‘No such thing as atheism’
December 29, 2008
Regarding your article “Aspen real estate no longer a billionaire’s market,” I worked as a marketing-advertising designer for two prominent Roaring Fork marketing agencies whose primary clients were either Aspen realtors or developers.
Every day I would sit for hours in front of my computer immersed in the task at hand: how to ladle on the imagery and adjectives that would convey exclusivity, enclave-ivity and, indeed, divinity to the potential buyers of real estate in the Aspen area. At the end of each day, I felt my soul had been scraped bare and that there was something deeply wrong and revolting about our culture ” the way it had come to revere money and property as the primary indicator of human worth.
In the hopes of a better year and a more inclusive spirit, I would like to submit these wonderful lines from David Foster Wallace:
“There is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship ” be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles ” is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, cliches, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
“Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.
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“They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.”
May you experience a meaningful, healthy and loving 2009.
Walnut Creek, Calif.