Too Many, Too Far

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Reading nonsense such as this has finally provoked within me the urge to unleash a summary of the nearly endless waves of indignation that doubtless follow soon after.

Before continuing, please be sure to read fully the words on this article of clothing, typeset carefully for dramatic effect.

First, we must isolate the demands in the rhetorical conversation above proposed to god, that we may arrive at a better understanding:

  • god, or at least this one being queried, is omnipotent enough to intervene in the affairs of mortal men.
  • god, or at least this one being queried, aside from its omnipotence, has the inclination to intervene in the affairs of mortal men.
  • The kind of affair and its calibre are irrelevant in consideration for intervention.
  • Degrees of presence of this god, either materialistically or otherwise, has a net effect on its ability to intervene, especially in the case of violence in schools.
  • Violence of any kind is bad.
  • Violence within the confines of a school is a particularly heinous breed.
  • The printer of this shirt has had the divine communication revealed, moreso than others it would seem, to have ready a solution to the issue at hand.
  • Hence, if more people would allow freely this god in particular in their schools more often, especially when the word is spread by buying this shirt, that its ability to intervene in horrific incidences of school violence would increase.

Please spare me the easy hunts here as thoughts of those nature will be vanquished immediately.

One should find it obvious, probably as a result of experience, that even if this god in subject did exist and was of the meddlesome kind, the nauseating selectiveness which it elects to employ or bestow upon the people – its people – the requisite number of miracles to produce the safest, happiest, most fulfilling life for all leaves quite a bit to be desired. god’s game, that of arbitrarily halting each person’s life pendulum, has no rhyme or reason. Yet all the wonders of the fallacious mind attempt attribution upon attribution, founding these claims on little more than simple or seemingly sophisticated rumours and fancies, none of which are or can be rooted by rationality or reason. We should rest assured that if this god were as invested in our goings-ons as one becomes enthralled by reality television, and it desired an alternative outcome, it should’ve happened by now on numerous occasions. Otherwise, we’re left to conclude that either this god doesn’t exist, or that it truly doesn’t care what you or anyone else does in their day-to-day, consequently invaliding any and all notions of intervention.

But we must say something of the utility of the matter since it is commonly and boorishly implored as the preferred means of coagulation. How many thoughts and prayers have been offered up in the wakes of Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech (2007), and the University of Texas (1966)? Have we been praying to the wrong god? Did we not pray correctly? Did we happen to pray at the wrong time? Was god on a holiday, conveniently enough whenever these massacres occurred? Was the presence of this god in particular absent from these schools? Try explaining to the surviving family members that their children would’ve experienced, or were at least far more likely to, divine intervention, which would certainly have saved them, if only they and the student body were a bit more pious.

More questions emerge from the framework. Just how much piety and humility – if ever it could be sufficiently quantified – is or would be required to prevent these tragedies? Must we compel the faculty and community at large to resort to barbarous medieval customs such as animal and human sacrifice? Or do we simply need to ramp up production of such sloganistic masterpieces as the one on display above, accelerate the marketing to procure more sales, and rely entirely on the horrifyingly shallow sort of solidarity that both founds and breeds in it? This here is a pestilence of the mind and of the society, and from within this cesspool, naught of a tincture of a remedy is to be found.

We seem also to be taking this concept of gradation, given to us by Aquinas himself, and pumping it full of steroids to give it some meaning that, in its attempts to assuage negation, permits it to blitz past any naysayers in total ignorance of its fatal detraction. While a reasonable destruction of this is possible, a more poignant defamation presents itself through these shootings and by responses like the one shown above.

If we take a look on gradation, we find that to judge the merit of one’s goodness is to effectively weigh it in proximity of the ‘uttermost’ good, and the result of this exercise would yield the final goodness or badness of one’s actions. From the perspective of the exercise itself, this makes total sense, since any measurement of any kind with the objective of describing some property of the subject in a vacuum would provide very little to glean. But we arise at an issue when we do what Aquinas suggests, which is placing god, or at least his rendition, in the position of the objective, or the pinnacle of conceivable subjectivity, ‘uttermost’ goodness, by which any and all questions of morality and conceptions of utopia are adjudicated. For example, are we to assume that one’s moral compass is skewed, or skewered in some cases, when they are found to not subscribe to the same god as does Aquinas regardless of the reason? Do they not distinguish good from bad? More adequately, we could express the paradox as if one’s ‘uttermost’ good is different than mine, because if god is my ‘uttermost’ good and their god is not my god, how then do I know that person is a good person, or at any rate, can be expected to do good things? Often left out of the conversation is that it’s plausible that this arm’s length sizing-up happens on the other side. Further, what happens if this god commands as ‘uttermost’ good the slaughter of peoples whose faith subscriptions are inconsistent and irreconcilable with your own? Of both the sums of atrocities committed and their accompanying rationale, a very safe and sound assertion that religion permits this kind of horrifying and arbitrary inconsistency can be mounted and defended. If nothing else is said from here, it should at least be granted that not only is god not the ‘uttermost’ good, but that if one elects to place it there, they’re not to be trusted on judging morals or goodness at all.

The common question of if god is absent, how can we be moral or good emerges here, and it has a very simple response that makes sense. We can indeed be moral and good in the absence of god because it’s not a progenitor for either morality or so-called ‘uttermost’ goodness. Rather, the imperative that one behaves in this way is emergent as a substrate to society solely as a reciprocal of our evolving social dynamic, further dictated by the species and its relation to the availability of subsistence resources. In other words, we are good and moral subjectively, and what constitutes the prime measurement for goodness is not an ephemeral and likely non-existent construct, but is the collectiveness of our species in and of itself. This structure is entirely mutable in much the same ways that human behaviours are subject to both social glue as well as environmental properties.

But if god is present in any form, can you still be good and moral? Yes. Because these things don’t arise from god and are instead universal by other means. Missions to Haiti should be performed because it’s the right thing to do, not because god dictated your good. One should have access to a roof over their heads and common amenities because of decency and growth of the species, not because god willed servants to grant those things with the hook-line-and-sinker that the recipient will be liberated from their heathen backward lives in godless communities.

And now we arrive at our magnum opus. From where precisely in these atrocities taking place in our schools do we find the grounds for dispelling the magisterium and voodoo of religion, which compels people to look in entirely the wrong direction, so that we can start addressing real issues? It’s rooted in a very particular kind of economy, one which can be found in example by removing from the clause that provoked this entire adventure certain words. Doing so will shift meaning, but only toward a larger scale, and does not detract in any way from the original objective; it remains valid. Simply restate the offending question:

Why do you allow so much violence in our schools?

To:

Why do you allow so much violence?

And the entire prospect of omnipotence falls even harder on its face than it already did. We could’ve easily grouped the words in our schools, turned the last word into a variable, and played a game of Mad Libs by swapping it out with any other place. However, we must understand clearly that by doing either this or taking the amended statement above as the general inquiry, the answer on offer must necessarily change, and not for the better since it becomes harder to answer, even rhetorically, as the author of our shirt here obviously didn’t take into consideration. Let’s try.

First, replace school with church. Now, of all the enumerable places where people go, the one most assuredly where one would find a plethora of fuel to bring about the god would be in a church. So why is it then that even when churches, mosques, and synagogues are targeted with extreme acts of violence, whatever the reason, that there is a very distinct lack of divine hands redirecting bullets, shielding people from blast radii and/or collapsing structural debris, or, perhaps even more telling, why wouldn’t this god have either mooted with or road-blocked the other god that drove the attackers before they inaugurated their campaign of terror? Whoops! Hang on! What if the god was the same? What then? Further, suppose we commanded an increase in the footprint of religion in schools, as was suggested implicitly by our lovely fashion statement? Surely, if places dedicated to the worship of a god are not omitted from consideration in plans of attack, nor are they on the list of places where critical divine action occurs, why would one ever dream to conceive that a school would somehow make the cut, and then have the sickening audacity to even place the option on the table as a solution?

Finally, let’s take the second permutation of the question and examine the change on the context. Expectantly, one would decry this exercise as being far too broad, but I vehemently disagree with this. Considering that the breadth of this god’s influence is claimed to be so grand in scale and magnitude that even the laws of the universe bend to its will, speaking generally on violence should be of little to no consequence. Human history illustrates clearly a ubiquity in the distribution and execution of barbarism from as far back as we can tell. Hence, we must acknowledge that violence is evinced in the cultures of Neanderthals, Vikings, Greeks, Romans, Scots, British, Indian, Egyptian, Prussian, and contemporary American to name a few. The pinnacle issue at the core here is that to even ask a question of this calibre is to understand that an unsatisfactory answer will always be had from this or any other god. Questions of how sometimes serve as antecedent to those of why, and in this case, they’re far more critical. Instead of asking why a god permits violence, one should be more concerned with how violence emerges. In doing so, an enlightening proposition occurs.

While it’s true that some elect to refer to their god as the ultimate good, and that it may inhibit them from committing acts that would, based on those standards, be deemed bad, the inverse case is also true. Those killing people with a prayer or the name of a god on their lips during the act are just as capable as those who do so without. Certainly, one could argue, as often occurs, which kinds of people are more prone to such senseless aggression, but here they’re all considered equally. That being said, all of a sudden, a god, whomever or whatever it may be, if indeed it can be at all, no longer has the luxury of stratifying itself against the innumerable other means by which violence emerges since it becomes one alongside them. In effect, you could propose the same inquiry to other subjects like scarcity (artificial or not), repression, anger, jealousy, racism, sexism, bigotry, and cultural standards to name a few. The real paradox here is that although asking of these subjects this question is in effect the same as doing so with a god, one is considered insane for personifying these and not so for a god. My thought here is that a very real fear emerges from confronting these tangible actors, one rooted in the providence of human beings. If blame is cast wholly on an agent whose very nature and existence are highly volatile at best, somehow this alleviates from humans the responsibility of having to act for change in a way that goes beyond printing on clothing, making social media posts, or muckraking with contrarian dogma to maintain the decadence of the mass.

In short,

Praying to a god will not stop violence anywhere.

Offering adulation to any diety will not hamper or deter all violence anywhere.

Hermetically sealing your community away and galvanising it with religion, while potentially shuttering external influence, doesn’t serve any purpose in this regard.

Demanding that more people become religious will not change anything.

So, what would?

We would.

Our culture and our politics should be the first targets. We see it as sexy and dignified, as well as a show of power, to brandish weaponry of any kind to each other. Becoming strong and defensive is an objective in and of itself, and the perception of not doing so is to be weak, and the weak are only to be used by the strong. The impressions of strength and weakness manifest in people in different ways, depending wildly on their social situations. In here, generalities can be established, but not enough to convince someone truly mired in the mess that theirs is not unique enough to warrant highly questionable expressions of relief. Television, major film, and shorts glorify acts of violence if only in defence, ignoring the underlying motivations for them and the requisite discipline for containing the precursors, which in defence or not, are largely the same. Guns have obtained a first-class citizenry status and are big business. The second amendment, having been picked apart from the political ravens and vultures in the name of convenient yet contradictory legislature, has convinced a majority of people that they, and not just militias, are mandated constitutionally to own weaponry, and the degree of ordinance permissible, at least under the table, is irrelevant when the dollars are in order. No one submits that even in the periphery, the Founding Fathers composed this construct with the intent of permitting brothers and sisters to maim one another without any truly compelling reason. We falsely dichotomise killing for sport and murder, using this as justification for “sport hunting,” which itself is leveraged as argument for obtaining vast quantities of weaponry for private citizens. A weapon used for killing or severely injuring another human is quite similar to that which is used for “sporting” an animal.

Of course, this only scratches the surface, and I’d be remiss if I thought for one second that a complete disarmament of the people en masse would be possible or even desirable. We must remember though is that we, those of us not in politics, can demand change through action which requires more than shirts, Instagram pictures, profile photo filters on Facebook, and, hell, even the words that I’ve written here now. Close your bibles, they serve you no purpose. Turn off the TV and the cell phones and start talking to one another. Engage people to find common ground. Be a human being again. Demand that these dirty, incompetent, and disconnected politicians and SIGs be taken to task for the truly horrible nature of their actions. Be a positive influence in your community, and do it without the aid of a god, because you don’t need it.

Everything you need, you already possess within you.

 

 

Two Sets of Books

Disclaimer: I submitted this to the New York Times as a response to the article that is mentioned here but I never heard back from them within their specified time frame for publishing, so instead I decided to publish on my site.

I set these words down to address a very particular topic, and a very particular person. It is with a considerable amount of disagreement that I address Larry Taunton regarding his piece entitled “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist,” and inform him of why his interpretations of private conversations with Hitchens are not only horrible misrepresentations of the man himself, even as lackadaisical musings, but do nothing but use as a crutch his memory and legacy to attempt to cement the supposed inherit lie that all non-religious persons adhere to, on the surface, and secretly pine for salvation in the closet, placating the ego of the pious.

Getting right to the facts, in an article in the New York Times, dated Saturday March 14th, 2016, titled “Famous Atheist’s Non-Faith Is Questioned in Friend’s Book,” an excerpt lays the foundation for Taunton’s story:

“… In September 2010, five months after Mr. Hitchens’s diagnosis of cancer, he and Hitch drove the thirteen hours from Mr. Hitchens’s home in Washington, D.C. to a Fixed Point debate in Birmingham, Ala. The next month, after an event in Billings, Mont., they took a seven-hour trip to, and around, Yellowstone National Park. As Mr. Taunton drove, Mr. Hitchens read aloud from the Gospel of John and mulled over the precise reason Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. “Where is the grace in the Old Testament?” Hitchens asked at one point, in Mr. Taunton’s telling. “I see it in the New Testament, but God is different in the Old Testament,” Mr. Hitchens observed, leading to a discussion of God’s covenant with Abraham. Based principally on these conversations, Mr. Taunton concluded that Mr. Hitchens was seeking – and that he was, at least, open to – the possibility that Christianity was true. Perhaps, Mr. Taunton writes, Mr. Hitchens “used his position as a journalist as a kind of professional cover for a very personal inquiry” into the faith.”

Later, another excerpt:

“Still, Mr. Taunton laces his book with plenty of winks toward hopeful Christians, who would be understandably glad to see the conversion of an atheist as prominent as Mr. Hitchens. He quotes John le Carre’s George Smiley, who says, in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (the movie, not the book), “The fantastic is always concealing a secret doubt.” He writes that Mr. Hitchens had to keep up the front of an unquestioning atheist because it “was a matter of professional pride for him to play the part for which he had been hired.”

Again, another excerpt quoting Michael Shermer, who had originally written a highly favorable review of the book, later asked for it to be redacted on account of a growing discomfort with Taunton’s near-abuse usage of Hitchen’s phrase “keeping two sets of books”:

“But you mean his wife, his family, his books, every interview he ever gave was all deceitful, but you, you got the real story?” he said, referring to Mr. Taunton. “I don’t think so.””

One last excerpt:

“Mr. Wilson agreed that, whatever the truth about Mr. Hitchens’s dying beliefs, the intrigue makes for a good story. “Christians like the idea of saved in the nick of time,” he said. “They like the idea of a cliffhanger ending.””

Next I would like to bring to light excerpts from Christopher Hitchens himself, from his memoir “Hitch 22.” Specifically the First Trade Edition: June 2011, published by Twelve, which contains a preface authored by Christopher Hitchens dated January 20, 2011. This puts the writing of these words after the time frame which Taunton claims to have had an enlightening experience with Hitchens. The first:

“A continuous theme in Hitch-22 is the requirement, exacted by a life of repeated contradictions, to keep two sets of books. My present condition intensifies this rather than otherwise. I am forced to make simultaneous preparations to die, and to go on living. Lawyers in the morning, as I once put it, and doctors in the afternoon.”

Another:

“Another element of my memoir – the stupendous importance of love, friendship, and solidarity – has been made immensely more vivid to me by recent experience.”

Another:

“The cause of my life has been that of combating superstition, which among other things means confronting the dreads upon which it feeds. For some inexplicable reason, our culture regards it as normal, even creditable, for the godly to admonish those who they believe to be expiring. A whole tawdry edifice – of fabricated “deathbed conversions” and moist devotional literature – has arisen on this highly questionable assumption. Though I could have chosen to take offense (at being silkily invited to jettison my convictions when in extremis: what an insult and what a non-sequitur too) I was actually grateful for the heavy attention I received from the faithful. It gave my atheism, if you like, a new lease on life. It also help me keep open a long debate to which I am proud to have contributed a little.”

Another:

“The irruption of death into my life has enabled me to express a trifle more concretely my contempt for the false consolation of religion, and belief in the centrality of science and reason.”

And finally:

“I wasn’t born to do any of the things I set down here, but I was born to die and this coda must be my attempt to assimilate the narrative to its conclusion.”

A very critical note that Taunton and Wilson (who was referenced briefly in the excerpts above) miss, at this juncture it would have to be inferred that it was blatantly ignored, was that Hitchens, much like the literary titans he surrounded himself with, was pursuant first and foremost toward the passion for literature. Littered throughout “Hitch 22,” and from various recorded speaking engagements, one has very little difficulty in determining this fact. It is not uncommon for an intellectual to be thirsty for knowledge – a thirsty reader will read, a thirsty writer will write, a thirsty painter will paint, etc… Nietzsche lays down this point better than most, while also laying the groundwork for the integrity of the intellectual in “On the Genealogy of Morals”: “… For nothing else befits a philosopher. We have no right to any isolated act whatsoever: to make isolated errors and to discover isolated truths are equally forbidden us. Rather, our thoughts, our values, our yeses and noes and ifs and whethers grow out of us with the same necessity with which a tree bears its fruits – all related and connected to one another and evidence of a single will, a single health, a single earth, a single sun.” This singularity is not a darling toward self-serving pious folks, as you’d have an incredibly hard time pouring over Nietzsche’s work the baptismal waters (the same person who declared himself to be the anti-Christ), but instead a reference to the insatiable thirst for an intellectual to seek knowledge, and that knowledge has no boundaries, and further that an intellectual has a responsibility to knowledge to not be isolated in its pursuit. A headline quote from the same New York Times article reads “An impious author who might have been exploring faith before he died.” – the absurdity oozing from the pores of the words here is astonishing, especially when in the context of Hitchens. – As if making inquiries into faiths, the texts behind them, and the people who are supposed to adhere to them, automatically implies that one is on the steps toward submission and salvation – please. A turn of this sort plays heavily on the intellectual’s due diligence of knowing about what it is they wish to discuss, something of which is the foundation for any serious intellectual. It is not uncommon for an atheist to read the multiple revisions of the Bible, or any other religious text, or study the principles of the religions around the world. This does not make them an active or even impending member of those religions.

As mentioned in the excerpts above, Hitchens makes reference to the “two sets of books” metaphor quite often. Not just from the quotations above, this use can be seen in his other book “god Is Not Great” and in various other recorded speaking events. Michael Shermer above requested that his positive review of Tounton’s book be redacted due to the latter having overused the dualist metaphor to an alarming degree. So what does Hitchens mean when he uses this? Yet two more excerpts from “Hitch 22”, both regarding his time at a school called Camdean:

“… We were all of us compelled to sit through lessons in the sinister fairy tales of Christianity as well, and nature was sometimes enlisted as illustrating god’s design, but I can’t pretend that I hated singing the hymns or learning the psalms, and I enjoyed being in the choir and was honored when asked to read from the lectern on Sundays. In fact, as you have perhaps guessed, I was getting an early training in the idea that life meant keeping two separate and distinct sets of books. If my parents knew what really went on at the school, I used to think (not being the first little boy to imagine that my main job was that of protecting parental innocence), they would faint from the shock. So I would be staunch and defend them from the knowledge.”

Second:

“Again come the two sets of books: I would escape to the library and lose myself in the adventure stories of John Buchan and “Sapper” and G.A. Hentry and Percy Westerman, and acquaint myself with imperial and military values just as, unknown to me in the England of the late 1950s that lay outside the school’s boundary, these were going straight out of style. Meanwhile and on the other side of the ledger, I would tell myself that I wasn’t really part of the hierarchy of cruelty, either as bully or victim.”

The meaning alone can be discerned from the first but the use of the second is to help ease along what is meant here.

Knowing that he had a distinct distaste for religion, especially a noted one for Christianity, and early on, Hitchens proceeds to say that he in fact did enjoy engaging in singing, reading, and learning. Saying it that way isn’t some coy subtraction of words in an effort to obviously remove them from the equation. It is instead used to point out that when considering the context, one taking part in activities with others, is indeed a reflection of human nature – the very real and truly inert need to be social, surrounded by others, accepted, and to reciprocate these things. The other children around him were doing the same exact things, as if it were all normal; these actions do not require qualification of the numinous to be dignified – a common misconception. The “two sets of books” metaphor holds more closely to the duality, introduced and contained within societies, enjoined on its constituents which in turn makes manifestly clear to the agent that innate desires and the results of them will nearly consistently be in conflict with the scaffolding prescribed to you. Not only does it have intimate ties with who and what we are as humans, which is not a shadow of an arrogant or indifferent god, but also to the attempts to reconcile those differences in accordance with the will to exhibit the love, friendship, and solidarity that is so important. It is not, as the pious would like to have it, and according so dotingly to Mr. Wilson, a good story that plays toward the Christian end-of-life ideal of repentance at the last moment for the dissenters.

Taunton’s assertions that Hitchens was only playing as an atheist because he was “hired” to be is as disingenuous and dishonest to a “friend” as one can be, as there is absolutely no way possible that one could ever entertain the thought that Hitchens had a last glimmer of faith and struggled with himself as to the object of commitment.

Personal Update

“We are unknown to ourselves, we knowers: and with good reason. We have never looked for ourselves, – so how are we ever supposed to find ourselves?” – Friedrich Nietzsche from On the Genealogy of Morals.

It’s absolutely incredible what happens when you divorce your life from the internet. Or, perhaps, it should be phrased the other way around: It’s absolutely incredible what happens when you divorce the internet from your life. Regardless of your ability to admit to it or not, the permeation of this amazing tool can, and has, replaced a lot of the aspects of our lives for either good or bad. Being someone who has chosen technology as not only a career choice, but as a lifestyle, the line between where I begin and end blurs heavily and with a very scary amount of ease.

However, this isn’t some post that ends up being the darling to all those who damn both technology and the internet. Nor does it serve as a treatise on coming-clean from an addictive state regarding either of those. Instead it is simply a testament to an awakening. Not in a spiritual sense, as some like to incorrectly conflate in all invocations, but of a more conscious nature.

The human mind is an astounding piece of evolutionary and biological achievement. The ability that we possess for retaining memory, processing input simultaneously from nearly all areas of our bodies, and reacting to events in real-time rationally is not something to lightly scoff at. Equally, if not more impressive, is our faculty for what we call critical thinking. In this we find that we’re capable of creating some of the most elaborate tools and technologies to help us to sustain both living and communities. Also it can produce some of the finest liberal arts that we know of and have yet to discover. But it is this one piece of our minds, our wonderful and incredible minds, that is constantly being thwarted on a daily basis and the situation is not improving.

Think about it – when you check Facebook, what is it that you’re seeing? You’re certainly paying attention to your stream of updates from “Facebook Friends” but what else is there? Advertisements, trending celebrity news, posts from “Facebook Friends” who are actually businesses or organisations that are treated as single entities, carefully crafted headlines that link back to pages with an article that’s less than five-hundred words or diluted with pagination in order to increase ad revenue and waste more of your time, propagation of questionable “facts” and “truths” from unreliable sources, and, depending upon your usage, a sufficiently cultivated canonical history of your life that, in hindsight, removes the ability of such a user to have a complaint against having their privacy violated in any way whatsoever.

For these people, previously mentioned, Facebook has become a way to run their lives. Thus Facebook is their lives and , as follows, their lives are shaped by it.

But there is more that you can take away from other aspects of what was mentioned. The mass inundation of trite celebrity news and entertainment updates accumulates into a sweltering cesspool of overwhelmingly useless information, serving only to further facilitate this obsessive compulsive mentality in which those prey to it vicariously act out their lives or interests in. This usually results in the complete absenteeism of the individual and does not further press or force uniqueness. “Kim Kardashian poses nude for Paper magasine!” “A new Marvel movie is set to be released soon!” “Photos emerge of Avril Lavigne on her new Instagram account!” – who cares?

We are consistently lowering our expectations of ourselves for reasons which seem, at first, to be purely altruistic, and of that qualification we accept no dissenting perspective. Instead we lash out with public scrutiny, both verbal and in some cases physical and resulting in long-term damages, even if said scrutiny would potentially lead to a more practical, pragmatic or, ironically enough, altruistically sound solution. We’re entirely okay with this though and have accepted it as the supposed utopian goal of our society, thus our models of consumption and retention, regarding information, and scope of vision have been dimmed to the confines of the individual, making the very concept of “individuality” both our greatest asset and our worst enemy. News agencies and media outlets whittle down their articles to the smallest number of words possible, making them void of substance of any kind, to cater to the calculated lessening attention span of the “average” sheep. Because news is now compartmentalised in this way, smaller chunks can be delivered faster and in larger volumes. You don’t actually learn anything, because to learn is to digest, and it is impossible to digest properly what you are choking on. Digestion is an act that requires sufficient time, of which none of us are given. But don’t worry – this is okay. You don’t have to learn and you don’t have to think, that’s all taken care of for you. So you can continue to read, if you can, about the latest crumbling of a celebrity relationship.

Preying on individuality, we slaves to the dollar are subjected to filtered information of the highest magnitude to meet profit margins. Paradoxically, we promote the utmost importance of individuality and altruism yet actively subvert these things for a fiat currency that really, ultimately and truly, doesn’t mean anything. This is what our lives have resulted in: self-imposed slavery. This is what we teach our children, this is what we think is the norm, and this will because of those things, propagate forever until the human race has eradicated itself for the same reasons. Even those who are in control of money are slaves to it. Not necessarily what it manifests as physically but what it represents conceptually, which is far more dangerous than any money: a function of exercising power manipulation over large quantities of people. But how have we coped with this? Not by recognising this fallacy for the horror that it actually is and doing something about it, but by building upon it the foundations for assigning value to a life by quantity and supposed quality of material goods, which can only be attained with money, and from that somehow supposing that it alone is sufficient for judgment of our brothers and sisters, providing an adequate excuse to ignore objective morality (which, by the way, is not God nor any other religion which we have very sadly devoted ourselves to). We are, by nature, gluttons for slavery. We ask not to have absolute responsibility and accountability in our lives. We ask only, instead, that we delegate that to others, be they real or, hilariously, not, so that we can sit at home and feel as if we have done something right for ourselves regardless of other people in the world, or the Earth itself. We then feel entitled to read more celebrity news stories.

We don’t read, we don’t eat, we don’t sleep, and we don’t think. The very sad and horrible truth about life is that today’s society, that we have ourselves shaped, is at its core little more than a mildly civilised form of feudal medieval times. We’re kids with very large guns, uneducated and unprepared to handle them and brandish these weapons with a gusto that makes the most egotistical arrogant pig shudder in horror. We’re fine with Salem Witch Hunts, taking the most ludicrous steps against our brothers and sisters for the crime of critical thinking, and ensuring that we make it known for all, in this generation and the next, that you are to fall in line and never ask why.

This all makes me sick, and my repulsion of the virulence of this decadence gives me reason for great pause. It was for this which I stepped away from all of the things in my life, for just a brief moment, to attempt to make sense of and reconcile, neither of which I feel I have accomplished. I want to remove from me the entombment of myself by both myself and others. To be unafraid to think and speak as such. To structure my life in a way that shows what is possible when you are built not by the mistakes of those before you, but by the intents that you have to make changes now, and act on them.