Monday, March 10, 2008

Jim White at Ethical

March 10

I’m back in the swing, some kind of swing. It’s 9:12, and I’m at my desk at what would be an early hour, except that we’re on Daylight Savings, so it isn't early anymore. Andy leaves in the morning for his conference in SF, and I'm already feeling sorry for myself--he's going to see Joel and they're going to have all kinds of fun without me! And everyone says, You could have come too!

Yesterday Jim White spoke at Ethical on “A Humanist Confronts Death.” He gave several humanist answers to death: the negative one that the idea of a punishing/rewarding God doesn’t work for so many of us; then the one that we live on in our genetic issue, which is okay but minor for most people in the twenty-first century; then that we live on in our effect on people we know and love (and he detailed things he admired about his great grand and his grand and his mom). He also talked about the impact of martyrs– people who died in the civil rights movement, for example, including some of the less famous ones. That was the big thing, I guess, the impact we have, which we don’t even know all of, the spreading ripples in the water of humanity. Surrounding a lot of this was the preciousness of now because it is all we have. So he didn’t have anything new (I guess I’m still waiting for Humanist Heaven), but it was laid out powerfully. We have Now: we have what people leave us and what we leave people– and he had a lovely image of each of us having a colorful thread in the great cloth of being and how our beautiful bright thread ends, but is still part of the whole thing, the fabric still strong.

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