religion

December 2, 2010

a logical affinity for generality and scientific openness to unfalsified evidence compel me to accord religious inclinations due respect, but having never seen angels nor spoken with any god, it is challenging not to dismiss traditional mythologies as pandering to cultural egotism and overenthusiastic hopefulness.

extensive experience among advocates of fanatic superstitions has already braced me for the intimations of pity and presumptions of preordained condemnation which such a confession can elicit.

however, this proclivity for condemnation and its associated predilection for war belies avowed principles of love and unity and further undermines my capacity to acknowledge any validity in said creeds.

one could ask: given that my avowed logic of openness is more consistent with their supposed religion of love than their religion is with my logic, why am I trying harder to accept their religion than they are my logic? shouldn’t I be the one damning them for being so closed-minded, while they work harder on loving us heathens?

so rationally i recognize that i should try to respect religions, but emotionally I find that I consider them insane delusions.

and that’s why i can’t allow myself to indulge my emotions in the same way most religious fanatics do.

addendum: the 3 fantasies christianity promises:
forgiveness, unconditional love, eternal life

false promises

November 5, 2010

pop culture contains an extensive record of sacrificing realism for the dramatic. arbitrary everymen outwit expert espionage agents, average joes beat down gigantic bodybuilders, underachieving dweebs turn out to be techno-messiahs, and so on. every so often such plots incorporate enough ingenious strategy to lull even active intellects into the requisite suspensions of disbelief, but more frequently they seem to rely on the pure energy of people’s need to indulge entertaining fantasies, and these unqualified dolts win out through any kind of convenient coincidence just because they must because they are the randomly selected hero at the center of the story.

this unfettered idealism is particularly frightening in its penchant for promoting absurdly idiotic supposedly heroic behavior as when our valiant protagonists ignore all the obvious imminent risks to maintain the righteousness of grossly outweighed agendas, plunging head-long into burning buildings to save a little girl’s goldfish, almost capsizing the over-full boat to show mercy to the villain, letting WMDs tick down so as to save their girlfriend first or even just to give her an extended passionate kiss, etc.

however, this far-fetched positivism and the desperate drive towards fantasy which motivates it are quite simple to understand and even sympathize with. thus, it is not completely out of the question for a discerning mind to kick back and simply enjoy the ride.

rather, what i find utterly exasperating and outrageously abhorrent is the widespread support for deceit in the pervasive deployment of false promises:

“You’ll be ok… We’ll be together forever… I’ll never leave you (again)… I won’t let anything happen to you… No one gets left behind…”

for all the implausible serendipity of such narratives, it is still not uncommon for such oaths to be almost immediately followed by not being ok, being separated, something very bad happening, and many people being left behind. the primary question then is why hollywood writers appear almost unanimous in the impression that that’s how heros talk.

a complementary question is whether if you were bleeding to a certain death, you would prefer to be told you’ll be alright, or would you rather get the facts straight so as to perhaps pass along a few last dignified words. personal opinions on this extremely personal topic probably vary extremely so under certain circumstances the cliche hero’s hackneyed phrase may well be warranted, but the apparent total absence of the opposite advocacy of truth, which I am partial to, leaves me rather despondent.

in fact, having reached the point where i can barely tolerate these trite anti-truisms, i am practically at the point where there’s hardly a single movie or tv show that i can conscientiously appreciate.

racist smokescreens

November 2, 2010

given the facts that fiscal responsibility from war-supporting republicans appears incredibly disingenuous and tea-party supporters do not appear to be offering any other more original suggestions, it is difficult not to conclude that the passion which right-wingers are displaying in the lead-up to the current election is primarily based on racism and homophobia.

the postured emphasis on financial conservatism is nothing short of duplicitous when seen in the light of rampant conservative moves persecuting homosexuals and latinos.

regrettably, a long-term media narrative associates supposedly unfair demands for entitlements with minorities while Halliburten and Blackwater scandals or the absence of GE and Exxon tax payments (to the US, in 2009) fail to tarnish the myth of free markets.

the smoking gun is of course obscured by this professed financial emphasis and evasive maneuvers as severe as expelling Mark Williams for responding to the NAACP’s pleas to repudiate racism with his “We Coloreds” letter which explicitly makes the link between bail-outs, welfare, and what “Coloreds … strive for”. call me foolish for attempting to respond seriously to a satirical piece, but i can’t help but wonder how many minorities came across any TARP dollars.

in fact, tea party consistency on constitutional rights such as free speech vs. political correctness can also be seen to be quite convoluted or just selfish when considering Palin’s calls for Rahm’s resignation in the face of his “retard” comments while vehemently supporting Schlessinger’s “nigger” comments. [to echo a Daily Show commentator on Schlessinger’s comments, using the N-word wasn’t even as offensive as all the other stupid racist crap she said.]

(another great moment in the tea party’s supposed support of the constitution and traditional american values came when Christine O’Donnell asked “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” Uh, that would be the 1st amendment.)

on the other hand, the malaise that has seized liberals is quite easy to explain on the basis of discouraging compromises and lack of progress on health care, financial reforms, wars, illegal detainment, homosexual rights, etc.

still, it really isn’t that surprising that an event touted as evidencing the end of racism in America (i.e. the election of a black president) has in fact released a torrent of racist fury.

tai5

October 10, 2010
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heroes can’t have it too easy

August 15, 2010

i know many of my confessions haven’t said it clearly
but i’ve often suspected that i must have been fortunate
to have been too unlucky to take advantage of my privileges.

you’ve surely seen what tyrants do with their power
and have heard how absolute power corrupts,
not to mention how idiotic most superstars are.

and not only would i have to admit that
i also would probably have taken advantage of
any available naive nubile virgin,

but i also still want to advocate
that you can be your own hero
without riches and sluts.

happiness

August 15, 2010

In the fourth and fifth lectures of “The Varieties of Religious Experience”,
William James gives a respectful treatment to the “happy consciousness”
while noting that it only deals with the problem of evil in the world
by refusing to acknowledge it.

Those to whom this state comes naturally
should consider themselves lucky,
but for those familiar with suffering and misery,
casting self-deception as a solution is simply insufficient.

James also noted how ‘liberalism’ and ‘science’
seemed to represent a switch from the ‘morbidness’
of earlier religious interpretation.
Some 100 years later,
one could hardly deny that this positivism
has increased to the point of being almost mandatory.
It should be fair to say that social norms today
show little tolerance for expressions of discontent.
Advertising and psychology have cast unhappiness
as signs of stupidity and sickness.

It is all too common to hear oblivious tots
comment that ‘happiness is the most important thing in life’,
and one would surely be hard pressed to dare
suggest anything more insightful or original.
I’ve tried to suggest “learning” is more important,
but would I own up to the suggestion of mutual exclusivity?

In any case, with my own characteristic negativity,
I must admit to being completely terrified by this rampant optimism.
I fear a blithely superficial, selfishly unmindful future
with shoddy construction and absurdly overdone posturing:
Exactly the kind of world advertisers want us to live in.

I do fear this optimism will spell the death of mankind!

michael jackson, fairy tales, and sluts

August 9, 2010

catching the end of the michael jackson’s death concert video
just in the middle of “billy jean” caused me to reflect again
on the irrefutable catchiness of the song.

it could just be the irresistible rhythm
or celebrity’s undeniable victimization
by unfounded accusations, especially in light
of michael’s ambiguous sexuality,
or more generally,
the disenfranchised man’s desire
to escape from unwanted progeny,

but i suddenly saw another perspective:
that of michael’s own inner unloved child!
“the child is not my son”;
(just as all the fairy tales have evil step-parents!)
perhaps this stereotype is all too over-played:
how could these child stars not have recognized
some sense of appreciation from the father to which
they brought so much wealth?

but the rumor is still there,
of his brutal, evil parents;
and the interpretation plays upon it well:
doesn’t the song raise the issue
of so many unwanted children.

and didn’t michael’s life reek
of the perverse slutty frigidity
of absent daddy issues?

and won’t the unwanted child fantasize
about siring his own unwanted children?

karaoke and social relevance

April 7, 2010

when exposed to new cultures, it can be hard not to give into the impression that they are somehow more superficial in many ways, just because one’s perception is so limited.

probably because i’ve been singing karaoke too much, and also because i have a profound respect for afro-american contributions to american culture, and particularly music, i’ve been trying to consider how much the fundamental flaw of racism in american society led to a more introspective approach to social dilemmas in american culture.

given that china spent most of the 1900’s in a state of (communist) civil war, i realize i should sound ridiculous trying to claim that asians lack sufficient appreciation for general social issues. however, since most of that was mixed up with justly desperate defenses against colonial ingressions on all fronts, from the british to the japanese, it’s been more than easy for them to blame their problems on everybody else.

in fact, looking at the west these days, or even the historical manifestation of communism in general, one would be hard pressed to show that there was anything general about the social issues, nor anything more that i’m gonna get mine, and who cares if you get yours.

still, if americans, or those who want to be us, persist in thinking that our major advantage is hogging all the resources, or disregarding everyone else, then the world will be headed for a sad future. only if self satisfaction can be achieved with a equal concern for others will our cultures produce generally accessible art (the kind of art that made romans want to be greek and mongolians want to be chinese).

autosyncretic art

October 25, 2009
stand in an unassailable position

stand in an unassailable position

avoid solid strike empty

avoid solid strike empty

laozi

laozi

good living

good living

not stupid either

not stupid either

ahh water pressure

ahh water pressure

god despises showoffs

September 11, 2009

8th line of the 1st poem
in “300 Tang Poems”
by Zhang Jiu Ling: 張九齡

arrogance demands damnation.

highcontempt