[Q] Bean, my favorite BeanBlog entry no longer appears on this page. What gives?
[A] It has probably been archived.
[Q] I heard you did some drawings. Where can I see them?
[A] I post links to them in my blog entries. You can see a complete directory listing of them here. Also, you can suggest my next drawing subject matter by emailing me your idea.
[Q] How did you make this blog, Bean?
[A] I used the free service available from WebCrimson.
[Q] I love your page, Bean, and I'd like shower praise upon you. How can I do this?
[A] You can email me at email@example.com or leave a comment or two.
Beanblog.org will no longer be updated. All future blogs will go to beanblog.com. I am switching to blogger because Webcrimson is too unreliable. More deets here.
There was quite a bit of severe weather in the Kentuckiana area last night. High wind sheer was evident by the Super Doppler Storm Center Viper 3 LiveCast, and the WHAS 11 Hi-Def FutureTrac Doppler scans showed lots of heavy rain and hail. My subdivision was at the center of a "hook" in the wind sheer - a definite precursor to a tornado. Sure enough, there were several touchdown throughout Indiana and Kentucky. Lots of trees down, lots of shit blown all over the place, and Biblical flooding pretty much drowned the poor SOB that own the house at the lowest point in my hood.
I waited outside while the weather was approaching. It was neat because I could look inside on the TV and see the cloud patterns, then walk outside and map them out in the sky. By my estimation, we were pretty much directly in the path of the pre-tornadic hook. The clouds were awesome. They were moving in completely different directions depending on where you looked in the sky. I really want to see a tornado first hand some day, and for a few minutes, I thought yesterday might be that day. Once the calm side of the hook was over us, I could clearly see the not-so-calm side coming. There was hella-lightning popping out of it about every 3 seconds.
When the wind picked up and the horizontal rain became so heavy I couldn't see, I decided to join Stef in the basement. It took me a while to gather up the cats, and by the time I was down there with all of them, the worst had passed. All that was left was a plain old thunderstorm. More tornados followed, but none were as close as the first wave. Despite the destruction of several houses and buisnesses, no injuries have yet been reported.
So I have been on the pills for 5 days, and I can honestly say that I feel a lot better. Of course, I keep thinking it's a placebo effect - psychosomatic - and that I could have done it without the pills, but I am not sure I want to chance it. In general, I have gotten back to doing the things that I did in April. Seems like May was a blur.
Even so, there is always this thing in the back of my mind, looming over me, constantly trying to get in. I know what it is, and I know that it is importent, but I am able to stop myself from getting into it so deeply that I become useless. I can block it out for short times and do the things I need to do. So instead of constantly having cyclical, intrusive thoughts racing in my head, I have normal ones that allow me a normal life again, and a big something lurking back there. I'll have to deal with it, but I dont have to deal with it RIGHT NOW.
I went to see Dr. Lounette Humphrey yesterday afternoon. She's a psychiatrist at the U of L Medical Center. She asked me a bunch of questions, but didn't really do a lot of back and forth. Mostly, she'd say "Have you ever [insert anything here] ?" and I'd say "No." and she'd write something down. She was nice, and helpful, and very smart, but I can't really say that she made me feel much better.... yet. The "yet" is because she seemed pretty confident that she could, in time. She diagnosed me officailly as being depressed and perscribed Zoloft.
I can't say I am 100% convinced it will work, but when she said "Depression changes the whole way in which you see the world around you." - I realized she may know what she's talking about... truer words have never been said. I look at everything different. And even though I am acting more like the old Bean I was a month ago, I don't feel at all like him. So, 50 mg, down the hatch, every morning, for the next 2 weeks, and maybe I'll be fixed. The problem I have with taking pills to fix me is that it just further reduces me and my mind to something that is the sum of it's parts - a semi-programmable meat computer that happens to be shorting out right now.
Friday evening, I was, for the first time able to say outloud "I don't believe in God." Sounds like a simple thing, but it was very hard to do. I was raised with God in my life. And althought I was far from a "good" Christian, I was Christian nonetheless, and taking God out of the picture is somehting that I do not know how to tackle.
Friday night, I took a Paxil CR, 25mg as perscribed by my family doctor. It is supposed to "help me get through the weekend." I am not sure how though, because it takes 1-2 weeks (up to 4 even) to become effective. I decided I am not going to take any more until I talk to a psychiatrist. I have an apointment with yet another psychiatrist Wednesday, and everyone keeps telling me "She's good." According to her secretary "Nobody leaves her office without feeling better." Sounds good to me.
Talked to another psychologist last night. Actually, she was a psychologist in training, from what I could tell. She took on my problems from a different vantage point than most others that I have talked to. Although the center she works for is associated with a Christian church, and she herself is a Baptist, not once during the 90 minutes did she quote the Bible. She didn't offer answers. She only offered to help me find my own. And however hokey this sounded at first, I appreciate it, and I think I will see her again. She is digging, trying to find the source of my problem. Rather than looking for the source of the questions, she is trying to find out why I have become completely obsessed with them. And while I acknowledge that the obsession itself is there, I don't see it really as a problem, since the thing I am obsessing about is not some trivial hobby, but an importent part of who I am and how I live my life. So, while I don't know excatly where she is going with the things we talk about, I have decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. I have to accept that she knows more about this kind of stuff than I do.
Had blood drawn for testing this morning. Maybe I'll luck out and this will all be a nasty stomach flu that has leached psychodelic toxins into my blood and driven me to insanity. I'll take some antibiotics and be back to Bean in no time. Maybe. Maybe not.
In related news: One of the books that has been recomended to me by a few people I have talked to is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. After chapter 3, I already have a major problem with one of his assumptions. He says, in so many words that the idea that we ought to be "unselfish" could not have risen through the same concept of evolution that could have given us the more obvious instincts we have. He argues that being unselfish, although benefitting society, does not benefit me, so how can it be called beneficial. My view is that benefitting society does benefit me in the long run, and my decendents. A strong society with strong social bonds will survive better in nature than a chaotic one. So anything that contributes to a society is beneficial to me and mine. Has anyone ever read this book? Does anyone have any comments on this? I liked the book up until that point, but I think I am going to have a hard time with the rest of the book if he builds upon that point in any way.
Talked to a doc, a shrink, and a minister last night. Sounds like a bad joke.
The doc was completely unhelpfull... he just recomended some books. Turns out he's a creationist and believes the earth is 6000 years old. For all I know, he's right. It just seems way out there to me.
The shrink was helpfull... very smart and very good at digging into why I am thinking the things I am thinking. I am definately going to see him again. But, in the end, it seems like I can counter each of his arguments with the fact that everything he knows stems from the way he explains the world around him and his core belief in God. I get this "Well, he's been duped into religion too" arrogance that overwhelms me and doesnt allow me to take what he says as fact, even thought I know he is much more intelligent and knowledgable than me. For all I know... he could just be brainwashed... the result of a family that poured Christian teaching over their children from the earliest days of their lives.
The minister, or, actually, the guy who is close to becoming ordained, was also helpful. We drank beers while talking, and I've met and hung out with him before. He's a great guy, and I don't feel like there are any alterior motives present when he is trying to help me. I believe that he is genuinely interested in helping me through this. He is very bright, and has convincing arguments on all of the topics that I have questions. I can say that while we talked, I felt better, and immediatley thereafter, I still had a "full" feeling. But this morning, I realize that everything he said only made sense if you had his same world view and core belief... something I do not have. There is always a catch-22. You have to have Faith in God to explain the world this way or that way, and then you use that explination to justify the Faith. With that logic, you could insert any word in place of "God".
So, in the end... the day was somewhat helpful, but this mornign I am left with the same sense of emptiness. Back to square 1 I guess. Seeing a diferent shirink tonight. My dad is hell-bent on getting some drugs for me. Maybe that'll help... who knows.
I decided to keep blogging about this experience because someday I want to look back and examine what thoughts led me to my beliefs. I don't know what they'll be... God, no God, aliens, tark, determinism, who knows.
Seems to me that I can argue for and against almost anything. Maybe I'm being arrogant. I've heard convincing arguments for the existence of a supreme being that is full of benevolence. I've also read reasons on why no such deity need exist to explin our world. I've read proofs that God is evil. There are so many people with such varying beliefs, that it's impossible for me to pick on say say "There, THAT one is right."
But when I boil it down, and look at religion as a whole, as a concept, it becomes explainable by science. I know... you can't prove or disprove a supernatural being by natural means (science), but the the core idea of the supernatural, of religion, can be examined under the microscope. Is the formation of religion in human society something that can be explained by biological/social evolution? Does it provide any obvious benefits to "believers"... to the human race in general?
Faith gives us hope... it comforts us and gives us a way to cope with tradgedy and with death. It allows us to function in productive ways... to go about our lives without constant worry. It helps us explain things that we cannot explain with science. At a larger level, it forms social bonds. These bonds bring individuals together into groups, which are strogner as a whole than any individual would be alone.
I think it does. And because of that, I think that it becomes explainable, and no longer supernatural.
Where science forges forward, religion hides in the shadows. What kind of hope or purpose does that leave me with? I'm no more than the sum of my wet, meaty parts. But remember... above I said "Seems to me that I can argue for and against almost anything." What's my argument againt the religion of science? The religion of evolution? My only argument is that it does not reflect how I "feel" inside. Pretty lame, eh? But that's all I got.
In related news: Tomorrow morning, I'll be meeting with a doctor for blood work and tests. Tomorrow afternoon, it's off to the friendly psychiatrist. Then, in the evening, a chat with some religious friends. As down as all of the cyclical thinking get's me, it does atleast feel good to be working towards some kind of goal.
"Blog a blog, already" they tell me. And so I will, but you may not like it.
As is somewhat evident by my last post, I am preoccupied with many things. Am I going throught a mid-life crisis? A "quarter-life" crisis? I dont know. All I know is that I have so many questions that are unanswered.
Why does Faith conflict with science on so many levels? I was taught about God, and was taught to believe in him. I was taught about Faith, and why it is the cornerstone of religion. I was also taught scientific facts. Evolution. Cosmic history. Physics and quantum mechanics. But the two ideas, science and religion, lie at opposite ends of a sliding scale. Any belief placed along that line can be easily shuffeled to one end with simple arguments. You can't have "a little" faith. You can't "sorta" believe in science.
So which is it? I want to believe in God and in Heaven. I want to believe that I have a soul. But how can I deny the proofs of science that I have lived with all my life? How can I ignore what seem to be the facts?
These thoughts have driven me to a bad place. I am becomming less and less able to work effectively, to enjoy nice sunny days, and to be happy in general. I am seeking help from a number of different people, but haven't figured anythign out yet. If this continues much longer without some kind of resolution, I'll have to see a shrink and/or medicate myself if I have any intention of being a happy, productive person again.
Want more? Look in the archives for older entries.