Saturday, December 24, 2011

We Are Living in a Material World (oh gosh, madonna. crap)

"Fancy, poetry, love, romance... all of these are delightful, incredible, hugely important parts of human life. But they are part of the physical world. They are processes of the human brain, developed through millions of years of our evolution as a creative, exploring, social species. That doesn't make them any less magnificent or wondrous. In fact, many people think it makes them even more magnificent and wondrous. Many people look at the fact that, out of nothing but rocks and water and sunlight, living beings have developed with the capacity for fancy and poetry and love and romance... and we're knocked out of our seats by how marvelous that is. But there is no supernal beauty and glory beyond the natural world. There is only the natural world. Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding."

This is a quote from a random article I just read. See here:
I have many issues with the article but, for tonight, I just want to focus on this section. I'd like to highlight the assumptions (which the author, in his defense, doesn't really try to hide) first:
-Poetry and art are just the result of the brain doing "brain stuff" (because I want to term it that way cause it is kind of silly)
-There is only the material (i.e. natural world)
-That all of this can stil be considered magnificent and wonderful.

So, let's deal with assumptions one and two. Poetry and art are just the result of the evolution of our physical bodies e.g. the development of our wonderful brains and the appendages to carry out the brainy orders. Now, I have a great respect for science and believe that brain function can dictate a lot of things. It is obvious enough that damage to the brain can have serious effects on personality and general functioning. A damaged brain is terrible and dangerous. But, does that necessarily mean that all we are is our brain?

I am fond of the philosophical conundrum revolving around identity. What makes a person who they are and would they be the same if they were placed, say, in a different body? I think the answer here is a simple no. The persons in question are not comparable in that manner. Everything about a person is an amalgamation of so many things that they are nigh inextricable from these factors. So, why am I not me if I am in a different body?

Besides the obvious physical issues (i.e. I have a body that functions a bit differently and thus have different skills sets) there is the fact that that body would have to have been born into a different situation than the one I was born into and would therefore develop in a unique fashion (please note that this placing of myself is being thought of as from birth basically). Those factors I mentioned are many and varied, but some big ones are: environment (as previously mentioned), genetic makeup, natural brain chemistry, and developed philosophy (more on that one later).

Like I said, with my temperament, it is likely I may have turned out very differently had my family life been different. As it was, I grew up in a dysfunctional household with an emotionally, verbally, spiritually, and sometimes physically abusive father. My natural tendencies which are dictated by the brain function I was born with and the genetics which dictate that--among other things--lent themselves to into my becoming who I am today. For example, my sensitivity was heightened and I developed a conflict between my natural sanguine optimism and my harsh reality. Part of me could not help but hope, but a large part of me was incredibly battered and felt that there was no real way out. That, of course, affected my psychological help and I later had to get assistance with such things.

What would my temperament have made of me if I grew up in a wholly supportive and loving environment? Well, for one, I am fairly sure I would have been able to accept my own gifts sooner and be more developed on my natural talents because I was in an environment where they could blossom. But, would I have become more shallow as a result? It is easy for one to take things for granted, would I have done the same thing? That would make my whole approach to living quite different. I likely wouldn't have sought the Truth with such fervor that it lead me to Rome.

So, we can see that the smallest change can change a person completely for better or worse. That said, I have been describing that with the idea of "spirit" in the back of my mind. As I believe in such things, it is hard to get them out of my head, but let me give that a shot or two. So, let's say everything about me is contained in my brain. What can change brain chemistry/personality? We know blunt trauma and the like can do such things, but what is it about scarring experiences that can change brain chemistry? An otherwise healthy mind can begin to think in very unhealthy and circular ways. When we treat a depressed person these days, we give them therapy to help them change their thinking and give them pills in cases where their chemicals are unbalanced. In my experience, simply throwing pills at the problem fails to solve the problem, thus the combination is necessary.

But, why would reorienting your thinking even be necessary and why would we notice that our minds are not working properly? Here is the issue: the brain is matter that runs on electricity on some level and does so without our conscious thoughts. Simply put, "you" or "I" am not necessary for the brain to function and carry out its duties at all. Really, there can be no "you" or "I" because everything hinges on a delicate balance of chemicals that are ultimate the result of movements of subatomic particles. The subatomic area of our universe is where every, as they say, gets crazy. We have uncertainty principles and cannot really track things without moving them etc. Those particles are obviously way too small for a human to manipulate in a conscious manner. It is possible, for the sake of argument, that physical training can help us control our brains; however, it does not follow that any sort of training is going to give us control of the subatomic level.

Essentially, the randomness inherent in that aspect of the universe is what everything hinges on. In fact, it would be accurate to say that the brain is not even the big man in charge. The brain is doing what it does, but is not a sentient being itself and not an all-powerful bit of matter in the least. The brain, my brain and yours, is simply a result of things outside of anyone's (barring some sort of deity's) control. If there is nothing but the material world, all destiny is fixed. There are no human movements and there is no underlying evolutionary principle. The semblance of consciousness that we have is a delightful fluke at best and an illusion whichever way that is spun.

This is because consciousness implies some level of control. A conscious being can control what they are about to say (to whatever extent you may or may not think possible) while an unconscious one cannot. In a world where there is nothing but the natural then nothing can be blamed. Morality really cannot be said to exist for a few reasons:

One, no one is in control of their actions. Consciousness is necessarily something above or separate from nature itself. The body can run on its own with just the brain just fine without any real thought. But, that is not going to explain temperament or personality in the least. My body continues to breathe and function without my conscious decision to do so. There need not be a "me" to fuss about.

Two, commenting on right and wrong require consciousness. Those types of decision require arguments beyond: that tree eats animals, avoid that tree. Morality requires subtlety, which is something the natural world does not have an abundance of, if it has any. Any subtlety found in nature can be considered to be on the lowest level of subtlety: simple trickery or being unexpected . A venus fly try looks appetizing but is, in fact, a murderous killer! But, moral subtlety is of a different kind entirely. Killing is wrong, but there are some times when it is the best course of action and can be considered "right" on one level. However, on a base level, it is still wrong (and why should it be WRONG anyhow? But, I digress). The normal strictures are lifted in certain cases but that's the point, really. In nature, things are usually as they seem and far more one dimensional. A platypus, as silly as it looks, is a poisonous little creature. It may not look like it at first, so there is that level of unexpectedness first, but all those illusions get tossed out the window as soon as we see our buddy get scratched and die from platypus related injuries. No amount of belief or cajoling is going to change that fact. If you get scratched by a platypus, you could possibly die (i don't know how poisonous they actually are). That will ALWAYS be the case. That's the difference. There is no instance where the thing would not be poisonous barring someone else stepping in to genetically alter or just rid the silly creature of its more dangerous parts. (of course, the platypus can evolve to lose these things, but that depends on a change in environment where it isn't advantageous to be poisonous in certain ways etc. and would take ages for that to change in most cases. Yes, moths can alter color quickly, but they are still essentially MOTHS.)

Reason three is all of the conscious thought etc. is necessarily an illusion of sorts created by subatomic particles. We may think we are a person, but that isn't necessarily the case. i can think a lot of things and if there is nothing but the physical, I can think nothing at all. There is no I. Since consciousness is an illusion it follows something we consciously discuss and concern ourselves with is a part of said illusion.

So, what are poetry and art? There is a sense, when one talks to an artist, where the artist feels that they are not in complete control of their art and that it just comes to them. Those situations could be attributable to brain function, but that is not always the case. I can write a song and arrange it with very specific thoughts in mind and control every aspect of it. Some parts I can't (improvisation, mistakes, etc), but I can approach my art with conscious thought. I am sitting down now and making the decision to write about these subjects. If there is nothing but material, I am not. It is quite simple. The movements are all random and I have nothing to do with them. As stated, there is no me.

On one level, this solves the brain in another body problem. It makes the question meaningless.

Now, the final assumption: knowing that everything is material can make us better appreciate our lives etc. We can see things as magnificent and wonderful. Those are judgement calls. It is saying that this thing is good and passing judgement on that. Well, the problem has been laid out earlier.

One, there is not "person" to make a judgement. There is no thinking and there is no weighing.

Two, an extension of the previous argument, the lack of personhood means there is a lack of choice in the matter. A person who does not see it the way that author posts it has no choice in the matter. I once had a materialist tell me that I should just accept that everything is material and move on. But, I cannot simply by what his philosophy states. Everything is in the atoms etc. I can no more change my mind than her can.

Three, our consciousness is an illusion. This piggybacks as well. As stated, I cannot REALLY change my mind. I may think I did, but that really isn't the case. The material world just happened to move in a place that made it seem that way. no control.

How can you "consider" anything in such a world? I have always found it interesting that materialists are rarely full on materialists. They tend to snake around the biggest problem in their philosophy, which is: nothing has any meaning because there are no persons to be had, we just "think" it does due to a persistent trick of the mind. Thinking something is the case is not a good ground for saying that it IS, in fact, the case.

Wonderment, takes separation from nature, any sort of appreciation does. The beauty of a sunset and my subsequent poetry about it takes my stepping back and absorbing the experience. That distance is necessary for any art or discussion on morality to make any sort of sense. The fact that you can use your mind to argue and you think that it has any bearing on the world we live in shows a strong amount of faith in reason and our faculties.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Tim Tebow and Ranting For No Reason: or how I learned to stop worrying and just accept that the broncos won part 1

Read this article. It was very interesting and I think it hits the nail on the head in some regards. People take issue with Tim Tebow or love Tim Tebow because of the faith issue. He, as many already know, is very outspoken about his Christian faith and this polarizes NFL fans. He gives God glory for everything he does, and does it in a seemingly genuine way.

What the article gets right is that it is this aspect of this man and not his skills (questionable or not) bring to a football team. What it fails to understand is that not all faith is blind. There are people who have to take their faith at that level and continue to believe in that way, but there is also plenty of evidence of others who do the contrary. They find intellectual reasons for the faith and, with the Grace of God, can make the jump into a faithful believer. That, surely, isn't blind. That is jumping in knowingly.

I have also been a man/boy of faith all of my life. I first believed in Christ when I was seven and deliberately went up the aisle of a Baptist church in California on Christmas day to make my commitment known. This sounds like a common story, I know. A lot of children, Catholic or Protestant, jump into the Faith without a proper understanding of what they are getting into. Some do this because children are naturally able to accept the fantastic than their parents might be. Children are trusting, which can be dangerous for them, but is still--ultimately--something that can be considered a good. What sort of life would one live if they felt they could never trust anyone? How lonely would that be?

Another reason a lot of young converts come forth is pressure from either their parents or their peers. If a child sees his friend joining up, why wouldn't he want to be a part of it (whatever IT is) too? If your parents tell you to do something you feel that you should do it. You trust them or they seem less likely to harm you if you do (something that happens in the worse homes there are). So, some are rather forced into assent, though they may not believe.

Catholics and some other churches, like the Lutheran church, give their children a long religious education and hope that by the end the child will choose to be a part of the Church or church. (forgive my impertinence, I feel that distinction must be made considering my own beliefs. I apologize for any offense.)

A child may feel pressured here too, or have received an education that didn't really teach them much. This seems to be an epidemic in American Catholic parishes. I have taught catechism for 7th graders and was worried that they were given things too simply (granted, you should simplify it for the youngest, but when they are better able to reason you need to cultivate that more. That is another blog, however). In any case, there are situations arising that cause young Catholics to lose their faith once some new ideas begin to take root. Why does this happen? Whatever the reasons, the Faith isn't taking hold as it could. Grace is needed.

Now, my situation was not like any of these examples. When I was seven, I was asking questions, and lots of them. I approached my mother and father (who WAS a minister) and asked many questions, seeking understanding. This went on for a few months and I was even extolled by my ex-Minister father to not make a choice for Christ. He claimed I did not know enough, I was too young. Curious isn't it?

Nevertheless, I made my decision and I made it after questioning, reading, and coming to an understanding. I intellectually agreed with it and, being a child, I could not see why miracles would be so out of the question. It might seem strange to have an intellectual child at times, but that's what I was; I was also a jock, video game enthusiast, and playful child. I read as much science as I read fiction and literature. I enjoyed science and enjoyed learning about the life cycle of a star and various creatures in the world. As I grew old, still being Protestant, I began to have issues with science. I grew up with literalist, but I digress.

The point is, I thought about this decision good and long and then I made it. Now, another thing about this decision, is that it 'felt' right. I felt emotionally connected to the church I joined, and not because of the rather raucous worship of my original church (predominantly black Baptist churches etc). Yes, service could be rather fun, but that is not why I wish to joined. I had come to understand something and was given the Grace to follow through on what I had been given. Many people beat around the bush for ages before giving in. It took a blinding light to convert Saul into Paul. That, however, hasn't been my experience. What ever the reason, church felt right and I wished to be a part of it. The fact that I happened to agree intellectually with it was a bonus (a necessary one).

So, my jump into the Faith was certainly not a blind one. It was calculated and came over time. I was, of course, raised in church and I was use to it. But, that familiarity had nothing to do with my decision. There simply was something about Jesus, something about this mysterious God.

My conversion to Catholicism was similar. In college, I discovered that there seemed to be missing books of the Bible (apocrypha), that Protestants had altered the Bible, and that there was a more intellectual gratifying view of the Faith. My Faith was not just random beliefs strewn together. It was meant to be reasonable as well, even if there are fantastic elements. That was something I had always felt, but had only really encountered reactionary Protestant arguments against science etc. It wasn't very reasonable, I believe our sciences have ability to understand and document a great many things. Surely we would have no cured diseases or know about our universe if science couldn't be taken seriously.

This is where people often cite Blind Faith as being a problem. I would tend to agree with them. This is the kind of Faith that causes people to just shout over one another...on both sides. Surely, we must realize that we have to have a certain kind of faith in science. Sure, science things are verifiable, but why should they be? What if this is all some sort of illusion? What if we simply are the dream of the Brahmin and are not even really real? These are questions science cannot answer. Science can only deal in material. Sure, we have found that the material world is comprised of many small things, but will we find out why it is that these miniscule things make everything? I mean really, all we actually know is that things are made of subatomic and other particles that we cannot see with our weak, weak eyes. Yes, gravity and other forces are at work, but why would that ever translate into an animal? Why would it ever translate into thought? How can we really trust anything? Science cannot give us that assurance, and that was not a disparaging comment. After all, science and religion are not mutually exclusive. In fact, you will find it was those who did believe in something mystical (God or not) are the ones who strived to understand more. It was a monk who brought up heliocentric theory, Galileo simply reported it again and then said some very snide things to the Pope. (tsk tsk) The Church supported many scientific endeavors. Catholic Spain sent Columbus off to explore because the educated folk knew the world wasn't flat and were crazy enough to listen to that loon.
Anyway, all I am really trying to say is that Faith isn't necessarily blind, though there are examples of it on all sides and that Faith doesn't necessarily conflict with science. Chao, for now.

Monday, November 14, 2011

An Optimist's Recovery

I am taking an in between break on the relativism thing. I'm not filled with enough blinding rage to attack it. Instead, I want to talk about optimism, about hope.
If you have known me in recent years, you probably think of me in two or three ways: an emo kid, a romantic, and a kind of happy go lucky jokester. These perceptions are correct to a certain extent. There are things that make me immensely sad and I have been really self-mutilating my heart and soul over these past few years. It's led to full on depression and the need of medicines to help me regain the "Zaire" that I know.
Throughout this process of therapy, medication, school, work, fanfictioning, and trying to hone my teaching craft, I have recovered one great thing about myself. I have realized what my essence truly is.
First, some background, I was mostly a happy child. I knew or felt that my father didn't love me and that caused me great distress, but my base persona has always been a happy one; though, I must say, this wasn't always overt. I am rather even keel, but still quite happy and optimistic.
Over the years, my life being an abused child and not having a way to properly deal with that began to take its tolls. The depression was started here. I could not see a way out, and felt stranded. So, I tried to protect myself by, mostly correctly, assume that people were going to let me down (particularly in romantic endeavors). If I knew it was going to happen, I could get up all the proper defenses and detach my emotions. I was sick of dealing with pain and desired to insulate myself from it.
Interestingly enough, this didn't prevent me from giving my all in these relationships and in my friendships. Sure, sometimes I was crippled by my very real sadness, but I always did my best. Sometimes the black cloud that surrounded me most days because such a burden I did rather imprudent things. Yes, there were moments and months of desperation. There were times where I rushed things because I had come to see myself as broken goods. Hope was mostly gone for me and the only way I felt that I could feel it would be with someone's assistance; I needed someone to hope in, because I had nothing for myself, or I was in the least headed in that direction.
This became a bitter cycle, naturally. I would end up in a--usually--short relationship that either crash and burned due to passion, imprudence, youth, or just being too calm for someone.
Sometimes I have been too far ahead of whomever I was dating, or I was just not responsive enough.
In light of all this, I tried to color myself a cynic; and, one girl in particular, totally put me on blast for that in a letter she wrote to me long ago. Her name, is not going to be mentioned, but we had a storm of a relationship. Things happened really fast (they never went too far though), but I am sure it left a mark on both of us.
Here are the things she says she thought of me:

-I am an optimist. I am quite hopeful, whatever I say.
-I am passionate and loving. My love can swallow someone, can be too much.
-I am genuine.

I rejected people saying such nice things about me for various reasons, two of them being: I felt they couldn't be true because obviously I was a screw up like my father made me feel, and it couldn't be true because I didn't "really" have any friends (also according to my father). I had internalized those words sometime and this was the result. I was at war with myself.
There is more to this story, but that is not what I want to focus on. I want to talk about how those kind, loving words from a past girlfriend have helped me revive myself. I am, in fact, optimistic, passionate and loving, and genuine. I think this is what get people to tell me stuff they shouldn't all the time lol.

I just need to write this to put it out there for myself. Good night.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Um, What? A Treatise on Relativism Part 1

If you look around, there is a lot of silliness in our world. This modern or post-modern--depending on whom you are speaking with--world is based on the self defeating motto of relativism. For those not in the know, this refers to the right of every person to make morality as they will. The meaning here is that morality is personal and in no way universal. In practice it means that people are going to get mad at you for imposing your morality on them by imposing their morality on you.
If you think about it, this sort of exchange happens all the time. You will have a man say 'you have every right to believe what you want,' that actually comes in with the added aspect of only if it helps people and doesn't harm them. There is no attempt to say why one should care about society, other people, or keep them safe. Under true relativism you have every right to eschew such thoughts for a more aggressive stance towards people. You can kill them, you can take things from them, etc. There is nothing that any one can say to stop you. This is point where, in the immortal words of C.S. Lewis, you can say to another man, 'to hell with your standard' and go about your business.
That's the thing that relativists do not seem to realize. They cannot espouse their belief as a truth without contradicting themselves. That is interesting considering how many paradoxes are inherent in Christianity. I am sure an able-minded individual could come up with good arguments that compare these kinds of truths. But, there is actually a distinct difference that is being looked over.
The truth is, Christianity--and most faiths--are actually cohesive in their paradoxes. My meaning here is that their essential truths are not actually paradoxical, just some of the ways that getting to that truth are. Perhaps more accurately it would be wise to say that there is a difference between the paradox of the Eucharist and the paradox and flat out contradiction of the idea that there is no central truth so you have to make it up. That, in and of itself, is a central (read: universal) truth. It is refute by its own denial of itself. It is the man who attempts to shoot someone while holding his gun backwards, killing himself. It is a foolish and silly thing to do. It is also quite fatal.
Thus, we can see that relativism is actually what can be called suicidal. It doesn't actually make any sense and it is not because it is mysterious. It is because it is obvious, when one really looks at it. Here is another example: the issue with gay marriage. There a great many people who deem it to be wrong or sinful. This is, in this case, their truth. Yet, people who believe that will be termed as hateful for doing exactly what their relativistic opponents espouse (i.e. following their beliefs).
It is completely unreasonable to say that people should follow their heart and then chastise them because their different heart came to different conclusions. The relativist will then likely argue that the people against gay marriage are denying people who are gay happiness. That may be so from their point of view and, therefore, they are right to call foul (in their minds anyhow). But, their calling foul has little to do with their rightness. You see, they have eliminated rightness by virtue of their philosophy. A relativist has essentially tied his or her own hands in the matter. What they should do, if they truly believe relativistic theory, is applaud anyone who exercises their right to choose their morality. Why have strictures on someone choosing a previously made morality. They apparently had an affinity for it. Why is it wrong for them to believe?
In any case, it is rather oppressive to try and tell someone that they must vote against their beliefs because it is inconvenient for yours. Once again, they have chosen their morality and barring a sudden change in heading, their political participation is going to reflect said beliefs.
Furthermore, isn't any sort of wrong doing or sin bad for people? If someone is doing something you believe is wrong are you not remiss if you do not tell them or (in some cases) report them? You are letting someone damage your world by being silent and accepting. Here the relativist possess some sense of reason, though it is a self-defeating one. They believe in speaking out, but have no absolutes to speak out about. It is a wonder they are so surprised that they rarely get anywhere. It is hard to be united when each individual person can just choose whatever they like. There can be no consequences because there was nothing wrong or foolish done. They burned those bridges.
As far as sin and wrongdoing go, those with very clear ideas should be expected to do what they need to do to make sure the right thing is being done. Wrong doing does not simply harm the persons actually harmed, it harms the spirit of the wrong doer. This is something that has believed for years upon years, century upon century.
A good reading of Aristotle helps you find that many humans believed that their appetites and behaviors are acceptable only in certain situations. Additionally, you will find that making sure your mind and behaviors reflect a proper understanding of what is proper and good is an important step in education. It is pivotal to growing up.
In rearing your child, you are expected to teach them what is acceptable. You are to impart your cultural and spiritual beliefs in the child and hope that he or she keeps to them. You want them to believe as you do. Of course, they can do what they want when they are older, but it makes sense that you would indoctrinate a child.
Relativists are no different. They will tell their children that they should have free thought, you must emphasize moral autonomy. You must indoctrinate just as much as any religious person is prone to do. The difference is your relativist doctrine is not something that can make coherent sense if they come to question it later. They may choose another way to be and eliminate something that you imparted to them. Yes, this happens with religious children at times; but, unlike relativism, these children can likely come back.

-to be continued

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes! Part 1 of...WhatEVER

Obviously this is being posted hella late in the night, so excuse the title! However, if you diss David Bowie it is FRIENDS OFF! Okay? Cool.
Anyway, this post is inspired by three things: a blog I saw by a friend about similar subjects, some conversations I have had as of late, and the desire to be understood and accepted.
So, I am just going to come right out and say it: I have felt lonely for a very long time (though interestingly enough, I have felt less so lately). It's really silly since I've always had friends in some capacity even if they weren't very close to me. Don't get it twisted, I have had close friends and still do, but sometimes either that wasn't enough or it felt like they weren't there. This also isn't to say that any of these friends, though some surely have, ever betrayed me and weren't there. People betray people on occasion, even their friends. This is a truth I have no problem with. I'm very forgiving of many, many things. I even forgave two friends of mine that I had dated in turn and then decided to date each other (weird story) and make it seem like I was making up rumors about them when I was so happy with my first love I hardly gave them a thought.
So, yeah, I'm forgiving. I do find somethings terribly hard to forgive and may not ever get over certain betrayals until I grow more. That, however, is not why I am writing this.
Back on subject, yes? You better not say, no. In any case, friends: I have had them. No big, I don't think I've actually met someone with no friends. My particular case is interesting because I use to move so much as a kid. I learned how to make friends quickly and pretty well. I also learned that it was fairly unnecessary to get too close to people because, well, you were going to effin' move in a year---so, what's the point?
That all kind of changed when I moved to the last neighborhood I lived in while in California. I made some actually life-long friends there to my surprise (both were neighbors of mine). This was also, at the time, the longest I had stayed in one place (that I can remember, since I technically lived in Japan until I was 3). I made a mistake--once again, at the time--and got too close to these particular people. Thus, I was truly devastated when I was forced to move to Texas. That was the first knock against a state I envisioned was filled with crazy cowboys. I lost people I loved (in a sense).
Once in Texas, I sort of resumed my don't get too close to people thing and that was evidenced in lots of random friends whom I just really knew in school and occasionally from outside stuff. My best friend at the time, Stan, was the one person I was really close to. I use to have a crush on his sister and we went to the same church etc. But, we hung out all the time. I use to leave the house to stay over his place or he's come to my place. Those times, occasional basketball games, and school were mostly the only time I really left the house. This was the real start to my reclusiveness. I remember being outside a lot more in California, though i found plenty of time to devour books and video games. There were oodles of time back then it seems; but, then, our perception of the movement of time changes as we age. Now, everything goes so quickly. Anyway, I spent a lot of time alone though I did have one other good friend (the son of our then landlord's). I did a lot of the same stuff I did with Stan with him. I once accidentally stabbed him with a fork and also had a crush on his sister. I like happens. They are pretty.
Anyway, those excursions were not a weekly or even monthly thing (I don't think) they just happened when they did, though Stan and I would try and find ways to visit every sunday. In any case, the point here is I started to spend more time alone than with people rather than with a certain balance like I possessed in California. I probably split either evenly or 60-40 in favor of alone time or playtime depending on my mood. This meant I had tons of time to think. This isn't necessarily bad, but it would periodically become so as I was starting to grow into a fuller person entering my teens. I had many unresolved issues, mainly my dad and how to relate to him. I had no idea what to do about it nor what I wanted really beyond some acceptance and love. He was distant from me for some bullshit reason he made up in his own head. Unfortunately, I was born with a temperament that needs a certain level of affirmation to be more willing to work hard or try certain things. The things I excelled at tended to be things I picked up really fast and got approval for really fast. I picked up basketball really fast and received plenty of affirmation that I was good, very good in fact. It is enough to make a fella dream. However, with dad, I couldn't seem to do anything right. His approval, and my mother's, mattered most to me. I wanted to be pleasing and I couldn't seem to get it right. Thinking about it, and internalizing it lead to some of my later problems like a jaded lack of trust in myself or others that makes me suspicious when people want to actually be around me.
This combined with general alone time, a tendency to rarely bring up my own discomfort (a hallmark of my temperament as well), and the tendency to keep relationships at a surface level due to being a military brat let to some horrible ideas taking root and keeping me from feeling happy and fulfilled. I was a much happier child in California. My alone time wasn't because I was rejected or weird (though I am weird) it was for "me" time and leisure. I started becoming more moody as secondary school went on and my standoffishness became more about trust. I suppose I started to project whatever my dad did on other people. It certainly didn't help haven't him tell me I didn't have any friends, playing into secret fears of mine.
However, I'm not here to complain. I am thankful for the person I have become, I just need to remember that people do love and care about me and even if they didn't God cares. He is the real place for worth. I'm too tired to be coherent. Screw you. lol

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I feel that it is finally the right time for me to write about this subject. It's a subject that plagues me, to be honest. It makes me feel dirty and unworthy of pretty much everything. This is saying something since, when I really look at myself, I would not bring the same relationship problems we are told most guys bring. This is due mostly to temperament and not really due to my trying terribly hard. I'm easy to get along with because that's kind of how I'm built. I naturally tend towards the peaceful route and this has its own problems. However, that's not what this post is about.
This post is about Porn and why I find it unacceptable and can never call it good. Yes, I realize that masturbation is supposedly very healthy for you--and that may be so--but I don't think that this makes Porn a good and service by extension. Masturbation itself is still to be considered a dubious or questionable practice at best. Why? Simply because it teaches us the wrong messages about sex, things such as: the pleasure is simply for us, you don't need the opposite sex, etc. It can have some practical purposes (particularly for women who tend to have a harder time reaching orgasm than men for physiological reasons) but the messages you subconsciously receive I do not think are terribly worth it unless it is done in moderation. The simple fact is that people need each other and I, for one, would rather remember that than selfishly forget that.
Anyway, I digress. Porn. Why is it bad? There are many philosophical reasons, and I'd like to highlight the first of those right here: It's created for the soul purpose of masturbation. This is meaning that it isn't created for art, because the business is masturbation. I'd also like to take this chance to extend the definition of masturbation because, in actually, I find it is not enough to just regulate it to one touching one's self until orgasm. It may seem harsh, but using a prostitute or seducing someone just for the purpose of getting yourself off would seem to be achieving the same goal of masturbation i.e. the pleasuring of one's self. The other person there is just changing the "style," if you will. They are not there as a person, however willing a participant they are. Willingness does not negate the fact that one person is there as a simple object. In the case of mutual one-night-stands for the soul purpose of hooking up, both people are making themselves into an object for the other person whilst they objectify their sexual partner. Here I am being a good Kantian, in that I am adamantly claiming that an action cannot be good if it is using another person. Strict yes, but definitely truthful. The gray area only comes into plays when people actually have feelings for each other. However, I am mainly speaking about the situations where no real feelings are involved, and since when do feelings good or bad change the consequences of an action. That's for another time though.
Anyway, this is using another person for your own sexual gain and takes no account of their personhood. Their compliance is irrelevant because there are many cases where a person will choose to do a sinful or bad thing for various reasons. Them choosing it does not mean that you are no longer sinning because they accept it. From a Christian standpoint, and actually a lot of religions, sex is something for marriage (whether polygamous or monogamous). There are various reasons for this that have been documented over time, particularly that the natural result of sex(all things going well, or not well depending on your viewpoint) is children. This is the natural order of things and, in this sense, nature is not fallen. Though, the fallen aspect of nature may rear its ugly head in terms of the various complications that can happen in the attempt for children.
I bring all this up, because porn--in its essence--is cleaner, safer, higher paying prostitution that has somehow become almost admired and garners actual fans. This makes it seem like people are enjoying the person of these Porn Stars, but the reality is they are objects of lust who get paid handsomely for it. Objectification is the real issue here. Whatever their reasons for doing porn, these people have chosen to become objects, specifically sexual objects (duh).
Some may defend porn by saying that some of the movies are beautifully made, funny, and or have good stories. This is true, in some cases, but the overwhelming amount of porn is not well made in a film making type sense. It isn't art. Playboy centerfolds are not compiled for the sake of true admiration i.e. gazing upon a beauty shape that was made beautifully. It is made for you, the viewer, to fantasize and pleasure yourself into orgasm. That's it. Filling a magazine with interesting articles and dirty jokes and comics does not change the fact that you are selling women's bodies for the sake of lust. Nudity done as art was done well in past ages where the erotic was more understated and the focus was actually on the beauty. There was no need for exposing the most private areas of a human body and the sentiments of love and a lover's embrace could be expressed fine without seeing its consumation. People know how it works. People have been having sex for centuries (there has also been porn for centuries, it just wasn't as widespread and considered the domain of deviants). Porn is not bringing anything that new to the table except for possibly inventing new fetishes or giving pre-existent fetishes a platform for...sharing. Fetishes in themselves can be fairly harmless, but some can be cause for concern. Such as the dominating aspect. That can be okay for a play with force within the sexual relationship, part of the game. But, if it becomes an obsession it can be quite horrific and I find it strange that there are people who have to be choked to have an orgasm. How could someone have equated those two things together? Anyway, fetishes happen and indulgence in them should be given over to wisdom. We shouldn't keep anything that necessarily points away from what sex really is or anything that objectifies the person.
Additionally, porn companies have begun to made casts of famous starlet's vaginas. It is simply the vag and the buttocks on this things the slight shape of a pillow. Sometimes it has hair, sometimes it doesn't. The point is that it is for putting one's member in and imagining it is the real woman. This obviously further bolsters my objectification claim and begs the question where are we going to draw the line for sexual perversion? It seems like we've been pushing the line back for years, and almost anything goes. The line is actually becoming arbitrary, which it wasn't initially. People took their cue from nature and the family. It made sense. Now, we have little choice than to go here is where we'll draw the line...and then push it back later.
As far as porn teaching people about sex goes, it is self explanatory. People figured it out and probably had great sex lives before their even drew things like the Kama Sutra. People probably occasionally talked about it, which isn't bad in itself. Fathers probably told their sons tricks to try or Mothers did the same for their daughters, which was embarrassing for all. I myself gave myself to a wonderful woman nearly 4 years ago and could not see what all the fuss was about. Getting the deed done isn't that can you be bad at it. Granted, with kids you'll have less time to figure out the moves, but still. Come on, people!
Okay, this has gone on long enough and is no longer reading like I was planning to write it closing...Porn is bad. For these reasons: it's a business of lust and masturbation (of the explicitly bad kind), it objectifies people and turns them into just their sexual components, it encourages improper thinking about sex, and is not at all. Sex can be done artfully and not explicitly. People know what goes on...when you're showing it full on you're obviously just doing it to arouse them and get their money. It's safer prostitution, which was another reason. Finally, I'd like to make a point about clothes. Yes, clothes. Humans are the only animals who wear them. This is not just because we're pansies who get cold, though we do. This is because clothes are part of our essence as a person. Why else would we spend so much time trying to look the way we want to look. Granted, some men (and women, grody) don't take this as seriously, but humans have always liked looking presentable. Particularly when living in civilization. As C.S. Lewis once said, humans are the only creatures least at home when we're naked. DO NOT BRING UP NUDISTS!