I am an optimist. It is a choice, since from the point of view of an objective analysis there is nothing to be optimistic about in the Universe. What you love, what you strive to achieve is going die, end, crumble, and likely be forgotten soon after, without anybody to remember why it was even worth caring for it, why it was even worth trying. So my choice of being an optimist is not based on this. It is based on looking around me, and realizing that I only have one way of living life, and it is a way of my own choosing. If I wanted I could live as a pessimist, and—at least for a little while, until I decided against it—even as a nihilist. But it won’t be fun. It won’t be constructive. So I believe, in a pragmatic, operational way, that it is better to found my outlook on positive values.
I am also an atheist. I have a naturalistic worldview, which does not include mystical, or supernatural elements. (This doesn’t mean a lot of things, for example that I am amoral, or that my view is exclusively mechanistic.) A few years ago a new movement has been started by Richard Dawkins, who felt it would be good to find a new way of describing people like me. We are the Brights! (The people who on the other hand feel that they have a need to include the supernatural, or the divine in their world are the Supers, not the Dims.)
The movement of the Brights includes some great people on top of Richard Dawkins, like Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, James Randi, and others. (Yes, of course you can buy the Bright merchandise, and 2009 Bright calendar.)
I often descibe myself as a missionary atheist. Yes, I am out to convert you too, so don’t be surprised if after dinner, contrary to many social conventions, I start to talk about religion, and the need to relinquish it!
So to a bright future, somewhat unreasonably so, but optimistically!
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