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Meetup : I moved to Portland! I want to meet you!

I was hoping for more folks to run into in Portland, for those of us not on the Portland mailing list would you be able to provide a route where we (barring the possibility that I am in fact the only person not on the list) non-listers can get on said list? Or, alternatively keep the location and time up to date on this spot.

Tell Your Rationalist Origin Story

I began my journey to becoming a rationalist at the age of six. This was the time when I first began to read fantasy. There are other contributing factors such as my parents inclination to free thinking. In following my dad's work we moved considerably, introducing me to many ways of thinking and setting me up for a bookish, introverted perspective (friends are much more difficult to stuff into boxes and ship to Africa.)

Choosing to read fantasy was the first conscious choice I made that influenced my development towards rationalism. I've always found the mixture of sci-fi and fantasy in libraries a rather strange practice, I suppose it makes some sense when you consider that cowboys with swords and cowboys with lasers are major facets of the genres. Realistically all such books should be lumped in with military fiction and labelled "general adventure" purely on the basis that few things are more disappointing than getting 30 pages into a book only to realize the protagonist is nothing but a sword with a helpful, brainless body to swing it.

But that's beside the point. Transferring from fantasy to science fiction was easily done thanks to their proximity. Once I had shifted I fell deeply in love with Asimov, Greg Egan, and other speculative fiction writers. I avidly read anything that showed a new perspective on the future of humanity.

All that combined with AP courses in biology and chemistry, a marathon reading of Richard Dawkin's complete work and utter rejection of religion left me intellectually capable of rationalism. HPMOR solidified and affirmed my growing beliefs and validated practices I already engaged in, such as a refusal to eat any animal that showed signs of intelligence.

The emotional event that pointed me towards rationalism was the death of my mother. Without any religious assurances to comfort myself I faced the pain of knowing she had ended; there was no hope of retrieval, no hope of ever seeing her again. This event focused me into who I am today; her loss gave me the incentive and the perspective to embrace rationalism completely.

It is probably clear at this point that I am still young and many of these events happened quite recently. I am still trying to come to terms with who I am, the nature of rationalism and how the two will exist together.

Naturally I'm happy to be here.