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The freedoms I value.

Old 06-29-2006, 01:35 AM
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The freedoms I value.

I grew up in religion, made it my own and still value what that had to offer me but over time what was my own grew stronger until me and religion became unreconcilable. That process in itself wasn't traumatic, nor was it an emotionally big thing, just a steady journey of being aware evidence was changing my beliefs. The end of my time as a believer was casual, there wasn't much left and I watched a news report which simply and logically drew me to what was by then quite a small conclusion. It was what happened after that which both confirmed my beliefs and started me on my own journey.

I went through a process of defensiveness I suppose, never really entire and a little half hearted but I certainly avoided religion and felt a bit threatened by it. At times I was quite combative and felt entering the debate was truly important, even needed. I also became a little 'superior' feeling as though there was something retarded about remaining in the dark ages and I was more enlightened. I threw myself with passion into a lifestyle driven by my own goals, done in my own way.

Then I threw myself into science!! I avoided the vague parts, I think perhaps out of a remaining waryness of faith - of anything less than quantifiable. I disliked long winded theories about life, ignored philosophy and prefered to read what could be measured, assessed with numbers rather than reasoning, proven with something seen rather than argued well.

Along came D! A scattered man of huge equations who taught me the physics for my subsid subject (Energy Studies), but what he taught me he could teach with his hands - drawing patterns in the air, taking objects from around him and I lost count of the small things he set fire to! Quantifiabley sensible, based on the seen, solid, certain. Of course when he rambled about a cat in a box, or cheating in exams by firing protons across the lab it was 'cos he was drunk - obviously. At least I knew my measured enclave of science, my beloved behaviourism, my pleasure in picturing a sticky, squishy real brain with bits that do stuff. At least in my world I didn't need the waffly bits he talked about drunk. At least that was the case before he broke my world!!

A simple explaination from me to him, on my subject, confidently delivered and I was NOT impressed by the fast rejection it recieved. The difference between operant and classical conditioning, well known, well recorded, clearly defined, visible measurable - how the HELL could he call that a circular argument? What the smeg was a circular argument? And I was not stupid - it was well documented operant and classical conditioning are different!!

He broke it! My new faith, he bloody broke it! It took a couple of hours, a trip to the library, lots of web pages, diagrams, examples, but he broke it. Quite simply as information mounted I shifted, I fought like an alley cat at first but patiently he showed me each brick wall and let me try to find an exit and fail!

Long after he'd gone I used what I learned, even longer still my old uni supervisor sent me an article saying he thought I may have been right (when I had passed on my revelation). The article re-ordered things all was at peace now, my faith mended. Science solid again, well sort of solid.

I went on. You can't see loneliness, can't really measure it - in fact hearing so many stories of neglect, packed with emotion, there's a whole world not measured but I lived in it, worked in it and felt it. There's more to behaviour than a functional analysis, there's the consequences and the human beings that experience it and I knew that mattered.

In a developing country on a package holiday, my first time abroad, totally nieve (sp?) I hit head on new revelations.

But I have to go shower now and interupt this self indulgent writing.....
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:50 AM
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Hey Equs,

You write well, beautifully in fact. Its refereshing to read something I can identify with here.
For me, well, I always wanted there to be a God but he failed on those' if God is omniscent, (all seeing) omnipotent (capable of anything) and benelovent (good) then why do unspeakble things happen' arguments.... also people denying evolution and what is in their faces and thinking the world is only 6,000 years old when we have all those dinosaur bones and carbon dating... oh and beliving that only christians would go to heaven, even if they were horrible but they belived in jesus and all the good folk would burn cos they were muslims or whatever...wow... thats a heavy trip and Im curious how its possible to get into that 'im saved, youre not' mindset, curious and facinated, Ive listened for hours to those street speakers, bursting with rage about hell and stuff, almost pooping themselves with excitement, wondering about their trip, and how/who and what made them take it.....

All religion facinates me, I love the temple of India and Thailand/south east Asia hinduism and buddhism seem attractive but im along way from believing in anything...I like beautiful stories though and often wished I could believe them as some seem to...people with faith seem happier, get well quicker and suffer less deppression..Ive noticed this for myself and it also seems to be backed up by sudies and such (sorry,very vague) but still I cant find something I believe in whole heartedly, not even science...we get so much wrong, sometimes I think we dont have a clue, that we dont know even half,a quarter,a fraction of the truth, and perhaps it is supposed to be that way, unknowable...I know this much is true....the longer I live the less I know, the younger I feel,The less sure I am about anything........hey its dark up my own ass!
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:54 AM
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All clean!!

I think it was my total lack of experience, and the simple fact I had more in common with the waiting staff than the hotel guests which led to my adoption!! I ended up half rescued, half invited into the lives of local people in Sri Lanka, a fisherman who did boat trips, the old prawn fishermen who headed up a local co-operative of taking turns giving tourists a trip in their catamarans and a driver I'm still close friends with. I spent my time with them and their families and just kept going back. I learned there were so many ways to think, we talked about religion, arranged marriage, tourism, culture, family, disability, illness, politics, birth, death, old age, clothes, marriage, friendship, gender - you name it. Whole families would get involved in any given subject, photographs of people would add weight to what was said and it was addictive in the BEST possible sense. It quenched a mutual thirst to understand or be curious as Chinthaka would say!

PEOPLE have always mattered but now I saw culture, looked differently at groups of people, undrstood my work differently and had taken on a mission for my heart and mouth to speak one language - not two like a politician. The sense in which I viewed things had changed.

Ten years had passed since I last saw D - drunk and openly saying he wanted to stay that way till it killed him, the quicker the better. Our paths had parted. In the circumstances I had presumed it would be a permanent parting and never fostered any thoughts of seeing him again. He had been part of the conversations in Sri Lanka, part of things wrangled with to understand. It awoke an interest in ancient texts, religion became quite interesting for loads of new reasons, such OLD, OLD writings and beliefs.

An email, a visit and what a religious person would call a miracle later, my view on life had changed again. Not only was life unpredictable but just as it can conspire to throw the most derranged [email protected] at an individual, it can on occasion conspire to create the most unlikely good!!

My path since then has been rich with learning about myself, and accepting the feeling world, understanding a need to learn and LOVING IT!! Whatever hurts - it isn't learning that hurts, no matter how hard the circumstance learning is pleasurable. Being so close as addiction was fought with, right inside the ring I couldn't seperate myself from either 'fact' (errr the more solidish stuff) or feeling. But I learned.

Now I feel excited again, instead of clinical science I'll study in the humanties for a while. I'll never stop loving the clinical side, never not be interested, never lose the exacting disciplines BUT I want to expand!!

The freedoms I love the most from aitheism are the ones that allow me to grow and change, decide my own destiny, follow my own path, learn and keep learning!! I don't have the slightest doubt I'll remain an aitheist but I don't care much anyway - there are too many interesting things out there to worry where I'll end up next.

I love all the things that have changed - I love to remember believing a different thing to what I believe now. The changes make me feel alive.

I have the freedom to learn.
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:03 AM
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Sorry Clancy I only saw your reply when I'd finished waffling!!

All religion facinates me, I love the temple of India and Thailand/south east Asia hinduism and buddhism seem attractive but im along way from believing in anything...I like beautiful stories though and often wished I could believe them as some seem to...people with faith seem happier, get well quicker and suffer less deppression..
Yeah - I love the stories!! We talked about depression lots in Sri Lanka - it has one of the highest suicide and alcoholism rates in the world. Chinthaka held his own beliefs about what he called 'the sicknes of sad'. Without access to education or western literacy he had recognisabley built his own diagnostic criteria - fascinatingly detailed!! When we talked I could tell him about 'depression' recognised as a sickness with treatments. that fascinated him because he had his own treatment involving arranging a rota of friends to visit the one with 'sad sickness' and get them to go for a walk, talk to them, tell them to wash and 'be good to the body'. He was frustrated in having matched every solution to each effect he saw of his 'sickness' and yet still not managed to succeed every time.

You know when D failed to get treatment in the end, in the west, with all our medicine it was Chinthaka's exacting treatment I took time off work to fall back on.

He is one HELL of a tour guide!!
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:23 AM
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Who is Chinthaka? Sounds interesting. Ive spent alot of time in Asia too, its place that gets the cogs grinding for sure. I dont know what it is about the place but I love it, and want to be there alot more.

Whats your story then? (haha, lm sure that would take a book or too,but you know what I mean, abriged!) You sound very bright and I like the way you write. You have beaten your addictions ?
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:34 AM
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Chinthaka was a taxi driver come tourguide, come stone mason, ex 5 star hotel chef who pretty much learned and did whatever allowed him to earn and keep the ever extending number of family that relied on him. He rose quickly to head chef when he cooked and ran the local drivers organisation fighting with package tour companies over bullying and insanely unsafe hours. In his spare time he involved himself in politics, and social care through the local muslim, budhist, hindu and catholic (his faith) communities. I have never before or since met a person so utterly respected and loved within his community - and as he travelled as a tour guide that community was HUGE!! I was extremely fortunate to have had him as a driver and then him and his family as friends!

Ok the abridged version:
City kid
Groom
Horse breaker
Student
Applied Behavioural Analyst
Children's Rights worker
Wife
and soon to be student again!

D (my hubby) fought with alcohol dependency and abuse for years. I suppose I was fortunate alcohol in any great quantity either made me sick or fall asleep!! Don't get me onto trying to quit smoking though - the next quit date is Friday.... meeeeeeep!!
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