Friday, March 25, 2005

The Other Side of the Coin

I have been keeping up with Mover Mike and his stock market information; so much so that I have begun investing a small portion in gold coins; making my first purchase today. I know almost nothing about gold coins so I asked a lot of questions before deciding on whether to buy American Eagles, Canadian coins or Swiss ingots. I ended up buying the American Eagle to lessen the chance of scratching the coins surface. It seems that such a scratch lessens the value, not to mention the beauty of the artwork.

I forgot to ask what image was on the other side of the coin, not that it would have influenced my purchase decision, just wondering. I will get my first coin via insured parcel post in a couple of weeks and then I will know, like I said, just wondering.

You didn’t think I was going to devote an entire blog to what might be inscribed on the back of the coin, now did you? Quite some time back I listen to Dr. John Lienhard’s radio show, “The Engines of Our Ingenuity”, when he was explaining about how these inscriptions on our coinage is a reflection of our culture. His five minute dialogue was very informative and the message has stayed with me over the years.

Rush Limbaugh was commenting today about an article in the New York Post written by John Podhoretz (linked via title bar). Come to think of it, Mover Mike had the same article linked in his blog, a double tip of the hat. The basic point of the Podhoretz editorial was to point out that there was a division of thought between those who were praying to save the life of Terri Shiavo and those who were comfortable with permitting the woman’s life to expire. I would agree with his assessment, that on the one side are those who have strong religious belief at the core of their being while on the other side are those who “…by contrast, view life as a natural phenomenon…and so there isn't anything necessarily transcendent about it…This is the view of life shared by most secular people, who are uncomfortable with the idea of a divine spark within all of us and prefer to think that science is the best explanation for everything.”

As I return to my idea, “What’s on the other side of the coin”, the context of the question has been expanded. I heard a very sad song that was sung by Peggy Lee, at least if memory serves she sang, “Is that all there is?” She sang about a very unhappy woman who watched as different things in her life went badly as she explained the rotten empty feeling that had come over her she would ask, “Is that all there is?..." to whatever it was, a failed marriage, a house burned down leaving them without shelter and then as it all came down to it; she began to wonder about suicide; just ending it all, “Oh no, I’m not ready for that final disappointment, because I know, as surely as I’m sitting here…I’ll look at what my life was all about and have to say, Is that all there is, Is that all there is to life?”

It’s been a long time since I heard the lyrics to the song and I apologize to the artists who are rolling their eyes at my butcher job, even so, it takes my “What’s on the other side of the coin?” question in the direction that I want to go.

I have to ask the secular people a question they might not feel too comfortable about; “After this life is over and the body is used up and cast into a hole in the ground to be forever covered with soil, or incinerated and nothing remains of that once “most spectacular machine”, what happens to the creative being who once resided in that frame?”

Maybe I should have asked the coin dealer more questions about what’s on the other side. I do not believe that it’s blank or without form; no, there is more to it; just as I believe that once mortality has run its course my soul will continue its progression and be joined to its perfected body. My faith permits these transcendental thoughts and at the same time gives me hope that my continued attempts to improve will not end at the grave; instead I am part of something that has eternal ties with my Creator.

How sad it must be for the secular being, having no such hope of a grand progression to look forward to, all the while wondering to themselves as old age approaches and their bodies begin to wear out, “Is that all there is, if that’s all there is my friend, then let’s keep dancing, let’s break out the booze, and have a ball, if that’s all there is?”

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