It’s almost funny—almost—watching everybody get all excited and up in arms about the crimes of Paris, as if 129 dead were the World Trade Towers all over again, when it’s just another slow day in the Mideast where the real war is a typical day in the life. I mean: this is nothing compared to the carnage in Gaza, Palestine, last year, when Israel “mowed the lawn” (Netanyahu’s words) with more than 2000 Palestinian bodies, stacked like cord wood or kindling, take your pick, it’s ‘ashes to ashes dust to dust’ every day of the week for the average Palestinian who’s committed no other crime than being born… (More …)
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“If you love your life, you will lose it…If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life.”
For some reason, that sentiment resonates with me, and many others, I think, that the rewards of this earthly existence are transient and ephemeral, and that there are bigger and better things to do here than getting and spending and counting our money. This is but a brief interlude, by any measure, and it’s a real shame to waste it in mindless murder—or even mindless multiplication. But we’re only human; that’s what we do. We possess. We accumulate. We go forth and multiply… all of which is fine, as long as we don’t get too attached to it, or even worse: ‘fall in love’ with it.
The events of Paris last week are a good example. Now that the dust has settled and some scores have been settled over the ownership of the land that was settled by our progenitors, it’s not hard to see the vicious circuitry to it all, the battle for one-up-man-ship that pervades all human interactions from the seminal act of sex to the terminal act of death, the jockeying for position and the positioning of jockeys for maximum exposure and maximum penetration. Pounds of flesh have been demanded as retribution and paid in kind over centuries, but nothing has really changed, has it? (More …)
Remember back when newscasters used to say “soldiers in combat,” way back B4 ‘boots on the ground’ became the comfort-food slang for such an activity—and you knew exactly what they meant, not some thinly-veiled bait-click ad for Nikes or Adidas? Aaaahhh, those were the good old days of comprehension and intelligence. And a notice was a notice, not a ‘heads-up’, whatever that means. And all the time was ‘all the time’, not 24/7, certainly not 24/7/365. Homosexuals were gay, if they wanted to be informal, certainly not something like a greasy BLT sandwich with ever-increasing ingredients. (More …)
Remember when science fiction authors used to write about all the little gadgets and inventions we’d have at some point in the future, e.g. high-technology and space travel? Seems quaint now, doesn’t it? Now that we have those things, of course, they envision a dystopian future of bleakness and degradation, blackness and deprivation.
Sci-fi authors are some pretty smart mofos, like Arthur C. Clarke, after all, who first theorized the geosynchronous orbits that allow our telecom satellites to follow us around in virtual orbit keeping us connected with one another in time if not in space.
So are you still convinced that somehow we’ll magically dodge a bullet? Your time might be better spent learning some gardening skills, learning some languages, or polishing your hammer and sharpening your axe.
Fortunately there are still people alive who know how to do sh*t, renaissance-style people whose main career goal was, “no office.” Hi. Enjoy your iPhones, enjoy your AirCon, enjoy the fruits of your official labors while they last, because they probably won’t…
The last thing the world needs, really, is a new religion—been there, done that. What we really need is a synthesis of all the old ones. After all, for all the grief they’ve caused us, they’ve also brought goodness many times over that, a fact which atheists tend to overlook, because it fits their narrative. Atheists seem to assume everything was rosy way back when, before religion, but that’s a ridiculous assumption. In all fairness it’s hard to see into the past, but it’s there if you want it. It’s pretty simple, really: “nasty, mean, brutish and short,” as one famous philosopher once put it, Calvin or Hobbes, can’t remember which.
The only problem with most traditional religions is that the truth, beauty and goodness that they provide, promote and accomplish usually stops at the membership line. If you fall outside that line, then all benefits stop, or in some cases, the wrath of that same loving God will fall upon you—ouch. That’s the problem right there of course, that religions have boundaries and membership requirements that must be respected and adhered to. Ever wonder why that is? (More …)
Beyond the super-superficial affectations and customary disses of the ‘Millennial’ brand of bloke—vain, spoiled, shallow, self-centered, self-obsessed—and otherwise obsessed only with their smart-phones and their smart-asses, there is something else happening in this generation that is quite the opposite, quite the story, and long overdue—sustainability.
After all, what happened to our 60’s-era ideals of slow growth, environmental regulation, and political responsibility? In short: what happened to communes? They’re alive and well, apparently, judging by the number of ‘intentional communities’ springing up around my adopted home of Tucson, Arizona, and elsewhere, too… (More …)
Well, I guess sex is no big deal, after all, in my perfect hypothetical religion, basically just: cover your genitals, please. And don’t do it in public. And hide it from the kids. Dress moderately. Homosexuality is okay, as long as you don’t demand the right to march down Market Street in only your jockstrap. Abortion is a horrible thing, but ultimately a woman’s right to choose, for lack of better options. I would only say to women who see this issue as only an issue of women’s health: we’re talking about a human life here, okay? At some point it becomes murder, which is not okay… what else?
Like sex, most religions don’t deal with issues of sobriety directly, but many do, being prohibited outright in some. Once again I see no clear path either way, but it has certainly been an object of contention over the years. To this day, many counties and cities in the USA are ‘dry’, not allowing any sales of alcohol; and many others are so restrictive that they accomplish much the same purpose, allowing mixed drinks only in eating establishments, for instance, the only stand-alone bars limited to beer.
But mention Christianity or the West to much of the world, and the first image that comes to many foreigners’ minds is alcohol—and drunkenness. It’s pretty accurate, really. Historical scuttlebutt is that the Celts invaded the Roman Empire looking for wine, long after they themselves had had a reputation for beer, from which the Spanish word for it—cerveza—comes, apparently. They likely invented wheels and pivoting axles, too, so the buzz is not necessarily bad, just disgusting for a lot of people, it seems. I concur. It’s messy. There are cleaner highs, if you just gotta… (More …)
Well, we had a good run, we did, Western Civilization, that is, as first articulated by Greece and Rome, before taken up again by London and Paris some 1000 years later, then New York, Toronto and Sydney for the final roll-out. Democracy was our method, Christianity was our mantra and capitalism was our madness. It worked spectacularly, until now, until we’ve run out of resources and ideas. Now we’re put to the test: what’s next?
Well, it doesn’t look good for the home team; seems capitalism is something of a pyramid scheme—works fine when you’re on top, with lots of resources and free time. Now other non-Westerners can play the game as well or better than us: first Japan, now China, with India, Brazil, and Russia hot on the horizon. Where does that leave us? Well, it should leave us defining the next era, beyond capitalism, beyond consumption, beyond die-hard democracy. But it’s not.
We’re totally unequipped for what comes next, all of us Westerners, Amerika the least, screwing up the Mideast, sowing our dreams of democracy, and leaving nothing but chaos in the wake—enough, already. We Amerikans have nothing to teach the world about politics, least of all democracy. We can barely get a budget bill through Congress to pay our debts. Now we’re destroying the environment, while still pushing the political and economic agenda of growth growth growth. We’re sick. (More …)
Anglo culture has always seen the need to separate people by class, and American culture is getting there, little by little, kept from it not so much by virtue as by a belief in progress, and the fundamental theory that merit makes virtue, and not vice versa.
But to use language as an enforcement tool seems perverted, developing a special ‘palace language’ that only a select few can or care to master, as almost certainly happened with the 14th century English vowel shift—upward, which substituted for the French that was no longer in upper-class vogue, they now in league with renegade Scotsmen and Catholics universal…
I think Europeans are lucky to have so many languages to contend with, keeping their minds fit, and keeping their thoughts occupied; we Anglo-Americans should be so lucky to have multiple approaches to life, instead of being forced to create new apps and programs to occupy our time, or use language to subjugate the lower classes as the Brits did with their native Celts and the Mexicans do with their native Indians.
Instead of passing ‘English only’ laws, maybe we should pass laws requiring proficiency in a second language, like maybe Spanish, since that’s the language of our neighbor Mexico and its many compatriots resident in-country, not to mention the fact that we stole much of this country from them as part of our ‘manifest destiny’.
Yeah, that sounds like a good idea—require it. Our we could just continue our current course and delineate social classes by proficiency in tech talk, text-speak, twitter-food, gobbledy geeks: naahhh….
Okay, back to the work grind: creating the perfect religion. We’ve got work to do, and time is growing short. Some people say you can’t do that, cherry-pick the best of each religion, that you have to take them fully blown, as handed down, all or nothing. I call b*llsh*t. Ever heard of Protestantism? I smell the workings of religious corporatist monopolies whose major goal is to preserve themselves, not liberate you and me from the seminal sweat and tears of life on this planet and the fear and anxiety of life with no plan. Let’s cut to the chase scene: one man’s divine writ is another man’s working lunch.
So let’s get started. Here’s what we’ve got so far:
Building Blocks for the Perfect Religion:
- Balance: the first tenet previously noted as primary in my metaphysical system is balance, the middle path, avoidance of extremes, and most importantly, everything—ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING—in moderation, the emphasis on balance matched by the emphasis on diversity…
- Humility: second on my list, though not necessarily in importance, is humility, (not humiliation), either inflicted or received, simply a recognition that we are but small cogs in a very big picture and that our lives are infinitely better by finding our proper place within that system rather than trying to bully others and impose our will.
Okay, now let’s get this next tough one out of the way, since it won’t get any easier: sex. I don’t know why none of the major religions deal with this directly, though it’s always implied: ‘right actions’, ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’, etc., but this is just beating around the bush, no pun intended. The fact is that our Western-oriented system of values puts sex right at the top, even when that is re-cast as ‘love’. It’s really still pretty much the same thing—passion. See the beautiful patterns in a leaf? That’s love. Baby’s smile? Love. What will be left when our civilization collapses? Same thing—love. Oh, boy… (More …)