Saturday, June 13, 2009

Continued contemplation in the park. Thoughts about the rose garden.

I have always been saddened when I hear believers in the various christianities proclaim that the atheist "worldview" is sterile and without meaning. It is tragic that there exist a large group of people so desolate and void of self worth that they can not find some meaning in this wondrous life without having it provided for them by an imaginary god figure.

Today, as is my habit on brilliant and sun filled days, took my family for a walk in the park. Today our destination of choice was a small playground a few miles from our house. On the way is the rose garden. A magical place of lawns and mazes, arches and gazebos and a stunning array of all sorts of roses. My wife and children and I set to exploring. It was wonderful as usual, rich in perfume, blessed with hidden tunnels and of course ladybugs which are my six year olds favorite.

As we explored I noticed a small change from previous years. While still hardy and beautiful, many of the roses were weighted with dead blossoms, there were also vines less well shaped than before and bushes hanging in to paths that were once pristine. I commented on this to my wife who noted that the gardener who had taken care of them for as long as I can recall, had retired the previous season. She is friends with his wife and had mentioned his retirement before and I had forgotten.

This is what got me to thinking about meaning in life. One man tending a garden, had singlehandedly elevated the level of beauty in the world. His labors created joy for thousands of visitors and wonder for their children. This was simply by performing his job. In addition he is also a husband, father and grandfather. He has friends and interests. How could anyone call such a life meaningless.

This gardener is just one person in a city of a hundred thousand in a nation of millions in a world of billions. Every single one of these billions has the capacity to build meaning in their lives. Even the poor and oppressed can find meaning and purpose. We who live in a free and prosperous society are unlimited in how we can seek after meaning. It is my hope that when we as a society finally put religious superstition behind us, it will become the goal of humanity to liberate everyone to seek the meaning they wish to impart to their lives. I hope we will create a world where people have honest and meaningful work instead of grinding poverty. Where people will have the health and strength to pursue their dreams instead of hunger and disease. Where speaking ones mind and striving for purpose will be greeted with acceptance and admiration instead of oppression and cruelty. That would be a far greater accomplishment for our species than groveling before altars and glorifying non existent gods.


Jen Phillips said...

yes, but was the gardener a *Christian*??
No, just kidding. I agree with you, and share your hope for the future. It actually sounds quite similar to what Gene Roddenberry envisaged.

SE said...

This is a beautiful and thoughtful post, thank you.

I wish you were contributing to my blog (I'm looking for more contributors of like mind).

Ryk said...

I have nothing but admiration for Gene Roddenberry, I truly believe that the success of Star Trek isn't due to the bad acting or miserable special effects, but the hope that it offered for the future.

In the face of nuclear war and segregation Rodenberry offered us a future of racial harmony, peace among nations, and a purpose of increasing human knowledge not human power. That is the most appealing and seductive piece of science fiction ever created.

@SE I enjoy your blog a great deal and read faithfully. I will make an effort to contribute a bit more.

SE said...

Ryk, thanks. Actually, if anyone is deficient in the area of leaving comments at other blogs, it's me.

I do appreciate when I get comments at my blog, but actually in your case I just meant you write well and I enjoy your posts a lot.

Recently fellow blogger Cork joined Skeptical Eye and began posting there, and I'd like to find another blogger or two that would like to do the same, or maybe someone to contribute a guest post now and again.

But in any event, I really just wanted to say that you're doing really fine work here, and I always look forward to your new posts.

Ryk said...


Thanks, you as well.
I will consider a guest post. Maybe something political if that would be OK. I don't do much of that here and it might be more appropriate on yours.

SE said...

Ryk, sorry for the delay in responding. Sure a post on something political would be great!

If you can, email me (you'll find my email address at my blogger profile) and I'll send you an official invite so you can post whatever you like at Skeptical Eye (no pressure, of course, only when and if you feel like it).