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How Did I Get Here?


Dirac
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So I stagger in after a drink-fuelled evening with friends. I had a really good time. Had a laugh, watched some DVDs, chatted, laughed. A great night out.

 

I have just broken up with my first girlfriend, after 19+ months. She was the first girl I had sex with and, because of all my Christian hang ups, the only girl I wanted to have sex with. Since she broke up with me, I must now become an adulterer, I must have sex with more than one girl, or resign myself to singleness. Nothing wrong with that of course, only I want to get married and have kids. I still cannot overcome the feelings of guilt about sex before marriage. Is the hold of Christianity over me so very strong? Gah...

 

I am drunk as I type this. I am typing carefully. I broke up with my girlfriend 3 weeks ago this Sunday. We started dating on Wednesday 21st January 2004 in the evening, me having turned her down originally as I couldn't accept she liked me. My brother talked me round, and her round, so we started to date in spite of my stupidity.

 

As I said, I have staggered home, I was watching the stars all the way. I found myself asking, "Is this all there is? Why do I feel so small knowing that the light I am seeing was emitted thousands of years ago, and the stars and galaxies I see will be around for millions of years after I die, showering the Earth with their photons. So many more humans will wonder what I have wondered, and I will not exist."

 

What is this life? Why do I still feel the need to grope for religion when I am sad, as though it is the only answer? I so want there to be a Heaven where all my friends and family, my ex-C's also, meet and live happily ever after. I want everyone to be happy.

 

I am drunk, but it makes me honest. How did this universe come to be? I have a degree in theoretical physics but still it renders me incapable of describing or understanding the sense of insignificance I feel when I look up at the night sky.

 

What am I trying to say? I am going to bed now.

 

Here's to not knowing what happens when you die. Here's to alcohol :D

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Man, Durac, a broken heart can plummet you into the depths of despair. Give yourself time to heal, surround yourself with friends who care and who will listen to your sorrow. I believe in the cycle of life, sometimes you are low and then something or someone enters your life and you are up again.

 

Taph

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Guest brookacton

i'm sorry dirac.

you must be going through a really tough time.

 

you are in my thoughts and i feel like i can relate to some of what you are going through.

i just left christianity about a year ago, am in a relationship with a man that i would love to spend the rest of my life with but am scared that it won't work out, and i also recently lost my virginity. i am terrified and at times tremendously insecure.

I also find myself asking the big questions and wanting to know what we are all doing here.

It's so easy to return to Christianity because its like you are handed a roadmap to life with 99% life's answers spelt out in black and white.

but i think we know that there are no easy answers and that like Rilke writes, its more about embracing and living the questions.

 

i know you feel alone, as do i. well, we are alone, but we are alone together and together alone.

i guess embracing the paradox is also a big part of life.

 

lots of love,

 

brook

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Break ups are always hard. I've been there enough to know. In time it won't hurt so much. I know that doens't help alot right now though. All I can offer is the same advice my granny gave me everytime I called her in tears over a break-up: Honey, if it was meant to work out, it would. All you can do now is keep your eyes open for what will work.

 

I hope you feel better.

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Guest michaelrosenweig

Hey now, you don't know me, but I feel what you are going through. Bloddy hell desribes it best. I have been that route a few times too. One ended in divorce, but it was for the better.

 

It is written that one door closes and another one opens, and it is often for the best. hand in there.

 

so what hapens after death? As for me, I believe in an after life, and believe it or not, I have seen ghosts. OK, so that makes me a loon to some people, but I can live with that . Nevertheless, there is more to life than what we see in the flesh in my opinion. I also happen to believe in God, but have seen people falsely represent Him. I hate phonies.

 

Cheers for now and Shalom

 

Michael

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Breakups suck ass.

 

It *will* get better, over time. Don't take that as a useless platitude, but fold it up and tuck it into the roof of your mind, just to remind yourself when it gets really rough that you're not going to be confused and in pain forever. It just takes awhile to get over stuff; and what "get over" means depends on who you are.

 

It sounds like the breakup has precipitated a whole hugeass life change for you, and now there's all this stuff flying at you that maybe you hadn't thought of before. Take it one bite at a time. You don't have to answer everything all at once, and you don't have to know everything all at once.

 

I don't know how long you were a Christian but if it was for a long time, it can take awhile, too, to get its insidious hooks out of you. That religion does a mindjob on people. The sex stuff is some of the worst and trickiest crap to cut through.

 

But let me assure you that you're not going to hell, you're not going to be punished with some kind of divine retribution, you're not a terrible sinner if you decide to be sexually active, and there's nothing wrong with you for giving up the faith. You just wised up is all.

 

Maybe you already know a lot of this stuff, but again - just fold it up and tuck it into the roof of your mind, to take out as needed.

 

And hang in there.

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I'm sorry to hear about your breakup. I was in a three year relationship with somebody I was madly in love with too, so I can sympathise with everything you're feeling.

 

Oddly, in my more maudlin moments when I realized how short my life is and how tiny and insignifigant I am compared to the grand scheme of things, I found the idea gives me a profound sense of comfort.

 

I like being an insignifigant speck. The universe doesn't sit on my shoulders and I'm not critical to making it turn. I can be my tiny and simple self, and do whatever I want because my life is entirely mine. It's such a grand sense of freedom.

 

This also kind of reminds me of something I was thinking about recently. Somebody asked me where I saw myself in five years and what my dreams in life were. I stared at them blankly and honestly couldn't answer.

 

I don't know where I'll be in five years. Furthermore, I don't care. I'll be there when I get there. It's not like I'm going to be more or less than I am right now.

 

On top of that, I don't have any dreams. I just have a bunch of things I'd like to do in life. Like, go see Australia. And write a book. And get a college degree. But if I don't do any of that? Then I'm not going to mourn them on my death bed for them.

 

I found my attitude about this very odd and rather confusing since it's so contradictory to what society is always pushing on us. We all have a purpose, but we have to find it. A person without ambition or dreams or a plan in life isn't much of a person because then their life has no meaning. If you don't do this stuff, you will remain unfufilled. What ARE we living for if we aren't living for our dreams and giving our life meaning?

 

Then I realized why I felt this way: My life already has meaning. I just don't feel like I have to do anything more. I don't need to acheive any goals for me to feel like I'm being something worthwhile.

 

If this is all there is, I'm not complaining.

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I have a degree in theoretical physics but still it renders me incapable of describing or understanding the sense of insignificance I feel when I look up at the night sky.

 

There is nothing wrong with being insignificant. This :woohoo: is significant. It is a sign refering to something else. This arrangement of letters "tree" is significant of that woody plant outside my window. It is not the plant. You are not significant, because you are not a sign of anything.

 

When you look up at the depths, know that "thou art that".

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Hi, I'm sorry about your break-up. They're always painful, no matter how many of them a person has gone through, but the first one must seem especially traumatic. The sad feelings fade in time, of course. (I went through several before I found "Mr. Right" about 17 years ago, and now I can look back on all those Mr. Wrongs with fond memories in some cases, or not much memory of some of them, but without any sadness at all.)

 

Now, don't take this wrong, but I think it's kind of naive to think you've found "the one" the first time out. I assume you're young and so was your lady friend. You're both still growing and changing. And, I've seen far too many lousy marriages and nasty divorces resulting from two young people rushing to get married only to find out a few years later that they are not all that compatible any longer. I think this is especially true in the Christian community, where couples often wed very young in order to be able to have sexual relations without feeling guilty. (Sex is a normal part of life; ain't nothing to feel guilty about as long as you are honest and respectful with your partners.)

 

Anyway, what I'm trying to say in my clumsy way is that I know you feel lousy now, and you have my sympathy, but you'll feel better in time.

 

My one piece of advice is not to rush in to another relationship if it's only to fill the void. Take some time. Be good to yourself. Maybe develop some new interests or hobbies or take up some you've been thinking about but were too busy to pursue before. (No, getting drunk on a regular basis is not recommended as a hobby, though there ain't nothing wrong with that occasionally, either, as long as you're sensible about it and don't do anything unsafe or too embarrassing.) If you learn something new or develop a new skill or talent, you'll feel better, it will take your mind off the breakup, and you'll be a more interesting person to the next lady you date.

 

Good luck!

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As I said, I have staggered home, I was watching the stars all the way. I found myself asking, "Is this all there is? Why do I feel so small knowing that the light I am seeing was emitted thousands of years ago, and the stars and galaxies I see will be around for millions of years after I die, showering the Earth with their photons. So many more humans will wonder what I have wondered, and I will not exist."

 

What is this life? Why do I still feel the need to grope for religion when I am sad, as though it is the only answer? I so want there to be a Heaven where all my friends and family, my ex-C's also, meet and live happily ever after. I want everyone to be happy.

 

I am drunk, but it makes me honest. How did this universe come to be? I have a degree in theoretical physics but still it renders me incapable of describing or understanding the sense of insignificance I feel when I look up at the night sky.

 

. . .

 

Here's to not knowing what happens when you die. Here's to alcohol :D

 

"There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. . . Living naturally is never easy. . . Dying voluntarily implies that you have recognized, even instinctively, the ridiculous character of that habit, the absence of any profound reason fro living, the insane character of that daily agitation, and the uselessness of suffering. . . A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. . . people have played on words and pretended to believe that refusing to grant a meaning to life necessarily leads to declaring that it is not worth living. In truth, there is no necessary common measure between these two judgments." --Albert Camus The Myth of Sisyphus

 

I know that you weren't talking about suicide, but rather "meaning," but Albert Camus' book, The Myth of Sisyphus, is probably one of the most significant books I've read as an atheist. It seems to me that you are experiencing the same feelings that Camus speaks to in his book. One looks at the vastness of the universe and feels small and alone. Traditionally, people have had one of two reactions to this: (1) They take a "leap of faith" because "A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world" and somehow less frightening, or (2) they kill themselves because they cannot live with the meaninglessness of existence.

 

As ex-Christians, all of us have done (1). We let ourselves believe that a big, sky daddy would make all things right for us one day. He would burn our enemies and give us an eternal orgasm, or something like that. Life had a meaning. Love and serve God and wait for the payoff.

 

When our reason dragged us out of Christianity (I don't know that I ever met an ex-Christian who really "left" willingly; we don't leave our faith, our faith leaves us, and we usually do everything we can to hold onto it), we not only lost a notion of God, we lost meaning and significance in the universe. That is a hard pill for us to swallow.

 

The two major issues that we are faced with are reasons for existing and reasons for being moral. In a world filled with bags of biology, no one or nothing should care what happens to one bag. Why keep living and why not hurt people if it means that we are happy with the only existence we have.

 

Christians love hearing us talk like this. Somehow, they think it is proof that there way is "right." They tell each other, "Look how depressing existence is for people who don't believe in God." They fail to see that this is more of an argument for their lack of courage than it is for the truth of Christianity. Instead of finding a way to live with a meaningless and insignificant universe, they hold onto ridiculous myths and fantasies.

 

Christianity, other religions, and suicide are for those who lack the courage to own their insignificance. My insignificance is my insignificance. It is what I have. I can choose to cower from it. I can latch onto ridiculous fantasies or kill myself, or I can be courageous and live in the face of my insignificance. I can even enjoy it.

 

Camus tells the story of Sisyphus who was condemned by the gods "to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor."

 

". . . As for this myth, one sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it and push it up a slope a hundred times over; one sees the face screwed up, the cheek tight against the stone, the shoulder bracing the clay-covered mass, the foot wedging it, the fresh start with arms outstretched, the wholly human security of two earth-clotted hands. At the very end of his long effort measured by sky less space and time without depth, the purpose is achieved. Then Sisyphus watches the stone rush down in a few moments toward that lower world whence he will have to push it up again toward the summit. He goes back down to the plain.

 

"It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus interests me. A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock.

 

"If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him? The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and this fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious. Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched conditions: it is what he thinks of during his descent. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory. There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.

 

"If the descent is thus sometimes performed in sorrow, it can also take place in joy. This word is not too much. Again I fancy Sisyphus returning toward his rock, and the sorrow was in the beginning. When the images of earth cling too tightly to memory, when the call of happiness becomes too insistent, it happens that melancholy rises in man's heart: this is the rock's victory this is the rock itself. The boundless grief is too heavy to bear. These are our nights of Gethsemane. But crushing truths perish from being acknowledged. Thus Oedipus at the outset obeys fate without knowing it. But from the moment he knows his tragedy begins. Yet at the same moment, blind and desperate, he realizes that the only bond linking him to the world is the cool hand of a girl. Then a trmendous remark rings out: 'Despite so many ordeals, my advanced age and the nobility of my sould make me conclude that all is well.' . . . Ancient wisdom confirms modern heroism.

 

". . . It drives out of this world a god who had come into it with dissatisfaction and a preference for futile sufferings. It makes of fate a human matter, which must be settled among men.

 

"All Sisyphus' silent joy is contained therein. His fate belongs to him. His rock is his thing. Likewise, the absurd man [i.e. the person who can joyfully accept the universe as it is], when he contemplates his torment, silences all the idols. In the universe suddenly restored to its silence, the myriad wondering little voices of the earth rise up. . . If there is a personal fate, there is no higher destiny, or at least there is but one which he concludes is inevitable and despicable. For the rest, he knows himself to be the master of his days. At that subtle moment when man glances backward over his life, Sisyphus returning toward his rock, in that slight pivoting he contemplates that series of unrelated actions which becomes his fate, created by him, combined under his memory's eye and soon sealed by his death. Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling.

 

"I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

 

Or, more tersely, and maybe even more poetically:

 

Oddly, in my more maudlin moments when I realized how short my life is and how tiny and insignifigant I am compared to the grand scheme of things, I found the idea gives me a profound sense of comfort.

 

I like being an insignifigant speck. The universe doesn't sit on my shoulders and I'm not critical to making it turn. I can be my tiny and simple self, and do whatever I want because my life is entirely mine. It's such a grand sense of freedom.

 

That is the voice of courage.

 

Camus believes there are three choices one can make when faced with the meaninglessness of the universe; I believe there are two: courage or cowardice.

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