My 40th birthday is coming up this Tuesday. These birthdays that end with a zero are landmarks so I figured I should post something. (Plus I realized I haven’t written very many posts here this year.)
I was 34 when I started this blog. That doesn’t seem all that long ago but in some important ways I am a different person now than I was then. That is the beauty and danger of digging into metaphysics and philosophy I think; when you tinker with the very core of your beliefs you are adjusting the lens through which you see the universe. Making changes to the lens through which you see the universe (sometimes called shifting paradigms) is interesting in that it may not have immediate and obvious consequences but it will inevitably have massive long term implications.
I’m reminded of this famous quote attributed to Henry David Thoreau:
For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root.
Of course not every paradigm shift is positive. I suspect that is why some visitors have been leery about the conversations and debates we have hosted here at the Thang over the years. But as for me, I’m convinced that the lens through which I see the universe now is more accurate than the one I had in 2004. More importantly, I think my current view of the universe is more conducive to sustainable prosperity and peace and joy for my family and me than my old views. And as Lehi taught, men are that they might have joy.
So what does this have to do with the title of my post? Well, for one thing I’ve survived 40 years so this dude abides in that sense. I reckon I have no more than 70 years left before I die. (With advances in medicine I see no reason why we Gen Xers won’t live obscenely long lives in some cases.) But on top of that, my creeping universalism that has arisen from years of studying Mormon theology has forever changed me. I’m just more mellow now which is a characteristic The Dude was famous for. Having very little anxiety about a vengeful God has that effect I guess.
I used to lean toward being a Mad Max Mormon, sort of expecting the end of the world and the second coming in my life. Now I’m a more optimistic Star Trek Mormon who thinks Jesus would prefer to delay Armageddon and not return here for many thousands of years if we will just work with him a little. I further stopped quietly gunning for church callings along the way. I have friends in my stake that have pointedly ask me what happened and how or why I got off of the upwardly mobile track in church. I suppose what happened is that I shifted paradigms and came to the conclusion that being a primary teacher really is just a good as being an apostle when it comes to my salvation.
Would the church be better if lots of others saw the universe the way I do? I don’t know. But the odds of people seeing the universe the way I do are so slim it is a moot question to begin with. What I can say is that I am really, deeply contented in life right now. Life may indeed get better than this, but my life at 40 is hard to beat. This dude abides.
Associated song: Hard Fi — Hard To Beat