Friday, October 22, 2010

Meeting My Academic Heroes: Dawkins & Harris

This has been the most amazing month of 2010 for me. On 2 separate occasions, and only 12 days apart, I met both Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris! Both of these men have had a gargantuan impact on my life and helped set me on a path of spiritual enlightenment (a path that I'm still traveling on and have a long distance to go before reaching the end). Theimportant thing is that their words have helped set me on what I feel is the correct spiritual path. Yes, it is possible to be spiritually enlightened as an atheist but I'll address that on another blog.

I met Richard Dawkins on October 5, 2010. A guy on my friend's list from Facebook posted a link to purchase tickets to hear him speak. I could not believe that THE Richard Dawkins was going to be in Houston to speak and would be signing books afterwards. Everyone attending was even given a free paperback copy of his most recent book The Greatest Show on Earth. My seat was not that great but I was able to hear him perfectly and just being there was enough for me. I was so excited that I did not even hear the first half of his talk because I was just so star struck. =P Ridiculous I know, but his book The God Delusion completely changed my worldview for the better. Anyway, when I finally got my opportunity to meet him I was so nervous that the only phrases able to escape my mouth were "uh, hi! Can a take a picture? Thank you!" and he appeared to just glance up, smile, and look back down to sign. I was towards the end of the line and the event ended up selling out so I knew he was exhausted from signing so many books (many people brought their own copies of his other works to be signed). I didn't even think of bringing my own copy of the God Delusion for him to sign but I got a free copy of his most recent work and got it signed!

As for Sam Harris, I met him October 17, 2010 in Austin at the Texas Book Festival! It was so great to be able to listen to him live and when I went to to get his autograph he actually looked at me and said, "Hello, how are you?" I was so shocked and, like with Dawkins, incredibly starstruck! I was able to reply and say "Fine, thank you. How are you?" and rambled about how happy I was that he was there and that I got to listen to him live. He responded kindly and politely and I cannot for the life of me recall his exact words because I sounded like an idiot, was embarrassed for not being able to speak coherently, and so happy to meet one of my greatest heroes. He seems to be an unbelievably compassionate and kind human being and his books, debates, and talks inspire me. If ever I have an opportunity like this again I will definitely take advantage of it.

Holy. Fucking. Shit. I met both Dawkins AND Harris 12 DAYS APART!!!!