Whimsy and studiousness from a nice lady who lives in Michigan and loves Objectivism.

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Name: Amy
Location: United States

I'm a good-natured person who enjoys living.

Monday, January 21, 2008

In Loving Memory of Bob Karvonen

Our good friend Bob Karvonen passed away in November 2007. I knew him for 12 years. He was a brilliant scientist, biologist, writer and video cameraman (as I later found out!).

For those of you who knew him in Objectivist circles, it was very easy to like him a lot. He stood out for his zaniness, his powerful intelligence, his ability to explain technical science in lucid terms, and his ability to find enjoyment in just about anything. When I found out he passed away, it was very difficult to believe, and it is now, as I’m still able to clearly recall the way he laughed and joked and listened and contemplated. I can hear his laugh even now, and I’m sure I won’t forget it.

I understand that everyone has their own way of dealing with the death of a loved one, but I try to have a different approach. I would call it “remembering that I’ve been enriched” – that my life, my personality, has been positively enhanced by Bob Karvonen. And I also know that his life was enormously enriched by his friends. I am so happy he knew us.

On a side note regarding death, I really have to thank Ayn Rand for helping me obtain a healthy perspective. It’s a long story, but it can be summed up in knowing that I don’t have a primacy of consciousness (or religious) perspective, that I won’t be miserably pining to see Bob in the afterlife, and that I know that this situation is absolute.

Some would think that grieving might be easier to handle if there were a hope that I would “see” him again. But I think the opposite. I know there is no consciousness without a body, and when I die, I won’t have eyes to see anything. Grieving is a form of integration. During each instance without Bob, I have to remind myself that he is not here, which is difficult and sad, but there will come a time when I won’t have to remind myself.

At that time I can stop integrating so much, and I can be free to focus on his memory as a happy thought. If I included in my thoughts the painful, uncertain anticipation of joining him in the afterlife (which many religious people experience), I would not have that moment where I could go on with my happy, but final, memories of him. I guess I would imagine all kinds of weird things like growing wings off my back, and what outfit would I end up with when I’m dead, and being tremendously sad that so many people I love are still down on earth, and wondering if they will make the spiritual grade, etc. Silly stuff, really – but, boy, am I glad I don’t have to deal with it!

So here is a link to the memorial I made for Bob. I hope you enjoy it. I often look at it. And even if you didn’t know him, it’s a pleasant reminder of what wonderful things you can achieve when you’re alive.


Blogger Mike N said...


Great tribute to Bob. Well done.

Mike Neibel

January 30, 2008 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Amy. Now that I'm retired, I googled an old schoolmate "Bob Karvonen" and came up with your blog. I am almost positive that the Bob you knew is the one I was looking for. Sad that I couldn't talk to him. He and I were best friends for a time at Lakeview High School in St. Clair Shores back in the mid 1960's. I'm sorry for your loss. - Jim Ault

November 6, 2008 1:02 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Dear Jim,

I believe that this is the same friend you are referring to. I will double check, but Lakeview High School sounds familiar. Perhaps you knew a Doug (another brilliant science and math student) there too, and I know him as well, and will pass your name onto him.

There isn't a week that goes by that I don't think of Bob, and I will always hold him firmly in my memory.

Thanks so much for the nice note. If you like, you can email me at amynasir(at) Or please check back in the Comments, and I'll confirm either way very soon.

Best Regards,

November 6, 2008 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That must be Doug Basburg you are referring to. He was a year or two ahead of Bob and I. I never knew too much about Doug except that he had a great sense of humor and Bob looked up to him.

Bob had an older brother named Johnny that he thought the world of. I'm kind of sad that I never connected with Bob earlier, but it looks like he was a happy man. - Jim

November 7, 2008 11:05 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Jim - Hope you are reading this! I've contacted Doug, and he would like to meet up with you to say hello. He remembered you when he looked you up in the yearbook. Please contact me so I can put you in contact with Doug. Email me at Thanks! -Amy

November 17, 2008 10:00 AM  

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