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Whistling in the Dark

February 15, 2013

 I’m on Facebook.  Have you heard of this?  Just kidding.  Evidently there are now more Facebook accounts than humans not just alive now, but the entire total who have ever lived, plus all the stars in the universe.  Again, just kidding.

Several of my Facebook friends, some of whom I actually know, tend to post upbeat, positive messages.  Things that imply or invoke a benign god or universe.  I don’t know why I find this sort of thing mildly irritating.  One possibility is that it rubs me the wrong way because I am not an optimist.  I definitely have a pessimistic streak, though I don’t think I’m actually a pessimist.  I just don’t think we have any useful evidence that the universe, or, if you prefer, god, is either benign or malign.  It’s like the people who thank god when their cancer goes into remission.  I guess that’s reasonable…if they also had blamed god for giving them cancer in the first place.  But then, I think there are a lot of people who are afraid of god, and so they would try their level best not to consciously blame god for anything, but make sure to thank him (or her or them or it) for whatever good occurs.

And this leads to another possibility as to why this sort of polyannism seems to irritate me.  I think I suspect the honesty of the expression.  Which is why I’ve titled this blog “Whistling in the Dark.”  I sometimes think these upbeat, positive postings are somewhat superstitious attempts to keep the bad away.  Don’t mention the devil’s name, or you’ll call him to you (sidenote: whereas there seem to be people who question whether god is a he, I don’t recall ever hearing anyone ask the same question in reference to the devil).

There is so much that is beautiful in life, in people, in the world, in the universe.  There also is so much that is unpleasant, terrifying, horrible and lethal.  I really can’t think of one good thing to say about testicular cancer.  Or ALS.  Or locked in syndrome. Or…I could go on.  And on.  And on.  I could also go on and on and on about the beauty of the universe. 

However, more to the point is that life, and the universe, are neither good nor bad.  Good and bad have no meaning in the context of life, or the universe.  Or if there is a context, I don’t think we are capable of grasping it.  Everything and always are so much bigger than we have any experience of, that we have no real perspective.

But that’s just me, the eternal optimist/pessimist.




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