Sunday, September 15, 2013

Would the real Saints please stand up?

So it’s Sunday again in New Orleans, and there will be much time and energy devoted to Football, The Christian God, and fruity/ spicy drinks named after a murderer.  For me, Sundays are a day of reflection and contemplation. Opening my eyes to blurred lines and gospel serenading me WWOZ style, to stagger through a few pints of iced coffee, burn a gram of high-test, and bacon I talk to myself & look inward to focus my view of what’s around me.
Keep in mind that as a nihilist and a strict determinalist, just about everything for me is in question… but then, what choice do I have?

I worry about my fellow sapiens, for from what I can tell most of the other homos are busy fretting and killing themselves over a bunch of bears that aren’t even there, save for inside their own heads. And so many have entered into contracts of eternal servitude in order to pursue this mutually agreed upon insanity. They all seem miserable slaving away to pay notes for shiny cars, slightly toxic domiciles, and “food” that hasn’t seen the sun in a week & that comes wrapped in skins of processed petrochemicals all so it looks better basking under muzac & artificial lights & climate.

Spinning around on this rock in the thick of its mid-life-crisis (yup, Earth is almost 5 billion, and the sun will expand in about that many years. So…) one has to pause and question the meaning of it all. Seriously, What the fuck are you doing with your measly 69 years? Makin’ babies and a mortgage payment? Good for you. Ever take some time to question why you’re even here – humanity that is?

Surely survival from one day to the next is a main concern, but if the buck stops there, you might as well be a dog or a deer. Clearly, in spite of how much people hate each other, as a whole we’ve beaten the living to the next day game. Or have we? We seem fairly content to pollute, scarify, and burn this world into a nightmare for our grandbabies that is so horrifying millions of the most materially enriched of us are willing to do whatever it takes to deny that we have any responsibility as stewards of the only slice of life we have yet been able to find.

So on this day of gridiron and prayer, consider what a good X’tian would do… Open ones’ arms and home to whomever may be passing by without judgment based on tone, temperament or faith. For it is as Dylan hath written, whether you are a Saint or Buccaneer we can all agree that you both believe that one of you will win despite that you both have God on your side. And by all means, keep on qualifying your success in life by how much more you can consume than the next guy. Amen.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dear American Politicians

Dear American Politicians,

It’s funny how the most Christian departments of government are the first on the, especially the conservative right’s, chopping block; education, food assistance programs, veterans’, women’s health, environmental agencies…

... in these times perhaps the most Christian of all are the environmental agencies as all God’s creatures are in peril. Whether or not you agree with the 99% consensus among the published & peer reviewed scientific community that humans are affecting planetary systems such as climate, you have to be reasonable and at least allow that such a thing as pollution exists. And that by it's very nature, pollution has a negative impact on the health of people and animals alike.  Thus it would be impossible to deny that many lives are threatened do to the overwhelming amount of pollution our one species has created. And as humans we have the power to stop it. 

So for all those of you out there who are so convicted that a single life is so sacred that is must be protected even at the risk and/ or detriment of other lives... Life begins at the creation of a single cell; there is really no question about it. Consciousness may arrive late, but new life (for the sake of this argument) is a scientific pinpoint. If life is so sacred, that one woman cannot have the right to extinguish one life, than abortion is the least of your moral concerns. Every time you help subsidize Big Oil, or Monsanto, the military complex, or any old vanguard of the age of combustion-based industry you endanger and kill millions of individual lives - from the lives of the exploited native people to the flora and fauna, to the consumer who is unaware of the true cost of whatever product, both locally and globally. It’s crisis time, so put your money and votes where your mouth and eternal soul lie.

God has all the time in the world to watch the rich squabble over money and power and influence via human politics, while the charge of stewardship of the planet goes unheeded...

We do not.

"Historically," God has little patience for politics.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Would you bring your gun for air travel?

It seems like an odd question but NBC found reason to ask...

but on july 4th's nightly news there was a bit one the rising number of people bringing weapons to airports so far this year. It seemed a common defense was "i didn't know it (the gun/knife) was there." or "i forgot it there."


Why would you bring a handgun or blade as part of you're carry-on?
Do you somehow not know that there are people who look for these things before they allow you to board the plane? Do you just have so many weapons that one just kinda slipped out from its storage space into your luggage? Maybe you grabbed it accidentally when packing your socks...
Or is it just that habitual for you to feel the need to toss a 9mm in whenever you pack more than a bag lunch that packing for the airport didn't seem like it should be an exception for any reason?

Lately it seems with all the gun violence issues as of late the most critical aspect of gun safety and gun ownership is the first to be overlooked and discarded; personal accountability. There are laws  against selling & the owning of firearms to certain age groups of teens and children solely because as children there is the assumption that they are not mature or responsible enough to own a gun themselves. That being said, if an adult is so irresponsible as to find themselves in a situation where they have wound up as what they knew would be a reasonably thorough security screening with the excuse of "I didn't know it was there..." That would appear to imply either you intended to see if you could just "slip it through" which is a crime, or that in packing less than 2 cubic feet of stuff you somehow didn't notice the several lbs. of cold steel you won't part with until it's ripped from your "cold dead hands" which you just happened to have misplaced at that particular time in surrounding the period of packing and driving to the airport, etc. etc.

I totally support the relatively unregulated sales of guns... background checks; sure, whatever, anyone with a decent criminal mind knows how to get around that... national gun registry; fine, it'll only ever be partial and if you really want to avoid it you can... there is not feasible way to administer any kind of competency test - look at cars, there is a test but they still remain a leading cause of death...

regulate things all you want... or as little as you want... people will become complacent with any system of control put upon them as long as they are convinced that the current system is better than the last regardless of the fact that it's ultimately no different... there is still suffering, still joy, still obsession and madness, and bounty and everything else and the chance of being born into it versus being able to find ways of acquire it are not only equal but pointless as all these things to want or to avoid are absolutely subjective to each person...

...that's why control is so important... in one way or another each of us is out of control in some sense in addition to the previous point in that we only know what we think we know so the reality of the situation changes from one person to another so there need to be boundaries. Rules. Laws. A Ruling Class. Control.

but where there is opportunity, the laws of nature dictate that there be greed... do not all living things feast when invited to? so the ruling class who's existence is to maintain they're control over the masses so that we don't just run around killing each other like a Mad Max kinda life, are by their own nature corrupt in that the maintaining of status and the search for more power are the two creeds by which each one of those lives by. Maintaining of one's status is tired to doing one's "job" by maintaining whatever the status quo of product is for that position... economic growth, muffins, graduates, babies...

... and you take another step back...

... and you realize that we are all just little eyeless corks bobbing in a night sea waiting for complicated chance to bring us to the nearest crest or trough, whatever our preference may be.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Illusion of Individuality pt. 15


The standard notion of regarding oneself as “an other” from the rest of the biosphere is an antiquated myth. Rather than the previous base knowledge from living in such proximity to the rest of the biosphere as in preindustrial times,[i] now we are armed with the knowledge of biology, genetics, nuclear physics, modern industrial chemical manufacture, etc. and that allows the illusion of being separate and elevated above the rest of existence to a degree of aloofness that is a luxury only gods could have from being so immune from such limitations brought about by mortality.

An idea to keep in mind is that there is a finite amount if matter and energy that can be withdrawn from the biosphere.[ii] There is no credit. Earth is a closed system, so there is a limit. Not only is there a finite amount but also at any one given moment, of all the matter and energy available, but some is needed to but back into the system in order for it to keep perpetuating itself. It’s like the species of fish, the cod; we can take as many as we can, as fast as we can, out of the sea, but if there are not enough codfish left to life long enough to make more codfish, and we keep taking the codfish from the sea, the codfish disappear forever.[iii] If you think of all the planet's resources, living and non-, as finite when frozen in time, yet with the movement of time are self-perpetuating; you can start to see that there exists an equation, it is called Maximum Sustainable Yield.[iv] 

Humanity as a whole can only take a certain amount out of the biosphere at any one time so that the biosphere can continue to produce enough for itself so as to keep going as well as enough so that we can continue to take some for ourselves. But, the nature of the matter and energy we take will be transformed into one of two things. It either becomes a “waste” product that can be re-entered into the biosphere as a source of “fertilizer” or as a “toxin.” Naturally the “fertilizer” waste will feed the biosphere, ultimately producing more matter and energy whereas the “toxins” not only cannot be converted back into useful matter and energy but they further inhibit otherwise productive areas of the biosphere. If humans could bring themselves to both consume the biosphere’s matter and energy in a responsible amount, as well as to use that matter and energy in a way where the most of the remainder of that process could be used as fuel for the biosphere, from whence it came, then as little as possible of that remainder would be left in a form that would pollute, and inhibit further production, this would minimize our impact and maximize the efficiency of our relationship with the rest of the biosphere. Essentially, we have an allowance; it can either shrink or grow depending on how we manage to spend or invest it. That little slice of the pie has to get divvied up among all us people. Yes, there is more pie out there to take, but if we take too much of it now there will be less pie tomorrow. So, we have to illicit some self-control. We have to govern ourselves; in how much we take, in how we use what we take, and in how we distribute what we take. This is what balance is all about. 

If this sounds similar to certain political systems of the 20th century, that is understandable but it is important to realize that just because one can see a few surface similarities between two things that does not mean that they are identical. Communism and Socialism, in the West, have a stigma attached to them due to the horrors associated with the repression of peoples under various “communist” rules. The problem here is that communism ultimately failed do to the manipulation wrought by power-hungry individuals and the lack of technology needed to hear the voice of the people. Imagine if Lenin had a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Or perhaps if the Bolsheviks had a comments section on their web page, it would have been much easier to have a dialogue with the peasants east of the Urals and in the Caucuses. And of course that is assuming there was at least one computer or Smartphone per village. But these are luxuries of economically and technologically developed countries not found in 1917 Russia, 1948 North Korea, 1949 China, or 1961 Cuba.  None of the major communist players of the 20th century were a post-capitalist society (as Marx stated as a prerequisite for this socio-political system); all of them were essentially pre-industrial at the time of their communist conversion.

As it stands, there are only about ten countries that are currently ripe for a post-capitalist revolution. Countries where due to the eventual nature of capitalism the cord that bridges the battle cry of  “free enterprise” and the disparity of wealth that inherently grows with market share control. But especially in America, we are so close to the cliff that we’ve just shut our eyes and started screaming in attempts to drown out the train of consequence that is barreling down on us, when we should be leading the rebel yell of dramatic and immediate change instead.[v] Concerning the global economy, when the debt bubble soon bursts, the following bubbles will not exist as they used to[vi], and our markets will return to being based on the real-time availability of food, water, and fuel and less on immaterial wagers. We will have entered into combat with each other and everyone. Rather than running screaming as individuals in all different directions, it would make much more sense in terms of surviving the coming environmental crisis to reverse direction, hurry the hell up and work together. Sure not everyone is going to be happy all the time right away but no other system to date has been able to achieve that, plus taking into account the current state of things not a one ever will. It might be almost time for a different approach, like dispelling this illusion of the individual.

However, this is not socialism, communism or Marxism that I am endorsing despite it sounding awfully similar in several ways. Rather, this is a plea for functional altruism – thought with regards to everything else beyond oneself in order to most benefit oneself. After all, “No man is an island.”[vii] Given the knowledge and technology that is available today, there is no rational argument to support the widely held social hallucination that the mind, the body, or the synthesis of the two is in some way more independent and less at the mercy of large and complex chains of interaction with “external” environments. Not only is this orthodox viewpoint logically flawed, but it is mortally dangerous too. As a result of these selfish and irreverent institutions of behavior the state of the world is in peril, weather it be from pollution, the ever-expanding global disparity of wealth, both compounded by the unbridled overpopulation. Although it will be damned near impossible to shed this illusion of the individual until the institutions that support it such as those of religion and ownership are resolved, or at least relegated to their proper place on the sidelines of political influence. These divisive and ingrained aspects of society need to be limited, much like the concept of being separate, in order to realize the true extent of how dependant we all are on the “lesser” creatures that we share this planet with and the real fragility of existence that comes with being an apex predator versus a single celled photosynthetic organism. It is about time to put aside personal desires and comfortable consumption as the driving forces in our decision making process and refocus on our actual place in the grand scheme of things as well as living sustainably.

That balance of personal whimsy versus mass necessity historically has been a skewed one. But current technology can begin to overcome the functional gaps such as our infantile understanding of the building blocks of our universe, or the connectivity and integration of the global biosphere both as a micro-community as well as an entire one. The immediate global system of communication, the Internet, is key as in the new paradigm affordable and instantaneous trans-global communication will be required to manage populations, ideas, and the allocation & distribution of resources. In closing, I offer the words of Stan Lee, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” So keep in mind, it’s not that you, the individual, are “special,” rather it’s that you are PART of something special and you have an inherited responsibility to preserve and maintain that system that is so much larger than yourself in scope and scale.

[i] “Romanticism in Science, “ Wikipedia, (accessed April 25, 2013).
[ii] “Exponential Growth in a Finite Biosphere,” Real Economics, (accessed April 25, 2013).
[iii] Katharine Q. Seelye and Jess Bidgood, “Officials Back Deep Cuts in Atlantic Cod Harvest to Save Industry,” New York Times, (accessed April 25, 2013).
[iv] Karin Limburg, “MSY Lecture Notes,” SUNY College of Environmental Science, (accessed April 25, 2013).
[v] Bill Blakemore, “America’s Position on Climate ‘A Tragedy,’ Losing U.S. Prestige to China,” ABC News, (accessed April 19, 2013).
[vi] Kenneth Rapoza, “The World’s Bubble Economy Getting Bigger,” Forbes, (accessed April 19, 2013).
[vii] Donne, John. “Meditation XVII.” (4/16/2013)

Illusion of Individuality pt. 14


It is nothing short of infuriating madness to be held to and thus punished and guilted by another’s arbitrary rules, arbitrary in that those rules magically don’t have to apply to the rule-makers. This is a damned arrangement where the only effective leveling one can do to that absurd power structure is to retaliate with equal or greater vindictive, selfish, and irrational convictions. Once you have been through the full terror of a situation like that, the glaring contradictions embedded throughout every aspect of society suddenly become impossible to ignore any longer.

It’s hard to imagine any instance of an average person’s life it would not be true where if that person looks close enough he/ she would realize that they are in a similar situation of conflicting societal values, opportunities, constraints and laws. It would seem a daunting task to not have a feeling of being totally lost and victimized when confronted with a system that has no functional ability to change or escape from, yet that in one way or another controls every aspect of their life. So then what’s the point of trying?

The concept of the individual is at a crossroad here. Two undeniable arguments for the existence of the individual appear, personal desire and personal ability. In a Darwinian sense, ability should reign free to choke out those ill equipped to the challenge of survival, while those able should be aloud to continue living as well as to reproduce. Then there is also desire. Desire is an important thing. It is what drives an individual to live – gather material resources, reproduce, and out-survive others.[i] This raises several issues concerning the survival of the whole of humanity in which the needs of future generations should equal, if not outweigh, the whims and obsessions of the past or current generations. Simply, it makes more sense in the long run to limit the inhibitions of current individuals in order to create a more favorable environment for future ones. In the wake of the most recent collapse of unregulated derivative markets Allan Greenspan, champion of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, he had to admit that his gospel of deregulation was fundamentally flawed.[ii] Coincidentally, over the past twenty years the income disparity (as an indicator of standard of living) the world over has grown at a faster rate than the population even in such a prosperous nation as the U.S.A.[iii] Nobody wins in that game. The ultimate and unsolvable problem is that when the world starts to really go to shit in twenty years or so there will be no separate and well-stocked store of natural resources only available to those who acted responsibly early on, or ever.

In this system of consumption, stubbornness, and of individual desires that is resistant to egalitarian consequence and that catastrophe will only nudge its velocity, how is one to reasonably hope for any sort of meaningful change? Much less, could necessary change be achieved in the small window of time that very well may close within the next two generations, if it hasn’t already?

There seems little reason to have any hope in the face of this kind of view in which every life experience the ultimate situation seems to always mirror this phenomenon where many of the rules seem to be engineered for short-term gains for the most powerful individual interests at the top of an extremely tiered pyramid that believes it can maintain its height while eroding material from its base. This set-up is not just unsustainable; it is construction guaranteeing the most epic collapse imaginable. Society as individuals is just not ready or willing to accept any real responsibility for the extent to which it is degrading its own surroundings given it seems stubbornly unaware of the dependant relationship it has with its planet.

Represent the whole biosphere as a pie. There is only a tiny slice of that which is all we have to live from. And amongst us all we should have to share that portion equitably. The balance needed here is both that which has to be achieved with how much is able to be used as well as how we use it. Should whoever has the ability to take what they can, be able to do so? Or, should we parcel out everyone’s share based on what is available and upon completion of a social contract?[iv]

[i] “Psychological Egoism,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (accessed April 25, 2013).
[ii] Frontline: The Warning, directed by Michael Kirk (2009; PBS).
[iii] Floyd Norris, “Median Pay in U.S. Is Stagnant, but Low-Paid Workers Lose,” The New York Times, (accessed April 28, 2013).
[iv] “Social Contract Theory,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (accessed April 25, 2013).

Illusion of Individuality pt. 13


when your wife finally admitted to herself that she had been recklessly flirting with one of the local baristas (who clearly had highly sexualized eyes for her) by asking your permission to be allowed to engage in an extramarital affair with the girl behind the counter at the coffee shop with the dangerously crazy ice blue-green eyes, you had to chuckle to yourself. after spending the entire three years of your marriage to her being constantly damned as an adulterer despite there having been little instance nor evidence to support that charge legitimately, this seemed like a devious window to change all that. she had never seen the humor in your satirical postings to the Craigslist casual encounters personals advertizing encounters which could include anything from naked bicycle rides through the Quarter with near toxic daiquiris, face-paint & paper streamers to steamy nights duct taped to vinyl couches on second story balconies being flogged with a rubber chicken. sure in your single years hook-ups had been achieved via these posts, but the real fun was in reading the replies of sexually curious/ adventurous/ needy New Orleans women (and men, despite having been in the M4W section), many times with rather startling jpeg.’s as attachments. to you, this seemed like an excellent opportunity to let your wife finally relieve you of this frustrating nonsense by giving her the chance to “hang herself” through acts of her own volition. you also reasoned that if she became an actual adulterer that would not only self-destruct her insane accusations, but she might even share the booty - given patience, time, prodding and a few mixed drinks. But the important thing here was to get her to see her own double standards that you seemed trapped by; you were guilty of an act you had never done which was the same act that she was hoping to do, as if adultery would not be an issue so long she was the one doing it
this psychotic line of reasoning was typical of your wife. you had always pictured the inside of her mind to be synonymous with an puppy who had been randomly kicked with vengeful impunity over its short life and who was currently dosed “to the gills” on PCP, then thrown into a lamp-less shipping container where the floor was strewn with shards of glass that twinkled like diamonds in the light of the fire that flickered from its oil soaked and burning tail… no matter how furious her wild and groundless accusations and condemnations made you, at the end of the day all you ever felt was a deep and aching sympathy, for she neither had any awareness nor control over her doomed and self-contradictory psychological situation.

if marriage and the subsequent attempt to share one’s life, taught you one thing, its that we’re all gonna’ burn.  trying to believe in both free will and causality simultaneously (in the case of your wife and, sadly, what appeared to be the vast majority of everyone else) forces one into situations where there have to be separate rules for individual cases as well as that the application of those rules will be piecemeal and corrupted. thus, any type of actual system is impossible and the only thing left is madness. and so at the end of the day you have always had to amend your logical and liberating admiration to the philosophical theory of strict determinism in order to operate to the most minimal degree within society. for despite your best and most eloquent inquiries as to how another can base everything in their world on the chain of cause and effect, yet reserve this one little area referred to as free will as exempt from having a cause and thus implying that within each human psyche there exists a line in the sand akin to an event horizon or cosmic singularity where past that given (yet indefinable) point the (near) universally accepted concept of causality no longer applies, the standard response from others is either a retreat to an equally absurd and unknowable defense such as the existence of a higher power as an explanation or just a tirade of “you’re wrong, you’re wrong, no! no! no! stop talking like a crazy person!” which, to you, begged the next most obvious question, “now explain to me how i’m the crazy one here and you’re not?”

Illusion of Individuality pt. 12


Somewhere between the problems we face and the cause I am attributing to them are two global institutions that aid in upholding the illusion of the individual. These institutions are the concept of ownership and dogmatic religion. Inseparably linked to the problematic illusion of the individual is the equally dangerous concept of ownership. The most direct self-delusion allowed by having the idea that one is an individual in this continuously transient and fluctuating existence is that the individual can claim possession of the concept of a thing.
This could be debated as the cause of the previous three “problems” facing humanity as equally as the concept of the individual. I would contend that the concept of the individual came first (much like the egg in the vs. chicken quandary) and that the concept of ownership in combination with that of the individual gave rise to those three previously discussed “problems.”
The concept of an individual and the subsequent theory of ownership are contingent upon believing that reality is somehow static in particular situations and thus defiant of the rest of the laws of physics that we understand to define and govern the rest of the cosmos. A thing that is neither fully understood in its existence and that is in constant molecular flux, thus fundamentally impossible to be the same thing from one moment to the next, would without the concept of the individual seem impossible to own. But the concept of ownership is not alone in maintaining this illusion; there is the divisive tool of justification that is dogmatic religions.
One of the last great hurdles before the shift to the next age of humanity is that of religion. The belief in a god and “his” divine word has historically led to the subsequent strife of warring over words written by humans yet attributed to deities. The majority of humanity believes in some form of religion, and ridiculously fights over something they all agree on, there is a higher power.[i] This competition among various faiths is extremely destructive to the biosphere we depend upon. Take monotheism for example, Christians, Jews, and Muslims all agree on several basic points; there is only one god, murder is frowned upon by this god, and that there is a very holy place that despite all these previous agreements cannot be shared and thus should be ground zero for killing each other.[ii] The materials consumed by armed conflict and the destruction it brings to humanity and the biosphere is a sacrilege regardless of any particular faith. If one is to believe in a god, then it follows that one would believe that this god created all of existence.
Now, picture looking down on yourself, from above, standing on a beach at night, looking up. As your view starts to pan out, you’re still standing on the beach but you’re getting smaller and smaller until you’re a speck, still going out until you see the whole planet earth, the solar system, the milky way galaxy, the hundreds of billions other galaxies, everything. Your god made that.[iii]

Now, one should realize that the average 70 odd years of being alive[iv] is an astronomically small amount of time, so small it can barely be measured in the 13.7 billion years since the last singularity.[v] And, to your knowledge, is there proof of life anywhere in the universe other than Earth? Nope. So, considering how small Earth is in the big picture, it would be accurate to label all of life on it truly unique, as one of a kind. 
It would also be accurate to make the general assumption that either for religious reasons or otherwise, life (the whole miracle of it) is special and should be preserved. Given that all of life on earth is so rare in the known universe it can be considered a single entity, and that in all its diversity it is all interconnected down to at least the molecular level, this egotistic notion of an individual human being it is a gross misconception, that is to think of yourself as somehow separate from the whole system. An individual human could hardly be a single bacterium in his/her stomach by scale to the whole biotic layer. Unless one is doing everything they can to integrate with the system it is part of, they are not participating in a symbiotic relationship and are then by default parasitic. And in the case of pollutants, that further hinder the engine of life, if so many are crated that life as a whole is imminently threatened, we could safely call that egoism akin to a cancer upon all life as we know it.
So, a god created this thing we call life and as far as we know it is unique, and this god in its capacity regards life as special, or at least good. Simply there is a choice to either be a cancer, or just a parasite (analogous to a “Zero Emissions” lifestyle - still plenty of solid waste), or strive for a symbiotic relationship that would be by its own nature 100% biodegradable. A society that is goal oriented instead of the current goods oriented one would be much more productive overall and much healthier.            

[i] “The World Factbook,” Central Intelligence Agency, (accessed April 25, 2013)
[ii] “Holy Land,” Wikipedia, (accessed April 25, 2013).
[iii] Opening sequence of film “Contact”
[iv] “Life Expectancy,” World Health Organization, (accessed April 25, 2013).
[v] “Universe 101,” NASA, (accessed April 25, 2013)