Thursday, January 31, 2008

White Penis

If you take the pundits seriously, I, as a white male Democrat, am adrift politically. It seems, now that white male candidate John Edwards has dropped out of the Democratic presidential race, that we white males have no one for whom to vote.

Women vote for Hillary. African Americans vote for Barack. But we poor white males have no one who looks like us to vote for. Neither do Hispanics, of course, or Asians, or Native Americans, but no one seems to care about them. Or maybe the pundits assume that these other groups have the intelligence to vote their values rather than their race or gender.

White men are a different breed. We vote for ourselves or….. Or what? Come to think of it we never had this problem before. We have always voted for people that looked like us: white males. So, it’s true, I feel betrayed by my party.

[By the way, it never was my party before. I have been an independent all my life, but in order to vote in the Tennessee primary I had to declare allegiance to one marketing team or another, and I chose Democrat. I wanted to vote against the nasty way Billary Clinton has been running their campaign. It smelled of racism to me. But it wasn’t an easy choice. I really like elephants and feel nothing at all for donkeys, so the logo issue was very real for me, especially if I picked up one of the canvas bag from the party’s headquarters. Walking around with an ass on my bag seems really uncool. Elephants are cool. Sure I could cross over to the Reds and vote for McCain, and, as the saying goes, “better Red then dead,” but I can’t stand the thought of four more years of an anti-science, pro-war, homophobic, and misogynist agenda which is what I fear a Republican win will bring with it regardless of the personal feelings of the winner. So that is why the Democrats are, for this election at least, my party.]

But what really irks me is the notion that I can’t vote for a person of color or a woman. How stupid we white men must be. I imagine my fellow wmv (white male voters) walking into the voting booth murmuring to themselves, “Where is the white penis? Where is the white penis? How can I vote if no candidate has a white penis?”

Well I want to go on record that white or black, penis or vagina I’m voting Democrat. Unless, of course, Bloomberg runs. Then there would be a white penis in the race. And not just a white penis but also a Jewishly circumcised white penis. Now that is my kind of candidate!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dead Folk Don't Work

Sometimes you just don’t feel like going to work. But how often can you call in with the flu or a dead relative? So, if you are like me, you are always on the lookout for a new medical excuse. This morning I came across a beautiful one. It is called Cotard’s syndrome, after Dr. Jules Cotard (1840-1889) who first described the syndrome during a Paris lecture in 1880.

People with Cotard’s syndrome think they are dead.

Imagine this: You wake up in the morning and just can’t drag your butt out of bed. So you convince yourself that you are dead. There are several things that dead people do not do. They don’t talk, tell tales, or wear plaid. And they don’t go to work.

So you call your office and tell them there has been a death in your family. Now save this one for a special occasion when you realize that you have already called in about the deaths of everyone else in your family. You can only claim your own demise once. Anyway, you call in and say there has been a death in the family. When asked who it is who died, you simply say, “I did.”

Don’t hang up. The person on the other end might think you are about to commit suicide and call 911, which would ruin your day. So stay on the line and explain that you are already dead and just making this call out of courtesy. Then hang up.

Now the day is your own, but you have to stay dead. After all what if your boss sees you walking around? Not that you have to stay inside. You are dead, you can do whatever you please, just remember that you are dead. People can’t see you or hear you. So if you do run into your boss, don’t acknowledge her. Not even a nod.

If you make a mistake and do nod or wave, don’t panic. You are dead; start waving a lot and making oooooooooo sounds, and “float” around your boss. Don’t scare her, say nice things about how you admired her when you were alive—just incase you get resurrected or reincarnated, and have to go back and ask her for a job.

The more I think about this syndrome the more I like it. If I were dead and yet could still walk around and do stuff it would be the best of both worlds. Of course if I really had the disease I would eventually starve to death under the illusion that dead men don’t need food. So I plan to write myself a manual for the dead that will tell me that the dead need to eat three meals a day, exercise, and cross the street only when the green man is illuminated.

Whenever I talk about diseases I always get mail from people who actually suffer from the disease. So if you have Cotard’s syndrome and find my remarks offensive, please remember that while the dead do read blogs they never ever comment on them.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Farting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

My philosophy of human nature is simple: people are tubes. Stuff goes in at one end and comes out at the other. We can be cruel tubes, altruistic tubes, creative tubes, even spiritual tubes, but tubes are what we are. Even the great Sufi poet Rumi said this, though he used the more poetic term “reeds” rather than my more prosaic “tubes,” but the idea is the same.

I have been saying this for so long that I considered suing You-Tube for misrepresenting my idea. But hubris is replaced with humility when one’s tubeness is understood, and I decided not to make a stink. And that is what I want to talk about for a moment.

The older one gets the more obvious one tubity becomes. The secret to being a humble tube is acceptance of tubessence, more commonly known as farting.

You know you are an old tube when you bend over to tie your shoes and fart. You know you are an old tube when you fart as you laugh. You know you are an old tube when you fear you may die from burping and farting at the same time.

My mother’s mother was such an old tube that the mere act of walking set off a stream of farts that, in the cold New England winter months, made one suspect she was driven by a gas combustion engine with a single exhaust. I myself am a HEMI.

Now some people are embarrassed by their tubeness, and the body’s involuntary expression of it. These are usually adolescent tubes who wish to deny their tube-like nature. The youngest tubes find the wonders of farting to be sidesplittingly amusing, and not only when it is an older tube that is doing the emitting. As in so many things, we would be wise to let the little children lead us. Farting is funny. Regardless of who does it, farting is funny. It is liberating, it is honest, it is what tubes do.

It is also poignant. The older you get the more you fart. The more you fart the closer you are to death. No, I have no scientific evidence of this, it just makes sense to me. So farting reminds us of our mortality, and that reminder requires more than laughter.

My suggestion is that we find religious response to hearing, smelling, or producing a fart, just like many people do when they hear about a death. When Jews fart, I suggest they say, “Baruch Dayan haEmet, blessed is the True Judge.” When Christians fart, I suggest they make a large sign of the cross with an open hand to both honor the meaning and disperse the message. I’ll leave other traditions to your own imagination.

Farting reminds us that we are going to die. Farting reminds us that both farter and fartee share the same fate. Farting is a gift from the Almighty Tube in whose image we are created. I truly believe that if we were more humble with our farting we would be less violent with our living. So please, celebrate farting as one of life’s little pleasures; and remember the dead do not fart. Baruch Dayan haEmet.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reincarnation American Style

Newsweek ran an article on reincarnation this week that begs comment. The impetus for the piece was the suggestion, denied by the Church of Scientology, that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s daughter Suri was the reincarnation of sci-fi author and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Having hooked the reader with the reference to Tom, Katie, and Suri, the article goes on to tell us that 40% of Americans between the age of 25 and 29 believe they will return to earth in a different body after they die.

To explain this finding (though not the odd demographic) the article’s author, Lisa Miller, turns to Stephen Prothero, professor of religion at Boston University, and author of a great book called Religious Literacy. According to Prothero, as life in America gets better the idea of having only one crack at it seems unfair. So we want to come back for more as if life were an all-you-eat buffet.

I understand this theory. Whenever I go to a restaurant with an all-you-eat buffet I tend to go back and back and back for more and more and more. I want to make sure I have tasted everything I want to taste, and gotten my money’s worth.

Taking my metaphor further, we can see why mainstream western religions have to offer a fabulous heaven for the true believer. They are saying, “Look why go back for more of the same old fare, when you can die and pig out at God’s Bar and Grill in Heaven?”

Prothero is quoted as saying, “Americans are becoming more Hindu.” I don’t buy this idea at all. While it is true that Hindus believe in reincarnation, it is also true that pray for the day when they die and don’t come back. The whole idea of reincarnation in Hinduism is to work your way up to a point where you achieve moksha, liberation, from the wheel of birth, death, and rebirth. When a Hindu reincarnates they say, “Damn!” When an American reincarnates they say, “Let’s get busy!”

Reincarnation in America is an extension of the ego’s desire for more: more food, for stuff, more sex, more adventure, more money. We are so selfish that we cannot imagine making room for a new soul to come to the US to taste the goodies we so highly prize and worship: “No way! Let those newbies start out in Calcutta. I worked hard over many lifetimes to get a Platinum American Express card and I’m not going to limit my shopping spree to one lifetime.”

The religion of America is Consumerism. The god we trust is the Almighty Dollar who so loves us Americans that he sent his army of preachers, politicians, and soldiers to secure our place as the glutens of the globe. Of course we want to come back; there just isn’t enough time to get it all in one life. This is so sad.

Personally, I don’t want to come back. I’ve done enough damage as it is, thank you very much. I prefer to become mulch.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Godly Constitution

If elected President of the United States Governor Mike Huckabee plans to bring the U.S. Constitution into alignment with God:

"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards."

I couldn’t agree more. My only problem is that he doesn’t go far enough. Why stop with amendments ending abortion and limiting marriage to one man and one woman? There is so much more to be done. If the Governor becomes President let’s do this right. Here are just a few suggestions:

The First Amendment allows for freedom of religion and speech, but the Bible doesn’t. God revealed the one true religion (Judaism) and secular and priestly establishments to enforce it. We need to make Judaism the official religion of the United States, and tear down the churches, mosques, temples of anyone who insists on worshipping otherwise. And as far as peaceable assembly goes, God slaughtered Korach and tens of thousands of Israelites who challenged the anti-democratic leadership of Moses and his brother Aaron (Numbers 16). Clearly “Don’t Mess With Moe” was God’s motto and the First Amendment has got to go.

The Sixth and Seventh Amendments guarantee you the right to trial by jury, but that isn’t biblical, either, so let’s get rid of these. The Thirteenth Amendment abolishes slavery, but God specifically sanctions it in Leviticus 25:44; and the Nineteenth Amendment gives women the right to vote, where God isn’t in favor of voting at all. So we must repeal all of these amendments right away. And this is just the beginning if we are to bring this country and our Constitution in line with God and God’s Word.

Governor Mike is right: it is easier to change the Constitution than it is to change the Word of God (unless of course you’re Jesus and then all you have to say is, “But I say unto you.”). And let’s be clear, when Governor Huckabee talks about the Word of God he means the Torah. Jesus doesn’t say anything about abortion or gay marriage.

I am planning to vote for Mike Huckabee, and if he wins I am glad to say it will be the last vote any of us will ever have to make again. God bless America.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nobody's Perfect

Governor Mike Huckabee put aside politics for the pulpit the other Sunday, and preached a sermon on what it takes to get into heaven. As we all know the Governor is a Baptist minister and it would be silly of me to complain that he limits access to heaven to those nonMormons who believe in Jesus as the Son of God. Besides, I don’t believe in heaven in the first place, so for me, worrying about who gets in to heaven is like worrying about who gets to ride a unicorn. Of course if you deny heaven and believe in unicorns this analogy doesn’t work, but I trust you get my point.

According to the Governor it isn’t enough to believe in Jesus to get into heaven, you also have to be perfect as well. Wow, now that is saying something. I’m not a Christian theologian but I often drive behind people who are, and I read their bumper sticker testaments. According to what I read, Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.

I always admired this about Christianity. If God is love as Christians say he is, then how could he not forgive? If God is love, and Jesus died for my sins, aren’t I perfect enough? Or is less-than-perfect the same as imperfect?

And what does it mean to be perfect, anyway? I mean a behaviorally oriented religion such as Judaism at least gives you hard and fast rules against which to measure your perfection or lack thereof. You either light your Shabbat candles in time or you don’t. You either wait the prescribed hours between eating milk and meat or you don’t. You can keep score and know exactly how close to perfect you are at any given moment.

Of course perfection is impossible, but Jews don’t care about this because perfection is not a prerequisite for getting into heaven (assuming you believe in heaven). According to Judaism all a person needs to get into heaven is to have one’s good deeds outweigh one’s bad deeds. Notice you are allowed bad deeds, just not too many. So perfection is irrelevant.

Christianity, at least Governor Huckabee’s understanding of it, however, is about faith rather than works. What does it mean to be perfect in faith? Does it mean being without doubt? Is that possible? What if something horrible happens to you or someone you love suffers some aweful fate, and just for a moment your faith falters—are you doomed? Are you damned?

And then there is the notion of would-be President Huckabee. Do I want a president who believes that most Americans are going to hell? Do I trust a president who rejects science? Do I feel good about a president who prefers Bronze Age morality to rational, ethical inquiry? Oh, wait; we already have one of those.

Maybe I am being too judgmental. After all, nobody’s perfect.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Face-Based Religion

“God is in His Heaven, and the hypocrites are in His church.” Now before you send me hate mail about being anti-Christian, I am only paraphrasing the results of a LifeWay Research survey on church affiliation. LifeWay is part of the Southern Baptist Convention headquartered in Nashville, TN.

LifeWay surveyed the 20% of Americans who identify themselves as unchurched. Unchurched means that they have not gone to church, synagogue, or mosque in the last six-months. Seventy-two percent of the unchurched believe in God or a Higher Power, and the same number complains that religious institutions are full of hypocrites. Hence my opening line.

The number of unchurched Americans is growing. In 2004 only 17% of Americans claimed to be unchurched, a three percent rise in three years is significant. What is happening?

I suggest that there is a general outgrowing of organized religion by more and more Americans. For example, over half of those surveyed said, “Christianity is more about organized religion than about loving God and loving people.” We want to love God and one another, but religion no longer seems to be the place where we learn how.

And while 52% of the unchurched believe that Jesus “died and came back to life,” 61% believe that there is no real difference among the various gods worshipped by the peoples of the world. While it used to be true that when people used the word “God” they meant the God of the Hebrew and Greek Bibles, today “God” is generic. In other words, just because Jesus came back from dead doesn’t mean I have to stop chanting Hari Krishna. The difference between Yahweh, Jesus, and the elephant-headed Ganesha is about as significant to people as the difference between Coke and Pepsi.

This has got to be a huge problem for clergy whose success is measured by butts in the pews. Fewer and fewer people are drawn to conventional religious settings. The survey doesn’t break the unchurched down by prior affiliation so we can’t say which religion is suffering from the unchurched phenomenon the most, but I think it is safe to say that Jews are among the most “unchurched” and Muslims are among the least.

The usual response to this is to figure out some way to get people back into the pews, but I prefer to imagine alternatives to pews altogether. I suspect retreats, conversation cafes, and other venues for face-to-face dialogue and contemplative practice are going to thrive as the numbers of unchurched grow. People may be outgrowing organized religion but we will always need a place to sit and talk. Church no longer provides this for many people. And the more faceless every life becomes the more we will need face-based encounters. I have nothing to suggest just yet, but I am working on it. If you have a suggestion, please share it with us.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Fear Is God's Only Weapon

Imagine you walk into a room and are offered ten $1 coins. You can take as many coins as you wish, just know that after you leave the room another person will come in and get the rest. How many coins would you take?

If you are like most people you will take most if not all of the coins, leaving little or nothing for the next person. This is true whether or not you say you are religious. Religions talk a good game: “Do unto others what you want others to do unto you,” but in real life the rule reads more like “Do unto others before others do unto you.” At least this is the finding published in a recent issue of Psychological Science by two researchers, Ara Norensayan and Azim Shariff of the University of British Columbia. My God, if Canadians act this way, just imagine what we Americans would do!

Norensayan and Shariff wanted to see if belief in God had any impact on morality. In the control group it did not. Believers and nonbelievers alike were more than happy to take most of the coins, the next player be damned. But results changed when players were asked to unscramble sentences containing words such as “God,” “divine,” and “sacred” before deciding how many coins to take.

Without the “God prime” only 12% of players split the money evenly. With the God prime, 52% did so. Similar results were achieved with a secular prime: unscrambling sentences containing the words “civic,” “contract,” and “police.” In fact, the results were more evenly dispersed across religious and nonreligious lines with the secular prime than with the God prime.

What does all this mean? To me the message is clear: for most people guilt and fear are the primary motivators behind religion and ethics. The word “God” and the word “police” work to change people’s behavior from the selfish to the more generous because they remind people of the best they are capable of and what might happen to them if they fail to live up to it.

Norensayan and Shariff’s findings don’t surprise me, but they do depress me. Sure, when I walk into a bank I always check to see where the bank guards are before making the decision whether or not to rob the bank, but I thought that was just me. I had hoped that other people were motivated by altruism, honesty, and love. Now I know differently.

But there is a bright side. I worry about being mugged. While some people avoid walking by males of certain racial or ethnic groups. I avoid walking by nearly anyone over the age of ten regardless of gender, race, religion, or ethnicity. But now I have a way of protecting myself.

I am making a special popgun. When you pull the trigger a flag with the words “God,” “divine,” “love,” and “civic” printed on it drops down from the barrel. I am hoping that the sight of this long barreled pistol will cause the would-be mugger to pause just long enough to read the words on the flag and come under their spell. Then I will ask them for five $1 coins and go on my way a little richer for the transformation. I am not patenting this gun; so if you want to make one of your own, go ahead.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Better Red Than Damned

I watched the Iowa Caucuses with great anticipation last night, and I was so proud of my country when I saw the winner—God.

Not long ago Mike Huckabee told a reporter that there could be only one reason he was doing so well in Iowa, and it had nothing to do with him or the voters. God was on his side. At the time, I thought this was typical Evangelical hyperbole, always crediting every unexpected happenstance to God as long as it benefited the person doing the crediting. But now that Governor Huckabee has won the Republican race in Iowa, I am convinced that he (or He) is onto something.

Huckabee isn’t the first person to have been put into office by God; the Bible is full of such people. But he is the first one to have done so with a divinely rigged election.

Now before you get all huffy and start yelling at me for being anti-American or some such thing, the idea that the Iowa race was fixed isn’t mine. It belongs to a guy sitting diagonally across from me talking with a friend at Joe’s CafĂ© where I hang out to use their free wireless. I have no idea who this fellow is, but I can say the same for most of the political pundits I watch on TV, so why dismiss this one?

Anyway, what I heard him say was this, “If God is behind Huckabee’s campaign like he said, then the people in Iowa who voted for him had no choice. God put the idea in their head. God made them do it. He is trying to tell America something, and we damn well better listen.” [Interesting phrase, “damn well.” Can you damn poorly?]

What about the Democratic race, you might ask? Did God put in a good Word for Obama? Of course not. God is a Republican, and has been ever since Roe vs. Wade. By the way, did you ever notice that Roe vs. Wade sounds like Row vs. Wade and both of these words (row and wade) refer to water, and water is the stuff of baptism? Is that a coincidence? Not according to the guy who pointed it out to me a couple of years ago. He insisted that God used people with these names because he wanted other people to remember that abortion makes baptism impossible and thus damns the soul of the unborn to Hell. True story. Bad theology.

Anyway, I worry about Mike Huckabee. The problem with claiming God is on your side is having to explain why God is no longer on your side if you lose. Chances of Governor Huckabee winning in New Hampshire are slim, and if he loses what is God saying then? Of course if he wins…

Thursday, January 03, 2008

When It Comes To Religion, Select Smart

I took the SelectSmart religion questionnaire a few days ago. I wanted to start out the new year in fine spiritual form. The results would not make my family proud.

On a scale of 1 to 100, I scored 100% Unitarian Universalist. Liberal Quaker came in second with 94%. Reform Judaism, the faith in which I am ordained, tied with Jainism for seventh place at 72%, just behind Hinduism (77%) and just ahead of Secular Humanism (71%). Orthodox Judaism, the religion of my birth, came in at 19th place with 46%, five slots behind Scientology at 64%. Can it be that I prefer Hubbard to Hillel?

You might find fault with SelectSmart’s questionnaire. I don’t know enough math to investigate the accuracy of its algorithms , but I wasn’t surprised by the results. As I travel the country speaking in synagogues (a job that will, with the posting of this blog, no doubt cease to exist), I find myself more and more alienated from the official party line and liturgy. I am not the only one who feels this way. I meet lots of Unitarians and Liberal Quakers masquerading as Jews in America.

I am proud to be a Jew, but I can’t get excited about making a fetish of it. It seems to me that contemporary Judaism is all about being Jewish. To me, Judaism, indeed all religion, is a means not an end; it is about healing person and planet through justice and compassion, and not about keeping Jews Jewish. All the time, money, and creative energies put into making Judaism more interesting to Jews is a waste. What is more interesting than spiritual and social transformation? I think that if the Jewish establishment focused more on the mission of Judaism and less on the membership statistics of Jews themselves they might find more people taking Judaism seriously. But what do I know? I’m a Unitarian.

So what should I do? Retake the questionnaire and fudge my answers so I turn out more Jewish? No, I can’t pretend to believe what I don’t believe, and I don’t believe in Chosen Peoples, Holy Lands, Creator Gods, or Revealed Texts.

I suppose I could join a Unitarian Fellowship or Quaker Meeting. I have attended both many times and find the experience far less aggravating that a typical synagogue service where I have to argue with almost every word that is printed in the siddur (prayer book). Unitarians have no formal liturgy, and it is hard to argue with what is being said at a Quaker Meeting when literally nothing is being said. But I’m too guilt ridden to play for another team.

So the only thing I can do is berate myself for having started the year with the SelectSmart questionnaire. So much for 2008 being a new year. It’s already just another one.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Live Free and Unite Civilly

Today New Hampshire becomes the fourth state of the US to offer civil unions, which is newspeak for Gay Marriage. I couldn’t be happier. No, wait, that isn’t true. I could be happier. I could be happier if the other forty-six states offered civil unions as well.

Civil Union is a good thing. I know there are people who say gay marriage is a better thing, but I am not one of them. I don’t want gay and lesbian couples to imitate the heterosexual obsession with marriage. I want the heterosexuals to share in the gay and lesbian community’s hard won civil unions.

The government has no business in the marriage business. The government deals with contracts, and to the extent a marriage is a contractual relationship couples wishing to marry should be required to enter into civil unions. To the extent marriage is something more, that something more belongs to religion.

If we separated the civil from the religious (a scandalous idea, Mister Jefferson!), we could put an end to this skirmish in the culture war. Those people of faith who believe God only sanctions the union of Tabs and Slots (highly technical jargon for males and females) should not have to defend their position, and certainly not have to fear the government forcing them to accept any other configuration. I have no problem with people who feel gay marriage is unholy; I just don’t want them using their religious beliefs to limit secular freedom.

Couples of any configuration who wish to marry should be required to meet the legal standards of their state, and these should have nothing to do with race, color, creed, religion, or sexual preference. Then, if a civilly united couple desires a religious wedding in addition to the civil ceremony required by the state, they should be free to shop around to find a clergy person willing to meet their needs. When I was a congregational rabbi I performed gay and lesbian Commitment Ceremonies, and would be happy to do so today. (No, not literally today, I have other things planned, but you know what I mean.)

The situation with gay marriage in the US parallels the situation of interfaith marriages in Israel. In Israel the Orthodox Establishment (OE) rules the private lives of Jewish Israelis. And they don’t allow Jews to marry Gentiles. Those who wish to marry someone who does not meet the criteria of the OE must marry outside the country. Lots of Israelis fly over to Cyprus, get married, and come home. The state welcomes them as married; the synagogue does not.

I would like to see Israel and the US truly separate the civil and religious.

This year in Concord. Next year in Jerusalem!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Day Pondering

Here is something worth pondering this New Year’s Day: When asked if it is true that the earth orbits the sun, and that a complete orbit takes about 365 days, over fifty-one percent of Americans said… wait for it… “No.”

I don’t know about you, but I love living in a country populated largely by idiots. Why? It makes me appear smarter, and I like being smarter, especially if all I have to is graduate the fifth grade.

Yet I understand why most people don’t believe in the Orbiting Earth Theory (OET). First, it is a theory, and as everyone knows theories are only guesses. Second, if the earth orbits the sun then the Bible is wrong when it says Joshua stopped the sun from orbiting the earth so he could finish slaughtering the Amorites (Joshua 10:13), and if the Bible is wrong about this maybe it is wrong about homosexuality, and that would be the ruin of everything. And third, if the Orbiting Earth Theory is true life is meaningless.

Why do I say that the Orbiting Earth Theory leads to meaninglessness? It’s simple: if the earth just goes around and around the sun it never gets anywhere. There is no point to it. And if that is true of the earth, how much more true it must be of those of us who live on the earth. Rapture me up, Scotty! This planet is a dead end.

Think about it: Today is January 1st. Last January 1st the earth was just about in the same place it is today relative to the sun. So what was the point of the orbit? Why travel millions and millions of miles just to end up in the same place? It’s like people who race around a track; what is the point? They never get anywhere. The winner is the person who gets nowhere fastest. What kind of competition is that? Why not just sit down at the Start/Finish line and wait for all the others to come back to you?

I would rather live on a planet that was going somewhere. Then again I would rather live a life that was going somewhere also. Sure things are different today than they were last January 1st, but not in any significant way. I mean I change my underwear every day, but my butt is always the same. Since last January I have changed underwear 365 times (and plan to do so 366 times this year since it is a leap year) but I am fairly certain that my ass hasn’t and isn’t going to get any smaller, tighter, or more attractive. So what is the point?

There isn’t any. With apologies to Rich Warren, life has no purpose. It isn’t going anywhere. There isn’t anywhere to go. So you might as well make the most of it. While you’re speeding through space just to end up back here again in 366 days, why not laugh a little more, read a little more, dance a little more, make someone else smile, lend a hand to someone in need, and stop measuring yourself against some artificial idea of purpose. And you could learn a little science this year, that wouldn’t hurt either. Oh, and don’t forget to change you underwear.