Existentialism on a bike – Day 5

It’s been my last day. The old heart of Annecy is a gem …..

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……. but as is so often the case, is enclosed by an industrial sprawl. Scrutinizing the map I decide that the only realistic option for escaping its tentacles is to follow, for the first few miles at least, the old main road to Geneva. Easier said than done. All the roadsigns are designed to lure motorists onto the modern dual-carriageways or the nearby auto-route. Once again my compass comes to the rescue – ignoring all signs I zig-zag through the network of local roads until I emerge onto what I instinctively recognise as the original Geneva route. And it goes uphill …… and up. All roads out of Annecy rise! So I start to think – about the big question. What’s it all about? Why are we here? Is there actually any purpose at all? Or are we simply the inevitable yet unintended debris of a random cosmic game governed only by the rules of science? If so, death brings our bit-part performance in this rather pointless melodrama to an abrupt and permanent end. Yesterday, I posed many questions and came up with few answers. Some would search beyond the realms of the physical to look for any sense of real meaning to all of this. Let’s ask a blunt question – is there a God? Do we as humans have any reality other than the purely physical? For want of a better word, do we have a spirit or soul? For the moment I’ll leave that question hanging! Along the old main road traffic is moderate, but at least without heavy vehicles. (It’s Sunday). A few groups of bikers off out for the day process past. The weather is strange – a few spots of rain but frequent outbreaks of sun. An interesting juxtaposition of rural, urban and ultra modern.

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In this photo, you can probably spot the peage station on the autoroute immediately adjacent to the rural scene. A few miles further along the road rises to cross a stunning gorge.

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At the village of Cruseilles, where I plan to strike off into the hills, I stop for a cup of coffee. The bar is packed entirely with men, mainly elderly. A few minutes later a crowd of women (probably their wives) emerge from the church over the road. Plus ca change! So what about God – does he/she exist? One thing is sure – listen to this carefully: Nobody knows. It’s impossible to prove he does; it’s impossible to prove he doesn’t (sorry Richard Dawkings). So it seems to me we have three choices: we believe: we don’t believe; or we sit on the fence. Notice, I describe these as choices. If you like, a decision to act as a blue-print to guide us through our lives. Let’s consider scepticism first. This is fine as a platform to guide our initial thoughts; but I wouldn’t want to adopt it as a way of life. It’s not a neutral or questioning approach but implies an expectation of being let down. If I’m going to be disappointed I’d prefer it to come as a surprise rather than as something for which I’ve been preparing on the off-chance. Then I can get over it and move on. To be continued. I have a plane to catch.

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