Thursday, October 9, 2014

Carl Sagan's 80th Birthday

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The 9th of October is #SaganGoogleDoodle Day!


Monday, September 22, 2014

End of an Era

I started this blog in October, 2009. I've gone on quite a ride, both through this blog and through life in general. Ups, downs, and all the stuff in between. I have learned about myself, I have grown as a person, I have processed many personal issues through writing here. I've made friends here. And a couple enemies. It's been a good ride. But Dead-Logic has served its purpose for me. I started as a heretic, confessing my "sins" of daring to ask questions and seek truth; applying logic and reason and curiosity and wonder while refusing to take "accept it on faith" as an appropriate answer. Along the way I figured out who I am, where I stand, and though I still have much to learn and an entire world to discover, I've learned who I am, and with that understanding comes a level of acceptance of who I am. In the end, I've discovered that this has been my most difficult battle. Depression told me I was hopeless. Regret told me I was a failure. My ex-wife told me I was a monster. Self-doubt bred from bad experiences told me I'd be better off alone, where no one can hurt me and I can't disappoint anyone. There was a time when I believed them. There are times even now when I still believe them. When you feel worthless and useless and hopeless for so long, well, those habits are hard to break.

I've made progress, though, and it's this progess, in fact, that's led me to this blog post. I've reached the point in which Dead-Logic is no longer what it once was for me. Like I said, I haven't figured out everything or answered all the questions, but I've laid the foundation upon which I now stand. This blog was my means of building that foundation. I've struggled for a while with what to do with Dead-Logic. Given how instrumental it's been in helping me get a grip on my life, I've resisted the idea of shutting it down. And I don't plan to. But this is, more or less, the end of the road. Or perhaps I should say the end of an era. Dead-Logic will no longer be a regularly updated blog. It's time for me to move on to other things.

I'm not giving up my online presence entirely. I'm still active on Twitter. I still update my Tumblr periodically. I still have the Carl Sagan Google Doodle Campaign. And I'll still post the occasional blog entry here (next one most likely on November 5th) until I figure out what I want to do next. Mostly, though, Dead-Logic will remain here as an archive of my past writings.

I have plenty of ideas of what I'd like to do next. I've dabbled just a little bit with videos and podcasting. I've talked with my brothers-in-blog about doing a collaboration of some sort. We'll see what happens next. Oh, speaking of collaborations, I also got the opportunity to dabble in writing (like, in a book, not just on a blog). If you haven't bought this book yet, you should:

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you around the blogoverse.

- Bud

Friday, September 12, 2014

"So what do you think (about religion)?"

I think people don't know nearly as much as we think we do. But people have a deep desire to know and understand. And instead of having that desire drive us to investigate, question, and seek, we convince ourselves that we already know the answers. We comfort ourselves by believing we already know. We lie to ourselves so easily. And, having bought into the lie, we fear and resent anything that could challenge our beliefs. That fear is what elevates our beliefs to "holy" doctrine, and raises the act of believing itself to the status of "righteousness." This is why wars have been fought and blood shed for the sake of the same religions that command us to "love our neighbor."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where I Was on 9 September 2001

I was living in a very small town with my then-wife, working as the preaching minister at a very small church, making three very long drives every week to finish my undergrad work at the Bible college. I was watching the news that morning, drinking coffee. I went into the kitchen for a second cup, and when I returned to the sofa I saw the image of a burning building on the screen. A few minutes of reporters trying to process what just happened while scrambling to get info to the viewers passed me by before I realized what had happened. The image was played over and over. Voices on the television were speculating. Questions were raised. Thoughts and prayers were expressed. Our suspicions were confirmed less than 20 minutes later as a second plane crashed into the second tower.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why I Did The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Like so many others, I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Now that it's gone viral, discussion about the practicality or efficacy of the Ice Bucket Challenge has become equally ubiquitous. I don't want to debate so much as simply explain why I did it.

I didn't do it because I felt pressured. If you don't want to pour a bucket of ice water on your head, then don't. Your integrity or compassion or worth as a person isn't determined by whether you accept someone else's methods. Lots of people already give to charities, so their doing the ALS challenge wouldn't make much sense, unless they just wanted to help raise awareness or donate to the cause once. Being pressured to do the challenge is the same as those silly Facebook posts that try to manipulate you into sharing it: "Share if you really care. I bet 99% of you won't." "Share if you love Jesus. Keep scrolling if you worship Satan."

I didn't refuse to do it* because I try to not be a pretentious ass. I don't think I'm "too good" to do something that's popular. The world doesn't need charity hipsters.

(* Intentional double negative. I'm a grammar hipster.)

I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because I accepted the challenge I was given. It's for a good cause, and I felt it was right for me to show my support and raise awareness. Pouring a bucket of ice water on my head isn't going to change much, so I included a link for those who wanted to donate. Why do the challenge if you're not going to donate and/or at least share the information letting people know where they can send money?

Whether you decide to do the challenge or not, may the buckets of water serve as a reminder that we are all part of the global community, and we should be helping others when and how we are able.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Carpe Diem

Robin Williams' death hit me hard last night; partially due to the fact that Robin Williams has been a household name for me and so many others my entire life; partially because he was such a powerful personality that losing him is like watching one of the brightest stars in the night sky burn out; but mostly because of how much his passing has spurred so much talk of depression and suicide on the Internet. I've wrestled with both. I still struggle with depression. I had a personal revelation this year: my hobbies are my escape from my pain. I play Magic: the Gathering because I can get lost in such an enormous game with such an expansive story. I blog to deal with my thoughts and feelings while paradoxically escaping the thoughts and feelings that hurt most. It makes sense, though: I can focus so much attention on X that I can ignore Y. These days, my internal struggles are usually only bad at night, before bed, when I have nothing left on which to focus, and I'm too tired to keep up my defenses. I suffer from frequent nightmares. I always have. It's not unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night screaming. But I know there are those who deal with far worse. My guess is that Robin Williams was one of those people. Sometimes the demons are too strong.

My hope is that Robin's death helps eliminate the stigma of mental illness, and people will be moved by compassion and empathy to support and love those around them. Life is so very short. Light a match and hold it in your hand, and the flame either gets extinguished too soon or it burns too long and the pain of the fire forces you to let it go. Either way, the match only burns for a moment, and then the light goes out. But a single match can start a fire that can burn down a forest. So burn as bright as you can. Leave the world with something worth remembering. Be someone worth remembering.

The pain is real. The demons are out there. No one should have to face the nightmares alone.