Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Will You Still Love Me........?

by Pritchard Buckminster

It is nearly time for my 30th birthday; an event that I view with a strangely ambivalent selection of feelings. I am, for the first time in my life, fairly secure in who and what I am. I have discovered many things I enjoy and no longer feel the pressure to pursue things that I feel I should enjoy but actually do not. I earn a reasonable wage and it will increase fairly significantly over the next few years as a result of both age/seniority and experience. I have a wife, a nice house and many toys. I have completed some life goals and know that I have plenty of time to pursue the remaining ones.

However, this morning I woke up with a strange pain in my elbow that I could not account for through any activity recently experienced. I watch the Saturday Morning Kitchen and write down interesting recipes. Cleaning and polishing my bike is almost as much fun as riding it. I write complaint letters instead of going out and getting furiously drunk. I stopped watching Five News and watch Channel 4 News instead as it has better coverage. I have a pension.

As a result of this clash of feelings I have done a certain amount of self-examination recently and I have come to a fairly depressing understanding of P. Buckminster in the year 2007.

I really don’t believe in anything anymore.

The influence of one very religious friend and one very open one caused a certain amount of introspection on the subject of my immortal soul and its place in the cosmos. After all, at 30 I am most probably nearly halfway to finding out the answers to several big questions including the most significant one, can that many religious people be so wrong? I longed to find something, anything. I discarded formalised religious ideas such as the Catholic Church; I was interested in spiritual succour not dogmatic structure. Turning to Islam has attendant upon it several difficulties at this current time and anyway, as far as I can tell, is simply Catholicism born in a different climate with a slightly different set of rules for the faithful to ignore and rationalise. Sikhism the same. I encounter many variations of Buddhism and Zen in the course of extensive martial arts training and they seem weak and unfounded, a kind of wouldn’t- it- be- nice- if- everyone- was- nice* mixed with self-belief and silly clothes.

Earth Mother worship will not be tolerated in any form and I want to make it clear that every time some hippy tramp suggests it to me I cut down a tree.

If religion were not the way forward I would try Atheism. After all, it is simply the flip side of the same coin and would provide a rock in the turbulent waters of life. Mr Richard Dawkins’s book seemed like a good place to start. And indeed it was, it gave me a new belief. Namely that I believe that as long as I live I will probably never read such an awful piece of badly argued self-indulgent tripe in all my life.

I think people that believe in ghosts are silly and people that believe in anti-wrinkle cream are deluded. You can’t believe the Government (who does?) but you can’t believe the anti-Government papers either (I wouldn’t wipe my arse with the Daily Mail). Anyone who believes in the healing power of crystals, rocks, prayer, tarot, seaweed, mud, laughing in groups or reflexology is running away from a painful reality in their life. Trying facing it instead of making shit up.

Chinese medicine is not based on the wisdom of the ancients but on the fact that rural Chinese people have historically been well below subsistence level and could not afford real medicine that actually worked. You are paying for the World’s oldest placebo.

Every TV advert is a lie. Every news story is a cover-up. Every politician is on the take. Nobody but nobody has your best interests at heart. Big business scams us and the banks steal from us. Economics perpetuates war; war causes economic growth, expansion of new ideals and conflict causing war. You (and I) are alone in a hostile, unfriendly, cold, dark universe and if we all dropped dead together it simply would not matter.

Hey look, I do believe in something. I believe that our actions can be judged purely in a context of the effect upon people/environment around us. The worth of any event is the degree to which it improves things or otherwise.

So this is why, at [very] nearly 30 I have applied to become an RSPCA inspector, mostly given up eating meat and try and listen a little more to people who are having problems.

I remain, as always, very suspicious of any organisation that tells you things. If someone shows you a thing then allows you to make up your own mind then they are confident that you will reach the same conclusion as them. These are the rare organisations to seek out and support. In continuation of an idea that I wrote about last year I will give you some rules that work for my increasing contentment and me. They are different to the last set of rules, but not wildly.

1. Run a marathon. You will learn more about yourself and your strengths and weaknesses than any head-shrinker or expert could extract from you in a lifetime.
2. Feel free to do DIY but understand that you will make mistakes while you do. You are not a professional so comparing your work to theirs, or listening when others do, serves no purpose.
3. Goof off. Go roll in a field or feed the ducks.
4. Give up on the Government. They are something of an anachronism anyway and increasingly ignore us so just relax and let them get on with it.
5. Watch a program with Bill Oddie in and try and grasp why he seems so relaxed and happy.
6. Always push yourself but understand that failure is always an option and do not beat yourself up over it. I tried and failed for years to play the guitar – turns out I’m bloody brilliant on a piano!

I can actually hear the sound of several members of Little Man grinding their teeth at this point but that is because they still care about things such as Politics and Truth. As they come to understand that the sound in the background is someone sharpening a curved reaping implement they will understand.

As will you.

Everyone does eventually, just make sure you’re not dead before you go into the light.

* In my previous piece I stated that this reference is from the Simpsons. Actually it is from the T. Pratchett book “Hogfather”. Many apologies to all.

18 comments:

Charles Pooter said...

Sounds like a good old-fashioned spiritual crisis to me. Anyone who has any self-awareness should have at least one in their lifetime.

The question is why do people think they need to commit themselves to atheism or one of the major world religions? My way of satisfying the urges the God gene places in my head is to maintain an agnostic, sceptical core but to read about whatever "spiritual" and fortean subjects interest me. Just let it wash over you, delving in whenever something particularly takes your interest. Don't "believe" any of it. As the great UFOlogist Jacques Valee said "belief is the enemy". If something particularly attracts you and you find yourself infused with the Holy Spirit (or whatever) then so be it, but why feel under any pressure? Conversely, why feel under any pressure to commit to belief in an existentialist, Godless Universe, about which 21st Century science is omniscient.

Anonymous said...

5. Watch a program with Bill Oddie in and try and grasp why he seems so relaxed and happy

What? Bill Oddie the manic depressive? The reason he seems happy is coz he really, really likes birds and gets paid to look at them. When he goes home he becomes depressed and gets sectioned.

Anonymous said...

Better have a look at these sites before you do anything rash. The RSPCA causes more problems than it cures.

http://the-shg.org


http://cheetah.webtribe.net/~animadversion/

Pritchard Buckminster said...

anonymous 9:25am

That's what I mean. In these programs he has found something he loves and his completely unashamed about it! I imagine a program about his life would be rather different1

anonymous 9:57am

Have read the argument and the counter. This is for me, not for what others feel and for my mind the oppurtunities provided to intercede where an animal may suffer outway the contrary view.

Great Granddaddy Baker said...

Dear Mr Buckminster,

My, oh my, a lad who is only in his 3rd decade on this planet is telling me how to live my life. Whatever next? Having reached the grand old age of 102 (yes), I can safely say that I have learned a good few lessons about life and would gladly share these with anyone who feels it may benefit them. However, I believe that this blog is not the place for self-indulgent ramblings (such as yours), especially when they come across as misguided and patronising. Here's some constructive criticism from one old soul to another... why don't you start your own blog and stop littering the pages of this fine publication? Sir Adam Hawks would not be amused.

Yours Truly,

Great Granddaddy Baker

Pritchard Buckminster said...

Now Granddaddy, that seems a little harsh. I was trying, in my own poor style, to get across a general feeling of detachment and unbecoming cynicism that seems to spoil my Worldview. My whole point is that the view I am expressing isn’t really appropriate to someone of 30. I worry that this level of cynicism can cause a kind of personal dysfunction, an automatic leap towards poor, negative decisions.

I would add that I would never try and impose this view onto others; I was simply stating a slight worry that I currently have and thought might strike a chord with a few other disenfranchised souls like myself.

However. If this came across as patronising then clearly you have self-worth issues and are not very bright, old age is no substitute for wisdom. I was allowed onto this blog by committee and I make sure that any comments made to me by the other members are adhered to as closely as possible as I have huge respect for the [more productive] member of this group.

If you don’t like my, admittedly frivolous, piece that is fine. If you were worthy enough to be a member you could ask me to remove it.

I remain as ever, indifferent to the opinions of daft old bastards like this one,

P Buckminster.

Charles Pooter said...

Oh yeah, something else I forgot to say before. The possibility (probability?) that this is a Godless universe working broadly along the lines envisioned by mainstream science may be a good thing compared to possible alternatives.

The assumption, made by major religions, that ultimately there is something good in charge, is a very big assumption indeed. To my mind, if written accounts in the historical record are anything more than allegory or delusion, then any metaphysical forces that hold sway over the Universe are far more likely to be deceitful, bizarre, indifferent to humanity or just plain evil.

Examples are numerous: the God of the Old Testement seems far similar to the Demiurge of Gnostic imaginings than a "God of Love". The trickster entities of the old European fairy-faiths seemed to regard mankind as a toy. The apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima seemed to delight in imitating religious figures whilst exhibiting bizarre behaviour and issuing mischievious "prophesies". The diverse and unsettling reports from around the world of encounters with "aliens" repeatedly show patterns of malevolence and deceit.

I'm not saying any of this stuff it true and I maintain my sceptical agnosticism, but what I am saying is that if the material realm is so screwed up, what makes anyone think the spiritual realm is any different? To quote the mythical Hermes Trismegistus "As above, so below".

So, let us view the probability that scientists are right and mystics wrong as a good thing. When we die, we rot and get eaten by worms. There are far worse alternatives.

Charles Pooter said...

Actually, I think I'll put this stuff in a post...

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I agree with great grandaddy baker because your post is a bit too "me, me ,me". In fact, I almost didn't get to the end because I kept falling asleep...Oh no, I'm scared now, are you going to call me a stupid bastard with self-worth issues?

Quink said...

Gosh, a right roaring old spat. I can't wait to see who will weigh in next.

For what it's worth I spent my 30th in Cambridge, punting down the river with a few pals and carousing in the boozers. The spiritual crisis I suffered was whether to stay for a final drink or catch the last train home. I had the final drink, but quickly, and still caught the train - a custom I still keep alive whenever I get a chance...

Pritchard Buckminster said...

My apologies to one and all, this piece was obviously not to the standard that readers of LMWN have come to expect.

I don't know whether to be a little hurt at the vitriol or proud that the readers are so militant in their support of worthiness.

I would offer the possibility that I am not the first person who has ever suffered from a crisis of identity at a critical age (18, 21, 40, whatever)and a simple comment such as "never mind mate, you'll get past it" would have been appropriate. Never mind eh? Sympathy is apparently a rare resource these days. I suppose those who have detracted would be able to write a concise piece detailing other people's experiences and thus not suffer from the excess of egotism that has got you so worked up. That is currently beyond me. What a failure eh?

Thankyou Quink, that was purely the level of response I was briefly seeking.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for you

Charles Pooter said...

Hope you didn't take my comments negatively. I was just contributing to the theorising. I thought you might take a blokey comment as patronising.

Anonymous said...

I mean I understand what you're going through (not "I feel sorry for you" in a sarcastic way!) - just thought I'd make that clear! :-)

Pritchard Buckminster said...

Thankyou for those last few comments, appreciated.

Was feeling a little grumpy there for a mo!

Ted Hoffman said...

I liked the post rather a lot.

As the founder of LMWN, I disagree that 'this blog is not the place for self-indulgent ramblings'. On the contrary, LMWN and blogs in general are exactly the place for self-indulgent ramblings. I wouldn't have it any other way, and in fact am working on a self-indulgent rambling of my own.

Charles Pooter said...

Ted: Can't wait. There were rumours that you had succomed to the curse of Adam Hawaks.

Edwin Hesselthwite said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.