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commented on Sept. 18, 2014
Those of you who follow the news might have heard the terrible story about what happened to American journalist James Foley. Here is a man who was just doing his job, earning a living and not harming anyone, and a bunch of religious ratbag nutjobs beheaded him on camera just so they could antagonise the West and score brownie points with their bloodthirsty psychopath of a god.
As I was watching part of the statement James' parents and brother gave to the media about this atrocity, two things struck me:
1) Jame's father saying, through tears, that his son was "with God now" and "in heaven". I understand that the man needed to tell himself such things in order to cope with the sort of horrific grief that NO ONE ANYWHERE should EVER have to go through. But at the same it filled me with outrage and despair, because this is same sort of unreasonable magical thinking that compelled those savages to behead James in the first place.
2) In the midst of James' father's speech, James' brother's phone went off with one of those silly frivolous sounding ring-tones that are ubiquitous in this era of Smart Phones. This to me was a powerful demonstration of how the Universe doesn't give a DAMN about human suffering, feeling, or beliefs. Reality is utterly INDIFFERENT to us and our fates.
So where to go from here? Once we grow up and face up to our true place in the grand scheme of things, a place of such harrowing insignificance, how then to proceed?
Perhaps we should proceed like this: perhaps we should acknowledge that human life and human happiness is precious to US, to ALL OF US, and that if the Universe itself doesn't give a damn about our well-being then it's up to us to do so. Perhaps we should strive to make life on this tiny gleaming blue planet, suspended as it is in an immense dark cold void, as pleasant as possible for as many as possible. And at the same time, we should appreciate the silver lining of this Universal indifference, which is that it gives us the *freedom* to shape our own destiny and to define our own purpose and significance.
Your reasonable and constructive thoughts on the merit of these ideas, or on how to go about acheiving them, are most welcome....