I’m retired, so I have a lot on my plate. Still, I occasionally take time out to think; to reflect on what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and whether I should continue doing it.

Everyone can benefit from stepping back, surveying the landscape, and charting their path forward; making sure they’re on the path they want to follow.

Sounds ominous, don’t it? I mean, it sounds as if something has gone wrong and needs fixing.

Nah! Well, maybe a little, but nothing of great consequence.

For them who don’t know, writing stuff down is a good way for me to focus my thoughts. It also makes it easier to catch flaws in my thinking once I read back what I wrote. It’s because when I read something, I’m focused on what it means, any implications of it, where it might offer either something useful or, conversely, lead me astray. Most of all, reading my thoughts affords me the luxury of checking if they make any sense. 

I also do that with the spoken word. What I hear goes through the same multi-layer analysis. I suggest the same practice to anyone wanting to catch errors in their thinking; write down what you think and then read it back — aloud, if need be — and check if it still makes as much sense as it did while still in your head.

Words — spoken or written — matter. 

That’s a warning the following is written off the cuff and not previously thought out in detail.

But, let’s begin with photography . . .

The New Moon – October 11, 2018 (click for larger version)

I mentioned in two previous posts (HERE and HERE)  about my struggles regarding going forward. By that, I mean what equipment I should use.

“Don’t be a dick” was the topic of Phil Plait’s speech at TAM 8. You can watch the video but, basically, Plait argued for moderation in discussions. He was addressing skeptics and atheists and specifically their interaction with the religious and believers in “woo”.

As might be expected, the response was mixed. Some people accused him of being an accommodationist and others applauded his call for measured and civil interactions.  

At the time — eight years or so ago — my reaction was . . . well, defensive. 

Mind you, I found a lot of counterarguments and rebuttals in support of my defensiveness but the reality was inescapable: I had to examine why I was so defensive. 

I reviewed my past discussions and interactions with people and examined how I approached discussions about religion and magic and UFOs and any topic I considered anchored in ignorance and willful disregard of science and reason. 

The conclusion was uncomfortable to admit . . . not a majority of the time but enough times to be significant, I was a dick. Needlessly confrontational and prone to badgering would be another way to say I was a dick.

Believe it or not, this is by request. Also, lots of words (3,135 of them). Also, it’s my opinion . . . which means I meander in thought. I put this together rather quickly so if you find fault with it . . . well, I won’t be surprised.

Anyway, coming from a friend, the request carried weight.

I was asked to answer this question:
How do you get purpose and meaning without God?

Mind you, he already has answers but was curious to read what I had to say. Well, now, you know I won’t offer up the answer without many words leading up to it.

A number of my previous posts address this question either directly or indirectly, but I thought I would revisit the issue. In this piece, I’ll speak primarily about Christians. Other religions might be more or less descriptive in such matters but if there’s a god involved, that’s who believers say gives their lives meaning and purpose.

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Some readers might know we live in Hawaiʻi. To most, Hawaiʻi seems like a paradise; a promise of idyllic life filled with skin products made from coconuts. 

That last part is true, but there’s a darker, dangerous, and, frankly, unsettling aspect to living here. 

Yes, I’m speaking about the infrastructure. There is no Natural Gas service here, so people who want to use gas for cooking (much better than using electricity, I can tell you) have tanks outside their buildings and these tanks are regularly serviced by Hawaiʻi Gas.