Dear Mudge, Spicy or mild

Dear Mudge,

People think the Northwest is nothing but conifer trees. Around here, we’re covered with temperate trees which have recently shed their billions of leaves. Red and white oak (you recall the post about acorns from last fall), big-leaf maple, birch, elm, alder and others have dropped their coats blanketing the yards, streets and sidewalks. I walk to and from work and have had to wade through such drifts of deciduous dandruff. While suspended, the colors were vivid. But now, mixed with rain and ground to paste on the pavement, they’re as slippery as snot.

I don’t think much about god(s) for the same reason I don’t think about Leprechauns or mermaids. In my earlier decades I used to spend hours on the topic (including Leprechauns and mermaids). Now, I gravitate toward more concrete topics with my one deviation being the contemplation of the heat death of the Universe and the end of everything.

In regards to Mr. Houston’s quoted—quoted quote “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” I disagree. My analysis has resulted in the opposite conclusion. My research has concluded that, given that the Universe is absurd, there is nothing to *believe* in.

However, people, in general, are programmed to believe. To believe in whatever, take your pick… Belief is a survival tactic. And surviving is Job One.

I’ve chosen to forgo belief (and I’m waffling on survival).

Those words were selected with intent. I’m convinced humanity is pre-programmed. You, me, we are pre-programmed—by DNA. In fact, we ARE the program and DNA is the code.

Why do you and I (and others no doubt), reject all meaning, yet become irritated with others for the stupidest of behaviors or transgressions? Programming. They’re behaving outside our idea of acceptable norms. Why do we create and obey the rules, protect the Commons (pick up dog shit), and generally treat each other without open hostility? Programming. DNA has made us this way.

When we reject our programming, it’s hard. Unless you’re a sociopath (or a psychopath), we are genetically predisposed to conform to certain behaviors. I’m a firm advocate of E.O.Wilson’s The Altruism Gene, else humanity would still be roving in small bands across the African plains, not giving a shit, really, about one another. But we do give a shit. And by doing so, by caring, I think we react to others when they themselves fail to care. We’re programmed to care. Society is built on caring.

Behind my eyebrows you’ll find—a program—that I’m trying to rewrite.

I propose that by rejecting theistic tendencies, you are also rewriting your own program. And, as we’ve explored, we re-programmers are a lonely lot. Most would merrily plug along with DNA choosing their future.

In my personal re-coding efforts, I’ve not performed the exhaustive analysis of the existential options as I believe you have, but, I’ve tried a few. One I’d like to explore now, since thus far I’ve found none that fit me well, is the Epicurean philosophy. We are, after all, still here, so we’re not fully divorced from our programming. And if we’re not going to fully reject DNA’s sway over our lives, we might consider some thought experiment which, if nothing else, provides us momentary happiness.

What are your thoughts on Epicurus and his buddy Titus Lucretius? I know that Seneca both adored and despised Epicurus, but I’m hoping we could dwell on, oh, good drink, fine food (spicy and mild) and mind-bending drugs for a while. (Oh, and for Duke and Phil’s sake, we could discuss SEX, too.)


13 thoughts on “Dear Mudge, Spicy or mild

  1. I touched on this a few posts back myself, on the meaninglessness or meaning of existence. It was sandwiched in-between my random ramblings on some other topics, but the idea was, I think, an important one: finding our baseline. We may be (mostly) programmed DNA with a sprinkle of (important) environmental factors but within this totality we can find … happiness? Meaning? Tacos?

    It took a lot of my life to find my baseline, which I call happiness but instead should be defined as self-acceptance. Never a means to an end it was more of a place I need(ed) to be if I am to be anything else at all.

    I agree, in other words, with Mr Houston, but go even further. If life is a blank canvas, and if we can figure that part out pretty quickly, we can rewrite our existence or at least remap our pathways. We can believe in something, even if it is just ourselves.

    I suppose that analogy, to fit more with yours, would be something along the lines of a blank program and, once erased, you can now code your own.

    It’s another take, so take it or leave it. I look forward to more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All good reflections that tie in well to the topic at hand.
      I’m beginning to adopt the concept of context; shells within shells. At the outer layer, the infinite layer, all is pointless, Regardless of blank slate, canvas, or RAM no matter what you think you might accomplish or strive for (fulfillment, happiness, etc.) all is for nought.
      • It’s a great way to die, but no way to live.
      If we pull back to within the next outer shell, ignore the Great Meaninglessness, then we can focus on more entertaining and “productive” endeavors.
      The problem is retaining one’s mental position within this N-1 shell. And the key may be to find a philosophy which resonates with one’s self-image.
      We’ll see…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That may be exactly the key. Or it may be a layer of the answer. I have adopted philosophies along the way, but they now play mostly supporting roles to the totality of Tom. But on a macro level, you’re right, and that’s a good observation. All for naught. Or, as Bogey would have told us if he read this, “it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”

        Still, I persist. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. All this positing, postulating, propounding is as big a waste of time as religion or philosophy or how an OU quarterback beat an OSU quarterback (again) playing the same sport in a different league. Destiny? Fate? Programming? Who, pardon me, or better why, give a flying fuck? Trying to “understand” shit regardless of the tool is bullshit.
    After I’d been through a person’s photo portfolio they said to me “I should just stay inside. Enough West Texas sunsets, y’know? But I can’t.” I said, “Maybe you should leave the camera inside. Because no matter how good it is, it isn’t.” Monet once metioned that trying to understand certain things, to capture their moments, would lead to madness. So indeed will flogging the use of the mind/soul algorithm. Is just is, you know? And there’s another sunset full of indescribable golds and ambers and violets and the vibration of Eb to absorb before we eat the dust that is us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup. And still you brush your teeth and clip your fingernails.
      The pontification of existence is just one of my (our) pastimes, like painting the same sunset. We’ll never get it right, but who cares? It’s the doing that’s the fun part.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Eric Drexler proposed the term “Grey Goo”. I posit that we already have the Goo part, and it is called LIFE. Multi-colored goo.
    • What is life’s one purpose? To persist.
    • What is the best way to persist? To expand and evolve into billions of varieties which, no matter what happens, will continue to exist.
    • We have the Goo and it is us.
    (And what is the mechanism behind the engine that is Goo? DNA)

    Liked by 2 people

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