Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Carl Sagan made it easy to be an atheist

I am still working on my piece on fasting. As it turns out, how you consume calories can have implications for many, many other parts of your life. I'm very excited about eventually telling you all about it.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about Carl Sagan a lot lately. If you've never read his book, The Demon-Haunted World, I would highly recommend it. In one part of the book, he explored the etymology of the word "spirit." The word comes to us via Latin, but it seems to be even older than that, and it basically means "breath." And at this point Sagan got very poetic about the lightness and mobility of our breath, saying that our "spirit" was our desire to be uplifted - to find wonder in our universe and in ourselves.

I hope you can all appreciate what a wonderful moment that was. Here was a man who didn't necessarily believe in gods, or even spirits, acknowledging that people have a "spiritual" side. That's something I was struggling with at the time, so I personally found it very uplifting and comforting. I miss you, Carl Sagan! I don't know for sure if there's an afterlife (you'll notice that while I have many feelings about the spiritual dimension to our existence, I don't claim to know squat about it!), but if there is I hope you're enjoying the heck out of it. And if there isn't, I'm sad you're dead but happy that you made the world so much richer a place while you were alive.

Next post: Friday, November 9