Updates from October, 2015 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:03 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , creativity, depression, , , , , mental health, original sin, , ,   


    Countless studies have shown that people who suffer from depression have more accurate world views than nondepressed people. Depressed people do not nurture the cheering illusion that they can control the course of their lives. And they understand, all too acutely, the basic conditions of existence: that their lifespan is just a brief blip in the cold sweep of history, that suffering is real and ongoing, that they and all the people they love are going to die. That outlook is known as depressive realism. Depressed people might be unhappy, but–when it comes to these big-picture, existential matters–they are generally more right than the rest of us. –Kathryn Schulz, author of BEING WRONG

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The National Institute of Mental Health lists six forms of depressive disorder/depression: major depression, persistent depressive disorder, psychotic depression, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, and bipolar disorder (aka manic-depressive illness). NOT listed is Depressive realism.

    I have never given much thought to depression (in the listed sense), probably because no one I’ve known (that I’m aware of) suffered from depression. However, the Schulz quotation strikes a chord because I’ve “suffered” from realism for years (since I’ve been free of inherited Catholicism), but without becoming depressed as a result….though heaven knows I have good reason to be (and perhaps should be), given that I “understand, all too acutely,” the reality Schulz cites. Why am I not (by N.I.M.H. standards) depressed? Why isn’t everyone depressed?

    There are palliatives available before depression might come into play — for some, there is no shortage of such catholicons as drugs, alcoholism, power addiction, and yes, religion, to hold the wolf of reality at bay or serve as “the cheering illusion” that all’s well that ends well. Who knows, maybe all does end well, after all….but, given the mean time in the meantime, you could’ve fooled me. Life seems to imitate a product designed and built (sooner or later) to fail, but am I depressed? No….and, I take it, neither are you. Why not?

    Well, it’s not as if life were an unmitigated disaster, that’s why — at least, not for most of us. The half-full part of the glass, I wouldn’t miss for the world. Even if our futures get short shrift, if our talents go under-appreciated, if we see ignorance, arrogance and greed thrive — even if love goes south — was it not “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?” No matter what is terribly wrong with the world (thanks to both the Creator, if any, and the created), we see in small children not original sin, but original innocence (perhaps our original innocence), the sheer joy of being alive, the promise of hope….and we hope to God or Fate that their promise doesn’t go up in smoke.

    After due consideration, my take-away from all of this is that if we really want to get it right, do not go gentle into that good night*; there is a more challenging way: depressive realism. Think about it. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.*

    *from the poem by Dylan Thomas



    • Mél@nie 5:22 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Depression is a real illness(disease), unfortunately… completely different from sad(down) “seasons” like blues or spleen that we all experience now and then… what we call in French “le mal de vivre” = the difficulty of living…

      • * *

      I love Dylan Thomas poems… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:33 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the translation of that four-word expression – somehow it sounds much better in French than in English. 🙂 Sometimes I wish I hadn’t let my high school French fall by the wayside – such a beautiful language!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Mél@nie 4:25 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink

          avec plaisir! 🙂 btw, we’re proud of our American son-in-law who is fluent in French after almost 18 months over here… he’s considered kinda “an intellectual”(LOL!) by his American folks… 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 5:50 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Dr. Don says Kathryn Schulz suffered from Depression. Most Depression goes untreated as most people who suffer from it have no awareness of it. The only time people seek treatment is when they can’t function. If you’re able to get up, do your ADLs and got to work well most people figure they’re okay. But they’re not. Dr. Don is convinced that all Alcoholism and Drug use is caused by people self medicating their mental illness. Just remember that Dr. Don is unlicensed in all 50 States and anywhere else for that matter. And, he only takes cash so most people don’t listen to him. What can we say other than quel dommage.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:08 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        After having read Kathryn Schulz’s book, I have to say that I’m on the same page in almost every respect….so much so that if she suffered from depression, I highly recommend it (or at least what grew out of it) for the rest of us. As for the rest of what Dr. Don says, I defer to his greater knowledge of the subject (of actual depression); his analysis seems on the money (cash only).

        Quel dommage, indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Midwestern Plant Girl 6:00 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m not only a member of the depressive reality group, I’m the president! 😉
      Great post! I am trying to cancel my membership to this club, I’ve deleted my TV, stopped listening to radio, but reality keeps creeping in. On the outside, no one knows about my secret club status. I guess I popped the cork on that now. 😃

      Liked by 2 people

      • Joseph Nebus 10:23 pm on November 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I suppose they just keep losing your cancellation notice at the depressive reality club. Figures that would keep going wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:11 am on October 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll drink to that! But your secret is safe with me – I won’t tell a soul. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jane 5:36 am on October 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I can certainly relate to the quote and your own thoughts on this. I am prone to depressive realism. I also tend to be someone who soaks up the feelings of those around me. It is difficult for me not to see the pain of others and want to relieve it. My therapy for depressive realism is spending time in nature and also being proactive when I can. So if I can see a way I can help to improve something or give relief to someone, I give it my best shot. Nature is a soothing drug for me though. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:12 pm on October 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        And I, in turn, can relate to your comment, Jane (in fact, I’m starting to think we might be related). Seriously, though, spending time in nature has done wonders for me as well, and giving relief to someone can be encapsulated in one word: empathy (politicians, take note!).

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:36 am on October 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Whenever I feel the drab side of life pressing in, I take comfort in the thought that anything that ever happened to anyone else could happen to me, but most of it won’t. Then I have a beer.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:26 pm on October 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        An admirable philosophy, indeed. Some people might say it would be better to pray, but beer does just as much good and contributes more to the economy. Besides, you can’t drink prayer while watching football.


    • Don Frankel 10:51 am on November 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Depression can definitely give people great insights. I’m thinking Hemingway here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arkenaten 3:33 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Except that he shot himself … one ‘insight’ he may have gotten wrong?


      • Mél@nie 4:28 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Don, I love Hemingway’s works and he loved… France! 🙂 btw, Ernest’s medical record was publicly released in 1991 and it did confirm his diagnosis: hemochromatosis – an incurable genetic disease that causes physical damage, severe psychiatric and neurological disorders, which might explain suicides in the Hemingway family: his father, his brother, his sister…


        Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 7:23 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink

          I can highly recommend taking time to click on & read Mel@nie’s post (above) to anyone with even a moderate interest in Hemingway. I read it when first posted, and found it fascinating!


    • mistermuse 7:15 pm on November 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, your mention of Hemingway led me to check for other notables who are “presumed to have had depression” (according to Wikipedia). Among those on the list are Woody Allen, Hans Christian Andersen, Julian Assange (of WikiLeaks fame), Barbara Bush, Truman Capote, Ray Charles, Winston Churchill, Joseph Conrad, Rodney Dangerfield, Larry David, Charles Dickens, Bob Dylan, Wm. Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Audrey Hepburn, Franz Kafka, Stephen King, David Letterman, Meriwether Lewis, Abraham Lincoln, Herman Melville, Michelangelo, Marilyn Monroe, Bill Murray….and that’s just the first half of the alphabet, which for some reason doesn’t include Don Frankel and mistermuse. Maybe if we tell Wikipedia how depressed we are that we’re not on the list, they’ll include us.

      Liked by 1 person

    • literaryeyes 1:03 pm on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Depressive realism isn’t a mental illness. It may be a sign of health, and so is Positive realism, which you write about. They’ve got to be balanced. Depression is a serious, sometimes fatal disease, and very painful to experience. As someone who’s been through Major Depression, I say, count me out of the fan club!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:42 pm on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      In hindsight, the last sentence of the first paragraph (after the opening quote) of my post probably should have included the words (“, and properly so,”) after “NOT listed” to make it clear that Depressive realism not only isn’t on the list, but doesn’t belong on the list. However, since you agree that Depressive realism is a sign of health, I don’t quite get why you (or Midwestern Plant Girl, for that matter) would want out of the club! 🙂 In any case, as someone who’s been through Major Depression, perhaps if would be helpful to others to relate here (or on your own blog) HOW you got through it, unless it’s too painful to re-visit. Be that as it may, may I extend sincere congratulations (if that’s the right word) for having done so.


    • linnetmoss 6:30 am on November 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m reminded of the Oxford don who when asked whether his atheism wasn’t terribly depressing, observed that he was looking forward to a good lunch 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:29 am on November 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      ….not unlike arekhill1 (eleven comments ago) having a beer.


    • RMW 12:10 pm on November 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don’t wish to make light of anybody else’s debilitating illness but I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression (whatever that is) on at least three occasions… I refuse to take medication as artificial happiness doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve learned that dragging myself out the door and walking as far as my legs will take me is a great antidote. But other times I sit with it and let it do its thing… you can learn a lot about yourself. A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either, but over-indulging can definitely make it worse. For me it’s a matter of balancing the good with the bad… I know that wheel will be turning and the sun will come out at some point… and you can’t have the day without the night!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:52 pm on November 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate your comment. I feel as if I have a better understanding of depression since writing this post, thanks to yours and previous responses. I sometimes wonder why I don’t fall into depression (knock wood), given that I have a pretty fatalistic attitude toward life, but maybe that itself is the reason. When you don’t look at the world through rose-colored glasses, what you see is the reality you’re not surprised to see, as opposed to being overwhelmed by it. I suppose that makes me a cynic, but at least I’m a cynic with a sense of humor. 😦 🙂


  • mistermuse 12:43 am on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , proverb,   


    Man is learning all his life and yet he dies in ignorance. –Yugoslav proverb

    Most of us never get it.
    It’s not as if we run out of time.
    Had Methuselah lived a thousand nine hundred sixty nine years,
    could he have handled more than he feared not to believe?
    If what you want to see is what you “get” — if you don’t
    know what you don’t know — what is there to be learned?
    The answer, my friend, is growin’ in the womb….
    the surreal promise of perpetuity born in real time.


    • arekhill1 10:31 am on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      All I’ve learned for sure in my years, Sr. Muse, is that anything that ever happened to anybody else can happen to you. If that’s not it, I admit I don’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 12:57 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Each generation does seem to get better!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:01 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Let’s just say that the poem is my take on the Yugoslav proverb which preceded it….but sometimes things get lost in translation. In a certain sense, my philosophical/observations-on-life poems are like my humor/jokes: if they have to be explained, they leave one scratching one’s head (not unlike the effect on me of the ways of thinking/believing that I observe and write about).


    • Osyth 1:07 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m not scratching my head … I love this. Wisdom, wit and cynisism combine to make a wholly truthful poem 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:07 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well BroadBlogs, I’d just say that if that’s true, a substantial portion of each succeeding generation hasn’t gotten the word!


    • mistermuse 1:11 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Osyth. I cheerfully admit to being a cynic, and will take your word for the wisdom and wit parts.


      • Osyth 1:18 pm on September 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Wit and wisdom are purely in the eyes and ears of the receiver. Those that believe they are wise are generally deluded 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 3:54 am on September 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      We think we learn so much. We even build great structures to show how much but in the end it really isn’t much at all.

      Perhaps we’re at our best when questioning or as Shakespeare put “in apprehension how like a God.”


    • mistermuse 6:58 am on September 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You got that right, Don. We ARE at our best when questioning. Unfortunately, many politicians seem to think they’re at their best when absolutely certain, when steam-rolling anyone and anything that gets in their way, and when shooting down reasonable questioning of their uncompromising assertions instead of working to find solutions.

      Liked by 1 person

    • natuurfreak 3:51 pm on September 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for visiting my blog.I find here wise words to think over.


    • mistermuse 4:12 pm on September 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You are very welcome….and thank you in return for your comment.


  • mistermuse 12:01 am on August 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , first grade, , kindergarten, nuns, parochial school, , , , , school days   


    For those who couldn’t get enough (?) of the broad humor in my last post (THE PUNS OF AUGUST), I thought I’d close out the month with more of same (with apologies if you’re put off by nuns being spoofed — broad-ly speaking):

    What do you call a nun who walks in her sleep? A roamin’ Catholic.

    What do you call a nun with a limp? Hopalong Chastity.

    Two nuns are walking through the park. Suddenly they are accosted by two guys who rip off their habits and start raping them. The first nun looks up to heaven and cries, “Forgive him, Father, for he knows not what he is doing.” The second nun turns and moans, “Oh God, mine does!”

    Nuns are married to God, so….if they divorce, do they get half the universe?

    It’s after dark, so the parish priest accompanies the nun back to the convent. Upon arriving, he asks if he can kiss her. She replies, “Well, alright, as long as you don’t get into the habit.”

    Why did the nun become a seamstress? Because God told her sew.  

    Sew much for nuns puns. Seams to me, what with the school year just beginning in many places, it’s a good time to ask how many of us remember our first day of school? Back in the days before pre-school, when a five year old kid started cold in kindergarten or first grade, going to school for the first time on that first day could be a rather traumatic experience….especially if it was a parochial school and the kid hadn’t yet been exposed to the accoutrements of Catholicism. You might recall it something like this:


    Sister Scholastica,
    It’s my first day of school;
    I pray mom was right when
    She told me nuns aren’t cruel.

    You’re covered all in black
    From your head to your toes….
    What’s to become of me,
    I’m afraid God only knows.

    Are you even human, or one
    Of those “other world” things?
    You can’t be an angel,
    Because angels have wings.

    Still, you must have been sent
    From God’s home in the sky —
    Mom said you do His will
    And don’t even ask why.

    So much for August. If you’re wondering whether I plan to carry my every-fifth-day August publishing schedule over into September and beyond, the answer is wait, and “Si.” Caveat: you may, on rare occasions, see an in-betweener…but I plan nun-such in the foreseeable future.




    • Stella's Mommy 9:28 am on August 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I think I’m going to print this post out and put it in Stella’s homework folder to turn into her catholic school teachers 🙂 At the very least I am going to make sure Stella memorized some of these jokes for some good playground humor.


      • mistermuse 12:44 pm on August 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I hear that nowadays, most of the teachers in Catholic elementary schools are laywomen (by which, of course, I mean non-nuns, not women who got laid…off from other jobs). But if any of Stella’s teachers are nuns and see this post, I hope they have more of a sense of humor than I remember! 😦 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:15 am on August 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Nuns, priests, indeed the whole American Catholic church is passing into history, Sr. Muse. When we are gone, none will remember the schoolrooms ruled by guilt and violence in which we endured our formative years. They will be as extinct as the dodo.

      I blame global warming, myself.


    • mistermuse 1:01 pm on August 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You may be right, Ricardo, but never underestimate the staying power of dogmatic fundamentalism – it has always been with us, and my guess is that it always will be. But at least the legion of Catholic dogmatists has the decency not to behead those who disagree with them, so I must admit they have evolved somewhat since the Inquisition.


    • michele39 5:04 pm on August 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I made the transition from playing with toys among the kids from kindergarden at age 5 to learning how to read and write in my Catholic school kindergarden. I was very good until I giggled and chattered with 3 other girls while the Nun tried to teach the class a song. The four of us were punished and I never spoke out of turn again. I did not like some of your Nun jokes, Although I now embrace the Jewish faith, I am still respectful of the nuns and priests. I didn’t. have any lay teachers but my girls did. Some were great and some were not . A lot depends on the student of course.


    • mistermuse 6:08 pm on August 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The first five of the six jokes are from “jokes” sites on the internet – only the seamstress joke and the poem are mine. Nuntheless, I take full respunsibility for them, as a politician might say (and I apologized in advance in my first paragraph).


    • Don Frankel 3:16 am on August 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I wanted to make a really smart comment but then I just had nun.


    • mistermuse 7:05 am on August 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Same here….so I’ll borrow a pun that michele39 might have appreciated re her Jewish faith:
      How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.


    • BroadBlogs 2:03 pm on September 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Love these nun puns!


    • mistermuse 4:22 pm on September 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I didn’t know, until I looked it up today, that “nun” is the 14th letter of the Hebrew alphabet — no wonder michele39 didn’t like some of my nun jokes (no offense intended, michele39!). Anyway, I love them too, but enough is enough, so there will be nun in my next post.


    • barkinginthedark 4:20 pm on April 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply


      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:04 pm on August 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: doctrine, dog days, dogma, , , , Isaac Asimov, karma, , , , time flies when you're having fun,   


    Here it is, the afternoon of August five, and my spirits have taken a dive. In my last post, I let it be known that frequent publication was becoming an over-extended labor of love, and I’d need to pare down my postings to one every five days, starting today.

    Little did I realize at the time that August 5 is WORK LIKE A DOG DAY. So much for taking it easy just as I try to ease into a more liberating schedule. The bright spot, however, is that August 5 looks to be a temporary glitch, offset, as fate would have it, by August 10 (LAZY DAY) and August 15 (RELAXATION DAY)….or,  MAKE-UP FOR AUGUST 5 DAY and PHONE-IT-IN DAY, as I call it. That’s a pun, in case you weren’t paying attention.

    Meanwhile, if I must work like a dog today, the post that suggests itself is about dogs. Problem is, I haven’t had a dog since I was a boy, and frankly, I don’t have much interest in writing about some other man’s best friend, or even dogs in general. So, if it’s OK with you (and even if it isn’t), I’m going to write instead about a pet peeve of mine which, in its own way, is even more of a dog: dogma.

    My dog-eared dictionary defines dogma doubly as a declamation of doctrines deemed true by a religious sect, and/or as an assertion of beliefs or unproven principles proclaimed to be absolute truth. Well, I suppose every dogma must have its day, but unfortunately, no dogma is satisfied with so limited a lifespan. Come to think of it, neither is this post — it needs to live five days, or I’m barking up the wrong tree with my new schedule. It therefore behooves me to call upon some dead wags and wits whose quotes on the subject survive them, and will hopefully survive being posted here:

    Sorry, but my karma just ran over your dogma. –George Carlin

    On the dogmas of religion as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and all others, , and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind. Were I to enter on that arena, I should only add to the number of Bedlamites. –Thomas Jefferson

    Dogma does not mean the absence of thought, but the end of thought. –G.K. Chesterton

    Until every soul is freely permitted to investigate every book and creed and dogma, the world cannot be free. It is amazing to me that a difference of opinion upon subjects we know nothing with certainty about, should make us hate, persecute and despise each other. –Robert Ingersoll

    So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You’d better rearrange your beliefs, then, because you certainly can’t rearrange the universe. –Issac Asimov

    Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance, it was done by dogma, it was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods. –Jacob Bronowski

    Believe those who are seeking truth. Doubt those who find it. –Andre Gide

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Enough. That does it until August 10 (LAZY DAY), when, I dare say, the effort that goes into my post will be considerably less dogged. If five days away seems far off, remember this:

    Time’s fun when you’re having flies. –Kermit the Frog



    • arekhill1 12:11 pm on August 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      As the wise man once said, “Everybody has to believe in something, and I believe I’ll have another beer.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:37 pm on August 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        That is true wisdom indeed, Ricardo. In fact, I believe I’ll drink to that.


    • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 1:46 pm on August 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      What an excellent post with perfect quotes! Carlin was such an intelligent and observant soul. Take it easy my friend, rest up, and I’ll “see you” again in 5 days! Xoxo Melanie

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:45 pm on August 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Did you notice that even his name – CARlin – went perfectly with his quote? Now that’s what I call karma! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 4:06 pm on August 5, 2015 Permalink

          Yes! It’s awesome!


    • Don Frankel 3:31 pm on August 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This is apropos as these are the Dog Days of Summer. Now I’m working on another theory, a rather involved and of course all encompassing theory of everything a la Stephan Hawking type thingy and it’s Everyone Got Paid. But it’s too complex to explain in this space or even in my mind, so it may never see the light of day.


    • mistermuse 3:55 pm on August 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Personally, I like Kermit the Frog’s theory: just take it as it comes.


    • mistermuse 7:42 pm on August 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well, perhaps if a dog ate something that didn’t agree with him (like maybe a frog), he might turn green. And if he ate it for lunch, it could be a Dog Day Afternoon. And if it’s a Dog Day Afternoon, I think we’ve seen that movie before.


  • mistermuse 4:48 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , On the Origin of Species,   


    I was very unwilling to give up my belief…. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. —Charles Darwin

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I have on occasion speculated that if I weren’t a deist, I would without doubt (or more accurately, with doubt) be an agnostic. For me, atheism is a non-starter; I cannot rule out possibilities beyond the point where mere mortals have the capability to ascertain. For me, the difference between an atheist and an agnostic is humility: we’re limited humans. Even if you and I don’t believe in the ‘revealed’ God, why fall into the trap of conflating man’s invented God (religion) with the fact of creation and thus the plausibility of a creator, divorced and absent though He (It) may be from what He (It) hath wrought?

    These thoughts were in the back (but not too far back) of my mind as I was reading CHARLES DARWIN – A SCIENTIFIC BIOGRAPHY by the late Sir Gavin de Beer, a British scientist and author of many books on zoology, embryology, genetics, etc. I’d come upon this old book while library-browsing, and realized that, while we all know what Darwin was famous for, do we really know Charles Darwin, the man? What was he like, and what did he believe at various points in his life as his thinking evolved (pun intended)?

    Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind in getting to know Darwin is that he was “The man who struggled with his own ideas” (BBC website), keeping silent for 20 years before going public with his painstaking research, and describing his writing On the Origin of Species as “like confessing a murder.” Its publication in 1859 represents “one man’s struggle with the most radical idea of all time — the idea that humans shared a common ancestor with apes.”

    Darwin was born of Christian parents in 1809 at Shrewsbury, England, the son of a successful physician and a mother who died when Charles was eight years old, after which (quoting de Beer) “his home upbringing devolved largely on his elder sisters to whom, in spite of their persistent fault-finding, he was ever grateful for instilling in him the spirit of humanity.” Additionally, his grandfathers were important Enlightenment figures: Josiah Wedgewood, anti-slavery campaigner, and Erasmus Darwin, a doctor who ‘wrote the book’ (ZOONOMIA) on the radical idea that one species could transmute into another.

    Darwin’s father wished him to become a doctor, but after realizing that his son had an aversion to practicing medicine, he (quoting de Beer) “proposed that he [Charles] take holy orders in the Church of England. Indeed, at this time in his life, he felt so convinced of the truth of his religion” that he accepted. But after three years of studies at Christ’s College, he considered the time “wasted. His greatest pleasure was collecting beetles for the sheer joy of collecting.” After meeting men of distinction in botany and other fields, he studied geology and read books “from which he derived a zeal to travel and study natural history.”

    A set of fortuitous happenings led to a position as a neophyte naturalist on the HMS Beagle, which set sail from England in Dec. 1831, not to return until October 1836….five years of meticulous observations, collecting specimens and exhaustive exploration too lengthy to detail here, but which began a new chapter in the history of science.

    Years later, “The result of his experiences was that (says de Beer quoting Darwin) My theology is a simple muddle; I cannot look at the universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent design, or indeed of design of any kind, in the details….the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wonderful universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide. I am aware that if we admit a first cause, the mind still craves to know from whence it came. Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. The safest conclusion seems to me that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man’s intellect.”

    “Darwin never felt any but the most friendly and charitable feelings for those who differed from him in matters of religion, provided that they were honest. This is amply confirmed from both sides. Rev. J. Brodie Innis wrote to Darwin, We often differed, but you are one of those rare mortals from whom one can differ and yet feel no shade of animosity, and that is a thing of which I should feel very proud if anyone could say it of me. Darwin’s description of their relations was equally generous: Innis and I have been fast friends for thirty years, and we never thoroughly agreed on any subject but once, and then we stared hard at each other, and thought one of us must be very ill.”

    And now I feel I know Charles Darwin, the man.

    P.S. My thanks to Richard Cahill, whose July 23rd post “God, Man and Donald Trump” inadvertently suggested my title for this post after I thought better of my original (or more accurately, less original) title.



    • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 5:02 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very cool! I like this post as both an Anthropologist and an Agnostic! Very well written! ♡ Melanie

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mél@nie 10:06 am on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        excellent, indeed, so same here, Melanie… 🙂 btw, I’m Mélanie from Toulouse, France… 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 10:07 am on July 27, 2015 Permalink

          Hi! How fun to say hello around the world to another Melanie!!!!


        • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 10:08 am on July 27, 2015 Permalink

          Oh by the way I am in Salem, Oregon, USA


    • mistermuse 6:24 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! You are the (even better) female equivalent of a gentleman and a scholar 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 6:26 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m basically an agnostic but choose to err on the side of belief in a higher power simply because I feel more empowered when I do, And the world seems more magical.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:40 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not so sure that we fall on different sides of the deist/agnostic comparison – your belief in “a higher power” sounds similar to me being an agnostic if I weren’t a deist. Perhaps it somewhat depends on one’s definition of deist. As I understand it, no deist believes in a revealed God, but some may believe in the efficacy of prayer and/or even an afterlife. Personally, I believe prayers are useless and a possible afterlife is “beyond the scope of man’s intellect” (to quote Darwin).


    • Don Frankel 4:54 am on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Who else can I have these conversations with? We’ve been on this subject on and off for the last few years. I’ve realized something about you and Richard and other people I know, their religious upbringing seems to almost have been traumatic. In that, someone or someones tried to brow beat all of you into believing. I was brow beaten into non-believing. Makes me wonder why people get so excited about it all. Or should I use the term stimulated? Mental illness ran rampant in my family.

      What most people don’t want to realize is we just can’t know. We are stuck with these pathetic little things we call minds. We can’t see or hear things that are happening around us all the time. We can perceive just so much and understand it seems, less.

      Darwin is a prime example of how we are at our best when asking questions and at our worst when we assume we know all about something, we can’t possibly know.


    • mistermuse 6:53 am on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, your upbringing strikes me as a prime example of that old saying to the effect that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Perhaps I am another example, though under different circumstances (my parents divorced when I was 12 and from that point I grew up without a father; looking back, I see that as the beginning of a traumatic period, though I didn’t understand it at the time). Anyway, I’m glad to have gotten to ‘know’ Darwin, because I didn’t realize the anguish he went through in evolving into the man he became – a man I can thoroughly empathize with and relate to.


    • arekhill1 10:33 am on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      While I appreciate anybody paying attention to me, if there is an afterlife, Darwin must be fuming in it for being mentioned in the same breath as Trump, Sr. Muse.


    • mistermuse 12:21 pm on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      No doubt that’s true, Ricardo….plus, the fact that The Donald represents a major step backward on the evolutionary ladder would seem to raise questions about The Theory. Darwin can’t be too happy about that, either.

      Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 11:35 pm on July 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I never saw this post in my Reader – some posts have been appearing lower down among ones I have already read.
      I’m glad I came to have a look at your Blog and find this very interesting essay on Darwin. I think it is hard nowadays to imagine just how difficult it was for Darwin to accept his own theory and present it to a narrow-minded world. I got his Origin of the Species out of the library once. It is a massive work, both literally and figuratively.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:32 am on July 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      That’s an excellent point about Darwin….and it seems that “narrow-minded world” will ever be with us. In the past 100 years, we’ve seen everything from the Scopes Monkey Trial to the present violence and barbarity of religious fundamentalism. Not much evolution in that world.


    • M. Talmage Moorehead 10:49 pm on August 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “For me, the difference between an atheist and an agnostic is humility…”

      That’s brilliant! I love it. Thank you.


      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:58 am on August 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I “humbly” (working on the more realistic “semi-humbly,” but evolution is a slow process) accept your judgment. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  • mistermuse 12:01 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , life after death   



    If you were God, would you
    really want the cantankerous,
    know-it-all ex-dwellers of
    planet Earth continuing to bedevil
    each other ad infinitum as your
    unable-to-get-along celestial guests
    (assuming, of course, that you
    have no doubt that You exist)?



    • Michaeline Montezinos 1:14 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thoughtful and clever post, mistermuse

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 6:48 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Heaven is a gated community, Sr. Muse, where the gates are of the pearly variety. Consequently, you live eternally only with others in your socioeconomic strata. It would hardly be Heaven otherwise. Go to Purgatory if you want to mingle.


    • mistermuse 10:51 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      As an ex-Catholic, Purgatory is no longer an option. I would check to see if any other religions believe in Purgatory, but since I’m neither a mingler nor looking for a substitute religion, I think I’ll save myself the trouble.

      Anyway, I’m glad you don’t have to worry, Ricardo. I understand you already live in a gated community, so you’re all set.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 6:08 am on July 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I am that I am, if I am or is it I am what I am. Oh wait is that Popeye?

      Or maybe it is what you think it is. Or is it, it is what it is? I thought that last quote was Brian McNamee but it seems John Locke said it back in 1836 first. But then I always thought Arhnuld originated. “I’ll be back.” But I just caught John Wayne saying the other night in Fort Apache. Who can we trust or is it Whom?


    • mistermuse 6:57 am on July 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, it’s been a while, but now that you mention it, I do seem to recall John Wayne saying “I’ll be back” in Fort Apache. And would you believe I remember John Locke back in 1836 saying whatever he said?

      Who said you get forgetful in your old age! OK, I don’t remember. Nobody’s perfect.


    • Mél@nie 9:26 am on July 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      with due respect, Sir, I do not believe in life after death, eventually in paradise… here’s a quote translated mot-à-mot:’Everything we do while sighing is stained by nothingness… All our thoughts keep on searching the key of a paradise whose gate is already open.'(The ruins of the sky – Christian Bobin)

      • * *

      one more I used as a motto in one of my blogposts:“Your daily life is your temple and your religion…”(Khalil Gibran)

      • * *

      jamais 2 sans 3… I totally agree with Louis Aragon:”Il est grand temps d’instaurer la religion de l’amour!” – “it’s time to establish the religion of LOVE!” – amen! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:23 am on July 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Mel@nie, I can see how you might assume from my poem that I believe in life after death, but it would be just that: an assumption. In fact, I neither believe nor disbelieve in life after death. There may be exceptions, but generally speaking, what’s the point in believing OR disbelieving something that is humanly impossible to know? Actually, a number of my humorous poems (such as this one) attempt to show the absurdity of such a belief by taking it to one of its logical conclusions. I think humor works best when it not only amuses, but (hopefully) makes people think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mél@nie 5:55 am on July 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        lu & approuvé = read and approved… 🙂 exactement et absolument d’accord avec vous, Monsieur Muse… et voilà! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 8:22 pm on April 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andrew Greeley, , , , , , , Scopes Monkey Trial,   


    Now and again, when I come across a quotation I particularly like, I bookmark it or write it down to save for possible use in a future post. Over time, I’ve accumulated a considerable cache of said quotes, which has me feeling somewhat like the poor soul beneath this 1837 tombstone in Thermon, Maryland:

    Here lies an atheist. All dressed up and no place to go.

    So here I am with a quoter’s worth of quotes which I have yet to use, and probably never will, as things stand. To coin a phrase, my quotations situation has come to a dead end. They’ve no place to go. I’ve reached the now-or-never point — use ’em or lose ’em. Thus, the reason for this post: it’s full speed ahead, and let the quotes (the first of which defines an atheist in a way I’d not heard of) fall where they may:

    The atheist does not say ‘there is no God,’ but says ‘I know not what you mean by God; I am without idea of God’; the word ‘God’ is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation. The Bible God I deny; the Christian God I disbelieve in; but I am not rash enough to say there is no God as long as you tell me you are unprepared to define God for me. -Charles Bradlaugh

    He who is not aware of his ignorance will only be misled by his knowledge. -Richard Whatley

    Moral systems are devised not to make life difficult, not to forbid pleasure, but to protect human beings from other human beings. -Andrew Greeley

    Allright, forget it. We’ll play in your ballpark. -Spencer Tracy (Clarence Darrow) to Fredric March (Wm. Jennings Bryan) when the Bible (but not Darwin’s ORIGIN OF SPECIES) is admitted as evidence in the film based on the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, INHERIT THE WIND.

    It seems to me that organized creeds are collections of words around a wish. -Zora Hurston

    Any physical cause [of the universe] is by definition part of the universe to be explained. Thus any purely scientific explanation of [it’s] existence is doomed to be circular. Even if it starts from something very minimal – a cosmic egg, a tiny bit of quantum vacuum, a singularity – it still starts with something, not nothing. -Jim Holt

    “GOD” is most accurately defined as the personification of ignorance, representing everything we do not yet understand. -Kenneth Marsalek

    On the sixth day, God created man. On the seventh day, man returned the favor. -Unknown

    I don’t believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear. -Woody Allen

    Well, humor is the great thing, the saving thing, after all. -Mark Twain



    • arekhill1 9:34 am on April 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The only difference between the God your parents told you about and Santa Claus is that your parents eventually told you there is no such thing as Santa Claus.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:53 pm on April 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      There is no such thing as Santa Claus? What a bummer, to find out after all these years!

      Judging by that first quote (by Charles Bradlaugh), there is also no such thing as an atheist who says there is no God. But, based on every other atheist I’ve ever come across, I’ve got a feeling that Bradlaugh speaks only for himself. Nonetheless, he sounds like my kind of atheist….an agnostic!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:49 am on April 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “You can observe a lot by just watching.” Yogi.

      Maybe if we observe enough we’ll get it but then maybe we can’t.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:25 am on April 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Yogi couldn’t have said it better, Don.


    • Mélanie 12:19 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Mark Twain and Woody Allen… 2 great philosophers, as well… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 6:21 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hmmm. Now I’m thinking I should have included a quote from mistermuse. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 8:23 am on April 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brave New World, , Karen Armstrong, , Pope Francis, rational thinking, , the eternal questions   


    Maybe this world is another planet’s Hell. -Aldous Huxley

    Suppose you are among this world’s more comfortable creatures, living the good — even privileged — life. You may therefore think Aldous Huxley was a pessimist, at best. Maybe, from where you’re sitting, you don’t see his Brave New World as all gloom and doom. From “another planet,” however, maybe Huxley’s vision wouldn’t seem far-fetched. Maybe that vantage point would reveal how Earth’s other half lives. Two views vying for accepted wisdom; distance as metaphor for perception. What is myth? What is reality?

    The above is the sort of rumination one might entertain as one reads Karen Armstrong’s A SHORT HISTORY OF MYTH, which opens with the sentence Human beings have always been mythmakers. Because “myth is about the unknown, we are meaning-seeking creatures [with] imagination, the faculty that produces religion and mythology. Neanderthal graves show that when these early people became conscious of their mortality, they created some sort of counter-narrative that enabled them to come to terms with it.”

    According to Armstrong, “mythology speaks of another plane that exists alongside our own world. Belief in this invisible but more powerful reality, sometimes called the world of the gods, is a basic theme. Mythology was not about theology, in the modern sense, but about human experience. People thought that gods, humans, animals and nature were inextricably bound up together, subject to the same laws, and composed of the same divine substance.”

    “Some of the very earliest myths were associated with the sky, which seems to have given people their first notion of the divine. When they gazed at the sky [which] towered above them, inconceivably immense, inaccessible and eternal, [they] had a religious experience.” The book goes on to trace mythical thinking and practice, which has helped “many to avoid despair,” down  through the ages up to the Enlightenment and the alienation of modern times.

    Where I differ with Armstrong is her contention that “We must disabuse ourselves of the fallacy that myth is false or that it represents an inferior mode of thought.” Her reasoning is beyond the scope of a brief review such as this, and I do not wish to over-simplify it by trying to sum it up in a sentence or two (read her book, if interested). For my part, I grant that each of us must face the eternal questions with whatever coping resources we can muster, but I am not a “one size fits all” solver. To the contrary, history shows that “one size fits all” fits no one but tyrants, bigots and ideologues.

    This is not to say that I believe myth “represents an inferior mode of thought” to those for whom, for whatever guileless reason (immaturity, honest ignorance, being brainwashed), myth is reality. For the un-guileless, purely rational thinking can be a brave but lonely place for someone without empathy for the myth believers. Perhaps Pope Francis (in another context) said it best: “Who am I to judge?”




    • Don Frankel 8:57 am on April 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Good one Muse. I’ve always been bewildered at how when I start to write something it often comes out quite different than what I was thinking of. I know if God was whispering in my ear when I got done it wouldn’t be the same thing he told me. Why? Because I’m using words and words are symbols. So in my little pea I have for a brain I think that everything, everyone, ever writes, makes an image of or vocalizes, is only symbolic.

      We can’t even see or hear all of what is out there. But somehow we know. I don’t think we do or well, I don’t. But like I said I have a pea for a brain. But I think we’re all just dancin’ in the dark, till the tune ends.

      Might as well enjoy the music.


      • mistermuse 4:54 pm on April 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Don, I can certainly relate to what you experience when you start to write something, although my experience differs somewhat. I start with knowing what I want to say, but not knowing how I’m going to say it. For me, it’s usually a process of one thing leads to another, then going back and polishing and editing what I’ve written (usually multiple times) until I’ve got it as right as I think I can get it. The downside is that this can be very time consuming, but that’s the price of being a relative perfectionist (how’s that for an oxymoron?).

        As for “Might as well enjoy the music” — absolutely! At the same time, I can’t help but be aware of those who, through no fault of their own, are unable to enjoy the music.


    • arekhill1 9:48 am on April 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The fallacy is not that myth-making is an inferior mode of thought–it is–but that myth-makers and believers were inferior thinkers. They just didn’t have alternative explanations for reality.


    • mistermuse 5:09 pm on April 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      My problem is not so much with myth-makers and believers as with those who push or coerce their myths and beliefs unto others — which, unfortunately and all too often, seems to be the nature of the beast. I have little or no quarrel with simple believers (and I don’t mean that as a derogatory term) who simply believe, live and let live.


      • Michaeline Montezinos 8:31 pm on April 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        In your last comment, mistermuse, your mistrust of religious teaching is obvious to us who know you as best we can. Perhaps all those myths peope think of is just an imaginary bridge to something supernatural that we only have a very slight glimpse of here on this planet. Or it may be that some human persons have an exceptional imagination that accompanies their high intelligence. I have a little idea of what I am going to write when a poem comes to mind but the way it now just appears on my computer screen is not easily explained. I am still questioning what I believe and don’t believe. It is an ongoing process.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:38 pm on April 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      According to Aristotle, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it” — as opposed, I suppose, to accepting a thought without first entertaining it. Along those lines, I am NOT still questioning what I believe….but I am still OPEN to questioning what I believe.


    • mistermuse 6:12 am on April 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Michaeline, it is well that you are very grateful you are not a man, as I hear sex-change operations are very expensive.

      But seriously, I think we would do well to understand that the mere fact of being educated is less important than HOW one is educated. Religion educates to accept the beliefs and doctrines of whatever religion is doing the educating. Even secular education falls short if it doesn’t educate to question and think for oneself. I had to learn the latter for myself, so in the most important sense of all, I am self-educated. That is how the (for me) slow process of questioning what I was taught to believe led to questioning what I should believe, until finally I’ve arrived at the point where “I am NOT still questioning what I believe….but I AM still open to questioning what I believe.”


    • BroadBlogs 1:18 pm on April 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Ok, but there’s a place between “myth is reality” and “myth is ridiculous,” right? You can learn a lot from mythology if you take it metaphorically. There are a lot of different resurrection myths in a variety of cultures. The fact that you see them so often suggests that they speak to people. And they certainly can inspire a sense that “what seems like an end may really be a new beginning.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:43 pm on April 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Indeed. I even used the word “metaphor” in the first paragraph of my post. Regarding “a new beginning” (life after death), I have never foreclosed that possibility, either in this post or in previous posts which touched on the subject. We just don’t know….and not knowing is an invitation to speculation, which is what mythology really amounts to. I don’t condemn it – I just define it (at least, as I see it).


    • mistermuse 10:24 pm on April 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Before moving on to my next, more taxing, post tomorrow, myth has it that I respect the four commenters to this post for their contributions to a civilized discussion. Well, you may think I’m myth-taken, but it’s true. I do. Thank you.


      • Michaeline Montezinos 12:51 am on April 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I agree with BroadBlogs about the line between “myth is reality and myth is ridiculous.” And mistermuse, I had to chuckle when you said you wrote “myth-taken.” Clever use of words is your trademark and this is what makes such seemingly serious discussions happier ones.:-)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Michaeline Montezinos 1:09 am on April 15, 2015 Permalink

          I just reread your note about the next post and I realized it most likely will be about Tax Day on April 15.
          P.S. On April 20 could you write a little bit about how the sweet pea and the daisy are this month’s flowers? Also the gem stone for April birthdays is the Diamond which carries the meaning of Innocence. ( My birthday is on Monday the 20th. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:04 am on April 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well, Michaeline, I don’t know about the sweet pea, daisy and diamond, but I’ll be glad to say something about your birthday, because ancient history is becoming one of my favorite subjects. 🙂


    • Michaeline Montezinos 8:09 am on April 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks a lot, muse. Are you implying that I am ancient? Come to think of it, I guess I am.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 9:42 am on April 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Annie Dillard, , , , , , , Peter O'Toole, ,   




    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Although not an atheist myself, I believe they exist, and I’m not above quoting them….and what better day to do so than April Fool’s Day, a day of dubious origin and God-awful jokes? So, without further a-Dieu, I bring you the word(s) of Godless mortals:

    I have too much respect for the idea of God to make it responsible for such an absurd world. -Georges Duhamel

    When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called Religion. -Robert M. Pirsig

    I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up — they have no holidays. -Henny Youngman

    If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God? -George Deacon

    Eskimo: If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?
    Missionary: No, not if you didn’t know.
    Eskimo: Then why did you tell me?
    -Annie Dillard

    I admire anyone who’s genuinely trying to achieve spiritual enlightenment and live a peaceful life. But religious dogma is a barrier to that. The last thing a dogmatist wants is for anyone to be enlightened, any more than a pharmaceutical company wants anyone cured. -Pat Condell

    When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself. –Peter O’Toole

    Christianity, as many religions, was just dreamed up by a couple people with really good imaginations, a lot of time on their hands, and even some “herbal” help. I mean, who would dream up half of that crap without being totally baked? -Jillian A. Spencer

    Puritanism, n. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. -Ambrose Bierce

    There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer. -Gertrude Stein (when asked about God)

    Oh, well. We’ll always have Paris.




    • arekhill1 9:54 am on April 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve proposed Darwin Day as an atheist holiday for many years now, Sr. Muse, but so far a groundswell of popular support for the idea has failed to materialize. Coincidentally, my meditation tomorrow will be on the power of prayer.


    • mistermuse 10:24 am on April 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Although Darwin was at one time a deist and later an agnostic, there seems to be some dispute as to whether he died an atheist. So why not make Darwin Day a holiday for believers in any of that holy trinity? I’m up for it.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 1:15 am on April 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      To correct an earlier commentary, I do believe in a God who is a Creator. And I think that Christianity, among many other pagan and non pagan (how do we tell the difference?) religions was built upon the major earthly and atronomical events. Like the Vernal Equinox which heralds the arrival of Spring. Thus we have Easter and Passover. Both are a celebration of overcoming the fear of mortal death.

      The idea of a Darwin Day makes more sense to me than Christmas, Mid Summer’s Eve and Easter combined. I vote we incorporate it into the calendar.


    • mistermuse 7:03 am on April 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I “tried” Christianity once upon a time, but (to paraphrase my little poem at the top of the post), “Never again.” To quote the late journalist Herb Caen, “Born again Christians are an even bigger pain the second time around.”


    • Don Frankel 9:27 am on April 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “I remember it well. The Germans wore gray. You wore blue.”


    • mistermuse 9:55 am on April 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, thanks for remembering it well. Actually two movies brought my post’s closing line (We’ll always have Paris”) to my mind: not only CASABLANCA, but also MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, the Woody Allen film in which one of the characters in 1920s Paris is Gertrude Stein (who lived most of her life in Paris and provided the last of the post’s ten quotes).


    • BroadBlogs 1:27 pm on April 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Some great quotes. My philosophy is to do what works for you. If you feel you’re happier and healthier not believing, do that. If you are feel you’re happier and healthier believing, do that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 2:03 pm on April 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds like a good philosophy to me, though for some, I think it’s more a matter of coming to a rational conclusion rather than what makes them feel happier and healthier. In other words, they have no choice but to accept wherever the search for “truth” has led them.


    • Mélanie 1:53 am on April 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I do NOT believe in atheists, but in… myself! I do respect all believers as long as they respect me… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:25 am on April 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      As a deist,
      the leist
      I can do
      is respect you.


  • mistermuse 1:20 pm on March 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Byron Katie, , ,   



    When you argue with reality, you lose — but only 100% of the time. -Byron Katie

    So, what’s the big deal?
    Life is a blank check.
    Just sign on the line and leave
    experience fill in the rest.

    So, what’s the “it” that Katie did? Made me assume that Byron Katie is a man, that’s what.
    Then I found that he is a she (Byron Katie is the pen name of Byron Katherine Mitchell).


    Don’t believe every thing you think. -Byron Katie

    I think,
    therefore I
    don’t know
    what to think.

    Therefore, I
    think what
    I think I
    know, I don’t.

    So, what
    do you
    think? You don’t
    want to know.





    • arekhill1 1:31 pm on March 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Coincidentally, I was thinking about Kate Upton.


      • mistermuse 3:03 pm on March 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Ricardo, I notice that CAHILL–U.S. MARSHALL is on Turner Classic Movies in a little over an hour. Just thought I’d let you know, because watching your namesake kick ass should help you take your mind off Kate Upton for a while.


    • scifihammy 1:47 pm on March 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The title made me think of the What Katy Did books 🙂
      I think life is better without over-thinking too much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 3:17 pm on March 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Maybe that’s my problem. I’ll have to think about it.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 8:05 am on March 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I think that I will leave thinking to the experts since I am not an expert on thinking very well. At least that is what I may think. 🙂


    • mistermuse 11:41 am on March 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thinking can indeed be very confusing – not to mention, too much like work. 😦


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