Saturday, April 19, 2008

My atheism

On a message board I used to haunt, and now only do so infrequently (don't quite know why). A post was made asking the board members what their religion, or 'belief system' was, what the predominant belief system was of the people they knew, and finally what it was for the region. A final question was posted, asking what the individual poster's view on atheists was. (I know, the grammar nazi's are going to kill me for that sentence.)

Here's my, fairly long, response to that final question.

"Seeing as I am an atheist I tend to have a pretty positive view of them. I was raised in a ultra-fundamentalist family but once I realized how much I'd been lied to about reality, I converted first to deism, then became an agnostic, and eventually an atheist. I'm part of the "I know I can't prove there is no god; but I find the concept of a god very highly unlikely" atheist crowd. Like Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence"; having witnessed the death of my god (my conception of god at least) I'm unlikely to take on another without evidence.

I'm one of the more outspoken atheists, mainly because I live in a place that is SO Christian. Many of the people I know from the 'old days' would be quite happy with a Christian Theocracy. So I've become outspoken mainly as an attempt to give other non-Christians around me (atheist, agnostic, deist, poly/monotheists) knowledge that there is someone else who disagrees with the fundies. Not so much outspoken trying to prove there is no god (see my previous statement), but outspoken to provide resistance against the Christians who I know who are quite in love with the idea of that theocracy (not every Christian believes this I know).

My other reason for being outspoken is that as a chemist, with an interest in many of the other fields of science, and the scientific method in general, I see the (again this is among the ultra-fundamentalists) derision and scorn poured out on science and the scientific method. I fear another period similar to the Dark Ages if these theocratic minded Christians ever truly gained enough power; because of their scorn for reason based investigation and methodology.

That said, I don't believe in the idea of making it illegal to believe in the supernatural. Our species has used the supernatural for tens of thousands of years to explain the unknown. But, when a person's belief begins to go into the area of telling others what they can/cannot do I begin to worry. I believe it was the biologist PZ Myers who said that he thought that religion should become something like a knitting circle. Not interfering with people who don't want to knit (believe), but not made illegal by any stretch of the imagination.

As a chemist/scientist I find an amazing sense of wonder and awe at the universe around me. Both on the astronomical scale, and the molecular scale. The awe and joy I find in observing those is richer, and for me, purer than anything I experienced in my days as a theist."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thus Spake Zarathustra

I should probably recommend that you turn on the music for 2001: A Space Odyssey.   The main title track is named after this book.  So here are some passages I thought fascinating, 
I'm reading from a edition published by "A Wlco Book" which is appearently based in India.  
I picked it up at Borders for $7 or so.


From Zarathustra's Prologue Chapter 3
"All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and ye want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass man?

What is the ape to man?  A laughing-stock, a thing of shame.  And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame.

Ye have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is still worm. Once were ye apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any of the apes."

Interesting take on evolution.  'On the Origin of Species' was published in 1859, and by 1881 Nietzsche had written a book which dealt with the idea of being something more.

I recently (last fall) read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn and was fascinated by his idea of being a "Leaver" instead of a "Taker".   Having been raised in an environment where it was taught that we were to subjugate the earth, and it wasn't uncommon to hear other Christians mock people who were worried about taking care of the Earth ('it's all gonna get destroyed anyway when God comes back'); this book was a breath of fresh air.  One of the better things about growing up in Missouri was the focus in the State on conservation.    So, I'd already had at least a tendency to lean towards the idea of taking care of the planet we live in.   Quinn's postulation that we quit evolving (with the Earth/other creatures at least) was a very interesting idea.     What if we had stayed as hunter/gatherers?   Well, for sure I wouldn't be writing this sitting in my room lit by compact fluorescent bulbs.   But, Quinn also asks the question (paraphrased) "Is it possible to use and enjoy technology for mankind without being Takers?".     I think it is; work being done in alternative fuels (come-on I know Ethanol isn't worth it but there 'are' other ideas out there that seem possible), and 
hopefully more research into space colonization will help reduce the burden we put on ourselves
(pollution) and on our environment (pollution, excess waste, etc).   

But back to the topic.   I find Nietzsche's concept of a "Superman" or a evolutionary 'next man' if you will quite interesting.   What might this evolutionary decendent of man be like?   Later in Zarathustra Niezsche said: (In chapter 4 of Zarathustra's Prologue)
"I love those who do not first seek a reason beyond the stars for going down and being sacrifices, but sacrifice themselves to the earth, that the earth of the Superman may hereafter arrive.

I love him who liveth in order to know, and seeketh to know in order that the Superman may hereafter live.  Thus seeth he his own going down."

and a few lines later:

"I love him who is ashamed when the dice fall in his favour, and who then asketh: 'Am I a dishonest player?' - for he is willing to succumb.

I love him who scattereth golden words in advance of his deeds, and always doeth more than he promiseth: for his seeketh his own down-going."

Nietzsche used this theme of "down-going' or 'succumbing' in this chapter it seems as a way to describe mankind evolving into something more than itself and in turn standing by the side as countless other species have done before.    The virtues he describes, lack of pride, looking out that we are honest to the n'th degree, searching for knowledge, and it seems the lack of a need for a supernatural explanation for existance; are things I think quite worthy of striving for.   Who wouldn't want the world to be filled with people who were humble, unerringly honest, seekers for truth?   The problem comes in that first line; those who don't look to the heavens (beyond the stars) for their reason for living.   

The world is filled with those who think that this life is 'filthy' or 'dirty' and just one stop along the way to a paradise where everything will be perfect and the 'old man' (the fleshly body) will be thrown aside for some imagined perfect body.    So why bother about taking care of the planet for our kids, and grandkids, and whatever humanity will evolve into?     Why worry that someday we might actually do enough harm to the planet in our quest for rule over it that we can't live on it?    
If we look beyond the stars (to heaven) for our reason for existing then we wouldn't have to worry about that.   But it's when we realize that God is an imaginary, made up construct that used to suffice as a way to explain the world; and that religion no longer holds the "Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything" (The Answer is 42 of course) that we are able to look at ourselves, our posterity,
and our overuse of resources as motivation to do something about it.

In my case, my interest in "doing something about it" is to devote my life to research (and hopefully teaching) in chemistry.   I might not develop the next great breakthrough in fuels, or nanostructred materials.  But, maybe as I attempt to learn to live with less impact and teach others; I'll be able to motivate the next Einstein, Bohr, Raman, Newton, etc.    Or maybe be plugging away every day I'll come up with something that will help.     We can go back to being gatherers (dependent upon the whims of the sun and weather); which could be catastrophic in the terms of how many people would die in the process.  Or we can go forward, get out of this rut we've been in for a couple thousand years thinking that "The End is Near" and go about thinking about ways to make use of the environment/resources we have in a fashion that even if we never left Earth would leave flora/fauna and resources for our posterity, and maybe we'll be looked back on as the forefathers/mothers of a new species that surpasses us.


**I know..  A bit of woo there from a scientist.  But, dreaming and vision drive us.   I also come from a very religious background so its been very hard to drive all the tendency to think that way out of my mind.   It is a work in progress.**

Cleaning House

So, I've gone through my old posts. I've changed a lot over the last year and a half or so and decided I wanted my blog to reflect who I am, and some of what I've changed from. However, I didn't want the anger, and fustration of old to be how people saw me. I've got all the posts saved for reference if need be. But, I like the new me a lot more.

Do I get fustrated with people?  Sure, all the time.  Do I still dislike stupidity a lot?  Heck yeah.   Do I foam at the mouth like I used to about stuff.  I sure hope not.

I went from internally questioning my faith for years without realizing what I was doing; to finally realizing it and learning how to ask questions about ever other assumption that I'd made.   

This has changed me.  I hope, and think, for the better.  Maybe it is the fact that time has aged me slightly as well.   Along the way I've read some books, thought (for me) deep thoughts, read deeper thoughts.  Learned to get along with my family (even with extreme philosophical/religious differences), and learned to laugh, smile and enjoy life each day.   

I've been reading "Thus Spake Zarathustra" (it's a nice break from Chemistry of Environmental Systems II, and research), recently.  It's complex, fasinating; and interesting to see Nietzsche's influence on modern thought.

I'll post some of the sections that I thought were most fasinating and what I think was so fasinating about them in a later post.   

Meanwhile, I've finished my undergrad degree.  Right now I'm working on my Master's instead of trying to go straight to PhD school.  Reasons are mainly that I have low enough self-esteem that I don't think I could get into PhD school without extra help.  This help I plan on getting in the way of a M.S. in Chemistry with a thesis, research (and hopefully), my name on a few more papers.    
I figure this will help overcome my appearant lack of skill when it comes to organic chemistry.   


Speaking of which.   I mentioned once apon an aeon that I'd post here if I ever got published (or at least contributed to a paper which was published).

So here goes.  The first paper I get to have my name on.

Penumetcha, Sai S.; Kona, Ravikanth; Hardin, Jonathan L.; Molder, Andrew L.; Steinle, Eric D. "Monitoring Transport Across Modified Nanoporous Alumina Membranes" Sensors, 2007, 7, 2942-2952.  

You can read it here.   It's probably only interesting reading to boring people like me.  But, exciting non-the-less.


**Edit** Arg!!!!  For some reason Blogger is seeing either just not wanting to do normal word-wrap editing, or it's seeing Opera weirdly.   But on my screen at least I have several lines which run WAY over their normal length and others which run WAY under.   I apologize for this.  The previous editor has been sacked in the off chance it was his fault.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Just some ideas for development of space.

So, I was browsing the web today and I came across this site . (BTW, thanks Michael for the link). Check out the number of bodies that orbit in our solar system that are over 200 miles in diameter. 88 total (mind you this includes the 8 planets, our sun, and all moons so not all are available for use). So, I did some number crunching. Depending upon what these "Dwarf Planets" or "Trans-Neptunian-Objects" are made up of I see some potential for mineral exploitation.

Think about it.. Total volume of an object 250 miles in diameter (round number closest to the smallest TNO) is about 8.177 million cubic miles. Some of that is going to be 'useless' material (more on this later). But some of it might be metals or other (directly) useful elements.

How might this help? Well, imagine being able to capture one of these bodies. We'll say for argument's sake that we can a.) Get out there ourselves, and b.) Figure out a way to propel it back towards Earth. Now, capture it into a Lagrange point (probably L4 or L5) and hollow it out. Leave say a 2-5 mile crust. (Here's where we first start running into technological limitations. I'm honestly unsure of if we could do this. However, I think if we take this idea as a goal to work towards while developing the ability to get a planetoid back to Earth we could do this). Mine out the metals (using some for structural reinforcement of the planetoid cause we'll want the thing to be stable at the end), and remove "non-useful" material. Once the planetoid has been hollowed out you should have a volume of about 7.2 Million cubit miles on the inside of the planetoid that's hollow. That's an internal surface area of about 180,864 square miles of potentially usable space.

During the extraction process oxygen, and nitrogen (the two main gasses essential for human life) could potentially be recovered from the planetoid and used to create an internal atmosphere. (note current estimates of about of nitrogen in asteroids is zero so nitrogen may need to be salvaged from other gas giants/moons). The assumption is made that if humanity could bring a planetoid back to a L4 or L5 point to be processed like this that we could then also start it spinning in such a way that the interior surface would have close to 1G of centrifugal force at/near the equatorial belt. This internal "gravity" would fall off till it reached close to zero at the 'poles'. This would then trap the 'atmosphere' near to the interior surface of the planetoid and enable this surface to be used for habitat (more on this later).

Extraction would start at one or both of the poles and once it was complete airlocks of some sort would need to be established to ensure retention of atmosphere/water. The crust being left at 2-5 miles thick is to ensure that cosmic radiation does not penetrate into the interior of the planetoid. This ensures that long-term exposure to radiation will not be a problem for inhabitants of the planetoid.

Another assumption is made here. That, because of the amount of energy required to move/spin a planetoid with a diameter of more then 200 miles, humanity will also have figured out some sort of answer to their current power problems. This might include power sources such as fusion, or a better adaptation of solar power. Solar power will cause the usefulness of this plan (as will be expanded later) to be less trans-Earth, but could still prove of some use. Also, fission will be problematic due to limited amounts of fissionable materials on Earth (or other planets/moons).

If such a power source is available then the planetoid can either be powered and allowed to be used as either a giant research lab (with gravity ranging from 1g down to microgravity conditions in an enclosed are), or perhaps a giant agricultural habitat. Depending upon our ability to understand weather (because such a large area will have some form of weather) the interior of the crust might even be sculpted during the extraction process to allow for better growing conditions.


Another possibility depending upon technological conditions on Earth at this time, especially depending upon if nanotechnology has shown to have true promise and a break-through has occured, or if it has fallen by the way-side and been discounted as wild-eyed dreams. If nanotechnology, or some sort of successor technology has provided industry with a way to process material into its constituent elemental components then there might be no truly 'useless' material scavenged from the inside of this planetoid. Instead the material could be used for construction, atmosphere, or simply to create soil to be used in a agricultural habitat.

What could these be used for then? Imagine a planetoid sitting either in a Lagrange point with the moon, or some other location where it wouldn't cause tidal problems for Earth. Lets say that the planetoid is 400 miles across. And lets say that it's been determined that as the size of the planetoid goes up the crust as to be thicker to provide proper stability. so we've got a 10 mile crust. That's a radius (of the internal sphere) of 190 miles. Plugging that into the surface area of a sphere and we end up with 453,416 square miles. If say, 50% of that was used as farmland, and the rest used for habitations/maintenance area. That's 226,708 square miles of farm-land. That's 6% of the total land-mass of the USA (including Alaska), or 7% if you don't include Alaska. Not that much right? It would be like dedicating the area of equal to two states the same size as Montana solely to farming. Not talking about land devoted to raising cattle or other animals. Heck, have yourself another planetoid devoted to that. Then think of this. With a pre-sculpted surface designed for optimal growing conditions (and some sort of light/heat source at the center of the planetoid designed to have day/night cycles), and a 365 day/year growing season; how much food could be produced? Maybe enough that we wouldn't need to have farms on Earth's surface? Maybe we wouldn't have to clear prairies, or rainforests for farm-land. "Maybe" because of agricultural planetoids, and the minerals cleaned out of them we wouldn't need Earth for anything besides a preserve.

Think then of what it would mean for travel between planets. If we wanted to explore, terraform, colonize, whatever any of the planets.. Why not 'build' another habitat? Design it with future agricultural use in mind. But instead of using it for farmland right away, use it as a giant ship providing lifesupport and 'gravity' for the inhabitance during the voyage. Then convert it to agriculture once orbit has been achieved.

With 51 TNO's and 4 astroids known to be larger then 200 miles in diameter there are probably more of these bodies then we could use to ensure plenty of food/science research, or simply enough living space for everyone. I saw somewhere (and now can't remember where) that any space-going vehicle designed to provide close to 1G of centrifugal force to act as gravity would need to be at least 200 meters in diameter so that the speed at which it had to spin would be low enough to ensure that the passengers didn't get sick. There are probably a lot more bodies out there that are smaller then 200 miles and larger then 200 meters in diameter (yes, I know I just used imperial and scientific measurements in the same sentence. so sue me). Use the smaller ones for personal craft. In that case they don't have to be hollowed out in a sphere. Just make sure that there is a cylinder at the center of the rock that is at least 200 meters in diameter. Then spin the rock around the axis that the cylinder makes up. This will give living space all along the inside of the rock.

Instead of mining metals from Earth to build spaceships. We should look at using the resources already out there to provide the living space for humanity as we leave the cradle and head first to the rest of the solar system, and then to the stars. Earth is our home. Why bother pulling it down around us? Indeed, if we leave it alone the biologists will have a field day watching from orbit what happens to the rest of the species on the planet. Instead of killing off thousands of species in our lifetime as we attempt to create "more space" we could leave our planet a better place then we "found it" (or were born on) and give the rest of the animals on the planet a fair chance of their own without a super-predator at the top of the chain.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Life in the old and new years

So, I've been... thinking. Yes, I know that it's probably dangerous, but it's who I am.
Many things have changed since this time last year. I'm finally in the accelerated master's program; which bring along its own set of problems and headaches. But more important then that is that I've started discovering who I am and what I really believe. If you've followed my blog you'll see some of that journey. It's been long, but finally the internal conflict I was in has ended. My "superconscious", "ego" or "id" (depending upon the psychology term you prefer) had for long attempted to mold into the desire of my parents and my upbringing to believe in the Bible. But deep down my sub-conscious, (or whatever else you want to call it) rejected it for basic logical reasons. Understanding that, and realizing that I would never be able to reconcile what the Bible taught with what I had observed in the universe I was able to settle the internal conflict that had, at times, nearly driven me mad.
I am no longer the same person; all the peace, and joy that I was supposed to have felt as a Christian, I have found in understanding that I am agnostic/aethistic. The future is full of hope and promise. Sometimes life still sucks, but I now know that it is possible to make it better rather then sitting back waiting for "god" to make it better.
But, now I have another problem. I spent 4 years actively looking to understand the conflict within myself... Not even really knowing that that is what I was doing till I had done it. And now I have the problem that I'm sure effects people of just about any age, loneliness. No longer am I attempting to find the love of some "Supreme Deity" but I am now whole, the two halves of my "being" reunited I see the world with new and clearer eyes. But I still long for someone to love. I plan on living for a very long time, I also plan on making that ability to live for a long time available to anyone. Forever, is a long time to live without someone to love. At 26, almost 27 I already feel the weight of that absence every day. I can't imagine how it will be when I'm 1500 years old.
My personality doesn't lend itself to light and transient relationships. Part of it is probably due to my own code of... whatever you want to call it. Ethics? Being? Conduct? Honor?.. I have this way that I think my life should work.. Having 35 girlfriends, using one and throwing her out for the next isn't who I am... But I haven't met anyone that I feel I really click with and would want to wake up next to 1500 years from now. How does one enter a relationship to start with, and how does one find... "love"?? This is a mystery that has long eluded me and for once I am speaking about it, and how it puzzles me. I am a student, yet I cannot seem to learn the answer to this. And some days I wonder if I ever will.

The new year means many things for many people. For me it is a chance to learn more about myself and the universe around me. To make a mark on the world and, in some small way, craft it towards the vision I have for the future. It is another year that, unless something changes, I will spend alone.
I hang out with friends and have a good time; but it is not who I am. Deep inside as much as I enjoy a party I would much rather sit and discuss some deep intellectual problem, or play a thinking game with a few close friends. I find more fulfillment in hanging out with a bunch of chemistry geeks (classmates) who enjoy crafting plays on words, or discussing religion, politics or any number of intellectual pursuits then I enjoy a night full of drinking and other activities.
Maybe when I write next year I'll have found more of an answer to why the world seems lonely for me. Wish me luck as I make my own.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I just 'love' Christmas...

First of all, Bah-Humbug. :-) I am currently in New York for Christmas with my family at my mom's family's place on Long Island. I flew out here so I don't have to worry about the drive back with my family in the crowded minivan, but I do have to fly back on a crowded plane.. :-p

Christmas just isn't that much fun for me. First of all, as is evidenced by my last post, I'm not too into following Christian, or other mythological holy days (for all that I am interested in mythologies in general) so I don't see much point in it. Also, since it was around this time of year that a girl I was really really interested in turned me down pretty hard I usually associate this time of year with that feeling of rejection. Just makes me want to have this time of year come around...

In other news I'm reading up a storm while I can over the Christmas break (I guess it is good for something), so far I've read Powersat by Ben Bova, We Few by David Weber and John Ringo, I'm halfway through "The Merlin Trilogy" by Mary Stewart (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, & The Last Enchantment), I've also started Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. The edition I purchased (Don't have it with me so I don't remember which edition it was) had a forward by his sister (a Nazi sympathizer who according to some sources selectively edited some of his early editions (after his death) to be more sympathetic towards the Nazi party line) and I was amazed at some of the similarities in thought between Nietzsche and myself. Not that I am a deep philosopher or anything like that. But that his thoughts came to him in flashes that he then spent months afterwards thinking through and working out all the fine points of the 'revelation'. I have experienced the same thing many a time as a sudden though will come to me as if a door in my mind had opened and a new vista of understanding had opened up unto me. No, I'm not trying to make myself sound as if I was some brilliant thinker or gifted in some way, rather just happy to see that someone else had experienced the same flashes of inspiration that I have.
That said, I've spent about two hours so far reading the book, and I've covered about 5 or 10 pages. Each page and each line is full of thought and things to think over.



That'll be it for right now, we are leaving in the morning to drive up to CT, to visit some more relatives, and drive back the same day because I leave in the morning from here to fly back home.

In regards to the flight here and back, the Atlanta airport is one of the best airports I've ever gone through. The layout and tram system was excellent.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Vista of Endless Possibilities

So, the last few months have been interesting. Some of my friends who read this already know somewhat about what's happened but I'll see if I can put it into words...

If it's not already appearent from some of my latest postings of attempts at prose there was a point where I was very depressed. Probably have been for the past at least 4-6 years. However, that's changed a lot.

In April or May (can't remember which now) I was sitting in a service my church was having for college age young adults and the guy who was talking said something that caught my attention. He said, "If it seems like you haven't heard from God for a while go back to the last time you know you heard from Him and see where you went off track". It sounded good so I started thinking... And I realized that I'd never 'heard' from God. No matter how many times I prostrated myself asking to hear the slightest bit from Him, the heavens were silent. So then I started thinking; the two main belief systems in the Christian church are Free-Will or Predestination. If Free-Will was right and I was coming to God as openly and honestly as I could then why didn't He respond as the scriptures said He would? (See verses on drawing near to God, or calling on the name of the Lord to be saved.) If the thought that Predestination was right then no matter what I did, if I wasn't 'predestined' to be saved then no matter how much I wanted to know God, I would never be given the opportunity to and it certainly seemed that I wasn't being given the opportunity.

So there I was, sitting in a service and realizing that either I wasn't going to be saved no matter how much I wanted to, or God didn't really pay attention to the universe after all (because the Bible certain wasn't right in that all my praying to God certainly hadn't brought Him near). I had no doubts that there "WAS" a God (a being beyond comprehension responsible for the formation of the universe) but I realized that nothing I'd seen in the world (except for its existance) needed supernatural explanations. Everything was the cause of some event, sometimes events that were beyong the limited scope of what we could see (a little chaos theory here, a sort of 'butterfly effect', the causes were certain natural, we just couldn't necessarily observe them).

Once I realized in that moment (this train of thought took under 3 minutes) that I didn't believe in a God who interveined in the world on a daily level, it was like a light went on.

Imagine for me if you will... You are in a dark place, you cannot see beyond arm length and every step that you've taken has been directed by fear of some unseen hand who is supposed to have everything planned out exactly, and no matter what you want to do things will happen as directed by this hand. Then imagine if you will... A string of brilliant lights come on and you can actually see where you are. Instead of some cold, damp, dreary place like you'd thought from what you could hear around you... You are in a cavern, vast, and glittering.... Glittering with heaps of treasures and wonders beyond belief. Each one a possibility. Imagine a mammoth dragon's horde of treasure from the Germanic legends of yore, or maybe the smaller treasure horde of Smaug the dragon from Tolkien's "The Hobbit". Mounds of gems, jewels, gold, and other treasures, more then you can possibly comprehend. Each one a possibility open and awaiting the grasping.

Or if the fantasy images I just described don't appeal to you check out this link or this or maybe this or finally this (warning large pictures best viewed at 1600X1200 or higher). These increadable vistas are of stars, each one with possibilities. Worlds, planets, potential, possiblities. Endless, unknown, and just over the hill might lie endless wonder and delight.


This was how my world, and view of the world opened up. Suddenly anything was possible, all I had to do was to want to grab it. Hope filled me life a roaring river. As I walked outside that night and felt the rain on my face, the lightning flashing overhead, I no longer felt fear. Instead my dread of what some being might choose for me to do was replaced with the endless hope of possibilities. I began to realize that to question everything about the universe wasn't a sign of disrespect to the Creator, that indeed to question if there was one and how the Universe showed the aspects of It was the highest form of worship. No lofty, holier-than-thou attitudes. No abasing oneself before some deity that is beyond comprehension and capable and willing to strike one down for the slightest hint of questioning.

The months following this have been hard at times. My family thinks I've totally strayed from the 'path of righteousness'; and that someday I'll return 'to the fold'. But I know better. After having seen the sunrise of possibilites from the mountain top of hope why would I choose to go back to the dark dank caves of organized religion in which all members are required to live without light, without hope, and at the whims of those who claim that they can see the way to the next cave? Why would I choose to live with the mountains pushing down all around me, when instead I can stand atop the mountains and let them hold me up among the clouds unvailing wonders with every passing day?

I am still nothing more than human; I still have wants, hurts, fears, hopes, dreams.... But all of these things just make up the journey that is life.
"All of my songs can only be composed of the greatest of pains
Every single verse can only be born of the greatest of wishes
I wish I had one more night to live" -- Nightwish.

The jounery is made all the more wonderous by the pains, and sucesses we achieve along the way. There is pain but we can see that which causes it. Each scrape shows how we learned to go from crawling under the mountains, to walking aright amoungst the mountains, to sailing among
the stars.

Cheers. Maybe I'll post more later.. School's been crazy maybe I'll talk some more about it in a future post.

Seabhag