Douchebag Alert!

I HATE Ayn Rand.  Hate her.  And all her insane fascist hyper-capitalist followers. 

These guys espouse her philosophy perfectly.  It’s worth a skim, reading the whole thing causes glazed eyeballs.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/09/16/brook.moral.code.outdated/index.html?hpt=T2

It’s important to keep in mind that at the bottom of all these rabid tea-party conservatives are phony academics throwing their intellectual weight around, in the shadows of universities gilded by the financial oligarchy, publishing this garbage and ultimately winning a few victories such as inclusion on CNN.

What douchebags!

I LOVE Science, but we see how its mythos allows indifferent scum like these guys to say:

“Kings and aristocrats were swept aside to make way for the rights of man. This idea gave birth to a new nation, our beloved America, in which the individual was free to think and pursue his own happiness. A new person arose: the industrialist.

Slandered as robber barons, what these individuals actually did was earn fortunes by studying the discoveries of science and commercializing them.

A mind-boggling array of inventions and products ensued: automobiles, oil, radios, antibiotics, refrigeration, electricity, washing machines, air conditioning, indoor plumbing, airplanes and on and on, to our present world of personal computers and cell phones”

Really?  Thanking the industrialist?

If the industrialist had their way we would have a 12 hour 7 day workweek with no minimum wage and no benefits, as it was before the socialists and anarchists encouraged the working class to show solidarity.

He goes on:

 “Ask someone on the street to name a moral hero; if he isn’t at a loss, he’ll likely name someone like Jesus Christ or Mother Teresa. Why? Because they’re regarded as people of faith who shunned personal profit for the collective good. No one would dream of naming Galileo, Darwin, Thomas Edison or John D. Rockefeller.”

He lumps scientists with tycoons, one of the most respected and thoughtful professions with one of the most universally reviled.  What makes science great in no way justifies greed.  The modernization argument is used all the time to exploit, which is one reason we must always distinguish between being modern as a good idea and being modern as an excuse to violate the human rights of the poor.  That is the moral rationale behind imperialism – e.g. it’s ok to kill the natives because they’re “uncivilized” and we are doing them a favor by forcing technology, mercantilism, and industry upon them.

Assholes like this are the brainpower behind the libertarian movement.  Let’s not be fooled.  It’s true we need a radical direction to go in, but while the ultra right has a voice, one will never hear the ultra left in the media.

Unlike what this guy would have you believe, we’ve been living with “profit” as a moral code for centuries now.  Let’s try something else.

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The Grammar Of God

God – controversial.

Some say it is tough to define, but such ambiguity doesn’t stop us from using the word “life.”

No word is an obelisk, except for “obelisk.”

Nothing is concrete, except for “concrete.”

All is in flux.

This flux could be God.  The only thing constant is change.

All that statement says to me is that our grammar builds our logic in ways that are fucking confusing.

So let’s examine the grammar of God.

In scripture, little is actually defined about the Abrahamic God except that he rules all.   God is the undefeatable, all is His Kingdom.  His Word is Final.

Jesus reinterpreted God.  He began with a new definition: God is Love.  The true power of this ubiquitous, undefeatable concept will be unlocked by worshiping love.  Faith in tolerance and brotherhood is in Jesus’ mind an avenue to active philosophy.  With his new perspective he could tolerate and strike against maddening passive institutional forces: nationalism, greed, corruption – the human plague, a curse of our logic and language.

Strange that the most famous preacher of peace has been the ultimate symbol behind so much murder.

God is sometimes said to be all that is eternal.  Some mathematicians believe that the perfection of math is proof of God, others would say that the perfection of math is at best a conjured human fancy.

On a daily basis we talk  of nothings and somethings as though these exist, and they do, as concepts.

But is there truly “nothing”?  How do we attach a word to that which by definition does not exist at all?

Here we see how ambiguities arise in our language constantly, and just as hastily are swept under the rug like dirt.

The same arises with God.

God is everything and nothing.  God is infinite and limited and limitless.

God is the necessary to describe the infinite contingencies.  Does the necessary drive the contingent?  Do the contingencies combine to drive the necessary?  And if one possesses an active force does it one subsume the other?

This is just wordplay, and Philosophers bounced it around for a while until Kant found a constructive way forward, not that he removed the confusion, just reconsidered it.

Where does God as a concept lose it’s usefulness?  When it is used to discourage critical thinking.  As a political tool.  To justify a madman’s action.  To make people feel small.

Sometimes we say: Thank God.  Sometimes we say: God damn it.  God is capitalized.  You could just as easily not capitalize it, but the same could be said for the pronoun “I”.  Is the ego really so important?  Or financial institutions?  Can we really not just write: Gee dan, thank god i made it to wells fargo on time.

Most of communication is cultural habit.  If someone decides he doesn’t want to capitalize a certain word, I applaud that.

Does God exist? What a strange question.

Do I exist? This question is of far more importance in Eastern Philosophy than the question does God exist?

I both exist and I don’t.  In some sense yes and in some sense no.

The same could be said for God, I suppose.

Does the Universe exist?  If the answer is “yes, in all cases” – I see another Obelisk.

No matter how certain we are of things, the words seem to fall apart.

We use them like fishing nets.  You call out “Jessica” and Jessica turns around.

In Wittgenstein’s view, and I tend to agree, words are given meaning only through use.

In the same sense, a scale is created only by playing notes.

We compound words derived from common usage with metaphysical concepts when we ask questions such as: Is God permanent?  What creates this world?

The only answer is that there is no answer.

Another koan, absorbed.

Yet I earnestly believe that the sooner we accept a lack of answers, and the fundamental linguistic nature of the questions, the sooner we can get to action.

Action, like a scale or a word, like true science, exists only in practice.

But is there even such a thing as free will?  Can we choose to act?  Another religious concern.

However, given the void of religions nowadays that satisfactorily describe our modern condition, we look to modern knowledge.

Modern knowledge will always be modern and never be able to answer certain questions.  Rather, it helps us to better hone these questions, and in doing so perpetuates them.

I think maybe if there was a more satisfying viewpoint that helped people to navigate our world as it stands today people could focus on action.

I know these ideas are rarely heard from the “far left” – those that believe in the power of human unity and the oppression of institutional thought.  I don’t know how I got here.

Today God is great, tomorrow God is a bastard, the next day I might say God doesn’t even exist.  Somehow I think my train of thought will be useful to others.

Is there a God?  A trick question.  Wordplay.

Another one – are there truly “laws” of physics, or do we merely describe infinite contingencies as best we can?

Are there “laws” of God?

I think some good commandments would be: Thou shalt Die.

But the infinite will flow through you.

The only answer is that there is no answer.

Thou shalt not be deceived by grammar.  Your decisions cannot be attributed to either outside factors nor your own devised plans.  This direction only brings puzzlement.  Thou shalt consider that it’s perhaps better to consider that decisions will themselves, like an electron.

The best analogy I can make is that consciousness is an instrument of will, our thoughts are the notes behind the scale, and the scale is our personal moral fiber, the values that bring the decision to act.

As I oftentimes say, our morals outweigh our free will.

The only way to control our morals are to control our thoughts, to build a scale.  As for any musician, improvisation and grooving with others will take years of practice.

In his book, The Meaning Of Life: A Very Short Introduction Terry Eagleton looks at many approaches to the meaning of life and concludes that it may be jazz.

Not a bad hypothesis – John Coltrane – Equinox

The priest or the astrophysicist knows no more or no less about God than me or you.  They are deliberately muddling the grammar, and in turn manipulating logic, if they claim one way or the other.

In that sense nobody else decides what you can think, they only offer suggestions.  It is always good to try to mine for new veins of thought, so one has many considerations to draw from.

Is God, the feeling that some claim to have, that they just “know” – closer to a rush of mortality?  Of imminent dissolution?

Perhaps God is all we stand to lose when we die.

Nietzsche famously claimed: God is Dead! – but his subsequent statement is less-famous: Long live God!

If you cast off the biblical God, the expectation is that something will fill the void left behind.

The nature of God is that as soon as you lose one, you find another.  That is what Ghandi meant by “God is the atheism of the atheist.”

God is a beautiful word because it says so much about us.

We revere the insight so greatly that we capitalize its avatar, the word – God.

God is symbolic of our search, our language, our logic, our questions, and possesses a special category in my (flawed) categories of existence, the truly undefined phenomena, that which we can neither prove nor disprove except by building obelisks.

We are here.  Knowledge is most useful for action, action that is in the eye of the interpreter.  How we filter this is again a matter of will.  In ways the most brilliant men, a Jesus or Kant, simply provide new ways of interpreting.

Rarely is it considered that we search just to search, and can stop at any time.

If we were to be content with this non-search, learning to separate practice and philosophy/religion, then we can truly accept one another, think critically and act fluidly.  That is the power of faith.

I know I am not crafting a very reassuring philosophy.  Not the “satisfying viewpoint” I proposed, certainly not the one yearned for in an age that craves satisfaction.  Contentment leading to activity is another raindrop in a storm of contradictions.

But that is the beauty of our world, that is the flux.

Claude Monet – Le Bateau Atelier

(The Boat Studio)

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Stephen Hawking Proves My Point

Here is a quote from Stephen Hawking that illustrates my point about scientists trying to supplant God with word games:

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” Hawking and his co-author, Caltech physicist Leonard Mlodinow, write in “The Grand Design,” which is due to be issued next week. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

What irks me is that Stephen Hawking has become somewhat of a spokesman for the human community.  I can see many atheists that would applaud his statement.

However, examining this statement thoroughly reveals so many holes.

First of all, he has created a new mystical force which we are to accept as omnipotent, Spontaneous Creation.  Spontaneous Creation and the Universe are “God” with a different name.  Of course there is merit in explaining possible origins of the universe, but how can Hawkin not recognize that his quest for a creative force mimics a religious search, except with scientifically palatable terminology.  How can one man be so smart yet so close-minded?

We can see where the atheist movement is spinning its wheels.  It is now in ways as obstinate and outdated as the religions they speak out against.  I see no reason to pit science vs. God (the word and notion).  The same logic weaves through both.

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Ignorance is Bliss?

With all of this ‘Ground Zero’ Mosque bullshit, I think it’s good to take a satirical perspective to get to down to the roots of American xenophobia.

I’ll let ‘The Onion’ do it.. <— Click the Link

Hard Copy of Link:
http://www.theonion.com/articles/man-already-knows-everything-he-needs-to-know-abou,17990/

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, Sarah Palin and Glen Beck are gathering thousands of right-wingers near the Lincoln Memorial.

It is somewhat ironic, given that they are equating their cause (free market fascism) to the civil rights movements of the 60’s.

Palin, an ex-governor, and Beck, a prime-time host on a corporate network devoted to politics, are supposedly railing against the evils of big government.

However, the main focus of their gathering is nominally a focus on a return to religion.

MLK was a man of devout religion, but did not strictly follow sermon.  Christianity provided the rhetoric and morality to attach to his cause.

This is not much different from what Sarah Palin and Glen Beck are proposing, except that they are on opposite, and very real, ends of the political spectrum.

It starts with religion.  The righteousness of Palin and Beck stems from their assumed moral superiority.

I think it is foolish to say Obama isn’t doing enough.  Indeed, he is like the Dutch child with his thumb in the dam.

He is calculating, fighting to merely keep the right from rushing in again while enacting minimal reform.  A country and its fervor cannot go from a Bush to an Obama so painlessly…

The question is if we are truly doing enough.  Obama does his part.  It is up to the left to create new organizations, new logic, even a new religion.

We need to build a mindset that can replace the void left by enforced organized religions – one that we can use as a tool for pacifism, social tolerance, and economic justice.

This project is bigger than any of us.  We cannot be so afraid of the hyper-capitalist inquisition that we forget the greater cause.

Let’s get BUILDING!

“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

Posted in Current Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Moving

We are traveling into a new logic

beyond age, beyond race, beyond gender,

beyond subject, beyond genre,

beyond theism and atheism,

beyond capitalism and socialism,

beyond nation and tribe,

to where?

to where?

to where?

Posted in Active Philosophy | Tagged | 1 Comment

Poetry and Religion

So I was reading reddit.com and a user submitted a photograph of the following religious peom with the title, “Sigh…this was posted on a hallway whiteboard in my office the other day.”

“Almighty God, of majesty high

walked on this earth, and came to die

Bore on his back the weight of our sin

Beaten and bruised, the savior of men

Such love as this, I cannot tell!

He gave me hope, released me from hell

Holy Redeemer, loveth my soul

By his stripes healed, in His blood made whole.”

Then a commenter (luckynumbertwo) on the poem wrote and ‘atheist’ rebuttal:

If by chance You should exist

And pass to me a stone-etched list

Of rules and laws I must abide,

“Then I must cast them all aside.

What fair and moral Maker, good

And true, of holy purpose would

Allow this world to burn and die

Whilst holding His name, proud and high?

I wish to sate my curiosity;

This world has far too much to see –

Is this too great a sin to Thee,

Oh Lord? Enough to burn eternally?

If that is so, then honestly,

You’ll never be the God of me.”

I thought it was a nice poem.

What is interesting is that the atheist seemed to think, ‘Yeah take that!’

However, I think this is exactly the problem with the struggle between believers and non-believers.  They don’t think they can coexist.  Yet when reading each poem, one gets a sense that each person is happy and has good, positive convictions by which they live their own life.  At the end of the day, each person needs to realize that their own ‘poem’ of their belief is their own and that they can coexist.  Why we feel we have to assert our ‘own’ is something we really need to consider

Posted in Quick Ideas, Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments