"You'll Be Sorry!"
What this person actually said was, after a long harangue about how "everyone in the world needs an answer to life" and "has to have somebody to talk to" (and that's not true - not if you've studied eastern philosophy and religion. The Asian conception of religion, God (if any), and reality is very different from those of the Abrahamic religions), was "you'll see!"
"When you're on your deathbed, you'll see! What would you say to a child who's dying? You have nothing to say! Everybody needs an answer, and you do, too! You'll see!"
My answer that, 1) this person who’s assuming that I’ve never had trouble in life obviously didn't know anything about me, and 2) in my experience, children are quite irreverent about death and have less fear of it than adults, and 3) each person's death belongs to that person alone and I would be more inclined to listen than to preach, was drowned out by this person then telling me not to speak for everyone, which I wasn't trying to do, since he wouldn’t even let me speak for myself.)
"Why are you alive?" this person blared at us, and kept on his harangue while I asked if he knew about the sperm and the egg. Why am I alive? Is he joking? If he's so offended that I'm alive, holy shit, just wait a while and that will take care of itself. If that's not fast enough for him, because he's a mean old coot, then kill me and STFU.
I didn't initiate this discussion but I left it in tears. Man, I didn't see that coming at all. This from who looks like a kindly old man. (Was that a threat BTW?)
That has got to be the lowest blow ever by someone who is obviously never satisfied with anyone. This person has bitched and bitched about religion. This person asked for a copy of the Minnesota Atheist newsletter. Well, he was obviously looking for a fight, or else he's crazy.
What is this "answer" of which people speak? I don’t get it. Life is almost completely nonverbal. The earth orbiting the sun, the waves crashing on the shore, the wind in the trees, birth, death, eating, sleeping, making love, dance, art, music - all nonverbal. Where is there an "answer" in all this? Where is there meaning in life, except in the living of it? Do people actually want to reduce physical phenomena to a trite fortune cookie blurb? Is that what the word "spiritual," tossed around so much that it now has no meaning, mean to them?
Life is doing. When you do something instead of sitting on your ass watching life pass you by, and when you avoid making mistakes instead of hurling yourself into making bad decisions, or no decisions at all (which is a decision), you're much less inclined to ask "What's it all about?"
"What's is all about?" In my opinion, that has to be the stupidest question the human race ever came up with. We learn by doing, and we find purpose by doing. But that kind of purpose cannot be explicitly verbalized to someone who is so profoundly unhappy as to ask someone why he or she exists. Life is what happens to you while you're asking other people what it's all "about." As the Chinese say - "Westerners are always getting ready to live."
Personally, I think our ability to speak and engage in abstract thought is overrated if it culminates in this inexplicable sense of despair, which gives rise to this perverse desire to hurt someone else's feelings to the point of slamming into a coffee shop and informing someone that "you'll see in the future, when you're under stress and cry out to God," just so they can proclaim, “I told you so!” Yeah, and if I were waterboarded for a sufficient amount of time I'd probably betray my family, my friends, and everything that I hold dear, too. Should that define who I am? If I were starving and the only alternative was to rob someone, I suppose under certain circumstances I'd do it. Should that define who I am?
The behavior or a person reduced to an extreme state of misery should not be the basis of human morality, unless you think the rich and the middle class should be regularly stealing bread to feed their families, or driving away from gas pumps without paying, or holding someone's Jesus statue hostage even if the neighbor doesn’t have a dog pooping all over one’s yard.
As I said before, I think the problem is that too many people are cut off from nature. There’s no “meaning” or “meaninglessness” in nature, nor does there have to be. Nature is necessity and necessity is relentless, but never deliberately cruel. I realized this in the Galapagos.
Nature will eventually kill you, but it will never mock you, call you fat, make you feel ugly, call you stupid, humiliate you in front of others, scare you with hell-talk, engage in emotional blackmail, or make you feel like you can never be perfect enough. Nature just is, as I just am, in all our glorious imperfections. Screw the people who are always looking for perfection, an answer, or "meaning." They are more hurtful and incomprehensible than the so-called "meaninglessness" of life could ever be.
UPDATED: Scott to the rescue!