I’ve always been an atheist, although it used to depress me. Then, in my late teens, I was introduced to Richard Dawkins by my then-best friend-slash-bete-noir, the extraordinary Ms Catherine T. Coote, and became a committed secular humanist. “The Blind Watchmaker” was my bible for a while. I liked Dawkins’ style and his no-nonsense philosophical position.
It served me well for a time.
Although I remain a fan of the scientific method, Dawkins’ attitude makes me want to puke these days. He is a smug git, and in many ways every bit as bigoted and dogmatic as the religious types he so witheringly scorns.
We’re all hypocrites to some extent. But he is a hypocrite who seems aggressively blind to his own hypocrisy, and these irritate.
These days, I suppose I could be described as a profound skeptic, or possibly, with certain qualifications, a nihilist.
I have many theories, some of which I rely on to function, but I don’t fundamentally believe in anything at all. I believe in the power of belief. That’s about it.
I’m still figuring out how to exist comfortably and stably within such a framework. It’s more than likely I never will.
I don’t believe anything, but I have many suspicions.
I strongly suspect that a world “external to,” or at least independent of, my senses exists in some sense.
I also suspect that this world shows signs of intelligent design, and I suspect that such intelligence acts via feedback from all parts to all parts and without centralized sovereignity, like [the] Internet; and that it does not function hierarchically, in the style an Oriental despotism, an American corporation or Christian theology.
I somewhat suspect that Theism and Atheism both fail to account for such decentralized intelligence, rich in circular-causal feedback.
I more-than-half suspect that all “good” writing, or all prose and poetry that one wants to read more than once, proceeds from a kind of “alteration in consciousness,” i.e. a kind of controlled schizophrenia. (Don’t become alarmed — I think good acting comes from the same place.)
I sometimes suspect that what Blake called Poetic Imagination expresses this exact thought in the language of his age, and that visits by “angels” and “gods” states it an even more archaic argot.
These suspicions have grown over 72 years, but as a rather slow and stupid fellow I do not have the chutzpah to proclaim any of them as certitudes. Give me another 72 years and maybe I’ll arrive at firmer conclusions.