Hate: The Embarrassment of Humanity

I avoid mainstream media as much as possible. Yesterday, Husband told me about the shooting in Florida. My heart cries for humanity. The lives lost – over fifty human beings – at the hands of terror is a horrifying truth to accept. But, looking deeper, the social factors at play here are also of strong concern. The message the shooter expressed is “My will is greater than yours – you deserve extermination.” There is not a single human voice that can authentically support this claim – all species are flawed. What is important is what we make of our journey. That journey is subjective, unique to each person, and there is no authority – not animal, mineral, or vegetable – that holds any inherent right over another. Not here, not now in the twenty-first-century.

We cannot allow these injustices ground to breed. We cannot turn a blind eye to violence, cruelty, and dehumanization. We cannot let fellow Americans be targeted by “wrath-worthy” vengeance. The fact that terrorism continues is an embarrassment to human progress. The fact that other people think they have a right to determine who a person should marry, love, or what have you is not only ridiculous, it’s rather childish. Why is Betsy’s life bothered if Tim down the street prefers Dave over Sue? Why does Betsy care? …she’s not in the picture. Why is society so nosy about people’s sex lives? Isn’t there enough reality TV to go around? Why is there so much animosity for groups of people who are trying to love and live?

250px-vigil_to_unite_in_the_wake_of_the_orlando_pulse_shooting_27358803690

Why would any of that be motivation for terrorism? Now, as a rational individual, I have to say I cannot see a genuine reason for terrorism, period – other than to enforce one’s will over another. I don’t care if a god, a government official, a newscaster, or a peanut-butter sandwich whispered in one’s ear and said terrorism is okay… it’s not. It is never cool to dehumanize. Each human has inside the self the a priori understanding of right from wrong. When religion tells one to ignore those morals, something is up. When government says to reject those morals, again – something is wrong in Denmark.

What can we do?

1. I don’t know. I’m thinking. It’s been a long think, one rolling for years now. One thing I’ve recognized is the authority found in individualism. No, it’s not enough, but it is something, a starting point – a personal choice. Make the personal decision to reject hate – in all forms. Hate is a nasty creature; if let in for one group it will easily spread to another.

2. Heighten awareness by talking, posting, commenting, or participating in social issues. Raise the call to arms for justice but when arming the self: reach for love. Hate and terror breed more violence – violence is not the answer. Read MLK and hold onto his message.

3.  When you hear others negatively supporting injustice, do not silently absorb their message. If you feel strong enough to defend – by all means do, in a rational manner. If your voice is still soft, or if you notice entering into debate will only lead to harm: leave. Silence is powerful when others realize you will not tolerate barbarism. One cannot change another person, but one does not have to expose the self to negativity. If one person is able to refuse listening, then others may follow. They may admire your strength – regardless, by leaving you have improved your environs.

4.  Redirect conversations by implementing “good” stories or examples. If you do not have any personal examples, widen your circle – oftentimes, when one steps out of their comfort zone they learn valuable lessons. Personally, my go-to story when I hear people complaining about LGBT marriages – I ask them if they’ve ever attended a ceremony, and once the guffaws clear out, I inform them that the lesbian wedding I participated in, Septemeber 2013 was the most beautiful celebrations. This holds clout because I was a stylist for over twenty years and trudged through many a wedding. All brides have some shade of fickle, all weddings issue stress and drama, all weddings (typically) bum me out. Why? Well, I feel like marriage holds a lot of limitation, conformity, compromise, and domination. Yes, Husband and I struggle, lol…I am not an easy wife nor is he a basket of sunshine. Every bride that ever sat in my chair received my last minute getaway speech and promise of an Ocean City holiday if she just wanted the beach. Every bride save two – the two that married each other. I’ve prepped hundreds of heads for their “big-day” and only one couple – a same sex couple – demonstrated what I envision as a “perfect love.” Not only my Brides, but their maids were also delightful. The guests were all happy. The décor was fabulous. I actually stayed for the wedding, took a cabin, and shared breakfast with the whole bridal party the next morning. When I think of a happy marriage, their lovely faces come to mind.

5.  What do you think we can do? “We” as in society as a whole, “We the Human Race.” How can one person’s action affect the world? Let’s see…try to implement positive change where one can. I will keep thinking, and I hope you will, too.

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No to Negative Action

Good afternoon, dear Readers…

I received a letter from #AHA (the American Humanism Association) today regarding the humanist plan of action for 2016. First off – yes, I am a Humanist. I believe in good without “god.” What that means to me is that I believe the individual is able to strive for good without supernatural threat, to “be good” purely because striving for betterment is improvement of the self. I understand my limits – all I can control is myself. This creates a heavy internal morality that guides my decision/action process. I am a Humanist because I think humanity is able to create many wonderful and terrible things. I also am a Humanist because of the whole philosophy-bit – the reading, researching, and learning. I am a stronger Humanist due to scientific theory and empirical data. Humans are amazing life forms, but humans are also only a fraction of species.  The latest craze for evolution.

So…what’s my beef? Well….I do not care for negative action. I do not think that I will truly be better by discrediting, harming, or removing another. I do not think that negative action inside of Humanism is a good advertisement for “I believe in good without god.” What I mean is I do not think attacking the religious minded is fair play. Humanism will not be better by tearing down religious statues or decimating belief. I know – often matters are acted on in a defensive form, but still…becoming a monster will not rid the world of monsters. There must be another way of reducing the authority of religion than to declare war between secularism and theology.

No, tax payer dollars should not be spent on religious idols/statues/monuments – but that does not mean that already constructed works should be removed or destroyed. Tax payer dollars are a hot-topic for many issues. What it sounds like, behind all the gloss, is that Humanism has to be in direct opposition to religion. And that doesn’t sit well with me. Religion, like music and science, are expressions of humanity. Making another lesser will not make me better. Personally – NO, I do not “need/want” religion in my life…but that does not mean that other people cannot benefit from a religious message. Religion works at bonding society together, looking to one’s community for aide and support. I mean, I do not need/want to attend a sporting event but that does not mean that sports should cease to be. Seems rather limited. One of the reasons I look to secular education is to broaden my experience and understanding of the world. I do not do limits.

I will not limit another individual from living their lives – even if that means that they have to look to religion to answer their life questions. So…No, I will not donate funds to support the elimination of religion. I cannot support this because some people still need religion, or at least believe that they do. All I can control is myself. I have no interest in controlling other people, and I wish that message was echoed in Humanism. I feel that, at the heart of humanism, there is great good possible. We are looking for answers, see what all these human beings can do and create.

The Atheists, too, are hell-bent on decimating belief. I have called myself atheist for quite a while, yet I do not agree with the current Atheist-Hatred that is rumbling through society. Let us look at what an atheist constitutes:  question everything, look for reason, note personal experience, question again. As Atheists, it is our job to keep searching. We are seekers. Again…there is no need to become a monster. In that we question everything and continually search for rationality, I would like to note that the answer has not yet been found. Atheists need to keep looking. That means that we do not have time to argue, aggravate, or attack “the believers.” Reason suggests that they have not read as much, nor questioned. – Why then waste precious moments that could be spent positively researching and thinking? I am not saying they are lost causes that should be abandoned – I think all life matters, each subjective person is important. But there is no reason to debate – both sides are convinced. Change the subject, walk away, ignore the post. Get back to contemplation. The moment one is “certain” I daresay belief still reigns.

 

Picture c/o:  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/9b/e6/39/9be639189fe6a5339daff06284600f24.jpg

Reading Notes on “Twilight of the Idols”

When Leisure runs with Research

My session is nearing the end, two more weeks. I have minimal assignments due, and I note that I work much better under pressure. A few months ago, while carrying three courses, I thrived. Much writing and contemplation was required. Now, I have only one topic. And – as a cruel twist – I have to say that I am not real fired-up about said topic. The sad part is, I could be. Maybe one day, my non-traditional thinking will be noted as “ahead of her time” but for the present…’tis socially conditioned that I retreat “back to the mountain.”

Off I crawl, licking my wounds inflicted by society’s barbs, with a text from Herr Professor clung to my breast. Searching for inspiration. {for Life in general, not for the piece} However, while beginning my read the other night, one of Nietzsche’s maxims jumped out at me. Well…much of Nietzsche explodes off the page, but this one, it felt so true I have to share:

“There are times when we psychologists are like horses, and grow fretful. We see our own shadow rise and fall before us. The psychologist must look away from himself if he wishes to see anything at all” (Nietzsche 35).

The quote reminds me to remove myself from philosophical consideration as well as interaction with society in efforts to see the issue – whatever that may be – through an objective lens. By making the situation just that, a situation or a happening, instead of my situation, the experience may be noted from more than one perspective. Applying this to life, I see this method as able to reduce emotional connection to an experience. To look at problems as puzzle pieces to put together – the important factor is that the “I” is assembling the puzzle and not just another piece.

 

Works Cited

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Twilight of the Idols (1888). Trans. Anthony M. Ludovici. Ed. Dennis Sweet. New York:  Barnes&Noble, 2008.

Picture c/o:  http://www.jamesmaybe.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Dominic_Rouse-Twilight_of_the_idols.jpg

Images from Space

I shared a link on twitter including Scott Kelly’s images from space. The pictures are so amazing, I am prompted to also share the link on WordPress. Click below and enjoy!

Scott Kelly’s Images from Space. Much respect to Scott Kelly for his time spent away from earth to further science. {scholarly nod}

Picture c/o:  http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/5a4615e546c67c2e54474fc723e67c30040614a2/c=283-0-4645-3280&r=x404&c=534×401/local/-/media/2016/02/26/Phoenix/Phoenix/635920884041528921-scott-kelly.jpg

 

 

Discussion Request: Yep…on Consciousness

Currently reading JJ Semple’s The Biology of Consciousness:  Case Studies in Kundalini

Dear fellow blogger who recommended this title…Where for art thou? lol Let’s get an online “Consciousness Hangloose” rolling <>

I have only begun reading Semple’s piece, but I am eager to discuss what has transpired thus far. What I am finding as crucial is the value of variant experiences in regards to spirituality/consciousness, and the relation betwixt the two. What I mean is:  to define Kundalini, as primordial formative authority, takes more than one individual’s contemplation and it is better understood by multiple voices. Semple notes early on that no two experiences are the same, indicating that an individual’s connection to primeval life force is a personal “relationship.” On the negative side, for empirical considerations, if no two are the same than neither can be properly tested or observed. Semple attaches the senses – where empirical data is acquired – to consciousness, specifically to the Ego or “Conscious Spirit” as opposed to the “Primal Spirit” (21).

Ahh…more dualism. The conscious human being is aware of the self’s inner abilities to think, observe, and theorize. The Primal Spirit, however, is the other half to the whole – the way an individual viewed the self before the individual was told what one was supposed to think {social conditioning}. The Primal Spirit is able to be in relation to the Conscious Spirit through Kundalini and mediation. If possible, this process – referred to as “Evolutionary Impulses” – the Primal Spirit is able to reconstruct, fix, or improve the individual based on one’s internal blueprints. Semple said, “Kundalini doesn’t only reengineer the body; it remakes the psyche” (22).

In the brain lies the blueprints for how the individual is supposed to be formed. Due to accidents throughout one’s life, development and growth may be stunted or halted. Semple claims that through Kundalini meditation and practice that the Primal Spirit can fix experience’s errors. <>Interesting.

This will be a challenge for me – to try Kundalini, not to read the book – as I am leery of the term spirituality because it initially conjures up images of the Transcendentalist movement and a rejection of the material world. Due to my graduate studies, my thinking process has greatly altered. Currently, I look to science for answers demonstrated through the empirical method. Semple says that one must discard what one knows to start fresh. Like he quotes in the text, I agree with Socrates in that “all I know is that I know nothing.” But, I’d like to note the context of this quote:  it is found in Plato’s The Republic and shows up when someone credits Socrates as the person who had the most knowledge – but Socrates, because he is wise, thinks that he knows very little because there is so much more knowledge to discover. On another level, the angle I think Semple is demonstrating, is that Socrates – or any human organism – is not formulated to understand primordial ordeals through the conscious mind. This indicates that there is another “voice,” one that is above the animal kingdom. The Primal Spirit – or primordial voice – sings in tunes that human ears cannot hear because we are blocked by Ego. By reducing the ego, the individual may commune with the primordial.

Important to Note:  the primordial voice is Natural and connected to natural selection and evolution; the primordial voice is biological and interactive with human consciousness.

I have a meditation routine I practice nightly to help me fall asleep. My motivation lies in the fact that I have 333 billion thoughts racing through my mind at every given moment. I use meditation to slow my brain and calm my breathing. I envision that I approach a plank, lie down on it stiffly, and let the plank move back and forth slowly swinging. By concentrating on breathing, I am able to ignore rampant thoughts. I tried one of Semple’s breathing methods last night, and I experienced something different than usual.

Kundalini Meditation Experiment #1

Something I can only describe as an intense “heat” or “energy” rooted in my spine mimicking the beating of my heart. I was more “aware” of my heartbeat, it’s weight, pulse and sound. I had to cease the breathing method and resort to my tried and true mediation breath patterns to “calm down” my heartbeat and blood circulation. I slept well and awoke refreshed. Will note next experience.

DISCUSSION:  How do you define spirituality? Can spirituality be compared to, or a parallel of, consciousness? How would you define Kundalini?

Works Cited

Semple, JJ. The Biology of Consciousness:  Case Studies in Kundalini. Bayside, California:  Life Force Books, 2013.

Picture c/o:  https://nanobrainimplant.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/aaaa2.jpg

Bit on The Singularity

Humanity “evolving-out” Emotions

after reading Joel Garreau’s Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies – and What it Means to Be Human, I think if humanity continues to advance technologically, the upcoming Singularity will remove emotional consideration. However, it will eventually remove humanity, too, so there goes our endeavors and shortcomings. lol In short, humanity will be replaced by machines and “perfection” will finally be achieved. Sounds very sci-fi I know, but renowned programmer Bill Joy is so mortified of the possibility that he isolated himself from society. He bought an island {le gasp!} and ceased his own developing – Joy assisted in creating the Internet, but in March 2000 he predicted “something like extinction” of the human race.[1] Referred to as the Hell Scenario, humans enhance machines up to a point (the Singularity) where the machines begin to enhance themselves – developing consciousness and no longer needing the human element for continuation of life. The exponential rate is beyond human understanding, and a written in stone “prophecy” is not predictable. In effect, humans will be no longer be necessary or relevant in a world optimally ran by robotic machines. Homo sapiens will not be the most evolved species because humanity’s own creation will surpass the natural limits of life. Ray Kurzweil’s Heaven Scenario “assumes that when computers can perform sufficiently more operations per second than can our brains, they will inevitably seem conscious. That is, they will demonstrate true intelligence.”[2]Much like the human being evolved into a conscious state, so too our creations will culminate in their own subjective spiritual experience of awareness. Kurzweil is an optimist who believes that our robotic creations will feel obligated to ensure the survival of the human species, but, on a more (pessimistic) realistic standpoint – humanity is the problem for the earth’s grand continuation of species: if left to answer the question “What element negatively effects life on earth?” The non-emotional, non-sentimental, robotic answer would be by consumption and destruction forces – eliminate humanity to save life on earth. Yes, humanity writes lovely verses and builds fantastic industry – but it is at the expense of life and resources. Humanity prevails by consuming and destroying.

What horror movie was it that the plants released a toxin that made humans end their own lives? How terrifying! Not just the notion of “evolved intelligent plants” who naturally produced the correct gas to formulate attack – but the thought that we really cannot get away from plants, we rather need them to continue the oxygen process. {casts skeptical glance at vased Paper-White plant}

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Garreau, Joel. Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies – and What it Means to Be Human. New York:  Broadway Books, 2005.

Picture c/o:  http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cWidIogbL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

[1] Garreau, Radical Evolution, p. 138.

[2] Garreau, Radical Evolution, p. 177.

 

Meditation as Technology

I see how – when viewed as a human expression – both religion and science could be evolutionary modifiers of the human species.

 

Concerning meditation, {Peer} wrote: “The consensus was that these changes helped the individual become less self-aware and more universally conscience.”

This is an interesting point; as we’ve noted in other aspects, the Enlightenment acknowledged the individual as well as one’s natural right to liberty and freedom. However, in efforts to draw the individuals back into communal concerns, meditation presented the participant with connective abilities of relating not just to one’s own life but to life in general.

Jay Michaelson wrote “Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment” (North Atlantic, 2013) to suggest that a healthy practice of meditation could improve an individual’s life. In his article, “Meditation is Not Religion or Spirituality—It’s Technology,” posted on the University of Southern California’s Religious Dispatch page, he describes meditation as “a technology of upgrading the mind that can enrich one’s life, including one’s religious life. We’re used to the idea of physical fitness. Time to get used to the idea of contemplative fitness, and practice at least as diligently.”[1] Meditation can soothe the mind and body.

This is not new information, however, the original concept of meditation according to Buddhism does not encourage change, only a passive state of being.[2] Michaelson believes there is more action available to an individual through heightened awareness. Knowing is not enough, positive actions should be taken to incorporate change for the betterment of the species. Michaelson thinks that by incorporating meditation the aware individual will develop a method to implement change for universal life.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Michaelson, Jay. “Meditation is not Religion or Spirituality – It’s Technology.” Religiondispatches.org, 23 Oct 2013. Web. 17 Jan 2016.

Picture c/o:  http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/creative-mind-meditation-to-be-you-need-to-free-your-here-connection-both-combined-together-create-50876497.jpg

[1] Michaelson, “Meditation is not Religion.”

[2] Michaelson, “Meditation is not Religion.”

Spirituality as Adaptive Evolutionary Aspect?

In “Your Brain on Religion,” Newburg discusses neurotheology, a scientific study that shows a relationship between the brain and the spiritual self.[1]Newburg sees a clear relation between religion and science, in support of evolutionary biology. However, he thinks there is some place where the two interact – that the spiritual element is part of evolution – while evolutionary biologists are not certain about spirituality, though individual biologists chose to believe in religion as well.

Even though I am not personally religious, I can see how a religious person would benefit from their beliefs and through practice improve their lives. Scientifically, I see a similar ability present in gene-therapy whether conducted with scientists or implemented everyday through personal experience and exposure. In Dean Ornish’s TEDtalk, “Your Genes are not Your Fate,” the ability to improve one’s genetic makeup is achieved through healthy-living and implementing positive experience into one’s life. Genes are able to improve with an evolving environment, if the individual extends the abilities found in evolution to their daily lives then happiness and improvement is a realistic goal. The more happiness and healthy-living a person assumes then the more brain cells increase – advancing the intellect and improving one’s genetic formula.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Newburg, Andrew. “Your Brain on Religion.” Steve Paikin. YouTube.com,16 Jun 2015. Online video. 15 Jan 2016.

Ornish, Dean. “Your Genes are not Your Fate.” TEDtalk.com, Jun 2008.Online video. 15 Jan 2016.

Picture c/o:  http://thespiritscience.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/spiritual-enlightenment-2.jpg

[1] Newburg, “Your Brain on Religion,” 0:38-0:45.

Really…?

My MacBook, Archimedes, ate all my categories. And now it is self-selecting for this post. {gnashing of teeth} Trying to fix, hope it works.

ARGH…now…duplicity.

 

“Renegade” by X Ambassadors as Message to Dionysian Mind

Granted, Wagner, the X Ambassadors is not, lol, but… Nietzsche saw music as the best way for humans to express themselves or as an avenue to happiness. You asked about commercialism – combing through our text, I find it interesting that there is not heavy influence in capitalism, commerce, or materialism – only reference to seeking a pleasure filled life. However, there is a note from Bernard Williams in the introduction, that I feel supports my inclusion of the modern song; Williams said, “[The Gay Science], like all his others, makes it clear than any life worth living must involve daring, individuality and creative bloody-mindedness” (Nietzsche xiv).

Yes, the message I see in the song indicates that the lyrics are addressed to the Dionysian. It is a call to arms, so to speak. Another piece, “Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz from 2014, has a similar connotation where the individual rejects the modern understanding of right/wrong. One of the chorus verses altered from “I” to “We” indicating that one person’s concept became mutual understanding – “collective thought” (Nico & Vinz). Before the song hit the charts, Nico & Vinz were addressing the modern group “Anonymous”; the first time I heard it was when I was tagged on a link in Facebook from one of my groups. My experiment with social media is still on-going, so I have not been exposed to collective thought for nearly a year now – I am not certain that X Ambassadors is addressing the same audience as Nico & Vinz, but I can deduce relation. It could be a ploy on consumerism, but I do not think the average person gets the same message from listening to the song as few are well read in Nietzsche. If it is just for the money, all they got from me was $1.29, so I can live with that. The message is worth far more – it is one of hope.

Here is my breakdown of the song. Enjoy!

“Run away with me / Lost souls and reverie / Running wild and running free / Two kids, you and me” (1-4). The X Ambassadors are encouraging the individual to break free from the norm and to find oneself – to release adult hibition and return to natural carefreeness of youth. I sense dualism; you and me could be two versions of one person, or body/mind.

“… Living like we’re renegades …” (Chorus 5-11). The word choice of “renegade” means one who leaves one system of order or belief for another path – one can then create a new path for themselves.

“Long live the pioneers / Rebels and mutineers / Go forth and have no fear / Come close the end is near*” (12-15). These are the types of individuals, Dionysian for Nietzsche, who are brave enough to challenge the norm. Renegades can be comparable to the Overman or ManGod because they refuse to accept what is given so that they can create what they want. They are more human than human – more than the average bear. X Ambassadors ask the Dionysian to come closer because normality is nearing its end, society will need Nietzsche’s physicists to rebuild.

*I’ve listened to the song over 100 times now, and it rather sounds like they say “Come close and bend an ear” for line 15. Maybe it is just stage 3 madness, lol, of over-listening, but just in case, it still fits: gather the unique thinkers together to sort out the plan of action.

(Chorus)

“All hail the underdogs / All hail the new kids / All hail the outlaws / Spielbergs and Kubricks” (22-25). More Dionysians: Underdogs – those that should not win but will pull through despite the odds, New Kids – evolved thinkers with fresh concepts, and Outlaws – those that reject directed order and law. And finally, the dreamers of the future, modern artistic expression – directors and writers sculpt concepts into film and literature allowing the individual mind to imagine altered conditions for life.

“It’s our time to make a move / It’s our time to make amends / It’s our time to break the rules / Let’s begin” (26-29). X Ambassadors is prepping the Dionysian. Social media allows like-minded individuals to find one another over vast geological separation. Unique individuals, the physicists, realize that they are not alone, and that by uniting with other’s of similar disposition a new understanding is possible. Down with the old order, in with a new; le roi est mort, vive l’auto.[1]

“… Living like we’re renegades” (Chorus 30-35). Nietzsche’s belief that evil upset good in efforts to create a new understanding. Good did not change, it clung to what was “good” for the past – keeping society in stasis. But humanity, like existence itself, is static and must be able to change/adapt or species will not survive in the constantly evolving world. The opposite of adaptation is extinction. Nietzsche did not say there was no morality – he thought that societal opinion had morality wrong from the start. Good and evil were masks created to cover the true self. Evil looked for improvement, and many results are definitely good: modern necessities like indoor-plumbing, roads, electricity, and technology. However, Nietzsche was not expecting people to turn into cartoon villains – he suggested a closer look at human consideration for the term and expanded possibilities removed from black-or-white configuration.

 

Works Cited

“Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz, 2014.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science. Ed. Bernard Williams. Trans.

Josefine Nauckhoff and Adrian del Caro. Cambridge, United

Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

“Renegades” by X Ambassadors, 3 Mar 2015.

https://www.google.com/search?q=lyrics+renegades&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Picture c/o:  https://i.ytimg.com/vi/-SytFteQnYY/hqdefault.jpg

[1] “The king is dead; long live the self.”

#PursuitofOptimism #DionysianLifestyle