Published Thu Jul 18, 2019 02:58 PM PDT
This is one of the phrases I regularly use when insulting people on the internet. The fact is, most people today are mass-murdering psychopaths of one sort or another. This might seem an outrageous statement but I will easily prove it to you now.
On the left, making fun of 9/11 is very popular. That's because leftists are, without exception, mass-murdering psychopaths. They celebrate terrorism constantly. They also celebrate all of the mass-murders committed under communism. That means they think mass-murder is funny and that the only reason they don't personally commit it is the personal consequences.
On the right, people will make similar comments about the Holocaust, or the New Zealand shootings. Basically so long as the perp is on their side they are content to make cracks about it.
But even centrists, you'll be surprised to learn, seem to love mass murder. They support the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for example, which indiscriminately killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians including women and children in the blink of an eye. Or if they're war hawks then they'll support the Iraq War or something. They'll support the bombing of Dresden in WW2 as well.
Basically everyone seems to have some "pet massacre" that they look the other way on or even celebrate. This is true even of Christians. The Bible talks about the genocide of the Canaanites -- again, women, children and infants not exempted. It says it was commanded by God. I'm not sure there's an easy answer to this problem since the Church maintains that the Bible is "inerrant". But I know one thing that's not an acceptable answer, which is to say it was somehow right to mass-murder people including women and children. Personally I would much rather accept textual criticism than that.
I really wish that it wasn't the case that virtually everyone who we talk to endorses some event of mass-murder, but it seems to be the case. I think people should spend a little more time trying to contemplate things from a more pacifist perspective. I think the words of Jesus strongly encourage this, which is the main reason he is regarded as a moral authority. The way things are going in the world, we really need to stop treating mass-murder as a joke, and more as the genuine atrocities they are. Thanks for reading.
Published Sat Jul 6, 2019 10:38 PM PDT
People are often mystified by the way Christian ethics are continually referenced in literally every moral dispute, and not only that, end up becoming the victor on a long enough timeline. I credit this to people not studying enough philosophy and history, so I'll give you some examples of this happening and also explain why it happens. Perhaps then you will see that my allegiance to Christianity is less a sort of preference and more a sort of necessary compulsion which everyone needs to make a choice about.
One example would be the French Revolution, during which they tried to eradicate Christianity entirely, declare it was now Year One, change the week to ten days to get away from the biblical seven-day standard, and also change the months, once again for the purpose of being metric but secondarily to get rid of the Church standard, the Gregorian calendar, which is what we still use everywhere in the world to this day. In spite of massacring tons of priests and nuns and dedicating the Cathedral of Notre Dame to the Cult of Reason, for some reason these moves all proved unpopular and so therefore when Napoleon reigned, he eliminated them and restored relations with the Church (well, he was still quite a bit hostile to the Church, since he kept the Pope captive with military threat and forced him to crown him as Emperor, but even still, it was better than before).
Another example might be the current immigration tizzy, where the right-wing keeps finding itself at odds with Christianity. Right-wingers usually either just declare the Church to be overly liberalized, or many of them reject Christianity altogether as "too weak", favoring some sort of paganism or Nietzscheanism instead (one quite notable example even preferred Islam to Christianity in his private talks). But the Church keeps forcing the right back to the center, forcing them to begrudgingly abandon racial prejudice, to love their neighbor, to care for the poor and sick and the resident alien, and so on. And the left will constantly invoke the Church when it comes to these issues, and it does so with a good measure of success; moderates may not care what the left thinks too much, but they do care what Jesus Christ thinks. This is because Jesus Christ is basically a super-weapon in everyone's mind, and so calling on his words can actually have a changing effect on people like pretty much nothing else.
But why is Christianity such a super-weapon? Well there's two possible explanations for that, one which would be Church-authorized, and the other which would be meant to satisfy the mind of a skeptic. So I'll start with the first one: the Church is correct about everything because it is divinely guided by the Holy Spirit. That one's simple enough, either you believe it or you don't. Now for the answer to help skeptics, if we were to think in secular ways, we can study how morality evolves in society and we can also see why Christianity is this massive fixture on everyone's brains. And I do mean everyone... even people who grew up in foreign countries and religions, they all tend to just by default see Christianity as the truth now.
That may seem a bizarre statement since more people are identifying as non-religious than ever and church attendance is at an all-time low, with no sign of stopping, but these more superficial aspects of claiming allegiance and the more subconscious aspects of having allegiance anyway are different. Because actually the reason people don't like people who are overly showy with their faith is they regard it as non-Christian; Jesus tells us to practice our faith in private instead of in public, to never make a display of it. And someone who does make a big display of their faith is much more likely to be in danger of hypocrisy, which is a capital offense. The Church reconciles this to mean a certain kind of display which is good, pure and uplifts the community is beneficial, but never a tainted kind, which can damn the judgmental and self-righteous.
But anyway, let's look at the Nietzschean evolution of morals. If we assume all this religion stuff is total bunk, that wouldn't stop the profound impact it has had on human history and the depth to which it has embedded itself in the cultural psyche. For a thousand years, the Church reigned supreme over Europe; its cathedrals are everywhere, its art and its values define Western civilization. Even secularists tend to think of themselves almost as Christians but "without the hocus pocus", none of the miracles or other nonsense, but all of the moral values of Christianity, as they perceive them. Like the Emperor of Mankind in Warhammer 40k, they see Christ almost as an activist for the destruction of religion in favor of moving forwards into a secular morality, who was perversely distorted by the Church and made into a God to be worshipped, with all its accompanying rituals. In any event, even in this scenario, the values of Christ are the values of today and for all time, including retroactively, and those who reject them end up finding themselves anathematized, and must live in a lonely world where they are stuck with only the devil as a companion. Examples of this can include, extreme sexual degeneracy, or an extreme devotion to economy, or extreme devotion to an ethnic group, none of which can come close to the light of Christ. These people make their choice, and they live with the consequences.
So because everything we have and are is rooted in this one man and his teachings, he is effectively a "god" to humanity whether we believe in the supernatural or not; and from there it's just a hop, skip and a jump to realize that he might actually in fact be God after all, which would explain why his wisdom is so unfailingly in line with what our deepest heart tells us is correct. And this is in fact exactly how he is treated and exactly how everyone sees him, anyways. So, like it or not, Christianity is here to stay; no matter how much one tries to change minds by appealing to Christ, one always keeps the faith front-and-center, and any attempt to deviate from his values will be found repulsive by everyone. Them's the breaks, kids.
Published Thu Jun 13, 2019 05:43 PM PDT
Just what is Satanism, and how many Satanists are there today? This is a good question and one worth considering. Well, just for starters, Satanism can easily be found via a few methods. Here's some:
Does a person claim to love the devil? Do they make devil horns with their hands? Do they like the number 666? Do they promote blatant Satanic imagery, such as the type commonly found in heavy metal and other music such as Marilyn Manson, Black Sabbath and Nine Inch Nails? Odds are very good that this person is a Satanist.
Here's some more: Do they think The Satanic Temple is really cool and doing a good job? Do they think the Church of Satan makes some good points? Do they have respect for all religions and customs except Christianity? Probably a Satanist.
Just what does it mean to be a Satanist? Well first it means that one worships the Dark Lord, the Father of Lies, and the origin of all suffering. It's very common amongst goth teenagers and also apparently many grown adults. It's very important that they impress the kids at school and appear threatening and showcase their deep sadness and fear of death, so they do this by embracing the devil.
The Satanist view is basically that Jesus Christ was dumb, and they don't like him. All of his miracles were probably fake and of course he didn't really rise from the dead, which is impossible (duh). They think his teachings were totally lame and probably he deserved to be crucified, assuming he even existed. Needless to say, it's pretty edgy.
What becomes of Satanists? Well I think everyone knows the answer to that. They go to their favorite place, Hell, which is totally a party where all the cool people go. They can't wait to embrace eternal death, or go to Hell (they're not really sure which it is). But the point is they're definitely not going to be enduring a boring eternal life in Heaven with Jesus Christ (who is very not cool), and not only that, but they wouldn't want to worship a God who would send them to Hell (the party place) anyways.
Favorite activities of Satanists include: Aborting children, anal sex, BDSM, polyamory, petitioning the French government to abolish age of consent law in 1977, dressing up as succubi, promoting witchcraft and ancient pagan magicks, endorsing schism and heresy, rising the ranks in the priesthood, claiming to be a prophet, burning down churches, blowing up churches, shooting people in churches, depicting Satan as a really cool guy, saying that Christianity was made up by evil men who just wanted to control everybody, driving trucks through Christmas markets, falsely accusing people of crimes, using extreme hallucinogenic drugs, reveling in violence and war, torturing people and animals to death, and of course, masturbating.
Well that's about it, keep an eye out if you see anyone who meets this description (I know that'll be hard!)
Published Fri May 31, 2019 01:06 PM PDT
Let us talk about this important topic. This issue is really at the crux of all political and religious disagreements today. Therefore, if the world is to move forward, we should try to reach some sort of consensus on it. For this reason I have studied the various views thoroughly and contemplated them over a long period of time. I will now share my conclusions on the subject.
First of all, the baseline for thinking about this is contemplating the purpose of the act. Now before you assume I am a hardcore traditionalist, just bear with me a bit. The original, biological purpose of the act is to procreate. I don't think this is very disputable. It seems to be true, scientifically. But now the question becomes how one should handle the drive in human beings that compels them to act, even in a way that is not procreative. And this requires some nuanced thinking. For one thing, it's a universal problem; aside for perhaps some people who are by nature completely asexual, everyone struggles with this problem, including the hardcore traditionalists. Some try to cut out a place for themselves where it is not sin; others try to justify it always as without sin, and regard anyone who says otherwise as committing error; and some undergo a terrible cycle of believing they are surely damned, and going to great lengths to avoid sin, but failing every time. Let me tell you what I think.
The Church teaching makes a distinction between mortal and venial sins. A mortal sin involves "grave matter" (which includes improper sexual activity) but also requires that there be full knowledge and full will. A mortal sin is very serious and cuts one off from God, and can only be overcome through sacramental confession, or a "perfect contrition" in which one repents due to love of God and not merely fear of punishment. A venial sin on the other hand, means a forgivable sin. It is still a sin and an offense against God, but it is not sufficient to cut one off from salvation. Instead, in the traditional Church teaching, it incurs "time" in Purgatory after death. This "temporal punishment" can also be alleviated through various good works, such as prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and what the Church calls "indulgences", which are essentially the authority of the Pope to absolve one of time in Purgatory, either fully or partially.
But the point is, it does not incur damnation. And I think the Church has gone out of its way, especially in recent years, to always imply or hint that these inappropriate acts can surely be venial. The Catechism, since Vatican II, has really illustrated these points in very clear language. And even throughout the history of the Church, even when its language was most strict, there was always this teaching about "full will". And always, people believed that people could be forgiven by a just and merciful God. The Church has never claimed that any person has surely been damned. All of this is for a clear reason.
Someone who commits a sin, but does so without full knowledge or full will, is not damned. Someone who commits a sin, with full knowledge and full will, is. Therefore, it is essential that our attitude towards this sin involve trying to resist it. If however, due to our flesh, we are incapable of resisting it, then I believe that God will not condemn us. Therefore, such a venial sin, in which one tries to resist but ultimately succumbs to temptation, does not require sacramental confession (although there is certainly no harm in receiving it, if it is beneficial to one's spirit). However, if one sins without trying to resist, while fully understanding that what they do is legitimate sin, then one sins mortally.
What sins does this apply to? Well, even monogamous married heterosexuals are not off the hook. Church teaching is that one cannot use contraceptives, that one must always complete the act in a way that is potentially procreative. I have no doubt that the vast majority of married couples, including those in the Church, are not capable of the level of abstinence necessary to fulfill this teaching. I also know that most of them are not tending to produce children all the way until the point of menopause. Therefore, it is very clear that people are violating this rule on a regular basis. They may feel guilty about it, they may confess it and try to stop at times, but the fact of the matter is that everyone is doing it. Therefore, if everyone is doing it, let us do so in a way that ensures its veniality.
When it comes to other types, such as same-sex sins, or solitary sins, the same basic rule applies. If one tries to resist, but cannot, then it is venial.
That is essentially my thinking on this subject. I hope it does not bother you, and I hope it even provides you some comfort. Thank you for reading.
Published Sat May 11, 2019 03:04 AM PDT
The big issue today is hypocrisy. It's a major problem that is called out by the gospels, but of course practicing Christians are not exempt from temptation to hypocrisy. Everyone on Earth needs to struggle with this issue.
The basic logic around hypocrisy is something like this: the other side does it, so now we can do it too. That's only fair, is the idea. But in actuality this is only a recipe for continued discord in the world. This is why Jesus taught to turn the other cheek.
If we enable ourselves to commit evil just because other people commit evil, then we corrupt our souls out of revenge. We engage in hypocrisy.
A better approach is to endure what we have to endure from others, but focus on maintaining purity of our own thoughts and actions as best as we possibly can. For this reason I am essentially discontinuing my involvement in political affairs online. I will still participate in reasoned discussions with people so that we can seek the truth together, but I'm tired of the petty fighting and propaganda. Life is too short to spend more of it that way. Thank you for reading.
Published Mon Apr 15, 2019 09:51 PM PDT
(Authored Palm Sunday 2019)
I am interested only in living as a Christian. I have no attachment to conservatism, or to liberalism. Call me a moderate if you like.
If the Christian faith bothers you, that’s fine; we don’t have to associate. If it’s secondary to you, that is also fine; I just won’t agree.
I have tried the other ideologies. They all feel vulgar by comparison. I no longer desire to think in those ways, anymore than I desire to eat something unpleasant. I’ve tried it, and it wasn’t good. That’s all there is to it.
I’m at the point where I see all deviation as simple pride, a vice I must maintain constant vigilance against. There’s nothing more to be “open minded” about, no more alternatives to consider. I will do my best to be obedient and am content for that to be the remainder of my earthly existence.
I am not a traditionalist, nor am I a modernist. I am a middle-of-the-road, everyday Catholic. I do not advance any heretical ideas. I am not a universalist. I do not make things more strict than they need to be. I practice the religion fully and that is it. That is the totality of my philosophy.
I want my mind to calcify completely around this. I don’t want any doubt or temptation of any kind to seep in. I want it to be final, done with, concluded. That is where I’m at.
Published Mon Apr 8, 2019 09:06 PM PDT
A vast length of time passed between the days of your author and those of this story. A better universe came to be through the tireless efforts of mankind. There was no more pain, loneliness, or social ills. Every planet was made home, and every star a sun.
A river flowed on Tantalus, the world at the furthest perimeter of nature. Along its pastoral banks, visitors gathered yearly to celebrate the festival of Emptiness. Lanterns decorated the feast, and skilled artists filled the air with music. After a delightful dinner and dessert, the main event began. The melodies stopped and the lights dimmed to black, and those travelers were privileged to witness one of the most beautiful sights in all Creation: complete and utter nothingness in the starless night sky.
For a while, the Heat Death posed a problem. However, technology advanced such that humans could suspend and even reverse the steady separation of matter. It was said of this development that God had looked kindly on our race, and allowed us to extend mortal existence a brief moment longer.
With no change left to strive for, and no space remaining to explore, the culture began to stagnate. Art became repetitious, seeking out forgotten gems for restoration, but there was only a finite history to draw from. The length of life compounded the boredom. None chose suicide, but it was unclear what goals were left. Humanity’s temporal presence had become like a quiet lake to contemplate. Some were tempted to stir the lake, to erase history, to return war and suffering so that old passions could be renewed. Had these demons won, our lot would have become a cycle between war and peace, a Sisyphean struggle, and it was not enough to merely imagine this fate as happy.
In the end, Our Lord took pity on His creatures. He returned to us in one last conquest, war, famine and death until all stood before the Judgment. Our emptied habitat was fulfilled in its purpose. Those with eternal life never again knew the dullness of anxiety.
Published Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:16 PM PDT
I am not terribly fit, at the time of writing I am about twenty or so pounds overweight. Nonetheless I am working on that and have had some success at it in the past, so I'm going to write about it. If my current status as not being an Adonis disqualifies me for you on this subject, I will understand. But often those who are super-fit tend to have rather unreasonable views about fitness that have nonetheless resulted in their success due to a variety of factors, from genetics to obsessive adherence to a set of rules. I am someone who favors liberty and so has for a good amount of time tried to make my life comfortable and enjoyable, tried to balance all manner of things, and avoid limiting myself. But some limitations are useful, based in reason, and importantly, not that hard to follow. I seek those out and will comment on them now.
Well that's about it. Thanks for reading.
Published Thu Feb 28, 2019 05:16 PM PST
Not surprisingly, virtually everyone has the political theory of Jesus completely wrong. There's a few common camps that people fall into, and I'll discuss those first, before explaining what I believe Jesus actually taught.
First of all, the left wing usually prefers to think of Jesus as a socialist activist. They see him as someone who condemned the rich and loved the poor, and endorsed paying taxes, and therefore, presumably his message is one of forceful reallocation of wealth. I think this is ridiculous in the wider context of Jesus's teachings but nonetheless it's probably the most popular conception of Jesus today.
The right-wing by contrast emphasizes Jesus's apparent support for self-defense when he told people to buy swords. The right mostly finds Jesus's other statements promoting non-resistance to be repulsive and problematic. Anyway for them his political philosophy is one of worshipping Jesus as God as the sole means of getting in to Heaven; the right tends to diminish the importance of actions on earth in favor of metaphysical belief. The right also believes that non-believers will be punished for an eternity in Hell.
Now there's some other case studies besides that. Rabbinic Judaism for example tends to find Jesus as someone who promoted peace during a time where violent rebellion was the correct course of action. Therefore he is partially responsible for the failure of Judea to liberate itself from Rome through war.
Islam finds Jesus to be... well, he's basically just another faithful Muslim. That's pretty much all he is to them.
Now I will tell you what Jesus actually believed (so far as I can tell). Jesus believed in non-violent truth-telling to the point of being martyred for it. The Sermon on the Mount reads like a treatise on how to survive as a principled person in a world wherein your every act and word can be used to destroy you.
It is very important for Jesus that if you are under occupation such that it is impossible to speak the truth, which I think has probably been the case throughout history, that you not resort to vengeful violent rebellion as your solution because all that does is discredit you and your ideas, and makes those who kill you seem to be in the right. You make your enemies into people who are rightfully acting in self-defense. Therefore, the optimal solution is to keep telling the truth, protecting yourself as much as possible in the process, and gaining a following, until such time you inevitably push yourself too far, and get arrested.
I could present a lot of citations from the gospels to justify this belief but instead I will simply recommend that you read them yourself. Thank you for reading.
Published Wed Nov 21, 2018 01:34 AM CST
I retire, now, from the great city of San Francisco, which I have made my home for the last thirteen years, to a simpler life, in the town of San Luis Obispo, California. It's halfway between SF and Los Angeles. It's a college town. It's practically rural, surrounded by lots of wine country and beauty, not far from Big Sur. It has a lot of the comforts of suburbia... street parking, I can easily drive to any store I want and buy anything I want, same-day, from a pleasant-acting cashier. Absolutely everyone here is nice, and enjoyable to be around. It's quite a striking difference from the inner-city life I'd been living, which featured daily rants and yells from the neighboring homeless, who made about 50% of the foot traffic on Market Street nearby... not to mention endless car alarms, construction, police and fire sirens, loud motorcycles, street traffic, cars parked outside blaring music, and a dire state of the nearby sidewalks. No, I'm living somewhere relatively civilized now, and it's a breath of fresh air.
I don't know how long I'll stay, exactly. I have a year lease, and that might be enough, before I move on to somewhere else. I don't really have a proper "home" in life, due to the situation of my family, but SLO is the closest to it. But part of me wants to make a new home in Montana, or Idaho, or Oregon, or maybe somewhere else, or a variety of places. My career might afford me the possibility to wander, and I don't have any strong roots remaining in any particular area.
As for my career, I'm still not quite sure what'll come of it, but I've been doing a lot of writing, and building a small community... if push comes to shove I'll try remote work, but I still have some time to pursue what I desire. Hopefully I won't have to return to urban life any time soon for work, but even if I had to, I'd choose a nicer part of town than the one I lived in; so either way, I'm glad to be out of that apartment.
Being as it is Thanksgiving, this year I'm back in the Chicago area, which is my true hometown. I really enjoy the cold and the snow, I miss it so much. It adds such character to the society that surrounds it, makes everyone a bit more somber, more serious. Endless sunlight and good weather creates an attitude of triviality.
Anyway, I look forward to this new chapter of my life, and say goodbye to the old one, which, despite its faults, took up much of my youth, and had its enjoyable elements. Thanks for reading.
Published Thu Oct 4, 2018 10:11 PM MDT
In our society, we so frequently talk of rights, and liberties, and entitlements; just what we as individuals are owed from other individuals is a matter of constant debate. Some may be expecting me to take the more traditional "edgy", extremely individualist tack that we are all owed nothing. But no, I'm going to go in quite the opposite direction. We are all owed a number of things from our fellow human beings, and I'll list some of them now:
Yes, I do believe that not only must everyone treat others with respect, they must also express their thoughts. I am quite adamant about these beliefs and I see myself as something of an enforcer of them. Since I go around, determining if other people are in compliance, they tend to get one of two types of interaction from me. Those who treat myself and others with respect, and allow myself and others to speak our minds will find me polite, friendly, and sociable; those who either do not treat myself and others with respect, or do not allow myself and others to speak our minds, will be treated with scorn. It's really just that simple.
So, some people like to tell me that they don't owe me anything, and I insist that yes, yes you do. You owe me quite a lot. I am entitled to certain behaviors from you, just by virtue of our living in a civilized area. And if you don't exhibit those behaviors, you don't belong in a civilized area. You belong amongst people who don't value these things, where you should be quarantined, until such time, God willing, you come to realize how corrupt your mentality has become.
Published Sun Sep 16, 2018 02:47 PM PDT
A key lesson in recent years has been: never apologize. The dynamics of apologizing are pretty interesting, but in nearly every scenario, the person who apologizes comes out worse than if they hadn't.
Today, the political divide could be described elegantly as between two types of people: people who apologize readily, and people who refuse to apologize. These are basically the two fundamental responses to accusation. Accusation has become a powerful weapon used to ruin people, but the funny thing is, it only fully succeeds in ruining them if they apologize.
Consider for example, a situation in which a person has been accused of murder. If you apologize for murder, then you effectively confess to it, and are expected to serve some penalty for it; and even if you're forgiven for the crime, you're expected to make amends to never murder again, under the watchful eyes of justice. Therefore, whether the charge is true or not, it's more common for people to deny a murder accusation. It's preferable to not even defend yourself empirically, unless forced to before a court.
One particular type of apology, the sort of "half-apology" or, perhaps better called the "conditional apology" has become a common "middle-ground" attempt to satisfy critics without owning up to the crime. This never works, because the accusers will reject this apology, and it just makes you look worse to them. The form of this apology is, "If I offended anyone, then I'm sorry." The only form of apology that will be accepted is: "I offended people, and I'm sorry."
Of course, this should never be done in public. If you genuinely want to apologize to someone in private, or if you want to apologize to God in a confessional, that's one thing. But never apologize in public, because it simply invites more accusations, and ultimately makes a person into a sort of slave to accusers. They spend all their life living in fear trying to avoid accusation, and if the accusations start to become based on nothing, or close to nothing, they'll either have to sacrifice their dignity completely and apologize anyway, or face the same sort of exclusion from the camp of accusers as those who never apologize in the first place.
The better option is to welcome exclusion from the camp of the accusers. Those who would dare accuse you, should be disassociated with. An accusation is the same thing as the termination of a friendship. If someone accuses you (or indeed, shows accusatory behavior towards others) then you should immediately begin the work of severing them from your life. They should be scoffed at and ignored as much as possible. It doesn't matter how long you've known them, or how close you are.
Published Sat Sep 8, 2018 01:28 AM PDT
I first became interested in Trump with the Apprentice. I watched some episodes of the show while visiting my dad over the holidays, and both of us liked it because we like business and tough talk and all that.
When Trump announced his candidacy, and said he wanted to temporarily ban all Muslim immigration until we could figure out what was going on with all of the Islamic terrorism that was happening at the time, I was on board immediately. I've always liked Trump, and I never understood why the left was so fond of Islam, and so apologetic (and even in denial) about terrorism.
I followed the Trump campaign mostly through online communities. The foremost of these was a website that had funny, intellectual commentary from people on the right, originating as an offshoot of the Something Awful forums. The site was extremely pro-Trump and all of the discussion was focused around boosting his chances. At the beginning they thought it was a long shot, and it was amazing to watch it slowly become a reality.
Around this time, nearly everyone I was interacting with IRL was supporting Bernie (and thereby openly embracing socialism), with the exception of some friends at church who also liked Trump. I just avoided talking politics with colleagues or liberal friends because frankly, it was neither safe nor constructive to do so. They'd still bring it up of course, often just assuming I was on board with them (why, I can't imagine), but I mostly kept my mouth shut.
There was also 4chan, Youtube, and Twitter. Anonymous Twitter was a really fun place to be in 2016. I made quite a lot of friends there, and those were mostly the people I celebrated election night with. Since Twitter ended up banning most of the Trump supporters, we've mostly moved to Discord, which is a great service for the time being, and allows quite a lot of cross-cultural interaction. I talk to a wide variety of people about politics there on a regular basis.
The far-left forums, like the explicitly Marxist-Leninist ones, actually celebrated the success of Trump. They just hate liberals that much, I guess. And as for DSA members, I basically lump them in with liberals -- I know they hate that, but that's half the fun.
Honesty time: I wasn't sure that he'd win. I'm not prophetic. I perhaps found it more likely that he'd win than liberals did, with their hilarious certainty. But I was in agony during the hours before the results. I knew my life was going to change dramatically for the worse if she won. I remember watching that NYT meter move slowly. I felt a tremendous sense of shock and relief more than anything.
What else is there to say about the President? A lot of people hate him. The people who are vocal about it, I've mostly had to distance myself from, sadly. I don't like dealing with their snark, and I think they genuinely want to hurt me. Lord knows what the future holds, but I wouldn't take it back for anything.
Published Sat Sep 1, 2018 03:15 PM PDT
I became Catholic five years ago. This was a conscious decision that was made long after the "abuse scandal" was publicized. I have a number of reasons for this which I'll go into now.
I'm sticking with the Church. I don't really care about its reputation. I've always been the sort to defend "the underdog". Being part of the Church is better than being part of mainstream society.
Published Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:31 PM PDT
If I made a company, it would be something like this: first, it'd be entirely remote. Second, it would have a maximum of 25 employees. The pay probably wouldn't be San Francisco tier, but I'd hope to make up for it with culture. Or anti-culture, perhaps I should say.
The tech industry is dominated by shadowy VCs who own and direct everything. It's also filled with people who contribute to a very unhealthy culture. I know there's lots of engineers who want to make a good living without buying into every mandate from the cultural zeitgeist. So long as I could put food on the table, it's possible.
Yes, it'd be a "lifestyle business", for sure... I don't have desire to make megabucks. I mean, I wouldn't turn down millions if it were offered to me (unless from an investor), but it's not necessary. I just want enough to live comfortably, own a home, travel a bit, (maybe?) raise a family, if I ever get around to that. The clock's ticking, it's been ticking, and in fact the clock might be broken at this point, but it's still something I see as a possibility.
But I think there's an opening for a tech company that doesn't bow down to everything demanded of them by wider society. It wouldn't be edgy -- it'd be the opposite of edgy, completely neutral. Totally on the up-and-up. Focused on business. Just the facts, ma'am.
Employee selection would be key. You let the wrong sorts in, and everything gets bad. But anyway, this is all "theorycrafting" at this point. If I ever actually produce something of value (doubtful), I'll let you know.
Published Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:52 PM PDT
For most of my life I believed I was destined for some great purpose. This dream faded a bit when I entered my 30s, and I suppose reality is going to set in even further soon. I tended to believe that I was going to write something game-changing. I think the written word appealed to me mainly because it was the easiest form of art, and I'm a pretty lazy person. I'm good at software engineering, but technology always seemed like a practical matter to me. It doesn't reach me at a deeper level. I can be passionate about engineering decisions, but it's mainly because I get frustrated with how others think. I get just as passionate about management, or design, or anything else where I have to interact with other people. But it's not really what I care about. I would leave all that stuff behind if I could just write something useful.
The people I respect the most, the ones who've most informed my core thinking, were writers. Mainly, they were philosophers. Some had the gift of writing stories, which I clearly don't. All I'm capable of doing is writing down my thoughts in a relatively clear way. I suppose I have a natural honesty, which could be useful to humanity somehow. Maybe people will gain something from my thoughts. Maybe, at the least, they'll be amused for a little while. For this reason it's probably a good idea if I get back to writing more often.
I don't know who my audience could possibly be, and to some extent I disdain the idea of having an audience. I don't want to be beholden to the ideology of certain people. There's definitely money to be made in what I regard as "propaganda", which is just writing something designed to make people feel good about their current ideology (or, perhaps, feel righteous indignation about it). But I feel like if I'm making money with my writing, I'm probably writing garbage anyway. It seems much more pure to make no money, and to be read by nobody. Well, I'd like it if people picked up what I wrote a hundred years from now and said "he was right about everything" and founded our new civilization on it. I guess that's a silly dream I can at least die having. But first I need to write some stuff.
The vast majority of people have a life that is basically without what could be called a significant purpose, in the grand scheme of things. Maybe they add a small bit to the world, like someone voting in an election adds to a final tally. But it's infinitesimal. People who have children can at least hope that their children (or their children's children) will somehow change the course of human history for the better. They can then check out of the game and die peacefully knowing they've sired a future Augustus. But for a complete biological failure like myself, there's only this stupid realm of ideas, which are good at infecting people's brains and spreading around. But I like this idea, it appeals to me. I like the immateriality of it, it seems to exist in a higher realm, the Platonic realm. Just by putting pen to paper I can shift things. Realistically, this isn't likely to happen at all, but hey, it's worth a shot.
So maybe it is narcissistic... I'm not going to deny that. But I think a little bit of narcissism is healthy. I mean, sure, humility has its place as well. But shouldn't people believe in themselves to some extent? Why live a totally empty and pointless life. At least afford me the illusion of doing something useful.
The world is a really messed up place, I think we can all agree. Nobody agrees why, but at least that's something? Maybe something can happen there. Most of the written word we see today seems to be of the "propaganda" form I mentioned earlier, so maybe the world will benefit from a little bit of honest posting, I don't know.
Published Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:02 PM PDT
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and wanted to write about it. It's a bit abstract or complicated, but seems worth commenting on... the idea has proven illuminating for me, particularly with regard to social interaction.
Perhaps because I tend to be a bit narcissistic, or self-centered, my view of the world has for a long time been what I'd describe as "romantic". I've always loved dramas, and great stories. Anyway, my view of the world has always struggled for what psychologists call a "narrative identity", a root purpose of my existence, a "causa sui". While I always certainly recognized that other people were real and alive, the focus was very much internalized on my own emotional feelings and thoughts. That remains true, but this idea has helped me see other people in a different light.
Increasingly, I've tried to separate my interactions with other people from the "grand narrative" of my own life. They are no longer simply players on the stage, but rather, people living alongside me, in the same moment as me. And the way I act around them, doesn't have to conform to some internal struggle with profound significance. It can simply be two people who are sharing a time frame, and a place, and so increasingly I see how what I say or do can fundamentally shift the tone of relationships, and conversation.
Perhaps this is basic "awareness" for most people, and I'm sure I've been cognizant of it many times throughout my life, in my healthier mental states, but at times where life was perhaps difficult for me, my self-absorption would triumph over the appreciation of other people. It's only recently I've started to understand this idea intellectually or rationally, and see how my words and actions can be useful in interaction, to help heal the other person, outside some grand romantic narrative.
Maybe my love of art and existential philosophy helped fuel my self-centeredness, or maybe it's something innate in me. Or maybe, it's a product of some trauma in my life, or something like that... or maybe I'm just maturing a bit. I wouldn't describe this newer ideology as "materialist" because it seems quite compatible with the spiritual elements of my life. Nor is it "egalitarian" or anything like that. It's more just an understanding of my own control of my own words and actions, and how they influence the people around me.
This doesn't dismiss the idea of a grand "divine plan", rather, the idea seems to help me to embrace it, to see another person as my brother, so to speak. Oddly enough, I've always ranked very highly in compassion in personality tests, but it seemed my compassion was reduced to a subset of people, based on circumstance. Mostly, my compassion has always found itself strongest when consuming art, in solitude. Around people, my general strategy has been to remain aloof, and even, I admit, to be difficult.
There are exceptions, of course. Particular people who I felt a kinship towards, people who were unusually friendly with me. But my general tendency to judge and dismiss others is stronger and more developed than that of most people. This is the thing I want to work on, both for realist and religious reasons.
The core idea is to realize that despite your current emotional state, you can always direct your thoughts a little bit towards the feelings of those who you are interacting with. This is true despite the circumstance. You can make them feel loved, if you really want to. I've noticed a cyclical tendency in my thoughts; whenever I read the things I wrote years ago, I often have the same "epiphanies" over and over. But, it never hurts to write down these thoughts again.
Thank you for reading.
Published Fri Aug 17, 2018 08:48 PM PDT
In my years of posting on internet forums, I was frequently accused of being a troll. I was also called a contrarian. People thought I just made up my opinions for effect. I will admit that sometimes I enjoyed people's hysterical reactions to my ideas. And my ideas were also highly variable, because I would often think from a variety of perspectives. Every now and then, someone who usually disagreed with me, would be surprised to find themselves agreeing with me on some subject. So I was often asked, "Just what are your true beliefs?" And I never really had a clear answer. I was never totally sure what my true beliefs were. I was too indecisive, too young, too immature, still busy exploring the basics of reality, and its various ideological systems. I'm sure the ideology I have now isn't going to be exactly the same as the one I have thirty years from now (If I live that long), or even five years from now. But, I might as well go into some of the general things I have found myself coming to believe over time.
Well, this is a very basic overview of some of my key values in life. These values inform how I treat the political world. I don't see any of these values fundamentally changing. Perhaps I will write about political topics more specifically in the future. Thank you for reading.