Do Numbers Truly ‘Go On Forever?’

Math & science (& everything STEM) these days has quite the plucky confidence; that cocksure strutting accompanied with the dung eating grin that all the ladies like. One of the many things I was repeatedly told as a kid was that numbers go on forever… numbers stretch into INFINITY. 

This was a big idea as a kid and we just swallowed it… We simply accepted that any man-made creation that had some system to account for endless propagation could stretch into forever, and that we should recognize that as some great strength of mathematics & the physical sciences. It literally is prepared for the circumstance of infinity.

But this raises the question… Can it be said that something stretched into infinity if it actually hasn’t stretched into infinity?

If I were to tell you that I have a theory of human history as infinitely cyclical, and that it repeats itself over and over again, without end; that our history stretches into eternity with a sense of constant repetition… Now let’s just ignore whether or not history does repeat itself, but let’s just focus on the idea.. Could I get away with tell you that history will stretch into eternity?

It would immediately ask the question of whether or not humanity will actually live forever. Something that many of us are skeptical of. We’d dismiss it as some overly cocky gesture of a historian.

What if a fantasy or science fiction novelist told you that his fantasy realm stretched into infinity. No, not just the idea of infinity, but that it actually goes on forever. We’d all probably point out that he cannot, nor could people taking over after him, hope to extend something into the eternal…

But I recognize that, he says, I am only saying that the world itself is infinite. And therefore the number of characters within this place is infinite and stretches into eternity. We might never cover their stories, we might never imagine what they actually are… But these here characters in this here world stretch on into infinity!

I don’t know about you, but I would roll my eyes and say, yes, we get it… Your fantastical world is “eternal,” and the characters are “infinite.” I’d then try to steer the topic to something far more practical and relevant.

But this is exactly what mathematics and the physical sciences are insisting… Their system stretches on forever because they say it does. Just like the author, or the historian, who have only covered a finite number of details that are merely asserting that something is eternal, so, too, Mathematics is asserting numbers are eternal without actually reaching eternity.

Is there anything stopping numbers from reaching eternity? You could bring that up… Theoretically, they are eternal. Just like this fake writer’s fake world; just like this historian’s hypothesis of human history will stretch into eternity forever repeating itself.

But we would fault the historian and the writer by saying that he cannot extend his fake world or his historical theory into eternity because he is mortal and, moreover, the human race which would continue on his work for him is likewise mortal.

The same can be said to the mathematician calling numbers something that stretches into ‘eternity.’

You can sit there with your finger on the ’9′ key , holding it down, and have all your friends holding down the ’9′ key for tens of thousands of years… But you will die someday. And whatever number you create or give some name to is not going to have stretched into infinity. It will still be measurable.

Likewise, we could all try our best to stretch the author’s fantastical world into infinity; we could all try our best to stretch our world into infinity and thereby stretch history into infinity… But this is all imagination. This is all drivel that we would write off quickly.

But for whatever reason no one is quick to scoff at the idea that numbers are infinite.

This merely illustrates the bias we have towards STEM: we regard their asinine assertions as entrely valid (!!!) because, well, sure.. They have a ‘system’ set up behind it.

We will question the idea of the historian or the author who suggests it is infinite… We will question the religious person who likewise puts forward such a theory of something stretching into infinity without proof or demonstration…

But we let mathematics (and other scientific concepts) go on scot-free simply because of a bias.

Sure, there are people that would accept on face value as well that the historical or fantastical world concepts are ‘infinite,’ but the number is much fewer compared to those who accept, without question, the idea that numbers stretch on forever.

Food for thought.

All That Is Good Is Hard… And Why Shouldn’t It Be Hard?

We all understand that a lot of our lives is a hard struggle to attain a small amount of things. Waking up in the morning seems to particularly be a struggle to many — that moment that the body fights to overcome the desire to carry on rest, that much needed rest it craves. It maintains a most basic desire to remain comfortable and dormant, gaining its strength and power; but, always, we must pry ourselves up and move forward to face another day without ever there being many particular promises that it would be good.

We also learn in our youths that many of the indulgences that we participate in to achieve a sense of happiness are fleeting; easily these also become gross overindulgence, leading to a breakdown of our health and general stability. Excesses lead to their own brands of unhappiness. Excesses lead to a nasty imbalance and the emotions become a rapidly shifting kaleidoscope of chaotic interaction.

What were these overindulgences then, but weak attempts to overcome our hard lives with some interesting interruptions of the monotony? So fleeting. But we have come past that and we come to a truer understanding…

“Hard is the good.” – Plato. It is hard to be good; it is hard to do good. It is hard to choose the moral action when a thousand easy outs face us all. It is easy to achieve less… it is easy to avoid the risks associated with striving for the highest and settling for the lowest.

But why shouldn’t the good be hard?

For as we strive to accomplish hard things we become better people through the discipline and appreciation that it imbues on us. So instead of criticizing a system that is hard sometimes we ought to criticize the system that is easy.

On first glance this may appeal to the anti-welfare state conservative, and it should rightfully so because no one should earn an income doing nothing. But, it should also appeal to the enviornmentalist who wishes to see man minimize his impact on the environment.

We should minimize our impact and live off of the land in a way that is a bit harder but is supremely superior.

We should be ready to trade in our Middle Class lives for far less conspicuous consumption and closer living to nature; and likewise we should trade in our urban ease and privilege for a more stark and rural existence. We should be ready to live by the sweat of the brow.

And then, after a good day’s labor, we can look back at all that we did and see the physical products we made and utter all that is good is hard.

And it is also here that a true happiness is felt: affection and kinship with mother nature and pride in our own labors. And it is a happiness that can accompany a man far further than a lot would think.

And that is why our labors should be honest and directed towards bringing ourselves closer to nature, to our inner selves and to other people. Perhaps even in that order.

All that is good should be hard so that we do not grow lazy; it is out of our lethargy that grows a depression, a weakness. It is out of this natural inactivity that the body is plagued…

It should be hard. It should be hard because it has to be ethical, it has to be beneficial; it has to be done honestly. It should not be hard because of an artificial economic or political structure imposed by man but because the nature of achieving the good is hard. 

Former Ms. International (Japan) Supports Plight Of Comfort Women

Perhaps one of the most difficult topics for anyone in Korea (or Japan) is the issue of the 위안부 (commonly referred to as ‘comfort women’ in the West; the Korean word translates roughly into Pleasure Division) and now former Miss International Ikumi Yoshimatsu of Japan is speaking out and saying that she believes that the infamous ‘Comfort Women’ were, in fact, victimized and deserve apology.

I could find no coverage of this in English so below is the original Korean and the translation:

2012년 미스 인터내셔널 우승자인 일본인 요시마쓰 이쿠미(吉松育美·26)가 미국 라디오 방송프로그램에서 일본군 위안부 문제에 대해 ‘소신발언’을 한 사실이 알려져 화제다. 하지만 요시마쓰는 이 때문에 자국의 우익 네티즌들에게 뭇매를 맞았다.

The 2012 Ms. International winner, Ikumi Yoshimatsu, has revealed on an American radio broadcast her opinion on the issue of comfort women. She is also taking a beating from right wing ‘netizens.’

9일 일본 인터넷 뉴스사이트인 ‘제이 캐스트(J-CAST)’에 따르면 요시마쓰는 지난달 29일 CBS 라디오 방송의 대담 프로그램에 나와 “일본인 우익들 사이에서 ‘위안부는 매춘부이기 때문에 사과할 필요가 없다’는 의견도 나오고 있지만 생존 위안부의 증언을 들어보면 그렇지 않다는 의견도 있다”며 “일본인으로서 이런 발언(위안부에 대해 사과할 필요가 없다는 발언)은 부끄럽다”고 말했다.

On the 9th\ Japanese internet news site ‘J-Cast’ reported that Yoshimatsu appeared on CBS radio last month on the 29th and said the “Japanese right wing says that the Comfort Women were [hired] prostitutes so there is no reason to apologize’ however she feels that after hearing the testimony of Comfort Women survivors that this was not the case and that “she is embarrassed by the statement [that there needs to be no apology towards comfort women].”

영어로 대담한 그는 또 “(위안부 피해자들에 대한) 사과가 ‘문제’로 여겨지는 데 대해서도 분노를 느낀다”고 덧붙였다.

She also said in English that “considering the apology to the victimized comfort women as a ‘problem’” makes her “feel great anger.”

그러나 요시마쓰의 발언이 일본어로 번역돼 일본 네티즌들에게 알려지자 그에 대한 반발의 목소리가 터져 나왔다고.

After the interview the content was eventually translated into Japanese and is causing quite a stir among internet users.

이에 요시마쓰는 지난 6일 페이스북에 “공부가 부족하고 영어 인터뷰에서 언어 능력 부족 문제도 있어 여러분에게 큰 혼란과 오해를 불러 일으킨 데 대해 사과한다”는 글을 올렸다.그러면서 그는 “위안부 여성들의 삶,그런 상황에 놓일 수밖에 없었던 여성들이 있었다는 데 대해 슬픔을 느끼고 있다”고 해 소신을 완전히 꺾지는 않았다.

Yoshimatsu expressed on her facebook page on the 6th that “due to my lack of study there were issues with her English ability which may have created some confusion and misunderstandings for which I apologize.” She also want on to say that, while there’s that, “as the women of the comfort divisions were put into such a position without any recourse she feels a great sadness.”

서울 신문

For those who might be unfamiliar with situation, in the end she recanted to what amounts to the general position of any right wing Japanese: that perhaps there were issues of women being sold against their will or resorting to it out of some great poverty, which is regrettable, but there is really no need for an apology simply because they were functionaries within a contracted service.

It is said in debates throughout the internet that there is evidence that the comfort women were recruited specifically for the task. The wikipedia also notes that a surprising amount of the Japanese comfort women were even Japanese and offers up recruitment posters used in the process in various languages. There is even the suggestion that the Comfort Division started essentially in an effort to curb the amount of rapes that were happening

I am unsure about specific evidence of women being forcibly enlisted into it. I did hear a story from a Korean woman that she was sold into it against her will by her father, and this was the most dramatic account that I have heard.

Regardless, it was an incredibly ‘dark time’ in history but, with that said, it is also a time when the average woman in Asia (and in many other places) had few rights or recourses if they were from an impoverished background. Prostitution was simply a reality — and it remains a grave reality for millions. We now come to the idea of whether or not this was particularly grosser, particularly graver, particularly worse than any of the other things happening around that period and the question of how forced were they.

There are even accusations (denied by the US) that comfort women were set up for Soldiers that arrived in 1945 (accusations, and denials).

The first link of the two, on the second page, provides a good quotation which perhaps best reflects the US knowledge of the comfort women at that time:

A Dec. 6, 1945, memorandum from Lt. Col. Hugh McDonald, a senior officer with the Public Health and Welfare Division of the occupation’s General Headquarters, shows U.S. occupation forces were aware the Japanese comfort women were often coerced.

“The girl is impressed into contracting by the desperate financial straits of her parents and their urging, occasionally supplemented by her willingness to make such a sacrifice to help her family,” he wrote. “It is the belief of our informants, however, that in urban districts the practice of enslaving girls, while much less prevalent than in the past, still exists.”

It appears that there might have been some circumstances of actual enslavement…  But I am unsure of the evidence, and considering the sheer desperation of most people at that time, well, we are talking about a sour situation for everyone.

Long story short: it was probably terrible for all the women involved, but they also probably did not have such a bright future otherwise elsewhere. It is a lose-lose situation.

Is it insulting to say that? I am unsure. Perhaps it is just stressing the plight of women in general of that time period and the desperation of poverty. Perhaps enough time has been spent lamenting very specific crimes but little time is spent in consideration of the day-to-day horror that was afforded by war time women of Asia (and beyond) in WWII. And, perhaps, the most difficult reality for us to accept is the one in which humans are so willing to subject their fellow beings to horrific lifestyles for a bit of profit, and how through ignorance some even accepted such a pittance of a life out of the notion of helping their family.

I do not like dwelling on these topics because it shows the grave darkness that lurks within human society; and as we are human just like them, part of this darkness lurks inside ourselves.

edvardmunchshorewithmelancholy

US Violates Own Laws Through Aiding Ukrainian Gov’t

There is always the interesting conundrum of how laws and the government’s desires affect one another, and this is no different as we are looking at a situation where the US has actually violated its own laws on book.

I am not here to say that the aid to the Ukraine was necessarily wrong, but rather to point out that such a law does exist, and that our “lawmakers” seem to have neither very much foresight nor concern for their hypocrisy…

Washington’s decision to provide financial aid to the coup-appointed government of Ukraine goes against the US laws, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, urging American politicians to think about the consequences of supporting the radicals in Kiev.

Ukraine’s ousted president, Viktor Yanukovich, said on Tuesday that the US plans to loan $1 billion to the country’s new authorities are illegal.

“Indeed, in accordance with the amendments introduced to the 1961 law (Foreign Assistance Act) a few years ago the provision of foreign assistance is prohibited to ‘the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.’ The relevant provision is contained in 22 US Code § 8422,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Thus, by all criteria the provision of funds to the illegitimate [Kiev] regime, which seized power by force, is unlawful and goes beyond the boundaries of the US legal system,” the statement added.

RT

It makes the whole thing rather comical because it seems that we have ignored our own laws not so much for aiding a democratic movement, a movement for transparency and superior government in the Ukraine but at this point it seems clear such aid has only come to play some geopolitical games with the Russians.

But what did we really expect?

The US truly concerned with consistency? This, of course, from a country that labels itself the most free but has illegalized having a beer on the street (or selling alcoholic beverages after a certain hour).

This is a rather embarrassing situation.

… Another Nude FEMEN Protest

The FEMEN protests have always been characterized by being way over the top and often invading places that they shouldn’t be. They have become a lot more interesting because of these radical protest actions and they really have found the right formula for getting on the news… But I think this is the case of them actually spinning their wheels and doing nothing.

Some people who already like this ideology will cheer, but a lot of relatively normal people who are somewhere in between “far left” and “far right” (90% of people) are probably being turned off.

Their anti-Hijab protests also backfired like crazy because some of the Muslim women who are even feministic were disgusted by this 100% white, European girl attack on their culture and what amounts to perhaps a mischaracterization of what Hijab is… To us it can be purely a symbol of restriction and oppression immediately and I might be beating a dead horse here but this is not necessarily nor intrinsically how it is.

On some level, I think they are just a media sideshow act at this point because God knows once every month or two someone is going to do something vaguely shocking… But as the shock of it wears off, it just becomes annoying and a grandiose self-parody.

The problem with being shocking is that the meaning is always lost in the wake of the event, and this is no different.

They would do much more for their cause simply by running a mature website with great discussion points. Oh, sure, it wouldn’t get the publicity but this isn’t Hollywood. In the world of ideas there is such a thing as bad press.

Just ask the Catholic church how the pedophile scandals are going.

Is lipstick and flowers a thing for FEMEN now? Heh…

A Small Glimpse Into North Afghanistan

It almost seems like a total joke for someone to refer to something from Afghanistan as lovely. Since the Taliban takeover, the place has been thought of as among the worst of the worst places on Earth. However, Afghanistan does have a rich history, and we shouldn’t be so easily put off by the geopolitical hiccups. After all, what can you say about a place that used to be a common travel destination for hippies?

Mazar e Sharif is a city in northern Afghanistan; demographically, it is a mix of Tajiks, Hazaras (70%, essentially all Farsi speakers) and Uzbeks and Pashtos are also present The city is rich in history and within the Balkh province which has a long history unto itself.

The totality of Afghanistan is very diverse though it generally falls into a divide between Iranian & Turkic groups. Look at this amazing map to see the distribution.

Just so you know: Hazaras are Shi’ites and Farsi speakers; Balocks (Baluchs) speak their own language not that different from Farsi, perhaps 70-80% interchangeable. Tajiks speak Farsi proper but written in cyrillic even though there is now a movement to return to the arabic script. Baluchs, Tajiks and Hazaras are all relatively religiously moderate.

It is the Pashtuns that I have heard generally make up the most of the Taliban. Pashtuns also live in large concentrations in north Pakistan. A lot of the conflict seems to be Pashtuns versus Hazaras, who have a dramatic hatred for one another (perhaps partly due to the Shi’ite nature of the Hazaras).

Pashtuns are known to be quite religious; they are also known to be big fans of dancing and naswar. Naswar is a tobacco and lime mixture with all sorts of little ingredients; it is often placed under the tongue or by the lower lip or cheeks when chewed. It is not uncommon for Naswar to be mixed with opium. Opiate based naswar will numb out your whole face and give you an intense, euphoric feeling. First time users, though, often vomit.

The national language of Afghanistan is, of course, Dari, and it is extremely similar to Farsi. The language had been referred to within Afghanistan as ‘Farsi’ until they changed the name in part to distinguish themselves more from Iran.

Mazar e Sharif seems like an impeccable place to visit — The city is situated next to some very picturesque mountains:

The mosque of Mazar e Sharif looks to be astounding:

Really an excellent place to potentially go visit.

I was also slightly surprised to see that they do camel fighting in Afghanistan. I had first heard of this being done in Turkey and in Turkish parts of Iran, and it seemed quite exciting and interesting then. I did not know that such a thing was present all the way through to Afghanistan as well:

 

When you see camels fight, there is one overall tactic: try to get your neck up and above your opponent and rest it on his neck, and thereby bte parts of him; they likewise smash into each other and push each other fiercely to get into position to do this.

They’re also often separated when a winner is found by groups of men simply using large ropes. I wish I could find the old video on camel fighting I saw years ago to more illumine this post.

I seem to recollect, as well, that the camel fights occur only during mating season when the bull camels are all prepared to fight for breeding rights. This is not some artificially induced violence between the camels, but rather it is something that many camels are already naturally inclined to do each year.

Notice the white stuff on the one camel’s back? That is spit; before fighting, the bull camels work themselves into a frenzy and froth spit at the mouth. This is where a lot of our ideas of ‘spitting camels’ come from.

I think it is a shame that so many people overlook places like Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, etc. when they have quite lovely nature and rich culture as well as long and dramatic histories, including surprising links to our own.

It is also relatively silly to look at a place as ethnically diverse as Afghanistan, who also has extremely religiously moderate neighbors like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and to write them off as a nation that is purely destined to extremism

It is a nation that can have a very bright future if it develops smartly.

Good Can Be Sought Through Different Means

One of the important questions that we ask ourselves before we devote so much time to political rhetoric: can any single idea embrace the good in its totality and have an entire monopoly on right and wrong?

Is there even any idea that we can recognize as being 100% in the good?

Perhaps the answer really is no: with every choice that we make we give up some other benefit that goes with it.

We can choose to always eat healthy and then we have the benefit of heightened health and peak physical capability; we can also always choose to eat whatever we want and then we have the happiness of food pleasure but we do no have as much health. Of course, a great many people will choose different things at the end of the day, and will have basically different motives.

We see no reason to berate those who disagree with us, though, whether they are the health nuts or they are the hedonistic eaters or, more likely, someone in between. The reason being that we’ve reached some conclusion that what is right for us (or for any one person) may not be right for others.

It is clear to see that the same can be said of ideology. Some people, through religious inspiration, become greater than they are. Others seem to melt. Some become extremely liberal, open books whose religion is fundamentally one of mercy and mass outreach and dismissive of division or discipline, and then there are those who lead an extremely conservative religious path that is more about their own individual journey and the restrictive guidance towards a disciplined life of personal religious practice…

Vincent Van Gogh and his father, a Minister, were diametrically opposed Christians; Vincent a liberal artist steeped in liberal and emotional spirituality, his father a traditionalist and a quiet disciplined conservative.

There is a plurality of options on how to do anything, and likewise there are many ways for us to reach the good and the positive. Not to mention, there are many goals that we all have that can be divergent.

This is precisely where ideas of democracy come into play — and also, the ideas of individual states having a right to their own self-determination. Precisely because different people desire different things and we cannot necessarily condemn any one of them as being so much superior or inferior, but often times merely different.

Some use this to promote societies where people are utterly indifferent towards one’s behavior and fundamentally libertine, but I would prefer to use this to illustrate the idea of national and regional self-determination. When people come together in groups and have power over their own communities and laws they can create an individualized society representative of their own beliefs and ideas, thus standing independently and producing an efficacious and harmonious society.

The former idea seems to promote solely the spilling of a vast flood of indifference across the borders of the globe. It is the precise concept that, as opposed to respecting and honoring the differences within societies and their abilities to create communities which they desire to live in, we ought to universally change the face of the planet towards one that only corresponds to a single desire that is only representative of a small amount of people. It becomes democratic only in the sense that it seems to exaggerate the universalization of libertinism to such an extent that it would violate the rights of groups to erect their own ways of life.

In some sense, the truly democratic method is one of self-determination and not one of disenfranchising and disempowering vast population groups and preventing them from living in the ways they feel that they want to live.

In some very real sense, we have to tolerate the Islamic Republic and the people’s right to pursue their own fate under Shariah law; we also likewise have to respect each individual state’s inclinations towards either the Left or the Right, however they see fit, in determining their individual paths.

Groups are not unlike individuals — and by denying the right of a group to fulfill their own personal political ambitions because of the idea that only one way is correct is dictating a narrow policy not beneficial to anyone.

Precisely because we can all pursue the good through different means and collective efforts, it is wise to allow self-determination to various groups, whether they be Crimean, Afghani, Californian or Filipino. And this self-determination hinges in part on respecting the collective decisions made by the society towards their direction. This does not necessarily mean honoring a tyrant’s right to lord over the masses but merely accepting that large parts of the world have significantly different visions for their own futures.

Angelina & The Little Caesars Seek Your Admiration For Self-Validation

Everybody wants to be more than just a material existence and this strikes even the rich & the famous; this is why it is important to not be blinded by the talk & the bling of these vapid fleshdunces who live to appear on the silver screen and then the next day on the talk shows and tabloids as world saviors.

What is most important to pay attention to when these morons come out is the way that they flaunt their do-gooding. Folks like Madonna & Angelina take pride in adopting babies from third world nations and pick them out like normal people select puppies, then parade them before the paparazzi in a state of ecstatic rejoicing. How great is Caesar! They have, after all, swept down from their pleasure palaces wearing safari hats to the mud hut third world shit holes and liberated some poor creature from such a fate:

They become honorary citizens of Cambodia and UN ambassadors between major film productions; they show their asses in major Hollywood movies because they just can’t help but seek the attention of the masses, even the pimpled teens who will abuse themselves in the wee hours of the night to the mentally saved image.

They are quick to criticize any institution and stand up for peace, equality and a thousand other Holy Cows worshiped as idols by idiots of similar low IQs.

More than anything: they need you to buy the magazines for the stories of their greatness. For the story of them being more than flesh. Their whole career has been built on mimicry, on acting out the roles of fictional entities concocted and funded by producers, cleverly written and filled in by a few talented hacks, all thrown together for the sole purpose getting your money and shaping your worldview. This whole process is so disgusting, even to those involved, it creates an existential crisis…

What to do when you have a million screaming fans because you are the flesh embodiment of a superficial hero? What to do as tomb raider come to life, as the embodiment of a superhero, as the historic figure? They transcend life on the screen and they gain the empty admiration of idiots, and now they must try to transcend life again in hopes that some meaning can be ascribed to their empty existence.

And here is where comes the Little Caesar.

They are the all powerful. They are the political entities that determine the quality of our lives. They give us our bread and circuses. They give us even our health and our education. They give us security. And they may taketh away just as they give, for they are Caesar, great & proud.

We bow before them now a little bit differently: not only are they the famous, the rich, but they are also the powerful and the benevolent. Without their near divine grace and goodwill, where would we be?

Millions laugh at the image of the country preacher, bucktoothed and in an outdated suit, figuratively soiled, raising the alarm that Hollywood is Babylon, and that we are building ourselves a new Great Whore in America. Nobody wants to hear a moral lesson curbing our enthusiasm for consumerism, cautioning us against the idolization of mammon.

And less than that do we want to be subjected to the foreign devils who we are told are abusers of children, abusers of women; murderers, wipe their ass with their hands, and eat with the same hands. We don’t want to ever live as a judgmental person who gleans their truth in the quiet hours at dawn, praying towards Mecca; we don’t want to ever listen to the man who would fight the world with a rusted AK-47. We want nothing to do with those who fill their lives with a hundred rules governing their behavior strictly.

God-worshipers, bent down before Him, , allahu akbar x34, alhomdaelillah x33, subhanallah x33; ending with one La Illaha ill allah, adding up to the sacred number of 101.

No, we are not interested in a moral judgment. We are not interested in improving ourselves and making an inward change that translates to outward action, that becomes a worldview of true non-consumerism, of small living; We are interested only in the naked ass of Angelina Jolie, and in the breasts of Madonna (not to be confused with the Mother of Christ, whom we disregard). We are not interested in liberation from our materialistic worldview, and we are not interested in overcoming our addiction to the consumer products that are the hallmark of the massive divide between rich and poor, the divide between us First Worlders and the unadopted children of Angelina Jolie…

We want the film Gandhi; we don’t want the Gandhi Gandhi. We want the areligious, abbreviated and symbolic Jesus; we don’t want the Jesus Jesus. We want the Secular Morality, the arms-length distance between each other, the consenting adults clause, the really easy money and cheap products put together in third world shit holes;  the last thing everyone needs is some real hard fucking morality that challenges a person to abandon the greater portion of their life.

We choose Little Caesar, we don’t choose Christwe choose the Bollywood Moghuls, not Gandhi; we want the Buddha made of Gold and not the Buddha made of clay.

… But, if for one minute, Indiana Jones selects Jesus Christ the Carpenter’s cup in a film…

We will follow that heroic gesture and for a moment consider its significance.

The hand of Little Caesar gives us bread & circuses, and as they symbolically play out our greatest dreams on the screen, so too do they fulfill all of our political ambitions.

I ask you:

What Does Little Caesar Think? I want to think the same. I want to know the worldview of the Angelina, of the Sean Penn, of the Russell Brand; surely, if someone famous and important as them, who entertains me between the wretched hours I go to work, there must be total truth.

We’ve become a society of idol worshipers. The funny thing is: the idols come back to us, in their interviews, and they want us to approve of them as people. They pose for us even when the initial posing is done, until their behavior on & off the screen is all an ancient act began by the Pharoahs who presided over great ceremonies to symbolically reassure the people that goodness will prevail.

The sad thing is that we’ve bought this same bullshit for six thousand years and we will buy it for six thousand more.

I said it once, and I will say it again: if the unadopted children of Angelina, armed to the tooth & festooned in the Jihadi robes & Khmer Rouge pajamas, were to show up in Beverly Hills and humble every one  of these Little Caesars, that would a very merry Christmas make. 

Assorted Thoughts On [Political] Balance, Independence, Justice, Futility

(NOTE: it is hard to not sound like an ass while talking about this but I write this merely because a few people enjoy it…) One of the more humbling things about politics, and one of the reasons why I have not been so avidly partisan in a good many years, and why I have embraced a seemingly fleeting and often ambiguous position has been the slow (yet steady) realization that achieving justice, or something like it, on a large scale is an incredibly difficult task. It is confounded perpetually by the weakness of man, the impossibility of achieving it on a large scale; it is a futile effort.

It reminds me of the Christian idea that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We have some ideas for achieving good but the task is nigh on impossible.

The best argument against centralized power is the fact that, as the saying goes, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely; the more power is taken away from the individual, the family, the state, the region, and moved to the centralized core, the more these smaller groups are overlooked and thus the greater likelihood of injustices and imbalances in these areas…

But there is also the trouble of the lack of centralization leading to it becoming easier for great discrepancies to arise in the peripheries of power.

More and more, balance (just as justice) becomes an increasingly impossible task to fulfill; we see the news coming out from everywhere and it seems that the ideal balance is never achieved. And, in the end, we become to some degree more rightfully skeptical and even faithless.

But like all things there  must be a balance between skepticism & cynicism Vs. faith & hope. For with a small amount of soulsearching we can realize that there is such a thing as good and such a thing as evil. Perhaps we cannot offer proof or definitions but since the advent of philosophy such a thing has existed. Maybe this was never even meant to be known, for maybe ‘goodness’ is on some level beyond the grasp of human intellect and perception. But perhaps it is here for something to inspire us to greater heights and to merely behave as a moral compass for us.

So more and more, with age, we have to not aspire to passing great judgments applicable to entire nations, cultures, religions, creeds; we have to at some point stop analyzing things so much in the big picture but turn towards smaller and smaller pictures and hope only to make some better, greater dynamic within our own personal spheres of influence. We must also have faith that there are likeminded people throughout the whole of the world with similar aspirations, and that they have always, more or less, existed, and they shall go on existing after us.

And perhaps the profoundest truth of this is that we can recognize actions towards justice arising from individuals with whom we even disagree greatly; perhaps, indeed, there is the element of goodness in several ideologies, even those opposing. Whenever this goodness comes to the top it matters not what the source is, but matters only that it is there in some form of another. 

None of this requires anything more than our desire for intellectual growth and actualization in the now, and to slowly model our lives after our realizations so that our every action proceeds forth from such an inner mechanism. And we can only hope that from our small spheres emanate a greater and a superior reverberation that will be found in those around us.

What we do not so much need is an absolute, singular ideological movement to sweep any globe but rather a plurality of positive changes…

… and perhaps what is most important to realize is that we are fallible and mortal, often capable of moral indiscretions and our own small evils. It is rather discouraging on some level and we should strive against it but it attests in and of itself to the necessity of having such a division of peoples, a division of spheres, a division of everything to give us all our own room and place to have our own balances.

Perhaps the two things to take away from this small rant are as follows:

  1. Achieving a balance or achieving justice on large scales is difficult because it becomes less applicable to specific incidences but is superimposed across too many; likewise, on small scales sometimes the balance / justice is too weak to stand on its own for a long time.
  2. There is always a flaw that exists, even within ourselves, yet we can still pursue the good, and this mere pursuit of good while understanding our own fallibility is perhaps the best we can hope for, and if we do it with good intentions and high spirits there will be some success.
  3. More than anything, I think, we should recognize that people of opposing ideologies can even both have some goodness in their actions, some more than others, and perhaps we have to recognize the necessity of individualization and separation. Our justice can be our own, and theirs their own; our balance our own, and theirs their own. Essentially, it is a doctrine of ‘freedom,’ but let us not impose freedom on such a massive scale (a la #1) but rather let us embrace an idea of independence to go along with it.

There is a natural, pervasive movement towards the good from the beginning of most lives which later realizes the futility of everything; it is merely important to relentlessly push it forward and past such a point.

(Written while listenng to Butterfly Temple’s Wheel of Chernobog album)

Camouflaging Extremism With Bigotry Accusations

What is the easiest way to distract people from the fact that you are an overbearing ideologue and disinterested in rational discourse on a complex, highly nuanced political topic? Pretend that the enemy is solely made up of bigots! And this is a tactic currently being employed most notably in the gay marriage debates.

The tactic is simply the Poisoning the Well fallacy which, ironically, in the wikipedia article even includes the poignant example of someone accusing the other party of being a Fascist. Referring to someone as a bigot before the argument even gets started is quite a closely related term — how a propos.

This poisoning of the well is often worked into the idea of creating a large false dichotomy. One has to side with the liberals because, if we don’t, we will be left only with the bigotry, fascism, narrow-mindedness, etc. of the conservative. One can also see this in other debates such as the immigration debate (the right, for opposing immigration, are often accused of being closet racists), the abortion debate (the right hates women) or, conversely, conservatives will use it in Patriot Act debates (the left are clueless pacifists), Obamacare (the Left is ‘Socialist,’ oh dear), etc. 

The real issue with this debate tactic is that it appeals to the dumb (who make the argument and who read it and feel ‘convinced’) that the opponent really cannot possibly say anything worthwhile. Even if his arguments are rational or well constructed, they must be ignored because they are bigoted / Communist or some other words of an extreme individual.

The great underlying irony of all of this is clear: this is often used to mask the fact that the poisoners of the well are quite extremist in their own right.

In some recent discussions on the Gay Marriage issue, it is easy to see people being labeled universally bigots for their mere opposition to the policy. How is bigotry typically defined? Dictionary.com would tell us:

stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.

Obviously, there exists a burden that would have to be fulfilled — the burden that the particular person consistently was ‘completely intolerant’ of another creed, belief or opinion; obviously, they would not be the sort of person who was actively discussing said topic. They would not be a person who was merely using their God-given right to voice their own opinions and thoughts on an issue…

… In this case, the real bigots are obvious: those who consistently drum up hatred and extreme views against people for their beliefs and thereby demonstrating their complete intolerance. An intolerance so complete that the mere participation of people of other beliefs in a discussion warrants the sort of name-calling that constitutes poisoning the well.

Anyone who associates with the conservative grassroots movement is merely a racist or a homophobe to this open-minded & tolerant liberal.

Clearly, the false dichotomy is meant to be drawn back here to the regular businessman, politician looking fellow in the center, meant to insinuate that the real power is the KKK, skinheads, confederate flag wearing ‘Huns’ (lol, fun image) and beer swilling blue collar ignoramuses that appear vaguely monstrous (lol).

And here we see people organizing boycotts of a business because of the personal beliefs of one of the business owner’s political beliefs — not something that he has grafted onto the business! This is the sort of democratic opinion bubbling to the surface of the hate-filled bigots who invest their time witch hunting people for their personal political beliefs.

 

Obviously, a person is allowed have whatever beliefs that they wish and said beliefs do not necessarily make anyone a bigot (barring obvious ones that are advocating hatred).

The real bigots here are the ones who resort to all manner of logical fallacies and emotional arguments when a serious discussion is trying to be had.

Watch out for open minded people who prefer caricatures of their opponents than legitimate discussion.