Category Archives: Essays

EARN YOUR CITIZENSHIP:

Talk to The Power You Control
 
Often and most recently, I have encouraged people to be politically active, using the pen, the keyboard, the phone and twitter. I say tweet to the Trumps and to our representatives at this sensitive and dangerous political and historical time. In response, people have told me they were not “on Twitter”, that they ‘couldn’t figure it out’ or that they ‘weren’t sure whether tweeting to politicians was an effective method.’ What on Earth is Trump doing?
 
Here is a paraphrased, expanded and developed composite of my responses:
 
You can remedy your lack of a Twitter account in minutes. You can figure out how it works in equal time. The tools for democracy and sinfully easy participation were never better.
 
Do you only do things with a guarantee of success? If a man had his finger on the button, would you not lunge at him without doing a statistical analysis of your possible failure rate, first? And what is “effective” in your book?
 
No one is asking that your small democratic participation and responsibility solve everything. I do it to simply say, ‘hey, primate-like-me, I’m one of the citizens you’re dumping on and leaving in a lurch with your stupid, cowardly and selfish policies, and I am watching you.’ I also do it out of love. These are people and they get caught up in the corrupt system you and I maintain — so, it is a reminder that it is not okay. I am often quite polite about it, too, but now that we are literally being bent over and kicked in the ass, along with the rest of the world — due to our power, influence and responsibilities, by these usurpers and traitors, I can’t stand tall as a man without at least saying something.
 
As a matter of fact, I just tweeted to my representatives in the Senate (see below), to make sure they fight Mitch McConnell on his irresponsible and climate-killing energy bill.
 
You see, I don’t find this the most enjoyable pastime — my political outreach; as a matter of fact, I am very far behind in many areas of my life — and this is not my chosen vocation — although it does involve quite a bit of philosophy (which I do enjoy in principle, but which could be applied to grander designs of much more interesting subjects, if we had only responsible, intellectual, educated and spiritually mature people in government).
 
It is infuriating and boring to me, that I have to deal with such childishness when I would love to turn my full attention to bigger problems of humanity, such as understanding the human mind, saving the environment (though that is part of this), spaceflight, art and poetry — and so it feels like a giant obstacle in the course of my life trajectory (I have school work to do; I am alone, between private places to live and I need another job); but it is not ‘a waste time. Political participation is, in the smallest way, my part in democracy.   not enough. Voting is the hiring. Political participation is the day-to-day work of being the boss. That’s our job! Did you ever have a job wherein you were hired and you never saw your boss or a supervisor, again? Did you ever get a job and have the boss say, ‘hey, now you’re on your own; do what you want. Sit at my desk, use my phone, have a party, take a vacation, set fire to the building, if you like.’
 
Indeed voting, alone, in America, is extremely flawed, as we know — and Trump and the Republicans are working to restrict that, too. That’s why I included the issue of voting in my petition to ban private campaign finance.
 
If I am not at least slightly politically active — tweeting — how can I call myself an American and be deserving of our democracy? How can I expect my representatives to represent me if I don’t stand up to have my opinions counted?
 
I had family die in wars for this country, I have worked and paid taxes, I see Americans and our enemies and allies suffer because of our decisions. And Trump and the Republicans are dumping on all of us with their conduct and undeserved positions at the helm of the most powerful nation on Earth.
 
Have you ever considered that millions of people and trillions of other species died around the world for our ’empire’, as well as Americans and foreign nationals. And these unscrupulous nitwits are taking your taxes to spit upon the memory of those souls, by running the country into fascism and the environment straight into hell.
 
I don’t know about you, but I want to earn my right to the legacy of Jefferson, Adams, Paine, Washington, Lafayette, Lincoln, Kennedy, and all the people in between and since who fought for this Republic in government and private life — as soldiers and private citizens paying taxes. Hell, what did John F. Kennedy live and die for — this? It is disgraceful and should shame us all. And what about the world we are handing over to our children? I saw a headline yesterday that asked when the earth would be too hot for us. The sub-title answered ‘maybe in our childrens’ lifetime. How can you sit by and accept that?
 
So, I don’t see how people can make excuses about what’s “effective” — to explain away why they won’t do something. It’s BS. Come on; you know that.
 
You either do your part or you are dead weight. You have the tools to talk to your oppressors and supporters — instantly. Why would you attempt to find an excuse not to?
 
As I said in my twenties, “democracy is not a spectator sport.” So ‘if you don’t like democracy and don’t want to do its work, you belong in China, Russia, North Korea, Thailand….’
 
Also, when I was in my twenties, there was no Twitter. I had to write a letter and take it to the PO. But I did that. A lot.
 
I am aghast at American excuses for not participating. If you have time for Facebook, you have time for your employees: the government. We, are responsible — and we do not do enough to rein in our government; that is why Osama Bin Laden attacked us.
 
Own it, friend. Or lose it. And according to recent 18th, 19th and 20th century history, we are on course to lose it as they had — through their vote and inaction.
 
© M∧N⊃⊙ (Carl Atteniese Jr.) 2017 All Rights Reserved

Trump And “Race”

Let’s Get One Thing Quite Clear: on Prejudice

Trump is not a “racist”; technically, no one is — no matter how hard he or she tries to be or appears to. Now, before you get your PC underwear in a knot, thinking I am taking away the mechanism by which “good” people get to hate “bad” people, hear me out. By the end of this, you won’t be angry at me — unless you want to be disingenuous, and you don’t really care about prejudice.

To be a “racist”, there have to be subspecies among humans to be prejudiced against; there aren’t. They don’t exist. It isn’t enough to say disliking a culture or even its peoples’ behaviors equates to “racism”. Race and racism call into the equation biology as well as culture. Therein lies the error and the offense. Therefore, in order to use ‘race’ in your description of a people, doesn’t it stand to reason you must believe in the fallacy of race; don’t you implicate yourself as “a racist” when you add credence to the existence of different races among humans — when you USE ‘race’?

To be a racist, you have to think religion, education, up-bringing, politics, culture and personal intention have not enough to do with a group’s behavior or with the behavior of members of the group you think they belong to. Otherwise you would use a different word to describe them. To be a racist you think biology enters into that (thus you use ‘race’ in your description) — or that it is a big part of all the other factors I mentioned.

If its not Race (Subspecies)
If you do believe all those factors — religion, education, up-bringing, politics, culture — are the reasons for the preponderance of certain behaviors observed in a group — or among members of it — and you subtract biology from the equation, you no longer can or should use “race” as a determinor in your reference to those people you speak of as different; you should use ‘culture’.

Words to Use
Therefore, if you think someone is inordinately concerned about a group of people along that line of thinking (whether he or she is right or wrong for that concern), you can refer to him or her — if you must label — as “a culturalist”, an “ethniphobe” or in the cases where you think the person is unfairly prejudiced, as “a prejudiced person”, “a bigot”, “ethnicentric”, “xenophobic” or as “a xenophobe”.

So we see readily that we have words to describe the phenomenon of unjustified and/or irrational prejudice. We don’t need “race” and its pernicious affects — its woefully inaccurate and incorrect implications of biology. Why be wrong when you can be right and still make your point? Why insult a group of people suggesting they are a different species or subspecies (which use of ‘race’ unequivocally does)?

Back to Trump
Trump is a draconian strategist. He is obsessively focused on the perfection trying to eliminate all chances of undermining his control. That means he sees a problem and wants a strict penalty — so he can ensure results. For example, Jihad occurs in a country, so he says “no one can come from there to here.”

It doesn’t phase him much (or didn’t) that out of say 10,000 refugees maybe only one would commit a terrorist act. That is not “racism.” If anything, it is culturalism — saying that a certain strain of education and political interest or proclivity exists in a particular group — and you want to eliminate its chances beyond all doubt.

Likes, Dislikes, Tastes And Prejudice
Now let me make a point about likes and dislikes. Is it “racist” to dislike Italian food? Personally speaking — though I love the taste of it — I am intellectually against it; it’s unhealthy, in my opinion. This is not ethniphobic. No one in his or her right mind would argue I am against Italian individuals (Italians, Italian people) just because I have an intellectual opinion about Italian cuisine. Similarly, if my taste — not merely my nutrition-oriented opinion of Italian food — is such that I don’t care for it, who would blame me?

If one does not care for Latin culture in general, however, we might agree that others would say this at least leans toward what I call ethniprejudice — what lazy or ignorant or defensive people call “racism”. But is it that?

If it just so happens that viscerally-speaking, my inclinations make me wince when I hear Spanish or Italian, and if by unconscious proclivity I also find Latin music unpleasant, and if I do not care for the teachings and habits and tendencies of those practicing the dominant religions in those cultures — additionally, if I don’t care for or am anathema to the politics they tend in large part to engender, so I do not have a lot of friends or a wife — more poignantly — from that culture (or from those cultures), am I an ethnicentric or ethni-bigot? Am I prejudiced? Am I… a “racist”?

I would hope — for the sake of the quality of your mind — that you would judge with a resounding “no” and that you would say that the afore-mentioned are matters of taste.

Now, if I judge each Italian or “Latino” before getting to know him or her (I can imagine people blaming me for using ‘Latino’ in the name of conversational efficiency) according to my tastes then THAT would be prejudice.

Back to Trump.
If Trump sees a record number of particular behaviors in subsets of people, and there is ample evidence to suggest that there are reoccurring contributing factors to perpetuate a continuation of those particular behaviors among them, is he wrong for naming this phenomenon and trying to take action regarding it? I am not saying he is right. I am asking the specific question with its inherent specific parameters to make a point — regardless whether the details are right; that’s academic. What is not is whether the premise is not sound and whether it is ethiphobic (and/or xenophobic) — “racist”. I don’t think it is; it may be problematic on other grounds — but has nothing to do with race and everything to do with culture. If it has to do with taste, there might be a big problem THERE, but not necessarily — if by taste one sees differing morals or educational and occupational tendencies in a group distasteful or undesirable for concerns of burgeoning citizenship.

Personally — and I digress — on the issue of immigration, I support amnesty in most cases of “illegal” resodence, because I consider a state a failed human construct if it cannot erect a society that honors human birth rights on this planet — in this day and age, and to me it is a human birthright of a human being to go wherever he or she chooses to go on the planet.

Back to Trump.
Ostensibly we want him out or to change based on (among other factors) his draconian, incompassionate and unrealistic approach to immigration and refugee policy and based on his offensive nature on these and other topics, hopefully not because we foolishly think he fosters policies, simply because he has trivial views on Mexicans and Muslims — such as his ‘not liking their cultures, because their names begin with the letter ‘m’ or his ‘dislike of tacos and humice’.

And even if Trump doesn’t want certain people here, because he thinks they are getting a free ride or he thinks their religion and culture are dangerous to egalitarian values, we don’t have to perpetuate the ignorant and stupid phenomenon of the existence of subspecies as relevant in the debate with the use of the wrong words — to accomplish a case against him.

The Cause is in The Word — Fostering The Belief
This is the cause of the problem — our saying human beings are fundamentally different by sub-species — not just by their food and clothes and music — when we use ‘race’. And so, the people using the word are the culprits — or some of them.

I won’t buy into the neo-liberal PC bullshit lie about race anymore, just because I ‘like’ the fight against prejudice (and truth be told I don’t like to fight). However, it is my strong and experiential suspicion that those who use the words ‘race’, ‘racist’ and ‘racial’ do like to fight — or need to (or they need to sound and appear as though they are fighting), because of their jobs and/or their relationships.

You can, buy into the PC bullshit of “race” and “racism”, if you want. I won’t. I will not go along with “most people” who are too “ignorant”, as a friend called those whom he said were “not smart enough” to be accurate and righteous with their words — defending the use of the word ‘race’, ostensibly for the purposes of efficiency.

Ignorance is the only fuel irrational-ethniphobia and prejudice, bigotry and xenophobia need to thrive. I will not remain ignorant any time I glean a path away from its darkness into the light of truth; not only is it anathema to my personality, I took an oath against it — in a temple — with my Dharma Brothers; nor will I perpetuate ignorance — for political expedience, friendship or acceptance in some circle — not even for the politics of “saving people”, because then I would be just like Trump.

Let’s Get One Thing Quite Clear: on Prejudice

Trump is not a “racist”; technically, no one is — no matter how hard he or she tries to be or appears to. Now, before you get your PC underwear in a knot, thinking I am taking away the mechanism by which “good” people get to hate “bad” people, hear me out. By the end of this, you won’t be angry at me — unless you want to be disingenuous, and you don’t really care about prejudice.

To be a “racist”, there have to be subspecies among humans to be prejudiced against; there aren’t. They don’t exist. It isn’t enough to say disliking a culture or even its peoples’ behaviors equates to “racism”. Race and racism call into the equation biology as well as culture. Therein lies the error and the offense. Therefore, in order to use ‘race’ in your description of a people, doesn’t it stand to reason you must believe in the fallacy of race; don’t you implicate yourself as “a racist” when you add credence to the existence of different races among humans — when you USE ‘race’?

To be a racist, you have to think religion, education, up-bringing, politics, culture and personal intention have not enough to do with a group’s behavior or with the behavior of members of the group you think they belong to. Otherwise you would use a different word to describe them. To be a racist you think biology enters into that (thus you use ‘race’ in your description) — or that it is a big part of all the other factors I mentioned.

If its not Race (Subspecies)
If you do believe all those factors — religion, education, up-bringing, politics, culture — are the reasons for the preponderance of certain behaviors observed in a group — or among members of it — and you subtract biology from the equation, you no longer can or should use “race” as a determinor in your reference to those people you speak of as different; you should use ‘culture’.

Words to Use
Therefore, if you think someone is inordinately concerned about a group of people along that line of thinking (whether he or she is right or wrong for that concern), you can refer to him or her — if you must label — as “a culturalist”, an “ethniphobe” or in the cases where you think the person is unfairly prejudiced, as “a prejudiced person”, “a bigot”, “ethnicentric”, “xenophobic” or as “a xenophobe”.

So we see readily that we have words to describe the phenomenon of unjustified and/or irrational prejudice. We don’t need “race” and its pernicious affects — its woefully inaccurate and incorrect implications of biology. Why be wrong when you can be right and still make your point? Why insult a group of people suggesting they are a different species or subspecies (which use of ‘race’ unequivocally does)?

Back to Trump
Trump is a draconian strategist. He is obsessively focused on the perfection trying to eliminate all chances of undermining his control. That means he sees a problem and wants a strict penalty — so he can ensure results. For example, Jihad occurs in a country, so he says “no one can come from there to here.”

It doesn’t phase him much (or didn’t) that out of say 10,000 refugees maybe only one would commit a terrorist act. That is not “racism.” If anything, it is culturalism — saying that a certain strain of education and political interest or proclivity exists in a particular group — and you want to eliminate its chances beyond all doubt.

Likes, Dislikes, Tastes And Prejudice
Now let me make a point about likes and dislikes. Is it “racist” to dislike Italian food? Personally speaking — though I love the taste of it — I am intellectually against it; it’s unhealthy, in my opinion. This is not ethniphobic. No one in his or her right mind would argue I am against Italian individuals (Italians, Italian people) just because I have an intellectual opinion about Italian cuisine. Similarly, if my taste — not merely my nutrition-oriented opinion of Italian food — is such that I don’t care for it, who would blame me?

If one does not care for Latin culture in general, however, we might agree that others would say this at least leans toward what I call ethniprejudice — what lazy or ignorant or defensive people call “racism”. But is it that?

If it just so happens that viscerally-speaking, my inclinations make me wince when I hear Spanish or Italian, and if by unconscious proclivity I also find Latin music unpleasant, and if I do not care for the teachings and habits and tendencies of those practicing the dominant religions in those cultures — additionally, if I don’t care for or am anathema to the politics they tend in large part to engender, so I do not have a lot of friends or a wife — more poignantly — from that culture (or from those cultures), am I an ethnicentric or ethni-bigot? Am I prejudiced? Am I… a “racist”?

I would hope — for the sake of the quality of your mind — that you would judge with a resounding “no” and that you would say that the afore-mentioned are matters of taste.

Now, if I judge each Italian or “Latino” before getting to know him or her (I can imagine people blaming me for using ‘Latino’ in the name of conversational efficiency) according to my tastes then THAT would be prejudice.

Back to Trump.
If Trump sees a record number of particular behaviors in subsets of people, and there is ample evidence to suggest there are reoccurring contributing factors to perpetuate a continuation of of those particular behaviors among them, is he wrong for naming this phenomenon and trying to take action regarding it? I am not saying he is right. I am asking the specific question with its inherent specific parameters to make a point — regardless whether the details are right; that’s academic. What is not is whether the premise is not sound and whether it is ethiphobic (and/or xenophobic) — “racist”. I don’t think it is; it may be problematic on other grounds — but has nothing to do with race and everything to do with culture. If it has to do with taste, there might be a big problem THERE, but not necessarily — if by btaste one sees differing morals or educational and occupational tendencies in a group distasteful or undesirable.

Personally — and I digress — on the issue of immigration, I support amnesty in most cases of “illegal immigration”, because I consider a state a failed human construct if it cannot erect a society that honors birth rights on this planet, and to me it is a birthright of a being to go wherever he or she chooses on the planet.

Back to Trump. We want him out based on his unrealistic approach to immigration and refugee policy and his offensive nature on the topic, hopefully not because we foolishly think he fosters policies, simply because he has trivial views on Mexicans and Muslims — such as his ‘not liking their cultures, because their names begin with the letter ‘m’ or his ‘dislike of tacos and humice’.

And even if Trump doesn’t want certain people here, because he thinks they are getting a free ride or he thinks their religion is dangerous to egalitarian values, we don’t have to perpetuate the ignorant and stupid phenomenon of subspecies with the use of the wrong word to accomplish a case against that.

The Cause is in The Word — Fostering The Belief
This is the cause of the problem — our saying human beings are fundamentally different by sub-species — not just by their food and clothes and music — when we use ‘race’. And so, the people using the word are the culprits.

I won’t buy into the neo-liberal PC bullshit lie about race anymore, just because I ‘like’ the fight against prejudice (and truth be told I don’t like to fight). However, it is my strong and experiential suspicion that those who use the words ‘race’, ‘racist’ and ‘racial’ do like to fight — or need to (or they need to sound as though they are fighting), because of their jobs or relationships.

You can, buy into the PC bullshit of “race” and “racism”, if you want. I won’t. I will not go along with “most people” who are “ignorant”, as a friend called those whom he said were “not smart enough” to be accurate and righteous with their words.

Ignorance is the only fuel irrational ethniphobia, prejudice, bigotry and xenophobia need to thrive. I will not remain ignorant any time I glean a path away from its darkness into the light of truth; not only is it anathema to my personality, I took an oath against it — in a temple, with my Dharma Brothers; Nor will I perpetuate ignorance — for political expedience, friendship or acceptance in some circle — not even for the politics of “saving people”, because then I would be just like Trump.

Edward Snowden And You:

Encapsulated in Oblivion, And The Media Gets off Scott Free

Watched Snowden last night, again — this time with family. The most comprehensive and prolonged discussion ensued, but after only 5 minutes, there were just three of us: me, my sister and my brother-in-law. “The elders” (of which there were two) had gone to bed — one of whom called Snowden a traitor. The other probably couldn’t decide, but was offended by even the most basic spying by our government, and my bro-in-law, like me — felt Snowden was trying to do a good thing but that he also erred in revealing some of our plans and tactics — which tipped off Al Qaeda in a few incidents and generally.

My sister started covering all the net-connected cameras in the house, and I was encouraged to feel as if — though Snowden is a man of conscience like myself (but of course technically much smarter), I might not have revealed as much (stress on ‘might’, because it seems he was as careful as was possible).
The conversation resulted in my sister and I being left talking about Islam. I introduced her to the Bill Mahr episode wherein Sam Harris and Ben Aflec had their showdown on the subject — so (of course) she, like most non-initiates — was remotely offended by #samharris and identified with Ben Aflec (which — no fault of hers — disturbs me — a little, as she is very intelligent and rational — and thus is indicative of what busy members of our society know and don’t know).

So, I then introduced her to Ayaan Hirsi Ali ( #ayaanhirsiali ). Good information was coming my sister’s way from the horse’s mouth, but her daughter came into the room and needed ‘mommy to lie with her.’ My bro-in-law also had to attend to looking after their other daughter.

And, so — this scenario illustrates how America is caught: enormously important issues are reduced to history and even then, find their way into a minority of minds as entertainment. By the next morning they are forgotten — as Snowden is.

Edward Snowden: A Superlatively Moral and Ingenious young man who believed in the Constitution so greatly that he became a Marine and the most intelligent CIA and NSA asset this country has ever seen. He now languishes in Russia — the target of our post-9/11 national security state — which under the leadership of Donald Trump will probably see him turned into a pawn of Putin’s.

Barack Obama: Pardon him and let him come home. His “crime” is he upheld the Constitution of the United States and helped launch one of the most important dialogues ignored by the citizenry — of one of the most powerful nations on Earth — which can only return to true greatness with a righteous and honest discussion of this issue — not by prosecuting a whistle-blower and sweeping him under the rug with a cookie-cutter determination of “treason.”
Going to the press is not treason; erecting a secret extra-legal spying and foreign-ally-undermining network of non-constitutional actions… perhaps should be.

Edward Snowden did not reveal the classified information he felt morally compelled to as an American — to a foreign enemy… or with the intent to harm the American government or American citizens; he gave his information carefully and with admonishments of caution to western journalists Glenn Greenwald (a former arch conservative) and the Guardian: these and other news entities shared it with the public, whom Snowden knew deserved this information… as they who financed it had fallen unwitting victim of it and its programs. So, Snowden is in trouble, but what about the press?

Why is Snowden the only one who has fallen out of graces with the US government when the information about the offending government agencies was released by The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Glenn Greenwald? And why have you forgotten him when he has given up everything for you?
If — like many people — you cognitively dissuade yourself (accidently or deliberately) from seeing what the main concerns of Snowden were, consider this:

1. Pay attention to what Snowden said were the greatest dangers of these extra-legal programs; hint: look at who our new president is.
2. Think of Watergate and…
3. Think of this last election.
4. Think of what Snowden said had become the aim of these programs and what the excuse is;
5. Think of what we had done to Japan with these programs, and remember: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden

#snwoden
#citizen
#ayaanhirsiali
#samharris
#terrorism
#americans
#espionage
#spying
#corporate
#domination
#americanhegemony

On The Death of Celebrities Important to Us

Their Deaths Equate to A Partial Death of Our Living Culture.

It feels like a part of us has died, when honored celebrities we loved have died, because we identify with that culture and with they who helped define it. As we feel a part of our culture — not mere observers of it, this means we feel a part of ourselves has died.

In our celebration of celebrities is an important part of self: we are proud to appreciate those who reflect our values. Thus these icons had become a part of us which allows us to relate with and connect and commune with others on levels of agreement and in admiration that define us — even if only in our minds. Where else do we reside, if not in our minds and cultures?

I, myself, have grown fond of saying (in a tongue and cheek way) that I don’t fully trust people who don’t like Monty Python.

Who among us has not approved (or disapproved) of others based on their political choices? Haven’t you heard people say they are more terrified of Trump supporters than of Trump?

Likewise, someone who routes for Luke Skywalker (over Darth Vader), appreciates the struggle of Edward Snowden (over that of the Justice Department), or revels in the exploits of Neil Armstrong (when he cheats death and restores our faith in patriotic endurance) becomes someone in our mind — like Bernie Sanders or Elizibeth Warren — whom we could pick up a torch for — or trust. We partially base friendships on these affinities (of course in addition to how potential friends treat us). It says something about the world they want — and how we would fare in it. Celebrities help define this — and it adds to our sense of security — real or imagined.

I am moved to comment on this, because a very well-meaning and intelligent friend (fast becoming something of a celebrity, herself) wrote this morning about the steady, heavy mourning going on these days — for the celebrities who have died this year (the feelings for which are, of course, compounded by this “triumph of evil over good” sentiment that many of us feel, due to the political situation which hangs over us like a death star).

She pointed out that all this going on about celebrities whom we don’t know can actually hurt the feelings of those of us who have lost people actually close to us. It is a very special and generous sentiment, and I appreciate it, however:

As encouraged as I am by her sensitivity and concern for others (and I would say that maybe losing an icon — or ten — from one’s extended world is… yes — not as painful, per se, as losing a direct family member or intimate friend) — I feel the death of heroes is a somewhat traumatizing event on a significant cognitive and visceral level — because it shows us how old we are getting… and how we have to adjust to a new world… that maybe we don’t relate to as readily.

I know that the deaths of Neil Armstrong, Scott Carpenter, John Glenn… and then the scare we had with Buzz — as well as the deaths of David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Leonard Nimoy and Carrie Fisher meant something deeply personal to me — insofar as the world I was a part of (and could have shared with a future paramour — or with young people) has become a little less populated and real. And this means I am more alone, insofar as “heroes” in my midst have disappeared.

You’ll understand more intimately, perhaps, when some of those icons important to your worldview (besides the ones that I’ve mentioned — maybe ones I don’t really know much of?) disappear….

Talking with Women

This is tongue-in-cheek, and not meant to be a serious psychological, philosophical or political opinion.

Is it just me, or is it difficult talking to women in a way that it isn’t usually difficult talking to most men — especially those with whom we have some kind of relationship (in family or love)? In such situations it is as if reason, listening and personal interest (ours) do not count as they would in the outside world.

This is only a sample conversation, but it’s indicative of the kind of phenomena I have experienced — talking mostly with women — more than with men– on many occasions.

My Mother: The coffee machine is broken.

I: Can we get it fixed?

My Mother: It doesn’t heat up.

I: Yes, I see.

My Mother: Use the Kurig.

I: Thanks, Ma, but as you know, I don’t like coffee that’s been filtered through boiling plastic. (Thus my behavior in using the Japanese tea strainer to filter the coffee coming out of the French Press — rather than letting it go through the plastic grill on top.)

My Mother: Just don’t go through all of them; they’re expensive.

I: “…”

I: I’ll just get some out; I haven’t been out all day. ( I go to the other room.)

My Mother: Here’s your coffee. (Bringing it into the room where I am  writing this post; and of course, it was made with the Kurig).

TO COME: “Why didn’t you ask if you didn’t know you were unsure?”

Bertrand Russell And God

Good morning:

I would like you to let me share with you just one or two points about a book I’m reading, by Bertrand Russell.

Russell was a British philosopher writing the book I am reading at a time when things Christians don’t believe today were well-believed or recently let go of by them. That is a monumentally enormous point.

What Russell does–amongst other things–is make you realize that the arguments used a long time ago to prove God, etc., have changed, meaning (as we know) that what is acceptable about God and religion has changed due to intellect; this has the surreptitious effect of showing we make God, not the other way around. That is not his point–or at least wasn’t where I am in the book, right now, but I realized from yet another angle of approach that it’s our story, not His–though Russell doesn’t say that, per se. It’s consequential and deductible from the reading. He suggests it, or you glean it reading his debunking of old standard arguments for the proof of a god.

Russell isn’t heavy-handed. He does what great philosopher do–like some comedians: he illustrates tracts of reasoning based on observations you realize should be plain to all of us. He gives you “Ah ha!” moments. You find yourself saying, ‘a child could see that; why didn’t I think of it?’

He is funny. He goes into “God is good.” That’s hilarious. But he doesn’t approach it as people often do, with a litany of disasters. He goes into it sort of like ‘good as opposed to what–by what other cause’s standard?’

That’s what I love about philosophers. Like comedians, they are so plainly and obviously insightful where others are stark raving blind that they can deconstruct the arguments “stupid” people take for granted, for lack of looking and caring– either because they wouldn’t even know to look or because they are afraid to.

The important aspect about philosophers and scientists is this: they approach their subjects out of honest and sincere naivte and innocence in a spirit if good nature. The fact that they come to conclusions religious people don’t like is a fact about the religious people, not about they who are the challendging philosophers and scientists; they don’t set out to hurt anyone or to aggrandize their situations, but rather their deeds indicate they are the epitome of lives utilizing free speech and free thought–to better the world and our misunderstanding of it.

These are some of the topics Russell covers on the existence of a god:

The First Cause Arguement

The Natural Law Arguement

The Arguement from Design

The Moral Arguements for Deity

The Arguement for The Remedying of Justice

Other chapters:

The Character of Christ

Defects in Christ’s Teaching

And more….

Keep in mind this book was written in 1927. That fact stands to illuminate the debate raging now among prominant American, European and Muslim-American and Muslim-European intellectuals.

I first read Russell when I was nineteen. I am glad to be reading him, again. You should be enjoying this amazing thinker, too. His work is rather essential:

‘Why I Am Not A Christian’ by Bertrand Russell could do you and the world a lot of good, because you matter. That’s why he wrote it.