I wish I had an impressive first post for this new version of this blog, now that I’ve migrated to a new host and blog platform, and more importantly, opened a new chapter (if not volume) in my life, free from the oppressive atmosphere of my college and ready to take on the world.
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The first one is an intellectual thing.
For a while now, maybe two years almost, I haven’t been able to bring myself to believe in the afterlife, and more recently, that a God anything like the traditional conceptions of “Him” actually exists. To me there seems to be enough “oomph,” so to speak, contained within simple reality itself to account for a lot of what people currently attribute to God (e.g. certain happenings in meeting), and most of the remainder seems to me like superstition or wish-fulfillment (e.g. the afterlife).
The whole Quaker nontheism issue is its own can of worms, but here’s the upshot for what I’m talking about right now: once I stopped believing in an ultimate Judgement by a greater power in some afterlife, it was only a matter of time before a certain realization came to me:
I can do whatever the hell I want.
I am not obligated to work (let alone work my ass off) for social justice, peace, revolution, religious renewal, the earth, etc. unless I want to.
I could live a comfortable and normal life, making money, spending time with friends and family, making art, writing music, traveling, having a good time—whatever.
And there would be no eternal personal consequences of that choice.
It’s a pretty liberating thought. At least, it is for someone in whom the fear of God and an obsessively pious mindset were instilled from a very early age. But a scary thought too, because this has been the core of my identity for so long – someone who, whether as a good fundamentalist or as a good Quaker, has been trying very hard to figure out “God’s will” and put it into practice.
I still feel the label “green anarchist Quaker” fits – I still would like to live closer to the earth, am generally against authority, and appreciate the community and practices of the RSoF. And I’m not going to get a corporate job and an SUV tomorrow. But I have, at least for the time being, lost the drive to fight on the front lines of the revolution (or the lambs’ war).
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And I don’t think emotionally I’m even able to right now (which may be the real problem). This is the other snag.
I’ve gone through a lot of traumatic experiences in the past seven or eight years, which I may write about another time. And I haven’t been taking care of my own emotional needs during most of that time – in large part precisely because of this obsessively pious/activist mindset.
Freshman year, for example, I was trying to discover the final truth about Christianity and politics, instead of playing guitar and meeting people. Junior year I was worrying about propagandizing through the school newspaper, instead of being fully present with my amazing girlfriend. Oxford year I was trying to discover the final truth about Quakerism and start a vegan website, instead of seeing England or spending time with my housemates. You get the idea.
Well, fuck that shit. I need a break.
So this is going to be a more informal and personal of a blog than it was on Blogspot, or at least more informal than I was planning on several weeks ago. It’ll be a blog by a person who just happens to be an anti-authoritarian environmentalist and Quaker, rather than a blog focused on ideas or ideology or activism. At least for a good while. I’m trying to stay in the “be here now” spirit (if not the letter) of something Isaac Penington wrote: “be no more than God hath made thee.”