The Cobain Case

These last few years have been quite the roller coaster, intellectually. Not something I haven’t said before. But it nicely applies here, since this intellectual growth has come to touch on pretty much every single thing that I have ever taken for granted, and then some. Calling it growth is not really correct either since it was less learning something new than it was a process of training myself to better analyze information in general. Both in terms of new information, AND what already resides in the mind (at least when prompted). Many are able to master the former, but the latter is often a challenge. Certainly so for me, but definitely so for about 99% of the naysayers on almost any topic that I touch on anywhere.

This post centers on the and then some category of the contents of my mind. A topic that has been kicking around the back of my brain undisturbed for many years, only to be yanked back to the forefront of my conscience by a tweet. Interestingly, a tweet that was unrelated to the topic itself.

Though my relationship to the Cobain saga goes back many years, my relationship to the life story of Kurt Cobain goes back even further. Being a tail end millennial, I wasn’t old enough to be paying much heed to anything back in 1994, let alone for the duration of his career. I came to his story and his music the way most (all?) millennials did . . . though popular culture as heavily influenced by the world wide web.

Likely due to a combination of living on through continued radio play and vast availability though now defunct P2P protocols, Nirvana had just as many fans in the following generation (possibly generations) as they did in their prime. I was very much one of them, loving me some mainstream hits much like many others. The band (or more accurately, Kurt Cobain himself) grew more and more interesting after I found out about his fate. Suicide.
It’s getting harder to describe, being this far out from that time of life. But what comes to mind are both morbid fascination, and a degree of jealousy. At this time of life, I didn’t really see any future for myself. But despite this, I was still too weak to actually follow through with bringing to reality what I viewed as my destiny. Given this sentiment, people like Cobain become very fascinating. Particularly pop cultures so-called 27 club (Amy Winehouse being the latest name).

I don’t look back at this time with pride, obviously. But I also don’t look back at it with contempt, either. I have allowed some people to claw me down a bit, comparing my seemingly trivial hardships to their very REAL hardships. But I don’t do that anymore, either. It’s not helpful.

Either way, this is a small window into my mid to late teenage years. A time of life when I needed a crutch to keep me going. Which is why I now don’t look back with much regret at this, nor at the suicidal mindset that cut through the majority of my high school years .
It was a coping mechanism. It robbed me of enjoying many events of the then present day. It somewhat handicapped my ability to prepare myself for the future. But, it got me beyond the rough and into . . . whatever the hell this is. Even if that equates to a patch of concrete of which is destined to be crushed by the steamroller that is the stupidity of the human species, a positive outcome it still is.

To round it back, I remember my first exposure to the Cobain conspiracy theory. I was browsing Cobain info on some website and ended up in a bit of a rabbit hole of sorts. I remember this because it didn’t sit well with me.

I mean . . .NO! The man killed himself! If this is all to be believed, then what of the last 2 years of my life?! I’ve been fascinated by a LIE!

So describes a fascinating manifestation of cognitive bias in my young brain.

This fascination with celebrities that committed suicide or overdosed eventually faded away, as did most of my interest in the Cobain conspiracy. Life happened, with all the often nonsensical bullshit of which that entailed.

Though the Cobain conspiracy was on the very back burner for the vast majority of the time between first discovering it and recently (within the last year), I periodically had bouts of pursuit into the details. I had researched the case VIA Google a few times, finding Tom Grant and CobainCase.com (along with many others). I watched Kurt & Courtney. I became aware of all the seeming problems surrounding Cortney Love. From the allegations of her taking out a $50,000 hit on Kurt (made by a guy who was killed by a train days after that interview), to peoples habit of dying upon telling Courtney that they want to leave her (and Seattle). The first is obvious, the other is former Hole bandmate, Kristen Pfaff.
Though I revisited this every year or 2, I couldn’t help feeling that there had to be something here. This made all the more amusing by the semi-yearly occurrence of some commentator or celebrity calling out Courtney Love publicly for her role in the murder.

I had even drafted a post exploring this topic (well, started to) a few months after starting this blog. A post that I kept around until a few months ago when I started to have  serious doubts about the validity of the theory.

Part of this was rooted in the drastic shifts within my own mind of the past few years. I like to say that most people can recognize silly conspiracy theories on sight. That is, except for their own.

I began see this pattern in my own pro-murder leanings.

A big part of this came in my viewing of Soaked In Bleach, yet another film exploration into the theories. Unlike the others, however, this one annoyed me right off the bat, since  it began by asking the viewer to decide for themselves whether it was murder or suicide. As do many books written about the Cobain case, and materials concerning other conspiracy theories as well.
The other thing I disliked about this so-called docu-drama, was the bias. Though I didn’t have all that positive a perception of Courtney Love before watching this, even I had to admit that the bias towards her (as portrayed) was over the top. To give Tom Grant a bit of credit, it could have been a genuine reenactment of the meetings as they played out in his memory. But even so, it came off as quite . . . pushy towards an intended conclusion. A tactic that makes me very suspicious of the agenda behind those apparently doing the pushing.

The straw that would come to break the camels back was dropped on my consequence 2 days ago, VIA an algorithmically generated email from twitter (of all places). Amongst a list of tweets picked out just for me (based on my patterns of behavior, no doubt) was one from Tom Grant. Not even a tweet that had any connection to Soaked in Bleach, conspiracy, OR the Cobain case in general. Rather, it was a tweet featuring a video that would seemingly “leave most evolutionists scratching their heads”.

 

Yeah. . .

My first critique is the one that most with a capable mind will pick up on. I don’t believe in evolution any more than I believe in gravity, or radio waves, or light radiation. For lack of a more scientifically cogent way to put it, I don’t HAVE to believe in any of these things. Unlike the conspiracy that has been Grant’s claim to fame. Or infamy.

Whichever is more applicable.

Evolution denialism does not have anything to do with forensics. Alright, I’m going to back that up a little. It certainly has nothing to do with the Cobain case. Even so, it is possible to draw a parallel.

My observation of human behaviors in my proximity tends to indicate that the methodology that people use to come to a conclusion in one context is typically the one that is used for other problems in similar contexts. Or to round it all the way up to the macro level, I don’t think it’s coincidental that the United States is both the most religious nation AND the most prone nation to producing and propagating conspiracy theory.

It’s all about asking questions. Or in the case of a good majority of conspiracy theories, absorbing a new narrative under the pretext of asking questions. Often times a narrative that presents itself as a quest for the truth, but materializes as a standard for which all evidence presented by opposing arguments has to stand up to. Which is often times impossible due to an informational vacuum. Because if there weren’t an informational vacuum, there would not be a conspiracy theory!

In this day and age, even THAT rule of thumb is getting unreliable. But none the less, complete transparency from all angles would wipe out 99.9 . . .9% of these zombie theories that live on forever.

So, how does this apply to this?

Unlike some other conspiracies that I have looked into just out of curiosity (mainly those surrounding the events of 9/11), I haven’t done a whole lot of independent research into the Cobain case. I know a thing or 2, but I also knew EXACTLY what I was looking for. Hardly proper or unbiased research.

I don’t know why Courtney may or may not have acted oddly around that time.
I don’t know whether or not the gun that killed Kurt was wiped of prints.
I don’t know if his credit card was really used after he was dead (presumably by the assailant).
I don’t know if said assailant did get paid a large sum of money, only to presumably overdose and take the secret to their grave as well.
I don’t know if the amount of heroin detected in Kurt’s body was truly incapacitating (even to a highly tolerant addict), rendering suicide an impossibility.
I don’t know if the suicide note in its entirety, is truly authentic.
I don’t know if someone at ANY level made the realization that Kurt Cobain was worth more dead than alive, in the state that he was in.

I just don’t know. And in some respects, I don’t care.

I will say this . . . if there is a unified stance amongst experts in the field of forensics that there is something wrong here and that the Seattle Police Department may have missed something, then by all means, they should reopen the case file. It wouldn’t be the first time that a department has botched even a high profile case.

As for outside of that context, I think that it’s time to give it a rest.

I don’t know if Courtney Love is openly hostile towards many of these investigations on account to not wanting certain skeletons unearthed. Alternatively to that assumption (which is not hard to come to when opening your mind to many of these theories), is it not also possible that this is a very human reaction to a wild goose chase that doesn’t allow one to ever truly move on from a tragedy? How about a motherly reaction in the name of shielding their child from having to deal with the same nonsense?

I may not have all the answers, but it’s time for me to lay this old ghost to rest. Once and for all.

 

The Silent Wall

Yesterday, I made a decision that was arguably years in the making. I decided to go silent on Facebook for at least a little while by way of deactivating my profile. Something that is a big deal for someone using the site on a pretty much daily basis for literally years now. I remember using the site even before i had broadband installed in my apartment. And that was 12 years ago.

Why?

No, it’s not related to any of the Russia stuff, Cambridge Analytica or the like. Nor is it the algorithms (I seen that problem coming years ago, as explored in a post somewhere on this blog).  And it has nothing to do with going low key with my data to hide from prying eyes. The NSA and other organizations already likely have access to every kilobyte I have ever transmitted online on a multi-terabyte sized server somewhere.
If I worry about anyone, it’s hackers. And I keep them at bay the best I can by trying to be a smart online user. In short, Firewall, strong passwords, and 2-factor authentification.
But even this is sometimes not enough if large data harvesting organizations such as Equifax or major retailers are either cavalier or arrogant in terms of their data protection schemes.

Mr. Robot is not as far off as one would imagine or hope.

Either way, if not all that, why did I shut it down?

In a word, a feed of sewage. Though it was arguably built by me in terms of my past interactions (both topics and people), there comes a point when the bullshit is just too much. Both from the gullible fools I would expect, but also from people that I would have thought would know better. A small sample of events I’ve seen in the past few days alone:

– idiotic pro-gun arguments

– idiotic rebuttals to the Stoneman Douglas kids

– Enough Justin Trudeau memes to rival the Conservative Party of Canada’s Twitter account

– Warnings about the disadvantages of sharia law and other anti-immigration nonsense

– All manner of other stupid shit including “This guy took the last shopping cart at Walmart, so I’m making him infamous on Facebook!”

I even found myself almost coming to the defense of adult babies at one point. In short, it’s a fetish where some adults like to dress as and be, babies, engaging in various related activities. It’s odd indeed, but some people also like golden showers. As long as their not pissing on me or in my bed, what do I care?

I mean, REALLY . . .

Full disclosure, the gun stuff was partly on account to me kicking off the debate on my wall. Though I am not anti-gun per say, it seems that many gun owners view many credible forms of gun control as being essentially the same thing. Such is the way of people.

Either way, I am not sure how long this will last. But this page is both a marker of day one to reflect on and a recommendation for the rest of you. Try it. If you’re worried about messenger and contacts, you won’t lose them and the service is independent of Facebook. You can use it with a deactivated account.

We can all use a break.

 

31 Questions For Atheist’s

I once did one of this questionnaire’ es some time ago (a daunting task, being I was typing on a smartphone at the time), but think I’ll tackle this once more.  I’ve mostly left this topic in the dust, but it’s still enjoyable to pick it up occasionally. I may have grown away from Atheist’s, but the ambiguity of the subject matter is none the less pleasing to delve into. A nice distraction from the times we live in.

And so, here we go. 31 Questions For Atheists as posed by Patheos contributor Godless Mom.

1.) How would you define Atheism?

I would say it to be the rejection of the notion that any deity or deities exist.

This is not the colloquial definition of the word. However, I’ve come to realize that the colloquial definition is asinine and not conducive to its task in the great debate between the atheists the theists.

In a nutshell, I do not lack belief in anything. I don’t take the existence of any deities seriously, so I reject the notion. I do not lack belief in them. The only time when that definition would be fitting would be:

a.) Before one learns about these deities from various teachers in their environment

b.) If they have never (or can never) be exposed to this knowledge. For example, animals, isolated tribes or inanimate objects.

Notice how this lacks belief definition conveniently debunks the popular “We are all born atheist” talking point. It also conveniently debunks the notion of inanimate objects being atheist as well (something known as Shoe Atheism on Reddit).

That is how I define Atheism.

2.) Do you act according to what you believe (there is no God) in or what you don’t believe in (lack belief in God)?

To be honest, I am not sure how to answer that question. It seems like gibberish.

It likely would make some sense if the one asking it has tied ethics and morality to a belief in their chosen deity (which I am guessing is the case). But none the less, not applicable.

My day to day choices are irrelevant to the deity question. Really, this could apply to most people. As anecdotal as it is, I can think of many believers that are far more unethical than I.

Though beliefs and labels often equate to morality in the eyes of many, human nature (be it good or bad) will almost always trump such restrictions. We have seen it over and over again, both inside and outside the church. The sooner we quit equating labels to morality, the better we all will be.

3,) Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who “lacks belief” in God to work against God’s existence by attempting to show that God doesn’t exist?

Yes.

I used to fall into this trap. I spent a lot of time trying to prove to theists how wrong they were. But I eventually realized that in the grand scheme of things, proving and disproving does not matter. At least not when there is plenty in actual real life to worry about (like the many negatives associated with religion, among many others).

Generally speaking, I let people be as they wish to be, only breaking that rule if their beliefs are directly harmful to themselves or others. It goes against everything that I used to think (when Atheism was a big part of my identity). But I have other focuses now.

Besides, there is no lack of newly minted atheists to fill in my void in the great debate. Nothing is lacking. Short of the definition that brought them there.

4.) How sure are you that your Atheism properly represents reality?

I am not. Considering what we have to go on, only a fool would be bold enough to present solid evidence of any conclusion. And yes, that goes both ways.

The reality for me is the real world. Everything that is happening within it, from the good to the ugly. All that may or may not be in the supernatural realm only has as much consequence on this reality as humans prescribe onto it. Issues of which are also dealt with in the material reality we all share.

What lies beyond is unimportant.

5.) How sure are you that your Atheism is correct?

I am not. This is something that is shared by most atheists.

6.) How would you define what Truth is?

I hate that word.

These days, it seems that it has become so subjective that anyone on any side of any debate can use it in their context. Which is why the word tends to serve more as a red flag for me than anything else. At least in the online realm.

In most cases, I tend to lean more towards facts and evidence. Though someone’s truth or true statements may be reflected by fact and evidence, the 2 are misaligned often enough for me to question it.

7.) Why do you believe your Atheism is a justifiable position to hold?

In all honesty, I don’t call myself an Atheist. I don’t call myself anything really (aside from ambiguous).

To the question that is Do you believe in a deity or deities?, I answer simply “I don’t know”. Because I don’t. I may find answers at some point (unlikely), but even if not, it’s unimportant.

Many ideological Atheists will place me in their category by default. Whatever suits your fancy. I just wish you would be a little more accepting of diverse beliefs within the secular community because despite differing on the details, we all otherwise share a common thread. It is a lot easier to unite under the banner of secularism than to divide attempting to prove that we are all Atheists in denial.

You may call it rationalism. But I still call it growing a brand.

8.) Are you a materialist or a physicalist or what?

I hadn’t even heard of the 2 before now. However, barring a misunderstanding of either (highly likely, given how simple the internet tends to boil down the most complex of topics), I am leaning towards neither. One can likely find tones of either option in my past and future responses. However, I don’t bend or align myself just to fit into a box. If I am left somewhere outside of one, then so be it.

9.) Do you affirm or deny that Atheism is a worldview?

Both. I can use myself as an example of both.

The conclusion itself is standalone, as it can be reached even before learning the term ones native language ascribes to the phenomenon. For example, I was what one would describe as Atheist for a good 6 months in high school before I learned that there was a term for it. I accepted a likely void and left it at that (I had many other matters I was coming to terms with at the time).

Later, as I moved on and grew more acquainted with the Atheist community (particularly in various Facebook groups), I gradually became more aligned with the Atheist worldview. Actually, I would call it more an ideology than a worldview.

Most atheists will deny that atheism is/can be an ideology, pointing to the fact that it is a mere conclusion. While that is the case, it is what is tacked on after this turns the whole thing into a prescribed ideology. All one has to consider alone is the absolute intolerance of all but atheist conclusion as demonstrated by organizations as high profile as American Atheists. It’s hard to comprehend how something as ambiguous as lack of a belief in a deity or deities could be taken so far WITHOUT ideological influence.

Is it a coincidence that many of the people that hold these hard-line Firebrand stances tended to morph out of strong previously theist positions?

I don’t think so.

10.) Not all Atheists are antagonistic to Christianity but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?

I usually use the word Theism in place of individual religions and sects, being that it is more generalized to the topic itself (as opposed to ones small slice of geographical territory). Thus I will precede the same way here.

First, the seemingly obvious. I can be as antagonistic to any theist ideology as they can be antagonistic to Atheism. Ideologies are fair game.

I myself, go a little into each category. I don’t generally antagonize theists or their beliefs just for the sake of it. If people keep their beliefs to themselves, I share the same respect. Which is why I can even have casual coffee conversations with even full-blown Trump supporters. I respect their opinions, they respect my opinions, and then we move onto other matters. Since we overlap in the vast majority of other places anyway.

However, when I see examples of the bad side of religion (everything from sexual abuse scandals to misappropriation of funds by hucksters posing as pulpit leaders), all gloves are off. I am not afraid to say such bold statements as “Invade the Vatican!”.

The United States has invaded at least 2 countries in the last 2 decades for far lesser crimes than what has been leveled against the Vatican in the present to distant past.

Just saying.

11.) If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny his existence?

Again, I will make this more generally applicable by replacing Christian ideology with theism. By way of using the word deity instead of God.

The existence of a deity was never much more than background noise in my life before Atheism. What brought it on my radar was a rough freshman year in high school. During the situation, I had become angry at said deity of my mind for allowing me to endure such suffering. But after some months went by and most of the rough stuff had passed, I began to accept that it was less malice or ineptitude than it was void. It was far more likely that there was nothing there than it was that I was its punching bag. So begun my secular journey.

Lose theist. Angry theist. Unacknowledged Atheist. Atheist. Something. I don’t know.

That about sums up my whole life’s journey in 11 words.

12.) Do you believe the world would be better off without religion?

I used to answer “Yes!” to this question. And I still do.

However, though religion DOES have many negative effects on the world, there will always be something else, where people are concerned. Whether it be politics, race or some other significant or insignificant detail, humans will ALWAYS find something to divide over.

13.) Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity?

There are many anecdotes that I could point to in showing why I say “Yes” to this. But I’ve said pretty much everything important in the previous response.

14.) Do you believe that faith in God or Gods is a mental disorder?

No. Though this talking point has become more popular in previous years, I think it is unfounded.

People with mental disorders can be religious, and may even be drawn to such ideologies. But it is not a necessity. Even the most brilliant can be good at compartmentalizing in some areas. Such is the human mind.

15.) Must God be known through the scientific method?

In order for the concept to overcome it’s supernatural status and instead just become a natural part of reality?

Yes. And No.

Scientific research is humanities looking glass through which we see, measure and evaluate our world. As such, it’s okay to expect new additions to this knowledge base to pass these tests of credibility.

But at the same time, there is a lot to be said for criticisms of the scientific method. Not as much the legitimacy of the scientific method itself, but more the question of it is truly the only way. Or just one of several possibilities overlooked and cast aside by devotees of the status quo. Another common behavior of the human.

It’s hard to not come across as a science denialist when considering this subject with my amount of understanding of it (next to none). But it seems an important area of inquiry.

16.) If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?

I don’t. Until I know, I don’t know.

17.) Do we have any purpose as human beings?

Reproduction. Just like everything else that can reproduce.

Since we have more than taken care of that purpose, I guess it is up to us to find other ways to fulfill ourselves.

18.) If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?

I would say that it is in our genes, much like the rest of the animal kingdom and the living world.

19.) Where does morality come from?

I would say out of necessity. When groups of people are to live together, some behaviors will become noticeably problematic to this dynamic.

As societies grow and become more complex, the various tenants of morality also change, expanding with the times. But even before leaders were chosen to govern large cohorts, it would become apparent that some behaviors were unbecoming, and I suspect that such actors were dealt with swiftly.

With a bow and arrow.

 

20.) Are there moral absolutes?

No.

21.) If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?

N/A

22.) Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so, what is it?

I don’t believe in the spiritual concept, but I can see it utilized as a noun for things on the extreme end of the bad spectrum.

I am careful in how I use the word. As such, the only real example that comes to mind is Vladimir Putin. Staring into those eyes is like staring into the abyss.

God help me if a plane I am on ever has to divert to Russia. As David Pakman once half-jokingly quipped (during a segment about yet another suspected Russian poisoning), I might slip on a banana peel and accidentally fall out a 20 story window.

23.) If you believe that the God of the old testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?

Any?

In my opinion, the God of BOTH testaments is terrible. Or would be if it were something that I took seriously. Which I don’t.

It’s amusing how most of the God’s and deities that humans look up to often showcase the very same character quirks and flaws as regular old human beings. Very telling.

24.) What would it take for you to believe in God?

A miracle?

In short, something indisputable. A situation where the experience is universal, and not just applicable to a single person or a small group.
It is indisputable that hurricanes, mountains, and oceans exist. That is all I expect. For the strongest force in at least our observable universe to prove it.

To flip the script on the obviously Christian creator of these questions, what if the God or deity that makes itself known is not the one you had prepared for?

What if he has more Jewish or Islamic leanings? What if he is a she? What if he was a he, but is now a she? I would pay to see that revelation in some churches. Boy howdy . . .

Good thing that the chance of ever even having that chance is one in whothefuckknows.

25.) What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?

See the previous reply.

26.) Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc., or what?

It must be a situation this is as apparent and universally shared as viewing a mountain from anywhere within its sight line.

It would be asinine to question the existence of Mount Everest. This is what I expect of God.

27.) Do you think that a society run by Christians or Atheists would be safer? Why?

For all intents and purposes, the United States is run by Christians (they make a majority of those in power). Many Scandinavian countries have high nonbeliever populations so I would imagine that means many also sit in their political offices.

What does this tell us? That there are about a thousand factors that are not taken into account.

In the age of high population and extremely complex tech-driven civilization, keeping it all together is a job far beyond the scope of either proposed option. Either would be hard-pressed in terms of the operations of even my little home city of just under 60,000, let alone New York City, or the United States.

I do believe that part of the role of religion in antiquity was a form of population control. There is no tyrant more fearsome than the one that you can’t even see, or the one that will be torturing you for eternity.

There was a time when such doctrines were adequate. But not anymore.

And besides, it is almost always problematic when a single ideology inherits too much power. It’s almost always led to corruption and likely discrimination.

Therefore, it’s ideal to keep things as mixed as possible. This is not always an easy feat due to the way that birds of a feather flock together (many cohorts tend to colonize around their ideological peers). None the less, one of the best ways to keep one group from garnering too much undue influence is to ensure that all group influence is diluted enough in the power structure so as to be of little consequence.

28.) Do you believe in free will? (free will being the ability to make choices without coercion)

No.

Even taking the almighty deity or deities out of the equation, you are only as free as the sum of all your available options. Scale that as far up as you want.

29.) If you believe in free will, do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?

I don’t really believe in free will (absolute free will, anyhow). But I would defend ones ability to make choices for themselves.

I wasn’t pushed into answering these questions. It was of my own volition that I choose to respond to them.

30.) If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal and thereby become “deity” and not restricted by space or time? If not, why not? How does one lead to the other?

No.

My first thought is that we as a species are likely never going to be around for that long, given our track record. If delayed effects of past activities don’t doom us, then I suspect we ourselves may end up pressing the big red button. Because there are a whole lot more idiots out there than there is wise folk. And even fewer wise folk in positions of actual influence.

If any kind of evolution were to occur, I suspect it would be more related to technical (artificial intelligence?) advances than simple evolution. And even so, one likely will never (can never?) break out of the time barrier.

I am no scientist and am basing this on very lose knowledge of the subject matter. But if time travel is not possible due to light (or something along those lines), I would imagine being outside of the phenomenon of time also falls into this trap.

If you ask many in the parapsychological field, some humans have allegedly already broken that bond. I give them as much credibility as I do the average acupuncturist or homeopath. But none the less seemed worth mentioning.

It is on topic.

31.) If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren’t you saying that it is probable that some sort of god exists?

That is a giant leap.

In short, no. For the time being, I find no gap (or reasoning, really) where or why such a deity (or deities) would fit, or be necessary.

A Year Of President Trump – Some Thoughts

The time period is March 2017 (the 14th to be precise). Though I have never really stopped to think much about all of this in the past year (call it chaos on all fronts), it may be interesting to do so now. A year and change into President Trump. To think that some people had issues with saying or thinking about President Bush . . .

To get a full picture of this, we have to rewind a bit. All the way back to mid and early 2016, when all of this shit was just getting underway. Following the numerous Republican debates in which Donald managed to steal the show by exposing the false facade of all of his opposition with simple yet effective distraction tactics, he became the face of the GOP. Around this time, Cenk Uygur (host of The Young Turks) remarked something along the lines of “He could end up being president”. Something that seemed hard to believe, to say the very least.

That summer and lead up to the election were interesting.

I went through a time period wherein the presidency of Trump was a horrifying proposition.  Though it was a period of worry over a period of time, it is encapsulated perfectly by one instance, involving me sitting in my workplaces deli and having a bite to eat. I looked at my table and the various trash items from that lunch that put a timestamp on their time of existence (recite, sandwich bag label, beverage container).

I then pondered the prospect of some future civilization or entity finding these time-stamped items, and if they could end up being a marker of the beginning of the great unwinding. For many decades, this species uniquely mapped out their heyday by burying millions of timestamped items and scripts in all the lands they occupied. Until some point early in the 21st century.

What brought that on? I honestly have no idea. My brain sometimes goes places that surprise even me. Call it a roller coaster that is uniquely my own.

After this period of worry, I went into what one could describe as a period of delusion. Having learned of Trump being a fairly progressive and humanistic man (or at least touting those views for the cameras) in the past, a conspiracy of sorts was hashed out in my mind. Donald the trojan horse!

Like the real-life interpretation in historical times (or the pesky virus that Vipre nabs if I visit the wrong site), it seemed possible. The man may be conning his way up the ladder into the presidency, only to turn around and be a friend of the people!
He had connections with the Clintons for decades after all!

Yeah. Embarrassing. Fortunately, that period didn’t last long (though it was unfortunately recorded on this very blog at some point).

After this, I guess you could say that the worry fell off of my radar. Be it fatigue, other matters closer to home overshadowing it (or a combination of both), I didn’t think much of it for months. In no small part because the thought of Trump actually WINNING the election seemed . . . assinine. Really, this feeling lasted until around 3:30 or 4am on election night, when the writing was so obviously on the wall that there was no denying it anymore.

Enter 2017. The year of the asinine.

As it stands, Trump was not the only factor that made me use this word to describe pretty much the entirety of the 365 days. All in all, it was a boatload of ridiculousness coming from pretty much all fronts. Some more so than others. None the less, all played a part.

Work life went through a transition. Though as with many things, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or as is more the case, get worse. Without going into to much detail, just getting through 4 or 5 hours (let alone the dreaded 8) became a struggle. In early December at one point, I actually LOST the struggle, my feet carrying me out the door and off the property, despite my brain saying in no uncertain terms that such was NOT a good idea. The culmination of trying to be a pusher of change in the background, only to have a superior utter a stupid comment to my face during a passive-aggressive power trip. I am too old for that shit.
I would end up getting past this, odd as it may seem. Though even in the immediate aftermath, no one truly responsible for spawning the work environment that I ended up reacting to took ANYTHING from it. It was apparent in my first briefing when I was back in the door, and it becomes more and more apparent as the days and months have proceeded.

Like sands though the hourglass, these are the days of our lives

The longer I stay, the more I waste away. Seems a good incentive to take stock of my priorities, doesn’t it?

It has also been an interesting year on the family and friend front (in more ways than one). Also, an expensive one, being that I tend to likely be more liberal with my charitability than I possibly should be.
One relation’s refusal to in any way better themselves (opting instead to just keep bringing everyone else down by wallowing in their own pity) has been a big part of the last year’s agony. Not to mention that the breakdown of an old family bond has made this relation become very manipulative of late,  attempting to use his feelings (“It hurts when you talk to him and don’t take my side!”) to get me to quit contacting this other person. This other person who themselves has a VERY full plate and as such gets a  compassionate ear when they can use it.

Granted, it has been a few months since this has come up. But mostly because I firmly put my foot down on the issue. When the person stooped so low as to question my intelligence after I would not allow myself to become a pawn in their feud, I essentially told them to enjoy the loneliness that they were apparently so DESPRATLY craving, and left the table (we were at a coffee shop). Oddly enough, I got a call the very next day. Same place, same time. Was as though nothing had happened.

Though that would fall apart. Having been busy for a period of 3 straight days, I hadn’t seen or contacted them. Then on new years eve, I get a text from this person alleging (well, stating) that I had disowned them, with the blame, of course, being his now arch nemesis. Being fed up with that bullshit (and with to much other stuff to deal with), I didn’t contact them for a good 10 days. If I am not going to put up with that from a manager, I am NOT taking it from a family member.

We have since spoken again. Though I don’t speak to him nearly as much as I used to. Though my motives and actions aren’t questioned to my face, the guy has the memory of an elephant, so who knows what other people hear. But I don’t care. I am too old to be putting up with more ridiculous bullshit from yet another boomer who thinks they have the god given RIGHT to control everything and everyone in their orbit.

I have compassion for mental illness. But if and when that becomes a tool of manipulation, I will be the first person to say FUCK YOU. Don’t even START with that shit.

Now, back to Donald.

As a backdrop to all of THAT was Donald’s war on intelligence of all kinds. It’s honestly no wonder that I have seen everyone from Contrapoints to Vox political commentators use alcohol and inebriation as a prop when exploring this mess. Hell, I am waiting for the day when someone like Keith Oberman, Jake Tapper or Rachel Maddow cracks a bottle of tequila in the middle of a broadcast.

But, such is likely the nature of many on the left in these days. The feeling of being done with this 8 months ago, yet there is still a MINIMUM of 28 more to go. That is, barring some sort of judicial miracle.
I would LOVE to see that day, but I don’t put much hope in it. I don’t doubt that Robert Mueller can get the job done if unencumbered. But that is just the thing . . . there is no guarantee.
The GOP seems more than willing to aid and abet if it means that they keep the reins. The boomers are known for their stubbornness in allowing anyone else to share in their successes and privilege, but this takes things to a whole new level.

As for my thoughts on Trump the politician . . . I honestly don’t know what to say. Just thinking about it is painful. It’s like everyone’s undereducated but overly opinionated uncle or grandfather now inhabits one of the most important political offices on earth.

Some things are not even worth mentioning anymore. The hypocrisy train is SO far from the station at this point that it’s not even worth acknowledging. Something that the media seems to finally be realizing, considering some of the big stories of late. Namely his war on NAFTA (much of his clothing line was manufactured in Mexico or China), and the Chinese steel tariffs (he built many buildings using Chinese steel).

He is a reactionary puppet, no question about it. Whether or not he EVER had an original thought in his brain is debatable, but he certainly doesn’t seem to have many anymore. Something that may not be AS bad, depending who is in his ear.
But having seen who those people are . . .

Where is this all going? Good question.

Though the man seems far too inept and gullible to be truly evil (compared to say, Vlad the poisoner Putin), one must never underestimate the forces that may well back his whims. Is it going to be a repeat of the last time that the fascists held all the strings?
Many entities would love that. Some out of cluelessness to what exactly they are propping up, their views clouded by social justice issues (albeit for white males), Freedom of speech, Islamic creep in the west, and other cover issues. And some know EXACTLY what they want, and how things are going to be. Like the triggered guppies that happen upon my piece about the European Brotherhood when looking for more information to fulfill their discriminating tastes.

But now, the silver lining. A blue wave and a bunch of pesky high school students.

It’s been hard to see much to latch onto in this past year that wasn’t REALLY grasping at straws. But the positive seems to be slowly making itself more visible. Observations like the fact that a great many lefties seem to have learned their lesson. Though we’re years out from most elections, many happening in the last year have been in the Democrat’s favor. Hell,  Alabama turned blue (though I am sure that Roy Moore had a lot to do with it). And even more assinine, TEXAS may also turn a lot bluer than it ever has been.

Also making waves in all the right ways, are the teenagers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Granted, this story did not start in a positive way. None the less, however, the students managed to harness the loss of their friends and peers in one of the worst school shootings, into genuine resistance.
Looking at the reactions of gun advocates, the NRA, and the right in general, these kids have UNDENIABLY hit a nerve. The reaction to the corporate and public backlash may as well be a comedic sketch. The feet of these psychopaths are good and toasty for the first time EVER, and all they seem to know how to do is pour more gasoline (gunpowder?) onto the fire.

I hope that the momentum keeps going. Expecting to get genuine gun reform out of it might be akin to hoping that Trump will resign voluntarily. None the less, I am good with seeing grown adults become so intimidated by a few teenagers that they make asses of themselves in attempting to prove that the wisdom of longevity is more cogent than . . . reason.
The 2 that went on Bill Maher’s show made for one of my most enjoyed interviews. Not only did they throw his millennial ignorance in his face (albeit politely), they also publicly slammed an entire generation. They didn’t slam the boomers by name, but it’s good enough for me.

In conclusion . . .

How will it all end?

I guess we will find out. Be it elections in 3 and 7 years from now, or a cloud of contaminated particulate and a man-made winter, only time will tell us our fate. Something that should be on the mind anyway, in these days of increasing climate chaos and resource depletion.

Trump is not the final problem. He is just the beginning.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. It is that time of year, once more. A time of joyful self-indulgence and oh so much stress for many people.

The latter has always struck me as interesting. Particularly for the very vocal “It is MERRY CHRISTMAS!” types. Aside from the short-sighted bigotry of the sentiment, it has always struck me as ironic. Once I grew out of the sheltered views of childhood and my teenage years, Merry or Happy are not words that are quick to come to mind when it comes to that stretch between December 23ed and January 3ed.

When I was a child, it was all magic and presents.  When I was a teenager and the magic had faded, holidays were still something to look forward to. A time to go feast with extended family that one does not see very often.
In my late teens, this time was made somewhat awkward when I realized that I was more secular humanist (or Atheist, as I said back then) than Christian. Looking back now, none of my family took the religious element all that seriously to begin with.  However, for someone exploring the world with a newly minted atheistic perspective, the often overt religiosity of it all was quite daunting. One doesn’t realize how even the most seemingly insignificant details can cause a stir. Almost a form of guilt.

Everything from nativity scenes to typical Christmas carols. When I no longer bought into the underpinning dogma of it all, it took a long time to figure out exactly how to navigate.

When I broke the barrier between being a minor and an adult, the awkwardness of the holidays was replaced by hatred. Working in various sectors of retail customer service played a very big part in this.
After Halloween (and Black Friday really, even though it’s not as pronounced in Canada) was the worst time of year.
The sheep would start the yearly ritual of shopping, shopping, and more shopping. Buying all kinds of crap that they may or may not be able to afford for who knows how many people. Spending on things that may or may not be useful (or even usable!) in 2 or 3 months from now. Copious amounts of both finite energy and resources spent on what amounts to little more than a yearly ritual.
An orgy of spending that is seen by most participants as giving, yet it often amounts to little more than being charitable to billionaires.

I used to stress over shopping, like many people. I often settled for the easy fix that is gift cards. Once, I paid a school friend to make personalized bead bracelets for all the aunts in my family. Most of which still have them (best money I ever spent on Christmas stuff). But generally, I was a standard consumer.

I hated shopping for gifts. I hated people shopping for gifts. By all accounts, it was baffling that the words Merry and Happy were at all associated with this time of year. Merry Christmas? Happy Holidays?

More like go FUCK YOURSELF!

In recent times, however, it occurs to me that much of my resentment of this time of year is tied to past perceptions, other peoples attitudes, and a bit of immaturity. I hated working on any holiday because it felt like a time that I should be doing anything but that. Particularly serving people. Don’t you people have other things to do than shop AGAIN?

As for the past, many of us romanticize the magic of our childhoods and teenage years. Before the innocence was lost, and the world was exposed as the smoldering hellhole that it is.
Nostalgia. Though the familiar is sometimes nice to revisit, it can never be relived. Such is the tragedy of the human psyche.

As for other people, there are many types of influencers. One of the biggest comes with the collective tragedy of the commons. Hundreds of annoyed self-serving consumers leaving a negative wake everywhere they go, oblivious to their contribution to the continued degradation of all that is civil. No matter what side of the service economy one resides, all but the most reclusive hermits have to deal with this macro.

Then there are the never satisfied. Those that hold a very narrow view of what Christmas and this kind of year should be. If not all traits are met to their satisfaction, they will mope and write off the season even before it arrives. Often times these standards are based on childhood experiences as well, so there is likely no appeasing them. Just listening to endless whining about how Christmas is over before it even begun.

And lastly, are the exceptionalists. Those with an ingrained view of what a happy, joyous and fruitful holiday looks like based on experience. They love this time of year, and all it brings and represents. So much so that they can not fathom any other way. At times to the point of flat-out bigotry.

People are often obnoxious, self-serving and without a 2ed thought. The less you allow them to influence your day to day existence, the better you are for it. Be it regarding the holidays, or anything else really.

Taking this all into account, this year’s holiday leadup has actually been fairly smooth. In other ways, it has been a terrible year. But for once in a very long time, I don’t recall ever looking back and wishing it just to be 2018 already.

As many an Atheist will tell you, most of what is so sacred about the Christian tradition that is Christmas, is stolen. Hell, much of the religion itself can be traced back to predating stories, myths, and ideologies. So feel no hesitation about changing so-called sacred traditions. Because They are no more sacred than anything from The Lord Of The Rings or Harry Potter.

It is whatever you make of it. Be it a capitalist spending orgy, or just a day to kick up your feet and write a blog post that few will read.

Freedom

Freedom.

It’s a word that we are all too familiar with now.

Libertarians & Conservatives talk endlessly about defending it, despite Liberals generally being more committed to the cause overall. It is a word, but it really is a whole lot more. I can’t even really call it a philosophy. It certainly applies but in many different ways.

Every country has different interpretations when it comes to the context of the word in terms of the law. But no 2 people are alike when it comes to their PERSONAL interpretation of the word. Of course, these personal interpretations generally are irrelevant if in conflict with local laws.
A fact that makes me glad the world (at least at the moment) is not all that anarchist (or anarcho-capitalist). I’ve seen the workers sleeping on job sites in Nations and Emirates that operate in a more laissez-faire manner. It’s not pretty.

Either way, freedom may be the ultimate oxymoron. It simultaneously means the world, whilst also meaning nothing at all. All depending on how you look at it.

Take economic freedom. Otherwise known as the system revered and enjoyed by most of the world at the moment. It is true that a small percentage within this paradigm do enjoy what one could call true economic freedom. The mansion, the cars and everything else that comes with access to limitless amounts of fiat currency.
The same can not be said the lower you get on the economic ladder, however. While it is more apparent (and focused on) in the lower rungs, one can also argue bondage in the mid to upper mid class sections. While disposable income often opens up access to bigger homes, cars and more toys, you often spend the majority of your existence on the clock. The majority of your existence is spent in performing mindless tasks endlessly, with personal time coming in short bursts (with even THAT line blurring in this age). Everyone punches the clock day in day out, looking forward to old age and retirement at 50 or 60. The so-called golden years.

At a time period when natural entropy and decades of wear and tear imposed by a career have rendered many people in various states of discontent and discomfort, is when our system decides it a good time to give its sentient cogs free time.
Not when they are younger to middle-aged, full of energy, ability, and desire.  No. Wait till they have been used up and squeezed for every fiat penny that can be earned out of them. Then let them have their fun times.

If they happen to come to some unfortunate demise (be it natural or otherwise) beforehand, whatever. They may have been shortchanged of their hard earned capitalist payout by fate, but their efforts were not in vain. The entity that they enriched in life keeps chugging along. Be they show this appreciation to the next of kin or not.

There it is, my take on capitalism. It would seem that I don’t put much stock in my societies way of life. No wonder I often find myself aimlessly flipping past want ad’s and feeling irritated by resumes, cover letters and interviews.
I don’t give a fuck about rules, policies, or often irrational procedures (to be followed TO THE LETTER!). I am here to survive, and my only vessel to this end in this paradigm is through my labor. A fact that most are quick to exploit.

Insanity at best. Inhumane at worst.

If you REALLY want a glimpse into the latter, look into the plight of long-term recipients of workplace injury benefits as covered by Workmans Compensation Board’s pretty much everywhere.  In a nutshell, calling it long-term injury benefits is another oxymoron because almost, as a rule, they DO NOT cover long-term claims. They are paid by and work for the employer, and function like almost any health insurance company . . . the bottom line comes first and foremost. Avoid covering as many pricy claims as possible. And if you want to fight them in court . . . good luck. Public legal council doesn’t have the resources to help you, and the real thing will be WAY out of your range even if it does make it to court.

I saw my dad go through it, starting in around 2000. And he has never recovered from it. And likely never will.

Yet another aspect of freedom that has been long ago debunked for me.

Fortunately, there is a 3ed that is worth exploring. One that, unlike the other 2, is actually somewhat within our control. That is, mental and/or physical limitations as imposed by ourselves.

Sometimes these things are seemingly innate parts of our personalities or being. Sometimes these are things picked up along the way. The throughline of all of them being that changing them often seems impossible.
Addictions. Bad Habits. Phobias. Bad relationships. There many quirks or situations that could fit in here. Sometimes more than one at a time.

Sometimes the feeling of impossibility is just a representation of reality. Not everything can be corrected, and not everyone will be successful (even if they try). But what if the seemingly impossible is actually attainable?

It would seem that to be the ultimate form of freedom. Shaking off the shackles of mental and/or physical limitation (as they are at times connected).

This came to mind in the oddest way (as many things do with me). One night when diving into some youtube algorithmic vortex, I ended up on a video called Climbing A 360M Spire In Dubai (Nearly Caught). Naturally, I clicked (you can’t tell me that wouldn’t make you curious).
I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Though I nearly had a panic attack.

Heights have never been my cup of tea, so while I SHOULD have known what I was getting into, going right to this video was likely the equivalent of going straight from drug virginity to heroin. When the hatch opens and suddenly the 20 or so storey buildings nearby look like toys, it hits you. Then the crazy bastard stands up, and I have to pause the video. Had to remind myself that I am safe on my couch, not on top of a 360-meter high spire in the UAE. Note, NOT the Burj Khalifa (though you can get a view from that 828-meter spire  HERE. If you dare).
For another hair-raising experience, go to time stamp  2:56 on this one.

Either way, after watching some more videos like this from this guy (James Kingston, from Southhampton, UK), I learned somewhere that he was once afraid of heights.
Apparently, it all started with Parkour (Freerunning? Apparently there are 2 distinct communities, and one sees itself as incompatible with the other). Though little else could help him escape a shell, this activity did. To the point that all that was left was a strong fear of heights.
And that fear was eventually demolished by way of increasingly higher climbs.

Interestingly, it made me view these types of videos in a different way. The common views (both of which I have been guilty of holding in the past) are

1.) “What is he NUTS?! He could die!”

2.) “Darwinism at work. Let the simple wipe themselves out”

The last one may make the intellectuals shudder, but you get the point.

Of course, one can not condone this. Taking defiance of gravity right to the edge is not without risk to self and others, particularly when in urban areas. Even a falling smartphone is a dangerous proposition in a populated city or construction site. And of course, you are putting a lot of faith in a weld. While it presumably should be good, it only takes one.

None the less, I guess you could say that I understand this.

There is danger involved, and it is crazy, no doubt about it. But there is also the aspect of a freedom that is not shared by many people. Freedom from a quite common form of mental bondage that keeps many people (me included) from potentially many experiences. Even if not scaling tower cranes or climbing spires, then things like high altitude downhill skiing, bungee jumping, skydiving, rock climbing.

To shift this away from hights altogether, imagine something like weight loss. Quitting smoking or casting aside the shackles of some other nemesis. Conquering some habit, trait or phobia that previously made straightening out the Isreal/Palestine conflict look like a breeze in comparison.
Yeah, apples and oranges. But it plays into the often irrational nature of these things, as interpreted by us.

To conclude, freedom is an ILLUSION!

Like many things in life . . . sort of. When it comes to typical contexts of the word (law and economy), it is indeed what you make of it. In terms of the law, it will always be some balance between the obvious and the ridiculous. It’s the ultimate culmination of a system of order that is enforced by mere humans prone to outside influence (greed and herd ideology, among others).
Economic freedom is generally also what one makes of it, though the illusion (if you choose to call it that) becomes less visible the higher one is on the economic ladder.

Of the 3, personal freedom is where it’s at. It’s not everything (the other 2 are still the macro’s for most of us). None the less, there is nothing more rewarding than breaking down a barrier of the self. Whatever form that may take.

 

What Is The Value Of Life? + Other Realizations Of 3 Decades Of Existence

I’m getting old.

In truth, I am only 28, going on 29 this June. Some would say that I am still a spring chicken. Or as my old boss would say, a young buck (I don’t think he knew that there was a racial element to the term). Either way, I haven’t been around all that long compared to many old fucks.
I don’t really see myself as having much going on in the long term, either. I always say that I really can’t see anything beyond 50.

In truth, I have never looked all that far ahead. Something that started in my rough period of high school. A time of life when my main motivation was some future date of suicide  which would never materialize. Yes, it was a coping mechanism of my young mind. With a successful outcome, it would seem.

It would seem. Funny way to showcase the obvious (I assure you that I am not the first ever super natural entity to ghost write my own blog. Literally!). Yet, fitting.

The journey of the years following was rewarding. Filled with new experiences, interactions and people. Many of the experiences of teenagers occurred for me in adulthood, but none the less, I’ve done things. More than many who know me would ever realize.But it all has become rather stagnant of late. And I am running low on distractions, of late.

I suppose that this period was always coming, however.

I have never really felt myself working towards any long term goals. I know of and seen those people around me (in high school mainly). And I even came across a few after. Generally, they were to good to even both respecting the peasant cashier and former classmate serving them.
But either way, I never could see that far ahead.  So I didn’t even bother trying, opting to just live day to day. School was less about preparation for life than it was a time to see friends. Until work became the new combination socialization place and distraction (shitty irrational jobs).

At first, I had a fairly healthy social life outside of the workplace. But even that eventually faltered as people made the wise decision to move away to greener pastures. Though I wanted to, I felt stuck here, in obligation to my needing folks. Something I don’t even think my closest relatives understand (though I don’t listen to any of their advice anyway, being that they have never demonstrated any other agenda than having all of the family in (or near) the center of the universe . . . Winnipeg).
The internet helped for awhile. Being a keyboard militant atheist (among other things) gave me something to do, a group to identify with, and other factors that drive macros everywhere. But even that can only go so far before one gets bored. Of having the same old conversations. Same lines, different audiences.

I would have my world (0r at least, my perception of it) altered by the introduction of philosophy to my life. Not officially persay. I have not taken any philosophy courses, and can’t quote Descartes, Nietzsche or Heidegger on demand. Philosophy purists (if you will) have used this against me in my short lived visits into philosophy groups, when I couldn’t refute using quotes from whomever. But those groups (only one really) were fun to play in. Its amusing to see so called philosophers (studied ones, no less!) not recognizing nihilism when its right in their faces.

Either way, though I don’t like creating or enabling dichotomies, it seems to me that there are 2 types of philosopher. Those that are more than happy to interact (of which generally don’t seem to get it), and those that don’t interact generally (often regarded as the better philosophers).
Despite the world desperately needing the input of the latter group, they tend to stay away from the public domain. Which is unfortunate, since good advise can NEVER permeate if it is only seen in academic circles.

Despite all of this, I do not call myself a philosopher. Not even because its status as a label (I try and stay away from unnecessary ones). Its more of a combination of the adjective  seeming unwarranted (I have not formally studied philosophy) and unfitting (I just can’t see myself as deserving). Comparatively to some of the others that call themselves philosophers, maybe (some of these people make me look like Nietzsche). But none the less, I am undeserving.

Either way, one may wonder where I am going with this. I went from my depressing life, to some tangent on not feeling that I am philosopher. It ties in however.

I mentioned earlier that philosophy helped me in my perception of the world around me. The best way to describe it, is that its influence enabled me to take a step back from largely EVERYTHING and EVERYONE, in order to gain a better picture. This insight helped me to see the problems with any number of ideologies (including some of my own). Though Atheism previously bored me, this change made many of its adherents frustrating (the full range of this experience can be read from the start in the Atheism Criticisms category of this blog).
Being able to see these problems, and being able to communicate them, are 2 VERY different things however. People stuck in the grips of ideologies of ANY kind are not often open to compromise. I suppose I thought I would see a different result because I was talking to a group that takes pride in self-labeling themselves as logical, rational, reasonable, free thinking.
However, in the age of the digital echo chamber, such are now only empty labels. Logic, Reason, Rationality, Nuance, Free Thinker, Truth. Anyone that stings 2 thoughts together can (and often DOES!) call it any of the above. And as for Truth, that is another word that can (and HAS!) been hijacked by the inept. Thus, I neither use nor take seriously ANY of them in conversation.

Its not necessary to label persons or arguments with intellectual buzzwords. Because these traits will be apparent even without highlighting them.

I titled this piece “What Is The Value Of Life?”.

Its an interesting question. It is also interesting how I posed the question when I first started typing this out. Rather than the seemingly more humanistic Does Life Have Value? , I went instead with the more corporate and legal resembling What Is The Value Of Life? . The question that a court or corporation is forced to consider if their malpractice causes injury or fatality to innocent bystanders.

Its an interesting question to ponder, even in just relating to the word value. What does this mean to you?

For many, the money element is the most controversial. The monetary worth of those we love and care about is a necessary enigma for those dealing with class action lawsuits or life insurance policies. But outside of money, what is value?

Presence? Sentiment? Reliability?

I have no answer to this question. I don’t even know if there really is (should there be?) an answer to this question. Its up to you how in depth you want to take it, I suppose.

Though I do not have any thoughts on the interpretation of Value in the posed question, I do have an answer to the question as posed in the typical manor of this discussion. That answer being that, No, life does not have any intrinsic value.

Be it plant, animal, human (even though we are in the last category), or bacteria, there is no value to any of it. The only value is what we assign. But in the grand scheme of things, this is still moot.

That is correct. Outside of the bubble of human consciousness, our existence has no value. No reason for being. No purpose. No worth. Its a big part of what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom (and biotic life, really). Our manufactured sense of purpose.

So no, I don’t think we have any purpose, or point. In a way, I envy plants, animals, bacteria, and even less intelligent humans for not having to ever face this knowledge, this ultimate red pill. I envy them that come at me with claws out due to my nonchalant stance towards things like abortion. I remember the days before my unfiltered acceptance of reality would often get me labeled as Evil or Psychopathic.

Its funny to hear such words as that, as though I am another Hitler or Stalin. Because I am far from it. I am just an everyday person, like anyone else walking the streets of a city or town near you. I am annoyed by (and thus tend to avoid) people, but I still am compassionate. I give to different charities that do good works towards the likes of both endangered and harmed people AND animals. I do what I can to put the macro’s of my society back on track from bickering so we can focus on the big ticket items that harm us all (like climate change).

Humans annoy me. But I am still one.

There are people and creatures near and dear to me that I assign value to. I just don’t regard my species (or a species near and dear to us, such as the feline) as being MORE valuable for some reason. With a world population that is well beyond any former metric of prosperous , humans are in no way an endangered species. Past societies would likley marvel at the exponential growth of our population in the post petroleum years.

If anything, our exponential growth is turning us (and almost everything else alive today) into an endangered species. Energy and resource waste aside, on a planet with finite (and ever shrinking!) resources, and in an ever more unstable climate, to much emphasis on pro-birth is going to bite us collectively in the ass.