Thursday, October 23, 2008

If you're mortal and you know it...

SOLOMON: A large body of evidence shows that momentarily making death salient, typically by asking people to think about themselves dying, intensifies people’s strivings to protect and bolster aspects of their worldviews, and to bolster their self-esteem. The most common finding is that MS increases positive reactions to those who share cherished aspects of one’s cultural worldview, and negative reactions toward those who violate cherished cultural values or are merely different.

Thus, invoking the fear of death can pander to people's bigotry, and arouse their hatred of the socially variant. This strategy has proved profitable for many groups; especially the reactionary religious ones. Further, by invoking the "death of culture" concept, this fear can be exploited even more adroitly.

By threatening the demise of concepts deemed irreplaceable to an individual's continued existence, the triggering of abhorrence occurs, and can be channeled into useful reservoirs of repugnance. Individuals that disagree with a cherished belief become life-threatening attackers; for which violence in kind is the only proper response.

Thus, the left-leaning morph into terrorist loving madmen; the gender variant mutate into horrific child molesters; and the poor distort into capitalistic crushing parasites; all inhuman creatures bent on cultural annihilation and requiring extermination.

Meanwhile, those espousing beloved viewpoints are canonized; their words and deeds a saintly inspiration by which to fashion life and livelihood. Absolved from the constraints of human ignorance and bias, the chosen ones don the mantel of omniscience; and thus are freed from the shackles of empathy or mercy.

A god adored becomes a comfort for mortals... and those aspiring to eternity through the elimination of the abominated adversaries.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

three r's

You could say our lives as social beings are ruled by the three R's: respect—the sense that proper deference has been paid to our status, reputation—the carefully maintained perception of our qualities, and reciprocity—the belief that our actions are responded to fairly.
Indeed, these principles of education are the most prized within the academy of society; and inculcating them our most sacred task. Without due respect, there can be no self-esteem. Without a proper reputation, one's standing in the community is compromised. Without proportionate reciprocity, public intercourse becomes unbalanced and dysfunctional.

Managing these aspects of our lives becomes of paramount importance; calling us to expend all energy necessary to insure that our persona is properly cultivated and cherished by all pertinent people. Impressing others with our prominence should occupy a central position in our daily lives; insuring a stable and predictable pattern of interactions.

To achieve this worthy goal, both the powers of persuasion and coercion are vital, and need to be applied in copious portions to the festering sores of misperception that exist in the minds of others. Only when the infection of ignorance have been salved into submission can our proper station be restored and maintained.

This education needs to be continuing, for without constant reapplication; chances of a recurrence of reality are far too common; imposing the specter of infection and its insidious consequences.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

hollowed be thy name

One of the most delightful procedures is the evisceration of faith through religion itself. Where virtues might be found to flourish, the application of self-righteous pride and ignorance allow individuals to forgo the tiresome burdens of charity, hope, and devotion; freeing them to tote whatever orthodoxy rides most easily.

By substituting the image of holiness for its reality, and focusing all attention and adoration towards such a graven image; there remains precious little energy allotted to the actual work of faith. Thus, the ostentatious display of pseudo-piety affords its devotees sanctimonious smugness without any corresponding responsibility; a perfect recipe for a feast of indulgent hatred.

Secure within the shell of conviction, belief in anything other than the justification of self seems remote, and one finds little danger in evoking whichever deity best serves that purpose- hollowed be thy name, wherever thou art.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

certainly wrong

"the brain has provided us with a wide variety of subjective feelings of reward ranging from hunches, gut feelings, intuitions, suspicions that we are on the right track to a profound sense of certainty and utter conviction. And yes, these feelings are qualitatively as powerful as those involved in sex and gambling. One need only look at the self-satisfied smugness of a "know it all" to suspect that the feeling of certainty can approach the power of addiction."

"In short, please run, do not walk, to the nearest exit when you hear so-called leaders being certain of any particular policy. Only in the absence of certainty can we have open-mindedness, mental flexibility and willingness to contemplate alternative ideas."
Indeed, the oh so admired quality of certainty bespeaks of a rather less cherished one: ignorance. Just as those dependent on chemicals derive pleasure from a source both dangerous and rarely sustainable; those who are slaves to self-righteousness wallow in a destructive and debilitating bliss.

The mental warping from the intoxicating effects of unwavering dogmatism prevent the lucid evaluation of any position; indeed, the requirements of feeding such an obsession demand a reckless disregard for reality, even at the cost of integrity and happiness.

When leaders crow about their ability to "stay the course", they boast of an inability to think objectively, or reason coherently. Such esteemed madness may be acceptable for the zealots of the faith; but for the rest of the population, it is simply a fanaticism unworthy of public office.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bad credit risk

Currently, there has been a substantial amount of searching for a scapegoat in the financial meltdown. Indeed, there are many who have contributed to the difficulties, but one charge that I find particularly odious is the insinuation that loans to minority people crashed the system.

Somehow, the argument implies that those evil poor persons got too uppity; and started acting like they should be having mortgages like the real citizens of this great union. This, of course, transgresses the laws of God and man, and for such a violation of the natural order, a crisis of international proportions occurred. The architects of the global chaos were purported to be, as usual, the people with the least ability to effect beneficial change in their own situation; while the power brokers were again the helpless pawns of the paupers.

Watching the wealthy squander the economic future on their insane lust for present gain has become an American pastime over the last thirty years; with each disaster providing less entertainment value, and more hardship. As greater amounts of control are funneled into fewer and fewer hands, the wielders of influence become increasingly divorced from the mundane reality of average life; and grown progressively less sane in their dealings with politics and economics. The short term advantage has become an idol of epic proportions; worshiped with fervor equivalent to biblical malfeasance.

The golden calf of capitalism now requires sacrifice; the life blood of taxes and future prosperity should do nicely. Perhaps it is time to acknowledge the truth- the obscenely wealthy are the worst credit risks, and need to have their borrowing privileges revoked before they bankrupt us all.