Some Thoughts – Domestic And Foreign

All teachings are mere references.
The true experience is living your own life.
Then, even the holiest of words are only words.
Deng Ming-Dao

To determine the true rulers of any society, you must ask this question; “Who am I not allowed to criticize?”

‘All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician [to keep the hoi-polloi in order], and ridiculous to the philosopher.’

“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon was not an Atheist. He was Catholic and realized how he could use religion to rule the masses.

“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived.”
Isaac Asimov

If prayer actually worked, we’d see two things:
1 – Ambulances would take patients to churches
2 – Christians would have longer life spans than the rest of the population

Most people are not looking for provable truths. Truth is often accompanied by terrible pain, and almost no-one is looking for painful truths. What people need are beautiful, comforting stories that make them feel as if their lives have some meaning. This is where religion comes from.

My favorite part of the Bible is where God gives everyone free will, and then drowns everybody in a flood for not acting the way He wanted.

CREATIONISM
The idea that we are not related to apes, no matter how many genes we share, but are in fact, descended from dirt.

Religion has at every age kept the human mind in darkness and held it in ignorance of its true relations, of its real duties, and its true interests. It is but in removing its clouds and phantoms that we may find the source of truth, reason, morality, and the actual motives which inspire virtue—Jean Messlier 1704

How many religious people does it take to change a light bulb?
None! They just sit in the dark and demand that you believe that the light is still on.

The cold, hard truth is worth so much more than a comforting lie.

“In religions and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are, in almost every case, gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who themselves have not examined the questions at issue, but have taken them second-hand from other examiners, whose opinions about them are not worth a brass farthing.”
Mark Twain

When you have to ignore mountains of evidence to hold a belief; when your words are those of others to preserve your faith; when you refuse to use logic, to protect your fantasy, your willful ignorance does not make you a unique individual. It doesn’t afford you special consideration.

Actually, it means that you are just plain wrong. It means that you have nothing to add to intelligent conversation. Believers show all the hallmarks of long-term abuse, unable to distinguish threats, fear and degradation, from kindness, love and self-worth.

Atheism says absolutely nothing about the issues of Northern Ireland, Shia/Sunni wars, genocide in Rwanda, questions of religious freedom, stem cell research, or gay marriage.  Atheism is not a belief, it’s not a set of values, it’s not a political movement, it’s not even a platform.  It merely is the understanding that all the religions seem made up.  And since we have no way to figure out if any of them are real, we must deal with life on our own.  We must use our brains.  So let’s quit being dicks to each other, roll up our sleeves, and figure these things out.  And keep making fun of religions.

PopeClown

***

 

Is Atheism A Bad Idea?

Atheism

He was an Atheist for 40 years, then one day, he became Catholic. (Or so he claims. I suspect a troll.) Not A Catholic – merely Catholic. He and I had some words. They grew too numerous for a comments column…. so here we are again.

And how miserable does atheism make you? Choosing it is a bit like choosing to be fatherless in the world. Left to your own devices.

For someone claiming to be Atheist for forty years, his assumptions and questions are bewildering. He seems to imply that morality must be applied from outside. A moral framework must be accepted internally, even if it is supplied from the outside. I know “Good Catholics” who believe in divorce and remarriage, gay marriage, and priests being married – all ‘sins’ to the church. Atheism does not make people miserable. It frees them to enjoy the natural beauty of the world and the Universe, revel in the companionship of friends and family, and be proud of how much better they’ve made and left it all.

He seems to feel that he needs some kind of social and moral crutch. Most Atheists want to be left to their own devices. They have the strength of will and character to deal with life and reality on their own. Is he too stupid or lazy to formulate and apply his own moral code??

True Atheists simply do not see convincing evidence of the existence of God, or gods. They do not “choose” to be Atheist. Anyone who claims they do, or that someone else did, is mistaken and often an intentional liar.

Do you have children? Do you have a set of values? How do you pass them on? Do you even want to pass them on or do you want to just let the thousands of ancestors of yours who struggled to survive only for you to say, “eff it, my line is OUT”? (He wants me to continue to be Christian – and fruitful – simply to please my dead predecessors??!)

I have a set of values – Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you. – which is neither original, nor exclusive, to the Bible. Do the greatest good for the greatest number. I passed them on to my children, and now to our grandson – who received a small award in college for his assistance to others. I not only told them to aid and be kind to others. I showed them how, by doing it myself. From empirical observation, our practiced moral values are better than many ‘Good Christians.’

I certainly feel my/our moral values should be passed on. Some of my ancestors were deeply religious. Others were completely not, but I’m sure that all of them would agree and be proud of me and the good I do.

I hear you and agree with most of what you say, however, I don’t condemn all of Christianity because some people abuse it or make it look bad. But let me ask you this question, beyond those phrases like “do unto others” how do you guide someone to resolve complicated moral issues? Do you ever talk with your children about morals? Is that enough to lead a person through every moral quagmire he or she might face? Not in my view.

He doesn’t say why he feels that’s not enough. Perhaps I’m simplistic, but I do. Adultery is wrong – not necessarily a sin – but wrong. Her husband may beat her, or ignore her. That makes it more complicated, but that’s social, not moral. It’s still wrong. You wouldn’t want to be her husband, nor her to be your wife. You’re not doing unto others, nor the greatest good for the greatest number.

I grew up in an atheist household, and we had some discussion of morals but it was very infrequent. Until atheism offers me the discipline of continually working to be a good person, I decided I’m done with it. And given that atheists or secularists tend to not marry or have kids at nearly the rates of religious people, how do you expect your values to live on beyond a generation or two?

I don’t view life – or religion – as a contest to be won. I hope to influence my descendants, and society in general, by my example. I would not dare to attempt to impose my code on others. People who do that are called ISIS. I believe my opinion to be the best, but if it dies out after I do, that’s not my problem.

Unlike Religion, Atheism has no real structure. There is no Pope, no hierarchy, no Bible, no tenets, no dogma, no sin, and no handy rule-book with a ready-made list of acceptable actions. People have to work that out on their own. He makes no mention of belief in God, Jesus Christ, salvation, Heaven, or everlasting life. He just wants someone to hold his moral hand and lead him down the Holy Garden path. It’s like someone wanting to save the Earth from Global Warming, but buying a Hummer because it has cool wheels.

Hummer

Jim says

“The reason you returned to religion is self interest. That’s how it always is. Just because you failed to find a meaningful life outside of faith, you have joined the herd to find solace. I, and many like me, find complete satisfaction finding our own way in the world. You on the other hand, profess belief in something you don’t believe, to have community. That is hypocrisy and lacks integrity.

There is no meaning but what you make it. Searching for it inside of prearranged dogma is cheating yourself of possibilities. Spirituality comes in billions of options that are quite fulfilling outside the plug-and-play religions. It’s even true inside religion. Everyone just picks the parts they want to believe anyway. Your mind has now been hijacked by the herd.”

 

The Need For Myths

Fairy Tale

Myths are stories of our search through the ages for truth, for meaning, for significance. We all need to tell our story and to understand our story. We all need to understand death and to cope with death, and we all need help in our passages from birth to life and then to death.

It may really not be possible to do away with myths. The myth is as much a part of the human need as the allure of it. Even when one does not want to, there will come a time when a person feels the need for a story. This inner need expresses itself as a search, or as a desire. It may come early in life or it may come late. Nevertheless, a person who thinks, is bound to realize a sense of emptiness. Nothing but a story could fill it. All a person would want or hope for is to find a good story, and then, live it.

Finding one’s myth

This is where one person differs from another. It’s easy to understand. What isn’t easy to understand is always, why one person chooses one story to understand his reality, while someone else chooses another. It is to be understood that: Till the time a person finds the story – the myth – that satisfyingly explains his existence and gives purpose to his mind, his soul, the power within is still not released. It is looking for its expression. The myth provides the expression. Only then, when one goes deep into his personal myth, is it no longer just a story, but life itself. Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

Every culture ought to provide a satisfying myth to the people it holds – one might say – captive. Yes, cultures hold at least some persons captive, while the vast majority are simply organized by it. This is what we understand to be a society. Is that not true? The exceptional individuals of society – the artists, the searchers, the thinkers, and the visionaries – if they succeed in finding their creativity-unlocking-myth, will then become the heroes and the leaders. They may even one day become legends that others recall with some fondness and some fear.

Another Challenge – No Argument

Another Challenge

#16 – 3 things you are proud of about your personality
Only three??!  They all blend together.  I like to think that I have (almost) no ego, and yet I have a blog-site where I claim to be opinionated.  With the ego comes humility and tact.  I can claim that I’m right, without ever insisting that you are wrong.

A man I worked with suddenly, out of the blue one day, said, “If I don’t like someone, I tell them.” Without much thought, I said, “I do too.”  “No you don’t.” he replied.  “If someone asks you, you’ll admit it.  If someone else is badmouthing them, you’ll agree.  I’ll walk right up to them and tell them I don’t like them.”

And therein, ladies and gentlemen, lies the difference between truth and tact. Truth without tact – honesty without compassion – is just cruelty.  There is little to be gained by actively making enemies.  There are too many of them to go around as it is.

The humility helps me accept and deal with reality. Unlike Fundamentalists, I don’t insist that I’m ‘right’, when there is proof that I’m not, or at least reasonable doubt.  I have changed my thinking and opinions on a number of issues, as more evidence becomes available.

#20 – The last argument you had

Here’s another place where the list compiler’s mental problems/viewpoint become apparent. This question shows that he believes that Everybody argues to resolve differences, and they do it on such a regular, continued basis that we each have a mental list of arguments, with the ‘last’ one at the top.  Sadly, that happens all too often –Just Not With Me!

A soft answer turneth away wrath.
Mr. Myagi say, way to avoid punch argument, not be there.
Never argue with an idiot.  People might have trouble telling which one’s which.

I learned very early that arguing wasn’t a good idea, that it didn’t really solve anything, and just caused more problems.

When I was 8, and the neighborhood smart(ass) kid was 9, we got into a real argument about what Tarzan’s victory yell from the movies sounded like. I thought that it was like this – he thought it was like that.  Here were the two of us, nose to nose, noise polluting the neighborhood….when I suddenly realized that we were at odds over a fictitious movie sound, from a fictional character.  The noise level quickly abated.

In my early teens, during the “Beach Boys, Jan and Dean” period of surf and hot-rod music, I came home from high school one day. Since I usually had an hour to myself, I put on a recently purchased 45 RPM record about a ‘Bucket T’, a 1923 T-model Ford hot-rod.  I cranked the volume and played it 5 or 6 times, trying to get the lyrics and musical pacing.

Suddenly my Mother came scowling out of her bedroom. She had felt ill, and came home from work early.  How dare I keep blasting this song about ‘bucket seat, bucket seat, bucket seat?’  I opened my mouth to argue that it was a ‘Bucket-T,’ when I realized that it was not about what it was about.  What it was about, was that my Mother needed quiet and rest.  She got it – no argument.

Where profanity is the last resort of a person with no language skills, so too, arguments are the last resort of those with no tact, communication abilities, or anger management skills. If a discussion/disagreement has deteriorated to the point of arguments, both parties have already lost.  It is often no longer about who is right, or what is best, but rather, WHO WILL WIN.

Even if you prove the other person wrong, especially in public, you have not won the fight, or a follower, but rather, someone who will bear a grudge and backstab and bad-mouth you forever.  I will clearly state my case, but I stay out of arguments.  Too often, they involve third parties – (soon-to-be-ex)bosses, police, attorneys and ambulances.

There’s no argument that I would like to see you all here again in a couple of days, for some more of Archon’s nuggets of wisdom.

Smitty’s Loose Change #6

Beer

Hey, Alcohol!
We had a deal where you made me smarter, funnier, and a better dancer.
I’ve seen the video.
We need to talk.

***

MOODY CONTEMPLATION

Between the eyes and ears there lie
The sounds of color
And the light of a sigh
With thoughts of within
To exclude the without
The ghost of a thought
Will exclude all doubt
And to name this thought
Is important to some
So they gave it a word
And the word is
OM’.

***
My boss told me to have a nice day….so I went home.

***

We suffered a home invasion recently. Fortunately, it was a stupid benign one.  After the son came home from his midnight shift, he stayed up a bit later than usual.  He always locks the front door as he comes in.  The wife got up a bit earlier than usual to take a shower, to go out.  Between the water running, and the two of them talking in the hall, I came awake.

Suddenly, I could hear the wife talking to someone else, and got out of bed to see what was going on. Halfway down the stairs in her nightie, suddenly she heard some woman’s voice shouting out, “Adeline!  Adeline, are you here?  I’ve come to visit.  Adeline, can you hear me?”

The wife shouted, “There’s no Adeline here! Get out!  Get Out!” and the son came roaring out of his bedroom.  Later, he bitched, “The one morning I forget to lock the door…!” The woman responded, “Isn’t this number 238?”  Does Adeline drive a new Kia Sorento with custom ‘ARCHON’ plates?  Does she live in a house with 6-inch brass numbers, 232, on the corner of the garage that you just passed?

I’d almost suspect an all-you-can-quickly-lift-and-walk out-with burglary buffet if she hadn’t been challenged. It’s difficult to imagine anyone that dumb, but then, the only infinite things are the Universe, and stupidity….and I’m not sure about the Universe.

***

America – a pre-existing condition in need of constant reassurance.
Belief – The idea that feelings equate to reality.  (See Truth)
God – Head of a US based Multinational Corporation which invests in social networking applications, web based communications technology, and merit based wish fulfillment.  (See Mark Zuckerberg).
Truth – Any knowledge, information, or ideas not yet deemed as “fake”.
Zuckerberg, Mark – Senior Pastor, First Church of Facebook (see God).

***

All writers have a little voice inside their head, one that doesn’t say, write a bestseller, or, sell lots of books.  It simply whispers to them to write every day.  If listened to, the voice will go silent.  If ignored, the urge will never relent.  Writing frees your soul, and allows your imagination to wander.

***

I took the daughter shopping the other day. We went to the refrigerated section of a major supermarket chain, looking for OJ and chocolate milk. As I walked past the big, chilled display of eggs, I realized that it was clucking at me. Apparently the store has hidden a speaker behind the display, and trip-switches on the glass doors has it burbling, “Bock-bock-bock-bock, bock-bock-bock.” I was afraid to go near the milk aisle. Moo, moo, moo???….or the ground pork.   🙄

 

The Olde Philosophy Shoppe

philosopher

I have strived for years to absorb the wisdom of the ages, and all I wound up with was the ages – very little wisdom. Even my LinkedIn profile (under The Archon) lists my job description as ‘Sage’….more like oregano – or thyme.  Just as taxis are being pushed out by the likes of Lyft, or Uber, so too do I find my respected Adored Elder position of ‘disseminator of arcane knowledge’ being replaced by part-time amateurs.

During the summer, I took the wife and daughter (more than once) to a couple of plant nurseries. Valuable tribal lore used to be passed by word of mouth, from older, experienced, veteran warriors, to green, wet-behind-the-ears youngsters, around the campfires at night.

I found that wisdom (and what passes for it) is now passed from smart-mouthed hipster Millennials, to plant lovers and random passers-by, via garden plaques. Here are a few of the ones I saw.  Perhaps you’d like to copy and save one or two, and pass them on, when the time is right.

philo2

philo1

philo3

philo4

philo5

smartphone-ignore

truth

no-humor

Ah well, you guys come here mostly for the humor….or is it just to humor me?  I’ve armed you well.  Go forth and be philosophical – and come back in a couple of days for some jokes.

Flat Earth – Flat Out Foolish

Flat Earth

Recently, a rapper with so much artistic creativity, that he named himself B.o.B., claimed that the Earth is flat, and went head to head with Neil DeGrasse Tyson about it. In a battle of wits, he was soon out of ammo.  It’s like bringing a knife to a – tank battle.

Tank

Soon after, I found a post titled ‘Flat Earth – the Truth. Why it doesn’t matter’ at this site.

Click on over if you enjoy incomplete thoughts, rambling construction, mis-spelling and –punctuation, reverse logic, no stated truth, conspiracy theories, or, just see below..

He had one (almost)good idea. He felt we shouldn’t worry about arguing whether the Earth is flat or not, because, “it’s not worth discussing until we sort the important stuff out such as not being ruled by psychopaths and switching to sustainable energy before we all die.”

Sadly though, short of revolution, there’s no way these can be accomplished without involving politicians, and discussing this stuff is how we judge which ones are capable. If the stand-up comedian from Nome female Governor of Alaska intentionally uses the non-word ‘squirmishes’ as a talking point, the word doesn’t matter, but the fact that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, does.  If not, here, on a small thing, where else, on a large scale, where it counts??

To elect a Flat-Earth believer, would be like electing Joey from ‘Friends’, who regularly said ‘supposably’, instead of ‘supposedly.’ George W. was ‘misunderestimated’ by voters, and elected, and then led around by his WMDs.

The ‘belief’ in a flat Earth is as strong as any religious tenet.  Like any religion, it is fractured into many sects, each one believing some theory more bizarre than the last.  Since they deny that Earth is a sphere, gravity can’t attract toward the center.  Somehow it just pulls ‘down.’

When interviewed, the leader of one group was asked why the Earth then doesn’t fall ‘down.’ He answered that the plate-shaped planet rests on the back of a giant tortoise.  “But then, the tortoise would fall ‘down’ also.”  Nope, he replied, it’s tortoises all the way down.

To explain gravity, another Flat-Earth group claims that the world is constantly rising, like an elevator, pushing things toward the surface. We’ve all felt that pressure as an elevator moves upward, but it doesn’t take long till it and we are moving at the same speed, and the pressure disappears.

For gravity to persist, the planet must not only be ‘rising,’ but constantly accelerating, moving faster and faster. It would take about three days before it reached the unreachable speed-of-light limit.  But if you don’t believe that Earth is ball-shaped, or that gravity exists, then you probably don’t believe in Newton’s, or Einstein’s daydreams either.  They do believe in some strange things though.

Warning – Here Be Dragons   😳

FLAT EARTH – the TRUTH. WHY IT DOESN’T MATTER

First – why I think it’s a psy-op. (but the psy-op is not the truth, that’s just my opinion.) The bottom line, on two angles, is “who does it benefit?” If the Earth really is flat, who did it benefit to lie about it? Nobody as far as I can tell, it’s a pointless lie. But if it’s the flat earth theory that’s a lie, who does it benefit? The government, cos now anyone that says, “I don’t trust the government” sounds like some nutcase who believes the Earth is flat. Next time we say “I think 911 was an inside job” some bell-end is gonna reply, “yeah, you probably think the Earth is flat as well. The other point is, give the theory the benefit of the doubt again – even if the Earth is flat – so what? That would be a massive lie, and have literally astronomical implications (yeah, I’m proud of that!) but it’s still just a harmless lie compared to hiding abusers in government positions and false flag attacks to justify amoral wars to install central banks and steal resources. So forger about it, it’s not worth discussing until we sort the important stuff out such as not being ruled by psychopaths and switching to sustainable energy before we all die.

The truth is – it doesn’t actually matter.

A few like this, and Trump could start looking good. And I didn’t even say a word about the shit that some Christians believe.