Monday, September 21, 2015

My lIfe, in installments

Chapter 1.    Does God have a sense of humor?

I lived in The Haight in San Francisco in the late '60's and had quite a vibrant following.  I would sit on a stool in coffee shops and just talk...about politics, culture, telepathy, and people would fill the place to listen.  I only read someone's mind once in public; it brought too much attention and made me uncomfortable.  I stopped speaking about telepathy too.  I guess at the present stage of my life I'm ready to open up a bit. 

The '60's was a visionary time because nothing was happening, so you could only see things coming and be visionary.  Now many of the speculative futures we talked about are arriving, and a visionary can see dramatic change either now or in the near future, inspiring a popular sci-fi genre of near-future stories (e.g. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which could come true just about any time, judging by the real-life adult version: the 2016 presidential campaign).

After a middle-class childhood filled with longing to be a member of the Bloomsbury Group instead of throwing the Green Sheet onto driveways in Woodland Hills, I started off as a hopeful undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley with a girlfriend and visions of a literary life.  She and I watched Mario Savio speak on the Sproul Hall steps, urging us, among other things, to use whatever words we wanted, "bad" or otherwise.  Mario asked everyone to raise a fist in solidarity.   I did not raise my fist, as I could already say "fuck" and "shit" if I wanted to.  She raised her fist.  Conformist!, I raged within. The next week she broke my heart by sleeping with every man she met.

I had thought I had a grip on life, but I had no grip on anything.

My major was English Lit., which I liked, but I couldn't understand what contribution to society, or to literature, the graduate studies made.  I loved reading Jonathan Swift, for instance, in my undergraduate class, but I found that graduate students do not read Swift- they read critiques of Swift, followed by a career of reading critiques of those critiques then writing one's own critiques of the critiques.  Who reads this stuff, and why?  

I decided that college was irrational and I had youthful impulses to change things.  I considered starting a movement to revolutionize college so that it would be a better fit with the youthful mind, at least in language arts.  But Mario stole my thunder with his call for freedom to say "fuck" and "shit," inspiring a mass movement to support the Anglo-Saxon's thousand year struggle to speak the mother tongue.  

Fear of not being a college graduate compelled me to get my bachelor's, but I fled academia after graduation.  The '60's were in full swing, a combination of nihilism and hedonism.  There were two types of hedonist.  The ideological hedonists had a belief system to support their proclivities, which held that all you need is love at the dawn of the Age of Aquarius.  The plain hedonists just sought pleasure while admitting they didn't know if they were entitled to it.  I was in the latter group.  I found that a message of nihilism is only acceptable if it's funny.  Well, I'd better back up and define a nihilist. A nihilist is someone who doesn't think the universe is funny.  A funny nihilist is someone who thinks it's funny that the universe isn't funny.  

I started to wonder if God had a sense of humor, and this started to seem to me the central question about God and existence.  Not that I already had decided there was a God, but it seemed to me, given the dire need in our universe for things to be funny, that if there were a creator god of our universe and it turned out this god did not have a sense of humor, that would be incredibly bad news.

After extracting my B.A. from the system I started my speaking career, but I became obsessed with the question of God's sense of humor, if any, and I left home to search the world for wisdom on the question.  This blog tells tales from my adventures, as well as stray political thoughts, and, for the first time, I will openly discuss my telepathic abilities and reveal some useful tidbits.

All the best, 

Harry the Human

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