Extending yesterday's post about the national conversation about guns. Thanks to everyone for contributing (even the "f**k you" response shed some light on the discussion).

My related Facebook post generated some interesting discussion, as well, that combined with this discussion got me thinking.

  • It's vital that we shift our national focus from ridiculous, horrible, treasure-wasting, murderous, human-suffering-inducing military adventures like our wars on [insert item here: drugs, terror, etc.] and instead invest this wasted creative energy, power, money, resources, and so forth into things that make our nation and humankind better and stronger in the long term.

  • We need to invest in vastly improving our public schools, mental-health institutions, scientific research... you name it: all the things that make us grow healthier and stronger instead of weaker and sicker.

  • To do this, we need to get money and religion out of politics. When our political representatives must spend the majority of their creative, emotional, and intellectual energy on gathering support from big donors and financial interests as well as anti-intellectual powers, we the people are not represented or served. These are all forces of entropy.

  • We need to debunk the corporate fiction of logarithmically increasing profits. It's unsustainable and leads to financial collapse, as we've witnessed recently. It imbues people with starry-eyed notions that they, too, can become wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice, which leads to all manner of sickness and moral decay.

  • We need to teach our children that money is an abstract tool, not a goal in life. At the same time, we need to teach them how to be a productive, contributing member of the world while earning a living, and that becoming wealthy for the sake of wealth is a goal unworthy of a good citizen.

  • We need to teach people - especially our children - that working to understand empathy for others is the answer to most of our problems.

  • Something we can all do: Love things deeply and share your love for those things, one classroom at a time, one room of gamers at a time, one dinner-party at a time, one person at a time. If someone wants to share their love with you, give them a chance. Open your mind. Don't exclude people, don't dismiss their love.


What would happen if, instead of wasting money and resources and mental energy and lives on war and destruction as a nation, we invested it?

What would happen if we made building a better future the goal instead of inducing and propagating fear? Would people feel the need to own guns if they didn't fear others? What would our culture look like if our greatest aspirations revolved around building a better world instead of protecting against threats and becoming rich?

Would people grow up emotionally healthier if they weren't bombarded with the messages of a culture of war and fear and rape and violence and profiteering?

Is it possible that being tacit supporters of such horrors as our nation commits in our name is a root cause of our national dysfunction?

If this is supposed to be a "Christian nation," as defined by so many of those who propagate these horrors, why do we value and act out the inverse? I believe we really could make this country a respectable place and become a beacon of hope for humankind if we actually followed the teachings of Jesus. But we don't, and organized religion always falls prey to the rot that destroys other human institutions, so the religionists need to either shut up about our "Christian nation" or else start acting in a way the historical Jesus taught. But they need to leave out the notion of gods and instead work on building an actual heaven on Earth.

Indeed, making this a truly secular nation would go a long way toward saving us. Heck, eliminating the notion of "nation" would help, too, as would eradicating all the other sub-tribal, exclusionary concepts with which we've enchained ourselves and dragged along through time like sledges since our earliest ages. Religions ruin civilizations, which I find to be a bitter irony, in that they were formed to organize and help people. Religious leaders destroy religions. Politicians ruin governments. Governments destroy nations. And so on.

Establishing anything leads to entropy, a crumbling and ruination and dying of everything that people build with their energy and enthusiasm. Whenever an institution settles, wherever bureaucracy forms, entropy sets in. So we must continually rebuild, reinvest, explore, discover. We must let go of what we cling to out of fear and comfort. We must always keep growing and learning, else we begin dying. This is the lesson all of history teaches us, as does physics, as does medicine....

Wanna save the world? Wanna make it a better place? I wanna hear your ideas.

Chris
The reason I bought my first multimedia-capable computer, in 1997 or so, was to be able to see the amazing and wonderful images that NASA was sharing across the internet. Since then, not only has NASA continued to do this, but so have many other places - like The University of Arizona's Mt. Lemmon Sky Center, responsible for the photo below. Since then, they've only been getting better at it, building easy-to-use galleries, posting quick-view images that you can click to open massive original-size images, and writing lovely descriptions of what you're looking at.

The photo below is one of the reasons I go on living in this crazy world. I mean, seriously, take a moment to bathe in the quiet alien beauty of this spiral galaxy, NGC 5033. In May of this year, astronomer Adam Block took this shot through a 32-inch telescope using a CCD camera, they toyed with the image using Photoshop and another astrophoto program. This kind of photograph is now within reach of small instruments (nowadays, some individuals even own 'scopes that size!), and digital imaging and processing further democratizes the once-esoteric field of astrophotography, which used to require vast knowledge of chemicals, supercooling tech for film, processing tricks, glass plates, and so forth - and some of these exposures took all night. Mess up the emulsion or developing time? Your night is lost. Not any more. Now we get astrophotos like this on a regular basis:


Click the image to see a very large, full-size image courtesy of the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter.

That should blow your mind! For reference, here is what the pre-digital age of astronomy looked like - and this is one of the era's best-known photos of one of the nearest galaxies, taken through the world's largest telescope at Mt. Palomar:


Click the image to see the Wiki page about the Andromeda Galaxy.

I mean, just compare the two. Check out how the vintage Andromeda photo is devoid of clear division between the spiral arms; notice how playing with color filters helps you identify the different types of stars in the newer photo; and so forth. But perhaps most impressively, check out the giant, 2MB version of NGC 5033, and you will be astounded by how many of the "stars" surrounding the galaxy are, in fact, more galaxies.

It makes sense, of course, because the universe holds more galaxies than our galaxy holds stars, and galaxies are larger than stars - they have to be really far away to appear smaller than a star. But WOW. LOOK AT ALL THOSE GALAXIES. That photo contains literally hundreds more identifiable galaxies! Perhaps THOUSANDS to an expert eye. WHOAH.

Now, for just a moment while you are floating in space, hunting for galaxies millions or billions of light-years away, turn around. Look for the Milky Way Galaxy among the stars. There, far out in the Orion Arm of our spiral galaxy, that's our Sun. Can you see it? Maybe, if you know where to look, and if you're using a big telescope and a high-resolution digital camera and using excellent software. Our star is a mundane one, smallish compared to the giants easily visible among the swirling multidudes.

But on a little rocky planet not far from the Sun's flares, bathing in its warmth at a temperature high enough to melt water ice - but not so hot as to boil it - dwells an intelligent species that not only ponders the meaning of life in a vast universe, but only looks upon the pinpoints of light in the sky and asks what they are, and is currently taking tiny steps in their direction. Every thought that every intelligent creature on that little planet has ever held, every hope and dream and fear and frustration, every feeling of love or hate toward another, every drama and birth and death: All that every human being who has ever lived has thought or done is contained within a narrow orbit around that little star, within a handful of miles of the surface of a planet invisible from this distance. Yet some of those beings still consider themselves to be masters of the universe.

It is charming, really.

This perspective... this is one reason I sky the skies (and the internets) for such discoveries. It's also why I love science fiction. This is where I derive my love of astronomy, and sharing it through photos and words is where I derive most of the pleasure.

Enjoy!
Chris
mckitterick: aboard the New Orleans trolley (just Chris)
( Apr. 14th, 2012 07:15 pm)
Whether you're an inventor, writer, teacher, or any other kind of human being, you will find great enlightenment and hope in this talk by Jeremy Rifkin at the Ross Institute:


I first wrote about the core of Rifkin's talk months ago after having watched an abbreviated, illustrated version. But after watching his entire talk today, it's changed my life in a few ways:
  • I'm going to redesign all my courses to enable students to share in the teaching to help them learn better. This is part of Rifkin's urging, that teachers join the "distributed and collaborative communication and energy/mind revolution" that's happening right now. I already do a lot of this in my literature and advanced courses, but I'm also going to use this framework in my 300-level technical-writing course.

  • I'm going to re-roof the house with solar collectors to tranform my habitation from energy-consumer to energy-producer. Heck, I expect to sell power back to the utility most days!

  • I want to create a course centered around the concepts in Rifkin's talks and book, The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis, or at the very minimum include the book in my spring "Science, Technology, and Society" course.

  • On a larger scale, I want to create a school - could be for young people, could simply be part of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction's mission - that is centered around this approach, is cross-curricular, and empowers students to be active participants in their education and the education of their fellow students. This is an idea I've been kicking around for years, outlining details, but Rifkin's talk finally crystallized the structures in my mind. SO EXCITED and movitvated!

Anyhow, go listen to the talk. It's about 1-1/2 hours long, so it might take a while. I'd love to hear what you think.

Chris
In this wonderfully illustrated talk about "preparing the groundwork for an empathic civilization," Jeremy Rifkin discusses the evolution of empathy how it has shaped human development and how we interact. Check it out, then come back and we'll talk:



What he's saying here is that we need to broaden our sense of identity from selfish or tribal or religious or national identity to identifying as part of human civilization, as a fellow living being, as part of the Earth's biosphere - and I would add, as part of the Milky Way Galaxy, as part of the universe as a whole. He says that we are "soft-wired for sociability, attachment, affection, companionship," and that our "first drive is to belong. It's an empathic drive."

He summarizes, "If we are truly Homo Empathicus, then we need to bring out that core nature. Because if it doesn't come and out it's repressed by our parenting, our educational system, our business practices, our government, the secondary drives take over: the narcissism, materialism, utilitarianism, violence, and aggression."

This is the primary theme in all I write. It's what Transcendence is about, what Empire Ship is about, and what my upcoming young-adult SF books will be about - that we must be empathic in all we do, because all we produce (our "fictions," technology and nationalism (in its broadest sense) and religion build barriers to understanding one another. Those walls we build rise so naturally when we don't exercise empathy - which is hard! It hurts to feel the suffering around us - and the wall-building grows as we stifle our empathic capacity, thereby limiting our ability to see others as like us in some way, even as human.

Lack of understanding leads to lack of empathy. Lack of empathy leads to easy dehumanization (or de-bunny-ization or so forth). Next, our identity shrinks until at some point it shrivels down to just Me. Then selfish drives take over, and it feels right and sensible that all I care about is what I want, because I can't imagine what others would think or feel. Now it's easy to hurt others; it's easy to disregard others, to lock them away in dungeons, to steal from them or take advantage of them, to rape or kill them.

It's only natural that prisoners and victims develop powerful empathy for their abusers, because the victim's world makes no sense: Why would someone do this to me? So they grope for understanding, exercising their empathic powers, delving into the minds of their abusers. This is why we have Stockholm Syndrome, why people stay with their abusive parents or partners.

It also explains why people who consistently behave in sociopathic ways - guards at secret prisons, habitual criminals, investment bankers - appear to lose their humanity. It's why military training works hard to erase the humanity of the target, and why soldiers make poor police. In fact, I would like to see a study that seeks to cure "sociopaths," because I hypothesize that such people might be curable over time if they exercise their atrophied empathy.

The dude who wandered around the Middle East a couple thousand years ago preached love and understanding and forgiveness: He preached that we must exercise our empathy or we will descend into Hell, which - In a literal sense - means that our world will become horrific if we are incapable of understanding and empathizing with one another.

Saving the world is simple: The sooner we start embracing the people and animals and natural wonders around us as part of us, as our identity, the sooner we will solve all the problems facing us.

This is also what I love about science fiction: It is the literature of the human species, not limited to the individual or nation or religion or even species or planet. Taken as a whole, SF says that we are all in this together, and when we're not - and when we lose our capacity to think of us as in it together - things go to hell in a hurry. As our technology grows more powerful, so too does our capacity to dehumanize and destroy others.

The Cold War was so horrible because it institutionalized anti-empathy. All wars are like this, including the current "war on terror" (and we all know that, right now, that means against Islamic fundamentalism), which is worse in many ways because it is not nation vs. nation or ideology vs. ideology: It's Us vs. Them. There's no reasoning with that, and the side-effects are pervasive and creeping. We all know The Terrorists are evil, right? And they all know that the West is evil. There's no room for understanding when our walls rise up and meet at the top.

When we cease empathizing, when we lose the capacity to imagine the other as our self, we build mausoleums around our cultures, nations, religions, and everything else that constitutes our identity - around our very selves! But empathizing is hard, I know. Listening to the news is painful, because it's all about suffering and loss. As the Dread Pirate said, "Life is pain, princess. Anyone who says differently is selling something." Heck, every week I see an animal on the side of road, needlessly killed by inattentive drivers, and that makes me suffer a little more. When I can, I stop and move the dead thing to the bushes and tell it that it's safe now, but at a deeper level that's just for me, to ease my empathic suffering.

One can argue that the most selfish thing you can do is to empathize. But as Rifkin says, "To empathize is to civilize," so this is one need we should satisfy whenever we can.

To be able to feel others in our heart: This is what it means to love. When people say that love is what life is all about, that there's nothing greater than to love and be loved in return, they don't mean some cheesy Hallmark version of love; they mean empathize with each other. This is all that matters in life. This is how we save the world.

Go out and empathize today!

Love,
Chris
mckitterick: At NASA's Moon-rock exhibit when it came to KU. (smiling Chris 2009)
( Nov. 25th, 2010 07:16 am)
I'm thankful that we have John Scalzi to provide us with a proper SFnal script for Thanksgiving grace.

I'm thankful that we have Daniel Radcliffe, who is far more charming and funny and geeky than I had ever imagined:



And of course that Tom Lehrer gave us "The Elements" in the first place:



I'm thankful to live in a time when we have something like the Hubble Space Telescope and that we can all look at the most-amazing photos ever taken, and that we can do it any time we want from the comfort of our own homes:


Click the image to see more about the Carina Nebula, aka "The Pillars of Creation."

I'm thankful for the Cassini mission to Saturn - and to the Voyager, Galileo, and all the other amazing missions - which take us to a place humans won't likely visit for a while yet:


Click the image to see info about this shot of Saturn.

I'm thankful that we had Carl Sagan to show us how glorious and amazing the universe is, and I'm thankful for the Symphony of Science folks for making videos like this:



I'm thankful that we have people like Brian Greene to carry Sagan's torch into the future.

In short: I'm thankful to live in this Age of Wonders, and I can't wait to see what comes next!

Now to the personal, though everything above feels personal to me.

I'm thankful to have met SF Grand Master James Gunn, who not only shaped my understanding of science fiction since an early age but shaped much of who I am, and who continues to do so.

I'm thankful to be a part of this crazy and diverse and open and thoughtful and important thing we call Science Fiction! We're a big family (with all the good and irritating that comes with that), and I'm thankful to have been welcomed to join you.

I'm thankful for having had the good fortune to meet so many kind and interesting and wonderful people, and to be honored to call several of them friends.

I'm even thankful for having met a number of horrible and monstrous people, because they are also human, and it's my quest to understand what it means to be human.

I'm thankful for the loves of my life - both dear friends and lovers - because you have helped make me the man I am today. I'm certain that without the capacity to love, we cannot be fully human. The greatest thing in life is to love and be loved in return ;-)

Okay, I need to stop at some point or this will become (more) maudlin! Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have a fine day and get to spend time with those you love.

Chris
mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (robot traveler)
( Nov. 15th, 2008 01:35 am)
Last night, I was talking with friends about things personal and things philosophical, likely kicked off by the Bill Brown talk. One topic that came up as it always seems to was, "What is the meaning of life?"

One friend said, "I don't know."

Another answered, "To spread our genes."

At first I dismissed the first answer. The second answer... well, it's absolutely true in a biological sense. When you get down to the root of everything, it's the real answer.

Earlier, I was walking home from work, passing under a leafless canopy. The bones of the trees were visible. Seeds everywhere. Students on the sidewalk, cell-phones in hand as they headed to their cars to drive off to play or study or build the future in which we will all live. And it struck me like lightning:

We are only hosts for our genetic material. Everything we do, everything we are, is dictated by the tiny machines that build us into thinking meat. We are products of our genes just as trees are the product of their seeds. Organisms - even thinking ones - are manufactured by the nano-factories called biology.

I envy the trees. They are not weighed down with responsibility or questions of right and wrong or considerations of the future. To them, "Why?" never crosses their minds. They do not need to worry about how to be the best tree they can be; they simply live. They are driven by the programming of the tiny machines within them, the machines that manufactured them and maintain them and dictate their future. Those machines help guide them as they encounter wind and drought; if they survive storms and Kansas summer, they produce new seeds. Those seeds grow into new trees that can survive what Kansas throws at them. They don't build civilizations or cities or universities; they don't engineer automobiles or cell phones. They simply live. And that is enough.

We, however - we humans - we are weighted with sentience. This mass of dendrites and other products of our machines make us worry about the future, about morality, about acquisitions. We form friendships and romantic entanglements; these endure or fade or explode in dramatic fashion, and then we write novels about our experiences or film movies or create other works of art. We talk about our victories and catastrophes with friends. With our friends and loved ones, we celebrate success and empathize with failure. We craft paintings, shoot photographs, post websites, write blogs, all in an effort to express ourselves. Our creative expressions consume years of our lives. We assemble bookshelves and paint the walls of our homes that others built and which we bought with money - a concept manufactured in the forebrains of economists - and call the people in our lives using electronics that are the product of centuries of industrial evolution. We talk and write and paint and run and climb and dance; we cry and laugh and drink ourselves into oblivion; we pour the years of our existence into making things, consuming things, building futures for others or destroying them. We believe we are good, or we are not evil, or we question what is good and evil. We describe what is right and moral, and then we question ourselves in the darkness of the night when we sit alone at our keyboards, wondering, wondering. We strive and we fail; we strive and we succeed.

But what does it all mean? Are we only acting out the over-complicated programming humming away within the hearts of our cells? We, products of the products of evolution; what are we? If we are only machines designed to produce more human machines of the type manufactured by the tiny machines that built us, then it is clear that our duty is to create more of those machines of our particular brand. We must prove the value of ourselves by making replicas of ourselves. The meaning of life is to pass our genes into the future. And to build a future best suited to protecting the new machines that we produce and which will carry our genes into that future. So we build civilizations and cell phones and put money in the bank. And when the banks fail or we lose our jobs or our houses are foreclosed upon, this quakes us to our cores, because the civilization we built is like the cradle for the future, the macro-machines that will provide for the human machines carrying "our" genes, and we have failed in our sole purpose.

An aside about owership: It is more true to say that we belong to our genes than that they are our genes. Does Chrysler Corporation belong to my 2004 Crossfire? Or my 1966 Newport? Absurd. Both were manufactured by the same machine (Chrysler Corporation), but in different generations. Yet they do not reproduce themselves, so this isn't a good comparison. Do the fruits on its branches belong to the persimmon tree in my back yard? Does the tree that dropped the fruit that grew this tree belong to it? Neither; it belongs to the genetic material that created the tree that dropped the fruit that contained the seed that grew my tree.

The tree's only reason for being is to survive the seasons, thrive through adversity, produce fruits, and - having survived and earned the right to do so - make more trees like it. It exists to perpetuate its genes. It is a framework and a resource for nothing more than supporting the gene factory that made it, the gene factory whose drive to thrive creates life itself.

This is God. God is within us all. God is the gene, the self-assembling matter of life. God is the biological nanofactory. There is no right and wrong beyond what allows the factory to thrive and continue to produce.

We live and laugh and cry, we build cities and laptops and torture ourselves with questions of right and wrong so that we may provide a lush cradle for the machines that made us in order to do nothing more than deliver those genes into the future.

Our sentience is a burden, something we must carry, something that gets in the way of itself. It is an unfortunate diversion along the road to our genes' future.

This is not a comfort.

This friend also said that the meaning of life is "to seek pleasure." Pleasure, I think, is merely our genes expressing to us that we're taking the right path to provide them with what they need. But sentience does not approve. We build ethical and moral frameworks that limit pleasure and define which pleasures are the correct ones, even when they feel uncomfortable; we define which pleasures are the incorrect ones, even when they feel best.

Either pleasure is not a good guide or sentience is a poor expression of our genes. Or both. And sentience doesn't feel comfortable with the idea that it exists only as part of the product of the machine to which we belong. Even that - the gene - is merely the product of its programming. It is the machine that operates on that programming, as we operate on the gene.


After slogging through all of this meaning and meaninglessness, the first seems the truest answer:

What is the meaning of life?

I don't know.

Chris

Also posted to my website.
God, this is beautiful. (And ugly. And heart-rending.)

I don't often have such a strong reaction to an essay. We read essays like this because they're emotionally true; we read this kind of writing and poetry and fiction, we listen to music that does this for us and watch movies that touch on truths we know inside because what the words express is so true for us. It's as if finally - at last! - someone understands well enough to speak for us honestly and with perfect clarity. It's as if our minds touch just for a moment. Being understood and hearing our inner truths expressed so well is cathartic. We are never the same again after veils of misunderstanding are pulled aside; when we look inside without filters or walls, we become someone different; after facing the truth about ourselves, ironically we are never the same.

This essay describes concisely and lucidly how it felt to grow up Gen X American. And this phrase nails exactly about how it felt to hear Obama accept the Presidency:

when we watched Barack Obama's victory speech on Tuesday night, we looked into the eyes of a real leader, and decades of cynicism about politics and grass-roots movements and community melted away in a single moment.

For my entire life, I've had to knuckle under to conservatives (yes, I count Bill Clinton as such); for the students I teach, it must have been so much worse to have mostly only known the fucking tragedy that was the Bush dynasty. Though I have vague memories of Jimmy Carter, I've never felt someone represented me in the White House. Seeing Obama accepting the Presidency... I just wept for joy. And now I'm wet-cheeked all over again. Here, read it:

Essay text archived behind the cut. )

Fucking brilliant.

With hope,
Chris

PS: I've deleted five LJ icons re: Bush and cynicism. It's time.
I read this tonight on [livejournal.com profile] curieuse's LJ:

I want to make a sign for our wall in huge letters, a sign I'll see every day, saying it can happen to you, to me, to anyone, anytime, that we all hear sirens every day and the person who made each of those phone calls didn't plan for their day to go that way today, that we aren't guaranteed a thing, not really, and please, please live like you know this.

I think living a successful life of optimism requires that one tries to get as much out of life as possible. That old saying, "Live each day as if it were your last" is only meaningful if you add "and live your life as if you will live forever."

Chris
Despite having a lovely day teaching [livejournal.com profile] amjhawk how to do tune-ups and oil changes, birds chirping and the sun shining and all that as we worked under my carport, having a three-hour lunch at Yello Sub while playing games, I later found myself getting all blue. Why? It seems silly.

I used to think that optimism and empathy were good things, but I'm not so sure any more. I am both strongly empathetic and optimistic, and I realized this means that eventually I will feel pain about everyone I know because everyone suffers and that makes me sad; everyone makes stupid decisions once in a while and I feel bad about that. Worse, I frequently disappoint myself by not being all I want to be, by doing - or not doing - things that I later regret, and so on.

Being optimistic means that you expect a lot from people and situations, especially yourself and the things you do. Everything will work out right if we take the right steps toward the good things in life, right? But we all make mistakes all the time. Things don't always work out the way we had hoped, even if we did everything right, even if the stars line up for us. Shit happens. Sometimes people even work against us. This makes optimistic people feel especially disappointed and hurt, as if we're alien species, unable to communicate.

Being empathetic means that when someone suffers, you feel some of what they feel; if they're someone you're close to, you feel a lot of pain. The world roils with an ocean of suffering that threatens to drown us all the time, flailing with our puny human arms to stay above the waves that get more turbulent as we listen to the news (what I usually call "the bad news"), read tales of sadness on LJ and, well, just live. We humans can't breathe under water, and we get so tired by constantly flailing. If only we had gills; if only we had fins. But people who are so empathetic don't seem well suited to living in this ocean. We are small and naked and fragile.

However, these traits also have a positive side: Empathy means one gets to smile and laugh a lot at other people's happiness and success. Optimism means one gets to live life as if everything will work out, and that means you're more likely to take the necessary steps to make things work out.

Why have these traits survived the red-in-tooth-and-claw evolution of the human species? What real good do these things do for us? Eventually we all inhale water while flaining to stay afloat; we are the wrong species for our environment, and these repeated drownings threaten to erode our optimism. I fear for losing that trait, even though it seems to have caused me more grief than good. And empathy: Can we lose that over time? It only seems to grow deeper for me the more pain it causes.

Sheesh, being a human is hard work. No grand conclusions here.

Best,
Chris
...but never any answers. Perhaps you can help.

Today I was doing my sit-ups in the upstairs bedroom where I can look out the window onto leafless branches. A squirrel was grooming in the sunshine; it's a lovely day today. I wondered what life was to that little animal, and even if he was aware of life and time and so forth; he seemed content and full of purpose. He ceased grooming after a while and closed his eyes, simply enjoying the sunshine. This got me thinking, wondering what it is I want from life, which got me wondering what is this thing called life and why do we need to find or infuse meaning into it.

I find myself discontented. I want to know what I should do with my life. We are only allotted so much time, and we don't know how long that will be. Certainly we can hasten the end, but what to do with the time we are given? But to answer this, I at least need to understand what is the meaning of life.

Yes, a tiny little question that no one has asked before. But, seriously, this is important to me right now. Thanks for your time:

EDIT: PS - you can answer this using the question, "What is YOUR meaning of life" if that helps clarify things. Clearly, none of us can impose our meaning upon others, and the only true answers we give to this are from our own points of view.

[Poll #933106]

Best,
Chris
...and here's some proof.

Worth considering, eh? I mean, he's had some good things to say and all.

Chris
mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (star-forming nebula)
( Aug. 22nd, 2005 04:26 pm)
(reposted from a response, but it's worth starting a new conversation). blzblack said, "I believe there is meaning to life..." I responded )
Chris
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