Quote Post: Kurt Vonnegut

'We’ll go down in history as the first society that wouldn’t save itself because it wasn’t cost-effective.'

― Kurt Vonnegut

Quote Post: Philip Roth

In every calm and reasonable person there is hidden a second person scared witless about death.

― The Dying Animal by Philip Roth

Reblog: ‘Why We’re So Defensive and How to Stop’ — Leon’s Existential Cafe

We make significant mistakes when we’re protecting ourselves. Defensiveness, self-aggrandizement, bragging, deflecting, perfectionism; whatever you want to label it, we sometimes suck at maintaining our relationships. When stuck in fight or flight, the innate system that helps us avert or challenge danger, we cultivate responses that might benefit us in the short-term but, once crystalized, […]

Why We’re So Defensive and How to Stop — Leon’s Existential Cafe

Quote Post: Friedrich Nietzsche

Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed.

― Friedrich Nietzsche

Quote Post: Oblivion (found on postsecret.com)

If oblivion is all there is when we die,
If nothing happens other than
Suffering ends, or
A happy life was lived, or
An evil life was snuffed out, or
A boring life is at last over,
I think that's a wonderful alternative
To Heaven and Hell,
And I'd choose oblivion.
Found on postsecret.com

Are we ultimately hardwired to go extinct?

Over the last few months or so I have been having conversations with friends & family about the findings of Seth Wynes & Kimberly Nicholas (2017) with regards to the top five actions each of us can personally do to combat climate change:

(Source: Seth Wynes and Kimberly A Nicholas – ‘The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions’. Published July 12, 2017. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa7541.)

One of the most common comments I’ve had in response to the top five is people referring to the often-quoted line “100 companies are responsible for 70% of all carbon emissions”. Which is true, and we need to put pressure on those companies to urgently find ways to significantly reduce their carbon footprint. But I have found it surprising that this quote is used to provide cover for not making individual efforts to try to reduce personal carbon emissions as much as possible. Surely the majority of us can be doing both?

Some people can’t financially afford to fully take all the top five steps, which is fair enough. And some people argue over the wording of the top five and/or question the validity of the findings. And while I’m all for critical thinking, this just feels like sophisticated denial to me.

But besides the reactions above, often what people do in response to hearing the top five steps is react defensively and start justifying why they haven’t started or won’t start doing one or more of the things on the list. It’s not always articulated this way, but it often comes across as “well, yes, OTHER people should start doing those things but I can’t/won’t because…”

It seems to be part of the human condition: these rules don’t apply to me. Or to put it another way, not obeying these rules has no negative consequences for me right now so I’m not going to change my behaviour. I think part of this is an aversion to discomfort and/or change. It’s a perceived threat to “my way of life” which I think some people unconsciously interpret as “a threat to my survival”. Which I can understand, I want to survive too.

But it makes me wonder: this hardwired survival instinct i.e. selfishness, if one way it’s manifesting is a resistance to making personal changes to combat the climate crisis, is the human species ultimately hardwired for extinction?

Here’s my question:

At the scale of billions of people, is it realistic to try to get enough people to cooperate & overcome our selfish instincts in order to ultimately avoid the extinction of the human species?

Please let me know what you think in the comments 🙂👍 >>

Story Post: We are naturally insecure

Quote Post: Terrence Deacon

What great efforts we exert trying to forget our future fate by submerging the constant angst with innumerable distractions, or trying to convince ourselves the end isn't really what it seems by weaving marvelous [sic] alternative interpretations of what will happen in "the undiscovered country" on the other side of death.

― Terrence Deacon

Resource: How not to talk to former Christians

One of the things I have been frustrated by, as a recovering former fundamentalist Christian, has been the way still-practising Christian friends & family speak to me about what I believe now. Fundamentalist Christians seem to believe they can still “speak into my life” with a “Word from God” the same way they would when I was a believer. It’s arrogant and disrespectful and very unpleasant.

It’s made me realise how insufferable I must have been when I was preaching or “evangelising” to non-Christians when I was a Christian 😕

The resource below from Chrissy Stroop is the best thing I have seen that describes this experience of how practising Fundamentalist Christian friends & family speak to me about my agnosticism. It articulates and explains things in a way that has been helpful to my mental health. I recommend it to all ex-Christians 👍

This graphic is reproduced here for non-commercial purposes. Chrissy’s website is cstroop.com.

Resource: Religious beliefs to unlearn

For many ex-Christians like myself, deprogramming from toxic religious indoctrination takes time. I recently came across this graphic from the team at Happy Whole Way. I think it speaks to a number of the things former fundamentalist believers have to unlearn.

This graphic is republished here with their permission. You can find out more about who they are & what they do on their website: www.happywholeway.com.

Quote Post: Joseph L. Henderson

Death is a mystery for which we must prepare ourselves in the same spirit of submission and humility as we once learned to prepare ourselves for life.

― Joseph L. Henderson

Quote Post: Seth Wynes and Kimberly Nicholas

Top Five Things Each Of Us Can Individually Do To Fight Climate Change

1. Have one fewer child than you were planning to

2. Go car free

3. Fly less

4. Buy green energy

5. Eat a plant-based diet


Source: Seth Wynes and Kimberly A Nicholas 2017 Environ. Res. Lett. 12 074024 https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa7541
Source: Seth Wynes and Kimberly A Nicholas 2017 Environ. Res. Lett. 12 074024 https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa7541

Quote Post: Bronnie Ware

The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.


Source: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
Source: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware

Quote Post: Steve Jobs

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

― Steve Jobs
Quote taken from Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford University Commencement address

Quote Post: Carl Sagan

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

― Carl Sagan

Quote Post: Socrates

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ― Socrates

Quote Post: Arthur C. Clarke

Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the universe or we are not, both are equally terrifying.

― Arthur C. Clarke

Quote Post: Arthur Schopenhauer

After your death you will be what you were before your birth.

― Arthur Schopenhauer

Quote Post: Haruki Murakami

Everyone, deep in their hearts, is
waiting for the end of the world to come.

— 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami