Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why I don't really like Organized Religion

The first class I ever failed in High School was Catholic Religion, and down the line the first class I ever failed at University was Religion. I've never really taken it seriously, and I'm gonna try my best to explain why that is.

The high school teacher who failed me, didn't like my "style," as he called it in a letter he sent to my parents (pictured below). I'll transcribe it because it may be hard to read it,


"Wednesday Oct 20, 1999
St Thomas H.S.
Pointe Claire

Dear [Child Owner],

I have enclosed an assignment on World Religions that your son handed in for 25% of his term mark in Catholic Religion Education.

This is not the first time he has used this STYLE. Should he continue to hand in inappropriate work, his chances for passing this course will be very low.

Yours Truly,
[Teacher]"



I kept it all these years for some reason. I think it reminds me that I've always been this way. I think I offended him most with the following excerpt,


"Rumour has it that God is Jewish."  WRONG!

I don't think he liked that idea very much. I really liked the idea though...not that "God is Jewish", but I liked the idea of being "WRONG!"

I started to try and find other wrong people, I read Bill "Spaceman" Lee's book the "Wrong Stuff" and it became one of my favorites. I listened to Nomeansno's album Wrong and it became one of my favorite albums. Seeing that others chose to be WRONG!...I chose to continue that "style" for the remainder of my scholastic pursuits. It would later come back to get me in University when "RELZ 216" hit me where it hurt (as evidenced in the image below).


Let's get started now, The narrow minded nature of religious people in my opinion is more dangerous than nuclear weapons. At least the sheer destructive power of nukes is so scary that nations are deterred from using them. The worst wars of history have been over religion (or at least religion was used by rulers to convince their population to go to war), Crusades and Jihads and what have you. If it's not over religion than it's over nationalism. Things that divide us human brothas and sistas is what causes all the silly wars we fight.

Now listen up, we gotta work out our differences and get down with the global sound. We must become One Nation under a Single Groove. We must advance science so we can make life better for everyone, we must explore the universe just like we explored this rock we call Earth. A still more glorious dawn awaits, not a sunrise but a galaxy rise! Understanding the cosmos is the only answer. Religion should not stand in the way of this.

Take this example, the Ionians gave us the most advancements in science in a very small time frame and they would have continued at that pace until today but Ancient Greece developed a cancer...a cancer called Religion, Nationalism, and Greed. The data of the Great Library of Ancient Greece ceased to be. When the first woman, Hypatia, was made head of the Great Library, the Christians of Greece were so offended that a woman was chosen that they murdered her,

"...she attracted the hatred of the Christians of Alexandria, who wanted the politicians and the priests to reconcile. One day, in March AD 415, during Lent, a Christian mob of Nitrian monks led by "Peter the Reader," waylaid Hypatia's chariot as she travelled home. The monks attacked Hypatia, then stripped her naked, to humiliate her, then dragged her through the streets to the recently Christianised Caesareum church, where they killed her. The reports suggest that the mob of Christian monks flayed her body with ostraca (pot shards), and then burned her alive." 

-O'Connor, John J., Hypatia.
Hypatia


He says pot shards but I've heard it translated as sea shells or other rough objects in other texts. Wow, way to go Christians...killing a leading mind of the age because you believe humans with breasts and vaginas should serve humans without breasts and vaginas and not be allowed to advance. Good for fucking you.

We have barely discovered anything of what the universe has to offer. Why must we not advance or even lose what we know? Please don't do things like this anymore. Chill out and become one unified group of people who want to advance ourselves out of our current state. Let's work together and not against each other. We are all connected by the internet now and we are more One than we've ever been.

There's stuff you can do, if you're not good at science (like me), you can give researchers the idle time of your computer's resources by using BOINC which can gain more FLOPS if more and more people used it. It's not much, but it at least lets me feel like I am doing something.

It has cool screensavers too. I don't think I've used the word "screensaver" in a decade.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Obsessed with Artificial Crap

Whoa! Look! It's 13 tons of floating cosmetic products!

People love fake shit. Think about these ones:

1) When they made Orange Drink, the corn-syrup cheap replacement for orange juice, they made the orange color more visually pronounced and visually appealing through additives and food coloring chemicals. The color of real orange juice just was not orange enough for us.

2) Perfume is made from the sweat, tissue, and puke of sperm whales (ambergris). Females think it's a good idea to attract males by covering the natural odors of their bodies with the vomit of whales. Most males are attracted to women's smells not the smells of whale puke...it's actually kind of an offensive odor to be honest. Plus, nowadays they don't even use ambergris...they make synthetic ambergris which smells exactly like whale puke but it fortunately spares the whale. You womens are buying fake whale puke!

3) Auto-tune...why does every singer want to sacrafice originality to sound like they are talking in front of rotating fan? Every singer wants to sound like Soundwave from Transformers. This is silly.

4) Generic synthetic leather couches. Ikea, Brault & Martineaux, and all the other chain bigbox stores import these generic fake leather couches from China and everyone buys them. Leather has a smell, a feel, and a look to it that is indistinguishable. The synthetic leather does not feel, smell or even look like leather...it looks, feels and smells like vinyl. Everyone who has one of these in their home, always without fail, will brag to you that they have a leather couch.

"If a horse won't eat it, I don't want to play on it" - "Big" Dick Allen on artificial grass.

Corn syrup drinks, perfume/cologne, auto-tune, and synthetic fabrics are the norm now. This is what the consumer wants, it wants artificial products. This is what the audience for musicians want, it wants artificial music. People want artificial fabrics. The sellers are just giving the buyers what they ask for. Why do we want these things? Because that's what everyone else wants so it must be what I want.

We want to be saturated in reasonable fac similes of reality....but isn't reality refreshing sometimes? Aren't those strange things that don't seem to fit...a breath of fresh air? Take that show American Idol, where everyone is trying to achieve that level of reasonable fac simile and fit into the mold of what is "good" and what the audience wants. Why when William Hung came around did people take notice of him? Sure, many were laughing at him, but I think the main quality that propelled him to stardom was Hung's realness. The mold was diecast...yet he broke the mold.

Who set up what was right to be begin with? True musicians search for the the Perfect Beat...but is there even a Perfect Beat? If one person's trash is another person's treasure...then how can anything be perfect?

A term in linguistics called "Prescriptivism" applies to this situation, where some ruling power/authority prescribes a correct manner of speech and writing. How can there be a perfect or even right way of talking/writing in a world with a hundred thousand different dialects and languages? All us english speakers were prescribed what was "right" by the Victorian English Monarchy. It's right to pronounce a word in a certain way...but terribly wrong to pronounce it in another way. For all french speakers, the Académie Française (established in 1635) is the authority which governs proper pronunciations and, of course, decides whether a belt is male or female (a belt is a chick by the way).

Is what is "right" totally arbitrary? Yes, and that's why when a William Hung comes to town everyone takes notice. Because deep down inside we all crave for arbitrary rules to be broken. 

Take the greatest language, Mathematics, for instance now. Scientists have smashed apart the rules over and over again. When Einstein and others first started saying that the rules of math won't work in all cases and that there are certain special cases where the current set of rules would not apply...they called them crazy. Apparently, the story of Alice in Wonderland was written as a tongue-in-cheek bashing of the new math rules coming out in the mid 19th century. Lewis Carroll apparently was a mathematician and devout Victorian Rule-Lover who was enraged by the new concepts being proposed and made fun of them in his book...



By now, scholars had started routinely using seemingly nonsensical concepts such as imaginary numbers - the square root of a negative number - which don't represent physical quantities in the same way that whole numbers or fractions do. No Victorian embraced these new concepts wholeheartedly, and all struggled to find a philosophical framework that would accommodate them. But they gave mathematicians a freedom to explore new ideas, and some were prepared to go along with these strange concepts as long as they were manipulated using a consistent framework of operations. To [Carroll], though, the new mathematics was absurd...



Having said that, let's go back to music now. Knowing that the rules for what is "good" are arbitrary and that different things will please different folks, and that everyone basically wants crap. I think originality has a big place in music. You wouldn't have Rock and Roll if someone didn't get tired of playing what everyone else was playing, you wouldn't have rap if someone didn't get tired of playing what everyone else is playing (etc etc.).

One wikipedia entry I find very interesting is the one on Bavarian composer and music theorist N.Seneda. Seneda seemed to understand that the only way to break the current rules and create something new (and hopefully good...but not necessarily) was through, what he called, the "Theory of Obscurity." He believed that you had to disregard everything you heard and know from the music world around you to truly create something original (though not necessarily enjoyable to the listener mind you). Rumors say he would lock himself away in the wilderness, or some secret room, or Patmosian-esque cave for years to compose his great symphonies without being influenced from outside sources.

"...a man or woman moreso than this being can be called an artist, can only produce pure art when the expectations and influences of the outside world are not taken into consideration." -N. Seneda

You gotta keep it real and original too....simply for the sake of breaking silly rules.

Um, I think you're "leather" chair looks kind of like plastic...no?


(spellcheck says I spelled "sacrafice" wrong...did you grammar red barons catch it?).

(Oh, and ponder this too...is that bum Tom Petty famous because he's on TV or is Tom Petty on TV because he's famous?)