Often the connection we build with another via the internet is shallow. This isn't a medium that that tends to build strong personal bonds between individuals. But I felt a strong connection with Fred. I liked his combination of polite, gentle, and humorous exchanges. And I admired the degree to which he thought for himself.... as a first-hand thinker - as a quality thinker.
If it ever made sense to rail against the universe as unfair, it would be when a good person, a valuable person, a person who has earned a special place among friends and family suddenly dies and leaves that inevitable hole in our social fabric.
Fred was one of those guys I felt was going to live forever, typing away with a can of beer next to his keyboard.
He had dry wit that could re-frame any phenomenon and make it understandable to anyone. While I often passed over posts from others, I never passed-up the chance to read Fred's. Each of his post's left an imprint upon my mind and it didn't hurt that he could make me laugh, too. I've already started to re-read some of his; I best start making use of the "book mark" function on this site.
Luke, it was Mike Ericson who discovered this sad news. He made a post on a different thread. when I saw that, I started Googling because I was hoping Mike was wrong. I had exchanged email with Fred in November and he had helped me with a tricky electrical problem on my boat. Our last email exchange was in December. Then I was off sailing in Mexico. Like you, I started to notice Fred hadn't chimed in for a while, but RoR has been quiet recently so I didn't pursue it.
Sad news. We enjoyed each other's thinking and information here on and on. Sad for his loved ones. Sad his mind and zest are gone from these sites (RoR and OL), though at least we have his past contributions.
Not, “the” meaning of life: rather, the meaning of my life.
My life: singular.
"My life" can have such a thing as “the meaning,” and, as well, at different times, different meanings. In the end, the sum total of those meanings, as well as, any lingering influence in my children and socius, is “the meaning.”
I know that Ed was concerned about his privacy. Potentially that concern became so strong that he decided to discontinue posting here. He didn't say anything to me before he discontinued. When was his last post?