Earthquake in the Cave

January 8, 2010

The earth was a shakin’ today, even if our house wasn’t a rockin’. We can’t turn up the music very loud these days, since there is a T-minus 4 week human-out-of-water trying to get some sleep in his new home outside the womb. He is by far the youngest creature I have ever cared for. I tried with my younger brother to raise some bluebird that feel out of their nest once. We fed them soggy bread through an eye dropper. They got big (well, not big, but relatively big, as baby bluebirds go), learned to fly, and flew off into the trees. But they came back the very first night and were found dead on the doorstep the next morning. Apparently we weren’t very good father birds.

The next youngest animals were probably the little snapper turtles we “rescued”. They grew up all right, but one eventually died of we-don’t-know-what, and the other died while trying to escape. It crawled under the fence and was crossing the street in front of our house when it got flattened by a large automobile. I think turtles are more resilient to bad parenting than birds, but they feel trapped. My brother and I were not any better jailors than we were parents.

The youngest human I have ever cared for was a 4 month old infant. Or was she younger? I can’t remember. But I babysat this little girl while she was an infant. I was practically the only babysitter the family would trust. I can hardly imagine why. I locked myself out of their house with the baby once. But the reason I am getting to this is because she was the infant that I was caring for when the ’89 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred. I was home alone with her.

The quake happened in the afternoon. There had been a smallish quake the night before, and another the week before that. They were nighttime quakes, which are much more frightening than quakes that happen during the day. First of all, they have to be strong enough to wake you up. And then, if they last long enough and you are awake, you are looking around in the dark wondering what the hell is going on.

The two night quakes had had a disquieting affect on people, even if they wouldn’t admit it. Earthquakes do tend to cluster themselves together over time, so if you’ve just had an earthquake, the absolute chance that you could have another one at any given moment is much higher than at any time when you haven’t just had an earthquake. Sometimes small earthquakes can lull us into thinking that the faults are moving carefully alongside each other, releasing small amounts of pressure here and there so that no big earthquakes are being stored up anywhere. I personally think that this is a load of you-know-what. “The big one” could happen anytime.

So it was late afternoon. I had just returned from my after school activities. My mom had taken my other brothers somewhere to do something for like an hour or so. I was left at home baby-sitting the infant (I don’t even think I was getting paid!) when the earthquake struck.

I remember the moment distinctly, as I imagine most of us do. I was standing in the front doorway of our house in Cupertino getting the mail from the mailbox just outside the door. As I was flipping through it I felt the fist shockwave hit the house. It felt like the giant from Jack-and-the-Beanstalk had kicked our house. I felt a rush of adrenaline course through my body that made me at first very angry. Then the second shock wave hit and the earth started to roll. The rolling made it hard to stand up straight. I bent my knees and went into emergency mode. I tried to run the 15 feet or so to where the baby was playing on a blanket on the floor. The dishes in the kitchen were crashing out of the cupboard. Everything was vibrating, shaking, shimmying this way and that. It felt as if the giant had picked up the house and was shaking it like a child shakes a delicately wrapped present, trying to listen for what might be inside, but not shaking too hard for fear of breaking something. Little glass figurines were sidling up to the edge of cabinets, taking one last look over the precipice, and leaping to their deaths. Pictures were coming down like guillotines, smashing on the furniture and baseboards. The stack of books by my father’s chair was careening and toppling. The large glass sliding doors were thundering like sheet metal in the Foley room, but with a darker more dreadful sound.

The baby bounced and rolled toward the edge of her blanket as I made my way across the room. I picked her up and carefully pivoted my body around 180 degrees. No longer benefiting from the added balance that having my arms outstretched had lent me on the way in, and the ground as unsteady as it was, I had a hard time keeping my balance. Knees still bent, I took one, then two, and three quick steps to the edge of the room. CRASH! I looked behind me and the 34 in. Zenith television had come sailing off it’s 3 ft. pedestal, landing face down smack dab in the middle of the little pink receiving blanket where just moments before, the baby girl had been.

I made it to the front doorway where I rode out the rest of the earthquake. It lasted 10-15 seconds, they say. In my memory it was more like 40 seconds. Funny the way terror and adrenaline can alter the brain’s memory. My memory of time after the quake was as if it had stood still. The trees came shimmering to a halt, every leaf on every branch poised in dead stillness. Everything, animate or inanimate, froze in place for a few moments, just to feel the stillness, I suppose. Time expanded then, slowly. Some people came out of their front doors and wandered into the neighborhood street. The sounds of car alarms finally became apparent to the ears, and then they too quieted themselves. The rush in my ears became still and the baby started to cry, softly.

Today’s earthquake brought back those memories. My baby was at his mother’s breast, happily nursing away. I was at the computer. My dog came scurrying out of her den, so I slid my body to the couch where we typically greet each other when she first wakes up. But she wasn’t interested in the morning ritual. She wanted to go outside. So I let her out onto the patio. I was expecting her to pee, but instead she sniffed around curiously, and, I thought, with some urgency. I was standing in the sliding glass doorway when WHAM, the first shock hit. Maybe the building had been run into by a truck or something? Then WHAM again, and I knew it was an earthquake. I froze in anticipation of the coming vibrations, but nothing happened. So I scooped up the dog and ran into the bedroom to check on the rest of my family.

“Was that an earthquake?” asked Sylvia?

“I think so! And I think little Maya felt it was going to happen. Good dog Maya, good dog. Thank you for protecting us.” I rubbed her good and set her down.

Fall(ing) and Gett(ing) UP

July 17, 2009

The fresh breeze of

pungent death fills

nostrils with the joy of

sweet green rivers

under blue-gray skies.

No longer portending death,

but making love to it.

The open fruit,

cracked wide to receive light,

ready to devour itself.

Methane migraine, doubled over

and over, ready to explode.

The dust of the earth –

The dirty semen of Salvation

We raise our coal towers,

sooting over the ivory of yesteryear.

Immortality and salvation sucked

inward with the forced orgasm

of toxic manitees.

The nutty hard-boiled protein,

another protrusion and intrusion

scraping of textured walls.

Space inside out, tearing flesh.

Infinite spills, red on white,

enduring the rape and

cannibal mystic of excess.

In 3-D. Revolutions of eternity

until another other side makes

flat the world – wonderful again.

Willits Fronteir Days

July 6, 2009

Baz Luhrmann reminds us in his rap song “Everybody is Free to Wear Sunscreen” that it would be a good idea to move to northern California at least once in a lifetime, but to leave before becoming too soft. There is certainly a relaxed atmosphere in northern California. You will find acceptance and understanding more readily than judgementalness and ostracization. Everyone seems to be welcome and loved for who they are. I don’t know if this makes people soft. They look each other in the eye and are straightforward, not at all like the hyper image-conscious southern Californians, or the new New Yorker San Franciscans.

In the small town of Willits, nearly everyone can be dropped into the category of either a hick or a hippie. The hicks drive big trucks and listen to country. They drink American made beer and they ride horses. Their politics are libertarian and they may even go to church from time to time, if their luck at the bars is running out. If they grow marijuana, they do it to make money, not to save the world.

The hippies, on the other hand, have a socialist bent. They might ride their horses around town so that they can get rid of their car. More likely, they ride a bike because they can’t afford a car. The hicks ride bikes, too, but typically this is because they lost their license to drive by getting caught driving under the influence. The hippies may or may not smoke marijuana, but they will definitely be involved in environmental politics. They use less, they consume less, and they are less of a burden on society than the capitalist hicks in their big rigs. Of course, there are plenty of hippies on hogs, and those who steal water from creeks to grow pot. They will even protect their crops with NRA sanctioned rifles, but no one would mistake them for hicks. Tie-dye camo is still tie-dye.

The lines are blurry when it comes to hicks and hippies in Willits, but most everyone knows which one they really are. Once in a while someone will start playing basketball and listening to rap music, but in the end, they will probably revert to one of the basic categories. There are also many residents of Mexican descent who belong to their own Mexican version of a hick or a hippie

This dichotomy is mainly true of the older generation. With the younger generation, it is a whole different story. There is a melding of traditions that occurs, an interlocking matrix of ideas and beliefs that create a unique attitude. To help give the kids something to do, the town built a skate park. It quickly became one of the most popular social centers for the youth of the town. Skating is neither hippie nor is it hick. It is an open ended opportunity to be whatever the kids make of it. These are the skaters, the musicians, the artists and the athletes of a new world order. They are not soft, as Baz Luhrmann warns. They are direct and honest. They are educated and intuitive about the world around them. They may come from a small town, but they do not have a small town mentality.

Maybe they are soft. But soft in a good way. The way frontiersmen were soft-hearted. They had to be tough-as-nails to survive in the wild west, but soft-hearted and full of joy on the inside to stick with it and build a community. Willits Frontier Days makes me happy and proud to be an American.

Blog Me Green

June 25, 2009

There is an awful lot of “green” going around today. There is green marketing, green washing, even green tweeters wearing tint on their avatars to show support for the Iranian protesters. Green means change. Green means hope. But we have reached a green saturation point. Hungry for quality green ideas, everyone is spray-painting their old ideas as some combination of yellow + blue = green. We are so bombarded by the color that we can’t see the forest for all the trees, or if you will, the green for all the leaves.
Inside the leaves of a tree, green is the color of transformation. Taking photons of light and carbon-dioxide from the air, the green photosynthetic process makes carbon which the plant can then use to build itself and reproduce. As a by-product oxygen is realeased back into the air. When we talk about sustainability, we often speak of lessening the damage we do to the environment as we go about our business. Truly green practices, however, do more than refrain from damaging the environment, they actually improve it. Like the plants that clean our over-polluted air for us, green blogging and social networking can clean up the harmful social atmosphere that has produced a culture and economy based on waste.  They are the main tools by which a new culture can emerge that mimics, in a human way, the incredible process of photosynthesis. Human energy goes into a “product” that is not only sustainable, but truly life-affirming. And the by-product, or the “waste” product from all this green-blogging and social-networking? Pure and clean hope that people can actually use to make small changes in their lives.
What is truly exciting about green networking is the snowball effect it can have. Once an idea is given a good start, it rolls downhill gaining size and momentum until it is unstoppable. By multiplying small changes in the way one person lives by thousands and thousands of people, in an outward spreading network of ideas and information, we clean the atmosphere of our culture just like the green leaves of a tree clean the air.

10 Ways for Brave People to Save Money

June 23, 2009

First off, you must remember that the only way to save money is to NOT spend it. Fear of change is normal; accept it gradually and with an open mind.

1.) Cancel your cable

If your mental health can handle not watching your favorite T.V. shows and disconnecting from the vast majority of Americans who are seduced by the “bube-tube” every night, you might reap dividends greater than just saving money. If having to miss the Daily Show or the Colbert Report might send you into a depressive tailspin, you should at least program your thumb to mute commercials and avert your eyes when the ads rear their ugly heads. T.V. advertisers are very sophisticated at creating need and perpetuating the idea that you can’t be happy if you don’t buy what they’re selling. I know that smart professionals often think they are impervious to sales pitches, but the data shows that no matter how smart you are, you can be emotionally manipulated into thinking that you need something that you don’t really need.
So unplug. Turn off your T.V. and learn an instrument such as the harmonica or the drums. Read a book or develop an artistic ability. For thousands of years humans have entertained themselves. Why pay for others to entertain you when you can do it yourself?

2.) Go veggie

A vegetarian diet will pay dividends in your pocketbook as well as in your personal health and the health of the environment. Did you know that after car emissions, bovine flatulence is the number 2 contributor to greenhouse gasses, and therefore global climate change? Cut out the red meat from your diet first, and then think about the over-fishing that our seas suffer and cut back on fish. Even poultry is more expensive than beans and rice.
To make sure that you are getting all your amino acids, be sure to eat a variety of beans and rice. Quinoa is a great source of amino acids and cooks just like rice. Add peanuts and other nuts to your dishes to increase the protein. Add an egg to Mac-n-Cheese and bake it for 10 min (this was the traditional recipe before Kraft came along), or drop one in your “top-ramen” (be sure not to use the entire spice packet because it is over loaded with sodium and will increase your blood pressure and decrease your stress tolerance). Soy products such as edamame are a healthy and protein filled substitute to potato chips as an hors-oeuvre. Remember, the native Americans lived off the land and ate very little meat. The main reason white folk keep meat as their dietary anchor is because when our ancestors came to this land, they didn’t know how to eat anything else. Then they killed all the natives who knew how to eat the local vegetation, and almost killed all the bison, too. Every Thanksgiving we eat corn-on-the-cob to celebrate how stupid and short sighted our ancestors were.
Personally, I’d be a total vegetarian, but I just don’t hate vegetables enough. Once in a while I do eat meat, and I don’t sweat it. I wish I could kill my own game, but sadly, the opportunities to shoot and kill my own prey are few and far between these days. Plus, I’d need a large freezer to store the meat, and that wouldn’t save me any money at all.

3.) Make your own spreadable butter

Let soften 1 lb. of butter. Blend it with 1 1/3 cup canola oil. Add a pinch of salt and put it in a recycled tupperware container (such as the “I can’t believe it’s not butter” tub that you have washed and reused three times already to store leftovers) and refrigerate. Saves you money and saves you calories.

4.) Sell your old books to a used book store

If you aren’t planning on reading that copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” a fifth time, box it up with all of your romance and sci-fi novels and take them on down to the used book store.

5.) Ride your bike to the grocery store

Now, I know that you aren’t really into exercise all that much, and using calories to go purchase more calories seems like an oxymoron, but riding a bike or skateboard to the supermarket or farmer’s market will save you more than just the cost of gas. It will also prevent you from buying too much of those over packaged specialty items. You will find yourself buying more things in bulk, and less canned goods. You will buy powder juice mixes instead of frozen juice or boxed juice. I know some of you are going to laugh at this idea, but if you start to realize that your car is a luxury, not a necessity, you will be three steps closer to a sustainable lifestyle. You might also lose that gut without ever having to pay for a gym membership and a personal trainer.
Just be careful and use caution when riding/skating in heavy car traffic. Drivers are notoriously unaware of what’s going on around them.
I can already feel the fear in your heads crying out that “I’m too old” or “I’m too distinguished” to be seen riding my bike the grocery store. Is there a social stigma against being economical, athletic, and environmentally minded? These social stigmas are designed to keep your money flowing out of your pockets. Don’t listen to them.

7.) Wash and reuse your plastic zip-lock bags

These are one of those ubiquitous modern conveniences that are a slow drain on every pocketbook. How much do we pay for a month’s worth of sandwich bags? And everyday we throw them in the trash? Or do we drop them on the ground, where they run down the gutter and into the bay where they begin drifting slowly towards that new island of floating plastic debris in the middle of the Pacific ocean that is already the size of Texas?
These bags are completely reusable and very easy to clean. Just turn them inside out and rinse them off. If there is jelly or something cheesy/meaty stuck to them, scrub them with a dish sponge. Set them out to dry and then turn them right side out, fold them back up, and stick them back in the box.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle.

7.) Bottle your own water

Tap water is just as good as (if not better than) much of the bottled water out there. If your highly discriminatory taste buds can tell the difference between tap water and the geyser water that is bottled in wasteful plastic containers, find a tap attachment or jug style charcoal filter that creates the taste you want. I have found, for myself, that the Pur style faucet attachment works very well, and I have very picky tastes when it comes to my water. In any case, the convenience of bottled water can be reinvented over and over again by refilling the bottles with your own brand of purification.

8.) Use sponges instead of cotton

For the women out there, and perhaps the men who care about the women they love,  it should be apparent that the cotton industry has too long been run by men who extort women for their absorption needs. Tampons and pads are ridiculously expensive pieces of cotton designed (often by men) to handle a phenomenon that has been going on for a lot longer than commerce and the invention of money. Maybe it’s time to rethink the way female biology interacts with the American economy. Not only are there female owned cotton companies, but there is a natural and reusable alternative to cotton. A sea sponge needs to be rinsed out about every 3 hours and thoroughly cleaned and dried at the end of each menstrual cycle, but one sponge will last about six months.

9.) Plant a Garden

Acquire some seeds (most gardeners have plenty extra, so ask around), wrap them in a wet paper towel until they sprout, then plant them in some soil. Gardening can be very rewarding. I know that some people out there have branded themselves as black-thumbed, unable to keep anything alive. Just because your radish died in 3rd grade doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to cultivate. Gardening is so simple that our modern complicated lifestyles make agriculture seem counter-intuitive, but it isn’t. Relax, pay attention, and enjoy the process. Just let the plant grow. It really is that easy. You can get all caught up in the details of how much sunlight, how much water,  and what type of soil amendments to use, etc. In the end, a plant wants to grow and reproduce all by itself, so let it.

10.) Win tickets

College radio stations frequently give away tickets to local music events. Pay attention and call in. The listening audiences are often quite small for college radio stations, so you have a very good chance of winning. Just be ready to enjoy something “completely different” from your normal night out.

Taking risks and being adventurous are the keys to success in a turbulent economy. There is a revolution coming that will dethrone the old tyrannical ideas that are the foundation for much of our culture.

Hide-and-Seek

May 22, 2009

It was predicted some time ago that humans share a common ancestor with the lemurs of Madagascar. A 47 million year old fossil of one of our common ancestors was found in Germany recently. A small and extremely well preserved monkey, Darwinius masillae, or Ida for sort, had opposable thumbs and short fingernails. She is perhaps one of the greatest Mother’s Day gifts paleontology has ever wrapped up. But let me leave the science to the scientists. For our purposes it is enough to know that you can now go to Madagascar, meet a lemur, and call it cousin. Isn’t it great? There is no more doubt, no more wondering. No more second-guessing ourselves. I know, some of you might have been hoping that these country bumpkins couldn’t possibly be related to us. But they are. And they’ll beet us at hide-and-seek any day of the week.

I would like to go to a family reunion with the lemurs. They would probably be a lot more fun than the forced family reunions that happen to my extended family. Only slightly more evolved than lemurs when it comes to theology, the majority of my extended family happens to be Mormon. We do play a lot of hide-and-seek, though. We start with peek-a-boo so young, and it’s such a fun game!

My dearest mother received the most ironic mother’s day gift this year. Her father died. She is no longer anybody’s little girl. Well, she believes in Eternal Life, so maybe it’s not so hard for her after all? Me? I think denial is a river in Egypt, anyway. But grandpa went and hid this time and he won’t be found.

Do lemurs have extended family reunions when someone dies? Or do they sneak off and die alone, respectfully, like most of the species on earth? My grand-father’s idea of a respectful death was to have an elk embroidered on the lining of his casket. In his favorite version of hide-and-seek he carried a gun, and killed his prey when he found it.

I like to bounce around like the ring-tailed lemurs. If you haven’t tried it, you might just like it. The mama lemurs carry their babies on their back or around their belly, or both. The baby lemurs have really got to hold on tight. My dear mother taught me to bounce around quite a bit, and hold on tight, too. She also taught me to hide.

Ida didn’t hide. At least, she didn’t hide in a tree. She hid in a volcanic ash tomb for millions of years so that she could come forth out of the ground and declare that every year on Mother’s Day, humans and lemurs alike can come together in a great family reunion. They can cry on each other’s shoulders or groom each other’s hair. They can mend each other’s wounds and encourage each other’s successes. They can play hide-and-seek, too.

But when the momma lemur hides, she always wins. We know she is there still, hiding right behind that chair there, under that blanket over there, behind her very own hands right in front of us! What a surprise when she re-appears, calming our nerves and soothing our loneliness.

Ida is our mother. We have no need to ever feel alone.

10 Reasons to Leave Mormonism

May 10, 2009

(and many other forms of fundamentalism, I would imagine)

1 – True happiness comes from deciding for oneself how to make life mean something.

2 – Not going to church will leave much more time to devote to family and community. This new community can be one based on inclusivity and tolerance.

3 – Not paying 10% tithing to the church will leave more resources to help support the family.

4 – The realization that Jesus and God are merely metaphorical of the human struggle with death can open up the mind to a greater understanding of the gospel. Christ’s atonement is infinitely more accessible and useful when understood as a psychological metaphor of change rather than literal fact.

5 – When there is no hell awaiting the sinner, the only rewards/punishments come in this life. This makes the urgency of developing a healthy conscience more apparent.

6 – A godless universe is one where fairness is completely man made. Life is not fair. Nor is it unfair. The onus is upon us to create fairness as best we can.  

7 – Leaving Mormonism will open your eyes to the wonders of science and the beauty of creation. True reverence for “god’s” creations comes from an understanding of how little we actually know.

8 – Imagination and creativity are inspired by freedom from religion.

9 – For those mormons who just love being right, an understanding of science and atheism will offer an unending source of subjects to study. The mind will be opened to new and amazing truths.

10 – You get to choose your own underwear.

Hand-me-down world

April 15, 2009

In the world of the Yeti, Santa Claus is the friendly neighbor human who brings the word from the race of humans who are being naughty and destroying the earth. Santa stopped bringing them gifts, or even coal, every year almost a century ago now, but the clever humans found their way around Santa’s little naughty list. They dressed each other up like him and deluded themselves that they deserved all the gifts they gave each other.

 

The parents are complicit in their deception of their own children. They have to be. They must attempt to avoid the wrath of their offspring if they ever figure out what greed and unfettered consumerism have done to the planet that the children are to inherit. In the world of hand-me-down presents, the next generation of humans are receiving the most tattered gift imaginable: a world soon to be uninhabitable. Thanks mom, thanks dad.

 

Is it any wonder that the humans fear teaching evolution and science in schools? Is it any wonder that the adults repeatedly opt to fund wars and their reconstructions over education and health care for the children? If the children were to be educated, they might start to think for themselves, and if they did that, they might realize who their real enemy is. One can only imagine the revolution that will occur once the youth of the world unite in an effort to stop the continued destruction of the environment.

 

This is a question of survival. Not ethics. There will be some humans with so much wealth, so much capital, that they will be able to afford to run away to a space station or a lunar-based bio-sphere. The rest of life as we know it will perish here on earth. Will they suffer from survivor guilt?

  

The sad thing is that, with the technology available today, even if humans were to cease all their polluting and energy consuming ways, the earth would continue to suffer from global climate change for the foreseeable future. Maybe it would take the environment 100, or 500, or even a few thousand years to move beyond the damage that has been caused by human activity. The A-bomb and H-bomb may not be the means to the end, but they certainly foreshadow the destruction that is eminent.

 

The Yeti peers out to the horizon, squinting against the fading light and alpenglow. The race of dumb hairless apes are finally realizing their folly. Their intuition proceeds before their logical split-hemisphere brains; warring factions of hope and despair, planning and reminiscing. In the hormones of youth lie the power to overcome. Revolution will only come by massive bloodshed. It will be the young finding a way to destroy the older generations and their treasured hypocrisies. Santa Claus will finally deliver a present worth opening.

 

 

Career Dysphoria

March 31, 2009

            It isn’t so fresh anymore, this burden of trying to distinguish oneself. It mulls together; what you do, what I do, who we are and what makes us unique. We are all quite indistinguishable. We pigeon hole ourselves, hoping that the cubby we chose has better amenities than the cubby next door. That would indicate our success. Or would it just indicate the failure of our counterpart?

            Biology would claim that the number one indicator of success is the number of offspring we have. What might Wall Street have to say about that? In America, the poorer you are, the more likely you are to have more children. And receive welfare. The more kids, the greater the check. Meanwhile, I check myself into the local attitude hospital. The diagnoses? Severe career dysphoria.

            Offspring are not special in a society where anyone can have them, and even the most genetically damaged of our species are able to survive to have offspring. The drive for success and innovation is valued by society, but biology continues to value only our ability to reproduce. Human evolution is devolution, and there is no reversing the trend. We venerate those who accelerate the devolution by providing services for the destitute. “How compassionate!” we say, “How divine!” We rescue an endangered bird from extinction, while simultaneously rescuing their number one predators from unfortunate infections. We rescue the weak from a bully, but give the bully a badge and a gun, and tell him to protect us if anything really nasty comes along. Then a tiger gets out. The tranq-darts can only be fired by the zookeeper who’s on vacation today, so the bully shoots the tiger.

            I cannot consider the loss of human life tragic. Tragedy does exist, I am sure, but the loss of human life does not define tragedy. A life lived in fear, or in a pigeon hole: that is tragedy. Most humans live a life of tragedy. Their death is a relief from that tragedy.

            And the world will be relieved from the tragedy of human evolution when we finally suffocate ourselves with the pollution from our own greed. Human ingenuity isn’t so fresh anymore. The dolphins and whales beaching themselves in mass suicide have spoken. Yeti cannot mourn.

Coming Out

March 25, 2009

Spring has sprung and the light of day is entering the Yeti’s cave earlier and earlier. Waking from a stupor of winter dreaming, the world seems brighter and more alive than it ever has before. The light of intelligence has broken out of a chrysalid formation and burst anew within the eyes of a dutiful observer of the natural world.

 

This Yeti was raised to believe in the gods on top of the mountain, and to be faithful and obedient to the mythology of his ancestors. Living on top of the mountain as a young Yeti, it was easy to see how God was everywhere around him, expressing Himself in every snow-flake and every rock. God was an accepted universal. Anytime intellectual observation of a phenomenon was unable to penetrate the hows and the which-ways of existence, God was called upon to explain the unknown.

 

The Yeti was never distempered by the revelations of science. Science may have claimed that their revelations were godless, but the Yeti knew better. His sacred traditions held that even scientists received their revelations from God, even though they were Atheistic. The regular arguments against the existence of God never caused the faith of the Yeti to falter, or even to list from side to side. There always seemed to be an explanation, or an apology, or a corrective adjustment in the theory of who and what God must be that would account for the grey areas and the incongruities between what was taken on faith alone, and what could be observed.

 

God filled the void between the observed and the unexplainable.

 

Nevertheless, the Yeti had never bothered to abstract his own theory of what it meant to believe in a god. That belief, based on logical fallacy, was much too comforting to let go of all at once. Not to mention the threat of hellfire or outer-darkness for those committed to apostasy. The Yeti may stand on the mountain, apart from all humanity, but he is no iconoclast.

 

To explain the logical fallacy, let us think of the world as a complex watch, one who’s complexity is so unfathomable, that only a supreme being might be capable of comprehending all the ins and outs of physics, biology, chemistry, and every other discipline of science. Without a supreme being to unify all the disparate observations a nation of Yeti might make, how could anyone cull any meaning from this beautiful world at all? The religious masses claim, “Without God, how can life have any meaning or purpose at all?”

 

But the postulation of an infinitely complex God does not solve the problem of complexity in our world. It only makes us wonder: Who is this God of our fathers? And thus springs religion, to help a helpless Yeti. Religion would say “Yes, the world is complex, but that is all God’s doing. If you want to know God, follow us, for we are on the same quest.” But you cannot solve a problem of complexity by postulating an even greater complexity. A wristwatch may be a very complex piece of machinery, but the Yeti that put it together must have been even more complex. And so the religious Yeti chase after a god who cannot exist, let alone be understood. The believers wanter about endlessly, lost in a fog of darkness.

 

The Logical Fallacy of the God postulation has brought into this Yeti’s cave a new light, a new knowledge, and new amazement at the wonder of the universe. Meaning is not handed down from on high, but lifted up by our own minds and limned upon the heavens as a great shadow figure of our own yetiness.

 

This realization that there is in all probability no god at all on the top of the mountain has shaken this Yeti to the core. Perhaps if he hadn’t been so adamant in his early yetihood, it wouldn’t make such a difference to him now. Nevertheless, the sheer wonder with which he can now observe the universe is the greatest compensation for the cost in bravery that he has had to pay in order to make these realizations. He no longer feels rancor towards the persistently religious faithful, only pity.

 

And perhaps a little bit of desire to preach to the faithful masses of their infidelity to the tools of observation that their God has given to them in the first place. If one believes that God exists in any form, it is incumbent upon them to use their talents of observation and intellectual acumen that God supposedly gave to them.

 

Thus, it was no failing of virtue, no transgression of the law, no offense to God, that led me to the realization that there is, in all likelihood, no God at all, but rather a firm moral integrity and righteous judgment that finally left me no choice but to admit to myself and to Yeti everywhere, that to believe in God is to equivocate about the nature of existence in the first place.

 

I am like Jonah, the reluctant prophet of the Old Testament, swallowed up by the whale of Christianity, just as others have been swallowed by Islam, Judaism, or Zoroastrianism. The whale has finally tossed me back upon the shores of reason where I am left to flounder in both wonder and appreciation at the great expression of life; able to observe and describe, but never to explain.

 

The long winter of my discontent has come to an end. Will I mourn it’s loss?