Category Archives: meaning of life

My Agnostic Theories On Death

Humans have a psychological need to explain things we don’t understand. There has never been a society where Agnosticism was the mainstream “religion.” In ancient times, people invented mythological stories to explain weather, stars, plants, the origins of life and what happens after we die. Their brains simply couldn’t accept the honest truth, “We don’t yet understand why these things happen.”

Science has explained what rain, lightening, and stars really are, but we’re still struggling with the concept of death. So most people pick a religious book and accept its answers as flat fact. They defend the hastiness of their decision by saying, “If it brings me peace and doesn’t hurt anyone, then what’s the harm?”

There are three problems with this justification. First, most religious texts are littered with passages that can cause harm. If you accept the book as a whole, you risk letting the bad in with the good unless you cherry pick what you want to believe, but then you’ll spend half your life doing mental gymnastics to reconcile you’re contradictory beliefs.

Shall we start with the Bible? -Exodus 21:7-11, Deuteronomy 22:28-29, Deuteronomy 22:23-24, Exodus 21:20-21- I could go on.

The second problem is that your actions in this life are guided by your purpose. So what you believe about death will sway the course of your entire life. Believing you’ll go to heaven for following a specific set of rules invented by Bronze Age tribesmen will have you chasing your tail while ignoring more important issues. Believing you’ll be reborn in a new body can lull you into a false sense of security and cause you to ignore time-sensitive tasks. Believing sin is caused by space ghosts that can only be exorcised by paying a cult member to hear your confessions can cost you a lot of time, money, and freedom.

The final and most important problem is that truth matters. Living out a fantasy feels good, but the opportunity to experience reality is meaningless if we choose not to live in reality. The only sane way to explain death is to admit you don’t, can’t, and won’t ever understand it.

Ironically, your brain is still hardwired to make sense of the unknown, and you still need some kind of working theory on death to give context to your actions and guide them towards a purpose. So you need some kind of idea/s in your head that you can follow as if they were true while simultaneously doubting them enough to reject and improve them for the rest of your life.

Based on the scientific evidence we have, the simplest and most honest explanation of death is that when you die, your consciousness ceases, and that’s it. There is no soul, afterlife, reincarnation, second chances, fairness, justice, mercy, punishment, or any other kind of consequence or closure.

This isn’t as grim as it may appear on the surface. The brevity of life gives it value and should motivate you to make the most of the present moment for its own sake. It also implies a moral code that is best summed up by Sam Harris, “Consider it; every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?”

"Consider it; Every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?" - Sam Harris

You can use this nihilistic atheistic framework as the basis for a meaningful life while still reserving the disclaimer that you could be wrong, or as Lee Child put it, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”

"Hope for the best, plan for the worst." - Lee Child

We can’t prove there’s an afterlife, but we also can’t prove what started the big bang or defined the rules of nature. The universe is an infinitely large, expanding machine that has rearranged itself over the course of billions of years to create planets that excrete sentient beings capable of experiencing reality. It wouldn’t be wrong to say the universe is a sentient machine that creates reality.

The power and genius required to invent our universe is incomprehensible, and the same force that created quantum physics also created life and death. If it went through all this trouble to design us to die, there must be a reason that is as logical as the freezing point of water. I don’t know what that reason is, but I know we’re in good hands; we’re in the best position to hope for the best. If the universe is on our side, almost anything is possible.

Maybe there was only a one-in-infinity chance of your consciousness existing, but on a long enough time scale, “one-in-infinity” is tantamount to “inevitable.” And if your consciousness existed once despite all odds, that sets a precedent it could happen again. It’s entirely up to the will of the universe, which again, already seems to be on your side.

It’s theoretically possible you’ll be reincarnated into whatever you choose, deserve, or need. Half-believing that should motivate you to become the best version of yourself. So would half-believing you’ll simply re-live some version of your current life over and over for the rest of infinity.

But here’s my favorite half-believed working theory about life and death. You are the universe incarnate. Your consciousness is the universe’s consciousness, and the universe never dies. Even when all the stars burn out, the force behind it still exists.

This means you’re basically a character in one of “God’s” dreams, and dying is like “God” waking up from a dream. Maybe you’ll cease to exist as an independent consciousness, but you’ll live on as a memory with as little regret for your loss as you would after waking up in the morning, ending the lifespan of a projection of yourself that existed in last night’s dream.

Then again, maybe once your consciousness has existed, you can’t put that genie back in the bottle. Though, it could be possible that in order to hold onto your consciousness, you have to achieve a level of awareness and completeness to hold yourself together. If you don’t, then your death reverts to “God” waking up from a dream.

In either scenario, when you treat other people kindly or cruelly, you are the universe doing that to itself, and that’s reward and punishment enough in and of itself. Torturing you for eternity would just be God sticking its own hand in a fire.

I’m not saying you should believe this, or that I even believe it. All I’m saying is I wouldn’t rule out the possibility we were created for a purpose. I do know we were born with an incredible set of mental tools that can be used to define and improve your consciousness, and there would be no point in giving us those tools and the opportunity to use them if we weren’t meant to.

If death is the end, that’s all the more reason to become the best version of yourself while you can, so you can experience your fleeting life to the fullest.

Although the universe may have put you in the best position to hope for an afterlife, that’s no reason to be complacent. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by using the tools at your disposal to put yourself in the best position to hope for an afterlife by becoming yourself to the fullest extent possible and making the most out of the opportunity you were given. How to do that is another question altogether that you were probably meant to spend rest of your life trying to figure out.

P.S. Never forget to question your answers.

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The Meaning of Life

Wise Sloth Video List: The Meaning Of Life

I prefer watching educational videos on YouTube more than watching television, but it’s tedious digging for good content, and I’ve already seen most of the good stuff while searching for videos to put in my blogs. In case anyone else is looking for entertaining educational videos on YouTube, I made a series of posts with all the ones I’ve used on The Wise Sloth, organized by topic, with links to the posts they appear in. You’re bound to be enlightentained, and if you need help exploring the 600+ essays on The Wise Sloth, these video lists offer a quick overview that practically summarize my philosophies.

This list comes from my essays on philosophy and focuses on the meaning of life.


How do you find purpose without knowing the meaning of life?






The value of life





Reality is amazing



It’s okay to be lost



The cosmic perspective




Why you shouldn’t commit suicide





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The Danger In Telling People Life Has No Meaning

Cartoon of a teacher pointing to a chalk board that says, "BIRTH -> IN BETWEEN STUFF -> DEATH." A student in the classroom is asking, "That's it?"


If there’s no true, pre-set inherent meaning to life then the question, “What did you do with your life?” serves the same practicality as, “What was the purpose of your life?” If there’s no true reason why we’re here then that’s as close as you’re going to get to experiencing and fulfilling any real meaning in your life, and on one level it is real.

Suppose you dedicated your entire life to playing football. Then on your deathbed, someone asks you, “Why were you here?” Well, apparently you were here to play football. It doesn’t matter if that’s what you were supposed to do. That’s what you did. So that’s retroactively why you existed.

Understanding that, if someone asks you what the meaning of life is, and you just smugly tell them, “Life has no meaning…” and leave it at that, then the only influence you’re likely to have on your audience to convince them there’s no point to thinking about the question altogether.

If that happens, they’re still going to end up doing something with their lives. Their life is still going to be guided subconsciously by a primary prerogative…only now they’re not going to be conscious or in control of it. This means they’re just going to let their evolutionary instincts guide them. Their priorities will be to reproduce, conquer and consume, and they’ll fall into the pack or herd mentality and allow the ebb and flow of mainstream culture to define their identity, wants and fears for them. They’ll meander through life as confident as they are blind.

When someone asks you what the meaning of life is, if you say it’s meaningless, you may as well just tell them it’s to mimic your favorite television characters and be a workaholic consumer whore.

P.S. Telling people the meaning of life is 42 accomplishes the same thing.


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The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
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How Do You Find Purpose Without Knowing The Meaning Of Life?

Life is an absurd, existential dilemma because we must go through it without knowing the answers to the most important questions: What caused the Big Bang? Does God exist? Do souls exist? What happens after we die? What’s the difference between right and wrong? What is the meaning and purpose of life?



Our lack of answers to these questions affects our lives every moment of every day. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you go on living? Is it because you’re working towards a goal that’s meaningful to you or are you just surviving out of habit or because you don’t want to die? Do you even have any personal goals? Are you letting the tides of society determine how you spend your days?

We’re destined to live and die lost, but that doesn’t mean we’re doomed. If you can find a goal that’s important to you personally, and actively work towards fulfilling it, then you won’t feel purposeless and unfulfilled. If you don’t pick a passion and follow it, you’ll feel existentially depressed even if you believe in God and Heaven. So, it’s a moral imperative that you pursue self-actualization.



Nobody is going to cram self-actualization down your throat. You can’t rely on your parents, schools, mentors, bosses, religious leaders or luck to turn you into a fully-realized adult. The social, political and economic systems that run the world aren’t designed to walk you through the steps of growing up and fulfilling your potential. They’re more designed to starve you, grind you down and exploit you. Your life is your responsibility. It’s up to you to study all of humanity’s wisdom and systematically pick out the most useful instructions on how to create yourself.

You’ll find more relevant information on that topic in psychology textbooks than in ancient religious tomes written by warring tribesmen who made human and animal sacrifices to Gods. Parts of your “self” were defined by your biology and the environment you were raised in. So In order to understand yourself, you have to understand how your nature and nurturing molded you into who you are today. Before you can begin working on achieving a goal that brings you personal fulfillment in this absurd, existential vacuum, you have to fully understand yourself: your strengths, weaknesses, aptitudes, tendencies, predispositions, personality type, emotional type, intelligence level, etc. Then you need to use that information to define your wants.



After you define your wants, the rest of your life will be a race with no finish line, as you continue to explore and pursue your passions. Maintaining this level of dedication requires a systematic understanding of motivation and success skills. You don’t need to go to college to find these answers. All the wisdom of history is just a Google or YouTube search away.



If after all that work, the only finish line we’re ever going to cross is death, which erases all our accomplishments, why bother? Well, it’s like climbing a mountain. It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey, the pleasure and meaning of which, is determined by how high we climb.


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The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
My Tweets About Philosophy 

Why You Shouldn’t Commit Suicide

Your body is made of start dust that has existed for about fourteen billion years. The history of the universe is the history of how you were born. You’re the universe incarnate. Your body is made of trillions of atoms that form billions of molecules that form millions of cells that form a network of interconnected tissues and organs that all add up to create a walking, talking, seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, thinking, dreaming, loving, learning, hurting, glowing, reproducing organic machine. The blueprints of your body are incomprehensibly elegant. To say that you’re intelligently designed is an understatement. I don’t know if there’s a God or not, but it looks like a lot of love, attention, and genius went into the design and creation of every living thing in the universe, including you.



Try to imagine what the universe was like before the big bang when the universe was nothing more than something that could have existed. At that first moment, what were the odds that almost fourteen billion years later one small pile of atoms that had been dancing and swimming across the cosmos would coagulate into an inconceivably elegantly designed organic bipedal supercomputer that is self-aware and thinks it’s you? My guess would be the odds of that happening are either one in infinity or zero. I don’t know why we exist or what the meaning of life is, but the rarity and brevity of life sure seem to point to the conclusion that life is inconceivably important… including yours.

If you ever get to doubting your importance, go climb a mountain and watch the sunset and the stars come out. Stand in the cold night air and gape at the oceans of atoms in the night sky swirling through eternity. That’s the universe that gave birth to you, and that’s what you are. You’re a shining, cosmic miracle living in possibly the grandest, most elegant, albeit dangerous, playground that could possibly exist.

Nothing you can ever do or not do will change how important you are. Everyone has their own reasons why they doubt their self-worth, and many of those reasons seem to have merit. We all fall short of our potential, and we all do things we regret. We all hurt people, sometimes very badly. We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of. Even when we think we’re doing everything right, sometimes the world just keeps beating us down until we’ve spent so much time on our belly that we feel like an animal.

The irony of that is, we are all animals. We’re pretty clever monkeys, but we’re more primitive than we tend to admit. Our brains may be cosmic supercomputers, but they don’t have enough storage space to begin to comprehend an iota of the knowledge out there. Since we weren’t born with an instruction book we don’t even know what we’re supposed to be learning anyway. We’re all so lost we don’t even know how lost we are, and that’s how we’ll spend the rest of our lives. The silver lining in the existential despair of existence is that we’re all doing amazingly well under the circumstances. We all deserve a pat on the back for being able to function in society at all. Also, our failures and imperfections were inevitable. You shouldn’t get any madder at yourself or anyone else for screwing up than you would a two-year-old.

Life hurts bad, and it hurts often. Then, at the end of it all, we lose everything. Some of the pain we endure is unjust, but all of the pain we endure is the cost of living. Fortunately for you, even though on one level you’re nothing more than a monkey lost in a storm, you’re also still an intelligent, autonomous, bipedal cosmic supercomputer. You might not be the smartest, fastest, strongest, most beautiful, most successful monkey, but you’re still one of the rarest, most powerful forces in the universe. Your five senses, thumbs, and legs effectively give you superpowers, and the more you learn the more superpowers you can have. As long as you’re breathing, there’s something you can do to find and enact solutions to your problems. You have the power to change your environment. You just need to use your superpowers and never ever, ever quit.



Of course, that’s easier said than done. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but help is out there. In fact, you already have more help than you can imagine. It’s important to bear in mind that the universe itself has already spent almost 14 billion years giving birth to you, and it’s still helping the trillions of atoms in your body operate in perfect unison. The gears of the universe are always spinning inside of us, around us and to the farthest corners of the cosmos. The universe is always doing something for you.

Before you were even born, generations of human beings toiled in the mud to keep your bloodline alive. People have fought and died for you. People have devoted their lives to understanding the universe so your generation will be less lost than theirs. You weren’t born in the mud because your generation is being held up by the accomplishments and sacrifices of every generation before you. You’ve been given so many gifts unconditionally by your ancestors that you should feel grateful to the point of feeling indebted.

On the other hand, your ancestors also did a lot of selfish, hurtful things that make life suck. The religious, political and economic systems they handed down to your generation are woefully flawed and cause immeasurable suffering. Even though there are members of your own generation who want to maintain the status quo and keep profiting from the problems in your life, there are millions of people out there willing to be your ally if you just reach out to them. There are some people you’re going to be compatible with, and there are some people you aren’t. If you’re surrounded by people who treat you with indignity and make you feel like a subhuman freak, you need to reach out on the internet and find a tribe you fit into. I guarantee you, it’s out there somewhere.

If your mental health is so low that you’re contemplating suicide, you should reach out to a suicide hotline, an online suicide hotlinesupport group, forum and/or professional therapist. Those resources are out there. Help is out there waiting for you, and seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of wisdom.

Sometimes suicide seems like the only solution to your problems, but it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and if you haven’t already sought help then suicide isn’t really your last resort. You still have multiple options before even considering that. If you’re willing to give up everything you have to escape your problems via suicide then there shouldn’t be anything holding you back from sacrificing everything in the pursuit of improving your life via paying for therapy, spending time at support groups, moving to a more peaceful place or traveling the world.



Why make even more sacrifices to stay alive in a world that can be so cold? Because your life is bigger than your pain. Any support group will tell you life gets better, and the harder and smarter you work the better it gets. You might not get everything you want out of life. You may never see Rome or Paris or the Aurora Borealis, but the entire universe is littered with potential awesome experiences. The most rewarding experiences out there are the ones you have with the people you love, and those people are out there either right in front of you or just around the corner. Even if they’re on the other side of the planet, you can still reach them if you’re crafty and tenacious enough.

The more positive opportunities you seize and the more positive experiences you have the more they’ll shape you into a stronger, wiser, more complete person. The better of a person you become the better of a life you’ll experience. As long as you can grow, your life can become more joyful and fulfilling.


Picture of a fortune cookie that says, "The major value in life is not in what you get, but in what you become."


Even if your life turns out to be nothing more than a cosmic accident and your existence is ultimately meaningless, you can still shine in the brief time you have before you die anyway. You don’t have to climb a mountain to find that. You’re already a miracle experiencing a miracle. You can feel that anytime anywhere. All you have to do is let go of your worries and just be.

Yes, there are problems in this world that we can’t just ignore in an oblivious haze of naïve optimism. But if there are problems in your life that you can fix then you should fix them and not worry about them. If there are problems in your life that you can’t fix you should accept them and not worry about them. Either way, there’s no point in enduring life’s problems if we don’t take time to stop and bask in the positive aspects of life as often as possible. That’s what makes life grand. That’s what makes life worth living. That’s why you’re lucky to be alive and why you shouldn’t cut short the priceless, brief opportunity you’ve been given.


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The Meaning of Life
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The Cosmic Perspective (Why It’s Wrong To Hurt People)

Imagine if after you died you had to stand in front of God and/or everyone who has ever died before you and explain why you were so indifferent to (or enthusiastic about) the suffering of your fellow man. Then, after you explained yourself you had to stand with your ancestors and listen to the apologies of everyone else who died after you. What excuses do you think we’d get most tired of hearing? And if we had to apologize for bullying, exploiting and manipulating each other as well, which excuses for those kinds of behaviors do you think we’d get tired of hearing the quickest?

Part of me wants to believe we live in a just universe and that there’s some kind of fairness in death, but it would be entirely fair to force us all to stand around and shake our heads at ourselves until the universe blinks out of existence. So as it stands, the theoretical, unprovable possibility that the universe is fair terrifies me, and even if there isn’t any kind of afterlife at all, the survival of humanity still depends on us not hurting each other. Either way, we should all be asking ourselves what went wrong? What’s going wrong? Why do we keep hurting each other?

If you want to understand why people hurt each other, you can start by listening to everyone’s excuses and looking for common denominators. If you do that, the first thing you’ll notice is that humans are experts at making excuses. Everyone who hurts anyone has a reason why they believe they’re doing the right thing, but no matter how solid our reasons sound, they always overlook one simple detail that trumps our excuses: the value of human life.



If we truly appreciated the value every human being brings to the universe, then we’d never hurt one. We’d go out of our way to make sure everybody had enough of everything without needing to be ordered or guilt tripped. We certainly wouldn’t hold other people down and take what little they’ve got.

Based on the evidence I see around me, I don’t think the disconnect between how valuable life is and how valuable we treat life comes from the fact that we’re too dumb to understand how valuable life is. Based on the evidence I see around me, I think we’re just too dumb to teach it to our children. In fact, we’ve been systematically indoctrinating children (the future hope of humanity) to believe in mythologies in which human sacrifices have to be made to atone for humanity’s innate despicableness. Of course people are going to act crazy when you give them that kind of moral compass.

You don’t need a book or a prophet to tell you how valuable life is. Just go spend a night camping on a safe beach far away from the city lights. Spend a few good hours staring at the stars and soaking up the enormity and beauty of the universe. You won’t find a catchphrase written in your native language up there that describes in bureaucratic detail why life is valuable and how it should be treated. You’ll just see the universe laid bare outside the warped lens of your ancestor’s culture.

As you’re staring up at the sky imagine floating in outer space among the stars looking back down at the earth. From that vantage point, you can easily see that life is a treasure 14.6 billion years in the making, and it doesn’t matter which words you use to describe it. If you can simply look up and see the truth of that then how can go back to work and yell at another living, breathing human being about how the most important thing they can be doing with their life right now is turning in paperwork and if they don’t turn it in on time they’re going to get in so much trouble it’s going to set back their entire future as punishment for being such a criminally substandard human being? How could you rob poor people? How could you inflate half-truths to justify going to war?



If you can’t see why it’s wrong to hurt other people then you’re not spending enough time looking at the stars. When you see other people being mean you can be certain they’re not evaluating the value of life from the cosmic perspective.


If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
My Tweets About Philosophy 

It’s Okay To Be Lost

There are religions which teach that you were born lost, impure, unworthy, unchosen and in need of salvation. The cure to your fatal disease is to accept and follow the set of beliefs and behaviors outlined in whichever book informed you of your inadequacy. In return for your loyalty, you’re promised that after you die you’ll be spared from a torturous eternal fate you supposedly deserve and get to spend eternity in a vaguely defined paradise.

If you accept this explanation of life, then the path before you will be simple. You just have to keep believing in what you were told and keep following the rules. You can pretty much just relax and wind down the clock on autopilot, and you’ll never have to worry about figuring out the answers to any of life’s big questions yourself. This makes religion sound appealing, but the benefits don’t actually outweigh the cost, because all of the religions humans have invented are simply human inventions. They’re all mythology.



Facing the fact that religion is mythology is terrifying for believers for several profound reasons. First, it means you’ve been lied to and used by the person you thought was your savior, which is too emotionally traumatic for many believers to even consider. Worse than that though, when you lose your religion, you lose your purpose in life and your moral compass. Life is existentially depressing and hopeless if you’re not living with purpose, and it’s confusing if you don’t have a compass. Since you still need answers to life’s questions, if you don’t have a religious book to look them up in, that means you’re responsible for figuring them all out for yourself.

We all know we’re not prophets or Einsteins. We know we don’t have the intelligence or authority to figure out the ultimate meaning of life. This means after you figure out that religion is wrong, you can’t just trade in all your wrong answers for all the right answers. You just lose you’re moral compass and spend the rest of your life lost.

A lot of theists would rather live a comfortable lie than face a lifetime of being lost, not just because it’s scary, but because they view being lost as a sign of weakness, a character flaw that needs to be stamped out. The cold, hard reality of the world we live in, is that we’re born lost, and we’re destined to wander the universe lost until we die. We’ll all face death not knowing what happens afterward or if our actions mattered. Once you accept that, you can cope with the situation sanely. But denying the reality of the situation only cripples your ability to cope with it, and that’s the definition of insanity.

Believing in mythology is like trying to hike across America using a maritime chart of the Indian Ocean for directions. Plus, you’re stuck with a traveling companion who forces you to act the way Indian fishermen acted 2000 years ago, and he constantly tells you that you’re not good enough. Accepting you’re lost and looking at the universe from an honest, scientific perspective, is like hiking around America with a wilderness survival guide with Sherlock Holmes as your traveling companion.

If you’re losing faith in mythology, and you’re worried about what to do with your life after you throw away your map of the Indian Ocean, just climb to the top of a mountain, and look down at the forests and fields below. Not one single tree, flower, or blade of grass is stressing about what to do with their life. They’re just drinking in the universe and reaching for the skies. If you were to look at yourself, standing on top of a mountain, eye-level with the clouds, you’d realize you’re already doing the exact same thing, and it’ll make you feel so alive, the last thing on your mind will be death.



Of course, you can’t spend their whole life meditating on a mountaintop, but why would you want to when there are so many other experiences to be had, problems to be solved and wonderful people to be met? Frankly, you were going to spend your whole life chasing experiences anyway, whether you claim to believe in religion or not. You can just do it more effectively when you’re not blinded, gagged and crippled by fictional, mythological beliefs.

You can look at the mystery of life as an eternal curse, or you can look at it as an endless opportunity. The universe might not look as scary if you focused on how amazing it is. Maybe we’re not even really lost. Maybe we’re already home, or maybe this is what it’s like to leave the nest. Maybe what we’re supposed to be doing is using the tools we were given to fulfill our potential and not just sit around on our knees talking to ourselves and beating ourselves up for failing to live up to the moral standards of primitive cultures.


If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
My Tweets About Philosophy 

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