When peoples of different race, culture, language or customs are brought together into the same geographic region and the conditions are created for intermixing, the ultimate result is naturally a blending of those ethnic groups. The identity and uniqueness of those original cultural groups becomes eroded over time with each passing generation and is progressively replaced by an overwhelming mono-culture. Analogously, if a can of black paint is mixed with a can of white paint in the same container, it forms one entirely new colour. The resulting grey paint doesn’t differ from any other colour because there is no other colour. There is only one colour left. One thing. One entity. If racial diversity is a good thing, as some of our leaders profess it to be, then why bring people of different races together in the same region when the ensuing race-mixing would only bring about less diversity, not more?
In order for democracy to function properly, one of its requirements is that the electorate have sufficient knowledge of all candidates running for any given political office. So what percentage of the modern public goes out of their way to research all competing candidates instead of just passively swallowing the political propaganda in the news and in the universities in small increments over time? Not enough.
It stands to reason that if suffrage is a vital human right, it follows that there should be a mandate that the citizen have a healthy knowledge of each candidate. Not only should the citizen know that, but he should have a solid understanding of economics, history, and the political process. What percentage of the public is defined by these attributes?
The show Bates Motel has a relatively special significance to me. I identified a lot with the main character, Norman Bates. Aside from bearing a strong physical resemblance to Norman and being almost the same age as the actor who played him, I found myself not only wholly understanding the rationale behind the many murders that Norman committed, but I found myself championing his actions with alarming remorselessness. Not only that, but like Norman, I too deal with mental illness and the timeline of the show coincided with my own struggle and conquest of mental illness.
Furthermore, I wistfully associate this show with nostalgic memories. I remember when the show began in 2013, I met my then girlfriend in person for the first time. We first met in an eighth floor Holiday Inn hotel room that had dark wallpaper. The hotel room was divided into two sections: a large bedroom with a king sized bed and a separate living room with a couch and a TV. We watched TV in between bouts of energetic sexual play. She would curl up next to me on the couch as we watched, discussed and deconstructed not only Bates Motel but other shows as well.
Anyway, the fantastic writing on this show had me glued to the TV. As someone championing Norman along, you could say I was quite disappointed with the ending wherein he was killed. My ideal ending would have been seeing Norman in a cushioned cell in a straight jacket in a mental hospital at least alive and knowing that he would be forever blissfully content in the stupor induced by the medications the hospital staff would force him to take. After Norman killed Sheriff Romero and after imaginary Norma abandoned Norman, I was half hoping in that moment to see Norman entirely overcome his mental illness that plagued him for so long. I was half hoping he would run away and live out as a fugitive somewhere else in the United States, an ending which is not inconceivable given that pretty much all other loose ends on the show had been tied up. It was an opportunity for him to start over but when he drove Norma’s dead body back to his house in his car, I became distressed at the thought of the foreboding outcome. To be honest, my stomach filled with dread every time Norman killed someone or attacked someone knowing the likely horrible consequences for him. However, each time I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the universe had given him another chance afterward. I don’t think it was beyond the ability of the show’s writers to craft such an ending but alas, that was not the case. Nonetheless, I am appreciative that the show did at least culminate and end.
To conclude: as far as TV shows go, I must say that the bar is set unbelievably high. This was my favourite show on television.
A topic of discussion that floats around sometimes is religion and the belief in a deity. I thought I would give you my personal take on it. Does god exist? I believe he does. What is the definition of god? Well, according to the American heritage dictionary, it is “a being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe.” I believe there is an entity that has characteristics of what we define as god. If god doesn’t exist, I think there must be a being very similar to God.
Going back thousands of years and seeing many different peoples and nations around the world worship some form of deity, one might ask: could they all be wrong or are they on to something? What I believe is that gods of all different cultures are simply attempts at defining the same phenomenon, a phenomenon we do not yet fully understand. Our limited understanding, however, doesn’t mean that that entity we are trying to define doesn’t exist. Are billions of people throughout the world and throughout history all worshiping nothing at all? Now an atheist may argue that the majority of religious people are simply blind followers of their respective faiths simply because religion is something that is culturally encouraged in their region and that perhaps only a very small percentage of religious people are believers due to well thought-out reasoning.
I think, however, for billions of people around the world for thousands of years to have some sort of deity in their culture is saying something. It’s saying that humans are observing real phenomenon in the world that leads them to rationally believe that some form of god-like entity exists. Many religions contradict other religions, but that doesn’t mean that one religion is right and another is wrong. They could all be valid. Differences in religion are commensurate with the differences in various ethnic groups from which different religions originate.
Our perception is what makes the world around us real. To other animals like flies or snakes who perceive the world differently, what’s real for them is different than real for us. Is there one correct way to perceive the world way in the way that it naturally exists? I don’t think there is. This leads to the question: what is the true nature of the world?
As an example, when light hits hits an atom, the atom absorbs all of those electromagnetic wavelengths except for those wavelengths which are reflected, some of which we can see with our eyes. What about all of the wavelengths we can’t see? What if we could see them? Would it change our understanding of the world? We don’t see those invisible wavelengths because it has not been something required of humans by the imperative of survival. Survival is the only driving force that gives us our traits. In other words, all the traits we possess, we possess in order to survive. None of them are just luxuries.
My point here with wavelengths is that it’s a microcosm of the way we perceive reality in general: that it seems like human understanding perceives only a small sliver of all true phenomenon. There’s too much we don’t understand. This would point to the existence of a greater force, a greater power.
I have a theory: it’s possible that the white “racism” observed by non-white people is falsely rooted. I believe this “institutional racism” they perceive is in fact a misconception characterized by the failure to recognize the commonality among all peoples: struggle is a basic part of life. My assertion is that what blacks or brown people might perceive as white racism is merely a misdirected interpretation of the basic struggles of life or the “eternal struggle” as Hitler referred to it which leaves no group untainted. When times bring the black man down or when times bring down the brown man, there seems to be no shortage of people in media and education ready to indirectly convince them that white people play a crucial part in their problems. I think, in turn, many non-white people begin to attribute their novel problems to whiteness in some significant way. I say this because for most of my life, I did not think in terms of race or color, and yet during that time of my life, there was a very real animosity directed against me by non-whites.
In fact, as we go through our lives, we encounter difficult obstacles but often make the mistake of thinking that no one else is going through the same thing. The individual might be inclined to think that “nobody else could understand me,” or that “everybody else is happy, why does it seem like I’m the only one who isn’t?” Now, does it matter if someone else is dealing with the same problem that you’re going through? It does. It means that we individuals often have a common foe. What surprises me so much, despite living in the so-called “information age,” is how rarely we come together as a group to tackle common problems we individuals suffer from and how often we would rather deal with our problems on our own. As an example: many people struggle with social problems. Why haven’t people come together as a group and analyzed the social and sexual needs of all individuals within the population to create a system that serves to improve the social situation of at least most of the population, if not all its members?
This brings me to the media. By media, I mean all of its forms in our culture. The media is not just an agency with bias that serves to fulfill a political agenda, as some wiser people would believe, but in fact, it is a giant roadblock in the way of collective human progress. The media facilitates the role of a roadblock not necessarily by publishing a biased article, but instead by choosing not to say certain things, certain things that need to be said, certain things that need to be heard by the population in a given situation.
What is the best societal system and what is the best structure of power in which all people’s wants and needs are satisfied to mathematically maximum and optimum levels? To this question, I do not know the answer. From a hypothetical mathematical perspective, undoubtedly our nation leaves room for functional improvement in satisfying all areas: commerce, trade, culture, space exploration, wealth distribution, individual happiness, sexual satisfaction, individual and collective achievement and technological advancement. Looking back to history for answers such as looking at medieval times, we recognize the aristocrats, kings and nobles who ruled over the impoverished peasants in feudal authority. Surely, this feudalism can neither be the most mathematically optimum way we should collectively live. I suppose the question of an ideal nation raises another question: if we have failed to create a hypothetically and mathematically ideal society in the past, is humankind even capable of sustaining such a perfect system now? Does our failure in creating a utopia in the past mean the system in which we currently live is the best we can do?
Today, we read in the news that four people have been killed in London, England by a middle-eastern assailant, three of whom were killed by a vehicle and the fourth, a policeman, stabbed to death. In the recent articles written about the event, it is frequently mentioned that “ISIS claimed responsibility for this attack on its propaganda platform, Amaq News Agency.”
Supporting article here: Isil claims responsibility
However, there is one concerning detail about this: the authenticity of the amaq news agency is extremely difficult to verify.
Upon researching “amaq news agency” through google, one of the top search results is a link to the following page: 5 Things to Know about Amaq News Agency , which basically explains that members of the public cannot download nor access the amaq news agency app.
So in other words: the media is claiming that ISIS is responsible for the London terrorist attack based on a message, which we cannot verify, that was posted on a terrorist organization’s android app, which we cannot download, an app that is only available to members of ISIS through invite only and somehow the media are the only people who have unrestricted access to it. That’s too convenient.
What is the media hiding? This would suggest in fact that there is no amaq news agency. Which, in turn, would suggest that ISIS claiming responsibility for the attacks in London never really happened. This would also question the validity of other attacks for which ISIS has reportedly taken responsibility. This would also draw into question the true culpability of ISIS in general. Does ISIS even exist? What is really going on here?
It dawned on me recently that all races and species of life on this planet are all manifestations of the same thing: a singularity, one organism. This organism called “life.” This organism seeks only to continue its existence.
Why did God create us unequal? Why did he disadvantage some and give advantages to others? There can be no denying that this diversity is the plan of god (or nature, if you don’t believe in god.) This therefore means that a crusade against inequality is a crusade against god. Also accordingly, to bring about diversity must be to do the work of god.
“Arbeit macht frei.” Or put in English: “Work will set you free.”
You know, I haven’t appreciated the validity and value of these words until now. When things get a little unpleasant or a little tough, we cope with it by finding something with which to escape, usually something external. This type of coping is the wrong path.
To demonstrate, think of one thing you really want in your life. Think about your dreams. For argument’s sake, you want a late-model red dodge viper convertible. You know how good it would feel to drive down the road showing off a sexy new sports car to your neighbors and elicit envy from them. Shortly after these thoughts, you are faced with the stark and obvious truth: you are presently not living your dream. A vacuum has been created in your mind. How do too many of us deal with such emptiness? Do we pursue what we want with all our vigor and strength? Ashamedly, no. Often, we seek escape to compensate for the ever-daunting reality that is slowly setting in: we may never live our dreams, so why even bother trying to achieve our dreams? Too many of us have given up inside. We compensate by watching TV, watching movies, watching porn, playing video games, taking drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking or eating too much. However, as any drug addict or gluttonous person knows, these things do not provide true escape. True escape can only be found with the attainment of one’s dreams. True escape is innate in the knowledge that with every passing hour that we work, we are one step closer to living our dream.
What if it takes me years of work in order to fulfill my dreams, you ask? What will placate me while I toil, you ask? Unlike the false escapes mentioned earlier which ultimately bring us shame and guilt, with every hour of hard work comes pride, meaning and self-worth. With every hour of work comes a little bit of freedom. Remember Corinthians 10:13: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Often, we can be so unhappy, but what we don’t recognize is that what we seek the most is right in front of our noses. We simply have to choose to get it.
[Originally composed in 2015]
Animals, in fact, do have rights. While those rights are different than the rights entitled to humans, animal rights encompass everything that the animal naturally needs. This includes the right of the animal not to be physically disfigured or have an part of its physical being altered before death. We must grant animals with the freedom to move about as they would with others of their own kind in a free and open space. We must abolish the clipping of birds’ wings and beaks, the tagging and branding of animals, and even the practice of spading and neutering domestic animals.
Furthermore, all animals of poultry, livestock or swine must be anesthetized before any slaughter to ensure there is no pain suffered.
Violators of animal rights are violators of the principles and canons of our civilized folk and must be punished. Those who abuse their power to deliberately harm a defenseless animal should be punished with the strictest of wrath.