Note: I have to give credit where credit is due. This is kind of in reaction to Ryan’s blog. His question was why do people bother to call themselves agnostic? It seems like one of those PC labels that people use when they don’t want to say that they are atheists, because it “offends” people if you tell them you don’t believe in god. Oh, and I’ve given up on censoring all my foul language. You can blame John Goodman.
Now, at various points in my life, I have been accused of being (among other things) a nihilist, and it’s highly likely that my beliefs do fit under certain definitions of nihilism.
Nihilism can refer to different things. It can mean that values do not exist but are invented OR specifically that there are no moral values OR that life itself is without meaning or purpose.
And on some days I likely fit under the first, definitely under the second, and probably under the third.
But can you really be a full-blown, believe-in-nothing nihilist?
In honor of International Left-Handers Day, I give you:
Damned infernal gizmo. My kingdom for a left-handed can opener!
It’s all here, and it’s all backwards!
-Homer Simpson, hyping the Leftorium
Left-handed ledgers! Now I can write all the way to the edge!
-Chuck Ellis (from the Springfield Collection Agency)
Ha ha ha. Left-handed nunchucks!
Note: All quotes from The Simpsons Episode 7F23: When Flanders Failed.
I feel like I should say something about this.
You’ve all seen the video of Hillary Clinton telling a student in Kinshasa, Congo that she doesn’t know what former President Bill Clinton’s view is on a Chinese loan offer to the government of Congo. (See the video on Mark Riley’s site.)
People are criticizing Secretary of State Clinton for snapping, not being poised, even for having a “meltdown.” People are also defending Secretary Clinton by claiming that she was jet-lagged, tired from traveling, etc.
Neither of these responses is very helpful.
First of all, so what if her tone was a little rude by uber-sensitive American standards? Claiming that she was tired might be understandable, but it trivializes the real issue.
Second of all, ignore the fact that the question was translated incorrectly and the student was actually asking about President Obama and that it was sorted out later, because Secretary Clinton didn’t know that at the time. She didn’t say this exactly, but she’s right: Former President Clinton’s view on this issue is completely irrelevant. She is the Secretary of State. She represents our nation on these matters. To ask her for the opinion of the President (or a former President) is to not recognize her as a diplomat.
“The underlying emotion that governs all the activity of the ego is fear. The fear of being nobody, the fear of nonexistence, the fear of death. All its activities are ultimately designed to eliminate this fear, but the most the ego can ever do is to cover it up temporarily with an intimate relationship, a new possession, or winning at this or that. Illusion will never satisfy you. Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.” -Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
The only difference between what is real and what is illusion is how you relate to it. The illusion provides a nice shield, but it will never be enough. It will never ease the internal torment.
The problem remains what it always is – finding a way to live.
Disclaimer: It may seem frivolous at first, but I’m actually going somewhere with this.
I used to wear flip-flops all the time. Literally all the time. Even in the Midwest in winter. Even when it snowed in the Midwest in the winter. In high school, my guidance counselor got a bit bent out of shape when I wore flip-flops to awards banquets and graduation and such.
Starting out in college, I continued to wear flip-flops. A necessity for dorm showers, but I wore them to class as well. Even on the lengthy walk to class from my dorm. Even through construction zones.
But then one day, and I don’t remember what day, only that it occurred sometime in the last 5 to 7 years, I decided that I was not going to wear flip-flops anymore.
My reasoning was that I am an adult, and somehow I decided to mark my adulthood by no longer wearing flip-flops. (I also mark my adulthood by occasionally eating ice cream for breakfast and by eating candy in front of candy-less children in public places…because I can, dammit.)
The thing is, a lot of adults wear flip-flops. In fact, most adults, especially in the South in the summer, wear flip-flops or slightly sturdier flip-flop shaped sandals. And they don’t look childish, and I don’t take them any less seriously than I normally would.
But I just can’t do it. Just like I can’t wear shorts any more. Or my NOFX t-shirt.