The Scent of Pine Before Dying

Waking up as I did this morning with “Shake It Off” in my head, not the least irritated by it, I was forced to come to the conclusion that Taylor Swift is a carrier of Toxoplasma gondii, the bacteria in cat feces that makes mammals such as rodents and humans like cats more and thus become more susceptible to being eaten by them. Slowly but surely, the world will be infected, we will lose our fear, we will be devoured.

It all begins to make sense when you find out the actual real true factoid that Taylor Swift was raised on a Christmas Tree farm. Note also that she is blonde, attractive as only a Dark Crystal gelfling can be (in that way that Elijah Wood was good-looking for a hobbit), and at 5’10” is quite tall for a “girl.” Given the stated fact that she also contains bacteria that makes you like her and that somehow I can discern that she smells of pine through my computer monitor, and only one, perfectly cogent theory emerges: Swift is a wood elf of the genus Douglas Fir. Elves, you see, like their dark counterpart Orcs, are born from the trees of the forest they inhabit. Taylor Swift is a sentient Christmas Tree. It makes everything make sense, really.

We will be devoured.

Beware All Those Angels with Their Wings Glued On

In a world where nothing White People do is cool and everything they take from other cultures turns to expensive but worthless dust, the only sane recourse was to cover oneself in the things one hated and watch them righteously rot to uncoolness upon you. Irony became currency. What you destroyed became an identity composed of negative space. What you wore was what you’d never wear. What you left untouched was what you truly loved, the names you left unspoken, that girl you’d never talk to, and critique was the sincerest form of flattery. To loathe something was to love it, and we loathed everything but ourselves. The Hipsters united. We came to gentrify the impure. To corrupt and dilute the sincerely weak things within ourselves, and leave behind a smouldering crater where White Culture once ubiquitized. In this, it would become a culture once more. Because ubiquity is invisibility, and nothing unseen can be cool.

A Reply to Yet Another Comment Arguing Science and Religions Are Contradictory Not Complementary

This idea that all religions behave the same and all need “faith” as an integral component set at opposition to facts is a fallacy based on the behavior of the Western religious and on fundamentalist politics around the world. Faith is about believing in the ultimate good of a philosophical journey, such as and including the quest for knowledge through the scientific method, and faith that things may be “known” indeed at all. Faith is not the opposite of facts; it is the bedrock of will upon which the concept of the fact is built. You have faith in your senses which are proven to lie, because without it you will not get to step 2. Religion is another way of thinking — in metaphor and abstract — about the 58th and the 99th step, far in advance, of what is above and below all levels of human awareness. You may not refute something by first reducing its definition so that it may fit in an easily refutable box. You may, with science, conclude that any and all literal interpretations of current dominant religious mythos are impossible. On that I concur.

Walking with a Crutch Is Limping

I think people are who they are, regardless of religion. I think this from experience. If they are kind, they’d be kind with or without god, and if they are bastards, they’d be bastards. The con of religion is in convincing the good people they’d be bastards if they didn’t believe, and the bastards that they’d be even worse. Then, you can get anyone to behave like a bastard on command, regardless of temperament, because they think they’re doing better.

Imagine how good a kind, loving devotee would be if she confronted that the people she helps are one day going to stop existing, and that we’re all we have? The empathy of it. Sometimes I contemplate it and it feels as though I am made entirely of tears.

(I can think of nothing more uniting, nothing more equalizing, than solitude. Think on a brother and sister, realizing their parents aren’t coming. It’s just them, now. Who will care better for either, the rest of their lives? No one. Thus we will only truly know we are brothers and sisters when we stop waiting for a parent to return.)

But does she know also that we are never truly extinguished, simply rearranged? That the universe remembers, and over an infinite timeline, even she may reconstitute in the heart of some faraway star, to unscatter and live this life again? How many times have we made these mistakes? How many will we make again? How many have we already avoided?

Dear Everyone

Dear everyone I’ve ever disliked or had a problem with or been really super mad at or hated in my 34 years on this planet: 

I just want you to know that I’m not angry anymore. Not that it should or does matter to you, but in case it does. In case you’re still holding a grudge only because you’re sure I am. In case you aren’t holding a grudge but are afraid to interact with me because you think I am. In case you’re interpreting my lack of presence at events as some sort of “message”: it’s not. I quite often just can’t show up to things. Sometimes it’s because I’m doing 8 other things and like most people, I tend to stay around the people I see most often rather than reaching out to old friends and acquaintances, especially people who may still dislike me.

Mostly it’s just because every so often — especially if I don’t know who’s going to be at a function or have an exact layout of what’s going to happen — I can’t get myself to leave the house at all. I huddle on a couch by myself and rewatch a show about people who don’t have social anxieties or who overcome them and have the same set of friends over 10 years or so. I try to get myself to stop thinking hateful thoughts about myself. I try to unwind the knot I am, so I can go out some other time. You know–just like you.

A Sunset Without a God

I commented this on a page I’m a part of, where some high-minded intellectuals were mocking one of those pictures where a Christian holds up a sign questioning atheism. In this cast, the question was: “How do you explain a sunset if there is no God?” On the surface, this seems like a stupid question… But really, only if you presume the person asking it is stupid because they dare question you. Here is a paraphrase of my comment + a reply to someone’s retort who was continuing to misapprehend it:

“This is what happens when people only use one side of their brain to view reality. I refer both to this woman’s question, which seems to fundamentally misunderstand what no God implies, and the responses, which seem to misunderstand just what question ‘God’ answers.

Her question does not imply she doesn’t know the earth revolves around the sun — it implies that without a God, there is no Reason for something so beautiful and perfect to exist. She just can’t comprehend why there would be a sunset if no one crafted it. And the idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun is not a Reason. It is the cause of an effect, but not a capital ‘R’ Reason.

In this context, Reason implies will & mind, and it’s the only way some people comprehend the things around them. It’s a reality filter, if you will, just like viewing the world as a causal chain also is. People like this woman cannot conceive of a thing without the will of something else to put it there. To live in a rudderless universe isn’t something they can wrap their brain around, and I will admit that I didn’t get just how beautiful the revelation of it could be. That all this is, and possibly ever was, and with cause, but without Reason, is not, in fact, terrifying, but beautiful.

I believe in both. The reconciliation of the opposites–the world is both conscious and vacant, depending entirely upon where one is standing and how one interprets the data. No religion is correct, and science, while correct, is not the complete picture, nor can it ever truly be. It can only address the “how,” not the “why” of things. Because “why” is an abstract question meant to be contemplated, not answered.

(Here is where a commenter retorted, saying science answers plenty of why’s such as why the sky is blue, etc.)

You’re not answering the same “why.” The scientist tells you why the paint is blue. Only Monet can tell you why his sky is blue.

This fundamental difference in what the question means is the source of the entire disagreement. You cannot answer a philosopher’s question with a fact. You simply cannot. The only answer to a philosopher’s question is more thought. An answer is where thought ceases. The problem comes from both religion and science trying to answer the unanswerable. The point of “God” as a concept is to continue thinking about the infinite and thus expand one’s mind. As the purpose of lifting weights is not to put them on a high surface, but to grow stronger. The point of science is to answer the answerable, know the knowable, and probe the infinite. There, the point is the journey, and to continue answering forever, where the former is to continue questioning.

You cannot answer a philosophical “why?”, but the point is–and the one they’ve forgotten or have been tricked into never knowing–is that they cannot, either, and that the answer was never the point of it all.”

TL;DR — You’re wrong about everything, you’ve been lied to, please shut up.

Some clarifications to pass along to your friends, or if I was Bill Maher, I might call them New Rules. But I’m not, cuz he’s getting weirdly racist. 

1. You don’t get to whinge about the 2nd Amendment or how they’re coming to take your guns away if you were all for the Patriot Act, which essentially negates the 4th Amendment and allows them to literally, physically enter your home and take your guns–and any other property they see fit.

2. The Death Penalty has been proven to not be a deterrent, cost more than imprisonment for life, and to in many cases increase violent crime. Abortion has a verifiable connection to violent crime drops. See, the only real prevention of crime is not making more criminals, whom are usually raised by people who didn’t want them or knew they weren’t ready. Before you get all huffy — I’m not saying you should abort fetuses to prevent crime. I’m saying if you’re pro death penalty and pro life, well, you’re not only ethically inconsistent; you’re more accurately describable as pro-crime.

3. The kid was arrested for a bomb HOAX, not for making a bomb. Which…he might be guilty of. I mean, he didn’t build a clock. He gutted a digital clock and built it into a suitcase. Who makes a suitcase clock? No one. Remember being a kid? He may, indeed, have wanted to make a clock that resembled a bomb. Then–his teacher reported it, because, well, because he was Muslim. I don’t think he should’ve been arrested, and the principal would’ve called his parents if it was a white kid. But he also isn’t some little innocent genius to celebrate. He’s a dumb kid who did a stupid thing and then the school reacted racistly and too harsh. But schools have been expelling kids for tiny plastic water guns and shit for years now. Stop making things special. They statistically aren’t.‪#‎ImSittingTheFuckDownAndYouShouldChooseBetterThingsToStandFor‬

4. Once again, I reiterate — the Wage Gap has been misrepresented and tossed around without context. Men do not make more in the same job with the same experience. Masculine work is paid more than feminine work, and the effects of women in the workplace take time. It’s going to be a bit before we see the bump in math and science work after generations of brainwashing, and testosterone drives men towards life-risking work. That will balance out, too, as robots start doing more shit for us that we shouldn’t have been doing. Also, the number will shrink even more with things like Paternity leave, which while it seems to only benefit men on the surface, has been shown to increase male participation in household upkeep AND deletes the advantage of hiring men for an employer, that of them not having to worry about losing that employee for a year.

More than anything, the real question the wage gap begs to be asked is why are “feminine” jobs (teaching, secretarial, nursing, etc.) and jobs that are high-risk and have a more equal distribution of gender (police, EMT) so UNDERVALUED and UNDERPAID? There’s a feminist cause I’m adamant about. I think at a certain point, continuing to think only of our own kind freezes progress. There is a threshold of progress we can only cross with compassion to the enemy. The last step of feminism has to be helping men, and a lot of invisible effects will fix the remaining gender inequality. At some point, race will reach a crisis point where the only way to equality will be blacks helping poor whites. Otherwise, the last remnants of racism will hold forever. I wish I could explain this better. I wish I could make you see. Oh well. Whatever. Never mind.

Have a good night, internet. I promise I’ll never proselytize again, until the next time.

Why Big Societies Need Big Gods

I love that they’re doing this kind of research into religion and have been calling for it for years. Science has no idea the origins of it or its purpose, mostly because scientists tend to be the kind of people who need things to be lesser than themselves rather than greater.

All that said, I think they’re putting the cart before the horse, as it were. I’d have to look at their process, but I think stories, myths, religions, etc. are subconsciously modeled after the zeitgeist. Moralistic religion doesn’t make us cooperate, it is the metaphorical representation of our brains and our society’s mobility towards universal morality. The Matrix didn’t create the internet, the Internet created The Matrix and helped us swallow our movement into the next Age. Star Wars didn’t cause the World Wars, it helped us move on from them.

Meanwhile, the moralistic, judgmental gods that rule over the afterlife are more an excuse, a moral band-aid covering the gaping wounds in our morality where bankrupt decisions and compromise has been necessary to progress. “Yes, we waged war and conquered other nations, but in His name.” In reality, war may be the natural way to unify the moral code so that we may move forward. On a smaller scale, religion is often quoted as the source of morality, but all I ever see is religious people convinced there would be murder or riots in the streets without it and atheists with objectively better behavior and higher regard for life. I think those that kill on smaller scales similarly use religion as a crutch and excuse for their behavior. It is no coincidence that most serial killers will have one religious fixation or another. Playing god is very attractive to them.

For one who believes in an afterlife that is kind to the decent and cruel to the wicked, life can never truly be precious. If I murder a man, Sky Daddy will put him where he belongs and give me my comeuppance if I acted unjustly. No crimes can ever truly be committed where there is destiny, an afterlife, and a judge for both. It is the ultimate whitewashing of the crimes needed to build a society — for every utopia is someone else’s dystopia, and every civilized country sways and trembles upon the lacerated backs of slaves. The myths help us to reconcile the two fundamental forces in our world, by re-codifying them in the distracting, false dynamic of Good vs Evil, when in reality it is Empathy and Survivalism struggling but working in concert to allow nations and governments and organized religions to form. These tales can only properly be told once the change has already happened.

Change the Channel

Change the channel, walk away from the discussion, don’t play that game, don’t get gay married, don’t read that book, don’t have sex if you think that’s your only option, don’t get an abortion, don’t go to the mosque, don’t believe in god, believe in god, don’t eat meat, eat meat, don’t wear revealing clothes, wear revealing clothes, but don’t tell anyone else to behave as if your life is the exact life that everyone else should have, don’t tell anyone else what to do unless it’s these words: “Don’t tell me what to do, don’t do anything to me I don’t consent to, or at the very least, let me fucking walk away when you’re being a dick.” PC is the same as banning books and burning CDs. Just because your political team does it doesn’t make it right.

Schrodinger’s Grief: A Self-destructive Free Verse That’s Both Utterly True and Completely Made Up

In one way, I am a rational man — I give tribute to no gods, I sully no altars, I believe in the silent evanescence of the soul back to the churning engine of entropy upon the body’s demise. No mansions await us, no Santa Claus to mind our sins & reward us for inaction. Just we, the people, our social contracts, hurtling through an endless night, huddling for warmth.

In another way, however, I believe Them — these things that no one thinks are true. That a spell can nudge Schrodinger’s Cat into or out of its grave, that dark matter gets more real the longer you observe it, and more malicious the longer it observes us back, and that Hiroshima may have killed the dinosaurs. I believe that the dark, secret things we have done for the breadth of the human reign may well have been working — the sacrifices and the tributes, the prayers and the incantations — but not for nearly as simple of reasons as we thought. How the old man learns what he knew as a child, but comes to it differently… Wisdom is doing what the ignorant do, but knowing why, and being responsible for the consequences.

I believe that at some point years ago, I loved someone who was supposed to die. Who did die, in point of fact. But, with some advanced meddling, the power of the dead, the power of the moment in the trajectory of my life and thus all whom I touch — I was able to make a deal to reverse it. All it took was a little fudging of the books, a scrubbing of the timeline so that she turned left when we thought she’d turned right: in the end, the excuse for the missing time sounded like the interference from gremlins some Naval ensign might have reported centuries ago. We had assumed them dark forces, but I now know they might be saving lives just as well — nudging the Cat out of the box, as no one says.

The price, of course, was her. This ended the event much the same, which is why it was palatable to Fate — I was meant to lose her, as a part of my journey. But it was not the same at all, in the end, after all. A dead girl cannot truly haunt you. She can linger in your thoughts, but fades with years, until the remembering itself becomes forgetting. But a live girl — now there’s a ghost. Flitting in and out of existence, far away but nearer somehow in the moments I’ve forgotten, and completely real when she recurs — the lost, distant look of what could have been, what never would have been, what was taken from us and yet what I gave away, caught in the cobwebs of her eyes.

Despite the altruism of my motivations, I feel as though I robbed us. Like a fool I thought death the worst of fates, and staved it off with backdoor dealings, but in the end I, not Death, was the thief. Like a superhero or a solar deity, her death’s tenor was torn from her, overshadowed by an ill-conceived, reckless resurrection, and now she floats about free of fate, something not so lovely as it sounds. In the meanwhile, maybe I got to dally about with my destiny for an extra decade or so, while thanks to my bargaining, my mourning never quite moved out of denial. In the past year, I have been angry, I have been depressed. Today I hope to shuffle to acceptance.

I’ve still ended up with a live love, a true love, and a healing one, the one that would make me strong after the suffering. The one that would bring me out of the shadows and into the day. I truly believe the order of events has been preserved. I truly believe I played a hand in how. The half of me that believes in things, of course.

All of this is to say — half of me has a foot in the observable universe, and the other half speaks only in metaphor. I have met the person that I was always supposed to meet. In another world, I didn’t see her because I was mourning. In another world, my friends dragged me place to place to drag me out of Shiva, and were eventually fed up that I was not over a dead girl whom I only knew a year. This world was much the same, excepting the first girl not being dead, and that every couple of years between the incident and my accepting her death, we would meet up in some public house, talk, and then hold one another for hours without talking, without moving, with neither romance nor lust–huddling for warmth, as it were–and did not know why.

I have moved on, and I love completely. But there are black moments, moments where I neither love another nor lack the love to give, but where my heart gets snagged on a moment and tears when I move it. Where I am a thief who does not deserve to stop lamenting what I’ve done. Where the people I love die, and I must sacrifice them to save them. In these moments, I fail you, and I pull away, though I know it is a falsehood, another world that never happened. These are the moments where I slip between worlds, back to the lonely one before I first saw you — long after we’d met. I promise to nudge them toward the Far Country as soon as faith allows.