[SIDENOTE: IF YOU HAVE USED PROMETHEASE.COM TO ANALYZE YOUR DNA OUTPUT FROM 23andME or one of the other DNA sites, PLEASE CONSIDER WRITING, EVEN IF YOU TOTALLY HATE EVERYTHING ELSE YOU READ ABOUT ME HERE . . . I'VE RECENTLY GOTTEN MY PROMETHEASE REPORT, WOULD LOVE TO SWAP NOTES WITH SOMEONE ELSE ABOUT THIS GENETIC STUFF -- and FWIW, I am GG at RS 53576]
No surprise then that people at work consider me a "serious type", not the life of a party, no bubbly sense of humor, not a good source of small talk. But hey, I still enjoy life, still glad to be here. I'm something of an 'odd fit' in this world (and on OKC, that's for sure!); I'm often off-balance and stumbling around (both metaphorically and physically). But somehow I get by and keep on chugging. And even smile and laugh about it all (on my better days)!
And like most everyone else, I need social connection. I get together with people, go out to restaurants, enjoy having face-to-face conversations . . . it's just that my balance between aloneness and social interaction is a bit more on the quiet side than average. It's a Taoist yin-yang thing, a swirl of dark and light, a dynamic between the social and the "eremetic". I enjoy them all the more, because of the contrast! Despite much time alone, I don't usually get depressed (so far, anyway). I really DO enjoy being alive (so far), all the more for having some quiet time to digest and contemplate it!
My personal interests lie mainly in science, math and logic; that's what interests me, that's just who I am. I try to read up on history, philosophy, politics, science, and other interesting ways to analyze the world. At the same time, I have a strong spiritual interest . . . I'm not am atheist. I ponder religion and the many ways to approach 'the divine'. I take the QUESTION / EXISTENCE OF GOD very seriously. I feel that the question of God is basically a Zen koan (I am a novice Zen practitioner -- my quasi-Buddhist involvement). Or maybe like a quantum particle or Schrodinger's cat -- both yes and no, alive and dead at the same time. To me, anyway. I'm living in a quantum bubble, perhaps!!
I've been haunted for most of my life by the idea of God and by the ideal of using reason and intellect to help us approach (but not know or possess) God. In the end, I stand in awe of an ultimate, unanswerable question (the ultimate koan, to you Zen folk). What does it mean that so many people throughout history have found the question to be so important – and so unanswerable?
I guess that my biggest aim in life right now is to continue my journey on the "quest for God" along the paths of modern science (with a few dashes of ontological philosophy -- "metaphysics" in the academic sense -- thrown in for good measure). E.g., cosmology, quantum physics, quantum gravity, neuroscience, theories of consciousness. I.e., the big pictures, like the ideas proposed by some modern physicists saying that reality is really a big set of digital information being dynamically processed somehow. And perhaps that process involves consciousness itself, in a very fundamental (some might say "dualist") way.
This is what I think and talk about, this is what's important to me. I'm not discouraged by the fact that most scientists today are hard-core atheists, e.g. Steven Hawking. Scientists have been surprised in the past when they find that the world is actually bigger than their experiments and equations originally indicate. I don't think they're reached the end of "surprise alley" yet.
So just what might God be or mean in such a "new physics / new brain-mind" context? It’s a lot of grand guessing and speculation, an interesting way to combine my big interests (theology and physics / cosmology). It's a quest, it's a journey, it's my journey anyway.
But in ordinary life, I'm a 60+ year old government bureaucrat working for a law enforcement agency. Was married for a few years back in the 80s but never raised a family. I like to read, write, listen to / watch Teaching Company Great Courses, etc. I do have plenty of books -- mostly non-fiction. Even though I'm not an academician, I consider myself an "eternal learner".
The Enneagram says that I'm a type 5; makes sense to me. Myers-Briggs once said that I was an INFJ -- you know, a sensitive quiet and introverted kind of person. Well, recent tests show that I've crossed the line to INTJ. Tough times call for tough temperaments, I guess. The first two measures, introvert and intuitive, are my strongest temperaments; the thinking-feeling and J vs P things can vary depending on the circumstances.
Political views: I was once a semi-socialist, I used to swear allegiance to doctrinaire liberalism. Ah, those idealistic college days! But then I lived 40+ years in the real world. Nonetheless, I still sympathize with liberalism, although I now respect some of the more sincere, less politicized conservative viewpoints. But as with pure liberalism, they’re not the full story, the truth is always a complex mix, a yin-yang mix of liberal and conservative theories and practices.
Some of my other interests: Blogging, jogging, web sites, computers, photography, trains and railroads, politics (love to read RealClearPolitics, although I don't get involved with real live political campaigns), hiking, exercising, vegetarian cooking, stamp collecting, red wine (esp. zinfandel, not the white stuff!), good beer, birdwatching, Calvin and Hobbes, essential oils / aromatherapy, growing plants in my apartment (and when the landlord is in a good mood, in a little outdoor plot next to the driveway).
Also, I worked for a non-profit community development agency in Newark for about a decade, had previously volunteered for a time with a faith-based social services outreach agency in the Washington DC area, also did some literacy tutoring and youth ministry at an Episcopal church parish in NJ for a handful of years. So I would like to go back and try to do that stuff once again, maybe after I retire (whenever that might be).
Working as a grants manager and mini-info-system developer for a law enforcement agency.
Cooking most of my own food, because I like cooking, it's something of a hobby, a creativity thing.
Trying to live life as if it all means something, however messy and imperfectly.
Continuing to be a 'sociable hermit', balancing solitude and the contemplative life with some social activity and friendship stuff.
I also sit weekly with a Zen sangha. I'm more of a Taoist than a Buddhist, actually, and even if I'm ex-Catholic/ex-Episcopalian, I'm not anti-Catholic/anti-Episcopalian. But those Zen folk are really serious about their meditation, and I can't find a better place to get some good quiet time in on the cushions. It's only when they start babbling away with all their "live in the moment, don't put another head on top of your head" jive that I start tuning them out.
Movies: not a big interest in my life right now (although I did recently see "Into Great Silence", quite moving).
Music: There there are songs and music that I like. Hard to say just why one tune catches a wave on my neurons, and a similar one wipes out. I can't say that I love any one particular artist or genre. I guess that most of my listening time goes towards rock, especially prog rock from the 80s; some modern rock and hard rock also gets my ear now and then. But there are plenty of songs from other kinds of artists and styles on my MP3 folder, both old and new. Mother Machree is on there, but so is Ozzie Osborne. Darned if I know how it all relates. Music is a mystery, and perhaps that's a good thing.
Books - One of my biggest reading interests right now is on the topic of human consciousness, the interaction between brain and mind, science and subjectivity. And also "big science" and "ontological metaphysics", including quantum physics and quantum gravity, chaos theory, emergence and self-organization, information theories, dark energy, the big bang/big inflation scenarios of cosmology, vacuum energy -- that sort of thing. (Not really a big fan of the "multiverse", though.) IMHO, consciousness is somehow going to relate to all of that.
Other recent intellectual dabblings have included the history of the Roman Empire and the academic historian's version of the story of Jesus of Nazareth, i.e the "third quest" for the historical Jesus. Oh, and Thomas Merton and his fellow monks. I'm no longer a practicing Catholic and never was a Buddhist, but I admire their monastic traditions. Could say that I'm a monk at heart. Also love the Tao. my collection of railroad history and railfan photo books, nostalgia from childhood days.
People who like to talk about science, especially the BIG stuff like cosmology, information theory, complex systems, entropy, chaos theory, emergence, particle physics, etc. And about the brain, cognitive psychology, philosophy of mind. Also other serious non-fiction topics, including economics, public policy, politics, history, technology. And about God -- but without immediately taking a side, as the true believers and the true atheists do. It's really hard to find someone who is looking at both the pros and cons of faith-belief while still caring and hoping, i.e. without becoming an another apathetic agnostic.
Teaching Company courses about such stuff.
Books about such stuff.
Vegetarian food (especially my own !).