“the North feels the clip, which shows Kim dancing and Kung-Fu fighting, ‘seriously compromises Kim’s dignity and authority.’”
No need for a long post here and I certainly won’t try to change anyone’s opinion. I just wanted to point out one small blurb in this BBC article.
“It brings the number of Israeli soldiers killed in the current offensive to 18.
The deaths of so many soldiers on a single day will shock Israeli society, the BBC’s Chris Morris reports from southern Israel.”
The number of Palestinians currently killed in the Israeli invasion as of 7/20/2014 stands at 425.
So if I understand this correctly, 425 Palestinians does not shock Israeli society but any more than a few soldiers of their own killed is shocking?
Seems the media continues to be very pro Israel. I read news from a number of sources around the world and in more cases than not the Palestinians are described as terrorists while that word has never been used to describe the Israelis.
Furthermore, in the opinion sections of most dailies I’ve already seen pro Israel pieces aplenty. Know how many pro Palestinian pieces I’ve seen in the Western media?
Now that you’ve read the above you might think I’m pro-Palestine? I do not support either side. In one quick paragraph here is how I see it.
Israel has a right to exist. The Palestinians have a right to not be enslaved by Israel and create their own state. Israel should quit oppressing the Palestinians and the Palestinians should quit terrorizing Israel. There you have it.
Unfortunately, I do not see things getting any better. I see war for the next three centuries unless another world war redraws the maps again.
Looks like Russia could climb back up to enemy #1 again after a brief 25 year lull. When the USSR fell the attention turned to random, disorganized terrorists who tried very hard to bring down planes full of innocent people,,,, but Russia actually does it.
A leopard never changes its spots I suppose.
I came across this article today and had to comment.
What I find hard to comprehend is that we have more education, more knowledge and more science readily available to our populations today than at any other time in history. Yet, our societies cannot shake free from thousand year old beliefs full of magic, fairy tales, and made up stories (many of which have since been discredited) that make up religion.
Here we have two seemingly intelligent men who have risen quite high in politics. Yet they demand that the UK is a “Christian” nation. They are correct that Christianity took root in the UK and have influenced the country for 1,500 years. In this case the UK is a Christian nation.
But the UK was pagan before the Christians came so wouldn’t it also be fair to say the UK is a pagan nation or is 1,500 years the cut off.
I had to laugh when I read this:
“We are also a very tolerant nation. In fact one of the great Christian values is tolerance and respect for other people, people of other faiths, other views. So I think our Christian heritage sits very comfortably alongside our plurality and our tolerance as a people.”
Yes, if we read the history books we see how tolerant the English are/were of all the countries they colonized. The list is rather long and can be found here. I’m sure all the natives really appreciated the Christian tolerance of the British when they were being invaded and subjugated.
As a consequence of colonization there has been mass immigration to the UK from the colonized countries which certainly hasn’t sat well with the white natives!
It’s not that the conservatives didn’t try to stop it. Just a quick look on Google and I came across one of the most famous speeches against immigration called the “Rivers of Blood speech” . In this speech a conservative member of Parliament tried to warn his countrymen about the dangers of letting in all these colored colonial subjects into the UK!
Well, Enoch Powell was right; this is why London is now called Londinistan.
It seems to me that the demand the UK be known as a “Christian” nation is just a cry to try and hang on to the past, a past when there weren’t very many immigrants, which is what old conservative white men do best. Their ancestors went out conquering other nations and when the mess comes back to haunt them (albeit with a 300 or so year lag) they get all upset about it.
But to throw them a bone, I would say that Europe is vastly more tolerant of immigrants than most countries in the world. Change comes slowly and the immigrants should do their part and try to fit in to the host culture. After all, if their culture is the most important thing to them, then wouldn’t it serve them well to just go back?
If the old white men want to call the UK a Christian country let them do so. With so many immigrants holding other beliefs the UK is actually a multi-religious country no matter what a couple of old Tories say.
It’s just a shame that no matter how the argument turns out, Christianity, while it does have its good parts, is just one more way for mankind is trying to explain his own existence, which like the other religions, is not based in facts.
In the end, these two Tories are simply saying that since the traditional bed time story of the UK has been read for the past 1,500 years it should really be considered the official bed time story and that’s that.
21st century capitalism through a 1st century worldview!
It simply amazes me that with all our progress and all our magnificent universities of learning that have no comparison throughout history, the majority of humanity is still bound by the ancient beliefs from a time when humanity knew very little about anything!
Perhaps the reason is that we do not have a solid explanation for these basic questions and therefore invent stories to comfort us against the terror of simply not knowing?
1.) Where am I from?
2.) What am I?
3.) Where am I?
4.) What does the source, the origin of all creation?
So what spurned this post? We’ll this advertisement I just saw on Facebook.
Being rather familiar with Christianity, I have a hard time reconciling true Christianity with an MBA. An MBA is learning how to best increase profits, nothing more. True Christianity is divesting yourself of all you own, your family, friends and following Christ. I fail to see how the two are compatible.
This world I live in seems to get more ridiculous as time goes on.
Just for the record I wonder how Christians would react if they saw an advertisement for an MBA with a Muslim worldview, or a Jewish worldview? This just shows that the people who created this add live in a bubble and know very little about the rest of the world. Therefore, why value is their “worldview?” It would be like asking a child their opinion of a college course!
I usually like to write about an event while it is actually happening. This year I just didn’t have the enthusiasm to write for Christmas and am a little bit delayed for the New Year. So today, I’m forcing myself to get my thoughts down.
This New Year’s Eve we did not go to any special parties, dinners or anything like that. So I thought it would be a good idea to get a picture of the last sunset of 2013 and the first sunrise of 2014. For the sunset, I got on my bike and rode up the mountain which takes about an hour. Up there on that mountain I reflected on why we make such a fuss over the change of years. After all it is just a way for us to keep track of one more revolution around the sun.
I took a look at the Facebook posts and is was very clear that everyone was excited and in great spirits. Then I made a connection.
As I stood up there on the mountain overlooking the ocean I realized that the New Year and those that gaze out over the sea have much in common. The New Year represents possibilities, the unknown, a change for the better! So too does the ocean. Looking out over the vast sea towards the horizon the portal through which one could change their lives entirely if they only gain the courage to set foot on the boat or airplane and go!
The New Year gives us a reason, an excuse to wipe the slate clean and start again. But just as those who stare out over the ocean and wonder must step on the boat or plane to turn their fantasy into reality, so too must the NYE reveler act to bring about change in their life. They must open those doors to possibilities instead of passively waiting for their hopes to come to them.
As I look back on 2013 I am most grateful for my experiences and the fact that I’ve recorded most of those experiences. What is life if not just an accumulation of our experiences? Experiences shape us, make us who we are. Everyday we wake up and experience life. Making morning coffee, reading the news, learning about the Roman empire, living overseas, these are all experiences. In fact from the moment we are conceived until the moment we die is all just an accumulation of experiences combining to form one big life experience.
Therefore, I really cannot see how anything could be higher in terms of importance than trying to have a good life experience and helping others do the same. Everything we do, every goal we set is in the hopes of having some sort of experience.
Now, for 2013, I had plenty of wonderful experiences and I find it very valuable to try and record these experiences. The important thing is to know when to put the camera down and really soak in the moment, taking it all in and making it part of who I am. But I also like to relive these moments and thus take plenty of pictures and video. Having the picture above helps me remember how beautiful that moment was although it was quite cold! To be all alone on that mountain in the cold as the sun has set and darkness advances is a truly wonderful experience.
The next morning I awoke at 5:00am and went to the Bay in order to catch the sunrise. Just as 2014 is the beginning of the New Year full of all its possibilities, the sunrise is the beginning of a new day full of possibilities and excitement.
People often make resolutions and how imagine how things will be different in the new year but this could also be done with each and every sunrise. Each single day is going to contribute to how the year 2014 turns out so wouldn’t it be an excellent idea to wake early and appreciate all the possibilities and opportunities that this nascent day could bring?
At 36 years of age, I have come to a concrete realization that this world I live in is completely absurd.
It is similar to a lucid dream, where the dreamer becomes aware of the improbability and often outright impossibility of his surroundings and thus realizes he is dreaming while inside of the dream.
I have had the good fortune to travel the world, learn languages and delve deeply into the mindsets of other cultures. These fortunes enabled me to escape from the fishbowl of a small environment and see the enclosure from the outside, as well as compare it to all the other enclosures I have been recently exploring through language study and travel. Through these studies I found such a sense of freedom and excitement that I have never been able to stop or quell my desire for more information, more learning. I found freedom from established traditions, mindsets, beliefs and biases. I found great excitement for the unknown, the new, the exotic, the blasphemous, the feared and the heretical.
Recently however, time, money and obligations have limited my actual travel but in its place have come books, magazines and a need to devour more knowledge. A great discovery I’ve recently made is Lapham’s Quarterly. This publication pulls the golden nuggets out of history and complies them in a neat publication according to a central theme. I have decided to pay much less attention to the daily noise of the news, the gossips and the outright stupid splashed along the T.V. screens. Instead I have turned my focus to books, mostly historical nonfiction, and anything similar to Lapham’s Quarterly that really adds to my knowledge and gives me a greater understanding of this world I currently occupy.
Through these studies, travels and continual quest for more knowledge and in order to simply make sense of my surroundings, I’ve come to the conclusion that this world I live in is absurd. Now that I’ve given my introduction let me put down some examples from the silly to that which has changed the course of the world.
1. High Heels
- Once cannot venture outside without seeing multitudes of women wearing the most ridiculous form of footwear that while being extremely uncomfortable, also causes grotesque foot problems such as bunions. The high heel was designed in 17th century Persia as a riding shoe so that the rider could stand up in the stirrups and maintain balance while shooting his arrows.
After I learned this I can no longer look at women in high heels the same way. I do not find them as an attractive addition but rather as an absurdity akin to one wearing over sized clown shoes.
2. The suit and tie
We men did not escape this evolutionary comedy of the fashion trend either. The origin of the tie is that it was essentially a bib worn to protect the shirt from stains. The bib has just gotten smaller. The suit on the other hand came out of military uniform fashion. The military is regimented, disciplined and serious. The businessman being formal in all his dealings must give an air of seriousness and formality and thus what a better fit than the military uniform without the military trappings? So here we are, men running to our office to sit in our cubicles typing away in a modified military uniform and small bib.
Once you know the origins of why things are the way they are life becomes completely bizarre.
I have recently been reading books on WWI and II as well as checking the facts on many historical wars through Wikipedia. The conclusion I’ve come to is that war is absurd. What is even more absurd is how quickly a leader can convince the people about the “just” reasons for the war.
World War I is the most raw example of this. In brief, a rather significant regional assassination happens and then due to country alliances we end up with millions dead. It is as if monkeys wrote the framework of this play and gorillas carried it out. We do not retain the right to consider ourselves separate from the animals. The absurdity of the reasoning behind the war combined with the very real consequences are simply incomprehensible.
As for the absurdity of reasoning for war, this has happened very recently in my country. The slogan is “defending freedom.” Now whenever war or soldiers are mentioned this is what a good portion of the population mindlessly blurts out. Need to start a war? Just have the leaders say we are “defending freedom.” This slogan has had some wear and tear but still has at least another decade of durability before it is worn out.
My conclusion is that humanity is still very primitive and that this period in our evolution will be looked upon millennia from now as just branching off from the animals. For any reason, any reason what so ever millions and millions can still be convinced that extinguishing the life of another is the appropriate solution for whatever ideology, belief or passing issue of the day holds sway.
It is as though we are not fully conscious. For if we were fully conscious then the fibers of creation should tear apart while everyone screams in writhing agony for the atrocity, the unnatural, the unthinkable that has occurred.
4. Religion – Christianity
I hold no qualms with the overall spirituality and trying to connect ourselves with that which is unknown yet pervades everything including our own existence. I also am inclined to give a bit of a pass to those that need religion, a set framework to tell them exactly what to do since the majority of adults are unable to discover a spiritual side on their own. Most adults no longer advance mentally/intellectually and thus how could anyone expect them to make progress with that which cannot be seen, experienced directly or understood?
To get straight to the point here, after all my travels, experiences, studies, meditations, reflections and so on, I can definitively say that Jesus was just a man. I have extricated myself thoroughly from the fairy tale, the bedtime story that we use to sooth our fears about that which we do not know but which we pretend to hold every answer (unless it is a mystery of course *inside joke for those raised Catholic*).
To stand up against 2000 years of history which has reshaped the world, billions of believers and an institution which has outlasted governments and call it nonsense is frightfully empowering as well as bewildering. This belief, that a simple peasant is the son of the unknown which in our feeble minds we call God. This God, the soothing blanket which keeps us warm and secure against that unknown void, that veil behind which nobody has seen yet everyone must go is a creation of our own imagination. It is my opinion that we cannot even conceive of the true nature of the Great Spirit, الرحمن, יהו or whatever we have decided to call the unknown.
I have been connecting the dots for some time now and the tapestry is complete. Now, explaining exactly how I’ve arrived at this point would fill up a book which one day I may write but one can find clues in my previous posts from the past. But let us just say that a good many things in the Bible have turned out to be fabrications, metaphors, or just plain wrong. The world was not created in 7 days, humanity didn’t start with Adam and Eve, Jesus had brothers and was married and many of the miraculous acts happened in other cults/pagan beliefs long before Jesus.
If Christianity were a corporation it would have gone out of business a long time ago. Anyone who puts their money and belief in a corporation that has been so wrong so often throughout history would be an investment opportunity for the slow witted.
So why do so many people believe? The reasons are as varied as the stars but I would say the main reasons are tradition, security and the need to believe there is something more than the disappointment that is often found here in this existence.
The ship guiding my belief out of Christianity set sail a very long time ago and has visited many ports. I recently read a book which seems to me as my final bill of lading summing up what I already knew and putting it in a well researched, organized intellectual format. That book is called “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” by Reza Aslan.
Jesus was just a man and I feel as though I’m in a dream when I see so many clinging to this fabricated story even though we have more universities and more learning than at any other time in the history of the world.
The old religions die hard.
Most people at this point will either have stopped reading or want to know what my own opinion on creation/reality may be. People are so eager to know the opinions of those they disagree with not so they may consider the idea but rather to have the opportunity to defend their beliefs. One cannot readily do this until they know the beliefs of the other.
In any case, here is my belief.
I have no idea where I am, what I am or where this environment came from. All I know is that I have thoughts. These thoughts come and go and I do my best to control them.
This “I don’t know” is a very thought out, deep, reflected upon statement. It is just as probable to me that we are in a computer program designed by a highly advanced civilization as it is that this universe is some advanced biology student’s creation and we sit upon a shelf in a small jar surrounded by millions of other universes in small jars. The reader of this post may scoff but I have not said that I know we are in a small jar, I’ve said the opposite with a very clear “I don’t know.” The jar example is one possibility out of infinite possibilities the majority of which I believe I cannot even comprehend.
The book that really got me thinking about this was “Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story ” by Jim Holt. He interviewed the brightest minds as well as researched the major philosophers in trying to discover the answer. Obviously the book never comes to the supreme truth and Jim’s own opinion is hidden in an unrelated paragraph in just one sentence in the middle of the book that most people might miss.
I enjoyed reading all of the theories but one of my major takeaways was the realization that I cannot comprehend these theories the way the men who created them can. Any one of them would take me years of study and even then I know I do not have the raw intellectual fire power to get there.
So all I can do is continue to explore and be completely fascinated as well as a little terrified at not having the answer. All I know are what my senses, studies and inquiries have gathered. Here we are, talking monkeys on a biological rock flying through space where only a fraction of us are trying to figure out what is going on while a good majority are quite certain they know the secrets of the universe, the divine and everything in between already.
This dream began with my birth and will end with my death. The longer the dream persists the more bizarre it becomes. The best I can do is to be nice to my fellow dreamers, help those having a nightmare and try as hard as I can to fly.