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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy Hogmanay!

The Scottish have finally opened their presents. Yesterday and today in Scotland, revelers are celebrating a substitute for Christmas, Hogmanay (hog-muh-NAY). Referenced from a book that I adore reading every year starting late November, "The World Encyclopedia of Christmas," by Gerry Bowler:

Hogmanay is New Year's Eve in Scotland, the focus of most holiday revelry.

"Get up, good wife, and shake your feathers,
And dinna think that we are beggars;
For we are bairns come out to play,
Get up and gie'us our Hogmanay."

When Calvinist governments in the 16th and 17th centuries succeeded in suppressing the celebration of Christmas, seasonal merriment shifted to New Year's
Eve and New Year's Day. It is the time for gift-giving, First-Footing, drinking the Het Pint, and numerous customs to bring in good luck for the coming year, such as the Flower of the Well.

From Wikipedia:
Its official date is 31 December (Auld Year's Night). However this is normally only the start of a celebration which lasts through the night until the morning of Ne'erday (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January which is a Scottish Bank Holiday.
In keeping with the spirit, I did in fact drink too much last night during our New Year's karaoke party.