Absolute elsewhere

Slightly less than nothing
No seconds to spare
A deeper dark than blackness
Just absence and thin air

Slightly more than empty
Nothing left to share
Thoughts without the thinking
In the absolute elsewhere

Clocks tick
But time stands still
Fire cannot
Warm the chill
Shreds with nothing
Left to tear
Disperse into the thin, thin air
Of the place that is not there
in the absolute elsewhere*

* If event 2 is outside the two light cones of event 1, then event 2 is said to occur in the “absolute elsewhere” of event 1. In that case, neither event could have affected the other by a causal influence.

Absolute elsewhere

World to Wander

(with inspiration from Song VII by E.E. Cummings)

Her lips drink water
But her heart drinks wine
For every mile the foot goes
The heart goes nine
They chain her foot
For her wrist’s too fine
Well her mouth is yours
But her eyes are mine

“How far you off to
And do you know where?
I’d like to follow but I’ll meet you there
A world to wander is a dream we share
Someday I’ll break free and fly away”

Her lips drink honey
But her heart drinks sin
Her smile holds a thousand
Rainstorms in
They tie her hand
With a chain so fine
Well her eyes are yours
But her heart is mine

“How far you off to
And do you know where?
I’d like to follow but I’ll meet you there
A world to wander is a dream we share
Someday I’ll break free and fly away”

Her lips drink water
But her heart drinks wine
And nothing lasts forever
But wasted time
They chain her foot
For her wrist’s too fine
Well her eyes are yours
But her heart is mine

World to Wander

“Pro-Life” is a fascist hate cult

evolve

There is no way to justify the position described as “pro-life”. Any political idea of freedom starts with the human body. The notion that citizens proxy away the freedom to decide what to do within their own bodies is abhorrent to all cognitive people. There is no philosophical basis for moral cooperation (“politics”) without acknowledging the sovereignty of the human body. The system that lacks this fundamental basis is called “slavery”.

Equally unconvincing is the notion that the rights of unborn progeny supersede the rights of their progenitors. Those that breed have always decided the fate of the bred, before there were notions such as government, church or self-righteousness. They were the ones who were rewarded or penalized, by the courtroom of survival, for their decisions.

There is also no way to justify the so-called pro-life movement through the teachings of Jesus Christ. Devote people who have studied the Bible with a predisposition to its divinity will point out its many contradictions and absurdities. Taken as the word of God it must be interpreted, contemplated and debated to even to begin to understand. The teachings of Christ in the New Testament, by comparison, are fairly straightforward. For example, here are some of his greatest hits:

  • “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.”
  • “The greatest of these is love.”
  • “Judge not, that you be not judged.
  • “the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you”

I am an atheist, I don’t believe in any spirituality or gods. But I admire the teachings of Jesus because he was a radical who was disgusted by the violence and close-mindedness of the status quo and was trying to empower people to throw off these chains. Love first! Don’t judge! Put others before yourself! He very much preached what we now call compassion and understanding. “The greatest of these is love.”

The person in the abortion situation that needs love and compassion is the woman. Not the single cell. Not God, Jesus or the Bible. Not the Supreme Court or the State Trooper. The woman. If you call yourself a Christian (and I used to, for the record) you have to put love first. You don’t get to pick and choose where the love is deserved. You love first. The person who needs that compassion and understanding is the woman facing this decision. She has been lied to by powerful men her whole life and told that she is going to hell if she has an abortion. She is being peer-pressured by hypocrites with no understanding of biology or theology who relish an opportunity to look pious. In some states she is being treated as a suspected criminal, with a mob of confederate bullies ready to strap her to a bed for nine months out of a deep respect for the preciousness of life. She is marketed to on billboards paid for by groups of respectable people who can’t bear to think about the horror of baby killing except when it involves American bombs dropped on foreign brown Muslim babies. Jesus, you see, would want them bombed, too. Not aborted, mind you. Murdered. Murdered for disagreeing with American foreign policy, or for being too near someone who does. That’s pro-life for you.

You might think I’m starting to slide off into partisan bickering here but I’m not. The pro-life movement is made up of two groups. There is a small group who want to protect little future maybe-babies with our laws, even when the parents of some of those maybe-babies don’t want their unsolicited action. They have compassion in there somewhere but mainly it is just horror at the thought of medically-terminated pregnancies. The other group are authoritarian fascists who are on a mission to enact What God Wants.  The have no uncertainty about What God Wants. They tell each other all the time exactly What God Wants. They decide if any particular datum is true or false based on pre-conceived truths of What God Wants. They are psychopaths and sociopaths that have been brainwashed and are in the process of brainwashing others. They don’t want to debate any of this and they feel no responsibility to explain, justify or discuss this with hell rats such as myself. It’s done already. It’s God first, dumb dumb.

I don’t care why or how you reject the so-called pro-life movement. But the time has come to throw it out of the politics of the United States of American forever. We managed to do it with slavery (although it is still a sore spot for some, apparently). We have to do it again with this flagrantly unconstitutional, sexist and idiotic idea that we should criminalize abortion. It can’t happen, it shouldn’t happen and it won’t happen.

We have evolved cognitive abilities and empathy for our fellow human beings. We have succeeded because we have cooperated. Our abilities, empathy and success have created a secular morality in our DNA, which is nothing more than the understanding that we all do better when we all do better. This morality is anti-correlated with religion, which is an authoritarian structure designed to consolidate power and steal productivity using the biggest stick ever invented: What God Wants. Religion is a bane and blight on humanity that will take centuries more to exorcise, much to the sadness of us all.

Michael Koppelman

 

“Pro-Life” is a fascist hate cult

There is no pie

I reject the notion that our beliefs are beyond critique. I firmly believe, of course, that we all should be free to believe whatever we want. But why do we believe it? Are we correct to believe it? Does believing in it help or hurt our own lives and the lives around us?

Religion is in the realm of the unprovable. We can generally prove that certain prominent historical figures really did exist, but we can’t prove miracles or divinity or other religious doctrine such as the resurrection or the parting of the Red Sea. People of faith see faith (in this sense, meaning believing the unprovable as an act of devotion) as a Good Thing™. Within the conceptual or physical walls of their religion, that’s fine. But when it becomes part of a secular, civic debate, it is untenable. Most religious people realize they can’t expect the rest of the world to legislate their belief system. Neither can atheist neo-buddhists like myself. Society requires compromise to function.

Politics is not the realm of the unprovable. Like astronomy, you can’t set up experiments and run them over and over but you can observe “experiments” in progress and “science the shit” out of them to figure out correlations, theories and best practices for a given outcome. Politics is what we call it when we combine our resources and our talents and try to solve problems together. We can’t solve all problems so we work on things that affect us all. We disagree about tactics and even strategies but in theory, when it comes to American politics, we have the same goal: we want to live in a free, fair, prosperous and peaceful country (and world).

Thus, when it comes to things like taxes, the environment, Syria, Russia, jobs, minimum wage, health care and other things you think are important, we can’t think of it like a football game. There is no “our team” and “their team”. There is only one team. You don’t get points for getting your way and being wrong. When we do things like elect the next President of the United States, we should think of it like we own a company and are hiring a CEO. That is to say, it is imperative we make the right choice! Working against each other is cutting off our nose to beat our face.

When arbitrary opinions become off-the-table for discussion, as if they were religion, and facts are dismissed as subjective (and in this case I mean actual facts like “Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State”), we’ve lost the ability to agree on things. The two teams playing Monday Night Football can’t agree to call it a tie and go have a beer instead of playing the game. Competition doesn’t allow for agreement. When we turn a job interview into a contest, we do a worse job. When we consider our opinions to be above scrutiny, we ensure that we are wrong.

In the 2016 Presidential election what “fooled” the media and some on the Left was that we assumed rationale was going to be part of the calculus. There is no rationale that can justify choosing a xenophobic, misogynistic, narcissist, rich, white liar over the most qualified person we’ve seen for President in our lifetimes. This woman-hating culture is the same one that hated gays until it became untenable to do so. They also hate(d) blacks, latinos, immigrants and intellectual longhairs like myself. The aren’t trying to help pick the best person, they are trying to get a little bigger piece of the pie by pushing others away from the table.

First of all, there is no pie. There is a mistaken notion that there is some gravy train that everyone is on except ourselves. That is false. No extra money will be heading towards Trump voters as a result of their vote. Being logical and compassionate towards immigrants (for example) does not take money out of the pocket of your average American. Far more damaging is The Big Short -style theft that goes on daily due to the “less regulation” that people unjustifiably say we need.

Competition is a great model if you can afford to have winners and losers. When you want everyone to win you need to cooperate. In the case of elections for public office, all that means is honest debate of the issues, awareness of data and its implications and a willingness to leave open in your thinking that you still have things you can learn.

I will never understand how intelligent people could make the choice they made. My only theory is that they were trying to “win”. They wanted payback for 8 years with President Obama. They forgot that George W. Bush left the economy in free fall, that the worst recession since the Great Depression was handed to Obama on his first day and he fixed it! He fixed the economy, reduced unemployment, paid down the debt and got us out of the disastrous foreign policy mistakes that Bush made. He also got rid of health insurance denials for pre-existing conditions, among other necessary things in the Affordable Care Act. And the Right wanted payback for that.

The American people betrayed themselves on November 8th, 2016 and we will all pay the price for it. When you consider your opinions to be unassailable religious doctrine you make shitty decisions. It’s time to put religion and politics back on the list of things we talk about!

There is no pie

Pornography

We are hearing more discussion about pornography lately in the media. Discussion is always a Good Thing™ and I personally think we don’t talk about sex enough in an open, honest and healthy way. I’ve been listening to the SmartSex podcast and the Foreplay podcast lately and they are definitely creating positive discussions and I recommend them both.

I hear a lot of good insights on the subject of pornography but I also keep hearing some that are more simplistic than is useful or plain wrong. They are:

  1. Life imitates pornography. This is not true. It’s just like watching normal movies – you can watch people shooting at each other and never once think you should go out and shoot someone. I don’t think porn causes people to, for example, cum on each other’s faces. Porn is arguably an art form, like cinema, and as such it is understood that is it not depicting reality. It is depicting fantasy. The people participating in it are actors. It is highly contrived and has very little in common with reality. We know this.
  2. Pornography is not sex ed. This is true to some extent but, again, see #1. I doubt that young people who are getting interested in sex see porn as a how-to manual. On the other hand, I have personally learned things from porn. I had never been given the privilege of having sex with an actual women when I discovered porn and I did learn about their bodies, to some extent, from porn. While a lot of what goes on in porn is extreme and unrealistic in terms of normal human behavior, there is also a lot of porn that is just consensual men and/or women having normal sex. This sort of erotica predates photography and probably predates recorded history.
  3. Pornography is causing problems in relationships. I’m sure this is true in some cases and the opposite of true in other cases. But I reject the notion that porn causes people (specifically men, in most conversations) to be desensitized such that they can no longer be aroused through normal sex with their partner. It is more likely, in my opinion, that men are expending their sexual energy on porn because they don’t know when their spouse will be willing and able. With men, as is well known, there is a recovery period necessary between sexual activities resulting in happy endings. Bad timing, especially if a couple is not open about masturbation, could seem like an inability to be aroused.
  4. Porn makes us judge our partners more harshly. Some think that the idealized nature of porn means that they will seem unattractive by comparison. They also feel like there are new expectations to do more things, hornier things or weird positions. Or that they must now pretend to enjoy having their partner cum on their face. I don’t believe any of this is true. Speaking for myself and most men  and women I know, we have better sex than the people in pornography because we are in love with our partners. There is no dissatisfaction in my brain when I am with my lover. I think porn probably makes most men (speaking as a man) desire their partner more.

I do not pretend there is no downside in porn. Women are overly sexualized by society in general and harmed by men at a rate that is shocking and horrifying. These travesties have been problems before the Internet and before modern pornography. Using pornography as a scapegoat for criminally-minded misogyny won’t solve anything.

People are interested in sex. This is a fact. Pornography augments the sex lives of a majority of people in this country. This is also a fact. Any deep societal flaws that come from porn ultimately come from all of us, not just from pornographers.

 

 

 

Pornography