The Evolution Of Religion

Prayer Beads

Finally, an eminent scientist is setting out to prove that the rise of religion was caused by evolution.

In humans’ mysterious journey to become intelligent, socializing creatures like no other in the animal world, religion was the innovation which played an essential role. We needed something to literally stop everyone from killing everyone else, just out of grumpiness.

How did we manage it? Did humor help? Exercise?  Storytelling?  Singing?  Dance?

CAUTION, CONFORMITY CONFIRMATION

Religion is a complex, multi-tentacled Hydra, which draws from many psychological inputs, to ensure the survival of (most of) the race. It creates an US and a THEM.  Anything we recognize as US, we deem safe and acceptable.  THEM, on the other hand, are not family, clan or village, fit to be driven out.

Each species of primate can manage to keep up a special bond with a certain number of others of the same species. This goes up as brain size increases, from monkeys to apes.  Humans can maintain significantly more social ties than brain size alone, seems to explain.  Most of us keep a surprisingly large number of social ties, including 5 with intimate friends, 50 with good friends, 150 with friends, and 1500 with people we can recognize by name.

Reading this, I immediately knew that I was well below the standard. Of my 5 most intimate friends, I’ve only physically met two of them.  I am friendly with 50 to 150 people, but they are store clerks, Osteopaths, etc.  While they may like me, or put up with me and my silliness, I doubt that they regard themselves as my ‘friend,’ and I barely remember the names of the people who reside in the same house with me. 1500??!

It is well known that repetitive actions like pacing the floor, or twiddling thumbs, lower anxiety. The Jews and Muslims have prayer beads, and Catholics have their rosary – the same thing, with a cross attached, although most Protestants have given it up.  Buddhist monks spin prayer wheels, and all of these focus the mind to help achieve a calm, Zen-like state.

Religions have taken all the calming practices, and made them into group activities. If everyone bows, kneels (in the same direction), waves their hands, etc, at the same time, each person feels less aggressive and more accepting, and everybody feels part of the group.

A couple of other calming activities are singing – think hymns – and dancing, although Christianity has largely got away from that. It smacks too much of ‘having fun.’  Anyone forced to observe me singing or dancing, would not be calm or friendly.

Another couple of aggression/tension reducers surprised me. Not ‘group’ actions, because not everyone performs them simultaneously, they are humor and story-telling.  Presenting funny or spell-binding tales to a rapt group, especially youngsters, binds them into a less war-like group.

My singing and dancing may be banned in some States, and I can’t remember who my friends are, but apparently, my blog-posts and jokes make others less likely to assault me.  Hey!  I’m religious, and I didn’t even know it.   😯

A Phish Out Of Water

The other day, while I was out being threatened (More on that later), the wife was being phished. Since the son and I were out running errands, she took advantage of our absence to sit at the PC in the computer room, and pay some bills online.

She had just accessed the bank’s website, and was viewing activity on our account for the last 30 days, when the phone rang. Jane Doe? Yes?? This is Walter, at the accounting department of XYZ Bank. I want to talk about a $200 deposit that was made to your account, 11 AM, on June 18.

She wisely said that she’d check into it, and would call him back. What was his number? The bank’s accounting department would be in Toronto, with a 416 area code. He gave her a local, 519 number. What extension?? Oh, that’s a direct line.

She scrolled up the page and, of course, there was no such deposit. She tried calling his number back. We’re sorry. The number you have called is equipped for outgoing calls only. It was worrying that this scammer knew her name, which is not listed in the phone book, and the fact that we banked with XYZ. We paranoidly shred everything that has a name or address on it, to the point that a Christmas present from the son, was a new cross-cut shredder which makes confetti.

She called the bank’s 1-800 customer service number, and reported the incident. They said they’d look into it, but it’s like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.

Meanwhile…. I’d had a Tri-Fecta week.

Shopping cart

A woman in a grocery store had backed into my cart, and apparently hit her elbow. Ow! Ow! Ow! – WELL?? Well what? Are you going to apologise? NO!

I left another store a couple of days later, and went to climb into my car. Suddenly, the owner of the van to my left, leaned past his windshield and yelled, “Take it easy on my van! It’s brand new, and I don’t want it all scratched up.” Uh, Okay…. “I told you, don’t scratch my van!” I didn’t – I didn’t touch it. “I’m warning you. Take it easy on my van.” Even with my door fully open, it doesn’t touch your van by two inches. Take a look. “Just watch yourself! I warned you to stay away from my van. I hate ignorant cocksuckers like you.” (My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.) and climbed in and roared away.

The coup de grace came on Saturday morning. When the son got home from work, we went out together to do some shopping and errands. As we finished the last, it was nearing lunch time, and he offered to treat, at a Subway shop.

We followed a family in, parents early 30s, boys 6 and 8, and waited patiently as they all worked their way down the counter, picking out toppings. Dad went first, then the excited, indecisive boys, followed by mom in ballerina mode, arms akimbo, hands on hips, swiveling back and forth, making decisions.

She finally made her last choice (Swiss cheese) and moved up to the register, where dad was paying. I moved up, and started giving my choices, when she and her Tai Chi elbows came dancing back. I tried to back out of her way, but one of her flying elbows just touched my ample tummy.

Being the well-mannered Canadian that I am, I said, “Oops, I’m sorry.”, and she danced away again. I continued picking stuff for my sandwich as hubby spoke to her….or so I thought. Suddenly I heard, “Hey! I’m talking to you!” Wha’?? “Watch what the fuck yer doin’! That’s just fucking disrespectful. I oughta slap the shit outta you!”

So, he’s taught the boys that it’s okay to use foul language in public and threaten people, all 5’ 8”, and 150 lbs. of him. A lover, not a fighter, and almost 71, I think I could have taken him, because it would not have been a fair fight. If not, I brought along my son, The Bear. At 6’ 2”, and 275 lbs. he could just squeeze this mouthy idiot’s head till all the shit ran out his ears.

As they headed for a table, he leaned in and hissed, “Yer just lucky I had the wife along today.” which, while not the dumbest thing I’d heard all week, was well up in the top ten. If he hadn’t had the Prima Ballerina, she wouldn’t have bumped into me, and this whole damned drama scene wouldn’t have occurred. Shit, take your meds, and attend those court-ordered anger management sessions!

Then he sat down with the wife he was so worried about, pulled out his smart phone, and proceeded to ignore her and his sons while he phoned three friends to set up a golf game the next day, and then play Candy Crush.

As the President of the local Grumpy Old Dude Association, I’d like to claim that I’m an irritating old turd, and own these, but:

You weren’t watching where you were going, and walked into my cart. I didn’t touch your vehicle! Open your eyes and look.
Your wife backed into me – and I apologised.

If these had valid causes, I’d blame them on urban overcrowding pressure. What in Hell causes people to get so angry and aggressive about imaginary slights and insults?

#483

The Dance

Fellow-blogger, AFrankAngle, usually publishes organized, well-researched posts.  Some time ago, he made a brief foray into writing fiction.  Being, among other things, a ballroom dancer, he wrote a short piece about a perhaps-reluctant couple engaging in an Arnold Schwarzenegger, True Lies-type Tango.

Another blogger picked it up, and modified it.  He changed plain text to fancy script, formatted it like blank verse, photo-shopped it onto pictures of pretty shells, and returned to Frank a piece of art worthy of framing.  Click here if you’d like a look.

Impressed with the reactions to his repost, Frank has decided to use it once again.  After the line, “The music ends.” he removed his final two lines, and has put it up for download, with the challenge to anyone interested, to write an alternative ending in 75 words or less.  Below is my version.  Click on his blog name above, to read more, or to try yourself.

afashortstorychallenge

The music starts – its tempo and rhythms define the dance. He approaches her table, and extends an inviting hand. She accepts. They take to the floor. He offers a hand and a frame. Again, she accepts, but looks away while in hold as if to say, “I’ll dance – but I’m not interested.”

They move to the music’s sharp, fiery rhythms that are intertwined with sensuality. Their eyes continue gazing in opposite directions to avoid a visual connection – yet, their bodies touch.

They dance – they move – sometimes slow – sometimes fast – but always sharp and to rhythm.

He rolls her out – they flick in unison. He tugs to rolls her back into his arms. She shrugs him off by returning to hold with her head turned away. Their steps continue.

He steps back – a lunge – a corté. She steps forward and raises her leg against his, and slowly moves it downward as a caress. He notices – she’s got his attention. As he returns her to upright, their eyes connect through a glimpse – yet each looks away.

The pace seeming hastens. The musical beat remains steady. Their moves remain sharp. Their eyes are starting to communicate to the other through glances.

She leans her body into him and her head is no longer facing away. They lock their eyes for the first time, and her eyes and face speak to him when. She places her head on his chest.

The normally sharp fans are now slow and smooth – yet still to the music’s rhythm. As she turns, his right hand slides naturally along her sleek frame. He notices the curvature of her hips. His head is not as high as he looks toward her with hopes of connecting again.

To him, her face displays desire. Her eyes are closed, but only she knows why. They are now in another place. To him, they are in the midst of passion. To her, she is the seductress who has succumbed to his fantasy.

He responds to the music’s fire with 8 fast steps down the floor. He rolls out as before, but on her return, she is close – and her right hand slowly caresses his face. The music ends.

She raises her goddess face to his.  Her limpid brown eyes catch and hold his.  He stares into an eternity of joy.  Slowly, her carmine, rosebud mouth opens, and….

BEEP – BEEP – BEEP – BEEP

Frank??  Frank?!!

Wake up!  You’re dreaming.

Turn that alarm off!  It’s time to get up and go to work.    😳

#480

Genetic Inheritance

A man in a bar sees a friend at a table,
drinking by himself. Approaching the
friend he comments, “You look terrible.
What’s the problem?” “My mother died in
June,” he said, “and left me $10,000.”
“Gee, that’s tough,” he replied. “Then
in July,” the friend continued, “my
father died, leaving me $50,000.”
“Wow.Two parents gone in two months. No
wonder you’re depressed.” “And last
month my aunt died, and left me $15,000.”
“Three close family members lost in three
months?  How sad.”

“Then this month,” continued the friend, “nothing!”

****

A circus owner walks into a bar to see everyone
crowded around a table watching a little show. On
the table was an upside down pot and a duck tap-
dancing on top of it.  He was so impressed
that he offered to buy the duck from its owner.
After some wheelin’ and dealin’ they settled for
$10,000 for the duck and the pot.

Three days later the circus owner runs back to
the bar in anger, “Your duck is a rip-off! I put
him on the pot before a whole audience and he
didn’t dance a single step!”

“So?” asked the duck’s former owner, “did you
remember to light the candle under the pot?”

****

A group of blondes walk into a bar screaming “51
days.”  They order a round of drinks still
screaming, “51 days.”  The bartender wants to know
what the 51 days is all about but just can’t ask.

A while later, after many drinks the blondes are
still screaming, “51 days,” so the bartender decides
he has to ask.  As he delivers the next round to
the women he says “Ladies I have to know what’s
the 51 days about?”

The blondes replied “We had a jigsaw puzzle and on the
box it said 2-5 years and we did it in 51 days”

****

The first half of our lives is ruined by our
parents, and the second half by our children.

Clarence Darrow

****

This panda walks into a bar. He sits down at a
table. A waiter comes, and the panda orders his
food, and eats it. Then, he pulls out a gun and
blows the brains out of the waiter. When he gets
up and is about to leave, the bartender
yells, “Hey, you just shot my waiter! Where do
you think you’re going?” And the panda says, “I’m
a panda! Look it up!”

So the bartender looks up “panda” in the dictionary.
It reads: “Fur-bearing mammal, lives in Australia.
EATS SHOOTS AND LEAVES.”

****

We are born naked, wet and hungry.
Then things get worse.

****

There is a blond driving through the country. She
has just dyed her hair brown because she is sick
of being made fun of. She is really hungry. She
stops at a farmer’s house and says “Hi! If I can
guess how many sheep you have, can I have one?”
Farmer says OK. She quickly counts them and says”91!”

The farmer looks around puzzledly and says
“Ok. Take one.” When the Blond is walking back to
her car the farmer asks “If I can guess your
natural hair color, can I have my dog back?”

 

Let’s End It All

There I was, sitting at the bar, staring at my drink, when a really big, trouble-making biker steps up next to me, grabs my drink, and gulps it down in one swig.


“Well, whatcha gonna do about it? ” he says menacingly, as I burst into tears.  “Come on, man,” the biker says, “I didn’t think you’d cry. I can’t stand to see a man crying. “


“This is the worst day of my life,” I said. “I’m a complete failure. I was late to a meeting and my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car had been stolen and I don’t have any insurance. I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found my wife in bed with the gardener, and then my dog bit me, so I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all. I buy a drink, drop the capsule in it, and was sitting here watching the poison dissolve when you show up and drink the whole thing!!

But enough about me, how’s your day going? ”

****

The 36 Rules of Life

 

1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

2. Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it very often.

3. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.

4. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

5. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before.

6. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

7. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

8. A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.

12. A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.

13. Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.

14. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.

15. No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

16. A balanced diet is a muffin in each hand.

17. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.

18. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

19. Junk is something you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

20. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

21. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

22. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

23. Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.

24. Someone who thinks logically provides nice contrast to the real world.

25. It ain’t the jeans that make your butt look fat.

26. If you had to identify in one word the reason why the human race has not achieved its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings’.

27. There is a very fine line between ‘hobby’ and ‘mental illness.’

28. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

29. You should not confuse your career with your life.

30. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

31. Never lick a steak knife.

32. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

33. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight saving time.

34. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she’s pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

35. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that deep down inside we ALL believe we are good drivers.

36. Your friends love you anyway.

 

 

A Comedy Of Errors

A man hired by a construction company, was asked to fill out the details of an accident that put him in the hospital, after less than an hour on the job.  His task was simply to carry an excess of bricks from the top of a two-storey house, down to the ground.  This is his meticulous report

“Thinking that I could save time, I rigged a beam with a pulley to the top of the house, with a rope leading to the ground.  I tied an empty barrel on one end of the rope, pulled it to the top of the house, and then fastened the other end of the rope to a tree.

Going up to the top of the house, I filled the barrel with bricks.  Then I went back down, and unfastened the rope to let the barrel down.  Unfortunately, the barrel of bricks was now heavier than I, and before I knew what was happening, the barrel jerked me up in the air.

I hung onto the rope, and, halfway up, I met the barrel coming down, receiving a sharp blow to my left shoulder. I then continued on up to the top. Banging my head on the beam and jamming my fingers in the pulley.

When the barrel hit the ground, the bottom burst, spilling all the bricks.  As I was now heavier than the barrel, I started down at high speed.  Halfway down, I met the empty barrel, coming up, receiving severe lacerations to my shins.

When I hit the ground, I landed on the bricks, receiving several cuts and contusions from the sharp edges of the bricks.  At this point I must have become confused, because I let go of the rope.  The barrel came down, striking me on the head, and I woke up in the hospital.

I respectfully request sick leave.”

Dancing In The Dark

A couple were invited to a real swanky Halloween party, so the wife went out and bought costumes for them.  On the night of the party, she developed a terrific headache, and told her husband to go on without her.  He protested, but she said all she was going to do was take a couple of aspirins and go to bed, and that there was no need of his good time being wasted, by not attending.  So he got into his costume, and off he went.

The wife, after sleeping soundly for an hour, woke without a trace of pain, and a little after nine, she decided to go to the party.  Since her husband didn’t know what costume she was wearing, she thought it might be fun to slip into the party, and see how he acted when she wasn’t around.

As soon as she got to the party, the first person she saw was her husband, cavorting around the dance floor, dancing with all the chicks and copping a little feel here and there.  So the wife sidled up to him and, being a rather sexy-looking thing herself, he quickly left his partner to devote his attention to the new stuff that had just joined the party.  She let him go as far as he wanted, (naturally) and finally he whispered a proposition in her ear.  This she agreed to, and they went out to one of the parked cars nearby, etc., etc., etc.

Just before unmasking at midnight, she slipped away, went home, and went to bed, wondering what her husband would say about the party when he came home.

He arrived home about 1:30, and came straight to the bedroom to ask her how she was.  She was sitting up in bed, reading, and asked how he enjoyed the party.  He said, “Oh, the same old thing.  You know I never have a good time when you’re not there.”  Then she asked if he had danced much.  He said, “Well, I’ll tell you, I never even danced one dance.  When I got there, Peter Jones, Bill Brown, and a couple of the guys were stag, too, so we just sat in the den and played poker all night.  But I’ll tell you one thing, the fellow I loaned my costume to sure had one hell of a good time!”