Julia's reading _A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love_ by Richard Dawkins. We knew his sparring partner Stephen Jay Gould had died some years back, and wondered if Dawkins was still alive. Wikipedia revealed he is, and included a photo of him with a rather diabolical smile. I had to draw that smile:|
The last paragraph of the first essay in that book summarizes Dawkin's thought quite well:
"Safety and happiness would mean being satisfied with easy answers and cheap comforts, living a warm comfortable lie. The daemonic alternative urged by my matured Devil's Chaplain is risky. You stand to lose comforting delusions: you can no longer suck at the pacifier of faith in immortality. To set against that risk, you stand to gain 'growth and happiness'; the joy of knowing that you have grown up, faced up to what existence means; to the fact that it is temporary and all the more precious for it." (page 13)
Note of November 23, 2017
Even those of us who do "suck at that pacifier" are well reminded that the particular mortal existence we have is temporary. Whether or not our Kau live on, the physical existence IS temporary. Best not to waste a moment!