Music – Will Our Generation Look Back In Admiration? REVISITED

Today, we’re going back in time. Back to the year 2014. A time when this blog had existed barely a year, and when I was a different person than I am today. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, it was a period of transformation that would not be complete until many years afterward. If I’m honest, it’s a transformation period that is still in progress. I’ve come to realize that I’ll likely never find myself in a period of political or ideological stability. To put it another way, there is almost always something new to learn, and as such this transformation journey may well last until such a time as I take my last breath, or biology takes away my mental acuity.

Coming back to the current day (march 13, 2022), I just need to focus on something more lighthearted than all the various real-world vectors that are slowly eroding away at my sense of sanity.
The unprovoked Russian attack (attempted annexation?) of Ukraine. The win of CovidIOTS who mostly never gave pandemic restrictions a chance (thanks to economic principals taking priority over pandemic containment. Or to put it in layman’s terms, “YAY! No more masks!”). US oil producers (and 1 Canadian Premiere) using the Ukraine invasion to promote more soon to be written off fossil fuel infrastructure. Because any chance to reshuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic is a good opportunity, apparently. 

And overall, a global society that is just . . . very angry. Though primarily a very understandable reaction of the last 2 years that we all endured, the various agendas of the world’s shit disturbers have proven masterful at turning up the heat in these individuals without ever tipping their hand. I mean, is it really surprising that much of the Western world was focused on business owners blockading Ottawa and various Canadian and US ports of entry as Russia was slowly ramping up its presence on Ukraine’s doorstep?

Media manipulators don’t rely on the boob tube anymore, folks. They have switched tactics, and now social media is the new Wild West of psychological warfare.

Boomers taught my generation that you can’t believe everything you see on TV. If only they all hadn’t seemingly forgotten that valid rule of thumb upon signing up for Crackbook, Tweeter and BoobTube.

While I have always taken a fairly bleak (dare I say, red-pilled?)  stance towards the future of the species, even I have started finding it harder to cope with everything of late. Even without spending hours doom scrolling (I learned my lesson after Deepwater Horizon and Fukushima), it’s like the treadmill to hell has started to speed up since November 2016. And the slow creep of the cold-war era back into modern-day life since late February certainly isn’t helping things.
Even though my overarching concern is less nuclear and far more cyber, considering how little we all know about how far external national entities are embedded into the public and private infrastructure of the world. Particularly privately owned and ran infrastructure (we can only hope that the rest of the world learned from Colonial Pipeline).

Anyway, I promised light-hearted so lighthearted I shall deliver.

As I explained at the beginning of this post, 2014 was a time of transformation for me. Not only was I dealing with my perceived ex-communication from a community that I had felt at home in since late high school (mainstream Atheism), I was also unknowingly starting the slow process of regimentation of what media I like versus what is new and trendy. I didn’t know it yet, but I was slowly becoming Oscar Leroy shouting “Get the F off my lawn!”.
Since I am also a fan of metal (and was then an elitist. In a nutshell, Metal is the best and everything else is garbage), this also played into my sentiment.

Which was why it was interesting to come across an old post titled Music – Will Our Generation Look Back In Admiration? though a spam comment left on it. Seemed like an opportunity to see how much I have changed.

Thus, we will begin our journey into the depth of my mind as it existed 7 years ago.


It is the start of yet another new year. And as such, what was popular in 2013, is on its way out the door come 2014. Thank GOD for that.

I suppose that I may be getting to old to enjoy whats modern and hip (not to mention my love of all things heavy), but even so, this generations “fresh hits” leaves much to be desired. It is for that reason, that I go out of my way to avoid subjecting myself to the music, when at all possible.



Out of curiosity, let’s have a look at what was trendy back in 2013. Mostly to gauge if my contempt still holds after this length of time.

I don’t remember (likely have not heard) pretty much everything from 5 down to 100. 4 was irritating then, and it’s certainly irritating now (when your trend hits the Dr. Oz Show and other daytime BoomerTube, you ain’t cool, yo!). I don’t mind #3, having had some time for it to grow on me. Number 2 is garbage in terms of both its lyrical content AND the fact that it was allegedly ripped off (the song’s only saving grace being Weird Al’s iteration of it).  And as if we didn’t already have enough proof about how thick Robin Thicke can be, he allegedly groped a model on the set of blurred lines, blaming the presence of alcohol on set for the action.

In glad that the first thing that comes to mind when I hear blurred lines is Word Crimes. Cause FUCK Robin Thicke.

As for #1, I have no reaction since I can’t ever recall hearing it.

Since my old post was celebrating the exit of 2013 and harkening the entrance of 2014, let’s also take a look at what was trendy in 2014. We will also of course see if my visceral reactions still stand.

Though I don’t recognize many of the songs from 9 onward, there are more familiar ones (maybe 4 or 5) than in the 2013 top 100 list. The presence of Jason Derulo 3 times is amusing since people used to call me that at work. Though I am still unfamiliar with the man’s work (aside from hearing that the video to Trumpets is random as hell).

Number 8 isn’t bad (didn’t even mind it at the time. It was upbeat). I don’t remember 7, 6 or 5. As for 4, I am far more aware of the Weird Al iteration than of the original (that tends to be a throughline when it comes to me and modern music, no matter the year). 3 I don’t remember. 2 I heard for the first time not long ago (it’s not terrible, but it is slow. A hallmark of the mid-2010s era).

As for #1, I find the song irritating (it’s annoying, to begin with, let alone having heard it blasted pretty much everywhere). However, the Weird Al iteration is very much to my liking (particularly the single-shot music video that accompanies it).

Weird Al is a bit like ACDC. I don’t think he could ever put out an album that I don’t like.


I have not always had this kind of relationship with pop/other “hit” music. I remember when I was younger, one of my aunts commented on how I could look into being a DJ as a career, because I knew pretty much every song on the radio at the time. Though at the time, I was young and impressionable, and the radio was the only real source of music me and my family had.

Another source of music that I had though out my younger years, was my fathers extensive collection of 50s/60s/70s/80s hits. Stored on cassette tapes, records (yep, vinyls. 45s, LPs, you name it), 8 tracks and later CDs and MP3 players (when the Internet was introduced into the household), he had an endless supply of music that I thought to be mostly irritating.


My stance on oldies hasn’t really changed, though I wouldn’t go as far as calling most of my father’s music annoying at this point. Far too slow and vanilla come to mind, but not so much annoying.

Well, unless we’re talking about Air Supply or Frankie Vallie. If I never hear “I’m all out of love! I’m so lost without you!” again, it’s still too soon. And don’t even get me started on “SHERRY! SHERRY BABY!”. My ears are bleeding just from thinking about it.

The only exception to the Frankie Valli scorched earth policy is Oh, What A Night. Because I now associate the song more with unexpected baby news at John Watson’s wedding than excruciating vocal pain.

As for the rest of my narrative on music, though I did stop following the popular music scene, I suspect this to be a function of 2 things. First, the music and culture of one’s childhood or youth will almost always elicit a more positive response since that time of life is almost always more positive than what follows (the trap of nostalgia). At the same time as my taste for the new and trendy was gradually being erased by blind cultural cynicism (for lack of a better description), the overall popular music scene was also changing. Though I arguably stopped paying attention to music before the late 2000s was over, the 2010s brought with it a new trend of slowness. While there were exceptions to the rule (as there always are), the BPM of many of the releases started to slow WAY down.
Consider the difference between, say, Rihanna’s SOS or Nelly Furtado’s Promiscuous, and Katy Perry’s Dark Horse. While I am indeed looking at 3 raindrops out of an ocean, you can see the pattern.

Whilst I’m almost inclined to consider early to late 2000s pop music as my Herman’s Hermits and Lobo (my dad’s preferences), I can’t even call this correct. That designation would be better suited to groups like Metallica, Linkin Park, Rammstein, Nirvana and many more. Interestingly, the material that streaming services mostly automatically serve up since I’m such a creature of habit.


Of course, this was par for the course when one is young (very rarely it seems, do parents and children have the same tastes in music). And looking back, it had a lot to do with not wanting to be alike my elder. However, though I do enjoy a few of my fathers old favorites such as Bony M (their Christmas album has become a family staple of the season) and Lover Boy, most of the other stuff is not for me.

I am not sure that I would use the term “Garbage” to describe it, but its more just, not for me. The various artists may have been cutting edge and talented for their time, and they may stand as gems in the greater music scene, but its just not my cup of tea.


Can’t say that much has changed here. Well, aside from the fact that the tamer side of my music library (rock music that ranges from Loverboy to Twisted Sister, my original gateway to metal) doesn’t get nearly the airplay it used to as my music tastes slowly evolve towards more complex, faster material. I have nothing against groups like ACDC, Twisted Sister and the like. It’s just that I recently realized that I find this  (Panic Attack – Dream Theater) slow.

I have also started allowing my music taste to broaden not just further down the metal sub-genre scene, but also outside of it into territory that I never ever thought I would tread. I’m still very selective whilst outside of my comfort zone, but have started to discover (rediscover?) the pop scene, and even some hip hop. Even if it’s hard to know where the line ends between those 2 genres in some cases (for example, the Weeknd).
I even crossed the bridge into country territory at one point. Though not very far, admittedly (not much aside from some Dierks Bentley really appeals to me).

Each day brings with it a different music craving. Thanks to streaming media, this constant itch can almost always be easily scratched with the push of a button. Though not on Spotify anymore.

Because FUCK Joe Rogan.

Having heard this music at various times (and a great many times over lol) all through out growing up, it was a bit of a surprise when I started hearing the same songs on the radio.

First it was a trickle of remade songs, which eventually culminated into a torrent that left almost no “new” song that played, truly new. The popular artists of the day such as Britney Spears and No Doubt, all putting out redone material. But the worst part about it, was more often then not, the songs status as a remake was not mentioned (a few times it was noted by the DJ, but usually not).

One moment that sticks out for me, is when the song “SOS” by Rihanna came out. Though the lyrics were seemingly original, the music that it was sung against was borrowed. A factoid that I would have missed, had the station not played the original (or a remake of the original song) just before Rihanna’s version. Though I had long before lost respect for most new music and artists, this was certainly a new low.

Interestingly enough, I actually don’t mind that song at this point. The music may not be original, but at least it was catchy and upbeat. This, and judging by the fact that I never heard about any lawsuits from the previous artist, I’m thinking that she must have properly licenced the material she was borrowing (and presumably shared some of the royalties made off the song). Which is more than you can say for Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams.

Truth be told, when it comes to bad artist renditions of previously released material, I have to showcase a man that I once respected to the point of being an idol. That man is Marylin Manson.

Before he was exposed as an allegedly wife-beating and berating asshole, his consistent rebelliousness in the face of the horrified and hypocritical hordes was very much relatable. Though I’ve never found a need to tear apart a bible for sport, his motives and George Carlin’s “It’s Bullshit, and it’s bad for ya!” moto really stuck with me. Despite this stance becoming much more stressful the less my income is tied to a business that I actually own and control.
Either way, a close friend of mine once expressed dismay at what Marilyn Manson did with his remake of Sweet Dreams. To use his own words, “That is all he did with it?!”.

At the time, my fancy for my idol flashed before my eyes, so I of course didn’t see what he was seeing. Indeed, much of Manson’s catalogue didn’t have the same awe factor as it did when I was a teenager )grabbing every Manson track I could find on Limewire). It’s not all The Fight Song, but it had sentimental value.

But, not so much anymore. Though the allegations are just that (allegations), I don’t find it a hard stretch to imagine that there is truth in them. In the same way that it’s easy to see how the blurred lines music video set would provide the perfect backdrop for a predator to strike (it’s literally in the lyrics!), I can also see how the caustic personality that is Marylin Manson may well be hellish if it is turned inward in the form of domestic violence.
Of course, we are dealing with allegations in both cases. Nonetheless, it’s not hard to read between the lines, however blurred. Particularly when witnesses (or more than 1 alleged victim) exist.

To move the dialogue away from artists of disappointment and contempt, not all artist renditions I have come across are bad. In fact, I can think of 3 goodies right off the top of my head.

The first (and my overall favourite) has to be Disturbed’s cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence. Unlike any other Disturbed song before it (aside from Darkness), I love how it starts low and slowly builds, David’s voice following the loud notes of the booming orchestra behind him. Until the pause, and the last booming outro of the orchestra.
An honourable mention goes to Nevermore’s interpretation of the song, a tune so different that I didn’t even know it was a cover. Having listened to the song many times before, I didn’t realize the connection until after hearing the Disturbed version.

The second is the Five Finger Death Punch cover of Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s Blue on Black. I can’t help but crank the volume when I hear this tune. Either version, really .

The 3ed is the most recent, Saint Asonia’s cover of The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights.  In all honesty, it’s a bit surprising that the original made this list since it irked me the first time I heard it. But much like the Billie Eilish song Bad Guy, the song ended up growing on me. And not just because it’s amusing to see people’s reaction to me saying Billy Eyelash or saying the Baaaad guy phrase in a sheep voice.
Though I certainly would have never expected to hear a rock version of Blinding Lights, Saint Asonia did a good job of it. And though YouTuber Jared Dines hasn’t done any pop goes metal videos for a long time, I’d personally love to see how he would interpret this song.

But in any case, after moving away from the hits of today, my first reaction was switching from the all hits radio station to the local rock station (my fathers choice, and as good an alternative as there was). There I gradually grew more fond of rock music in its many classic forms.
Then with the internet, came exposure to ever more heavier forms of metal, which is where I have stayed for the most part to this day.

I have always loved music, usually taking advantage of any opportunity that I had to listen. When I was younger, that meant that I had a radio going for whatever task I was in the process of completing (chores). And I have always listened to music in bed before going to sleep (when I was young on a clock radio/stereo, and now on an ipod/phone).

This has not changed. Though I now reserve podcasts for things like chores, music is still nice for random computing tasks (like writing posts like this) or going to sleep.

One thing that I can tell you, however, is that I now hate terrestrial radio stations. Well, maybe just the stations where I live. The Rock station I used to listen to was taken over by a national media company, and thus the name and format changed to be more generalized. But I don’t like it since the playlist seems just barely larger than that of the average retail store, and the branding is annoying. After every song, you hear some iteration of “Bob!” (or now, “Bounce!”). It’s the kind of Boomer pablum that I now only listen to if I have no choice in the matter.

That is the story of my evolution of music.

Each passing generation, has grown up with, and primarily stuck with the music that grow familiar to them in their younger years. The Sirius/XM satellite radio systems take advantage of this, by having channels 4-9 dedicated to the format of said decade of the 90’s (4=40s, 5 =50s etc). This seems to hold true, as far as the 80s, and maybe even the 90s (Sirius/XM has 90s 0n 9).

Imagine. Me acting like I am better than all of these people tuning into Sirius 50s on 5 or 90s on 9. I know I certainly didn’t when I had a Sirius radio. Octane/Ozzys Boneyard/Liquid Metal and Howard 100/101 were far more interesting.

But that was 2009. Truth be told, it’s honestly amazing that satellite radio is still a thing.

Most past generations look back at the music, and other cultural phenomenons of their time with pride, nostalgia. The music often went hand in hand in their daily lives back then, making revisiting it a nice trip down memory lane. And associating music with fond (or not so fond) memories will always happen, no matter what.

But, can we look back at the music (as well as other media) of the past decade or so (as well as today), with pride? If were still around in 20,30,40,50 years from now, will we still be listening to the long lost hits of the 2000’s?

Yes me, I’m sure that many of today’s youth will still occasionally listen to the music of today even in the future, possibly long after youthful freedom and bliss have left them behind. This is a point that is proven in the grocery stores of today, which love to loop a mixture of boomer and millennial favourites.

Hell, I proved it myself in this very post. Since this entry is technically me talking to myself, I wonder if this counts as a self-pawn. . .


I personally think that the answer will be no.

Well, you’re wrong bud.

Such is a good lesson for many people. Never try to assign rigid rules of categorization to the subjective. Most human-influenced culture (and even physiology) is very much ambiguous and hard to paint with a broad brush. Even though most humans seem to lack the mental acuity to experience the world from outside the safety of rigid interpretations.

My reason for this conclusion, is the nature of the music industry today. Like everything else, music has turned into a super formulated, bland, disposable, predictable mess. Instead of having a few gems of talent coming up in a sea of musicians, we now have a sea of mediocrity. An endless tide of catchy one hit wonders with VERY few (if any) gems coming out of the mix.

I also have noted the behaver of many modern music listeners. Many that grew up fans of such genres as pop, have moved on to others, such as country, rock or others. Others that listen to the music, seem to drift with the time, not having any affiliation with past works (even within the same genre).


While hindsight tells me that I could have likely written this in any decade and interpreted similar results in the popular culture of the time, one thing I never really saw coming was services like SoundCloud and Spotify. Though at the time I was talking of merely the corporate-driven uniformity of the pop scene, the scene is very different today in that anyone with a computer and increasingly affordable equipment can release their own material. Much of this is only as good as the creator (to put it in a nice way). Either way, I had NO idea how much mediocre material that democratizing the recording studio would bring into the marketplace.

On the other hand, though, you can get your voice out there. And with far less effort than anyone trying to start a musical career even 15 years ago.

As for the behaviour of modern music listeners part, I feel like I was taking from anecdotes in my own life. I saw a lot of people drift from pop music over to country from my teens onward. But this may not have been anything more than a local to the fairly local occurrence. Not to mention that not unlike other genres that have been typically floating around the realm of (and blurring the boundaries of) typical pop music, country music has been making a similar evolution throughout the 2010s. Though there have always been breakthroughs (like Picture or All Summer Long. Having heard the latter on 3 different stations running under 3 different formats (rock, country, pop) at one point, I fucking hate that song), many artists seem to be straddling the line between country and pop. I think one of the most interesting examples thus far for me has been Old Town Road, another song that has grown on me since I’ve been getting more exposure to the modern-day iteration of hip hop/rap.
To explain this difference, consider Stronger (Kanye) or Lose Yourself (Eminem) versus Money Longer (Lil Uzi Vert) or Gucci Gang (Lil Pump). Since I find it hard to keep a straight face whilst listening to the Lil Pump earworm (I would fail spectacularly if is I was high), consider Fair Trade (Drake ft. Travis Scott).
And speaking of unintentionally hilarious songs to listen to after some edibles, consider this unexpected gem (Im 2 Sexy – Drake ft. Future and Young Thug).

Now, where was I? Oh yeah . . . songs blurring the lines between pop music and other genres.

I feel like this inquiry raises a question that I have never considered before. That question being, what even is pop music? A style? A format? A vast category for anything and everything that is popular? All of the above?

I’m reminded of a documentary I watched some time ago called Classic Rock. Focusing on a term that I had never given a second thought to, I believe the goal of this documentary was trying to see if they could nail down a more or less standardized definition of what music or era Classic Rock entails. At its core, the term originated in radio as a station format surrounding rock music from around the 80s. Some also say from the mid-60s to the mid-90s.

Judging by both the documentary I watched and various YouTube compilations, no one has any idea where the line lies in terms of a standard definition. When the term was coined, I’m sure that it was focused on a given era of rock. But as time moves on indefinitely, the question seems to have been “Does the Classic Rock format grow to also include more modern works which also could be considered classics (ie the 90s)?”.

Some in the documentary argued “No way!”. The ACDC era belongs nowhere near Nirvana. Others make the argument that the term has to move ahead with time. Judging by the various Classic Rock compilations, I’d say that many people agree with the latter assessment. With most of them containing songs by Nirvana, some Metallica, and even the Bee Gees in one case (recall that they are Disco), I’d say that the widely accepted definition is very fluid. 

Or, people aren’t aware of the various categorization nuances of the music they love (for example, did you know that the popular Kiss tune I Was Made For Loving You is actually disco?).
It all goes to show how something as fluid as culture can be difficult to assign rigid categorical differences to, particularly when it comes to what lies at the fringes. To use the Kiss example, Detroit Rock City or Psycho Circus are fairly easy to categorize. I Was Made For Loving You on the other hand . . .not exactly. It checks the boxes of 2 categories, and as such, it sits in both nicely.

This brings me back to the question that I never did get around to answering. What exactly is pop music?

From Wikipedia:

Pop is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom.[4] The terms popular music and pop music are often used interchangeably, although the former describes all music that is popular and includes many disparate styles. During the 1950s and 1960s, pop music encompassed rock and roll and the youth-oriented styles it influenced. Rock and pop music remained roughly synonymous until the late 1960s, after which pop became associated with music that was more commercial, ephemeral, and accessible.

Although much of the music that appears on record charts is seen as pop music, the genre is distinguished from chart music. Identifying factors usually include repeated choruses and hooks, short to medium-length songs written in a basic format (often the verse-chorus structure), and rhythms or tempos that can be easily danced to. Much pop music also borrows elements from other styles such as rock, urban, dance, Latin, and country.


Though that definition nicely describes the situation as it stands today, further study of the wiki article details how the definition of the term Pop music is just as disagreed upon as Classic Rock is. And like Classic Rock, the definition seems to evolve with time, though this was to be a certainly given the roots of the term being much further back than those of Classic Rock.

Realistically, this all makes sense since people’s subjective interpretations of these terms and what encompasses them (which are shaped by traits like preference and bias) will almost always land on a different conclusion. And you can’t really go by the record label slash music industry standard since that formula is less based around categorization than it is around monetization. The more boxes you can check in terms of each category, the bigger potential audience you can push to. Something that is becoming increasingly important in the age of both streaming (reduced overall revenues) and democratized music production.

As such, I don’t think there will ever be a standardized definition for Classic Rock, Pop, or possibly any other music form. Humans are far too subjective to ever come to any sort of agreement on that sort of thing.

As for the ongoing inroads of country into the Pop realm (so much for the last statement?), that evolution will continue to be interesting. Not to mention that the genre itself will benefit from the new life brought into it by the new fan base, something that even the older more established artists will enjoy.
Despite my giving country music more of a chance than I once did, I am still put off by the overly formulaic nature of a huge chunk of it (old and new). In a nutshell, rich and wealthy Nashville mansion owners sing about the rough and tumble life of the average working man. Though rappers sporting Lambos and walking Tigers in their videos are over the top, talking the talk without walking the walk is just, well, bullshit.

The one exception of course being Arron Lewis’s Country Boy.  Imagine my surprise upon discovering his crossover into enemy territory!

And don’t even get me started on artists like Toby Keith and Allan Jackson cashing in on patriotism during rough times. Your fans will never call you out for such bullshit, but NOT COOL. Not at ALL Kosher.

In a sense, Toby Keith and Allan Jackson made the CNN faux pas long before CNN actually did.

And with that steaming hot potato of a sentence, we will move on.


Its not really surprising seeing this reaction. I make a habit of avoiding modern pop type music, because of its cookie cutter nature. Every year there is a new Jonas Brothers/One Direction/Bieber (he’s had an amazingly long longevity, for the times). And when it comes to the ladies, it seems that the formula is throwing any lyrics against a catchy beat, even if its just a single word .

This critique is interesting since one could level it against any music genre (including metal). Though there are artists in every genre that stand out against the rest of the financially driven majority, the existence of genres in general (along with many artists that fit into them neatly) nicely sabotages my own argument. I can’t accuse one group of people of being overly infatuated with an overly similar and inherently simplistic product when I am essentially the same person. Though my flavour of cookie may be far more complex than the vanilla that encompasses what sells, I still have a flavour.

Really, this discourse isn’t really even applicable to me anymore since my music taste has grown greatly compared to what it used to be. But I’m reminded of my former metal elitest self. The arrogant twat that looked down on everything that didn’t smash the windows when cranked to the max. 

This makes me think of another question. Is metal inherently better than other genres?

Back in 2013, the answer would have been simple (Yes!). If one’s subjective definition of better is complexity then metal would in fact be better than pretty much everything else that is available (possibly short of Classical. Again, depending on who you ask). Many traits of metal (eg. advanced riffs or growling vocal tones) take a lot of practice to master. The end result of such dedication is easy to hold as the standard if your comparison criteria involve only effort. Compared with a song containing an autotuned artist singing against a computerized melody, of course, one can find much of metal as superior. One can find much of anything superior to that.

But that is just personal subjectivity. In reality, complex or not, music is just music. It is highly doubtful that the trajectory of any music genera (however prolific) will dictate the trajectory of a society. Refect the status and overall trajectory, yes. But dictate? Unlikely. 

It is just a form of art, after all. An area of human development (knowledge?) that has always been more reflective than prescriptive, though much like other human developments (such as science and philosophy), art can also be used to malicious ends.

As for “it seems that the formula is throwing any lyrics against a catchy beat, even if its just a single word .” , my reference was to a popular tune which was trending sometimes in the late 2000s to early 2010s which basically consisted of the word Hello being repeated over a very upbeat and catchy melody.  Considering the slow nature of the era we would go into, the song is less irritating in hindsight, though I can’t for the life of me think (or find!) the artist responsible for it. Though Katty Perry comes to mind, I feel like i’m thinking of Firework. A song that is similarly upbeat, but not it (the voice is different). If you know what song I am talking about (or even have a guess), feel free to leave it in the comments and I’ll edit it into this entry.

Another thing I can tell you . . . though I hated the Hello song equally as much as Feist’s 1 2 3 4, not so much anymore. Feist is still high on the list, however, since I associate her with helping Apple to make millions of dollars. No, she didn’t help guide them into being an over-rated anti-right to repair monopoly (at least as far as the app store is concerned. And no, Google is no better), but she was responsible for generating a whole lot of the cash of which made it all possible.

While not exactly worthy of the Robin Thicke treatment (that is to say, cussing her out, not groping her tits), she does deserve at least a little sarcasm.

Thanks, Feist.


I can’t help but wonder about the message were sending future generations, or the world in general. I can’t help but think, there is something wrong with this picture. I can’t help but see a problem with a society that values an endless stream of mediocre garbage (with no real talents coming out). What does it say, when we value money more then quality?


Here again, I find myself using my subjective conclusions as a gauge for the state of the world in general. Viewing my cultural zeitgeist as if it is unique in the grand scheme of things, even though I’m sure we can find similar trash to treasure ratios no matter how far back (or for that matter, ahead) we were to look when it comes to any aspect of popular culture in any time period. 

I used to think the same of TV coming from the 2000s and the 2010s, but that is hardly true, is it?

This era gave us Breaking Bad, Sherlock, Luther, Mr. Robot and many MANY others that I am yet unaware of (let alone can recall). Though the next 2 have been largely forgotten to time at this point, Revenge and Desperate Housewives earned themselves a spot in my subjective list of preferences.

While the source of new content is rapidly changing from traditional cable to streaming, various streaming services will keep funding and releasing new and interesting content for as long as that medium is to last. Already we have shows like Black Mirror and Bojack Horseman. Whilst there will be a lot of stuff released through these mediums (as has always been the case), there will be many gems of which we have yet to discover and treasure. 

And with that, I conclude this revisit of one of my past works. Though I ended up going in many unexpected directions in this entry, it was an interesting journey.

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 (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.


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?


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?


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


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?


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)


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?


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.



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.



I Hate God – Iconoclastic Insights 

I really do.

Actually, no. Not really. The title is a throwback to my days in high school. A point sometime between grades 9 and 10, when little made sense in my teenaged mind. I had just finished dealing with year long simaltanuous ordeals that were an emotionally blackmailing girlfriend (attempted extortionist would also fit), and a year long cyber bullying campaign. It was an interesting situation, since both ended up being the ultimate culmination of my making seemingly the right choice. The girl situation begun 2 years earlier, after I decided to befriend 2 girls that seemed alone amongst our grade 8 class. And the cyber bullying situation started after I found a bashing forum filled with all manor of vitriol aimed anonymously at other students in my school. A situation that I decided to take on using my real name. 

Since all this is behind me by over a decade now, I am mostly beyond regrets. I used to tie myself into knots, fussing over what could have been. But that is unhealthy. Even if I find myself tempted make a few adjustments if offered the use of a time machine, those decisions only matter in that context. You can not control what could have been. You can only control what will be. Well, you have some control anyway. 

Either way, having been dealt this harsh lesson of the real world turned me into an angry contrarian (of sorts). Though god was not a big part of my (or my families) life at the time, I found myself angry at him. Having lived though an emotional rollar coaster that at times came quite close to ending prematurely, he seemed the logical culprit. He who is all knowing and powerful, allowed THIS to happen? 

Fuck him!

Of course, I didn’t stay that way. Anger at god based around ones anecdotal experience is silly. As is anger based around a wider scope of understanding (“Why would he allow starving children!”). I would eventually come to an understanding of a void. When faced with the choice of evil god! or nothing , I settled on the latter. Keep in mind that it was a months long process (not an epiphany, as seems to be eluded to previously). But none the less, I arrived. And I would learn the term for my conclusions later (atheist). And as it turns out, my continued spiritual(?) evolution would not end there. But more on that later. 

Early adulthood would introduce me into the world of facebook and religous debate. I enjoyed it for a number of years (along with my more trollish shit disturbing activities aside from the conversation). But it would eventually grow boring and pointless (even counterproductive).

I woudn’t officially drop it (atheistic discussion and interaction, and even the label) however, until running into grief with the vast majority of atheists I was connected to concerning the term agnostic. A term that I had always known but never given much thought to, I didn’t find a problem in its typical usage (a middle ground). In fact, when attempting to create groups on Facebook to fostor discussion, I tried to use names like Non-Believers Unite! in order to be more accommodating to all viewpoints. One can come across hundreds of groups for atheists (or groups that list a few adjectives in the title), but almost none that welcome all secularists as one. The reason for this would become crystal clear to me in short order however.

It started with an anti-agnostic meme in a popular atheist group I was once a part of. The following meme is not the meme I seen, but it perfectly showcases the stupidity I was soon to run into.

If you come to this point as a self professed agnostic , rest assured, you are in the clear. There is controversy in the middle ground interpretation of the term (many feel it to be decoupled from the original definition). That said however, the current accepted definition of atheism also differs from its initial form. A lack of belief was once the more fitting denial of the existence of. A notable change since it veers atheism away from the positove claim that it is. Hence the necessity for Agnostic Atheist. 

I have also spoken to well educated people that are outside of the atheist community, but also dislike the middle ground usage of the term agnostic. It is these people that made me to decide to not continue using the term as an adjective anymore. That said however, even if that label itself may not fit and may be hard to replace, the position (essentially I don’t know) is still valid. I try not to bother with any sort of discussion anymore, so its relatively easy for me to not even label myself really (though I like a new term I recently came across, post theist). And so I have exposed my rule of thumb that I have largly lived by lately . . . if your method of discussion is to play in boxes, you’re generally not worth my time. It can be a lonley position, being very intrested in forwarding the agenda and goals of the secular community, yet seeing a majority of its inhabitants as intolerant baffoons. But such is life.  

Atheists like to tell all secularists that they are in the label by definition, but rest assured, they are idiots. I attribute this mainly to the existence of at least 2 diffrent types of atheist. 

*It should be noted that the following is based on personal anecdotal observations made over a number of years. If someone beat me to the punch, its strictly coincidental

1.) Learned Atheists – Those that realized the philosophy though outside references (be it books, YouTube videos etc)

2.) Found Atheists – Those that found the philosophy independently of outside factors. Its less a matter of discovering ones atheism than it is realizing that were likley not being guided by anything supernatural. 

The majority of atheists these days (and likley always, really) fall into the first catagory. This is not to minimize the struggle that these people face. That said however, though many indeed do shed much of their religious baggage, the supporting structures on which that baggage was built often remains quite visible afterwards. As is evidenced by all of the atheists out there that cling to the label to the point of being comparable to many religious sects. Though this tends to include a majority of atheists, a few take it beyond any realm of reason. One example being the “Rocks and babies are atheist!” people. Another being the “if you do not believe in a god but don’t call yourself an atheist, you are an atheist in denial” people. 

The first of the 2 tend to be merely idiotic, the ideology of the typical condesending type of the cohort. The other group however,  go beyond idiocy and into the realm of intolerance. I hypothesize a product of previous fundamentalist faith (remember those structures I mentioned earlier?). I caution against this use of the atheist term as defined. For one, it introduces unnecessary friction into the secular community (not to mention that it turns everyone into drones. See the theistic parallel?). And for another, it seems a misuse of a term that is more descriptive than rule. Its hard to argue against belonging into certain cohorts such as nationality or race (you may not have to aknowledge it, but generally its not wrong to consider an African American from the US to be a Black American). Religious (or non-religious) affiliations are not this way, however. Just as people are not born Christian or Muslim, people are also not born Atheist. And as such, just because it tends to be a catch all for most leaving faith behind, it is not the rule. 

Atheist Vs Theist, PERIOD, is stupid. I don’t care where you align on the secular spectrum. Because it dosen’t matter. 

So, as is noticeable, I have little use for the atheist community anymore. My resentment is not nearly what it was 1 or 2 years ago when I wrote the first post in the atheism criticisms category. Im even far enough away from  situation to not involuntarily cringe each time I hear “I am an atheist” in almost any context. Having said that however, the group still does annoy me in its antics. I am not annoyed as much by the often irrational stubbornness of many atheists as I am with how it counteracts what should be the ultimate goal of the community. The religous opposition HAS NEVER STOPPED making gains and moving themselves forward, yet here are the atheists trying to herd a bunch of cats into a feild with no boundries.

Not to mention the fact that Atheism (at least in the online world) is increasingly turning into a brand. Though clinging to an identity irrationally at the expense of unity is one thing, it is quite another if it is for economic gain and enrichment. Of couse, it needs to be stated that I do not think that all atheists that make a living (or even  just an income) off of the philosophy are promoting an atheism first agenda with this corrupt attitude in mind. But for someone like me that try to look at the big picture . . . I can’t ignore it. 

I am indeed, a very principled person. Though I have become an outsider to the mainstream secular community in recent years, I still like to think that I am at least trying to make a difference. Though writing for a largly non-existent audience seems an odd methodology, its what works for me. Direct conversation often becomes counter productive confrontation, so I stand back and write on a public chalkboard. People can read it and do as they please with it (and leave a comment if they choose). 

To move away from my utopian vision of  what the secular community should be, we come back to religion. Though not really touched for awhile, its intresting how my views have evolved over time. To put it simply, I may not call myself a firebrand atheist (I don’t use the label at all, as stated previously), but im pretty sure thet my current views would put me well beyond even notables like David Silverman. 

For around a year or two now, for the most part, religion has had absolutely no place or impact on my life. I quit debating it with both religous and irreligious people. And my existence in the real world is largly void of its overt influence. I understand that I am lucky to be able to say this (privileged?). For all intents and purposes, I have become post theistic. 

But even so, religion does not get a free pass from me. Generally speaking, I am more skeptical than I was before. The best example of this is in the paranormal. Ive always held it at a distance, neither believer nor absolute skeptic (because both choices are stupid). Though that mindframe still applies, my bar of acceptable evidence has changed drastically. Though I still keep my options open, benefit of the doubt trust is largly gone. For example, I simply can’t watch paranormal shows PERIOD, because they can not be trusted. Weird stories get a bit more leniency, but not much. Even my personal anecdotes of the past are gone.

 But that was a bit of a tangent. 

The past month or so has seen a number of religion oriented stories hit the airwaves. To be fair, there are always tons. But these were particularly nasty examples of past and present atrocities. Unsurprisingly, the victims are almost always the most vulnerable citizens of society. Children.

Massive Sex Abuse Scandal In Pennsylvania

Religious Leader Abuses Boys For The Sin Of Masturbation. For DECADES.

Hundreds Of Childrens Remains Found In Septic Tank Of Formerly Nun Run Home

Top this off with the stories of both past and present (Canadian Residential Schools), large and small, and you have quite a picture. An old and outdated ideology running wild with its firmly held status quo positioning. 

And then I seen this. 

A crucifix has been returned to the wall of a Quebec City hospital after an earlier decision to take it down prompted complaints, a petition and what officials considered a “serious threat.”

The cross, which is just under a metre in length, was put back overnight in its original spot, between two elevators near the entrance of the Saint-Sacrement Hospital.

A temporary plaque was also added to explain the religious heritage of the building and the fact that hospitals in the province are now secular institutions. A permanent plaque will be put up in the next few months.

“Health-care facilities in Quebec have been secular for many years,” reads the plaque, written in French.

“This crucifix recalls the importance of the contribution of the religious communities to the construction of this hospital.”

Saint-Sacrement said it had received at least 600 phone calls about the decision to remove the religious symbol, which was prompted by a single complaint. A petition opposing the removal was signed by thousands of people.

In a news release Wednesday, the hospital’s administration (CHU de Québec) said it would be reinstalled “at the demand of the health ministry” by the end of the day.

The first thing that came to mind was, in all honesty, “really? This is what someone complained about?!”. But then I seen the full story, and the reaction. Thousands signing a petition. Hundreds of callers. Tens of interviewed people, acting the part of persecuted martyrs (including the health minister of the province!). And one  apparently credible threat (doing gods work, eh?).

The first thing that comes to mind is, I now know how to get many people to pay attention to something. Wrap a cross and Jesus F Christ around it. The second thing that comes to mind is . . . FUCK YOU! Over privileged zombie worshippers. 

I get that the initial complaint is a bit silly in light of the longevity of the crucifixes location. Though a secular institution, I am more concerned with how it is run than with what decor it has in its halls. There is an argument for the removal of religious symbolism from these places, no doubt about it. I just don’t worry about it. So long as no one is preaching to the helpless on the public dime, whatever. 

But, this reaction . . . uh. 

Actually, this is a HUGE overreaction to having just one little cross removed from a location where it should not  be  the first place. Its not like the Christian cohort does not already contol this town, and many other areas of our (and the wests) government’s. Hell, churches don’t even have to worry about taxes! Think about that for a second . . . an organisation that no longer IN ANY WAY contributes to the upkeep of this hospital, flips shit when its logo is taken down. 

Not all churches are equal. Some are worse than others. But none the less, its time for some changes. Removing tax exemptions would be an ultimate utopia, but I am merciful. Start keeping tabs on how the money is flowing, and reward jesus like behavier. Those that keep to themselves or live to give, have no problems. Those that attempt to meddle in political (or other) affairs, lose exemption for a set period (5 years?). 

Then there is the land issue. My city alone has at least 35 churches, ranging from small ones in neighbourhoods to large ones. Many of these buildings more than likley sit empty all week, heated and/or air conditioned for nothing. And yet, my city (as with many others!) has an affordable housing crisis. 

Which begs the question . . . why does a city of below 50,000 need so y churches?! Its idiotic redundancy to waste perfectly good land on weekly usage, when people working full time often can’t afford to eat AND put a roof over their heads. 

Learn to share space, theists. As for the leftover buildings, they can either be renovated into dwellings, or razed to make way for dwellings. Normally I am against such measures (I hate seeing perfectly good homes and buildings demolished, even if to make way for apartments). But really . . . what good is a church? Think of all the wasted energy going into heating those cavernous cathedrals alone!

On the subject of churches and cathedrals, I can connect my  seemingly controversial conclusions to an interesting source. Norwegian Black Metal. 

Its an interesting thing, really. I knew about the church burnings and such even in high school, having looked up some black metal tunes online for friends. Though I liked Cradle of Filth’s Nymphetamine Overdose for some reason, the rest of the genre was just . . . noise. Its been that way until fairly recently (oddly enough). But moving on, I was against the church burnings. Arguably the logical response. 

That said however, I would later see the black metal documentary Until The Light Takes Us. Its definitely not for the faint of heart, first of all (its intense). If you don’t get it, expect to be super #triggered by the end of it. 

There comes a part in the timeline where church burnings start happening. While one may think that there is no possible excuse or reason that one could EVER use to justify this activity . . . they found one.

And now, is where I must tread carefully.

 I do not, and I would not, burn down churches, or any other such sites. I do not condone this sort of thing either. I just . . . get it. I’m not going to jump in a car and go torch churches whilst blasting black metal tunes. But I also won’t feel bad about finding it hilarious the next time someone somewhere, does just that. 

To close, it seemed like a good time to explore that age old topic of my liking that is religion. It seemed a good time see just how much I have changed over the years. I personally think that I have matured greatly in this area. I doubt many in the peanut gallary will agree. 

Good thing I don’t give a shit. 

Its Been 10 Years

Recently, an old friend that I have not seen for 3 years ended up in town for a few days. I have known the guy since grade 9, and our friendship has weathered many storms. Truth be told, a couple he may not even know about. The person that I am today, and the person I was even as few as 2 or 3 years ago, are drastically different. Though it may be hard to believe.

I didn’t have the tendency to view many situations as rationally as I do today. I was not as aware of my habit of holding permanent grudges as I am today (a family trait). And I was far more bothered/affected by events of my past than I am today. Either way, whatever the shit that happened, it’s all water under the bridge now. 

Being we met in high school, he reminded me of an anniversary of sorts. It has been 10 years since high school graduation. Since my graduating class started its journey into the real world. 

With some classmates from our year (over some beers), memories were exchanged, stories were told. Everyone could not believe that it had already been 10 years. 

Well, besides me. 

I was well aware of the date, and the progression of time. As the years have gone by, I knew. Though I didnt exactly keep a chronological tab in my mind (1, 2, 3 years), I was aware. The shit that happened back then, combined with my lacking in self awareness of flaws in my very structure, ensured it. Though I have managed to largely purge most of it from my mind by now, it has long been a personal sore spot. 

Though I say high school in a general sense, the worst of the problems were thoughout my grade 9 year. The first was a forced relationship with a former grade 8 classmate and friend in another high school. And after that, came the other mess, the cyber bullying campaign. Though seprate beasts for most of the year, they would eventually culminate into a massive cluster fuck that I almost felt powerless to do anything about. Almost. I go into the ordeal with a bit more depth on my about me page. 

As it happened, time would end up helping to correct both problems (though not heal the scarrs, it would seem). The cyber bullying stuff settled down eventually after restrictions on anonymous posting were added (and people just lost intrest). And the relationship disolved after I became more observant and realized that I was not being threatened by 5 or more, but rather, was being decieved by 1. 

Compared to the previous year, tenth grade (and onward really) was a breeze. My environment was fairly neutral. Though there was some strife  happening here and there, nothing really sticks out. Certainly nothing that even came CLOSE to the previous year. But despite this, high school would still be a weird place for me. 

The grade 9 mess ended with me being behind in many diffrent subjects (since I quit caring after awhile), which meant repeating some subjects. I now realize that the situation ended up retarding  me in more ways than just academically. But as with most people, education got the most attention. 

Due to the reputation I had earned a year previous, and due to being held back, from the 10th grade on, I tended to identify with the younger newcomers (some being friends from middle school) more than with my own (future) graduating class. 

There are of course, exceptions. People that I may not talk to often, but people that remain just as important now as they were then. Hell, even a friend that was in a largely diffrent (and more popular) crowd than I would end up contacting me years later, with just as much respect as we had when we talked more (grade 8). Granted, the fellow was pretty hammered. But if alcohol just magnifies what’s already present in the psychy, I’ve nothing to worry about.

But aside from those examples, my interaction with my own peers was . . . fairly limited. 

Most of my high school career was spent playing catch up. Or at least, spent TRYING to. A battle that I at some point between grades 10 and 11, eventually just gave up on. I instead opted to complete a minimum (if that) of what was required, and used school as more of a social gathering place than anything else. 

Given that trajectory, it’s no surprise by the time my grade 12 year rolled around, I opted for (for the most part)  just not bothering. I had taken a job training course over the summer and now had a full time evening job. I was 18, out of the home I grew up in (that’s another story in itself). I had the freedom to just say “Fuck it!” and not attend school. 

It started with morning classes, after conflicting with 4 to 12 shifts. Some people can pull that stuff off, but aparently not me. Those classes I was not to fond of anyway, having 2 slots in a row of math back to back. Then went business, keyboarding, possibly law (forget if I ever took that). Business was so boring that I once fell asleep. I hated keyboarding because I could never master the proper methodologies, and thus keep pace. Oddly enough, since my main hobby involves so much typing.  I don’t type properly on a keyboad persay, but I don’t exactly hunt and peck either. But moving on, the only class that I kept for the whole of the year, was English. A class that I also ended up failing. 

Though many of my classmates graduated that year, needless to say, I didn’t. It would bother me a bit in the years that followed. And anger me a bit, knowing what bullshit ended up culminating in me missing that milestone along with my peers. But the most bothersome part was not missing that ceremony however. It was not having a yearbook for that year, the year of my peers. I have the yearbook from my first year hell, and every inconsequential year afterwards.  But not the most important one, the one that celebrated my classmates (and more importantly, my FRIENDS) first important milestone in life. 

The yearbook committee (if memory serves) had aparently run out of copies. I would later hear that some people got more than one. Nothing like a little salt into the wound. 

I would be back the following year for another attempt at the grade 12 diploma. But my attendance didn’t last beyond maybe 2 weeks. Not only did I have work and other social activities outside of school, I just didn’t see the point anymore. In my mind, I had a job and I was making money. What do I need to go to school for?! 

It didn’t help that most everyone I had known had either graduated or transferred to other schools, so I was mostly alone. A feeling that overtook me one day to the point that at lunch time I ended up just clearing my locker and walking out, never to return as a student. I threw away all the school work I had, viewing it as a reminder of bad things. Plus it was a feel good gesture. Here’s what I think of your fucking homework! 

Though I went 3 or 4 years without a diploma, I would eventually earn it though an off campus program set up by my school. A program I only joined after my former principal bugged me into signing up for it (figured, why not). I guess you could say that I had already become very bitter in life. Though I didn’t even have the paper yet, the diploma meant little. It may be a milestone, but it’s no key to sucsess. Not nearly as important as its hyped to be. 

That was 2011. 

Though I wanted to burn them, my transcripts now sit in my safety deposit box. My diploma sits in my bottom drawer, under clouthing that rarly gets worn. My yearbooks sit in a box of various crap I don’t often take out (though, again, I’ve at times pondered burning them). And though I had them up until this spring, all my old high school printed t-shirts now lay somewhere in the landfill. Worn out and unfitting anyway, I don’t know why I kept them for so long in the first place. 

Back at the beginning of this post, I expressed that I disagreed that it was hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since high school. I guess for those that have moved on with fond memories of the period, I can understand this. Though I wish that was the case for me, one has to work with what cards they have been dealt. Rather than finding guilt and regret in the typical “High school is the best time of your life!” narrative, one has to make their own reality. 

And I have been doing better, at least for a couple years. Though I once held an attitude  similar to that of my dad (“I am the way I am because of *insert experience here*!“), I have gotten better. If bitterness is a paralytic, there really is no better anecdotial example than my dad. I see what he does to other people (myself included), and I see the duress that he causes for himself. Its not something that I want to find myself doing to other people. Even if some people aparently can not be helped, one can still try to help themselves.

My introduction to philosophy (of all things) has certainly done more than anything else to put my past behind me. It has not exactly had a positive influence persay, in the way that one would likley think. The thought processes involved have not made me happy , or even more positive. Though a bit tricky to describe, it involves me being able to mentally (in most contexts) completely withdraw from the fray, and just observe. 

It gave me a far more worldly outlook than the typical self centered one that I had before. Picture any particular argument anywhere in society, on any subject, as a physical debate or conversation (say, at the local bar or pub). Most seem to feel the want or the need to pick one side, and that is where they stay (unless they are convinced to the other side). 

To be me, is to be standing aside from either group. Just listening and observing. After awhile, I may accept points from one side or the other, or both. Or I may just walk away without taking anything. 

One example of such a topic is the God/deity question. The concept has no bearing on my day to day life, so who cares. For reference, though religion also really has no bearing on my life, I understand it’s  destructive consequences elsewhere in the world. As such, though I consider many religions to be some of the most evil products that humanity has ever created (along side WMD’s), I completely disconnect that aspect (religion) from the deity. 

Another example is abortion.Its a decision for one or 2 people, possibly the family. It’s not my business. 

I am not sure what one would call such a world view. Some may call it an agnostic position, a middle ground. Though I  used to, I hesitate with that analysis being that I typicly tend to view myself as being on the outside and looking in (as opposed to between 2 factions). Some may call it (being an outsider) a contrarian position. But even that doesn’t really fit. Being that I have not really been CAST out of any faction , and I don’t exist just to differ from whatever is the status quo. I just . . . do what I do. 

It may sound like a fairly benign worldview, but the problems come in the difficulty in communication (about things that matter, anyway) with almost anyone else. Even if something is crystal clear to comprehend, you often can only can get so far when explaining to others. I can (usually correctly) argue that I am the logical or rational one in the conversation. But even that is moot, being that even people with a complete misunderstanding of what the words mean can say they argue logicly or rationally. They (logic, reason, rationality, freethinker, nuance) are merly  intellectual buzzwords. People that truly comprehend the  meaning of the words do not need to use them as label’s.

All in all, though this philosophical stuff is the cause of much frustration (it made it clear how much of societal discouse is based around silly  dicotamies, and where we as a collective, are headed), there are benefits. Besides being a distraction to personal strife, it helped to broaden my horizons. Even if it’s mostly in the sense that there are much bigger problems than my weird anecdotial bullshit experiences.

Perspective is everything. Even if I have various bullshit in my past that still has lingering effects to this day, not only could it be worse, but there are also far bigger issue’s. Big issue’s that I haven’t a clue where to even begin with even STARTING to mitigate. But none the less, ide rather know than not.

With this worldview/mindset (not sure what to call it), also comes an air of understanding that  I (and likely most people) previously lacked. That whole stepping aside and viewing a situation from a distance thing . . . it has helped put to rest quite a few old grudges. 

Some, after realizing that I was likley just being silly. For example, I once was quite resentful of a friend of mine for (in my eyes) taking a girl out from under me in a 3 day span whilst I was working. I felt that way for a couple years at least. But I eventually got over it. Not because of forgiveness. More because, it was just me being stupid. I would likely never had asked the question anyway. And in all seriousness, it be a lie to say that she was even my type anyway. She’s indeed in the spectrum. But she’s far from the ideal zone. 

Another way that this new mindset has helped me is by starting to look deeper into problems or situations than just what is most obvious. Rather than focus just on the symptoms, find the source. 

Take the whole forced relationship from grade 9. It made me angry and vindictive for YEARS. Because at face value, it really was a horrible situation. I would find out many years later however that despite being my aggressor, my ex was also the target of an aggressor. Their aggressor being, an extremely intimidating and immature older cousin. 

No, it didn’t excuse the actions taken against me, persay. And it didn’t really help me in repairing the various bits of damage left over from the mess. But what it does do, is help to make the situation make more sense. Sure, one should not deal with their problems by helping to push a 3ed party damn close to the great abyss. But it’s an easier action to digest as a coping mechanism. 

All in all, it has been quite a journey since my noon hour exit from high school life just over 9 years ago. Even if most of the growth ended up happening in the past 2\3 years, progress is progress. The fact that I had even been reminded of this high school stuff is growth in itself. This stuff isnt even sitting distantly in the back of my mind. It is (or WAS, it seems) as good as forgotten. 

This reminder caused a bit of emotional turmoil for me recently, however. Not due to what bugged me in the past (regrets of missed opportunities in high school). I more, suddenly realised how little I had accomplished in the years since. I have spent a vast quantity of my life doing little more than spinning my wheels. 

On paper, I live a steller exsistance. 3 longstanding former employers, working for a 4th presantly. For the most part, I have been a sucess in every job I have ever held. Aside from 1 (but who gives a shit about telemarketing. Even I hang up on them!). Aside from work, my life is mostly squeaky clean. 

And yet, it all means nothing really. 

I have never EVER held a job that I liked. Or more importantly, a job that I ever felt myself to be secure in. For one thing, my entire resume is based on me having a professional and sucessful background in customer relations. Which is hilarious, because I hate people. I don’t give a FUCK about them or their  trivial first world problems often stemming from their own stupidity. To be fair, this career has done alot to color this perception. But even if I look outside my work experiences, a WHOLE lot is left to be desired. 

But by now, stupid and unruly customers are just part of the background noise. It happens, and there is not much to do about it. What does make things worse however, are incompetent higher ups at all levels (from the managers office to the boardroom). I have had otherwise tolerable jobs go COMPLETELY sour due to stupidity over my head. Be it idiodic rules and regulations made from a boardroom far from the reality of the sales floor, or working under lower managers that are idiotic, incompetent or assholeIsh (often all of the above). Even if I dont ever start out with an employer in such circumstances (I have left jobs after the 1st shift upon detecting similar environments), so far, it just happens. One or 2 years in, a change of managment occurs somewhere up the chain. Always resulting in the tolerable eventually becoming “I just dont give a FUCK anymore”. 

Found these on Facebook just today

For me so far, this has been the rule of thumb. Apparently its time I started my own business. 

Outside of work, in all honesty, I don’t really do much either. Partially because most of the people I am most comfortable with in social situations no longer live here (they are flourishing in greener pastures). Another is,  a lack of motivation to even attempt to put myself out there. I guess that its just not worth the effort. As bad as it sounds, I often spend so many hours dealing with people that I  often just don’t feel like interaction of any kind in my own time. A certain family member also adds to the mix by (unknowingly it seems) expecting me to visit them practically daily (that’s a whole other story . . . ).  But mostly, its just me. 

A few days ago whilst laying in bed listening to Three Days Grace’s One X (which was part of a youtube playlist), 2 things happened. The first, was a sudden rush of realization over how little I have accomplished. And the 2ed, was the urge to vanish, get outta dodge. I felt like shuting my phone off, getting on a bus or plane, and just going . . . anywhere. Not even tell ANYONE my intentions . . . just leave. Likley not even permanently. But for a fairly long time. A month, maybe more. 

Of course, I would quickly end up bating this idea aside. I have obligations. Though I dont really care about the employment factor (you can work anywhere), I do have a family member with health issues that I help out. Its not as cut and dry as it is for most people my age. Also, bills. Running off may feel good, but at the expence of good credit?

One thing is certain however. I need a vacation. Where it brings me . . . who knows. Just as long as im gone. Even for just a little while.

This has taken a dark turn. My life has been (and realistically, IS) riddled with all sorts of bullshit of all types. Some of it, typical run of the mill problems of a first world citizen. But there are some challenges that seem unique to me. Things that one can’t really discuss with anyone. Yet, things that have an ever present and continuous (and at times, caustic) impact on daily existence. In short, its surprising that it took so long to go this dark. 

But it is not all bad. 

All of us eventually come to a time of life when we realize that all we amount to be, may not match all that we would LIKE to be, or all that we THOUGHT we would be by now. 

For me, its really neither. I never really had high hopes, dreams or goals to begin with. A previous math teacher of mine (back in grade 9, I believe) once warned us that if we go though life without having any any goals, you may find yourself being 30 and still pumping gas. Of course, back then, that didn’t mean anything. I never thought I would make 18 (let alone 30). But none the less, here I am. 2 years removed from the cautionary milestone. 

Looking at almost everything in life in a negative way tends to be just, how I am. There is a bit of a pattern within my family (starting with one grandparent) that seems to show itself in the descendants in the form of a negative outlook on life, hoarding, or even some obsessive compulsive (or at least OCD-like) behavior. All to various degrees, with some being quite obviously affected, and others seemingly unaffected. It could also be that some have learned to recognize these traits in themselves, and thus are not bound by them.

Either way, I can’t kick myself to much for not getting as far ahead as I could have. Or (lets be honest), I should not be kicking myself for not going as far as fellow student A, or buddy B. Everyone has diffrent baggage in life. And everyone has a diffrent way of handling things.

But outlook is also important. 

If a person refuses to see anything but negativity everywhere, they will eventually end up in a self fulfilling prophecy. Keep in mind, reacting negatively to a negative situation is not the same thing. Its healthy to say “What the FUCK?!” when warranted. However, “I will never get anywhere, so why even bother?!” . . . not so much. 

You can be a prisoner of your victomhood. Or you can be a captain of your new life beyond your stormy seas. It may take a long time for some to get to that crossroads. But it all eventually boils down to this. 

Going back to the worst part of the high school days, I had a soundtrack of sorts. It was an interesting soundtrack, because for years, I didn’t have a clue who the artists responsible for it were. 

It started with a little white recordable cdR disk. With no information or markings, I found it by the side of the road one day, presumably tossed out by a passing car. Though a bit damaged, it played. I don’t remember exactly  when I found it, but it must have been 2002. 

It wouldn’t come back into my life until sometime later (maybe a year or so). I don’t even remember how my attention went back to that disk (then stored in a cd book with an assortment of others owned by my family. But even though I didn’t know the artists, the music resonated. Looking back, I can definitively call it the soundtrack of my high school career. 

I would not learn who the artist responsible for the music was until 2008, after hearing a new song on the radio by a band that sounded much like the band on the mystery disk. That song was called Driven (Sevendust). And the song from the disk were from Sevendust’s first album, called Animosity .