Take this Jean-Paul Sartre!

One of the perils of being agnostic is that, from time to time, I experience an existential crisis. I'm having one right now as a matter of fact and I've been having it for the past few weeks. My main issue is that I feel like my life as it is now is completely devoid of any real meaning. In the past I've been able to focus on school, various relationships or even work to give myself some sense of purpose. However, I currently find myself single, relatively isolated from everyone I know and working for a company that I've become highly critical of. The only thing I've really dedicated myself to in the last few weeks is getting my tier 4 raiding gear in World of Warcraft. (Yes, I'm aware of how sad that is and it probably goes a long way to explaining why I'm single too.)

Before you start thinking this is going to be a bitchfest let me just say that, although I feel stuck in a rut, I'm also not allowing myself to slip into relentless pessimism. One of the advantages to being an existential agnostic is that I believe I'm in control of my own life. It's up to me to give my life purpose and meaning. There's no fate, no karma, and no luck to dictate how things play out for me. If I'm not happy with the trajectory my life is on I can change it, or at least try to. In the past I've really taken that for granted and that's the reason I find myself in the situation I'm in today. I refuse to be a 30 year old wage slave any longer. I refuse to take things as they come and live with the results.

In an effort to get the ball rolling I started brainstorming an idea for a comic book last week. I know that must sound lame to all you non-geeks out there but you won't be laughing when I'm sleeping on a giant pile of nerd money every night! I don't have a defined story yet but I have a rough outline that combines spaghetti westerns and vampires...possibly zombies too, I haven't decided. The only problem is that I can't draw for crap so I'm trying to find a good artist in the area that's willing to collaborate with me. So far I've gotten several responses from teenagers who draw giant boobs on everything and have little to no real talent... but it's early in the process. The point is I've finally gotten to a place where I have something I want to try an accomplish and I'm not going to let laziness or insecurity get in my way any longer. I don't know if anything will come of this but I'm going to give it my best shot and see what happens. If it doesn't pan out I suppose I can always try out for the NBA or something.

Shayne

Comments

Cecilieaux said…
One of the things to avoid when one stumbles into agnosticism is the tendency to define things in the terms of people with faith. As an agnostic, I am told by theists and atheists alike that I am cowardly for declining to declare myself an atheist, which I at first did. (Believers and atheists are both people of faith in a sense.)

One typical arena in which this expresses itself is what you have written: so what am I supposed to do now? It's as if, if God is uncertain, then one can't figure out a way to live, or define a purpose for oneself. It's as if, if there is no ultimately tenable nontheist philosophical reason, something that one can grasp like a glass of orange juice in the morning, then one can't be or do anything. Nonsense!

I began to wrestle with this several years ago and you can take a look at it in my blog post Godless Ethics.
j said…
"Believers and atheists are both people of faith in a sense."

I think that statement, with respect atheists, is a matter of how you define 'atheist'. There's a handful of ways the words 'atheist' and 'agnostic' have been sliced and diced - strong, weak, even separating the terms so that 'theism' deals with belief and 'gnosticism' deals with thinking. Personally, I think all of that is rubbish for all practical purposes and it's just playing the semantics and labeling game.

Granted, there are extremes - people who will claim there is no god, period. For those, I think the quoted statement above is correct. My experience has been that those who claim to be atheists that come from reasoning/logic/rationality/science are technically agnostic and allow for the possibility there is a god, but there's no practical reason to believe it. So instead of saying 'there is no god, period', they'll say 'I don't believe in a god, there's no reason or evidence to believe in one, but like anyone who will look at reasons, if something comes up that proves or points heavily towards there being a god, I have no choice but to critically examine it for myself and I won't be afraid to change my mind if the evidence is good'. So instead of jumping through all the hurdles of describing all that when asked what they believe, they'll just say 'atheist'. I don't think that's what one would call faith. Again, this is just my experience talking to atheists in Ohio, which I'm sure is far from the norm elsewhere. We are a sheltered bunch here, after all.

Anyways, Shayne, congrats on finding something to work on.
Tim Mathis said…
Shayne--

I say go for it. There's nothing wrong with working for a living at a job you don't like--particularly when it has at least some benefits, like decent financial rewards. Very few have jobs that they actually like, and even fewer make money at it (True fact: 90% of America lives on 33% of America's wealth. Please folks, stop voting for politicians who are going to give tax cuts to the rich). When your interests are in the arts, it seems like you almost have to resign yourself to not liking your day job. Not always, but it happens a lot. (and Lord knows, even most of us who are doing our jobs by choice don't like work.)

Really though, you've got to do something. I say see it through to the end--or at least use this as a springboard for something writer-like that you see through to the end. Even if it takes a few years and nothing pans out, you've done something. Worst case scenario, you can get some teenager to draw a bunch of lesbian cowboys biting vampire breasts, self-produce some copies and hand them out at comic con to all the losers who haven't accomplished as much. Best case scenario, you get someone to pick it up and you can tell girls you're a published writer.

Jeremy and cecilieaux, you can make a philosophical debate out of anything.

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