Sunday, November 10, 2013


One of the sharper arrows (to me) in the quiver of those LDS individuals seeking to show me and those like me the error of our ways is the simple invocation on "covenants" we have made.  A "covenant" in the Mormon sense is a contract an individual take out with god directly.  LDS leaders like bishops make judgments on a member's fidelity to their covenants only under the influence of the Holy Ghost; it is always understood that this is an agreement with deity.  Covenants are made at baptism and confirmation to begin with, and the ultimate covenant are made in the temple.

The general theme of covenants involves adherence to the LDS faith and obedience to its commandments (Word of Wisdom, Chastity, Tithing, etc).  It is understood that specific blessings usually accompany the fulfillment of each (health, happy family life, material/economic stability respective to the aforementioned), and these are god's end of the deal (along with eternal salvation, of course, it's never supposed to be a particularly lucrative deal for heaven; it is all for the benefit of the members).  One important caveat is only god may set the terms, it is then up to the individual to make, adhere to, or break covenants as they are offered.  While it is still considered sinning if a non-LDS person breaks the commandments outlined in the faith, it is considered far more grave for an LDS person who has made covenants to engage in the same activities; not only have they sinned against eternal law, but they have done so knowingly and "lied to god" by breaking their word to him.

Things become interesting when someone loses faith, however.  To their LDS friends, family, and leaders, they are breaking covenants by distancing themselves from the faith to which they have made commitments; it is no different from any other sin.  However, the individual may no longer believe in god, or at least not in the very specific description of god outlined in the LDS faith (along with the covenants he offers).  Here is the potential Catch-22 that has been presented to me: I have made promises, and if I am a man of my word I will keep them regardless of doubts I have.  After all, the most basic form of decency and morality is integrity!

This has bothered me a bit.  My integrity is incredibly important to me, though I'm by no means infallible in that regard.  My thirst for greater integrity actually contributed to the process of my loss of faith; it was painful and I did not want it to happen, but I could not lie to myself.  Is willingly abandoning the covenants of my believing years a betrayal of myself?  In the LDS view, god sets the terms of the covenant and only he can change or terminate it, but I no longer believe there is a god, so there is no one to release me.  I'm presented with a Catch-22, and I believe there are some LDS individuals who would consider this final; I cannot leave with my integrity intact.

The more I ruminate on this, though, the less straightforward it seems.  The covenant was only with god, a being who (in my view) has turned out to be fictional.  I was deceived or mistaken, shanghaied by an idea which turned out to be so much wishful-thinking.  In serious court of law, I doubt that the contact would be considered binding.  Furthermore, even if we consider the contract's existence outside the context of god's existence (in the strict LDS sense), god cannot possibly uphold his end of the deal if he does not exist (I have even considered that there might be an unstated stipulation in the contract that he exist, perhaps this is an unwritten feature in all contracts).  Finally, I would propose that if there are two participants in the covenant (myself and god), and one turns out not to exist, the covenant becomes a farce if all power to modify the covenant exists in the hands of the fictional entity.  I'm now the only participant in this increasingly-dubious agreement.  The only reasonable thing to do it declare the contract null and void, and as the only participant, enforcer, or potential benefactor, I have every right to do so.

Some LDS individuals might remain unconvinced by my reasoning, but I would point out that the LDS way of thinking operates under the same conclusions when dealing with conversions to their own faith.  Members of other religions who have doubtless made commitments of some sort are not counseled to honor those once they come to believe they were born out of adherence to mistaken beliefs; the LDS church instead encourages converts to throw off whatever promises they've made to a "false" system of beliefs and join in more "real" covenants with a more true concept of god.  I think this is a reasonable attitude by the same logic I've already outlined, provided these people now believe the tenets of the LDS church.

I may still be considered a covenant-breaker in the Mormon view, but I don't believe any reasonable LDS person can think they can appeal to my own sense of integrity and expect me to reach the same conclusion.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Things Have Changed

It's been a while since I've written here, and I just came back and read some of my posts and am struck with how different I feel these days.  I'm no optimist or anything, but I no longer feel the same as I did when writing as my pessimistic and angry past posts.  Maybe I'll be there again, but for now I feel okay with living, and I feel that way pretty consistently.

I'm a lot less angry about religion and the Church, too.  Still don't believe in it, and I'm certainly still a bit upset when people say really insensitive things to me or others.  Still, a certain calmness has taken over: I think my investment in what the church taught me has faded enough for me to let it go.  It's like it can no longer touch me like it used to... that part is pretty great, I gotta admit.

Strange how things change.  I don't wish I could go back and tell my past self that things will get better, because in those moments that doesn't really make a difference to the depressed party.  I don't know a whole lot that that guy didn't.

I worry a little that I've lost something valuable along with that desperate, dark depression.  Maybe my perspective has narrowed without of it, or my interest in truth has atrophied.  Not sure; I was pretty convinced while so depressed that my perspective was raw and accurate, and I'm not convinced now that I was totally wrong about that.  Not that I want to go back... too tired.

What has precipitated this change?  No idea.  Wish I knew.  It's a little upsetting that I'm so powerless before factors I haven't even identified, but mostly I'm just glad to be able to rest.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Oh Say, What is Truth

My bishop approached me recently, telling me that he feels it is time for me to return to church.  He is a kind and loving man who I know has nothing but the purest and best intentions toward me.  His encouragement to think it over has given me occasion to review my beliefs and priorities, and I thought I would organize my thoughts here a little before replying to him.

I think the LDS hymn I find most poignant is #272, "Oh Say, What is Truth?"
The first verse reads:
Oh say, what is truth? ’Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch’s costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse.

The hymn continues on in the same vein, praising the value of truth beyond all else.  And I agree.  Nowhere in the hymn is the nature of truth laid down, nor the best method of its acquisition, simply the idea that all ought to be sacrificed in pursuit of the noblest prize of all: truth -- "eternal, unchanged, evermore."

Now, I'm no fool, and I won't claim to be in possession of absolute truth.  My perception of what is true and what is not is based on my best efforts to mesh fallible human experience through fallible human senses with a fallible human sense of reason and pattern-establishment.  Though parsimony is not necessary for the acquisition of truth in theory, my limited resources of time, perception, and reason practically demand I utilize powerful heuristics to sort through data and potential roads of inquiry.  It turns out one of the most powerful heuristics I have at my disposal is parsimony -- the assumption that if two models of truth are indistinguishable, it is a better use of my resources to examine the less complex first.  Parsimony frees the human psyche from endless ruminations on even the simplest of conclusions: I assume my senses are roughly accurate rather than an elaborate hoax, simulation, self-deception, or unlikely amalgam of random signals.  In this assumption, indistinguishable from the possible more-complex-but-unconfirmable alternatives, I free my resources to examine other questions.  It may be that one of these alternatives is the actual truth, but there is no way for me to ever know, barring the appearance of new information that supports the truth over the simpler model.

But enough about my epistemological foundations: while many might have difficulty articulating it, more-or-less the same method is employed by sane humans in general.  The important thing to assert is that my perception of truth will always fall short of perfect, but is defensible given the momentary glimpse through a pinhole that is my entire opportunity to form a model of truth at all.

I have been accused on more than one occasion of over-thinking things, particularly in regard to the truth-claims of the LDS church.  My intellectualism has befuddled me, and my clever mind has run far ahead of my true capacity to know anything.  I'm told I place too little importance on the role of inherently-subjective feelings in finding truth.  Allow me to answer such accusations as honestly as I feel I can after careful introspection:
I am absolutely guilty-as-charged.  Without a doubt, I place undue weight on logic and structured, mathematical models while grossly undervaluing some of the most powerful heuristics available to human beings: intuition and emotion.  I am always hesitant to admit that my day-to-day life would collapse into useless constant rumination without these powerful tools.  It also rankles me to have to admit that my entire sense of right-and-wrong depends entirely on these.  Indeed, my reasons for doing anything at all are ultimately rooted in these subjective, irrational reactions.  I kind of hate it (and don't worry, the irony of that irrational hatred is not lost on me!)

All this being said, I am aware of my prejudice and have striven to correct myself, though I still have far to go.  Still, though my obsession with the scientific and rational has indeed seemed at odds with my faith at various times throughout my life, I never quite abandoned belief entirely because of intellectual concerns.  For me to make such a drastic and painful step took a profoundly-subjective experience.

I had always felt that my faith was poorly-founded, I'd never felt the strong feelings related by so many others, though I had tried very hard to live a Christ-centered life.  I had some positive experiences, usually moments of profound distress when I found prayer had a calming effect on me.  I could usually expect peace from prayer in this way, but no clear answers from God.  This changed in my early twenties, when I fell into a depression deeper than I had experienced before.  My grades were slipping, I lost interest in my former dreams, my life started falling to pieces, and I experienced a constant low-grade distress I could rarely shake.  At the same time, prayer slowly ceased to be comforting; in fact, the lack of peace through prayer began to contribute to my distress.  Desperately, I tried to establish contact with God; if I couldn't have peace, could I at least know that God was listening?  I would dedicate an afternoon to study and prayer, and feel nothing but the walls staring back at me, uninterested.  I hiked up a mountain, determined I would overcome my hardheartedness and establish contact with my creator like the prophets of old.  I studied my favorite passages of scripture and spoke for hours, but my words seemed to dissipate unheard.  Over the course of many months, my repeated attempts to talk to God were met with nothing but emptiness.

I determined that if I could not feel what others felt despite my tears, pleas, and devotions, I must change tactics.  Perhaps, despite my efforts to humble myself and contact God in His way, I was just too emotionally stunted to receive the replies.  Truth is truth, I told myself, and ought to be the same regardless of the avenue through which it is reached.  If I was somehow too numb to the Holy Spirit to find God that way, I'd study too confirm his existence.

For me, determined study was the death of faith.  It was not the criticisms of the LDS church's doctrine that were able to destroy my belief, it was the mediocrity of what the church itself had to offer.  I found apologetics sad and desperate, the work of countless scholars seeking to start with a conclusion, manipulate the information shamelessly, and then convince themselves they had been objective about the whole thing.  The core doctrines of the church were familiar to me, and the more I studied them the more inconsistent and trite they seemed.  I slowly realized how unremarkable the faith of my upbringing was.  I avoided anything critical of the church, and ignored anything I came across: anything naughty that Joseph Smith may or may not have done pales in comparison to the lack of anything uniquely profound in the church's own doctrines and texts.

I don't know when the balance tipped.  One day, I realized I now realized that I now doubted the claims of the church more than believed them.  At this point, I stopped restricting my studies so much and allowed myself to read more third-party analyses of the church's doctrine and history.  What I found shocked me a bit: the squeaky-clean history of the church I had learned was sadly incomplete, glossing over all sorts of misbehavior and bizarre statements by its founders.  Still, this did far less to quench the failing embers of my former faith than simple, didactic analyses of the church's doctrines.  What I had already begun to suspect when laid out before me in terribly clarity: the claims of the church did not make sense and failed to mesh with verifiable evidence.  After the initial tipping-point, the death of my faith was fast and devastating.

Having lost all hope for the LDS model of truth, I briefly flirted with the idea that another faith might still hold answers.  However, my failure to establish contact with any sort of god coupled with the easily-extended conclusions I'd already come to regarding my former faith soon led me to conclude that in all likelihood, all religious metaphysical claims were equally nonsensical and impossible to confirm.  This avenue of truth-seeking had turned up a dead-end.

Some will claim that any who leave the church secretly wanted to leave, because of a desire to sin or guilt over current sins.  While be no means perfect, I was, in behavior, an exemplary practitioner of the LDS faith.  I was temple-worthy and worked very hard to remain so, worrying over the smallest of slips in thought or behavior.  Perhaps some mundane sin was my downfall, but in that case one marvels that there are any who do not leave.  So, throw your stones if you will, but I assert that any suspicions as to my hidden guilt or desire to debauch myself were and are unfounded.
In fact, losing my faith was the most crushing, terrible thing that has ever happened to me.  My existing depression exploded into a suicidal despair.  I had no foundation, my previous goals and dreams fell with the foundation that was my faith.  I no longer believed in god and, irrationally, hated him for not existing.  I turned to secular philosophy for comfort and a new foundation, but it failed to offer me the self-assured comfort it has provided for some others in similar circumstances.  Anyone who suggests I wanted to leave the church has no idea what I have suffered.

Forgive my long foray into my own story: I wanted to make clear that my conclusions are not come to lightly, and my loss of faith is not a simple product of prideful lack of effort or intellectualism.

I have struggled to keep from being angry: the practitioners of the LDS church are largely kind and earnest people, and I knew they didn't deserve my rancor.  Still, the bitterness consumed me at times, and it took me  years to return to a neutral feeling toward the church.  I felt betrayed, and all the more angry that there was no one I could feel justified in blaming.  However, with time I have become more amiable, and have even felt willing to participate in my wife's LDS ward outside of worship services.  I have an amazing father-in-law to thank for his example in overcoming the anger and bitterness of this transition, which he made years before.

One promise I've made to myself during all this is I will never again commit myself to a set of beliefs with a determination to never change them.  I will not blindly believe anything on sheer momentum.  One important corollary to this is that I will not determine, once and for all, that the LDS church's claims are not true.  It's possible, though it seems unlikely, that I have not been exhaustive in my examination.  Perhaps new information will come to light that reverses my conclusions.  To be a seeker of truth, I must be prepared for this contingency, along with reversals of any other conclusions that new experiences or evidence cast into doubt.

Still, I am hesitant to take suggestions that I re-examine the LDS faith.  I am not anxious to relive the vulnerability and emptiness of throwing myself into prayer and study only to find emptiness.  The wounds of the loss of my foundation and much of my identity have healed substantially, but I fear they may reopen if I don't keep my distance.  No new evidence has come to my attention that casts any significant doubt on my previous conclusions, and I feel that my personal search for truth will not be served by repeating the same as-yet-fruitless activities countless times (barring new experiences that upset those conclusions, of course).

So: if it is true, I would love to believe it.  However, my efforts thus far have not been promising along the particular route of the LDS faith, and in addition I feel I may need more time before giving it an objective chance is possible.  I have no intention of dismissing the thoughts and feelings of others, but I expect the same courtesy from them: I have as much reason for not believing as they have to believe, and vice-versa.  We are all on our own limited, subjective search for truth, and use the best tools we have available.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Answers to Prayer

Once, there was a little girl who was told by her mother that god would answer her prayers.  She prayed to have blue eyes instead of brown, but when she awoke the next morning her eyes were as brown as ever.  She told her mother "you said god would answer my prayer, but I prayed for blue eyes and they are still brown."  Her mother laughed knowingly and answered," my child, god did answer your prayer, but this time his answer was 'no.'"

Then, there was this dude who prayed "God, give me a sign if you don't want me to rob this liquor store."  Nothing happened for 10 min, so he broke in and stole the cash box as well as a couple of bottles of whiskey for himself.  God answers prayers!

Seriously, though, a big fat nothing is not at all similar to a "no."  I worked very hard while still clinging desperately to my faith to try to get an answer from god.  I even ran experiments to see if prayer would increase my chance of predicting the outcome of a die toss.  Nothing.

God is held up as a loving parent, but all of the supposed "answers" that people like me are missing do not fit that mold.  For example, people will tell me "the answers are right in front of you, in the scriptures."  So... my loving father's answer to my desperate pleas for help is "read my autobiography and see what you find?"  Actually, no, even that would be something.  It's never showing up, but leaving his autobiography on the coffee table with never a word to me about it.  Awesome.

Seriously, I understand not wanting to grant every frivolous request, but if god is a personal god, you'd think he'd be a bit more personal.  We don't expect our 3-year-olds to communicate with us in writing, so why would god expect us to communicate using some difficult-to-reach "spiritual sense" that we have to develop for years just to get a half-clear answer?

Answers to prayer are not consistent, either.  Honestly, in the LDS church a lot of time is spent explaining why we can only receive revelation in our own "stewardship," so you personally can't receive answers about the general function of the church.  But, if there were ANY clarity or consistency in answers to prayer, that rule wouldn't be needed.  If someone said something weird, you'd just ask god "Steve said you said blahdy-blah...?" and God would be like "No, I never said that.  Steve just wants attention."

In fact, so many people who thought god was talking to them were wrong / crazy so famously often that it's a little funny that anyone takes this seriously anymore.  Our sky-daddy left us a long time ago, and he's not coming home for supper just because we ask.

Friday, April 5, 2013


But, day by day, I start questioning what those rights are.  Voting?  A TV?  Property?  Life and limb?

Basically, none of these are really provable.  Human rights are just what we kinda feel we and others ought to have.  Based on humanity's massive disregard for the same rights we hold up as inalienable (collectively, we honor exactly none of them), these rights are not only arbitrary, but also only a matter of convenience.

Justice demands only that humans be treated fairly and equally, but maybe that means we all just deserve pain and death.  In fact, the quickest way to satisfy justice after humanity's many hideous acts is probably to kill everyone.  This is incidentally also the best way to end human suffering.

I think my journey toward being a supervillain is progressing handily, in other news.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Truth is Dead

Never has there been so much technology available to the world for the purpose of ascertaining the truth.  What just a few decades ago someone might have had to go to a large university library to learn is now available in seconds online.  Information is not only readily available: it is endlessly sorted and aggregated and indexed to where we can find the exact passage we want in moments, rather than spend hours searching the petabytes available at our fingertips.  Our robotic probes search out the darkest recesses of the solar system, our telescopes find new extrasolar planets every day, our particle colliders probe the most esoteric properties of matter and energy.  We discovered more new species in the last year than in all the years before that combined.  The human genome has been mapped, and gene therapies are already available.  We converse with friends, family, and colleagues across the globe as if they were down the hall.

I could go on, but in short:  more information is available to more people than ever dreamed of by our ancestors, and it can travel around the world in a fraction of a second without any significant cost.  Not to mention the amalgam of phisolophical thought from the last 10,000 years, which is just a drop in this ocean of information.

And yet, the human race has never had more diverse opinions.  For all our ability to share and investigate ideas, we agree with each other less than ever.  Apparently, the human quest for truth has only navigated away from it.  The religions of the world, all hawking "absolute truth," have done little to resolve their disputes, and seem uninterested in any related pursuits.  Even the sciences are filled with preconceived notions and academic elitism, a whole group of people dedicated to the study of truth and yet unwilling to let go of their unsupported beliefs.

Why do we defend those beliefs that are most suspect more than any others?

I'm not ranting against religion only here.  I myself, a self-proclaimed disciple of truth, believe tons of things I can't really support, and I'm  uncomfortable questioning them.

If no good for finding truth, what good is humanity?  We're just a precocious breed of naked hominid that figured out fire, but still jumps at shadows.  We'll drag our myriad superstitions to the stars with us if we can, populating but not enlightening the galaxy.  Pathetic.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It is Never Over

My immediate family all knows about and has accepted my apostasy.  My Mom's side loves to gossip so anyone remotely interested almost certainly knows, but my Dad's side is more scattered, larger, and more discreet in general (after all of the shit that's happened to my Dad and his siblings, it's not surprising.  They are a good example of how life likes to kick even the best people in the nads repeatedly).

My wife and I visited my Dad's mother over the weekend, and for the first time I found myself dodging around questions.  I don't really want to tell her, because I think it will really disappoint her, even though I know she would love and accept me anyway.  We went to church with her and I didn't take the sacrament, and I'm pretty sure she noticed.  So now I'm thinking about letting her know.  Hell, maybe I'll just issue a general announcement on Facebook and never log on again.

Anyway, it never seems to end.  My friends and family are all so invested in the church that my lack of belief creates constant pain, awkwardness, or hiding.  I'm pretty sick of it.  Although, to be honest, I'm sick of everything.  I realize I have nothing to offer this world, but it pretty much goes both ways.  I have half a mind to drive over to Harbor Freight and pick up a canister of Argon gas, pipe that sucker into a plastic bag over my head, and let asphyxia gently carry me away into nonexistence.  But, the missus has the car today, and I'm not quite cruel enough to ask my home teacher to help me pick it up "for a project I'm working on."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We Win, Now What?

This is something my mom and I talked about that I've been chewing on a while.

In the Book of Mormon, we encounter the "pride cycle."  Basically, when the people are doing well, they get rich and civilize the land and everything, then they get self-centered and distracted and start getting into all sorts of trouble, then god sends something nasty their way, and as they rebuild they humble themselves and put their shoulders to the wheel, only to end up starting to do pretty well again and repeat the cycle.

We talked about why people might do this, and my thought was "boredom."  If you accomplish all the goals your culture has given you, you start running out of things to do with all the success you've had.  Even with spiritual goal available, it happens, since these spiritual goals are not very motivational in connection with everyday temporal concerns for most folks.  So, you start looking for novelty: dressing nice, trying all kinds of food, collecting expensive stuff.  Things to occupy your time, since society has accomplished its goals.
You might as well call the "Pride Cycle" the "Boredom Cycle."

We talked about the effect this has today.  More young people are moving back home with their parents.  They don't know what to do with their lives.  Is it that people became lazy all of a sudden?  Is it the culture of instant-gratification we've slipped into with computers and the internet?
I don't think so: those things are symptoms, not the root cause.  The root is boredom.
Think about it:  in the USA in particular, what common cultural goals do we have?  I'm not talking about the fiscal cliff and all that, that's just another sign of the apathy we've slipped into.
Do we all believe in the war on terror?  Environmentalism?  Nope, if you strongly believe in these things you're part of a fringe.

Do we believe in establishing American dominance over the world?  No, because we already DID THAT.  And we know it doesn't make life have more meaning: it might have while we were working on it, but once we achieved it it wasn't all that great, in fact it just made lots of people hate us and our young people lose their faith in the morality of their nation.

The point is, some previous generations had causes.  Wars we believed in, like stopping Hitler.  A "destiny" to tame the wild north-american continent.  A higher standard of living for our children.   But once we accomplished those things, we in the "middle-class" were left wondering what to do next.  Religion is a fading influence in the lives of young people because it doesn't really offer satisfaction to many, but even with religious belief many young people feel directionless.  There are causes that can be believed in, sure, but our culture as a whole has run out of things to believe in, and has turned to mindless entertainment just to stay alive.

When I am pretty suicidal, I play video games and watch tv.  It keeps me from thinking about the meaninglessness of my existence.  It's my opinion that our entire culture has begun to do the same.  And as the world slips toward disaster in a thousand ways, the jaded youth of the upcoming generation are not uninformed, their just indifferent, because they have nothing to save the world for.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Headaches and Self-Conciousness

I find that my blog makes me more self-conscious at times.  For some strange reason, I actually get comments on most of my posts, and that indicates to me that people read them!  While this gratifies me, it terrifies me, too.

Every time I get a positive comment, I think "Awesome!  I'm coool!"  But then, a minute later, I think "I'm not really that cool.  What if they expect me to be that cool all the time, but I was only cool by accident in that post?  Then I'll be extra NOT cool!  Oh nooooo!"
Not that I don't want positive comment, please, praise me!  It just makes me realize how insecure I am, despite trying to seem like such a badass on this blog.

And, of course, the negative comments illicit a strange combination of blood-boiling wrath and the desire to curl up in the fetal position in the nearest dark closet.  "Oh pleeease, leave me alone, I'm nobody, why waste your time one me?  Oh noooo, somebody doesn't like me!"  sporadically switches with "You wanna play, asshole, YOU WANNA JACK WITH THE RIPPER?!"  It's a strange reaction revealing my fragile self-esteem AND my huge ego.  Man, I'm a wreck.

Self-centered raving aside, I thought I'd talk about headaches.  Because I have one, so I guess this is still self-centered raving.
A headache is like a fly buzzing around your head... you don't even notice it at first.  And then, all of a sudden, you SNAP.  OH MY GOODNESS, I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.
You realize you've had a headache for a whole hour, but all of a sudden you feel like braining yourself with the nearest heavy object just to make the pain go away.
If the headache gets bad enough, EVERYTHING hurts.  Sounds.  Light.  Even happiness.  HAPPINESS IS PAIN!  Moving at all makes it feel like your eyes have turned on you and stabbed your brain with your optic nerves.
Headaches feel immortal... like even if you died they'd still be there... no head, but still a headache.  Floating around, a spectre of pain, without thoughts or form, just dull, throbbing PAIN.
In conclusion, headaches suck, and even Excedrin doesn't always work unless you're willing to take too many and then have the jitters for 6 hours because of the massive hit of caffeine.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Want to be a Robot

I want to be perfectly rational, and despite all my efforts, it seems that I am not.  Just today, I was feeling very depressed and concluded that I would be better off dead, and there was no way around my impeccable logic.  I went to sleep for a few hours, and woke up, and was unable to duplicate my conclusions, feeling a little better.

This is bullshit!  This means I am incapable of rational thought unsullied by the capricious taint of mood and feelings.  This means that my pessimism must be, in part, a product of my stubborn depression, which is a mood disorder.  My political views are mostly determined by my feelings of familiarity or loyalty to a certain set of people.  Every aspect of my life is held hostage to the chemical whims of my biology as it goes through the silly, apish cycles originally meant to keep it alive in a very different set of circumstances.

What a cruel joke is human life!  The mightiest intellects in the natural world crumble before their own moody emotional gusts!  The brains that can put life on other celestial bodies and unravel the mysteries of the fabric of the cosmos fall prey to a little lost sleep, or a bad day at work!

I very much resent the hideous moods that run not just my life, but my very reality.  And even my resent is utterly without logic or reason!  There is a sick humor in all of it.

It occurs to me that we are little more than toddlers.  Sure, we articulate and justify our emotional whims much more fluently than toddlers, but we are still ruled by the exact same chemical stimulus-response laws as an infant.  We apply additional meaning to each whim with our advanced verbal abilities, to justify to ourselves that we are NOT just a sad pack of children squabbling over meaningless games and crying for sustenance.

Now I've whipped myself up into a vengeful, angry mood about all this stuff.  Yet as right as a feel, I know I may very well not be correct... after all, my conclusions are inseparably linked to my irrational caveman feelings.  Maybe life is great and amazing and I will never experience the truth because my very brain chemistry prevents it.  Yay life.