If Only

Do we really understand why it is that societies and cultures in which women are respected as equals tend also to be cultures that are far less prone to start wars, whether of the Putin kind or the Muslim wars, both built on endless lies, a key characteristic of cowards.

Isis

Isis

ISIS (hiding their face just like their oppressed women)

ISIS (hiding their face just like their oppressed women)

One could of course argue that males who have no regard for women, even treating everything female with contempt (often out of fear of the female, even within themselves), that these men are to be blamed for the whole thing, that war, violence, oppression thing that they have to strut in order to kill and die feeling like a man. The problem with that all too frequent interpretation and accusation is that it still disrespects women, acting as if all the power is in the hands of the almighty men.

What if we respected women enough to ask that they take responsibility for their side of the bargain. Not acting as an equal, when one patently is, allowing others to treat us with contempt, to be condescending toward us, to wait for them, the males, to change, to point the accusing finger only at them, is no better than to excuse one’s action with the all too common “I only did what I was told, therefore I am innocent.”

The Goddess of Wisdom

The Goddess of Wisdom

If it is true that wars and violence are more likely in societies where women do not insist, as men do, that they be treated with the respect one deserves as an equal, then one may well ask to what extent women are responsible for all the violence and the horrors of war. Not in order to transfer the responsibility from one gender to the other, but in order to insist that all human beings must treat each other as of absolute, incomparable value (as Immanuel Kant already argued).

In the Name of Him, the Lord

In the Name of Him, the Lord

A start is of course that we laugh at and ridicule all men who promote a social order in which women are inferior. Arguing with them, trying to convert them is giving them far too much credit. They should be the laughing stock of our world-wide community, including all religions that preach such insane inequality. And never mind “religious tolerance”: a stupid farce which insists on a subservient role for women is not worthy of the name religion.

But we should also learn to laugh at the dangerous stupidity that bows down to such burlesque performances of sanctimonious males. They, the women are equally ridiculous, just as they become equally worthy of our respect when they assume their rightful place as equally responsible human beings.

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Resistance is Futile

and ascended to heaven

and ascended into heaven

We are told, today, that the 2nd test of the American “Advanced Hypersonic Weapons” (AHW, to say it more quickly) has failed. There was an explosion before its time, a preemie. Obviously AHWs still need TLC in the incubators of mass destruction. If you have not been  introduced to these new babies, they are supposed to deliver their fully loaded diapers to any part of the world in at most one hour,  and that without having to go into orbit over the whole thing, thereby potentially becoming prey to the latest ABM shields (diaphragms, if you will) that keep spawning ICBMs from their successful egg hunts. AHWs promise to get past such diaphragms by sneaking underneath them so fast that they surprise even the most virtuous virgin territory. To his own the Lord gives it in their sleep, said Mary.

"Peacekeeper" Missile

US “Peacekeeper” Missile

Now, it is said, of course, that China and Russia are already well on their way with developing such artificial insemination. They could get into ours before we could get into theirs. In the meantime, the formerly esoteric science and technology of building ballistic missiles, so esoteric that only Nazis could build a V1 rocket, has become so wide-spread that even Hamas and the North Koreans, who cannot even figure out how to feed their own few people, are procreating such ballistic missiles at ever increasing rates, with a lot of “mine is bigger than yours.”

Nano Borg inside of human blood stream

Nano Borg, for insertion into human blood stream

It would, of course, be naive to propose that the US not participate in this competition for pride-and-joy offspring. The bitch is in heat and someone is going to do her first. The race is on. The next turn in the spiral of outdoing the Joneses – in the best and fastest way to kill people on the other side of the globe and hopefully soon here at home – (unused AHWs could do wonders for local police and their pride and their manhood), I say, the next turn in this wondrous spiral is of course inevitable. As the “Borg” said in Star Trek: “Resistance is Futile”! Only, we are not faced by some aliens, we are faced with the apparently inescapable hormonal forces of spermatic weapons system fighting endlessly for sole dominance.

V1 Puny Weapon of Cowardly Nazis

V1 Puny Weapon of Cowardly Nazis

It used to be who had the biggest bang, banging was a popular dream. Now it is who can ejaculate so fast that nobody knew what happened, it being too late to hear anything, not even sounds of futile protest. It is inevitable. We are so incredibly smart when designing ever more complicated, artificial extensions of our small appendages, but we apparently are too fatally, utterly dumb to start using birth control against these internalized systems that have long made it impossible for us to regain any sense of control. We are no longer in charge, the weapons systems have invaded our humanity like alien hormones. The next AHWs are already guiding our minds, bodies, and souls, as we blindly fumble to be there first. Never mind if it all kills us, second.

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The Truth is Bad

A question we may ask of people who have not been properly introduced is: “What is more important to you, the difference between bad and good or the difference between true and false?” Surely, an innocent question, of the kind children might want to ask, but in our world much hinges on the answer.

The unfortunate reality is that people from all walks of life tend to believe that if something has been declared good or bad, then it follows that any argument to the contrary cannot be true. Since most moral, religious and ideological dogmas judge good and evil first and ask questions later, if permitted, any argument that would undermine their moral judgements are patently false, even before they can get their first word in.

Which is where gut feelings come in. If our intestines tell us that something is bad, then such gut feelings obviously are to be protected against all heresy. If our gut tells us that something is good, then calorie, salt and sugar analysts are traitors, heretics, obvious liars.

stuffed with goodness

stuffed with goodness

Given how much the guts of our citizen have swollen in size, world wide, it is no wonder that there is so much more gut feeling going around in the world. Fat citizens do not question the hand that feeds them: they are loyal patriots and faithful followers unto death. There is something lean about the truth, and isn’t the devil a lean, shifty fellow?

If instead we were to insist that the distinction between what is true and what is false is more important than anything else, then any claims about what is good and what is bad would have to be subjected to the daylight of rational debate – and that obviously would be bad politics.

Where would we end up if ordinary citizens could ask if it is true that lying is only bad if the other fellow does it? When people are now posturing in loud condemnations of the lies of the Russians, do we need to be reminded of all the lies that Western Governments have told in recent history, from those about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to those about the NSA not spying on American citizens? Of course, the American lies were in the service of goodness, never mind how many innocent bystanders were killed and are suffering in the process.

La Vérité "Truth" by Jules Joseph Lefebvre

La Vérité “Truth” by Jules Joseph Lefebvre

Perhaps it is time for Western democracies to focus on having the guts to find out the truth, getting back to the enlightenment, the rational roots of democracy. Too many Western politicians have started to sound like ideologues in totalitarian societies, including religious dictatorships.

Unfortunately, so much of our society would have to be rebuilt from the ground up, if we really wanted to put the truth first, even at such levels as gender politics, educational authority, advertising, and the very way we think about persons as beyond all comparative value. And such a rebuilding would feel like hitting below the belt to the majority of our fellow citizens. We talk about “the naked truth,” but then being naked is immoral, especially for the truth.

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Bagging

friended

friended

The Bagging-Book

The Bagging-Book

 

Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.’”

Got another set of those annoying “invitations” in my email junk box, from people wanting me to join their FacelessBook web services, most driven, of course by the world-wide plague of increasing consumption through advertising or, worse, the insane addiction to popularity contests.

Just for you...

Just for you…

Why do so many human beings want to bag one another like trophies?

"Want some, Honey? I do everything!"

“Want some, Honey? I do everything!”

How did this social disease become so contagious?  “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (same book as first quote)

Imagine the World Health Organization declaring “Bagging’s Disease” one of the most dangerous communicable diseases of modern times, contributing to depersonalization, addictive behavior, as well as ever escalating patterns of consumption and sectarian violence.

Doormat-bagger

Doormat-bagger

Give us your children and become one us

Give us your children and become one us

Imperialism is said to have had its day, although Russia, China, and militant Middle East religions are doing their best to revive it in its crude military form. However, conquering as many as possible, mind, body and soul, is not only not dead, it is taking ever more massifying forms, until you are no longer anyone until you have become linked in to one chain or another.

Every promise imaginable is made to get you to become part of a pyramid scheme, from entrance to the Vatican to having the most envied set of silicon paraphernalia protruding from you laptop or your own chest, “24/7.”

1537 Bordello

1537 Bordello

The vicious cycle of bagging fellow human beings is not that difficult to understand: once I have been conditioned to be one of the bagged, once I am no longer anybody unless I have twittered and face-booked my identity to the numbers game, then I will have nothing left but to try to overcome this emptiness by feeding it with more and more popularity indicators. Unable to communicate with others what we as persons are doing together, we join the party of who-knows-whom and who-has-done-whom. Let’s get into the thick of it, drunk on brawls, so we no longer have to feel the urge to become ourselves.

Proudly Branded

Proudly Branded

What's your Brand

What’s your Brand

Of course, many of us know that this is going on. But as with most addictions, it’s easy to recognize the silliness-unto-death that we have habituated ourselves to, it is quite another to extract ourselves from being a link in an endless web of chains that free us from ourselves.

How many have you bagged today?

 

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A Con-Descending

the privilege to be stepped on

the privilege to be stepped on

There is a certain pleasure in playing with people who insist on being condescending. Every good con is based on convincing others that the perpetrator is something he or she is not. Some sort of superiority is usually part of the bargain, whether superiority in helplessness and suffering or superiority in being gifted, endowed, or simply irresistible.

The insatiable, forever emerging market of such condescending people is usually well stocked with opportunities for making them believe that we are actually falling for their gambit. To consistently bow down with awe before a puffed-up authority figure, an ever so irresistible beauty or an enviably impressive nouveau riche soon establishes a reality in their empty heads, which becomes so much part of their expectations that they begin to believe their own con.

How lucky they are to see me like this!

How lucky they are too see me like this!

It is always fair to make fun of those who bank on being superior beings, especially since all we really are making fun of, here, is their pretentious exterior, their masks and clothing, as well as their demeaning demeanor.  We should not hesitate to declare our infinite admiration, love, awe, and humble respect for those who have become victims of their own buffoonery. Perhaps this game is one of the first we should teach our children, well before they can become believers, or worse, give into the temptations of descending from up high, themselves.

It is, after all, nearly impossible to imagine a world in which everyone pretends to be no more than who they are. But playing with that delightful dream can be an enjoyable interlude, now and then.

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Full of Hollow

In the Know

In the Know

To be really real, emotions should be like bubbles, straight out of the bottle: all outside and nothing but hot air on the inside. As a psychologist friend of mine used to say to me: you need to learn to feel anger. So I huffed and I puffed and out came a full-blown, publicly identifiable bubble of anger. About what? Who cares! I was living up to standard!

Now I know what I am

Now I know what I am

Indeed, whole armies of psychologists, fresh out of bootcamp or with years of experience in popping bubbles, sustain themselves by helping people achieve self-realization by expressing you-know-whats. Anger is anger, grieving is grieving, love is love, and co-dependency is co-depency (unless one party pays for it, of course). Headlines for the press!

turned on to full stereotype

turned on to full stereotype

The most economical form of this empty-headedness is the popular “I am really turned off by this” and “I am really turned on by that.” A person reduced to an engine that is turned off and on by external keys. What more do we need to know? There is nothing else that we could know. Emotional self-stereotyping helps people deal with each other as they deal with their kitchen appliances. We know  where our on and off switches are and hum right along when someone else does it to us; or else sit quietly on the counter, waiting to fit into the emotional scheme of things, according to easily learned instruction manuals. Ours is not to reason why because the detail is in the devil.

Emotional Gas Station: fill her up

Emotional Gas Station: fill her up

Good Sport

Good Sport

Kicking soccer balls for national euphoria or shame is as wonderful for hollowing out emotional content as is kicking cut-off heads of infidels. Let a few brave uniformed souls do or die for us, so that we can all bubble over or blubber with you know what. And let no one  take time out with any poetic intricacies of unique individuals in unrepeatable experiences. Let the noise makers out-blare the yelling of the anonymous masses and let’s all join in blind stupor. Noise as massive victory over symphony. Explosions of all kinds as the answer to personal and interpersonal potential for intricacy. Now there is something for the media to blow bubbles with, image after image, empty-headed headline after empty-headed headline. Blessed are the vacuous.

And you are either with us or against us, no more needs to be understood or felt. And don’t be a spoil-sport, while gladiators of emotions are fighting it out for us, while our feelings unreel in forever repeated, predictable loops, turned on as we gather at the river of refuse.

 

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Gods of War

Heaven

Heaven

Looking at the rejuvenated spirit of murder, mayhem, and vicious cruelty that feeds the newspapers’ front pages, the coffers of the arms industry and the collection plates of all kinds of parasitic organizations, one may have to remind oneself of two simple explanations offered by Bertrand Russell:

“The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell” (and war).

It is written...

It is written…

and: “Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.”

Indeed, one may want to add to this: “If there is no other reason to go to war, invent a god who commands it.” Imagine the desperation of the Sunnis and the Shiites, if they could no longer claim that Allah told them to kill. What would they do with all their surplus killer stupidity? Like the Catholics and Protestants, the Buddhists and Hindus, etc., etc., they would be unable to justify their uncontrollable impulse to kill, rape and pillage, unless of course they became  sophisticated enough to erect, instead, altars to the gods of capitalism, democracy, communism, etc.

If you really love God

If you really love God

There has to be an altar for someone, even in order to kill one’s own offspring, as Abraham or God-Almighty were religious enough to demonstrate. Perhaps it is time to admit that the most prevalent cause of war is not religion, but that war is the most prevalent cause of religion.

Religion and ruthless virtue, even the virtues of the ever-so-innocent gender warfare, are the most unassailable bastions of power for those who want to assail others.

And the most hated enemies to such warriors are not, first and foremost, other “God-fearing” warriors serving other gods, but those nasty bastion-crumbling people who introduce thinking into the picture. Warriors who do as they are told, even those who quote chapter and verse of “revolutionary” fighter gods, are good adversaries: “let’s kill each other in good faith, obediently.”

Mars: the only honest god

Mars: the only honest god

There is a reason why societies which no longer appeal to gods of any kind are also the cultures that no longer believe in “justifiable killing.” If we can no longer explain our passive/aggressive paths by appeal to “higher authority,” we very soon have to start thinking on our own, and then there is no longer a reason for condemning others to death and suffering, for dismissing the lives of others as trash.

Somewhere at the roots of Western society, especially also at the roots of the long-gone American spirit of political tolerance, there is the firm conviction that religion can never be a justification for any kind of violence. Perhaps, the shift in America to allowing religion back on the podium of political rhetoric is one of the main causes for the current escalation of religious violence all over the world. Once stupidity is given the name “God,” its power spreads faster and with more devastating ruthlessness than any other known epidemic.

 

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And do not lead us into temptation

Two Buffoons: Putin and Berlusconi

Two Buffoons: Putin and Berlusconi

Perhaps nothing is more destructive to the spirit of democracy and to friendships than the need to feel superior. The wise have no use for being looked up to nor for looking down on those who are different. It is the unfortunate mark of those who battle their hidden sense of inferiority that they dismiss, judge, despise not only what is different but also what is just like them. There is no end to their addiction to derision.

Obviously...

Obviously…

Unfortunately, confronting these dismissive people, directly, rarely has any other effect than to harden their stance, to make them even more aloof and destructive toward genuine relations with other living beings. If there is ever a good subject for comedy, it is the easily inflated ego of the buffoon. However, while on the theater stage it is quite harmless to puff up the already disproportioned ego of a simpleton, in real life such megalomaniacs not only do not see the humor of these strategies, they are so blind to their comical role that they hear nothing but confirmations that they are infinitely lovable, praiseworthy, powerful, awesome, beautiful, irresistible, geniuses, etc., etc., etc..

... irresistible

… irresistible

Having swallowed the hot air, they then start to lash out not only at those who doubt their superiority, but then also try to use every opportunity to prove their enviable prowess, and they isolate themselves from all genuine human interactions by assuming that people cannot help but be attracted to them (like flies to a dungheap?). Many a slightly attractive young woman and many a semi-strong, macho man have thus turned into the scourge not only of the people around them, but also of their own humanity.

Perhaps we should more often resist the temptation to play on the vulnerabilities of these comical superior beings?

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π-ning and depression

The NY Times today ran a headline “British Bank Regulators Pine to Win a Big Case.”

escape into  the poetry of numbers

escape into the poetry of numbers

Pining is not what it used to be. In historical periods during which women had strong cultural influences, pining was more or less de rigueur, if a man wanted to declare his infinite love. (Women were more binary even then, yes or no, and not much etc.)

We do know that pining is related to the irrational, even transcendental number π. To pursue that number to its very end is humanly impossible, although progress toward infinity is being made, or so they say. Some people talk about π in relation to making the square round, the male female, others are more concerned with what cuts right through the embracing circumference to the heart of the matter, in one fell swoop. (The reason we talk about “falling in love” instead of “rising to love” are obvious, in the romantic tradition, since one does not like male directness out of the fullness of physicality, since it does not leave much room for poetry, elegies, etc.)

yummy

yummy

True pining is of course much like Zeno’s First Paradox: Achilles can never catch up with the tortoise because she will alway be one irrational step ahead of him, no matter how close he thinks he gets. The ever smaller digits at the end of the tail of π leave the well-sheltered tortoise untouched, into infinity.

Romantic: A little piglet in one hand, and a big one in the other

Romantic: A little piglet in one hand, and a big one in the other

Such transcendentalism used to work just fine in ages when people were willing to die in Romantic Agony and receive their praises in the afterlife. Today, male pining is doomed, damned if you do and damned if you don’t, doomed to decay in the pine-box. Men who do not pine are said not to really love, and men who do pine are despised as weak, instantly left in the dust by the tortoise. And that leaves the man dead in his tracks and the female depressed, if only because the male can never catch up with her innocent allure. A modern conundrum, based on bad puns, but painfully inescapable.

it's never too late to pine

it’s never too late to pine

What to do? Perhaps some spontaneous love of life could allow the tortoise to turn with pleasure or free Achilles to jump with joy straight over the tortoise, to patiently let her approach him in infinity. It has been done before. Love may not have to die of consumption in sanatoriums to prove that it is sincere, down to the last wavering digit.

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Bad Design

It often seems regrettable that the gods did not place the mouth right next to the ear. That way nobody else would have to pretend to listen or feel like an intruder when they try to respond.

~

~

~

no-man’s land

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~

~

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The Good Deeds Dance

When I was a student, a businessman from Texas once asked me if I would help him get rid of an old desk, too rickety to be of any use, but too heavy to move by himself. Since he did not know where to dump it, I offered to store it in my little barn. We did, and he pulled out a little black book, commenting that he likes to keep notes of who owes him a favor, since he had just given me a free desk.

Lust for Good Deeds: the naked and helpless

Lust for Good Deeds: the naked and helpless

It is amazing how often, in interpersonal or professional relations, the parties tend to have a quite different view of who has been generous or helpful or forgiving toward whom. Quite often the interpretations can flip back and forth rapidly. For example, some of my students may come, initially, into my office gratefully accepting the honor of my making time for them. However, the minute I express interest in what they want to discuss they not infrequently shift to the attitude that they are doing me a favor, for having brought up the topic. I usually thank them in the end, with quiet amusement, for their willingness to participate in an interesting discussion, following Nietzsche’s dictum that it is more blessed to receive from the weak than to burden them with our generosity.

A good argument could be made that many troubles in our world could be prevented if the power struggle over who did whom a favor could be diffused, into simple acts of balanced friendship or mutually beneficial collaboration, keeping in mind even Goethe’s proverb: “those give best who give us something to do.”

Foreign policy and military ventures often suffer from the same good deeds dance. Do Iraq and Afghanistan owe the US, especially the Cheney/Bush government a favor, or is this lingering Good Samaritan project more related to “… the last refuge of a scoundrel,” on all sides? If the latter were the case, then it may conger up images of bedfellows, with some perversions. (How many people in the world-wide military/industrial complex and the news media must be grateful to Putin these day for his laying military bets in the Ukraine poker game, after an all too long lull.)

Make them poor so that you can "Give Back"

Make them poor so that you can “Give Back”

Perhaps our standard operating procedure should be based on: “if you need to receive favors or give favors, let’s both go our separate ways. If we find that we both want to do something together, let’s jump on the chance, enthusiastically and with shared excitement, or look for something better to do with someone else.”

Even God has that problem. Did he do us a favor by “having to” kill his son for our sins, or was he, too, in search of an evil empire so that he could sacrifice his own son for a good cause? If we do not know what to do with ourselves, let’s invent a Devil, an Empire of Terror, and honor that creation with endless speeches, until people start to join that fearful thing and we now have good cause for good deeds. – That’s so much better than only fighting pleasures, evil as they are, eternally!

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The Locality Demon

and on the 7th day

and on the 7th day

There is factual evidence for at least one demon, out there. Some joker keeps seducing people into believing that gods and demons are either way out there or not at all. A few tender spirits have suggested, instead, that good gods, like the lusty Zeus, may live in our hearts. But the most successful propaganda continues to insist that the origins of reality reside in other worlds. Rumor has it that this victorious demon resides on the far side of Mars, the god of war, who surely does not come from within us.

even the tongues should stop wagging

even the tongues should stop wagging

Scientists and British rationalists keep attacking religion on the grounds that there is nothing out there, in space and time, that one may pray to. Religious leaders help in this conspiracy by insisting that we may only believe in what is beyond us.

This misunderstanding is based on a failure to communicate, to make clear who will be where and when for what purpose, like lovers who thought they had a date with each other and then, finding nobody home, go ballistic.

Even the Lord does not go to church on Sundays, because it is his day of rest.
One might be more likely to find him in bed than in the house where the mice are dancing, on that day, while the cat is gone.

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