Well, I can chalk up another soul crushing moment: a third consecutive rejection of my TEDx Salem speaker application -- which I described in "Free will isn't. Existence is" My hoped-for TEDx Salem talk.
The rejection letter reminded me of those I got from publishers back in the days when I was shopping around book manuscripts, before I discovered the Joy of Self Publishing. A polite way of saying, Get lost, loser.
We appreciate your proposal for presenting a talk at TEDxSalem.
We received a record amount of applications this year making our decision incredibly difficult.
We regret to inform you that your proposal was not selected for this event.
Please know that this decision was a difficult one. Our all-volunteer selection committee spent many weeks reviewing, discussing and debating the submissions to select the proposals which best suited our event.
We wish you every personal and professional success, and hope you to see you in January.
The TEDxSalem Speaker Committee
But, hey, it's tough for me to feel that I was screwed over when the topic of my talk was how free will is an illusion. And I've always got the back-up plan that I talked about in my previous post.
If nothing else, another TEDxSalem rejection will add to my Tortured Artist (or Misunderstood Genius) resume.
In my old age, well, more accurately, my even older age, I can picture myself sitting at the end of a bar, or better, an Oregon cannabis smoking lounge (once they're legal), drowning my tortured artist/misunderstood genius woes with mind-altering substances, telling whoever will listen about my brilliant ideas that have been rejected by an uncaring world not yet ready for The Truth As Known By Me.
I readily admit, however, that I've been having a battle between my Inner Trump and Inner Buddha. Each has been speaking to me inside my head.
Inner Trump: "Brian, TEDx Salem are a bunch of nothings. Little Pitiful TEDx Salem, not even a real TED talk place, just some wanna-be's in So-Lame, Oregon. Your idea for a talk was BIG, so big, so totally fucking big they couldn't grasp it in their minuscule minds. So let it go, man. You're the winner. They're the losers. Screw them.
Inner Buddha: "Brian, you must feel boundless compassion toward the good-hearted TEDx Salem folks. They are sentient beings trying to bring more love, peace, and understanding into the world. Lacking selfhood, just as you do, just as we all do, the Speaker Committee is working in accord with the dharma and karma of this everchanging world.
I'm somewhere in-between Trump and Buddha, I guess. Assuming there's an "I" inside me somewhere. Guess I should re-read part of my TEDx Salem speaker application.
While many people will initially feel chilled when the comforting blanket of illusory free will is taken away by modern science, the warmth of a philosophically unarguable proposition remains: Existence is.
Almost certainly there is no independent conscious will guiding things on either the cosmic or individual level. "Stuff just happens" is a pithy three word encapsulization of the best 21st century understanding of both the world outside and inside of our heads.
But with this realization comes peace of mind, love, interconnectedness, awe at the endless workings of the laws of nature via cause and effect. Once our mind is blown by the fact, "Free will doesn't exist," we are open (not free!) to explore the many positive implications of this revolutionary worldview.