Tuesday, December 9, 2008
It has been defined as the Art and Science of Causing Change in Conformity with One's Will. This can mean many things, and is truly up to the individual interpreting this statement. Willpower affects everything we do. It is the basis of all actions, so in affect, all is "magic".
Now what of the modern world? What of great advances in human kind like The Internet, Psychology, Chemistry, and Quantum Physics? Are these not Magick? To put this into perspective, the Internet for example, is probably the single greatest advance in human consciousness since we evolved from cave men. It's potential is just now being realized. What we have done, in a sense, is create a very large "hive mind" that we can plug-in and utilize. It is Distributed Processing using the human mind on a vast scale. Once we truly harness this, it can totally change our world. Look at the results of the Obama/McCAin election for proof. This election was won by those who understood the basic psychology of the mind, and the use of Meme's to shape public opinion. Once they were unleashed, they spread like wildfire.
This is the real magic. The Advertising world knows it. Hollywood Knows it. The Government knows it. The Corporations know it. The people are kept in the dark.
Yes, you can sit around in your drumming circles and chant, or dance naked around a tree like you think they did 1300 years ago, but the real magic and power is understanding the subtle mysteries of the modern world and it's unique psychology. The God's are real, and they are us. Religion becomes an exercise in mental wanking at this realization.
This is the essence of Modern Magick. We must learn to harness it.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
A man named Gerald Celente, the CEO of a respected trend research company, has recently made waves with his suggestion of food riots, famine, and revolution in the next several years. The sad thing is that his organization is known for it's accurate predictions. They forecast the fall of the USSR, the current economic unrest, and the decline of the dollar, among other things. Mr. Celente suggests that next year, our holiday season will be far different, with gifts of food becoming the most common Christmas present.
Why is this and is there a basis in reality? Mr. Celente goes by key indicators, such as fertilizer usage and the issuance of crop insurance to farmers. These show the direction we are headed in many issues. When you look at this, he may be right. The levels of fertilizer purchased by farmers this year is currently running at way less than half of what was purchased this same time last year. The same goes with crop insurance issued to farmers, to guard against loss in case of crop failure. This is foreboding in several ways. It shows that farmers cannot get financing to plant and insure their crops, and it shows that less than half the gross agricultural output has been planted by US farmers. Add to this higher prices of the new economy due to shipping costs, it leaves us with the beginnings of a possible food shortage. How bad it will be remains to be seen, but if history is any indicator and Mr. Celente is right again, we may be in trouble.
What I do not understand of the whole issue is why are the news agencies not covering this?
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Found this on the web...Stephen Hawking Is Right
Stephen Hawking is right. The real chance for human DNA to stay alive is to leave Earth for another home, an unprecedented migration that takes our earthly evolutionary adaptations someplace where there will be few similarities--and even less oxygen.
Polar caps melting. Permafrost thawing. Bacteria frozen and inactive for eons begins to thrive and reproduce. Reproduction means more live bacteria and life generates heat. The exposed ground on the poles and under melted glaciers begins to generate heat long dormant in the frozen earth. More warming, more thawing.
Weather patterns will get more severe. Storms bigger and windier and wetter and colder. Heat waves longer and hotter and drier. Insurance against “natural” disaster will cease to exist.
The greenhouse layer thickens, holding in more heat, likely to reach a new equilibrium sometime, but meanwhile the planet heats up more and more. Running on geologic time, the planet will reiterate its long history without life and periods of stability punctuated by quick and dramatic changes—meteors, shifts in the poles, etc. It will remind us that we are not in charge and not a permanent fixture; that this rock in the middle of a vast space matters little to anyone but humans and does quite well without them. It will echo its history that there was an earth in orbit around the sun before it had oxygen and liquid water and continents that became differentiated by their place on earth in relationship to the sun.
Population control is too little too late. Erlich was right.
Until recently the human lifespan took care of much that we face. Children grew to productive work and reproductive status sooner. Mature adults wore out their bodies faster and fatal diseases found a welcome ecology in the aging body. Economically we individually consumed less of the earth’s resources, consumed those resources for a shorter period of time, and did not live so long beyond our biological lifespan of birth, growth, reproductive success, raising offspring to reproductive success, and death.
I’m a first-year baby boomer. I have two adult children who don’t need me. I have no grandchildren to tug at my heartstrings, enticing me to live longer so I can enjoy them. I am unmarried. My life is no longer biologically justifiable. I am not needed. I am beyond creating anything and will only consume from now on, maybe for the next 20-25 years. Old people are the ultimate consumers, and yet they are also our biggest crop. What to do? What to do?
Yet we continue to reproduce, our DNA demanding that we assure its perpetuation, mindless of quality of life issues that will occur 60 years in the future. Nature doesn’t really handle the thought of a future very well yet. Neither do we.
Some people will survive. It will be the smart ones (not necessarily the intellectuals) compelled by a fear then recognize and can define. Those who possess genetic adaptations that will only be revealed as earth conditions change are also going to make it. The earth will still be in balance just as it always is, but the fulcrum will shift dramatically requiring the shift of unequal weights at unequal distances on either side. Leverage will be everything. The question: will the smaller weight (brains and courage) develop sufficient leverage to overcome the mass of the larger weight (consumption and growth gone amok)?
So what do smart brains with organized determination to to survive and thrive do? Do they buy land high on the side of a mountain so the oceans won’t reach them. Where is the climate most likely to remain conducive to human life and all that supports it? Where will one be most safe from the unraveling social fabric of humanity? How will reproductive success be determined and survival assured?
In these last few centuries humans have deceived ourselves into thinking we're somehow escaping Darwinian considerations. We adjusted the notion of survival of the fittest into a popular competitive phrase when it isn’t about competition at all, but rather, about adaptations that simply make one organism more capable of reproduction and growth to reproductive maturity than another organism.
While the ability to effectively gather and use scarce resources has always been a part of evolutionary reproductive success, we in prosperous societies have gone about addressing and stalling that issue by providing support to those who would otherwise not live to reproductive maturity—social welfare programs, foster homes, food stamps, free inoculations, shelters, drugs, sanitation, medical intervention and incarceration. It is a luxury now transformed into an entitlement that we find increasingly difficult to continue.
The days when we can solve the situation by planting more trees, driving fewer, more efficient cars, recycling more paper and developing alternative energy sources may well be relegated to naive wishful thinking long before we expect them. The notion that global warming will be gradual and not exponential may reassure us, but also may be the source of our doom.
The smart question today: what can I do to assure than I and the people I love will continue to thrive amidst future conditions that are most likely to make life more unpredictable, more stressful and more threatening—all while fighting the real war of the world to save the planet from ourselves? The answer cannot be found in our current crowd of political leaders, in our meaningless and excessive consumption, nor in our wasteful extravagances and shallow values. And we cannot take a decade to contemplate the answer, no matter what Al Gore hopes is true.
We need to acknowledge that our first step must be to move beyond a comfortable complacency that invites us to delude ourselves with social platitudes and baseless faith that it’s all OK and nothing is irreversibly amiss—that little measures will produce big results. Right now, right here, we need our best brains, our best moral unity and a tough, overwhelming courage to assure our future.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I think this sums up many of our feelings now after having seen the Charlie Gibson ABC News interview...
Honestly, what crackhead picked her?
After thirty years of Conservative dominated politics, this is all they could muster? She is to defend the faith of exporting jobs to our competitors, giving tax breaks to the ultra-wealthy, serving corporate interests above the citizenry, and tossing out our rights as Americans. She can't even get through a polite talk with "Easy Charlie", the Ellen of the News world. The Republicans are truly going to be remembered as "The Party that Wrecked America". Maybe not now, but definitely twenty years from now when we all speak Chinese.
Biden is going to stick his big man sausage in her during the debates. It should be almost as much fun to watch as the Gibson interview. I say almost, because part of me feels truly bad for her.
She will make a fine addition to Beelzebub's Harem when this fiasco is over in November.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
First, Why did Mr. McCain pick her? Is is because she is young? Or maybe because she has given the impression she is out to shake up the Republican party? Maybe it is just because she is a "hot" woman (come on and say it Mr. McCain)? I think he picked her because he thought he could win over droves of women with this selection. By doing so, I think he will drive them away.
Let me explain this for a moment...
Your average Hillary voter is not voting for her simply because she is female. The Hillary voters as a whole are a very idealistic crowd, loaded with feminists and empowered women. Any republican woman will not be seen in the same light, as the ideals do not match up. In a sense, Mr. McCain is saying I am giving you a woman, vote for her; It does not matter what she stands for because you women are all the same anyway.
I would be insulted by this if I were female. All women are definitely not the same.
Now, on to topic 2...
Alaska politics; Alaska is a world of it's own. Being a politician up there has less in common with being one down here than you would think. Alaska is a state with a total population of less than most medium sized cities. The constituency up there does not make any undue demands on their politician's either. The average Alaskan does not really expect anything from their government, at least not on the same level as the rest of the US. The government in Alaska seems more to be a go between for various corporate interests interested in making a profit, than a truly dedicated government serving the people. That being said, the state does function very well, providing a limited set of basics for all citizens, at least it did ten years ago before the current budget slashers were there. Being a politician, even governor, of Alaska does not expose you to the demands from the political world as it exists now for most states, where most medium sized cities exceed the population of the entire state of AK, and demands from the public MUST be met.
It is the difference in being mayor of Wasilla, AK, and mayor of New York, NY.
I think that Mrs. Palin is a great person on her own, but I believe she has doomed Mr. McCain's election by making him seem too unpredictable, and hypocritical.
There is a feeding frenzy regarding Sarah Palin out there. It’s intense and disorienting. It’s also disquieting.
Palin seems like a pleasant woman who would make a nice neighbor. But since when are people qualified to be Vice-President just because they are “nice”?
Tonight I started seeing many comments that extol Palin for having a baby (”Trig”) even though she allegedly had amniocentesis, which indicated that Trig had Down’s Syndrome. It struck me as odd that someone would have amnio when she was planning to have the baby no matter what. In fact, this puzzling point is but one of many strange stories adding up to an intriguing claim that Trig was not actually the child of Sarah Palin, but her grandchild, and that Sarah pretended (but not very well) to be pregnant to cover up for her Daughter Bristol, who was absent from high school for more than five months allegedly because she had mononucleosis. This story is burning up the Internet at Daily Kos. If you venture over there, you’ll need to weigh the evidence presented, and you’ll have the option to add your comment to the 1,500 comments already added–a phenomenal amount of comments, given that the post went up only today.
As disputed as the story about Palin’s pregnancy is, there much more to concern cautious voters. Palin is demonstrably anti-science (disputing the human cause of global warming) and her church has tangible connections to dangerous right wing extremists. As P.Z. Myers writes, “The anti-intellectualism is overt. They’re actually proud of their contempt for learning.”
Here’s another concern. Palin has the appearance of a small town mayor, not someone sophisticated. She doesn’t show depth of thought or detailed knowledge of the world around her. Her comfort zone is simple and local. I would very much like to see Palin given as much time as she can fill, to tell us everything she knows about the culture, geography and politics of any country other than the United States. I suspect that she would be out of things to say in 30 minutes. Links are springing up by the dozens on Palin’s strange statements and behavior (Andrew Sullivan has a quickly growing collection). Palin’s story appears to be a facade that is being intensely worked over. She was actually FOR building the Bridge to No where, though she now claims to have opposed the project.
There is much more to be concerned about Palin. I suspect that it’s going to get intensely bad for her within a week. Her story just doesn’t add up.
What most concerns me most, however, is John McCain’s poor judgment. Aren’t there any job qualifications for the office of Vice President? All responsible businesses require special knowledge and experience for demanding jobs. Why wouldn’t McCain demand someone with the requisite knowledge and experience? Palin is a laughable choice for Vice President. Should we start allowing life guards to work as architects? Should we allow window washers to teach medical school? Add this to the list of questions the Press should ask McCain.
I suspect that McCain’s choice of Palin is possible in McCain’s mind because John McCain subscribes to the Grover Norquist school of “starve the beast” when it comes to government. He thinks we’re all better off without government. We’re better off on our own, and the country will somehow run itself. That’s the way it is with many free market fanatics. Therefore, it doesn’t matter who serves as President or Vice President.
Our country can’t run itself, of course. What McCain is revealing by choosing a running mate without meaningful qualifications is that he is actually a nihilist. Or maybe he’s trying to cleverly hand the election to Obama. Or maybe he is pandering to the religious right. Or maybe he is intellectually incoherent.
Reprinted from Dangerous Intersections
Friday, August 15, 2008
The modern food supply is poisoned. Almost everything that is marketed as being healthy is typically not, as evidenced by the inordinate amount of salt or chemical fillers put in it to make it taste like junk food. Even regular canned food is not exempt. Many of these supposed innocuous items harbor more than a full days supply of salt in as little as two servings. Not to sound like a conspiracy nut, but this whole dilemma seems strange to me. What could society hope to gain by knowingly selling items that are bad for the public. The food supply is literally making people sick, as evidence by the massive obesity, and heart problems faced by the general American public. Could or society be so twisted that it is willing to keep a portion of itself sick or unhealthy in order to sell vast quantities? Is the health care industry complicit in this so that business is maintained. How many people in this world make money off of other people's misery? The former is sick enough, but when you think of the very people who are supposed to help you being accomplices in something like this, it truly takes a dark turn.
It has been said, that for Capitalism to function, there must be misery and death. One side must get the other hooked on something to it's detriment, so that the economy is maintained. Be it cigarettes, junk food, or gasoline.
What is a person to do?
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Ideas can be divine. They can also be pretty earth-changingly powerful, am I not mistaken?
Boy will some people be disappointed...
Here's another thought; What if the coming of the Anti-christ was really the coming of Industrialization?
Friday, July 25, 2008
Peak Oil, Global Warming, Nuclear War Take your pick... What if the rise of Industrialism was really the end of the Earth, and we just haven't figured it out yet?
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
When the entire economy depends on infinite growth, it is important to remind the consumers of their primary job - buying expensive stuff and wasting energy. Here are some highly effective methods to promote these very behaviors.
1. Design the built environment properly - No house should have a bike rack, a clothesline, or a Sun Oven. Homes should be far from anything useful and require maximum energy usage. Design highways, not public transport and bicycle lanes. Power stations, not solar panels. Make it difficult for consumers to be energy efficient, use less stuff and burn less gasoline. Make them spend tons of time and energy on research if they want to do something differently. Let them know: It's so much easier just to use what's already there!
2. Break up familes - Families should be as separated as possible - no more living in close proximity to each other, and definitely not 3 or 4 generations in one household. Spread them out! This way, when families part ways, a whole household of things must be purchased - furniture, lawn equipment, linens, kitchenware, tools, decorations. Even items used only once or twice per year will be purchased. Isolation from family also promotes consumption of leisure and entertainment goods. Plus, they will need to purchase frequent flights to visit Grandma and Pa. Bonus!
3. Promote ignorance and specialization
Make sure the consumers know that they should specialize in one thing - their job - and buy products or pay other people to do everything else. Remember, for every problem, there is a product or a service. Here's a list of things the consumers should not know:
How to fix things.
How to grow food.
How to cook bake or sew.
How to calculate the true costs of maintenance of appliances, cars, homes.
How to figure the cost of the interest on credit cards, mortgage, the auto note.
4. Stimulate fashion - Anything that is visible to others is a good candidate to be replaced every 3 or 4 years. Clothing, the color of paint, the material for countertops, carpet, and especially cars. Since cars can easily last 15 years, fashion is especially important!
5. Create social expectations - When our consumer shows up to work, they should be expected to look and smell a certain way. We undertand that this requires soap, facial soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deoderant, razors, shaving gel, hair dryers, hair gel, mascara, nail polish, toilet paper, tampons, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Not to mention cover up makeup, lipstick, eye makeup, base, powder, lip liners, eyeliners, eyelash curlers, and perfume as well. Ha ha ha ha ha!
When our consumer buys a house, it (and especially the yard) should be expected to look and function a certain way. The lawn requires a trimmer, a mower, a fertilizer spreader, fertilizer, pre-emergent, water hoses, a sprinkler, pesticides, herbicides. The house needs updated kitchen and bathrooms and floors, appliances, cleaning agents, new furniture, decorations, art, entertainment system. It's something new every year. Trust me folks, it's like printing money.
6. Design products with obsolescence in mind - Make sure that technology changes frequently. After 5 or 6 years, new programs won't work on the old computer any more. And what use is a VCR or tape player now?Design things so that they break after a certain period of time. They might not have to, if they were made well, without cheap plastic parts. What's the point in fixing broken things when it costs more to fix them as it does to buy one brand new?
7. Provide cheap credit
Why wait to buy something when you can have it now instead? If we have done our jobs properly, our consumers can't figure out the cost of the interest, so they don't even really know how much they are paying. (Do you know what the true cost of the mortgage of a $250,000 house over the course of a 30-year mortgage at 6%? It's $539,000. That's called a PROFIT.)
8. Send women to the workplace and expect a 10-hour day
With mothers working, families have to purchase daycare, Pampers and formula. With 2 people working long hours, there is less time to cook meals at home, cook meals from scratch, clean the house, do the yardwork, grow a garden, shop for bargains - and there is more money to pay someone else to do these things instead.
9. Kill off public places and community events
In many places, if you want to be around people, that literally means paying to go somewhere, or exposing yourself to lots of tempting shopping opportunities. And people do need to be around people. This is why teenagers hang out at the mall all day long. There's no real public equivalent anymore.
Or we could encourage the consumer to just watch or interact with people electronically. So feather their nest at home with computers, entertainment centers, media rooms (!!!), cable television, high-speed internet, stocked liquor cabinets, etc. etc. etc.
10. Sell disposables
An easy way to get people to buy more is to make something only worth using once. So sell them paper towels instead of rags, Kleenex instead of handkerchiefs, tampons and pads instead of Divas and Lunapads, toilet paper instead of cloth wipes. These are so prevalent now that no one can even imagine the alternatives. Good job, folks!
11. Isolate people and make them anxious and afraid
Give them more of what they don't need, and less of what they do need. Less time with families, less interesting work, less nutritious food, but more anxiety about the kid's education, Grandpa's health, retirement, the state of the economy, the dying planet.
How will they treat themselves right? How will they get through the day with all these worries and not enough fun and relaxation, no interesting conversation about things that matter, no time to spend with friends? Will they buy a latte and a martini, or Prozac and a gym membership? Maybe they need a manicure and some highlights in their hair. A snazzy new car or a kitchen remodel might make them feel better. But really, the best thing would be a vacation, or a house in the country. If they have to take on loans or pay with credit, all the better.
12. Structure their lives
Everyone knows how life is supposed to look. First you go to high school, then college. Of course, then you need a job and a new car. Then you get married, have kids, buy a house (not necessarily in that order). If you can associate huge, expensive costs with all these things that people "must" do to live like normal middle-class folk, you've won half the battle! Why, by the time they get out of college they owe us 10 years of debt service. And what GENIUS came up with the requirement to spend $20,000 on one day of celebration? We owe that guy, big time.
13. Sell them "Health" care
If we've done our job properly, people will be reeling from all the toxins in the environment, lack of nutritious organic food, stress, and no time to take care of themselves. Just one more opportunity to sock it to them twice - with insurance and health care!
This is also a clever way to keep them where they belong - working for us. Trust me, they will never be able to leave a job with health care benefits once they have kids. Keep them on the treadmill, ok?
Seriously, if we can make people miserable by starting them off in debt, working them to death, while expecting that they look and act a certain way, and making sure they don't know any different, we can lay back and watch the money roll in.
Posted by Hausfrau at 8:00 AM
Monday, July 7, 2008
This little essay is a work in progress. It may is a little rough, but I'm letting you have it all the same. I guess, when it comes down to it, what I'm trying to say is that the cost of living and leisure time rewards of environmental living are harder to reap if you live within a culture that still prioritizes consumption.
One of the things I often talk about is how about building community and spending more time with kids, for example, would make us happier than does the huge material consumption we have become accustomed to. Indeed, to my way of thinking, one of the top benefits of a lifestyle or culture that prioritizes a respect for and effective use of resources would be more leisure time.
Because if you use fewer resources then you get to spend less time digging them out of the ground, moving them around, molding them into the stuff you want, and working to pay for them. Juliet Schor says in her book the Overworked American that, because of productivity increases, if we accepted a 1948 standard of living (in terms of goods and services and, presumably, levels of resource consumption), we could have a four hour work day or take every other year off.
But instead of getting more leisure time as productivity goes up, we tend to get more income. American employers, for a host of reasons including training and turnover costs, would much rather have fewer workers toiling all the hours than double the workers with a more leisurely schedule.
So we get a harried schedule where American workers put a full work-month more every year than their European counterparts. In return, we get disposable income which we can exchange for consolation prizes at the nearby mall.
Long working hours, in other words, deserves some of the blame for our environmental catastrophe. They help fuel the lust for stuff. They also get the blame for stress-related heart disease and psychological problems and kids who don't get to see their parents enough and not enough time with friends and on and on. Unhappier planet, unhappier people.
And for a while there, during the No Impact experiment, in addition to letting go of the material pleasures, we worked really hard at filling our lives with the non-material satisfactions. Friends came over and played charades. We had more dinner parties. We spent a lot of time with Isabella doing stuff like splashing in the Washington Square fountain.
What I had postulated proved to be true: that time spent doing inherently satisfying things that were free and didn't use planetary resources made us happier than spending the same time working to pay for things that weren't free and did use resources but which advertisers suggested would bring the same satisfactions.
What I didn't realize at the time was that I was able to make this work because of the structure of my work life as a book author. Typically, I have a lazy year with lots of leisure (research) and then a crazy busy stressful year with nothing but work (writing).
The charades and water fountains all happened during the research year. Now, I'm working all the hours and, believe me, I'm not throwing too many dinner parties--however much they might contribute to my life satisfaction.
I've been feeling guilty about this, and never more so than on Friday night at the Hudson River Park. That night, my three-year-old Isabella and I sat on the grass. She pretended to be a teacher at her school and instructed me to be Isabella. At one point, presumably reflecting something that happened at school, she grabbed me by the chin and said, "Isabella, if you don't stop talking you will have to stay in the classroom while everyone else gets to go play in the school yard."
Well, here's the thing. I don't want Isabella to stop talking. I want her to talk and talk and talk. I love when she talks. The best thing I ever hear is, "I want to tell you something, Daddy." What is going on in my life that every day she goes to a place where someone might tell her not to talk?
And this quote from Juliet Schor's book, referring to the beginning of the industrial revolution, didn't make me feel much better: "Putting little children to work at school for very long hours at very dull subjects was seen as a positive virtue, for it made them 'habituated, not to say naturalized, to labour and fatigue.'"
Oh hell, I'm probably just suffering from the growing pains of being a dad, here, but the point is, I don't feel right about the amount of time Isabella spends in nursery school, and even though I'm not a consumer and I'm not spending money on stuff, there isn't much I can do about it.
I'm not reaping all the benefits, in other words, of living environmentally. I'm not getting the leisure time to spend with my girl and I'm not entirely sure why. Partly, it's, as I said, the structure of my work. But why, while I'm working so hard, couldn't Michelle, say, work fewer hours?
Partly because we still need two incomes and partly because jobs aren't structured that way. There is something problematic about trying to move towards a less consumptive lifestyle while living within a culture that still puts facilitation of consumption first.
In a world that recognized the satisfactions of family life beyond the need to produce and consume, perhaps Michelle's work would be more flexible. Perhaps part of the reason we need two incomes is that, even though we consume less and would gladly work less, the high cost of living reflects what people who are stuck in the work-to-spend-to-consume treadmill are willing to pay.
Perhaps a culture that used productivity increases so we could work less instead of spend more--that put non-material satisfactions before material ones--prices would reflect the need to spend less. Who knows?
What I'm trying to say is that the benefits of living a non-consumptive lifestyle would improve in a society that prioritized the values of human and planetary happiness. This is part of why it's important to work for cultural change as well as to changing our individual lifestyles.
The good news: that in a culture less centered on stuff and use of material resources, those of us who want to might be able to spend more time with our kids. Perhaps, too, it will be a world where we don't have to habituate our children to labour and fatigue. And one where our three year olds can talk as much as they damn well please.
Posted by Colin Beavan aka No Impact Man at 03:00 AM
Friday, July 4, 2008
Acidifying oceans add urgency to CO2 cuts from PhysOrg.com
It's not just about climate change anymore. Besides loading the atmosphere with heat-trapping greenhouse gases, human emissions of carbon dioxide have also begun to alter the chemistry of the ocean—often called the cradle of life on Earth. The ecological and economic consequences are difficult to predict but possibly calamitous, warn a team of chemical oceanographers in the July 4 issue of Science, and halting the changes already underway will likely require even steeper cuts in carbon emissions than those currently proposed to curb climate change.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Back in the 1970's, a famous experiment was conducted in which a large number of rats were placed in a big "rat house" and allowed to over-populate. The results were quite startling. What was found was that aggression levels and general anti-social behaviors became the norm. Where at first the occupants assisted each other to survive and performed acts that benefited the colony, when the population reached high levels, it became every rat for themselves. Then the colony collapsed and they all died. How do this apply to Humans? We are starting to see behavior like the results from this famous experiment in places with large human populations. With the expected rise of the world population to well over 8 billion in the next decade, this could be a bad sign.
We are seeing more instances of the general public performing outstanding cases of neglect and abuse. Whether this is a new thing or a result of increased media coverage is still unknown. On June 19th, a woman passed out and died in a King's County hospital waiting room, in full view of the hospital staff. Video caught her convulsing on the floor for at least 45 minutes before anyone stopped to help her. This story is simply one of many. Add to this the stories of pregnant women being killed for their babies, and other assorted vileness. It makes you wonder if any is connected or related to the rats in the collapsed colony. Are we all just rats in a large colony that is beginning to show signs of over-crowding?
The experiment's results are waiting to be seen...
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I live pretty far out, in one of the last remaining wilderness states, New Mexico. As such I am shielded from the daily life that most Americans consider to be their "normal" reality. While the normal American reality revolves around shopping, driving, and doing such things as going out to eat, my realities involve many things totally alien to this. Case in point, I have 25 chickens I have raised for slaughter fattening up in my yard. I live so far away from anything resembling "normal" America that it takes me at least an hour and a half to get there. My daily life is at a pace much slower and different than the average Joe, and it allows me to see things that are missed by people caught up in the Matrix of daily life. When I returned for this trip, this fact was never more clear to me.
We drove less on our 8 hour trip to get to our destination than we did just getting around in the 15 square mile area where we were staying. Very Sad. The Average American spends as much time in their car waiting in traffic than they do at their destination. If you want to get anywhere in the typical urban environment, you can count on at least an hour trip in the car as a minimum, even for a short 10 mile jaunt. 10 miles to me is a little less than 8 minutes where I live. And it is nearly impossible to do anything without a trip like this. It is very wasteful, bad for the environment, and expensive. I think the average person would be shocked at just how expensive and wasteful it really is. However, most people a pretty firmly connected to the "Normal" reality that says this is OK, and will never be able to see it. It would take a shocking event or a personal epiphany or some type to "unplug them from the Matrix". For most, it will never happen.
The average American has become pretty thoroughly poisoned against anything that does not support this "normal" world-view. Most of my relatives simply think I do not know any better. Because I live a simpler life that does not partake of the excesses and inadequacies of this world, they think I am "Simple". They look down upon me for choosing to live in a village with less than 1000 people, buying organic produce, and paying more for things that I feel do less damage to our world than the cheaply produced mass market garbage currently flooding the US (made by our enemies, I might add).
The world has become, to most Americans, a race to buy the cheapest things, the biggest automobile, or the flashiest stuff to impress others. The daily grind for most people is simply to make more money to spend in a world of loud, over the top, Big Box stores and own the biggest, most prestigious home in a sprawling generic suburban wasteland. Nothing means anything anymore. The old American values are fast disappearing, being replaced by a drive for excess consumption not seen before in modern civilization. The quest to acquire cheap consumer goods at all costs and the flashy throwaway lifestyle associated with it has become a drug to the American public. They literally cannot stop. They cannot stand being without it either. When these folks visit my house, they literally cannot stand-it. They typically leave after about two days, and complain about utter boredom the entire time. Nor do they understand why we choose to grow and prepare our foods the old fashioned way instead of buying more processed "dog food" from the nearest big box.
PS - Anything made of Gluten or High Fructose Corn Syrup is "Dog Food".
One other thing. Nothing is marketed for it's usefulness anymore, now you buy it for the experience, or for the lifestyle. Even the old standards of rebellion have been co-opted, as anyone who has seen such shows as LA Ink, or the Orange County Chopper guys can attest. Now anyone can buy into it. Loud flashy TV screens are set-up in the store to grab your attention. Most retail stores try to create an environment that is loud or flashy or noisy, to disrupt your train of thought, so that their advertising can deeply implant itself in the subconscious. Any Hypnotist worth his salt can attest to how affective this can be.
Everything is for sale.
One thing is not. The Soul of America. It is not for sale because it is already gone.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Someone please explain to me how they stand for the family. I just don't see it. I can list how they do not, but other than a glossed over feel-good "Yay! America" and "Family Values" image they project, there is really nothing else. These folks are radicals who like to label everyone else a radical and not themselves. They have actually been running this country for the most part for nearly 30 years now. Let's see exactly how truly American these folks are...
1. Privatization - By this I mean privatization of EVERYTHING. That means basically very little government and free reign of whatever companies these government functions have been passed along to. In this system, everything has a price and all services are bought and paid for by the individual. Our government becomes a case of Corporate Externalization gone ape-shit. How will this affect the American family? What happens when there are no social programs for the poor or disaffected? What happens to those who cannot pay for the services provided by the businesses which have replaced the functions of government. Along these same lines, there are a core of Conservatives in our government who wish to relinquish all control to publicly owned entities, such as our National Forests, over to private interests. These skewed agenda's will basically leave nothing for the future Americans, placing all in the hands of private or corporate interests. We have already seen the results of this in the Water Riots in Chile which brought down their government. It seems the Chilean government sold the rights to ALL the water (even rain) to a large corporation from the US. They decided to charge everyone in Chile for the use of their water, initiating instant revolution by the poor Chilean population. It could happen here very easily and we would not even notice until it was already done. The American public has become quite numb to this type of thing.
How is this good for the American Family?
2. Health Care - The dire straits of the current Health Care system is quite apparent. It needs to be fixed. We have people too poor to pay for care, and normal working class people who have no health care who should. All Americans deserve decent health care. By the Gods, the CUBAN health care system is better than ours! Look how poor Cuba is. What does this say about our priorities? All the Conservative dogmatists can talk about is no socialized health care system. So having a system where people (who are too poor to pay for care now) support it by paying for care by privatized health care systems is better? Sounds like more of the same to me, just with greedy corporate claws dipped in the pot. Once again, these politicians are siding against the American people in my opinion. At least those wacky Liberals are actually trying to do something for the people in general (or at least they say they are, which seems to be better than the alternative). The prime example given by most Conservative politicians is the SCHIP program, and how it was just Socialized Health Care. If the government using my tax money to ensure poor children and kids from broken homes get care is socialism, then move me to the USSR.
Isn't that why we have a government? To take care of the people?
3. Environment - According to most die-hard conservatives, Global Warming is a myth. The entire scientific community disagrees, except for a few paid whores supported by corporate interests. It has actually become ingrained in the current rendition of the Death Cult religion most Americans are conditioned to follow that being for the Environment somehow places you in league with the Devil. What? One would think the great creator upstairs would want us to take care of this great creation we live upon? But no, it doesn't matter because he's coming back soon and it really doesn't matter if we take care of the world or not. It will be destroyed anyway. What the heck? People (most people it seems) actually believe this nonsense. Anyone espousing any interest in anything even remotely environmental is branded a "Radical" or a liberal and is maligned as being anti-American. I am not sure how protecting America and keeping it diverse and beautiful is un-American.
Someone please explain this to me, I don't get it.
I guess money is better than having a clean world. Imagine an old man sitting in the cess-pool holding a bucket of cash while his kids play with turds? That is our future. Can't eat turds either. They will eventually die if they do. It is unfortunate that turds will be all that is left.
The world we live in has been shaped by conservative "values" since Reagan became president. It is a world where 6% of the world's population holds 85% of the wealth. Wars are fought for trumped up reasons to expand corporate interests. The rights of the individual have dwindled to levels not seen even in a lot of Fascist states. Everything has a price and ethics mean nothing, only the "Bottom Line" counts. Our country spends $250 billion dollars a year to fight a war that was primarily sponsored for corporate profit, and idly stands by while billions die in the developing world due to the AIDS pandemic, or to things as simple as Malaria and Dysentery. The American lifestyle has become simply a lifestyle of consuming mass quantities of oil or cheap crap produced by our enemies, in the end making them stronger and selling us out. Is this what America is all about? Where is the shining light of Democracy and the paragon of American Virtues?
I am an American. I feel that our virtues and ethics should outshine the filth of rampant corporate capitalism. These "neo-cons" and other fellows are simply the face men for our real enemies, the uncontrolled growth of the consumer business world. They seek to keep themselves in the gravy train, and to keep the rest of us scared and ignorant, slaves to the business world they have sold their souls to.
We live in a Dystopia. It is a flawed world, somewhat like those found in books like "A Brave New World" and such. On the outside, it appears like it works OK and could potentially be a Utopia. However, if you look close enough, you will see we are a civilization that is plunging off a cliff. It is inherently flawed.
We will hit bottom someday. It is possible we already have and do not know it.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
With all the misery happening in China at this moment, it is very easy to overlook the Typhoon tragedy in Myanmar, and it's proportionally larger death toll. China has grabbed all the media attention simply because systems are in place and access is available to the news media. This is almost totally lacking in Myanmar, one of the poorest most destitute countries on Earth. As I write this, People (mostly children and the injured or infirm) are starving or dying in full knowledge of their government. They are simply willing to let these people die to maintain their control over the country. The death toll is not in the thousands, but is in the hundred thousands.
Now flashback several years ago at the start of the Iraq war. Why did we invade this place? I know, a multitude of reasons were given, only one of which has proven to be true (to get rid of a dictator). I venture to guess, the secondary death toll from this typhoon will get up there to the toll Mr. Hussein exacted on his public during his years in office, yet nothing is being done about it. If the "Free World" (led by the US) was truly committed to freedom and democracy for everyone, why isn't there an outcry to do the same thing for them we did for Iraq? You can't tell me Myanmar would stand up to the might of combined UN forces for very long. In my mind, all these arguments about bringing freedom and democracy to other countries means exactly squat right now. These are the poorest people in the world who CANNOT help themselves and truly need someone to help them, yet the world stands by and watches them die.
No oil in Myanmar, must not be worth the trouble. It's a damn shame on our country and the world.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
For those who are living under a rock, or in the wilds of Siberia, The FLDS otherwise known as the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (an offshoot of the Mormon Church), has had their children removed en masse by the State of Texas. This sect has been widely accused of many outragious things, including pedophilia, and in fact their leader has been convicted and currently sits in prison for crimes of this nature. I agree this sect is doing and has done many bad things in the past, and getting the children away from that place is something that definitely needs to be done. What I disagree with is the manner in which it has been done.
The State of Texas recieved a phone call from a young girl, presumed to be a member of the sect, implying that organized abuse was taking place and she wanted to escape. The state of Texas in it's infinite wisdom swooped in and took all 400 children from the sect, placing them in local gymnasiums until their identity could be sorted out. It was later determined that the girl who called was most likely NOT a member of this group, and was just seeking attention. I agree that something has to be done, but this is the equivalent of coming into a small town and taking everyone's children because a jealous neighbor, pretending to be a local child, says someone is abusing him. These women and children are victims, and should be treated as such. The latest move is to send these poor children to foster homes scattered throughout the state, and prevent all contact with the parents, a process that is in essence raping these abuse victims again. When will the abuse stop? These young children, AND their mothers need help.
The finger pointers and conformist zealots want these children to "save" them, and in the process these poor children will be destroyed. I do not condone any of the activities that the FLDS is accused of, but I think Texas deserves some blame as well. I do not believe they are truly acting in the welfare of these children and their mothers. I think many special interest groups and narrow minds want these children to mold them into good "christian" Texans, and to point blame instead of giving help where it is needed. These people should be treated as the refugees they are and should be given help, as many of them have never lived in the "normal" world of which they are being held accountable. It seems as if guilt has already been decided "en masse". It has become another case where the juggernaught of the child protective system is crushing the very children it was designed to protect, leading to more broken children and ruined lives which did not nescessarily have to be. I am not saying it shouldn't have been done, it just seems like they are using a sledgehammer, when maybe a smaller instrument is called for. A little sensitivity and victim advocacy should be the order of the day, but it appears to have been overlooked.
This also has other implications as well. If you are a member of a splinter group or alternate religion, what is to stop them from taking your kids if some crackpot decides to make a phone call? Your kids can be taken and placed in foster care, awaiting outcome of a multitude of trial dates over an undetermined amount of time. All the while, your kids will be exposed to goodness knows what, and told all sorts of stuff by individuals with seemingly good intentions that could damage them or their opinion of their parents. Even if you are found guiltless, they will be permantly affected and everyone's lives damaged.
I hate to see any inoccents hurt, whether it be from an abuser OR from the system which should be protecting them. Reforms of this rigid Child Welfare system seem to be called for.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sure, there are the obvious evils, like murder, child molestation, and their ilk but I propose some other more unorthodox ones as well. If we accept the definition of evil as being something which causes harm, limitation, ignorance, or leads to the downfall of man, this list becomes much bigger and encompasses a lot more than the traditional evils. Most people see evils as some vague medieval concept of the Devil trying to tempt man to be bad, or of demons trying to wrest control of man's souls. This IS the 21st cenury, I think we should broaden our horizons a bit. Demons exist, but they are not what most people think they are. Believe me, I know. So what is on my list of evils?
1. Money - While money itself is not evil, the busines of money has a particular demonic spirit which seems to bring out the worst in man. It is the root of all the world's problems, and the solution at the same time. Money is not an evil until this greedy spirit takes over, rendering the fiscal bottom line as the most important achievement. If you doubt this, look at the current state of the US economy and people like Ken Lay of Enron.
2. Religion - For something that was originally intended to illuminate mankind, modern religion has become one of man's biggest limitations. Originally, religion was based upon mythic teachings intented to promote harmony between man and his world. It was supposed to connect man with the creative spirit inherent in the world from which we all sprang, freeing man's mind and bringing him closer to the creator. The end result of this being the promotion of love and human compassion. Religion, being a very close brother to Art, in this respect. Centuries of maniplulation and misunderstanding, has given rise to a strict set of dogmas in most cases, and lead to the death of millions martyred as unbelievers, heretics, infidels, witches, or just plain enemies of religion. In the current state of affairs, Christianity has denigrated to a conformist death cult, and we all know about the current state of affairs between the Jewish and Muslim religions. Just about every religion has it's stories of massacres, and wars fought in the name of religious views. If religion does not fit the definition of limitation and ignorance, I don't know what does. Anything to me that promotes limitation and blind obedience is evil to me. They are doing the exact opposite of what religion was originally intended for. It has simply become a way to manipulate the masses by people seeking power. Real religion exists, but it is not found in a church.
3. Consumerism - This evil is directly related to the first one on the list. It is, in fact, a tool utilized to feed the insatiable desire for money, and it is directly leading to mankind's impending doom. Freedoms have been replaced with the desire for comfort and cheap consumer goods at the expense of the world we live in. The point of existence has been reduced to the acquisition of more and more disposable consumer items. The meaning of life is now known; it is mindless shopping. No thought is given to the consequences of this lifestyle by the consumers. Endless millions are enslaved for pennies a day, to support this lifestyle. If you don't believe me, look at China. 16 hour, 7 day a week work schedules for less than a dollar a day (sometimes by children), all to feed the insatiable American consumer market and to line the pockets of the corporate entities with more money for as little expenditure as possible. These poor souls are living as veritable slaves so we can have such worthless things as electric hand lotion warmers, or coffee filter dispensers at the local Big Box for a dollar less than a US made item, etc. The whole effect of this is a vicious cycle, with the end result of losing American jobs and making us weaker. Sounds like evil and limitation to me. It is also destroying the Earth. We are the living dead and we do not know it. Unless we change the current dead-end consumer society that is being adopted world-wide, the Earth's resources will be totally consumed in as little as the next few centuries. Thus will mankind's reign end. (Funny the Bible does not mention this, and most religious people do not see how any of this is evil).
On the evil scale... Very evil, simply because it is self-generating and tied to core of all the other evils.
At this point, I think some mention should be made of our society, and how it views evil. Most accept evil as some vague fire and brimstone concept of demons and things out of the movies. Typified as being the source of what ails mankind. This squarely places the blame for man's ills on things that are alien to man, thus removing the blame in the eye's of most people. If it is alien, then it is not like them, and they do not have to change because they do not see themselves as part of the problem. People must be taught to see evil as something different, and not all inclusive black and white as taught by most religious demogogues. The true forms of good and evil are not black and white, but shades of gray containing elements of both. The only true evil is what hurts or limits us.
As a sideline, being a proponent of an alternative religious view, I would be seen as a minion of evil by most orthodox religious folk. I have been accused of this many times, by many different people. Yes, I like the dark side of things, and take the left hand path on many things, but this is simply because I do not follow the more restrictive Right Hand. My actual religious views being more of an anti-religion, but definitely not atheism.
Do I hurt anyone? no.
Do I limit myself or anyone? no.
Do I challenge long held orthodoxies and blind dogmas? yes.
Do I hope to enlighten and free the minds of others? yes.
Does this fit the definition of evil? no.
Does the priest on the pulpit fit this definition? yes, in most cases.
Am I evil? In the eye's of conservative society, I am, since I do not play their game and represent all that they seek to limit.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Very interesting web site, the Rev says to check it out...
I leave you with this quote, as it relates directly to this site;
"The whole foundation of Christianity is based on the idea that intellectualism is the
work of the Devil. Remember the apple on the tree? Okay, it was the Tree of Knowledge.
'You eat this apple, you're going to be as smart as God. We can't have that.'"
Sunday, March 23, 2008
We are lucky enough to live in a country that allows us, its citizens, the freedom of speech. I have chosen to put up a statue of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to represent the discourse between people of all different beliefs. The many faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds of Cumberland County’s residents make our community a stronger richer place. I respect and am proud that on the people’s lawn, the county courthouse, all of these diverse beliefs can come together in a positive dialogue. Here, we are all able to share the issues close to our hearts whether it is through a memorial to the soldiers killed fighting for our country, the Statue of Liberty honoring our nations welcoming promise to all, a group’s fight to stop homelessness, or powerful symbols of faith. I greatly treasure this open forum between everyone in the community.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a pile of noodles and meatballs, but it is meant to open up discussion and provoke thought. Being able to put up a statue is a celebration of our freedom as Americans; a freedom to be different, to express those differences, and to do it amongst neighbors -— even if it is in a noodley way.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Easter is a very ancient holiday, that to the dismay of most conservative religious folk, predates Christianity. The Venerable Bede, a christian scholar from around the year 700, has ascribed the name, "Easter" to the Saxon Mother Goddess, Eostre. As far as the holiday itself, the earliest roots can be directly traced to the Spring Equinox, in the Roman veneration rites of Cybele/Attis.
This religion predates the Christian religion by many hundred years. As the roman society was changing into a more Christianized form, the early Roman Catholic Church kept most of the original Holidays so as to not disrupt the lives of their (mostly pagan) countrymen, and make it easier to integrate their Christian views into the existing culture. The ultimate goal being that of converting the masses in a sort of indirect way. We know this worked, as most of the Western world is now thoroughly Christian, and has lost the true meanings and origins of their Holidays other than the general party line as portrayed by the church.
The Story of Cybele and Attis...
Cybele was one of the great mother goddess figures from the ancient world. She originated from Phrygia, but was adopted by most other Roman area cultures. Metaphorically, Cybele was seen to be the personification of the ripe, fertile earth and of the provider of the life force itself. She also had a lover, Attis (representing plants and animals), who was born of virgin birth and was believed to die and be resurrected every year when the Spring Equinox rolled around. This sounds pretty familiar doesn't it? The early Christians explained it away rather conveniently, by saying the far older Cybele/Attis were created by the Devil to deceive man, proving once again that the old gods having been replaced, typically became the new religion's demons and devils. The holiday has since transformed into a totally Christian holiday, representing basically the same thing (the re-birth of life from the dark of winter) ever since. Though most Christians do not understand this. The see it simply as the day Jesus was resurrected, and the timing of the Spring Equinox being but a coincidence.
It is all very similar to Christmas, but that is another story...
Now, what about those all those silly bunnies and eggs? This brings us back to the namesake of the holiday, Eostre, whose sacred animal was a hare. Back in the old days of Europe, after the fall of Rome, Germanic barbarians took over after the Roman Empire fell. One of their main celebrations was in honor of the goddess Eostre, and was celebrated at Spring Equinox in a manner similar to Cybele/Attis. This custom was found in most areas of Anglo-Saxon influence until around the time that Catholicism took hold. It is still found in the German celebrations of Oschter Haws, where a bunny is said to lay colored eggs in nests to delight children on easter morning. This custom was brought to the United States by German immigrants to Pennsylvania, and is still practiced to this day. The eggs originally being seen as symbols of life and birth.
Many Christian churches, having gotten on the bandwagon to reduce "Pagan" influences, have started having celebrations with names like "Resurrection Sunday", and dropping the name of Easter. By doing this, they are actually being more true to the original Pagan meaning and origin of the holiday, though they do not know it and most likely would not understand if told.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
(CNN) -- Several prominent leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention said Monday that Baptists have a moral responsibility to combat climate change -- a major shift within a denomination that just last year cast doubt on human responsibility for global warming.
Forty-six influential members of the Southern Baptist Convention, including three of its past four presidents, criticized their denomination in a statement Monday for being "too timid" in confronting global warming.
"Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed," the statement says. "We can do better."
The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, adopted a resolution last year urging Baptists to "proceed cautiously in the human-induced global warming debate in light of conflicting scientific research." The resolution said "many scientists reject the idea of catastrophic human-induced global warming."
On Monday, however, dozens of Southern Baptist leaders expressed a different view.
"There is general agreement among those engaged with this issue in the scientific community," their statement says. "A minority of sincere and respected scientists offer alternate causes for global climate change other than deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels."
The signatories pledged to do their part to fight global warming "without any further lingering over the basic reality of the problem or our responsibility to address it. Humans must be proactive and take responsibility for our contributions to climate change -- big and small."
The signatories include Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention since 2006; James Merritt, president of the convention from 2000 to 2002 and Jack Graham, president of the convention from 2002 to 2004. The group posted the statement on its Web site.
The signers of "A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change" acknowledged that some of them were skeptics at first.
"Some of us have required considerable convincing before becoming persuaded that these are real problems that deserve our attention," the statement says. "But now we have seen and heard enough to be persuaded that these issues are among the current era's challenges that require a unified moral voice."
The Southern Baptist Convention's 16 million members make up roughly 7 percent of the U.S. adult population, according to the convention and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
The competing and evolving views on climate change within the Southern Baptist Convention mirror a debate that has played out among members of the theologically like-minded National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group that represents about 30 million people in 45,000 church congregations, including many Baptist congregations.
Its Washington policy director, the Rev. Richard Cizik, has pressed for years for more action to combat climate change, saying in a recent documentary that "to harm this world by environmental degradation is an offense against God."
His advocacy raised eyebrows given that global warming sometimes conjured "impressions in people's minds of being liberal, democratic, left wing, big government, tied to population control, all these kinds of things," Cizik told CNN last year.
Several conservative evangelicals signed a letter in 2007 urging the association to rein in Cizik or encourage him to resign. The signers included James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Gary Bauer, a former presidential candidate and president of American Values.
"We have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children," their letter said. "The issue (global warming) should be addressed scientifically and not theologically."
Why would "rational" minded human beings let something as simple as scientific facts stand in their way?
Sunday, March 9, 2008
I remember my days as a youth during the Cold War with the USSR. Many older people I knew, mostly teachers (I was a schoolboy after all), used to go to great lengths to preach about the differences between Capitalism and the horrors of Communism. It was said that the biggest problem with the Communist system, other than the appalling lack of freedom, was that creativity and initiative was stifled by the system itself. This due to the way Communism attempted to make all persons within it's grasp totally equal and the same. It was concluded that with no social/class differences, all the ills of society would be solved. We all know what really happened. The ones in the government simply used it for their advantage, at the expense of everyone else.
Now flash forward to 21st century America, and the "Triumph" of the Capitalist system. How many of our virtues have turned out to be vices? We are now living in a society where 2% of the world's population controls 80% of the world's wealth. Out of all this wealth, maybe(?) 1/8th of our population controls the lion's share of it, with most of the US population living dangerously close to the poverty mark and maxed out on credit. The same argument once made against the Communists can now be made against our own society, though in a different way.
While I walked through the local Big Boxed bastion of Greed, (I'll let you guess where), we pondered why the local area did not have any other stores like it, or why the local shopping mall remains devoid of stores other than military recruiters. This region has more than enough population and would definitely support several stores of this type. During our discussions on this topic, we surmised that the reason behind this is that with the rise of Uber-Capitalism, nobody, (meaning corporations), is willing to take a risk on anything. The only thing that appears to count is the gross outcome, and it had better be big, or it will not be done. Anything risky within our system is not done, all that is striven for is a "sure-thing". The whole effect of this is the breaking down of the classic American value system. American's have long been known as pioneers and entrepreneurs. This image has in truth been lost, as America has turned into a nation of franchises, dominated by Big Boxes, with no real innovation or freedom other than the freedom to buy more un-needed crap.
So here we come to the old argument proposed against Communism. How different are we really? Isn't the current system just anther, albeit corporate, version of the same old thing? who is really free? What is this freedom people speak of? Is it the freedom to actually say and live like you want, or is it the freedom to live within the rules established by the corporations as long as we buy their crap? Isn't this like a form of Communism, but with a different name?
Monday, February 11, 2008
What a hard decision this election will be. On one hand, we have an untested African-American. On the other hand, we have the real brains of the Clinton Dynasty. And on the elephant's side, it is shaping up like a male clone of Billary. Can any of these political wonders really reverse the effects caused by eight years of the Manchurian Dipshit? Or the past 13 years of Repooplican controlled government (House and Senate/Congress). Are the Democraps really any different?
Some of the problems they face from 13 years of Repooplican control are the near total elimination of all manufacturing and industry in this country, and the rise of the "Burger Flipping" economy. The dire state our trade deficit is in, is bleeding us dry and selling us out. In the next decade, if things are not changed, our enemies will be major shareholders in our economy. They already are, but it will be worse. The politician's in their quest for less government interference, have allowed the business world to sell away the very things which made our country great. All of our manufacturing has now relocated overseas. All of our consumer goods now come from our enemies. And no one is able to reverse this on a large scale due to the "Wal-Mart effect", that is the government subsidization of cheap consumer goods to the point that no other businesses can compete. This has TOTALLY devastated entire small town economies, and put most local retailers out of business. It has become so bad, that you cannot purchase anything without going to the "Big Box". No one even bothers to compete anymore, and the public is stuck with rotten meat, and low quality chinese consumer crap. All of the money generated by this goes straight to our enemies across the big ol' Pacific. They have no need to fight us, since they are destroying us from the inside out, and the good old GOP led government, with it's "Good for Business, Good for the US" attitude let them do it.
Am I pissed off? YES.
These traitors have sold us all out to the point where it is nearly impossible to get a job that does not involve the flipping of a meat patty. There simply is nothing else around for most of the country. And what else there is, does not pay any different than flipping a patty. The last bastion of decent jobs in this country, the Government Civil Service, is a favorite target of these buffoons in their quest to "get rid of big government" and destroy Socialism. The writing is on the wall for these jobs, with the new NSPS system taking effect. The people who want to "get rid of big government" are the ones who think government should have no say in their traitorous and shady business dealings. They want it out of their way. They do this in the guise of reducing government spending by cutting government jobs. Our government is now at a point where it is nearly impossible to accomplish anything because the personnel shortages are so bad. What? Can't perform? Let's slash them even more! They are obviously lazy! It is a big scientifically engineered "Vicious Circle" designed to destroy our government, leaving the corporations holding the power. Don't even let me get started on the sad state of government programs to help the needy, such as the SCHIP Controversy involving uninsured children of the working poor (yet another selling out of America and our rights).
Traitors, yes, these folks ARE traitors. The GOP has been run by traitors for the last decade. They have sold us out, and even worse, they have sold out our children. The Demos are to blame too, for they did not have enough spine to stop them. The result of this is that our children now have a promising future in any one of the food service industries, nothing else is open to them unless they want to move to India, or China.
Now, who to vote for? Does it matter? Are any of them really so different from each other? We need someone who will get into office and place the rights and needs of the American People on the forefront, and not the rights and needs of the corporations as it currently stands. If a politician is not willing to do this, then they are not working for the US, and have allied with the enemy.
Who is the enemy? The enemy is us. The enemy is the ravenous, mindless, consumer world which we self perpetuate through our thoughtless actions. Change now. It can only begin on an individual level. Don't vote for anyone who seeks to perpetuate "The Matrix" in which we currently are stuck.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says Bishop
By David Van Biema
N.T. "Tom" Wright is one of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought. As Bishop of Durham, he is the fourth most senior cleric in the Church of England and a major player in the strife-riven global Anglican Communion; as a much-read theologian and Biblical scholar he has taught at Cambridge and is a hero to conservative Christians worldwide for his 2003 book The Resurrection of the Son of God, which argued forcefully for a literal interpretation of that event.
It therefore comes as a something of a shock that Wright doesn't believe in heaven — at least, not in the way that millions of Christians understand the term. In his new book, Surprised by Hope
Wright, 58, talked by phone with TIME's David Van Biema.
TIME: At one point you call the common view of heaven a "distortion and serious diminution of Christian hope."
Wright: It really is. I've often heard people say, "I'm going to heaven soon, and I won't need this stupid body there, thank goodness.' That's a very damaging distortion, all the more so for being unintentional.
TIME: How so? It seems like a typical sentiment.
Wright: There are several important respects in which it's unsupported by the New Testament. First, the timing. In the Bible we are told that you die, and enter an intermediate state.
TIME: Is there anything more in the Bible about the period between death and the resurrection of the dead?
Wright: We know that we will be with God and with Christ, resting and being refreshed. Paul writes that it will be conscious, but compared with being bodily alive, it will be like being asleep. The Wisdom of Solomon, a Jewish text from about the same time as Jesus, says "the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God," and that seems like a poetic way to put the Christian understanding, as well.
TIME: But it's not where the real action is, so to speak?
Wright: No. Our culture is very interested in life after death, but the New Testament is much more interested in what I've called the life after life after death — in the ultimate resurrection into the new heavens and the new Earth. Jesus' resurrection marks the beginning of a restoration that he will complete upon his return. Part of this will be the resurrection of all the dead, who will "awake," be embodied and participate in the renewal. John Polkinghorne, a physicist and a priest, has put it this way: "God will download our software onto his hardware until the time he gives us new hardware to run the software again for ourselves." That gets to two things nicely: that the period after death is a period when we are in God's presence but not active in our own bodies, and also that the more important transformation will be when we are again embodied and administering Christ's kingdom.
TIME: That is rather different from the common understanding. Did some Biblical verse contribute to our confusion?
Wright: There is Luke 23, where Jesus says to the good thief on the cross, "Today you will be with me in
TIME: Why, then, have we misread those verses?
Wright: It has, originally, to do with the translation of Jewish ideas into Greek. The New Testament is deeply, deeply Jewish, and the Jews had for some time been intuiting a final, physical resurrection. They believed that the world of space and time and matter is messed up, but remains basically good, and God will eventually sort it out and put it right again. Belief in that goodness is absolutely essential to Christianity, both theologically and morally. But Greek-speaking Christians influenced by Plato saw our cosmos as shabby and misshapen and full of lies, and the idea was not to make it right, but to escape it and leave behind our material bodies. The church at its best has always come back toward the Hebrew view, but there have been times when the Greek view was very influential.
TIME: Can you give some historical examples?
Wright: Two obvious ones are Dante's great poetry, which sets up a Heaven, Purgatory and Hell immediately after death, and Michelangelo's Last Judgment in the Sistine chapel, which portrays heaven and hell as equal and opposite last destinations. Both had enormous influence on Western culture, so much so that many Christians think that is Christianity.
TIME: But it's not.
Wright: Never at any point do the Gospels or Paul say Jesus has been raised, therefore we are we are all going to heaven. They all say, Jesus is raised, therefore the new creation has begun, and we have a job to do.
TIME: That sounds a lot like... work.
Wright: It's more exciting than hanging around listening to nice music. In Revelation and Paul's letters we are told that God's people will actually be running the new world on God's behalf. The idea of our participation in the new creation goes back to Genesis, when humans are supposed to be running the Garden and looking after the animals. If you transpose that all the way through, it's a picture like the one that you get at the end of Revelation.
TIME: And it ties in to what you've written about this all having a moral dimension.
Wright: Both that, and the idea of bodily resurrection that people deny when they talk about their "souls going to Heaven." If people think "my physical body doesn't matter very much," then who cares what I do with it? And if people think that our world, our cosmos, doesn't matter much, who cares what we do with that? Much of "traditional" Christianity gives the impression that God has these rather arbitrary rules about how you have to behave, and if you disobey them you go to hell, rather than to heaven. What the New Testament really says is God wants you to be a renewed human being helping him to renew his creation, and his resurrection was the opening bell. And when he returns to fulfil the plan, you won't be going up there to him, he'll be coming down here.
TIME: That's very different from, say, the vision put out in the Left Behind books.
Wright: Yes. If there's going to be an Armageddon, and we'll all be in heaven already or raptured up just in time, it really doesn't matter if you have acid rain or greenhouse gases prior to that. Or, for that matter, whether you bombed civilians in
TIME: Has anyone you've talked to expressed disappointment at the loss of the old view?
Wright: Yes, you might get disappointment in the case where somebody has recently gone through the death of somebody they love and they are wanting simply to be with them. And I'd say that's understandable. But the end of Revelation describes a marvelous human participation in God's plan. And in almost all cases, when I've explained this to people, there's a sense of excitement and a sense of, "Why haven't we been told this before?"