youtube comment: The world is full of people in immediate distress.
We need to care for our brothers and sisters even if that means
redistributing our own personal wealth. Jesus said to give to
those who ask without expecting repayment. If that doesn't imply
wealth redistribution I don't know what does. The point is that
Christians are supposed to focus on spiritual things, not mammon.
So economic models shouldn't be as important to us as the immediate
concerns of fairness and justice and feeding the mouths with little or
no means to feed themselves.
The seventh edition of Grimms' fairy tales, source of Snow White, was published in 1857. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865. Collodi's Pinocchio was published in 1883. Kipling's The Jungle Book was published in 1894. If these works had been subject to Disney's hypocritical 100 year copyright prison, Disney would have had to pay for the privilege of making its feature films based on them, to say nothing of the corresponding merchandising. One wonders whether Snow White or Pinocchio would have been made at all.
These are the works on which Disney built its empire, and it was able to use them because they were not subject to preposterous copyright claims. Under the terms that were in effect when Disney's version of Snow White was made, the film, its score, and all the characters and visuals associated with it, ought to have entered public domain DECADES ago. This is the point. Disney drinks deep from the well of public domain but contrives to prevent that well ever from being replenished.
The easiest way to corporation is to run one. Just take a look at what the
IBM's executives are doing to IBM. Or take a look at how executives
across Silicon Valley have conspired together to lower employee
Many of these CEOs sit on each others boards and vote themselves
higher pay at the expense of their workers and shareholders.
Every year their pay packages balloon a little more, with each
new high watermark in compensation raising the yachts of all
executives (because in CEO land pay is based on what the other
CEOs get) while the boat-less employees get left behind decade
after decade. The corporate controlled media then jumps in and
trumpets how valuable the executives are based on their completely
engineered salaries (because gosh darn it, if the CEOs weren't
worth that much they wouldn't be getting paid that much) and
people like Jim Cramer jump to their defense like a loaded spring
when those stories are challenged for being the propaganda they
In 1950 CEOs made 20-1 the average worker.
In 1980 it was 42-1.
In 2000 it was 120-1.
In 2014 it is 204-1.
This did not happen by happy accident.
If in coming
here you've never heard of the following:
Asset Forfeiture, NSLs, ALEC, AIPAC, TPP,
Congressional Insider Trading,
Parallel Construction, Stingray Devices,
Judicial Standing, Deferred Prosecution,
EO 12333, XKeyscore, COINTELPRO
Pentagon Papers, Gary Webb
Or worse, you've heard of them but can't be bothered to care, then like it or not,
you are one reason among many that we are on a one-way flight straight to Hell. To the corporations
and their puppet politicians, your ignorance and apathy are worth more than all
the slaves in China. Because it is your indifference that enables these bottom feeding
cockroaches to thrive in the dark and rob you of your wealth and liberty.
This is not political, it's universal.
Both of the puppet parties you think you get to choose from every two years are
completely infected by blanket webs of corruption and have long ago mortgaged their
allegiance to their corporate masters. And what these leeches need more than anything
to survive and thrive is a stupid, apathetic populace with red tags on their ears
who will lap at their feet and believe every lie they feed them,
The natural state of humanity is to slide into slavery and conflict. Our American bulwark against that decay was built by the blood, sweat, tears, hard work, and personal sacrifice of countless millions.
These people gave everything to build the pillars of justice that protect and sustain you, and it is your responsibility
to give something back and sacrifice a little in order to maintain those pillars and pass them on to the next generation. Anything
less is a betrayal to those who broke their back to build the structure you are now standing
on. So put down your Facebook and start paying attention to the things going on around you before
that structure crumbles to nothing beneath your feet and you become a slave once again.
Remember, a nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves and you get more of what
you tolerate. So turn off your Goddamn TV, turn on your mind, and get out there
and stop tolerating it before you wake up one morning robbed of your remaining liberty
and you no longer have a choice.
or worse, are too
busy staring at their smart phones to even care that they're being lied to.
'Power without oversight is the fastest route out of a democracy.' Your responsibility then, as a citizen,
is to render that oversight.
'Every citizenry has the government they deserve'...
(When i say 'the darkness' here i actually mean 'the unknown' or 'ignorance', but
neither are as poetic so i use darkness instead.)
Superstition sprang from a sensible place: fear of the dark.
Those who are afraid and superstitious of the dark do not venture
out into it to get eaten by wolves.
Those that do not get eaten by wolves pass their genes and superstition
on to the next generation.
Over time superstition begins to take on a life of its own:
Religion sprang from darkness... After all, what's darker than
"Maybe one day we’ll conquer our lizard brains and consign religion to the history
books once and for all and then we can stick a giant flag
pole in the ground and consider ourselves truly intelligent.
Until then it’s just another destructive hobby to keep us
dancing while we figure out this whole evolved-apes thing."
"Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand
it. We will one day understand what causes it, and then cease
to call it divine. And so it is with everything in the universe."
-Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.E.)
To surrender to ignorance and call it god is always premature,
and it remains premature today.
We have now mastered the creation of light, and it is time to leave religion behind
in the darkness where it belongs.
Theist religion is the apostasy from nature. It is a betrayal.
The earth is real and here for you. If your God is real he
has abandoned you. Put your faith in nature, care for it,
tend it, replenish it, and it will replenish you. Destroy
it, pollute it, and corrupt it at your own peril.
The spirit of the quote from Edmund Burke:
All that is necessary
for the triumph
of evil is that good men
applies to God as well, and no amount of cognitive dissonance
is going to change that.
To the religious visitors: if your lore is true and an all knowing,
all powerful, alpha and omega God does indeed exist, He alone
is - by his very nature - not only the source of all evil, suffering,
starvation, pestilence, violence, hate, fear, and dread, but
He is also culpable for doing nothing to stop these horrors when
He could end them all with the wave of his hand. Because He is
both the source of the sin and also allows the sin to propagate
and destroy the lives of the innocent, every sin committed becomes
his sin. Every starving child, every abused wife, every shattered
life is a crime he has committed.
Response: You just don't get it at all. God gave us autonomy to live our lives and
make our own choices. If he interfered it would defeat the whole purpose.
Ah, but God is all knowing is He not? Which means He knew exactly
how this Divine Comedy would play out. He knew about the starving
children who weep alone in the night. Knew the horrors of abuse,
rape, and neglect in store for us. Knew that we would suffer
and bleed and die beneath the blue-prints He laid before us.
God knew all along that Adam and Eve were never going to be
able to stay in Eden. Knew that they would be tempted and would
ultimately succumb to the desires He instilled in them. He gave
them heaven knowing all along they would fall prey to the trap
he set for them, that paradise would be lost, that they would
be thrust alone, afraid, naked and vulnerable into the wilderness.
He set us loose upon the world knowing in advanced every misery
each tick of the clock would bring.
Eve was an innocent child who acted upon an emotion she didn't choose to have, didn't
understand, and had no experience managing. When she inevitably
fell prey to the urge of eating that apple (an outcome God
knew about in advance) her choice unjustly affected both
her, her husband, and all of her descendants. If I were to
knowingly put a razorblade in front of an toddler, who would
be to blame for the inevitable consequences? Me, who put
the blade there knowing exactly what would happen, or the
toddler who saw something shiny and picked it up? What if
after I set it down I allowed a nearby evil person to encourage
the little one to pick it up? What if when the baby did so,
I then not only blamed the baby for the consequences, but
also damned all of humanity for the baby’s poor choice?
There is a name for those who would do such a thing. A name for one who would give
a taste of paradise only to rip it away when a test that couldn't
be passed wasn't. A name for those who set others up to fail
in the most pain ridden and gruesome ways: sadists.
Response: How DARE you call GOD a sadist! I'm done with this!
Let me remind you, God is omniponent. He created Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, and every other serial killer you've ever heard of knowing full well the pain they would inflict on others and their families. He knew in advance everything they would do with their agency, but that knowing didn't stop him from creating and unleashing them to prey on us. He created the kill-to-eat necessity that rules the animal kingdom, along with all the wretched laws of nature--pain, hunger, disease, fear, hatred, envy, greed--and then sat back and watched the carnage unfold exactly as he designed it to unfold.
God could have made the universe behave any way he wanted. If he truly needed to test us he could have done so in ways that wouldn't have required inflicting pain and suffering on his children, but he chose not to. Calling him a monster is too kind.
I am agnostic. I don't know nor claim to know whether God exists.
But if one does He is not worthy of our worship and love, but
rather our derision and condemnation because He alone is responsible for
the train wreck of pain and suffering this world was destined
to become. If God came down tomorrow and gave me irrefutable
proof of His existence, far from getting on my knees and begging
forgiveness for my sins, I instead would stand on my own two
feet and demand the same from Him.
Get off your knees and do
And finally, before we part and you continue on your journey
there is one last point to mention and it is this: despite near
universal misconception, science has no opinion on whether God
exists or not. Science strives to understand the world, and in
doing so can only incorporate data, evidence, and theory which
it can study, observe, or explain directly.
As for God we have yet to see any direct evidence of the existence
of one that can't be explained by other observations and experiments
but if were to find irrefutable evidence of one, science would
simply incorporate the existence of a creator into its models
and move on with no hurt feelings.
"The goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal
of nature is to build better mice." - unknown
If you consider yourself a Christian then the most important thing is sacrifice. Sacrifice your time and treasure for others
and you will gain something far greater than the cost of both combined.
What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world
but loses his soul?
God has given you an exceedingly minute moment on this earth to prove yourself through your good deeds, and in doing so
gain everlasting life in heaven. Your time here is a mere speck on the endless horizon of eternity, and by using that precious time to focus
on earthly possessions instead of helping others you are making an incredibly bad bargain with what you would stand to gain otherwise.
if only you would sacrifice your terrestrial wealth and comfort in the pursuit following in Christ's footsteps and doing all
you can to serve and help those less fortunate.
Every Sunday millions and millions of upper middle
class American citizens put on expensive dress
clothes and load themselves into their SUVs and
drive past homeless shelters, orphanages, prisons,
missions, and halfway houses on their way to a very
expensive and luxurious church, where somebody
tells them how to be more like Jesus.
Like Jesus your only reason for being here is to serve and set good examples for others in order to prove your worth to God.
Incidentally the byproduct of such a pursuit is heaven on earth as your good deeds propagate through society. By serving others
you serve God because you bring Him to earth and make life brighter for all of His children. Jesus showed you the path when he devoted His life and death to the benefit of others.
As a Christian all you have to do is follow that path here and it will guide you to everlasting life up there. Do not make the mistake of trading heaven for earth.
The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
I know, I know: most of you are eagerly awaiting the moment you can whip out your bibles and point out countless scriptures which you will argue justify your actions, but we both know you're fooling yourselves (and playing a very reckless game with eternity while you're at it).
Going to church makes you a Christian no more
than going to a garage makes you a car.
You claim to be Christian and this makes you a disciple of Christ which means you are bound to follow in His footsteps and spread His examples and teachings to others (John 13:1-17). If you are not doing so then you either fundamentally misunderstand what it means to be Christian (unlikely because it couldn't be more obvious - but if so the good news is after reading this the path will be clear to you), or you are merely pretending to follow Him because it benefits you in some way, and how heartbreaking that must be for Him.
God will reward each of us for what we have done.
The question I must put to you dear reader, is what could be more fulfilling in life than filling the stomachs of those suffering in starvation? Or passing out blankets to those who are freezing? Or building houses for those without shelter? Surely you must realize that the rewards for following in His footsteps will fill you with the light of heaven, and in time you will come to learn that what you now foolishly consider to be sacrifice (surrendering your time and treasure for the betterment of others) is no sacrifice at all, but rather an elixir of salvation that reaches to the heart of your soul both here on earth and in heaven.
What is a life well spent?
Hands that help are better than lips that pray.
You work hard for your money and Friday has come so you go to the movies and pluck some of that money down on a ticket for the latest serial killer thriller. You grab your popcorn and soda and snuggle yourself in your seat in anxious anticipation of the gruesome hatred that awaits you. On Sunday you will go to church and learn about Christ, but right now it's Friday and you are going to be entertained. A Man sits next to you. He seems to radiate warmth and compassion and somehow you instantly feel at peace. You look over and see the sad kindness on His face and tears of shame start streaming down your cheek.
Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has
already committed adultery with her in his heart.
How much time do you think Jesus would spend watching sex, violence, and hatred on the television? Would the notion excite Him or break His heart? If he dropped in for a visit while you were watching that serial killer thriller what do you think The Prince of Peace would say about allowing yourself to be entertained by violence, and where that path might lead? Might He suggest better ways to spend your spare time and money?
It should not be possible for a church to exist in a community while at the same time someone seeking nourishment is going hungry in that community. So turn off all the violence, murder, and hatred emanating out of your TV that would make Jesus weep if he were sitting with you while you were enjoying it, and get out there and do good works.
What are you here for?
When I was five I saw Nightmare on Elm Street and from that
moment on my entire world got darker. It was poison to my consciousness,
and it had no business being in a five year old's head.
As a society we are losing our grip on what is appropriate for
developing minds. There's a link to the left of this introductory
note titled, "Mind Contamination Rated G". It will take you to
the torture scene from Cars 2, a movie that inexplicably got
a "G" rating from the MPAA. Have a look and come back to me.
Imagine a newborn child's mind as a white dry erase board. It
starts out empty and as time passes slowly gets filled by inputs
from their senses. Everything the child sees, hears, smells,
or touches makes a new mark on the board. Because the child is
a blank slate each of these early marks hold a far larger significance
than the ones that will come much later in life. Imagine those
first marks as little seeds that will grow and shape the child's
mind: their thoughts, ideas, belief systems, personality, and
Now ask yourself, what kinds of marks would we want to fill
that white board up with? Things like:
Love, empathy, gratefulness, kindness, honor, science?
Or Nightmare on Elm Street and nightmarish torture scenes?
What kind of individuals do you think each one of those categories
would produce? As a society, what kind of individuals do we want
Guys, I implore you, this madness has to end. Let's have no
more childhoods warped, twisted, and brimming with fear. Let's
have no more children afraid of the dark because of a movie or show they watched (my son is 4 and has
no fear of it at all). A blind person cannot see anything in
their dreams. Even though their brains are wired for sight, without
actual inputs from the world putting vision marks on their white
boards, their minds cannot create what it means to see without
experiencing it for themselves and so vision remains alien to
them. Our children's minds work the same way - without the proper
ingredients they will not be able to envision horrors like Freddy
Kruger on their own - so for God's sake keep the violence and
horror away and fill them with the light of reason instead.
There are pictures in my closet which spend most of their time in darkness - behind closed doors in small rooms with no windows. They are pieces of history, fighting the currents of time.
One day I will open that closet and the past will come alive.
My father has thousands of photos. Not much manages to escape his camera. In his home there are shelves and bookcases full of snapshots and fridges full of un-developed film. There are scanners and printers and posters. There are negatives and slides which fill boxes stacked to the ceiling in his garage. There is history captured in the net of his lens which stretches on for decades.
There is time brought to a halt. Time mastered by my father.
We sail the river of time and some might say our actions determine our destinations. Others might claim there is no destination. I've learned from my father that either way, it's important to remember where you've been. And so I will keep my pictures safe in my closet, and I will visit them from time to time. And I will steer my ship as best I can with the knowledge that all the good times are only a doorknob away.
And I will mark my progress through the lens of my father's camera.
Racism and bigotry are a toxic mixture of hatred and ignorance.
They never build, they only destroy.
Treat them accordingly.
I don't care if you're black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich or poor.
If you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you.
Guns are not toys, they are designed to kill. Treat them with disdain and dread the
day you will ever need to use one. This should be the philosophy
for all weapons: Arm the torpedoes Mr. Worf. But let's hope
we don't have to use them.
"Justice" is merely a middle class illusion.
The rich know better, the poor know better:
each from opposite directions.
As far as i'm concerned patriotism has only one useful connotation:
Loyalty to your fellow human beings. This means that you treat
others with respect and that you do not exploit them.
To all you vulture capitalists who ship your jobs to factories
abroad in order to access slave labor from impoverished souls
while leveraging their lax environmental laws so you can offload
the cost and consequences of your pernicious
onto them: YOU are traitors.
Forget borders, race, creed, gender, or color: we are all one
people, and those who would knowingly and maliciously exploit
our ignorance or desperation for personal profit are traitors
That is the true nature of patriotism: it transcends the petty
trappings of tribalism. It is not blind allegiance to your imaginary
state, but loyalty to your fellow human being - regardless of
where they live - and to the biosphere which sustains them and
makes their lives abundant and possible.
Would you work or allow your children to work for hours on end
in sweatshops for peanuts, breathing in - up close, day after
day - the same toxic chemicals poisoning your home and farmland
while the profits of your labor are funneled to the executives
of the very corporations exploiting and poisoning you, your loved
ones, your neighbors, your friends? If your answer is "no" then
you have no right to ask or expect anyone else to do the same.
"I hate patriotism... I can't stand it. It's a round world last time I checked."
Give me four years to teach the children
the seed I have sown will never
Click here to watch a young lady raised by dogs.
When you see choice I see a mathematical
equation filled with variables the chooser has no control over
which determine both the choice itself and its outcome.
Given that head-scratcher, I believe that it is important to our future that
we recognize this and act on the knowledge. For only when we
can all come to an understanding that we tend to be only as moral
and as fortunate as the circumstances our unchosen birth and
development allow - the cycles of poverty and violence in poor neighborhoods bear this unfortunate reality - can we retire our
damning pointing fingers and work to ensure that all environments
are improved and that each of our unique needs are catered to.
If life and the choices derived from it are indeed nothing more
than deterministic calculations, we must take that knowledge
by the horns and work to improve those calculations for everyone.
Proclamation: I do believe in choice and on what grounds you make your decisions.
I don't think it's even close to involuntary.
Ah but the grounds are always shifting beneath our feet aren't
You're assuming that you choose the grounds leading up to your
choices, but you do not. Take the people you respect as an example:
Had you been born during the slavery era your grounds for respect
might have been how much whip skill your fellow plantation owner
exhibits when doling out lashings to his slaves. Had you been
on the boat with Columbus you may have respected the way your
shipmates managed to rape the native
girls without getting a scratch.
Had you been a settler, you may have admired the careful way
your local soldier passed out the smallpox blankets to the Indians
without catching the disease.
I know those examples sound provocative but they're not meant
to be, nor are they an attack against you as they apply to everyone.
Now you may be reflexively disagreeing or you may be soul searching
and trying to figure out if - had you been born during those
eras - you would have been capable of those things but if you
are you're doing so from the vantage point of a different person
than who you would have been if you had and as a result such
speculation is useless. Furthermore, in the event that your unique
physiological makeup did indeed prevent you from acting in that
way regardless of the environment your psyche was fermented in
(which is extremely unlikely) it still doesn't matter, nor does
it make you any more righteous than anyone else. Why? Because
you didn't choose your physiological makeup any more than the
environment which sculpted it - you were merely lucky enough
to hit the pick six in compassion roll of the genetic dice.
The alternative is to believe that if you had been there and
raised in those same cultures and circumstances that you alone
would have stood tall against the forces of immorality among
millions who have not throughout history. That you are the ray
of light in the darkness. The human embodiment of that shining
city on the hill. That you, through your own innate virtue and
purity, are simply impervious to corruption, cultural conditioning,
peer pressure and propaganda, and never experience any of the
ingredients of depravity which might steer your actions away
from the moral: distrust, paranoia, fear, envy, greed, inferiority,
superiority, hate. In summary: that you are
than the countless unpitiable masses
who - through clear fault of their own - failed to live up to
the moral standards you specifically chose to adopt and would
always adopt in all possible scenarios no matter your experiences,
influences, or education level (wait, did you choose to adopt
them or are they just your unchosen nature? There's a conflict
here, can you see it?). Take a moment and try to get a handle
on the level of narcissism and conceit such a view of your psyche
requires in order to prevent it from collapsing in on itself
from its own weight.
So now that we've established that the grounds from which you
stand to make your choices are not of your choosing, let's drill
down into the choice itself.
Imagine that you go to the ice cream shop and when asked what
flavor you'd like you think about it for a moment and choose
chocolate. Let's examine this scenario:
1) You didn't choose that you like chocolate. What pleases your
taste-buds are not of your choosing.
2) You can only choose chocolate because coco exists.
3) You can only choose chocolate because someone decided to
make it into ice cream.
4) You can only choose chocolate because someone distributes
it and transportation exists to get it to you.
5) You can only choose chocolate because the earth hasn't been
destroyed by a meteor.
6) Universe exists.
7) Universe supports life (and chocolate ice cream).
8) And on it goes.
So the grounds from which you stand to make your chocolate choice
are not of your making, you are merely the privileged benefactor-ette
of a society in a universe that managed to keep itself together
long enough to fulfill all the prerequisites required for you
to go home a happy chocolate ice cream customer.
But again, forget the grounds from which you make your choice
and let's think about the choice itself. Imagine if after you
made your decision for chocolate I reset the universe back to
the point before you made your choice (i restored every variable
in the universe to the state it was in prior to your determination),
and you made your choice again. Do you think you would make a
What if i reset it ten more times?
Now stop and REALLY think about this. Would you ever make a
different choice? If I kept resetting the universe till the end
of time, would you ever decide differently?
Barring chaos theory (which we'll discuss in a minute), the
answer is no, you would never make a different choice. In the
same way that 2+2 always equals 4, the sum of all the variables
leading up to that choice always equaled chocolate and the only
way they could ever equal anything else - regardless of how many
times I reran the calculation - is if one of those variables
were changed. Thus the choice is deterministic: Merely the result
of a mathematical calculation filled with trillions of variables
not one of which you exercised even the slightest bit of independent
control over. And just like the chocolate choice, every choice
you have ever made and every choice you will ever make is on
Those rails are a physiological makeup you did not choose interacting
with an environment you did not choose which produces an individual
in which every choice he makes is a calculation created from
the fusion of both. When thinking of choice imagine a random
number generator. The choice itself is the random number and
can always be traced back to the seed (environment/physiological
If the universe is reset and the choice itself or the result of the choice both
stay the same then the choice and the result are both on rails. Thus it is not independent
choice but a deterministic calculation filled with variables (like your tastebud's
preferences) beyond your control.
Now you may be saying, "no sir, i'm sure eventually i would
make a different choice because of the uncertainty principle
(or chaos theory). Eventually enough wave functions would collapse
a certain way and i would choose strawberry."
And sure that's certainly possible, but it doesn't make you
any more capable of making an independent choice than you could
before because all the uncertainty principle is doing is adding
a sprinkling of chaos to the choice and you don't control the
chaos any more than you control any of the other variables.
Or you may be saying you'd eventually choose another flavor
because the human brain is special and can act independently
of the universe around it, and the underlying mathematics which
run it. In which case i say that sounds hard to believe, but
if true you still don't control the randomness function of your
brain any more than the chaos function of the universe, and as
such your choices would still either always come out the same,
or be randomized by a chaos engine you don't have the keys for
or have a license to drive. By definition randomness can not
But wait, why would it have to be random? What if during one of those universe reset
thingys i simply changed my mind about chocolate and decided vanilla was the flavor
Just think about what you're saying. You decided on chocolate.
Out of all the available flavors, that was the one you desired
the most. Even if it was like a really close match, with chocolate
edging out vanilla only by the tiniest of hairs, chocolate still
won. Heck, even if you couldn't decide and just picked one in
what you thought was a random manner, chocolate still won. Free
will cannot be a wishy washy type of deal and still be called
free will. If you change your mind when nothing else has changed
then you are not exercising free will. At that point something
else is at work beyond your control, and you are just along for
the ride (and getting gypped out of chocolate ice cream to boot).
If the universe is reset and the choice itself or the result of the choice changes
then it is random. Thus it is not independent choice but a calculation that contains
random "chaos" variables beyond your control.
All of this can be neatly tied together by remembering the movie
Groundhog Day, and how Bill is able to bend the entire town to
his will through trial and error. Figuring out how to manipulate
someone was merely a matter of trying different combinations
of inputs until he got the desired result - like opening a safe.
Choice isn't choice when it's directed entirely by the whims
of the environment you're in at the time. At that point it's
merely a mathematical exercise, no different than a computer
simulation or a boat with no rudder sailing on an ocean of pure
fate. To recognize this all one has to do is take a glance at
how trivial it is to manipulate and shape thought:
Grew up with dogs
Your Brain On Terrorism
Puppet On A String
Live In A Cave (thought
People Can Be Convinced They Committed A Crime
That Never Happened
Timing Affects Moral Decisions
Environment Affects Brain Structure
Income Affects Brain Structure
You Are Two
Choice. Free will. Self-determination. These are the battle
cries of us unimaginably privileged few who look down from our
ivory perches and pass judgement on the actions of those less
fortunate. We no more chose the circumstances leading to our
charmed ascent to the top of that perch than those on the ground
chose to live under our scorn. Worse still, most of us are completely
oblivious to the very privilege which builds and maintains that
perch. Morality then becomes an exercise in self-examination,
awareness, and acknowledgement of that privilege (problem awareness),
and then from that new perspective trying to understand
they live down there and we live
up here (problem cause), and finally working to overcome it (problem
Sit back for a moment and try to quantify some of the benefits
you've had throughout your life that others may have not had.
Try to picture some of your key life lessons or experiences,
and imagine how your life may have played out differently had
you missed them. Zero in on some key moments that changed you
and your perceptions for the better: A kind word perhaps, or
a helping hand at a crucial moment when all seemed lost.
Think of a harsh admonishment from someone you admired that
triggered a painful but profoundly useful period of introspection
which helped forge your character. Remember the feeling of palpable
affection you've received from those who cared about you and
sacrificed for you. Think of that book you read or that movie
you watched that changed everything. Who would you be if not
for these things? Cage your ego and conceit and recognize that
those experiences made you who you are, and that without them
you would not be the same person in the same position. That without
them you could just as easily be the one living at the bottom
of that ivory tower. Embrace the fact that the sum total of your
life has been completely out of your control, and realize that
if i could independently go back in time and erase those positive
life molding experiences:
would no longer be
And now - with that self examination still at the forefront
of your thoughts - try to imagine someone so misfortunate they
were never graced by any of them or - through no fault of their
own - simply weren't wired to receive them (you don't choose
what resonates with you). Imagine someone who far from experiencing
any of these positive events at crucial moments in their development,
instead endured the opposite. Using the insight you've just gained
from your own self reflection, now try to fit into their alien
shoes and understand them.
Understanding disarms judgement. With judgement disarmed
goals shift from retribution to rehabilitation, from reaction
to prevention, from blame to empathy. We can make a global paradise
- heaven on earth if you will. We can elevate each and every
one of us to new heights and soar above those perches of unfounded
egotism that bind and blind us. But first we must fully embrace
understanding and then rigorously follow where it leads.
Don't tell me the sky is the limit,
when there are footprints on the moon.
I've seen my
buddies ambushed on the left and on the right
And their youthful bodies riddled by the bullets of the night
Where all the rules are broken and the only law is might
With our sweat we took the bunkers, with our tears we took the pain. With our blood
we took the mountains & then gave them back again. Still, all of us are soldiers -
we're too busy to complain.
When I reach my final campground in that land beyond the sun
And the great commander asks me, "Did u fight or did u run?"
I'll stand both straight and tall stripped of medals, rank and gun
"Sir, I followed all my orders and I did the best I could
It's hard to judge the enemy and hard to tell the good
Yet there's not a man among us who would not have understood
We took the jungle village exactly like they said
We responded to their rifle fire with everything we had
And when the smoke had cleared away a 100 souls lay dead
Sir, the soldier that's alive is the only one who can fight
There's no other way to wage a war when the only 1 in sight
That you're sure is not an enemy, is your buddy on your right
When all the wars are over and i'm nothing but a ghost
Count me only as a soldier who never left his post
With the right to serve my country as my one and only boast
When all the wars are over and the battle's finally won
Count me only as a soldier who never left his gun
With the right to serve my country as the only prize I've won"
As we go marching on
-C Company Feat Terry Nelson, Battle Hymn of Lt. Calley
If you're not ready to die for it, take the word 'freedom' out of your vocabulary.
Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the
citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged
sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood
boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no
need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry,
infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of
their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this
is what I have done. And I am Caesar.
Introductory Note 3,
--------------Sound and Fury--------------
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay
-The Deserted Village
There was a time once when 'knowledge' was seen as a rung in the
ladder which leads to the floor where they keep the wisdom. Although
evidently, there are some people nowadays who try to chop up the
ladder - so they can feed the little fire they warm their hands over...
The wise man knows that he does not know, and the prudent man respects what he does
Respect is not given.
It is taken.
After all is said and done, a lot more will be said than done.
The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.
There are people who, instead of listening to what is being said to them, are already
listening to what they are going to say in reply.
Is your butt jealous of all the crap that just came out of your mouth?
When i feed the poor they call me a saint.
When i ask why the poor have no food they compare me to Stalin and call me a socialist.
When the rich rob the poor it's called business.
When the poor fight back it's called violence.
I used to think that your reality shaped your politics.
It's clear to me now that your politics shape your reality.
Neoliberalism in a nutshell:
Let us exploit you or we have no use for you.
But fear not. I've been assured by the .1 percent that the new company store will have a kinder, gentler machine gun hand.
The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make
the other bastard die for his.
When Jonny comes marching home again he's unemployed, homeless, and suffering PTSD.
You strap on a gun and go strutting around some other man's country, you better be ready for some action, Jack. You better be ready for some action. People are touchy about that sort of thing.
It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels
me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active
military service as a member of this country's most agile military
force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from
Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I
spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big
Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was
a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am
sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession,
I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My
mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed
the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American
oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent
place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.
I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics
for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is
long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking
house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the
Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China
I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would
say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could
have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to
operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
I don't care
if you're black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny,
rich, or poor. if you're nice to me, i'll be nice to you.
Extend your tolerance to the beliefs of others, but do not be tolerant of their corruption,
exploitation, or manipulation. Disregard your blind allegiance
and patriotism and look through the transparent demagoguery
of those who stand to gain from your fealty and blindness.
When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why i dismiss yours.
-Stephen F Roberts
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum proves that faith does
not prove anything.
The actual brand of religion is irrelevant, the results are
the same. Nothing brings out inhumanity like someone actually
believing that they are the ally of god. An ally of god can do
no wrong. Anything is justified as the will of God.
Good people do good things. Bad people do bad things. But for
good people to do truly bad things, you need religion.
Evil is never done so completely and cheerfully as when it is
done from a religious conviction
Your religion is a bad joke, replete with boundless hypocrisy, double standards,
cover-ups, rewrites, and blinded eyes. Rose colored eyes which cannot look to the
past see the oceans of blood that watered it, the savage anti-intellectualism which
nurtured it, the mountains of tortured heathen bones and shredded tongues which
raised it, nor the man-made hell-on-earth in which it was forged. It is a joke told
to plunder and control, and the only ones not laughing in abject terror and disgust,
are those same blind and brainwashed victims of that intolerant sanctimonious warmongering
demagoguery: too fearful and superstitious to see the punch line.
Man will never be free until the last king is strangled
by the entrails of the last priest.
America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations
and the least Christian in its behaviour... In 2004, as a share of our economy,
we ranked second to last, after Italy, among developed countries in government foreign
aid. Nearly 18 percent of Aemrican children lived in poverty (compared with, say,
8 percent in Sweden). In fact, by pretty much any measure of caring, childhood nutrition,
infant mortality, access to pre-school - we come in nearly last among the rich nations,
and often by a wide margin.
Despite the Sixth Commandment, we are of course, the most violent rich nation on
earth, with a murder rate four or five times that of our European peers. Having
been told to turn the other cheek, we're the only Western democracy left that executes
its citizens, mostly in those states where Christianity is theoretically strongest.
Teenage pregnancy? We're at the top of the charts. Personal self-diciplin - like,
say, keeping your weight under control? Buying on credit? Running government deficits?
Do you even need to ask?
Portrait of the Typical Modern Christian
...our Christian forefathers, being much better read and having a much better grasp
of history than the modern Christian who spends all his time in front of the Internet
and the television, had no enthusiasm for war at all.
Back before the Civil War, when the Christians published theological journals worth
reading, two Baptist ministers writing in The Christian Review demonstrated that
Christian war fever was contrary to the New Testament.
Veritatis Amans, in his 1847 article "Can War, Under Any Circumstances, Be Justified
on the Principles of the Christian Religion? "approached the subject from the standpoint
of war being justified only in cases of self-defense. Another Baptist preacher,
in an unsigned article from 1838 entitled "Wickedness of War," approached the subject
from the standpoint of the nature of war in general. Both articles look to the New
Testament as their authority.
Amans begins: "War has ever been the scourge of the human race. The history of the
past is little else than a chronicle of deadly feuds, irreconcilable hate, and exterminating
warfare. The extension of empire, the love of glory, and thirst for fame, have been
more fatal to men than famine or pestilence, or the fiercest elements of nature."
"And what is more sad and painful, many of the wars whose desolating surges have
deluged the earth, have been carried on in the name and under the sanction of those
who profess the name of Christ."
"It has not been till recently, that the disciples of Christ have been conscious
of the enormous wickedness of war as it usually exists. And even now there are many
who do not frown upon it with that disapprobation and abhorrence, which an evil
of such magnitude as an unjust war deserves."
"Wars of every kind may be included under two classes – offensive and defensive.
Concerning the former we shall say nothing. We need not delay a moment to discuss
a question so directly at variance with the dictates of conscience, and the principles
of revealed religion."
"But under what circumstances is war truly defensive? We reply, when its object
is to repel an invasion; when there is no alternative but to submit to bondage and
death, or to resist."
The anonymous Baptist preacher writing in a 1838 issue of The Christian Review continues:
"The war spirit is so wrought into the texture of governments, and the habits of
national thinking, and even into our very festivals and pomps, that its occasional
recurrence is deemed a matter of unavoidable necessity."
War "contradicts the genius and intention of Christianity," "sets at nought the
example of Jesus," and "is inconsistent not only with the general structure and
nature of Christianity and the example of Jesus, but it violates all the express
precepts of the New Testament."
"Christianity requires us to seek to amend the condition of man. But war cannot
do this. The world is no better for all the wars of five thousand years. Christianity,
if it prevailed, would make the earth a paradise. War, where it prevails, makes
it a slaughter-house, a den of thieves, a brothel, a hell. Christianity cancels
the laws of retaliation. War is based upon that very principle. Christianity is
the remedy for all human woes. War produces every woe known to man."
"The causes of war, as well as war itself, are contrary to the gospel. It originates
in the worst passions and the worst aims. We may always trace it to the thirst of
revenge, the acquisition of territory, the monopoly of commerce, the quarrels of
kings, the intrigues of ministers, the coercion of religious opinion, the acquisition
of disputed crowns, or some other source, equally culpable; but never has any war,
devised by man, been founded on holy tempers and Christian principles."
"It should be remembered, that in no case, even under the Old Testament, was war
appointed to decide doubtful questions, or to settle quarrels, but to inflict national
punishment. They were intended, as are pestilence and famine, to chastise nations
guilty of provoking God. Such is never the pretext of modern war; and if it were,
it would require divine authority, which, as has just been said, would induce even
members of the Peace Society to fight."
The "criminality of war," as Howard Malcom, president of Georgetown College, wrote
in 1845, is not "that tyrants should lead men into wars of pride and conquest,"
but that "the people, in governments comparatively free, should so readily lend
themselves to a business in which they bear all the sufferings, can gain nothing,
and may lose all." That people would act this way, Malcom says, is an "astonishment
indeed." "But," he continues, "the chief wonder is that Christians, followers of
the Prince of Peace, should have concurred in this mad idolatry of strife, and thus
been inconsistent not only with themselves, but with the very genius of their system."
The founding fathers of this country, many of whom were deists, had more sense than
many twenty-first-century Christians when it came to espousing a policy of peace
through non-intervention; in other words, not being "a busybody in other men's matters"
(1 Pet. 4:15). George Washington: "The great rule of conduct for us in regard to
foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little
political connection as possible." Thomas Jefferson: "Peace, commerce, and honest
friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none." John Quincy Adams:
"America . . . goes not abroad seeking monsters to destroy."
-Excepts from http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/vance1.html
Going to church makes you a Christian no more than going to a garage makes you a
-Dr. Laurence J. Peter
Then the devil's clock struck midnight
And the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood
Was blown to hell again
But for just one fleeting moment
The answers seemed so clear
Heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's just beyond the fear
No heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's for us to find here
-Garth Brooks, Belleau Wood
And the Lord said, "Go forth and gain everlasting life".
But I mistakenly went fifth, and won a toaster instead.
The faster you run from your sins, the more exhausted you are when they catch up
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
-A warning to wayward travelers, etched on the gates of
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for I am the meanest son of a bitch in the valley.
If you're going through hell, keep going.
Never do card tricks for the group you play poker with.
Economically speaking, it doesn't matter if
it's moral or amoral.
Morally speaking, it doesn't matter if it's
legal or not.
Legally speaking, it doesn't matter if it's
right or wrong.
Realistically speaking, it doesn't matter if
it's moral, legal, or right.
Strength is being able to crush a tomato.
Dexterity is being able to dodge a tomato.
Constitution is being able to eat a bad tomato.
Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad.
Charisma is being able to sell a tomato-based fruit salad.
A tomato based fruit salad is salsa!
The propeller is really just a big fan made to cool down the pilot in the cockpit.
You can tell this because when it stops you
can see the pilot start sweating excessively.
If you have a barrel of sewage and add a teaspoon of fine wine, you get sewage.
But if you have a barrel of fine wine and add
a teaspoon of sewage, you still get sewage.
Nothing is faster than the speed of light, they say, forgetful of the shadow's speed.
Hey there Mary, what's the story. Save my as
Hail Mary full of grace, let us blow this goddamn
How many times do you hear it?
It goes on all day long
Everyone knows everything
And no one's ever wrong
I met her when the world began.
Or was it last July?
Ill sit and laugh with my friends at what we've all been thru,
but i still catch my breath when someone mentions
Why do we close our eyes when we pray, cry,
kiss, and dream? Because the most beautiful things
in life are not seen but felt only by the heart.
Once there was a boy who gave a girl twelve roses.
Eleven of them were real, one was plastic. Then he
told her he will love her until the last one dies.
'Go to father', she said, when I asked her to wed.
She knew that I knew that her father was dead.
She knew that I knew what a life he had led.
She knew that I knew what she meant when she
'Go to father.'
Some men aren't looking for anything
logical like money.
They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned
or negotiated with.
Some men, just want to watch the world
-Alfred, The Dark Knight
I'd like to share a revelation that I've had
during my time here. It came to me when I tried
to classify your species and I realized that
you aren't actually mammals. Every mammal on
this planet instinctively develops a natural
equilibrium with its surrounding environment,
but you humans do not.
You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply,
until every natural resource is consumed. The
only way you can survive is to spread to another
area. There is another organism on this planet
that follows the same pattern. Do you know what
it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a
cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and
we... we are the cure.
-Agent Smith, The Matrix
In my opinion life is a highly overrated phenomenon. Mars gets on perfectly fine
without so much as a microorganism.
See: there's the south pole beneath us now... No life. No life at all, but giant
steps, nighty feet high, scoured by dust and wind into a constantly changing topographical
map, flowing and shifting around the pole in ripples ten thousand years wide.
Now tell me, would that be greatly improved by an oil pipeline? A shopping mall?
Oh, i'm sorry. I mistook me for somebody else.
Not this August nor this September -- this year
you get to do what you like, but the time comes
around again. It always does. Sooner or later
you stick something back into your big damn old
mouth again. A drink, a smoke, maybe the barrel
of a shotgun... Not this August nor this September...
Unfortunately this was October.
-Stephen King, Secret Window, Secret Garden
A slit cuts
through the golden eye.
Black as night. Sharp as sky.
A coat of fire burns the day.
And all the hope held by the prey.
Quickly and quietly fades away.
A fading hope is in the air.
A needing hunger drenched with despair.
The crown of power; oh, how it glows.
And the beast - he fully knows.
The time is now to return his soul.
The strength of god. The speed of lightening.
Intense fear. Frightening!
The rage of a thousand starving hearts.
All in tune. Tear apart.
Ripping the fabric of the art.
The blood glints off the teeth of fate.
Time extended. Now abate.
Those who witnessed, disappear.
Escaping filled with mortal fear.
Fed by death, the king is near.
The crown, the mane, the golden shroud.
Covers the body, of the proud.
Canines and claws gleam in the sun.
The fight is over, the proud has won.
The king of creatures: this war is done.
The slit, the cut, the golden eye.
The blackening night, the sharpening sky.
The coat, the fire, the burning day.
The pray, the hope, the fading away.
You have to
run as fast as you can just to stay where you are.
If you want to get anywhere,
you'll have to run much faster.
I know... no one lives in the slums because they want to. It's like this train.
It can't run anywhere except where its rails take it.
-Cloud Strife, Final Fantasy 7
Choice is an illusion. It does not exist. We are all rudderless ships on the ocean
Is there a cure among us
From this processed sanity?
I weaken with each voice that sings
Now, in this world of purchase
I'm going to buy back memories
To awaken some old qualities
Have I got a long way to run?
Yeah, I run
-Collective Soul, Run
(Don't stop to speak or look around
Your gloves & fan are on the ground
We're getting out of town
We're going on the run
And you're the one I want to come)
Not to touch the earth
Not to see the sun
Nothing left to do but
Run, run, run
-Jim Morrison, The Celebration of the Lizard
We no longer know the meaning of freedom. We have traded away everything to a false
prophet. We refuse to see that belonging to a government is a fate far worse than
any terrorist can reap; than any madman can sow.
The word of a terrorist has no power over us. The government's word is law.
In the name of security we will lose our security. In addition to the terrorist
we will have the relentless uncompromising gaze of the government.
The power of the people is born from its freedom, and it is the people who must
be the guardians of that power. It is from our freedom that we draw the authority
to force our government to abide its boundaries. Through the guise of security we
are slowly allowing our government to relinquish that authority, and ultimately,
the government will
Once we allow our freedoms to categorically run dry, we, as a people, will no longer
have the authority to stand up to our government.
9/11 was a horrible thing, and every single freaking thing done in its name has been
much more horrible. The fact people keep accepting
it as an excuse for unacceptable things is very
As soon as someone tries to use 9/11 to justify
yet another thing to encroach upon and destroy
public rights and liberties (which is all but
guaranteed anytime someone invokes 9/11), call
them what they really are: terrorist sympathizer
Remember, the entire purpose behind terrorism
is to instill a sense of panic and fear in a
population, in order to get them to act in a
certain manner, so that said...
Anytime someone tries to invoke a sense of fear
in the public, in order to pass some new law
or legislation, they are doing the work of a
Anytime someone tries to use 9/11 to keep people
afraid, to justify what is being done 'to protect
people', they are doing the work of a terrorist.
Anytime someone tries to claim that 'combating
the terrorists' or 'protecting people from terrorists'
justifies trampling all over basic constitutional
rights, and the rights of the people, they are
doing the work of a terrorist.
-Techdirt Forum Post
When someone declares "people will die" as a justification
for curtailing liberty, the correct response is "what
are you suggesting - that liberty isn't worth dying
for? That those who sacrificed their lives for our
freedoms made the wrong choice?"
-Techdirt Forum Post
The government should represent the will of the people and the public has a say in
the risks they are willing to take in terms of
what information we may receive. I, as a member
of the public, am willing to risk whatever risks
more transparency brings because to sacrifice
transparency would be to give up an important
democratic principle that national security is
supposed to defend.
-Techdirt Forum Post
Hmmm... so the terrorists can only be defeated by
a consolidation of state and corporate power, the
stripping of personal liberties, the militarization
of the police, the proliferation of secret courts
and watch lists, and the creation of an unconstrained
surveillance state suspiciously prying into the bank
accounts, communications, associations, and actions
of all Americans?
The hell with it, I'll put up with the terrorists,
-Techdirt Forum Post
It occurs to me that this whole game of characterizing people who are against U.S. government foreign policy and the erosion of personal liberty as "anti-American" is really something that should be met head on.
I completely reject the notion that my being against all of these wars of aggression, the torture, the emerging unaccountable militarized secretive thug police state, the secret courts and watch lists, the blanket warrant-less surveillance, the parallel construction and asset forfeiture -- I reject the notion that being against these atrocities makes me "anti-American". No, I am pro-American. I am in favor of the values expressed in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. Moreover, I am in favor of all the positive things to have come out of American culture: Hollywood's Golden Age of Movies, jazz music, Bob Dylan.... Writers, poets... the culture of open source software. Those things are all quintessentially American and I am in favor of them.
So I am pro-American. People like you are anti-American, because you are against the core principles that the country is supposed to stand for, a democratic republic, an open society with due process and the rule of law, a humble inward looking government constrained by checks and balances, a bulwark justice system more than strong enough to keep the tireless wolves of government and corporate tyranny at bay...
But people like you... You corrupt all of that by defending the indefensible all the while hiding behind a cloak of faux patriotism. You guys nauseate me. Really.
-Slashdot Forum Post
The NSA granted me the authority to monitor communications world-wide using its mass
surveillance systems, including within the United
States. I have personally targeted individuals
using these systems under both the President
of the United States' Executive Order 12333 and
the US Congress' FAA 702. I know the good and
the bad of these systems, and what they can and
cannot do, and I am telling you that without
getting out of my chair, I could have read the
private communications of any member of this
[LIBE] committee, as well as any ordinary citizen.
I swear under penalty of perjury that this is
One of the foremost activities of the NSA's
FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure
or incentivize EU member states to change their
laws to enable mass surveillance. Lawyers from
the NSA, as well as the UK's GCHQ, work very
hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional
protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate,
dragnet surveillance operations that were at
best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers. These
efforts to interpret new powers out of vague
laws is an intentional strategy to avoid public
opposition and lawmakers' insistence that legal
limits be respected, effects the GCHQ internally
described in its own documents as "damaging public
Global surveillance capabilities are being used
[by the United States] on a daily basis for the
purpose of economic espionage. That a major goal
of the US Intelligence Community is to produce
economic intelligence is the worst kept secret
Please note that freedom is subject to terms and conditions. Freedom can be revoked at any time. Freedom is subject to availability. Freedom is a priveledge, not a right. Freedom does not extend to uncondoned events, beliefs, or actions. Whether you are allowed to participate will be determined at the sole discretion of the federal governing body, federal law enforcement, the state and local authorities, the whims of the police, and the discretion of judicial system. Freedom is not free. Freedom requires that there are people who are not free. If it is determined that you participate, have participated, or may participate in any act, conversation, or form of speech that is deemed unpatriotic, your freedom will be immediately revoked. What is unpatriotic will be determined on the whims of whichever authority you are interacting with at the time. Your freedom may be infringed at any time for your own protection. You are always free to do as you are told.
Back in the '70s a Soviet general told Farley
Mowat, "The difference between Soviet propaganda
and American propaganda is that we don't believe
ours." A big difference between then and now
is that when we tortured people or detained them
without trial we pretended it was our ally (South
Vietnam, Iran, Israel, etc.) that was doing it
and we made polite objections. When we gratuitously
invaded other countries we at least had the grace
to have one of our puppet government's ask us
to do so. We pretended not to be developing biological
and chemical weapons and ABM systems contrary
to treaties that we had signed.
Today we're not even pretending. We just openly
torture prisoners, arrest and murder people without
trial, invade on the flimsiest of blatantly false
pretenses, and coldly send in taxpayer-paid mercenaries
to massacre people resisting corporate theft
of their lands. Perhaps the most appalling thing
to me is the easy acceptance of all of this by
my fellow citizens, most of whom are well aware
that the government is doing these things in
their name and don't care.
-Slashdot Forum Post
Yossarian comes to realize that Catch-22 does not
actually exist, but because the powers that be claim
it does, and the world believes it does, it nevertheless
has potent effects. Indeed, because it does not exist
there is no way it can be repealed, undone, overthrown,
or denounced. The combination of force with specious
& spurious legalistic justification is one of
the book's primary motifs.
-Catch 22 Synopsis
...There is that wonderful story in the gospel of
John where the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus
a women taken in adultery, and attempting to trap
him, asked if the women should be stoned according
to the law of Moses.
Christ did not answer straight away, but rather
stooped down and with his finger wrote on the ground,
as though he didn't hear them. The Pharisees persisted,
and after a time Christ lifted himself up and answered,
"he that is without sin among you, let him first
cast the stone at her." And again, stooped down.
For me, this seemingly distracted gesture -- the
stooping down and writing on the ground -- is Christ
accessing the God inside himself. Christ then delivers
the line that dis-empowers his opponents - and what
an extraordinary remark it is - and then stoops again
to re-commune with God.
What Christ shows us here, is that the creative
imagination has the power to combat all enemies;
that we are protected by the flow of our own inspiration.
-Nick Cave, The Flesh Made Word
An old Cherokee was teaching his grandchildren about
life. He said to them, "A battle is raging inside
me ...it is a fight between two wolves. One wolf
represents fear, anger, envy, sorry, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority,
lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other
stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity,
humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
The old man fixed the children with a firm stare.
"This same fight is going on inside you, and inside
every other person as well.
They thought about it for a minute and then one
child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee replied: "The one you feed."
There was a group of missionaries who tried to teach
Aboriginal children about soccer. Those kids took
to it like ducks to water - kicking the ball around
But after about a week, those missionaries discovered
to their amazement that the kids had changed the
rules of the game - in such a way that at the end
of the game, both teams had the same number of goals.
The Aborigines just couldn't for the love of them
understand why it was that the whites had to turn
literally everything into as race with ten people
running - and at the end, there was one winner...
And nine losers.
By the way - they see themselves as custodians of
nature. And they have been around for a very long
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home.
That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you
know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being
who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate
of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident
religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every
hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every
creator and destroyer of civilization, every king
and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother
and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer,
every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician,
every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every
saint and sinner in the history of our species lived
there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Pi is an infinite, nonrepeating decimal - meaning that every possible number combination
exists somewhere in pi. Converted into ASCII
text, somewhere in that infinite string of digits
is the name of every person you will ever love,
the date, time, and manner of your death, and
the answers to all the great questions of the
universe. Converted into a bitmap, somewhere
in that infinite string of digits is a pixel-perfect
representation of the first thing you saw on
this earth, the last thing you will see before
your life leaves you, and all the moments, momentous
and mundane, that will occur between those two
All information that has ever existed or will
ever exist, the DNA of every being in the universe,
EVERYTHING: all contained in the ratio of a circumference
and a diameter.
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to
go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get
to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where--' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said
'--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if
you only walk long enough.'
-Alice in Wonderland
About Learning Lessons
Most lessons in life are hard learned. Wisdom does
not come free. You must fall before you can walk,
and the blood you spill along the way is sort of
a non-negotiable payment to the proprietor of that
secret knowledge. But sometimes you can bleed too
much. Sometimes the lessons cost more than you bargained
for, and the knowledge gained turns out to be poison.
Truth and wisdom can be dangerous, and when the
poison of reality infects us, we begin to build barriers
and lie to ourselves to protect our fragile egos.
This is an automatic self-defense mechanism, almost
totally involuntary like breathing or blinking. We
avoid the truth the way a skilled knife thrower avoids
the pretty spinning lady strapped to the table. But
every once in a while your true self is revealed
to you, and depending on the strength and length
of the lies you have been telling yourself, this
unwanted revelation can crash your entire world down
all around you. The moment when the knife stops thrilling
and starts killing is the moment we all dread. So
we live in fear. Always doing whatever it takes to
feed the illusion and avoid situations where we must
confront who we are... Instead of who we like to
think we are.
You never really know someone. Betrayal is always
on the table. The ones you thought you knew so well
can always stab you in the back. There are no barriers,
no shields, no walls, no nets. There is only your
trust and the chance that someone you love will cut
it into pieces.
Maybe you don't know the true meaning of trust,
and maybe that is the problem. When you trust someone,
you surrender to them a frail and delicate piece
of yourself. You lower your defenses and reveal some
of your heart and in doing so leave yourself naked
and defenseless against the possibility that everything
you think you know about them is catastrophically
mistaken and at any moment a flick of their Judas
blades can pierce your heart and your good intentions
and shatter the world of illusion you had, up until
that point, built around yourself like a protective
cocoon. And all of this is just a simple matter of
action and will. A digital response in a digital
frontier: Yes or no or one or zero. And it is their
action. Not yours. The very definition of no control.
The definition of trust.
About Entropy and the Limits of Control
About Misunderstanding And Shattered Relationships
We judge ourselves by our intentions and others
by their actions.
Man desires a world where good and evil can be clearly distinguished, for he has
an innate and irresponsible desire to judge before
when sleep is hard to find there is no distance between the darkness and all of
the things you want to forget.
The main thing you're going to have to ask yourself is whether or not pain now (diciplin)
is better than pain leter (regret). The answer
- it always is. You lose yourself as a person
if you have too many regrets. But if you're willing
to suffer the pain of dicipline the exact opposite
happens. You find yoruself as a person for unlike
regret, discipline is pain that builds you up,
not down. So go out and suffer a little now so
you don't have to suffer forver.
About Situational Unawareness
If you are going to fly to the sun, flying at night
is not going to save you.
About Bad Choices
I am the author of my life. Unfortunately, i'm
writing in pen and can't erase my mistakes.
About Hidden Meanings
'Can you help me with this', are, more often
than not, code words for 'can you do this for
If you do something right, no one remembers.
If you do something wrong, no one forgets.
One person's "balance" is another's wildly corrupt,
morally bankrupt, exploitative society. The use of
the word often connotes that both sides of an argument
are equally fair, and equally at fault, which is
Forget balance. Aim for the truth and correct your
steering whenever needed.
-From a forum somewhere
About Hollow Ideals
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of challenge and
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
About Idealism vs Realism
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what
they should have for dinner.
Communism is a group of fat wolves harvesting the
sheep in between Swedish massages.
The word "choice" tends to be hard to understand
beyond a narrow scope. In capitalism (or
at least in countries with a version of capitalism
lacking an adequate safety net) the choice is: 1.)
work, or 2.) starve. Now, that's a "choice," but
in a pretty narrow sense. That's why moral and political
philosophers distinguish between negative freedom
and positive freedom. Both are important.
If you can't
choose to opt out of the system (while you, say,
look for a better job, or go to school, or start
your own business), you don't fully have your freedom
do you? The children of wealthy families, for example,
always have this freedom. They can go to school without
working, take time to look for a good job without
starving (or even experiencing discomfort), etc.
Hell, they can even screw around "finding themselves"
on year-long European excursions.
So, right now, many workers are faced with the choice
of either 1.) working at a job that does little more
than help ensure you won't starve (with the help
of food stamps - a giant subsidy from taxpayers to
WalMart), but provides no opportunity for advancement
of even enjoyment of life, and 2.) starving.
While the privileged few at or near the top, all those
fortunate sons and daughters, may never have to work a day
in their lives and will always live a life of luxury
True freedom and choice come in degrees, with those
at the top - never a slave to their needs of food and
shelter - having the highest amount, and those at the
bottom having the least. Freedom is a scale.
-Slashdot Forum Post
About Grievers of Creation
I drove out to the desert.
I looked to the east and there was the night and the city of torment. I looked west
and there was the sterile desert and blinding sun.
I turned away from the darkness and as I walked deeper into that dazzling ocean of sunlight and sand, I could
feel my memories crumbling into the dust of the yellow sea. And one by one
there was no more torment, no more wicked city, no more night.
Step by step i walked deeper, trading away the chains of an uncompromising and brutal
world for the stressless promise of the emptiness surrounding me. And as the chains
fell away I watched with detached satisfaction as the shadow beneath my feet slowly
began to fade on the sand.
This was what I had come for, what I traded everything for: The liberating nonexistence;
the catatonic dream. The prosaic oblivion where old memories cannot survive and
new memories cannot be made. The soft harmonic whisper of the clawing shackles of a wicked
world crumbling to nothing in the invincible face of an endless dazzling desert.
Looking ahead, I spotted God shining brightly on the horizon and I knew He too was searching for
peace. And I wept at the thought of a kindred spirit.
With triumph in my heart I ran to Him, but as I approached I began to realize that
I could no longer remember who he was...
...And in the last moment before we both faded into blissful nothing, it struck
me that God--the griever of creation--could no longer remember...
who I was either.
About Heartache and the Loss of God
Let me tell you about heartache and the loss of
God--wandering, wondering in hopeless night. Out
here on the perimeter there are no stars. Out here
we is stoned...immaculate.
For the angel of death
Spread his wings on the blast
And breathed in the face
Of his foe as he passed
And the eyes of the sleepers
Waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved
And for ever grew still
My captain does not answer
His lips are pale and still
My captain does not feel my arm
He has no pulse nor will
The ship is anchored safe and sound
Its voyage close to done
From fearful trip, the victor ship
Comes in with object won
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red
For on the deck my captain lies
Fallen cold and dead
-Walt Whitman, Oh Captain My Captain
And now here we are
The semaphore ending
Run right along
The future is pending
The Joker pointed out that people are only as
good as the world allows them to be. And he is
right, because there is no such thing as choice.
Our goal then, should be to create a better world.
Love Always, Dad
So for Socrates, there’s no such thing as acting against one’s best judgment: There’s only bad judgment. He draws an analogy with optical illusions. Like a child who thinks her thumb is bigger than the moon, we overestimate the value of nearby pleasures and underestimate the severity of their faraway consequences.
We must then illustrate why this is a fallacy to educate the person in question.
Shall i give you despair? https://soundcloud.com/this-american-life/534-a-not-so-simple-majority
The Catholic Church has never had a problem with
evolution per se, only with metaphysical naturalism,
an atheistic philosophy sometimes grafted onto it.
St. Thomas Aquinas intriguingly wrote, “[S]pecies,
also, that are new, if any such appear, existed beforehand
in various active powers; so that animals, and perhaps
even new species of animals, are produced by putrefaction
[i.e. distillation, development] by the power which
the stars and elements received at the beginning”
(Summa Theologica, I.73.1 reply 3). Species coming
into being through natural causes? That sounds suspiciously
like something near to evolution, from the pen of
the man who is most famous for his proofs of the
existence of God. And in the 13th century, no less.
But evolution fits far better with Aquinas’ intensely
rational explication of God’s causality than a God
who creates over arbitrary twenty-four hour time
periods. Aquinas’ cosmological argument establishes
that, since “from nothing nothing comes” (apologies
to Lawrence Krauss, but gravity and quantum fields
do not constitute “nothing"), there must exist a
transcendent cause which never came into being but
always is, and which relies on nothing outside of
itself to explain its existence. This being, whose
existence is identical to its nature, grounds all
else that exists, at every moment, even time itself.
That’s not a being that would create, pause, and
create again. For Aquinas, creation is not a process
over time at all. It’s not even a MOMENT in time.
It’s the continuous ongoing dependence of all else
that exists — even time itself — upon this transcendent
cause. The “days” of creation, then, refer to what
Augustine called the “unfolding of generations” —
natural causality at work over time. This also means
that natural causality is real. It’s not, as the
Muslims tend to believe, an illusion (i.e. when a
camel poops in a tent, it only looks like a natural
cause-effect event happened. Really, it’s God doing
that). It’s real, and it’s really natural. When a
bird soars through the air, its wings are shaped
for flight, its muscles move those wings in just
the right way to catch the air, the air is molecularly
structured in such a way as to be able to hold the
bird in motion between earth and sky. But it is God
who keeps the bird itself and the natural laws that
govern its flight and the movements of its muscles
and the flowing of its blood and the structure of
the air and the entire system of cause-and-effect
in existence at every moment. He underlies it, upholds
it, creates it, holds it in being. It is caused naturally.
It is caused by God. They are different kinds of
causation. Neither rules out the other. This is also
why Catholics tend to be leery about “intelligent
design.” The way it is usually formulated, intelligent
design theory holds that God reaches into the natural
order and tweaks evolution to go where he wants.
But he doesn’t need to do that. He underlies the
natural order. He upholds it. It is what it is because
of him. The idea that he needs to tweak it accepts
the atheist view of the natural order as something
that is not dependent on God but independent, such
that it runs by itself and he needs to adjust it.
That makes God just another being alongside of nature,
even if a very powerful one. And it means that the
natural order doesn't have the foundational, transcendent
cause that it must have to exist at all. The only
reason there’s a debate like this over evolution
is because the protestants see it as a threat to
their bible-only-and-with-exacting-literalism faith.
And, of course, many atheists believe that evolution
somehow dispenses the need for a God (which just
means that they have a Sunday school idea of God:
a stern old man with a beard in the sky who is very
powerful and smites you when you do wrong). Both
sides see the other as a threat, and so they’ve been
fighting for a hundred and fifty years. But the protestants
would do well to read their bible a little more closely.
It says very clearly in Genesis 1:24: And God said:
Let the EARTH BRING FORTH the living creature in
its kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts
of the earth, according to their kinds." It’s even
clearer in Genesis 1:20 and 1:21: "God also said:
Let the WATERS BRING FORTH the creeping creature
having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth
under the firmament of heaven. “And GOD CREATED the
great whales, and every living and moving creature,
WHICH THE WATERS BROUGHT FORTH, according to their
kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind.
And God saw that it was good." This explicitly acknowledges
both natural causality and God’s causality. “God
created . . . which the waters brought forth.” So
I really don’t know why there’s a debate. Oh, and:
the Big Bang was originally posited by Georges Lemaitre
. . . a Catholic priest.
On the Subject of the Vietnam War
From my perspective as a vet, Bill Ehrhart's
reflections are accurate and helpful. It's also
helpful to know about the war's historical
background—which none of us were told before
shipping to Viet Nam, and which few vets know to this day.
Prior to U.S. involvement, French colonialists
had created two mass starvations in the country.
The French created these starvations by forcing
Vietnamese farmers (the large majority of the
population) to sell their rice crops to the
colonialists at low prices (primarily for export).
Then, for the farmers' own subsistence, they were
in effect forced to buy back from the colonialists
the rice that they (the farmers) had grown—at
exorbitant prices. This policy led to the
effective bankruptcy and starvation of 1
million-2 million Vietnamese and accelerated
the formation of Vietnamese nationalist groups
(including the Viet Minh, precursor to the Viet
Cong) whose aim was to liberate their country
from French oppression.
After World War II, without most Americans'
knowledge, the US government, compelled by
US business interests, began to fund the
French military effort in Viet Nam. In
other words, the French became the proxies
of the United States. America, born out of
our collective desire for our own freedom
and self-determination, became the driving
force behind the French oppression of the
Vietnamese people. Notably, America did
so after having promised the Vietnamese
that we would support free and fair
elections in the country—in exchange for
the Viet Minh's fighting as our ally
against the Japanese in Viet Nam. After
WWII, we reneged on our promise. Among
the 6 U.S. presidents who tried to sell
the war to the largely uninformed U.S.
population, only one president—General
Eisenhower—told the truth: that the U.S
. was in Viet Nam to protect American
corporate access to the country's
substantial natural resources.
In 1970-71, I served as an operating
room technician (U.S. Army 91st
Evacuation Hospital) in Chu Lai (central
Viet Nam). When not working in surgery,
I'd slip through the barbed wire to
visit Thanh Long (a nearby hamlet) or
teach English to kids at the local
Catholic school/orphanage. About 7
years ago, I spent a year as a volunteer
facilitator of over a hundred peer-to-peer
vets' meetings at our city’s VA medical
center. To a man, every one of us felt
that we’d been betrayed. Some believed
that we’d been betrayed by the Vietnamese.
(I remember a story related by a Marine
who’d been in the first group to come
ashore at Da Nang. His unit was approached
by villagers who offered the Marines
bottled Cokes. My friend told me that his
group was shocked, angered, and bewildered
to later discover that the villagers had
put ground glass in the Coke bottles.
Like Bill Ehrhart and most of us then in
Viet Nam, the Marines wondered “Don’t
these people realize that we’re here to
help them?!” Although opinions differed
regarding who was at fault, the majority
of vets in our VA meetings felt in some
way betrayed by our own government.
To date, I’ve encountered few vets who’ve
been willing to assign blame to the
American people who elected our government
and supported the US war effort, to the
American system of education (which, like
the educational systems of many countries,
often presents a slanted and/or incomplete
view), or to our otherwise beautiful
American culture, which too often looks
to military force as a means to resolve
our differences with other nations. The
price we Americans pay for our self-imposed,
self-serving ignorance is beyond calculation.
People often think that our Viet Nam war
cost 58,000 U.S. lives (not to mention up
to 3 million Vietnamese lives). However,
in the years following the war, over
150,000 Viet Nam vets have committed
suicide, and countless more have suffered
for four decades with failed marriages,
homelessness, PTSD, depression, Agent
Orange effects, and other consequences
of their participation in the war. And
of course our war in Viet Nam was just
one example of many.
Today, similar to America's Viet Nam war
debate in former decades, the current
national immigration debate is almost
entirely framed by American’s ignorance
of the role that US taxpayers, the US
federal government, and corrupt US
business interests have played in
suppressing education, economic
development, and democracy in 17
countries of Latin America—a national
behavior that has led to our current
immigration crisis. Let us pray that
our younger generations will learn the
lesson that our Viet Nam war and all
such adventures ultimately teach.
A very close friend of my mother was a
Vet. His primary job was to basically
throw explosives into huts. It made no
difference to his Superiors that those
huts contained only children. They
demanded he simply kill as many Vietnamese
as possible. He said a vast majority of
those huts contained at least one child,
but most contained several children. He
spent every waking moment of the rest of
his life hearing the sounds of those
children screams being replayed over
and over in his head.
In his suicide note, that he wrote in
1985, he stated that death was the only
way he would be able to escape the sounds
of those screams.