The Exuberant Life
September 23, 2009
Paul Kurtz, founder and chairman emeritus of Center for Inquiry and its affiliate organizations, is well known for talking about "exuberance." His little book, Affirmations: Joyful and Creative Exuberance is an inspiration to me and I have given this book to many other people including the couples whose marriage/commitment ceremonies I have officiated. One of the couples included a reading from Affirmations as a part of their ceremony.
Paul not only has written about exuberance but he is a living example of the ideals he espouses. Now past 80--years-old, he still works out and walks to keep himself physically fit and continues his reading, writing, and speaking which keeps his mind alert. When I haul myself out of bed to make my 6:30 am workout two mornings a week, I think about Paul and hope I am as vibrant as he is when I cross the 80+ threshold.
I quote Paul on the "Common Moral Decencies" when I am asked the question, "Do atheists have any moral values?" I think of his admonition to work for "The Beloved Cause" as I do my best to promote CFI and our center here in Indianapolis. For Paul, CFI and its affiliates, the publishing, the think tank, the library, the international outreach, the endeavor to promote science and reason at the national and international level, etc. have been a labor of love. He has built a great organization and had tremendous success in promoting the scientific outlook on life. And, yes, exuberance as the icing on the cake.
The affirmative person may sum up his or her life and declare that, after all is said and done, it was worth living, that though he may have some regrets for what he could have done and did not, or for what might have been but was not, all told it was good. And, ah yes! although there were periods of pain and sorrow, these were balanced by those of pleasure and joy. What an adventure it has been--far better to have lived and experienced, than not to have lived at all! ( Affirmations , p. 67)
I am looking forward to spending some time with Paul on the CFI Cruise , November 12-20. Paul, I hope to take a walk on the deck with you but don't know if I can make it to the workout room. After all, I will be on vacation.
#1 DJ Grothe on Friday September 25, 2009 at 3:42pm
Great, Reba. Paul is easily one of the two (or possibly three) most influential people in my life, and certainly the most influential, philosophically or world-view wise. His celebration of life filled with exuberance is indeed an inspiration for me, as I know it is for many others of our activists and leaders, both in the field at at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst. Thanks for the blog post!