Skip to main content

The Meaning of a Dead Dog -- Writer's Poke #351




In some ways, Pawel is your average 10 year old. He likes to race and play. He likes to skate. He’s just starting to become interested in girls.

In other ways, Pawel is anything but average. He has his own computer, but he uses it to program, not to play games. He likes story problems. And, he’s interested in finding out the purpose for living.

When Pawel discovers one of the neighborhood dogs dead, its fur frozen in the cold, it not surprisingly depresses him. More than that, however, it also causes him to consider whether or not life has a purpose. What satisfaction can he take in solving a word problem? How powerful are computers if he can’t program them to explain why the living must die?

Pawel’s dad can explain what death is from a rational point of view, but Pawel craves a deeper explanation. His father tells him that the soul is just a term people have developed to make life easier for the living, but even his aunt, who has a strong Catholic faith, probably wouldn’t disagree with that statement. Faith does make life easier, but perhaps it also makes life more fulfilling?

You have developed beliefs about death. What are they? How do people develop views about the afterlife, and why are those views important, especially for the way they live their lives?

“And so it goes.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Summer Day Trip #1: Caledonia, Minnesota

The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe -- Caledonia, Minnesota


I've lived in Minnesota for over ten years, sure, but that doesn't mean I've actually seen much of the state. Like most people, I know what I know, and I go where I go. And that's the extent of it. But once I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it to Alaska this summer, it occurred to me that I had plenty of sites to explore in the immediate region.

First stop: Caledonia, Minnesota. Where's that? It's a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Before I opened my Rand McNally Road Atlas, I had never heard of it, and before I punched the town name into Trip Advisor, I didn't know if there was anything there worth visiting.

Distance from home: About 75 miles.

Challenge #1: Leaving by 6:30 a.m.

Challenge #2: Taking my dog, Atticus.

Actually, Atticus is a good dog on a road trip, but the forecast indicated that it was going to get into the 90s. I wanted to leave early in the …

Summer Day Trip #3: Jackson, Minnesota

Some time ago in the spring, I found out that David Ellefson, bass player and co-founder of Megadeth, was rebranding the coffee shop in Jackson, Minnesota. Every so often I would tell Linda that I planned to drive over there to check it out, but the morning that I actually decided to drive over there to check it out, I think I surprised her. I’m not sure she thought I would ever do it.
“What else are you going to do over there?”
“Oh, that’s it. Just drive over there, order a cup of coffee, and drive home.”
I had checked out Jackson on Tripadvisor, and honestly, Jackson seemed like it didn’t have much going on. My mind map of southwestern Minnesota was mainly a blank. I knew that I-90 drove through, but I thought perhaps the interstate was a metaphor: Beware ye who enter here, lest ye be on your way to somewhere else.
When I told Tavi we were driving two hours to visit a coffee shop, the idea didn’t seem far-fetched to her. She only had one question, “Do they serve hot cocoa?” I promised …