Thursday, September 06, 2007

Always look on the bright side of life

Over at CiF Madeleine Bunting witters on about the idea, often advanced against Hitchens, Dawkins and co., that non-belief is as dangerous as dogmatic faith. I have never quite got my head round the argument that thinking that the belief in absolute ideologies (in both their secular and religious forms) is dangerous is, in itself, a dangerous belief in an absolute ideology.

Nevertheless, after some meanderings round the ideas of myth and belief, it doesn't take long for her to descend into a characteristic celebration of miserabilism.

Just because secular societies have junked religious mythology, doesn't mean they don't have myths - the ones they have developed to replace the religious can be deeply destructive - celebrity, consumerist aspirations that material wealth brings happiness, the winner takes all. These are myths which cause untold unhappiness in lives - and the impulse to deaden such emotions through alcohol or drugs.

Wow, it must be hell (sorry) to be an atheist. Except I am one. And I am not 'blighted by dissatisfaction, disappointment and frustration'. Well I am a bit - and this glass of brandy is helping - but it isn't the myth of celebrity and consumerism that gets to me, nor even reading a Madeleine Bunting article, it is the cold hard reality of the proliferation of bureaucracy in education. In other words, happiness and disappointment are rooted far more in reality than myth.

Some may find consolation in religion, myth or faith, fine for them. I cannot. Instead, I have friends, books, music, Swinton Rugby League Club (perhaps not), Greece and this blog. All of them have a material existence, they are real. 'Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' are enough for me. None are achievable without living in a successful society, and that too, for me, means dealing in reality rather than faith.

1 comment:

SnoopyTheGoon said...

But don't you feel a presence of some higher power sometimes? Like when talking to a car mechanic in that garage you use or when they explain to you how that new surround sound (home theater, whatever) system works?

You know what I mean. But Madeleine doesn't...