yours, and my husband, who is 30 feet from me, is experiencing something completely different than I am.
My grandmother lived to be 99.9. Gram would say she believed in god, if you asked her, but it wasn’t true conviction. Belief was expected of her generation. My gramp was the believer. He did not worship. The night before he stroked out, he took Gram’s hand, while they were lying in bed, and he pointed to the sky and said, “Come with me and we’ll go, Jeannie.” That was the beginning of the end of that. My gramp believed there was a heavenly afterlife waiting for him, a lovely, antiquated, notion designed to dispel hysteria at the end of the self. I question human ability to accept the end of the self.
I’m quite sure there is nothing after this; certainly, nothing that I could identify, myself included. I suspect we are reduced to a cluster of misfiring neurons and dissipating energy, until the end when we just sputter out. I believe we cease to exist as anything more than energy. I had the clinically dead, no pulse, no respirations, near death out of body experience. There are not words to describe the calm. I could see me on the pavement, where my head had slammed against a guardrail abruptly ending my flight from a car crash ejection. My long hair was spread in a disheveled mess all over my face. The out of body me looked objectively at the me on the ground near the guardrail and observed, “It’s a shame to die on a day when you’re so profoundly unhappy.” I woke up in ICU with a vent tube jammed down my throat, quite confused as to why I couldn’t speak or move. I made the late night news and the paper. It must have been a slow news night. I’m not a celebrity, the media exposure was unnecessary. That won’t happen in the future. I have plans because they allow me the illusion of control. As part of my advance directive, the ultimate controlling plan, blabbing is strictly prohibited. I will decide who will be told what and when.
Moral behavior is not intrinsic to the human organism. Right and wrong is an evolutionary survival mechanism. I distinctly recall doing naughty things when I was 5 or 6, things I knew I shouldn’t do, like biting through my nan’s nice lemonade glass and pretending it was an accident. I did it purposely to see if I could. If someone hadn’t taken the time to teach me to conform there’s no telling what sort of sociopath I might have become. I was motivated to be a good little girl because that behavior was rewarded. Most of modern “civilization” frowns upon killing the other humans as an individual independent action. If there is killing to be done, humans will congregate (in juries and armies) and kill as a group. Renegade, vigilante action would not promote continuation of the species. The desire to live is instinctive, moral values are not. Development of the human mind’s analytical abilities likely led to the creation of moral rules and social structure.
I’m not having a metaphysical crisis, existence over essence, being, thinking, seeking. I do not wish to join a cult or a herd, or even my genetic family most of the time. I most sincerely do not believe in anything greater than my own will. Almost every night, before I fall asleep, I assess my position in the world to determine whether or not it would be okay if it were a permanent sleep, most nights I conclude it would be.