Archive for category Philosophy

A Little on Philosophy

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope that you are well.

I’ve been reading an essay on Postmodernism lately, and it’s really gotten me thinking. One of the essays that most people point to as being a a major work of postmodern thought is by a French Philosopher named Jean Baudrillard called “The Precession of Simulacra” in which he proceeds to argue that nothing “real” can exist as itself anymore. As soon as other people notice something, they project on whatever it is everything of their own existence, meaning that actual object loses whatever “real” things it had.  He goes on to use the example of the christian god – namely that because there exists a belief structure about this god, this god is essence doesn’t exist. His existence to his believers is that which they project onto him, and regardless of his true existence, nothing can change that.

The god-thing aside, this line of thinking had really got me to thinking. On the face of things, I tend to agree with Baudrillard that we all force things to be what we want them to be rather than what they actually are, and it would follow then that perhaps nothing is “authentic” after-all. We bring our own experiences to bear on anything we interact with and in doing so we change whatever that symbol/object/etc is to each of us.

Just some beginning-of-the-week musings.

until next time,

Jim

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An Atheist Struggles with the Mediocrity of Life

Dearest Readers,

When I decided that atheism was really the direction that my ideas about religion, god, and everything else were leading me, on some level I think I thought that atheism would be a lot easier than the religious faith that I had tried previously. I’m saddened and perhaps a little embarrassed to have thought that now, when I find out that atheism is perhaps an ever more difficult road than religious faith.

You see, dear readers, as an atheist, I can’t simply just give up on any of life’s “big questions.” I can’t just say, “God made it,” or  “That’s the way God planned it.” Instead, I must give thought to questions and seek out answers for questions that seem impossible to really answer. Important note: Impossible to really answer does not in any way shape or form insinuate that the answer is impossible because it lies with some god.

One of the things I’ve been struggling a lot with lately is coming to terms with the reality of life. When I say this, I mean the reality of life in that it isn’t nearly as “great” as perhaps I’d like. That my role in the universe isn’t nearly as central to the grand scheme as I should like to think. The idea that all of my actions, my entire life, means nothing at all to the big picture of Life, is hard to digest. Even things that seem like momentous events in Human history are of no consequence.

Religion helps to take away these realities, providing a false sense of uniqueness and purpose to life. With most religions, there is a supernatural being and he notices you, (either loving or hating) and even if the being hates you, he at least knows you, and this idea makes the believer on some level feel important. The believers actions are thought to mean something, and thus even if life is mediocre at best, it is still perceived as “special” because the deity notices.

some thoughts, dear ones.

until next time,

Jim

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On Capitalism

Dear Readers,

Lately, as I’m sure many of you have also been doing, I’ve been pondering the reality of this system of Capitalism that we have created. I’ve been thinking and wondering about the consequences of Capitalism, how it works in theory and how it works in reality as well

If we as students of such things can hold communism in disdain because it works perfectly in theory but not in practice, can we then hold capitalism in disdain for working too well in practice?

Capitalism at its core is Darwinism to the extreme. Whereas in evolution is it simply the survival of the fittest, in economics, capitalism seeks to utterly destroy all other competition. It’s not that capitalism is inherently bad, it just creates one single and all-important goal that must be reached at all cost. Money. When a system creates one goal for itself and then utilizes everything within its power to achieve it, it’s no wonder that capitalism has put us in the situation we find ourselves in.

It seems great for a while; (baby-boomer era) but then there comes a point when things start to fall apart (now). For more information on this topic, you should, dearest reader, research Ancient Rome.

I must tell you dearest readers, that I fully expect that at some point on my lifetime there will be at the very least a serious national discussion on Socialism and whether or not we should incorporate more and more of its principles into our way of life and do away with some of the principles of capitalism. Capitalism drives risk-taking and with risk-taking there are both the possibility of amazing success as well as the possibility of disastrous ruin. In an era of increased globalization, we cannot take the risk of such disastrous ruin which would (see what’s threatening to happen with Greece, the EU, and then probably the US) cause the major disruption of the entire world.

I look forward to the discussion and I dearly hope that we can work out a change to our ideas and way of thinking that will create sustainable benefits to everyone who lives here.

I know this has been a scattered and disorganized blog, but I just needed to get my thoughts down. More on this later, I’m sure.

until next time,

Jim

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Some Thoughts on Sex

Dearest Readers,

Disclaimer: This is not an explicit post. It simply seeks to explore the relationship between love and sex and also seeks to explore other aspects of sex as they relate to our lives. If you are looking for the explicit kind of post, please leave.

I want to explore, as mentioned above, the special relationship that we tend to let sex have with the other areas of our lives.

It’s odd that an activity that we derive such pleasure and such good qualities from is delegated to a realm where most people will feel so uncomfortable at the very name of this blog that many will not even continue reading.

Why is then that sex has such a stigma attached to it? Since when did promiscuity become a thing that should be avoided at all costs? Why do religions fear sexually active people?

I’m unsure where the stigma really comes from, dearest readers, and I by no means advocate for promiscuity with random people. That would be dangerous on many levels.

But what would be wrong with promiscuous sex among people you know? Friends? The good consequences of such actions would certainly seem to outweigh the bad consequences. From sex, people get a heightened level of endorphins (they make you feel happy), people also tend to feel better about themselves even after the endorphins have worn off. Relationships (friendships) would grow deeper and develop in whole new levels when sex is introduced.

Sex with feelings akin to love is certainly better and preferable to sex with feelings of friendship, but I think that sex with friendship is preferable to no sex at all. What are the bad consequences of safe promiscuity? I think, courageous readers, that you would be hard-pressed to really come up with any such argument that could stand a debate. So then if safe promiscuity with friends doesn’t have any negative consequences, what should stop it?

It seems to me that all things considered, happy people are generally preferable to unhappy people, and people with good self-confidence are preferable to people with low self-confidence. Deeper relationships are almost always preferable to shallow ones.

Just some thoughts! More to follow, I’m sure.

until next time,

Jim

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Waiting for the bread to rise is crucial

Happy Day, Dearest readers!

I’ve learned that when you’re making bread it is very important to let your bread rise the required number of times (usually two, but sometimes to get more flavor you want to let it rise a time or two more, or if you forget about it and it over-proofs, you need to re-do it, etc. etc). It’s a hard thing to do, friends, waiting for your bread to rise when all you want to do is bake it.

It seems also that the same kind of patience is needed for nearly every aspect of our lives, yknow? I just wish that the patience I’m starting to develop for bread-making would translate over to others parts of my life. It feels like I’ve nearly always been concerned with what I was working towards, very rarely enjoying or even being content with the now.

High school was spent waiting for college, college was spent waiting to graduate, post-graduation has been spent waiting on paying off loans and then moving on to get my MFA which I’m sure will be spent waiting to graduate and move on to an MA and/or Doctorate. It seems like there is always something to wait for.

At the same time, though, without things to look forward to, life would be stagnant and it’s doubtful we’d ever really move forward with things, agreed? So how do we balance enjoying the now while still working towards the future? It seems like a tightrope act. But maybe it’s more like a pendulum? Sometimes the pendulum swings more to the now, other times it swings more the future? And because it balances out in the end, it makes everything do-able? Hmm.

until next time,

Jim

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Midweek Musings on Love

Hello Dearest Readers, and Welcome!

Lately I’ve been musing, as perhaps you realize by now I do quite often, on the nature of romantic love. Most specifically as of late I’ve been pondering the idea of one true love. I must say dearest readers that believing in one true love reeks of the kind of cheapness that believing in a supernatural power does. The very idea that there is only one person in the world that each of us is meant for seems ludicrous, especially seeing that the vast majority of people who find their “one true love” didn’t really have to search that far.

Isn’t it far more likely then that we would encounter a series of loves? And of those loves we might love to varying degrees, but I don’t think that it is necessarily true that those we love most have been the best relationships. We are all at different points in our lives when loves occur, and just because the circumstances that we found ourselves in (be them physical, emotional, financial, or whatever) I hardly think that the depth of love should be allowed to define the quality of that love. Agreed?

We should just accept each love for all that it was, not compare it to all that it could have been. If we do that, perhaps then those of us who have become so very bitter over love would find ourselves softening towards it. But really then, what do I know? 😉

Until next time,

Jim

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Why the world would be better without religion

Dear Readers,

I wanted to take some time to devote a blog to something that I’ve consistently been mentioning to friends and airing on various other websites (ie Facebook). What it basically boils down to is my assertion that the world would be a far better place without religion.

I fully understand that religion has played an important role in the development of history, and that religion has been responsible for some good in the world; to discount the good it has been responsible for would be detrimental to my arguments here.

Religion was responsible for bringing Europe out of the Dark Ages, providing a hierarchy of power to step in and begin uniting people in the chaos that occurred. Religion, in part, was responsible for bringing education to more and more people, religion provides a moral compass for those who find it easier to follow rather than find for themselves. Religion tries to instill in people a sense of good and a sense of community that should (theoretically) lead to an increase in humanitarian activities.

That being said, I don’t think anyone could argue that each of the good things that religion has been part of has also come with very evil and horrendous actions by religious believers.

Religion pulling Europe out of the Dark Ages came at a cost: people lived their lives in fear, scared constantly that god would punish them forever. There was rampant corruption, the selling of so-called indulgences that would buy a person out of x-number of years in purgatory. Even the papacy, the center of power for the new world, was fraught with corruption, assassinations and whatnot.

The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the “missionary” work in the New World, including the destruction of the Incan, Mayan, and Aztecan Empires and countless tribes of Native Americans lost, as well as significant cultural achievements, the likes of which made Europe’s achievements look like child’s play. Religion’s silence in the face of the Holocaust, as well as countless genocides which have occurred throughout the world.

Religion has, by way of instilling “morals” taught believers to hate and discriminate against those who did not share the same beliefs. This is an inherent fault of religion. No religion that seeks to be the one true religion can ever accept and justify another religion’s existence.  Consequently, religions must seek to undermine other religions and convert non-believers. This seemingly cannot be done in a peaceful way, and millions of lives have been lost in this meaningless destruction.

And now we have the Catholic Church calling accusations that Pope Benedict was instrumental in covering up sexual abuses that were occurring “petty gossip.” Such lunacy highlights even more-so that religion has no place in a world that seeks to abolish discrimination, pain, hate, and forms of violence. Any decent morality should teach that it is wrong to cover up such an egregious assault on the innocence of small children and such an egregious abuse of the power the position of Priest affords. Furthermore, any decent morality should also teach that individuals should step up and take accountability for the times when their personal morality has failed them and caused them to make mistakes. The silence from the Pope underscores a massive failure in the morality the Catholic Church instills.

Reason further tells us that if such abuses occurred in the Catholic Church, surely they are not alone. It would not surprise me, though it would sadden me, to learn that abuses occur in every religion. Power does, afterall, beget corruption and abuse.

So dearest readers, I must affirm my idea that the world would be far better off without religion; without any institution propagating their agenda under the guise of morality. Let’s teach people how to find their own way; they’ll be stronger for it, their morality will be truer, and I daresay they’ll be happier in the end.

until next time,

Jim

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