Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Atheist's Struggle

I've was trawling the Net, as usual, and poking about in forums (guess my name(s)!) and I realised something: Atheism alone isn't enough.

Up until recently, I assumed that rational thought and critical thinking was part and parcel of atheism. In this, I do believe I have been a bit naive. Looking about the Net, I find atheism being manifested in far less noble forms. For the most part, it arises naturally as a reaction of a rational mind to the incompatibility of religion with rational thought. This is fair enough, though I can't say I particularly like the prevalence of philosophers who think too much and inject a crippling amount of self doubt into the people around them. More on that in a later post.

But we also find cases of atheists who turned atheist as an expression of rebellion (usually to overly pious parents) or worse yet, because it's "trendy". There are those who claim to be atheist (rightly so, because they clearly don't subscribe to the belief of dieties) but lack the vigilance and rationalism required to make their atheism a constructive part of society.

As such, the one thing atheists have in common with one another is lack of belief in dieties. That's it. And I for one say that is not enough. Browsing through the forums, it's clear to see that there is very little solidarity indeed between atheists, save in patting each other on the shoulders when speaking out against religion. Fine! Religion is bollocks! BUT, what are you going to put in it's place?

For all the failings of religion and its propensity for intellectual murder, the atheist community must acknowledge that, deluded though they are, within religious communities they promote altruism and solidarity. They will support each other, have community outreach programmes, feed the homeless and rehabilitate drug addicts. All these things serve to promote the image of religion and justify to the world at large their continued existence.

Now look at the atheists. When was the last time you'd ever heard of atheists banding together to feed homeless people? To be sure, discarding the delusions of religion opens the mind to great vistas of discovery, but let's be realistic: Joe Average doesn't give a shit.

Joe Average wants a roof over their head and a full stomach. Wife, couple kids, a car, etc. Joe Average does not care whether we came from mud or austrolopithecines. And he doesn't really care if God exists, as long as he derives some comfort from his chosen delusion. And who are we to take it away from him IF we offer nothing in return? Rationalism? Get real! Rational thought takes discipline and vigilance and doesn't magically pop into your head the moment you take that cross off your neck. Rationalism is NOT for sissies. Honestly, why should they put effort into rationalism if they're already happy as sheep?

One could argue that removal of religions obviously removes all the bad stuff - religious conflict, paedophile priests, opposition to scientific research, mass intellectual murder and so on but this is not what sticks in the minds of the masses. It's the benefits that will stand out, especially in the case of affluent 1st world societies far removed from the shitstorm of the world's armed religious conflict zones. They see church members rehabilitating junkies in their neighbourhood and that's what sticks. Not suicide bombers, firstly because "it's some other religion" and secondly because "it's some other part of the world".

The way I see it, the bulk of religious conservatives are mindless sheep, happily deluded and so very blind to much of the universe. But atheists are cats. Curious, free-spirited and each out to do his own thing. We do not have anything like the solidarity they enjoy. Unless atheists can do a lot more, humanity will not be free of the meme virus that is religion.

Quand je vous aimerai? (edited from Friendster, 21 Jul 2006)

I just downloaded Carmen on a random whim, and while reading the story of Carmen on Wikipedia I couldn't help but think of all those poor devils, myself included, who have been lain low by love unrequited.

How many decent guys have I known who fell for some rare and radiant girl, only to know heartbreak? Blinded by delusions of "the One", driven by high and honourable ideals, they try their very hardest to win her heart, only to have her drive an ice cold dagger through their unsuspecting chests.

Sometimes, I think it wouldn't have been so bad if the girl just outright hated the guy. What *really* pisses me off is when a perfectly decent guy is made to suffer by her indecision, by her pussyfooting around the issue, by her inability to just be honest to herself and decide what she wants. They think they're being diplomatic. They think they're gaining the best of both worlds. In truth they hide their weakness and cowardice behind sweet smiles and make up. They build layer upon layer of lies, like a house of cards, then cry when it inevitably comes tumbling down. They think they're being kind, when in fact they inflict the very worst cruelty possible.

For the record, I'm not bitter at the time of writing. Single, yes, but I'm pretty sure I'm not bitter.

I suppose at this point, in the interests of fairness to the sexes, guys are guilty of at least as much silliness. That having been said, there's a certain predictability to the sins of the male species. It's veeeery simple: The guy wants NOOKIE! He may cheat and lie and beg and write AWFUL poetry and subject himself to all manner of stupidity but the motivation remains the same - Guys want nookie. Put it down to the tyranny of the genes and plain simple hormonal influences, I suppose. It's pathetic, but at least it's easy to understand.

So, I'm-a gonna close this entry with a quote from a really cool dude, Samuel Johnson, which still rings very true indeed:

"Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On a Lighter Note...

Something from
Aaah, w3 luv5 t3h kitt3h... :-D

A Word on Religious Conflict

I just came across this charming quote on

"You're basically killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend." - Richard Jeni

When I think about religious conflicts such as one finds in Sudan, Israel-Palestine and Iraq, I have great difficulty understanding what is the right course of action. I mean, which would you choose:

1) Intervene, and force both parties to worship their imaginary friend in peace? (Iraq - This doesn't seem to be working. They hate each other and they hate you, too.)

2) Back one side and see if it ends quicker? (Israel-Palestine - They've been at it for a long time haven't they? Still going strong...)

3) Ignore them and pretend they're not there. (Sudan - Don't even ask about Darfur.)

4) Nuke them right off the face of the Earth. (Hasn't been tried yet, but the upshot to this is:- a) no more conflict; and b) all parties involved have gotten much closer to their respective imaginary friends.)

Given the proven efficacy of 1, 2 and 3, I'm kind of partial to 4, but who am I to say, eh?

Mors ontologica

I've been thinking about death lately. No, I'm not suicidal or anything, I've just been pondering the subject of death. Throughout human history, our species has been fascinated by it.

The ancient Egyptians built up a massive cult centered around death, with ridiculously large tombs, complex rituals, mummification and a pantheon of fairytale figures all set to make the prospect of death that little bit more palatable for insecure pharoahs. China's 1st Emperor was another culprit, bringing an army with him to serve in the afterlife, wrapping his body in jade armour and spending the last years of his life searching for immortality.

If is correct, in 2005 about 54% of the world population were believers of the Abrahamic God, yet another collection of silly myths and fairytales to assuage the very human fear of death, with promises of Heaven and threats of Hell all engineered to keep ignorant masses in line. I mean, come on, you're on this Earth for perhaps, 70 or 80 something years, 100s tops, maybe less if you've the lousy luck to be born in a warzone, and on the basis of your behaviour during this miniscule period of time, your fate is decided for all eternity? Something about that just doesn't sit right with me.

Hitler took a hell of a body count, but you must concede, he really thought he was doing the right thing. Well, never mind him, he killed himself, so if the Catholics are right (and he was Catholic) he's got a seat in Hell already. How about babies who die before getting baptised? Limbo forever! And that monk who immolated himself in protest of the Vietnam War? Well, lucky for him, he's already got plenty of experience in burning, eh? And suicide bombers? Ooh, they've got a GOOD deal going - press the button and woohoo! Virgins!

So, yes, I really do think there's something about the Abrahamic religions that reeks to high Heaven (ahahaha...) of bullshit. If anybody would care to comment on the matter of life after death, do be so kind as to leave empirical evidence of the fact. And by empirical evidence, I mean the genuine article; NOT the 1907 McDougall study (yet to be replicated) stating the weight of the human soul to be 21 grammes. NOT the cheap, head-up-ass pseudoscience of profit-hungry charlatans like Deepak Chopra and for the love of all that's sane, NOT quotations from that ridiculous theatrical prop, the Bible.

Since my exposure to the wonders of physics and evolutionary biology, I've come to an understanding of death that I'm more comfortable with. Evolution requires of genes 3 little things: Replication, Mutation and Selection. Through sexual reproduction, new mixes of genes are produced with each generation, with every mix carrying the small probability of mutation. Whether the mix and/or the mutation is suitable for survival in this cold, cruel world will be determined by the ability of the organism carrying those genes to survive long enough to pass on his/her genes to the next generation. Once that is done, the parent organism is no longer necessary and thus, it dies.

So why not be immortal, you ask? Why has there been no mutation that allows an organism to live forever and keep shagging and pass its genes wherever the hell it wants? Two things to bear in mind:

1) It already happens on the very, very small scale of microorganisms and viruses. This immortality leads to a very, very slow rate of mutation and hence drastically slows the rate at which such creatures can evolve and adapt.

2) For something as large as us, achieving this level of complexity requires that each of our cells die and are replaced constantly throughout our lives. A sudden "immortality mutation" would be so complex and unlikely it would be like fish sprouting legs in 2 or 3 generations. That having been said, humans are actually living longer lives, through a mixture of genetics and the influence of modern medicine in keeping us from expiring too quickly.

In this respect, humans are very, very interesting indeed! Because we're living longer, in terms of genetics, we take longer to evolve. But take a moment to think about the recent advances in genetic engineering. Are we not moving towards a stage where the age-old mechanism of Replication, Mutation and Selection is no longer relevant? In fact, as I mentioned in a previous post, between the advances in genetics, cybernetics and nanotechnology, are we not reaching a point where our physical forms are no longer relevant, a la Ghost in the Shell? But we're getting ahead of ourselves...

The point is that death in all complex living things is necessary. It is a process of renewal that allows a species to rapidly explore evolutionary paths in the faces of changing environment and genetic arms races between competing species. There is no magic to it. We fear it simply because we have a sense of self-preservation, which tends to be useful if an organism is to survive to propagate its genes.

So in conclusion, you get ONE shot at this life. When you expire, there's no coming back as a dog/turtle/snake/llama/whatever , no harp, no virgins, no hellfire or brimstone, no cute old man in the sky waiting for you, no reunion with grandma, NOTHING. SOD ALL. One shot is all you get, and that's fine by me, because that strikes me as a really good reason to cherish the one life that you have to experience the universe around you and an even better reason to get along with the people around you.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cogito ergo mundus talis est

I was just flipping through my copy of Alan Moore & Dave Gibbon's Watchmen, which, I have to say, is every bit as good as the hype says it is. Anyway, I was reading the bit where Laurie was on Mars with Naked Blue Guy (whose name I forget and can't be bothered to look up) and Laurie was trying to convince NBG that the Earth is worth saving from nuclear apocalypse. Just so you know, NBG used to be human, but thanks to an accident (involving radiation, of course!) turned into a super-powerful being with control over Time and Space. Long story short, she inadvertently did convince him, she asked him why and this is what NBG said:

NBG: "Thermodynamic miracles... Events with odds against so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing.

And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter... until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged.

To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold... that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle."

Laurie: "But... if me, my birth, if that's a thermodynamic miracle... I mean, you could say that about anybody in the world!"

NBG: "Yes. Anybody in the world... but the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget... I forget.

We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another's vantage point, as if new, but may still take the breath away.

Come... dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes and let's go home."

I read these words with many facets of my being clamouring to put forward their opinion. Two stand out.

The scientist in me says: Whoever wrote this dialogue has no grasp whatsoever of the anthropic principle or quarks. There are 3 quarks to every proton. Another 3 to every neutron. There are more quarks in my little finger than there are stars in the sky. As for thermodynamic miracles, let's talk about the anthropic principle.

The easiest description of the anthropic principle is this charming example: Take 10 criminals sentenced to death, 10 riflemen and give them 9 bullets. 9 headshots later, 1 criminal is left. Is he lucky? Of course not! 1 criminal HAD to live! He feels lucky for the simple reason that he is alive to do so. In the same way, this universe, as it is now, is the only universe of countless others that could possibly exist as perceived by me. The egocentric bias experienced by all humans is what compels us to feel particularly privileged to find ourselves in such circumstances. As such, the thermodynamic miracles NBG was nattering on about are a meaningless illusion, which brings me to what the other part of me says...

The Zen-influenced side of me says: There was never any meaning. Nor was there any lack of meaning. It's the mind that chooses, consciously or not, to give meaning to NBG's happy speech. Though the science behind NBG's talk is complete and utter bollocks, one should cut through the veil of ill-chosen words and understand the intent: That Moore (the writer) wanted to instill a sense of wonder about life by invoking it's sheer unlikelihood. And here I find myself conflicted.

Through the eyes of Zen, there is no wonder. What is, simply is. Or as Ayn Rand would have it, A is A. But a very human scientist in me empathises with the wonder that Moore was trying to invoke. It insists that life in all its forms is full of wonders for those who are willing to see. It yearns to help those around me tear down the fairytales they surround themselves with and see the universe in all its glory.

Which attitude would better serve the greater good? Zen's lofty indifference? Or the scientist's passion?

Altruism as a memetic weapon

I was getting preached at by my born-again aunt the other day and a thought struck me: One of the compunctions I have against the extermination of religion is the fact that they actually do provide some social services of geniune benefit to society, e.g. helping the homeless, rehabilitating drug addicts and charity work in general. Apart from the obvious benefits to the recipients, this altruism serves the double function of:

1) Making the intellectual murder perpetrated by these religious groups morally defensible; and
2) Strengthening the kinship between members of said religious groups, thus increasing their resistance to external influences.

Oftentimes, I hear religious conservatives, that is, the really, *really* thick ones (see Monique Davis on Wiki) accuse atheists of having no moral guidance and seeking to destroy everything. They'll go on to quote names like Stalin, Mao and Hitler as being the results of atheism. Hitler was Catholic, by the way. And any fool can quote names. Why do they not mention Pope Urban II, who called for the extermination of the Seljuk Turks? Deus vult, indeed. Or Ayatollah Khomeini? Or how about Mother Teresa, responsible for the slow and painful death of millions of impoverished, diseased Indians, withholding adequate medical care and sending all that donated money off to the Vatican so those poor bastards could "die in a state of grace"?

Frankly, I think that's just their childish fear of the unknown talking. A perfectly understandable response from more primitive animals, but religion isn't exactly big on rational thought these days. Atheists are as capable of good and evil as much as the next person and I think I prefer the idea of making a conscious choice to do good without childish lures and threats of Heaven and Hell in a fictitious afterlife, which brings me to the crux of the matter:

What if large numbers of atheists engaged in spontaneous, organised acts of altruism? If society sees that atheists are capable of bringing a clear, tangible benefit to society outside of intellectual spheres (which most of the religious right don't pay attention to anyway) does this not equate to positive publicity and moral high ground for atheism?

The work of 4 Horsemen is all well and good, but I can't help but feel they are, for the most part, preaching to the choir. The kind of people that their works will turn will either be already on the fence or not really religious but just going through the motions out of habit. As for the rest of the atheist community, well, we don't actually need to be reminded that there is no God, do we?

As such, the 4 Horsemen fill the role of providing the intellectual ammunition against God, but atheists have to go above and beyond intellectual achievement. It must be shown to the world at large that atheism is not merely the rejection of faith-based belief, but is the acceptance of rational thought and healthy scepticism with clear and tangible benefit to society outside of the arcane realms of science, which the religiously (and wilfully) ignorant have no interest in anyway.

I think through the practice of public, organised acts of altruism, atheism can fight religious fundamentalism with it's own memetic weapons, and maybe, seeing as we actually have Reason on our side, disseminate a more persuasive message. Thoughts?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Devil Inside

I was checking out this morning when I found that, as usual, Jared Diamond has come up with yet another deeply insightful yet horribly disturbing article:

For those who can't be bothered to read the whole article, I attempt to summarise it below:

Diamond tells of his friend, Daniel Wemp, a tribesman from Papua New Guinea who engaged in a 3-year quest for vengeance against a man who killed his uncle. Over a series of battles that would cost another 29 lives, Daniel's machinations finally bore fruit, and his uncle's murderer, Isum, was crippled for life. I say his machinations, because some of Daniel's clan had married into Isum's clan and as such, Isum was related to Daniel and so Daniel was not permitted to kill Isum by his own hand.

Diamond later goes on to elaborate on how "nearly all human societies today have given up the personal pursuit of justice in favor of impersonal systems operated by state gorverments - at least, on paper" and how New Guineans are coming to accept state-sanctioned justice over tribal revenge killings. This paragraph in particular stood out:

I asked Daniel why, on learning of Soll's [Daniel's uncle] death, he hadn't saved himself all the effort and expense, and just asked the police to arrest Isum. "If I had let the police do it, I wouldn't have felt satisfaction," he replied. "I wanted to obtain vengeance myself, even if it were to cost me my own life. I had to ask myself, how could I live through anger over Soll's death for the rest of my life? The answer was that the best way to deal with my anger was to exact the vengeance myself."

These words struck me fairly deeply, as they no doubt did Diamond, for he went on to tell of his father-in-law, Jozef's, experience with thirst for vengeance. For a moment, he stood, gun in hand, faced with the man who killed his mother, sister and niece. Jozef was an army officer, so he had comrades-in-arms with him who'd happily pull the trigger even if he could not. I tried to put myself in his shoes, and I doubt very much I'd have had the phenomenal courage that he showed that day. The murderer was taken to the police, imprisoned and investigated.

A year later he was released.

In Daniel's world, vengeance permeates all aspects of life. For lack of a powerful state-run authority, tribes and clans continue to play out their cycles of revenge killing. Even after exacting his vengeance, he would be a target of reprisals from Isum's clan for the rest of his life.

In Jozef's world, justice was denied by a failure of the system, and he died wishing he'd pulled the trigger that fateful day.

My own readings outside of this article, on how situational forces can bring out the Devil lurking inside all of us and how people of a certain disposition can continuously perpetrate crimes against their fellow man, lead me to the conclusion, together with this article, that peaceful coexistence (in fact, the very existence of man in general) boils down to Dehumanisation, which I'll save for a later post, and the System that is in place.

I believe it is the duty of our best and brightest to wield the lessons of history to engineer such a System that guarantees justice and fair opportunity to an acceptable quality of life to all. I think we have, to some small degree, achieved stable states that more or less move towards this standard. Of course, they are flawed, like anything else, but such flaws can be identified and slowly weeded out. More flaws will make themselves known, but that's all well and good, else the lawmakers would be terribly bored otherwise.

What worries me is how to achieve a stable world-state. Throughout world history, as Diamond points out in his article, never before has a state been established spontaneously out of a realisation that it would best serve the interests of all. There are only 2 ways in which a state has arisen in history:

1) In the face of a greater external threat, disparate groups merge to form a state to better fight the external threat; and

2) One group dominates the others through the adoption of proto-state institutions.

1 doesn't look likely to happen anytime soon, much as the nihilist in me wants to see continents incinerated by aliens. 2? The way the world is now, do you honestly see one group gaining absolute dominance over the planet? Are we really so different from the tribes of New Guinea?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sapir-Whorf... (from Friendster, 2 Oct 07)

... has nothing to do with Klingons.

This weekend I came across a most interesting quirk of linguistics - the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. The long story short of it is that it puts forward the idea that language shapes our thoughts, i.e. that our thought patterns are shoehorned into the shape that fits best with the language we are most comfortable with.

This is a matter of some interest to me. I've often been told that I'm fairly quick to pick up languages and can mimic foreign phrases and mannerisms with some accuracy. I've always put this down to the fact that I don't just view a language as a language (that is, saying the same thing using a different set of words) but as an attitude, for lack of a better word.

The more I think about it, the more this intrigues me. One of the more interesting ideas I came across in past readings is that language is a prerequisite of sentient thought. Is it really? Beginning with the basics, when one percieves the world through the senses, the purpose that language serves that first comes to mind would be that of communication. i.e. I see a tree. I don't need to know that it's *called* a tree to know that it's a tree.

Interlude: There's a Zwinky ad at the side of my screen that's showing some girl with constantly changing hair, clothes and skin colour that's driving me nuts... Argh.

Anyway, the only reason I'd need to know that a tree is called a tree is to convey to someone else that I had in fact seen a tree. If, hypothetically, I could speak from mind-to-mind, I would not need the word for tree but simply transmit the concept straight into the mind of whosoever I wish. Hence, sans language, I have communicated!

But then again, the example is far too simple. What of mathematics? Since the beginning of human history, the advancement of mathematics has been a cornerstone of our understanding of the universe. Through simple symbols, we express the laws that define our reality. Is it possible here, as above, to cut out the middle man, and simply *know* the details of Schrodinger's Equation without even having any way of expressing it externally? First instinct tells me no. But then again, in saying that, am I the victim of a lifetime of expressing my world in language such that I cannot concieve of such a thing as mathematics beyond language? Is there really, as Zen monks would have you believe, a perfect purity of thought beyond words?

Something tells me that a healthy dose of Chomsky will shed some light on this...

The End of Human (from Friendster, 11 Oct 07)

Stupid Windows went and updated and restarted my machine halfway through my original post. Here's hoping I can recall what it was I churned out before...
Anyways, I was sitting in the KL traffic jam, as I do, and thinking about this year's Edge question:

What are you optimistic about? Why?

I'd thought about this several times before, and generally came to the same conclusion: I have no doubt at all that nanotechnology and robotics will become sufficiently advanced that the entire human body can be replaced.

And that's the upper limit of what I'm optimistic about, really. I can't rightly say this will serve the betterment of Humanity as a whole, because as things are now, social Darwinism is still in effect. Throw advances in technology into the mix, and the upper limits of one's standard of living in society climbs ever higher whereas the lower limits remain pretty much the same, and the gap between haves and have nots grows ever wider. In any case, that's not what this post is about.

What had me thinking werethe implications of a totally synthetic body:

If a human body can be completely replaced, down to the last atom, by cybernetic parts, what meaning does the word "human" hold?

With reference to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis mentioned earlier, every word we use is a vessel into which our minds pour meaning. Ever and always, we have questioned the meaning of human. As yet, it seems the only meaning associated which almost everyone can agree upon is "multicellular living thing that is not a plant". So what would it mean for humanity when post-human becomes a reality?

I've no doubt that there will be resentment. The religious right, like the unfortunate disease that they are, will raise their childish objections, putting forth arguments on moral grounds that were outdated since the invention of the wheel.

There will be objections from other quarters, no doubt. Just think about it: Among us will be entities who were born human and turned into immortal machines. Who or what decides who gets this immortality? What kind of conflict will arise before truly post-human entities become an accepted part of society?

It is an unfortunate feature of human history that ideological battles tend to be paid for with the blood of those too ignorant to even understand the nature of the battle in the first place. Worse still when the nature of the battle becomes obfuscated by small-minded political agendas, leaving the true battle unresolved, lost in history, and waiting to resurface anew.

Truthfully, I think the greatest quantum leap in human history will be an ideological one: For humanity as a whole to rise above social Darwinism and function as a harmonious whole, as opposed to the scattered tribes that inhabit this world today. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

On Creationists (from Friendster blog, 10 Apr 08)

I've just been reading articles on Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed on Scientific American's website. Unfuckingbelievable.

I've tried pretty hard in this life to be a nice person. Of course, I've failed miserably in many respects, but the point is, over the years, I've become steadily more resigned to the fact that many people won't have the privelege of exposure to the sciences. And even if they do, there's no guarantee they'll have the mental capacity to absorb the lessons of science. And so it is that these people, either underpriveleged or stupid, fall back upon childish superstitions to keep them going and make sense of our wonderfully complex universe.

And I'm mostly fine with that! Let these people carry on with their deluded little lives and pray to whatever invisible men they want! If nothing else, these shallow minds keep the economy going with their petty, meaningless needs and wants and so create an environment for the sane people on this Earth to pursue higher things, like greater understanding of the universe, harmony between the peoples of Earth and new heights in arts and culture. I really want to believe that we could go with "live and let live". They do their thing, we do ours.

Then some hatemongering, semi-literate idiot with a head full of scripture comes along and throws a spanner in the works. The fact that gene-trash like Ben Stein walk this Earth is proof positive that humans were descended from more primitive ancestors. More and more I find myself compelled to believe that Dawkins was right - the time for tolerance is done.

Equating evolution with the Holocaust? How unspeakably tasteless and ignorant is that, coming from a Jew? Right, this guy just isn't worth the aggravation. May he find what he's looking for...

Friday, April 18, 2008

w00t! First post!

Well, I finally got round to getting a proper bloggy blog. Friendster just wasn't cutting it, though I've got a heap of material there that I'd like to salvage at some point.

So why Mirror? I just like the concept. Of a mirror. It reflects whatever you put in front of it. It is defined by the fact that it reflects, and as such, it is defined by whatever you put in front of it. If it didn't reflect, it would just be a piece of glass. Because it reflects, it's a mirror and it's in the reflection that we find it's use. Popping pimples, plucking white hairs, nipping out blackheads, shaving, putting on your contacts and all the other disgusting things we do to make ourselves pretty. It works on more levels than that, to be sure...

Ever stared at yourself really hard in the mirror? I mean really, really looked? Examining the lines on your face and shape of your nose and the curve of your lips and, if you're an auditor, the bags under your eyes? Just standing there and looking and thinking all sorts of things:

"I haven't smiled enough."
"I'm getting old." (The fuck you are! Getting old??? You ARE old! Deal with it!)
"I like that eye better."
"Damn, I need to do more sit-ups." (This one gets forgotten pretty quick...)
"zomg wtf is that thing on my cheek???"

You get the idea. And that's the purpose of this blog. Get the words out from the chaotic tangle of neurons betwixt my ears and take a good look at the memes that make me me, so to speak.

Anyways, for those reading this who don't already know, I decided a while ago to devote this life to pondering the human condition and, maybe, unravelling some of the problems. Suffice it to say that this blog will reflect my musings, maybe help me organise myself, hopefully inspire me and if I'm really, really lucky, tell other people reading this a little something about themselves.

I find a lot of people in this world go about their lives with barely any concept of what they're about. Caught up in a world of shallow-minded consumerism, seduced by naive platitudes, blinded by egotistic self-righteousness or just plain delusional, a lot of people forget what it means to be human, on this Earth, sharing a planet with something over 6 billion humans, who all have their tales to tell and lives to live.

So this is the mirror, showing us what we've always been all along, but just didn't take time out to look close enough. My next few posts will mostly be me rescuing material from my previous blog on Friendster before I take it down. Between this and Facebook, I really don't think I've any need for Friendster anymore.

And that's it from me for now. Til the next post....