Category Archives: Happiness

My Favorite Romantic Couples for Valentine’s Day

Having done romantic comedies I thought we would take a quick look at my favorite cinema couples before heading into the high body count of Romantic Dramas.

I have some simple rules here. First they must be married (or as close as you can get, I have some couples from Lost in here and there wasn’t exactly a church on that island) and have a healthy relationship (so my beloved Buffy & Angel, Michale & Fionna, and Mal & Innara, are out on both counts)…and no matter how much I love them Sherlock and Irene, no matter what incarnation, have never had anything resembling a healthy relationship. Second that the characters must be together and married for the majority of the work (either movie or TV show) that they are in…yes we all love this or that couple but be it Booth & Bones, Mulder & Scully, or a thousand couples in sitcoms, they didn’t really get together until the very end… (my number 1 couple hasn’t been married for the majority of the show, but they have been married from the moment the female half showed up). Third they have to be fictional (as much as I love Giamatti and Linney as John and Abigail Adams, they have nothing on the passion and romance of the original…read their letters if you don’t believe me). Finally the relationship has to be a central point of the film (Jack Ryan seems to have a good marriage, but it’s always tangential to the story). Granted this leaves only a few examples as most examples of married couples in film are one of not so healthy relationships, either for dramatic or comedy purposes, but there are a few.

#6 Any married couple of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

From Adam’s Rib and State of the Union all the way to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner these two have always been a wonderful and adorable couple on screen and off.

Spencer Tracy on the importance of love:

#5 Lord & Lady Blakely from The Scarlet Pimpernel Now I have always loved the original book The Scarlet Pimpernel and while some may like older versions I have always loved Richard E. Grant’s interpretation of the original hero pretending to be a worthless playboy (yes, the character predates Bruce Wayne and Don Diego de la Vega). I prefer the A&E/BBC from the 1990’s version with Grant as Percy Blakely and Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Marguerite Blakely because the miniseries focuses a little more on their relationship after Marguerite learns who her husband really is. The constant fighting between the two (both for show and for real) is endlessly adorable and only out done by their moments of tenderness. This might seem an odd inclusion, but if you know the story you know the relationship of Lord & Lady Blakely is always taking center stage with the swashbuckling as the secondary plot point.


(There are not many good short clips of The Scarlet Pimpernel on YouTube…sorry this is the best I can find…trust me they’re a wonderful couple).

#4Nick & Nora Charles from The Thin Man movies


How can you not love a pair or married smartasses who solve crimes for fun? Such is the genius of The Thin Man movies. William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora are always a delightful pair who seem to overcome any problem and any mystery with grace and wit… Although the hilarity might have something to with the truly obscene amounts of alcohol they consume in between solving crimes.

(I usually don’t like remakes…but I am curious what they’re going to do with the proposed remake of the Thin Man stories.)

#3 Zoe & Wash from Firefly
Granted everything about Firefly is more or less perfect…but one of the true touches of genius from Joss Whedon is having two of the crew members be in a stable and loving relationship. In this wonderful cast of highly dysfunctional misfits you have two people who provide an ideal and enviable relationship.

Zoe Wash

…Yeah, Whedon did what Whedon does to happy couples (anybody bother to check if Pepper or Jane are surviving to make it to Iron Man 3 and Thor 2?…cause you know he’ll do it if he can) but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t enviable while it lasted. Curse once Whedon! Once, just once, I’d like to see true love win out! (And why do I know I would regret getting everything I ever wanted.)

#2 The Couples of Lost
(Sawyer & Juliet, Sun & Jin, Bernard & Rose, Penny & Desmond)

I love Lost, (I think in part because I only watched it after it was all on DVD…it I had to wait weeks and summers for more episodes I probably would have given up or gone mad), but besides the deep spiritual themes, the most unexpected joy of the show was how, unlike most drama on TV it showed not just one but several happy and successful couples. Yeah there were also a few that had to deal with serious issues, but I think the couples I listed above highlight how this show demonstrated that love and happiness were actually the natural state of human existence not the exception.

Yes this clip is a spoiler…but if you don’t know the context it won’t tell you much.

Now if you’ve seen the show and want to see all the happy couples again click here …fair warning I always cry seeing this scene.

And my favorite couple in all of cinematic fiction is a recent addition…

#1 The Doctor & River Song

Since she showed up (apparently already the Doctor’s wife) there has been nothing but a stream of flirting…

…And more flirting…

…And wonderful romance. Both were more than willing to die for the other, both actually died to save the other. Ah the confusing relationship of two witty super intelligent time travelers who keep meeting each other out of order. It’s tragic and beautiful and funny and terrible. How can you not love it? (Some might want me to include Amy and Rory in here too, as this video seems to suggest they also belong on here…

…but even with as badass as Rory has become, I just have problem calling their relationship healthy given the fact that Amy tried to jump her son-in-law the night before her wedding)

I could go into far more detail on their relationship, but that would be, as River would say, spoilers. Just suffice to know that they are a perfect couple even early in their relationship when at least one of them could still say “I just haven’t met you yet”

And I open up the floor for healthy, married, fictional and together for the majority of their story, who did I miss?

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Filed under Art, Happiness, Love, Movies, Valentine's Day

Movies for New Agers–Groundhog Day

“This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat. What a hype. Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it. You’re hypocrites, all of you!”

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same and nothing you did mattered?”–Bill Murray, Groundhog Day.

So today of all days, February 2nd, is the only day to discuss one of the greatest films of all time, Groundhog Day. I think by now we all know the film and the concept…although just in case you don’t know let me quickly recap the movie (I have to do this because I found some people just live in caves and don’t know movies at all). Phil Connors (Bill Murray in his last enjoyable role) an unhappy, misanthropic TV weatherman gets sent to Punxsutawney, PA to cover the annual Groundhog festival to see if famed weatherman and groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not. Then a snowstorm hits and he can’t get out of the small town he loathes. But what’s worst of all is that when he wakes up the next morning, it’s still Groundhog day. It’s always Groundhog day. Every day he wakes up and it’s Groundhog day. The universe seems to reset itself every time he falls asleep and only he seems to remember what happened. And after having all the fun you could think of having when there are no lasting consequences, a funny thing happens, the meaningless pleasures become, well meaningless, and he starts to actually improve himself and become a better human.

Ever since it came out this film has been popular with spiritual people of all faiths because it shows progression of self-improvement and placing value on things that actually matter as just about all religions actually call for. For New Agers it works as an allegory for a very abbreviated form of reincarnation and movement toward enlightenment. Bill Murray as Phil Connors works his way both through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (First food, then sex, then money, followed by thrills and the fun stuff we’d always like to try but never have the guts to) soon, he, like all of us, become both fixated on something of value and something which is just out of his reach (in this case Andie MacDowell’s love). As these lower pleasures give no lasting pleasure he tries to find something that lasts for more than a single day. But as he cannot find it by being his shallow petty self he becomes depressed.
In spiritual discussions of a lot of religions there is always a point where a person has progressed far enough to understand that the world isn’t enough to bring Happiness, but, in spite of deeply held faith (and oddly usually because of it) a person will hit a point where both the material world they have left and the spiritual world they have yet to fully enter both become meaningless and bereft of hope. “You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.” In Christianity this period is called the dark night of the soul. It’s a necessary spiritual point, but also a dangerous one as the soul hits rock bottom and feels it has nothing to lose. In the case of Groundhog Day this manifests in repeated suicide attempts.

“I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned. […] and every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender… I am an immortal.”

Luckily, like most people, he arises from the dark night with the help of a higher power believing in him which allows him to again continuing through the levels of Maslow’s hierarchy to work on issues of personal improvement, achievement and self actualization. After passing through the dark night he ceases to be fully fixated on only himself which actually allows him to better himself (which harkens back to my constant point that there is an extreme difference between narcissism and rational self-interest, between materialism and finding joy in the material world). And by becoming a better person he actually becomes a much happier one.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, or for the rest of my life, I’m happy now… because I love you.”

This movie works as a good movie for New Agers because, more or less this is what we believe happens to us through reincarnation. We get sent back life after life after life, confronted with the same problems over and over and over again until, like Phil, we learn how to deal with them. There is no limit to how much time we can take to learn, there is no force other than our own desire for happiness that forces you to learn. But if we wish to escape the particular cycle we are in, we must learn.

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Filed under Death, Faith, Free Will, God, Happiness, Humor, Love, New Age, New Age Movies, Purpose of Life, Reincarnation, Religion, Spirituality

Stupid Quote of the Day

It’s not really a liberal quote per se…but the underlying psychology is what creates a lot of liberal political belief.

I saw this picture make the rounds on facebook the other day.

 

It seems like a hopeful statement of compassion and thankfulness.  So what’s the problem?

“Much more than I deserve.”  That’s my problem.  The idea that you are unworthy.  The Bible states we are made in God’s image.  The Bhagavad-Gita states that the soul is unchangeable and a piece of God himself (Chapter II verses 24-30).  And of course in the second part of A Course in Miracles among the many lessons there are these three that you are supposed to learn and believe because they are true “I am blessed as a Son of God.” “I am the light of the world.” “I am entitled to miracles.”  And of course there is that Marianne Williamson quote I overuse. 

The long and short of it is that you are divine in your nature.  You deserve enlightenment, eternal happiness, and all blessings.  What could possibly count as “more than I deserve” after that?

But so many people believe they are not worthy of that Happiness which they are…and thus they prevent themselves  from experiencing the blessing.  God is infinite love and does not hold back on his blessing which are infinite.  The only limiting factor is what you choose to take for yourself.

And thus what seems like an uplifting statement is actually bordering on evil in that it reaffirms the lie that your are not worth what you have, that you are corrupt and given more than you deserve, that you fall short of what you have earned.  Not in the least.

(And it is this lie that you are guilty and inferior that liberals use to make you think that you have some obligation and duty to sacrifice your happiness for the whole.)

Try this instead “Thank you God, for helping me realize I deserve infinite Happiness.”

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Filed under A Course in Miracles, Happiness, Individualism, Marianne Williamson, Stupid liberal quote of the day

Some people are like slinkies…

…not good for anything… …but they provide a pointless distraction.

So over the last couple of days liberals of all stripes have called me and friends of mine cold, lacking in empathy, privileged (because apparently using reason to judge a statement makes you a privileged member of the upper class…this does not speak well of the intelligence of the 99% if this statement were true) and heartless for critiquing the numerous, pointless, pathologically riddled  with lies and half truths, and nothing but  worthless whines of all the schmucks who claim to be “the 99%”  (who strangely tend to endlessly piss off the 47% who actually pay taxes).

So let me give a blanket critique of the “99% whiners”  because I can guarantee you that each and every one will fall somewhere in this critique.  Why do I feel that these people need a complete, total dressing down?  Well first because I remember reading in the Bhagavad Gita:

“Charity given for the sake of righteousness, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness. But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion. And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.”—Bhagavad-Gita  Ch17. 20-22

And I find giving to people who whine and choose to not improve themselves, but demand others pay for them to be quite literally the “unworthy persons” warned about in this point.  Intelligent religions over all of history have made a distinction between giving for the sake of helping people improve themselves and just giving because they want (or does no one remember that you’re not supposed to give a man a fish) .  But still they feel you should give them anything they want because I have and they don’t…because they think they are entitled to my empathy and compassion because they were born, because I am under some order to love my neighbor…well guess what, because I can actually read I know I am advised to “love my neighbor as I would love myself” and let me tell you I am very critical of myself when I succumb to my worst habits, my worst inclinations, and my worst faults.  People who don’t love themselves, but ask me to feel compassion for them are the most rank hypocrites.  But why do I say they don’t love themselves…well generally rational self-interest, the love of yourself that this guy 2,000 year ago advocated (I’m sure he was a disgusting egotist for such a suggestion) tends to mean people take care of themselves, to better themselves, to have some concern for their well being…or at least to work in their best interests.

So let me ask about all the people who claim to be in “the other 99%”, have they acted always in their best interests?  (Now I will admit I do not meet all of the points I’m about to go over…but I’m not asking for sympathy.  You can be a good person and not do these things…you cannot be a sympathetic one and not meet all of these requirements).

 

Let me ask, did you graduate high school?

Cause the other 99% percent seems to suffer from a rather bizarre level of unemployment.  Now the people who have the highest levels of unemployment.  I hate to say this but a lot of these 99%’s are not exactly singing the virtues of their education while they’re complaining about unemployment (not all but a lot) which makes me ask if they’re unemployed because no employer would legitimately be insane enough to hire them if they had a choice.  Which is made all the sadder because, as a high school teacher, I know how unspeakably easy it is to get a high school diploma.  Really.  With schools, charter schools, alternative schools, online schools and GED you have to try to NOT get a diploma.  It takes work–Lots of work—to not pass high school.  Yet around 16% of this country manages to do it.  Oh, yes some of you might argue about the quality of the diploma (I have no argument there, only to say that given how low that quality is, it’s kind of sad when you can’t reach that bar) or the schools are not set up to teach students…to the latter point I would say that I would bet that even in the worst school in America there is one teacher there who actually does give a shit and if you went to them with an honest desire to learn, a drive to do whatever they asked, and willingness to be helped they would help anyone who came to them.  THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR NOT HAVING A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR THE EQUIVALENT.  And before I could even possibly feel sorry for someone I need to see that they have the brains and self respect for even the most bare bones level of education.  Yet I don’t see a lot of 99%’s talking about their education…

Which brings me to my second question, did you go to community college, a trade school, or state school?

This is tied to the first.  If you don’t have the desire for self improvement, why should my money or the money of the 1% go to you?  Getting an AA at a community college is possible, even on a minimum wage salary.  Same is true of a trade school.  It will take time, but it is possible.  So when I see all these people who say, “I worked for 30 years”  I always have to wonder what were they doing those 30 years.  The signs are designed to elicit sympathy, so if they were doing something like nursing, or teaching, or getting an education they would include that.  But they almost never include what they were doing.  Would full disclosure of what you were doing not elicit sympathy?  But back to schooling, anyone if they scrimp, save and work for it can get an AA or trade school degree which would make it far more unlikely that they would ever be fired and make it far more likely that you will get a new job easily if you were fired. Anyone can do it and anyone with a half functioning brain knows that education provides a safety net.

Do you like your job and don’t need anymore education.  Fine.  Commendable.  You did what we recommended to find something you like and do that.  But you knew that staying in that one position, not constantly improving yourself, not making yourself more skilled, not seeking a better job or position came with a risk and that risk was that when the shit hit the fan you were the most expendable person around.  There is nothing wrong with not seeking more education than the job you enjoy needs…but don’t come crying to me.  You took that risk.  I take lots of risks, I don’t ask anyone to be held responsible for them but myself.

Why do I put state college there?  Because a lot of these people on these 99% pictures list their tuition debts at levels far exceeding what a state college could cost to a state resident (even with room and board).  This means they chose a private school or an out of state school knowing what the cost would be.  Yet, somehow, as implicit in their whining is they think their debt is too high.  Well if it was too high, go to a state school.  I went to a private school, but I was under no illusion that I would be tying an albatross around my neck for the next 30 years—and I’d do it again in a heart beat.  It was worth it.  But don’t complain to someone else because you don’t want the bill for the services you used.  Don’t want high college debt?  Go to a cheap community college, get your AA then go to a state school for the BA.  If you’re working fulltime you won’t be more than a high car loan worth in debt.

Let me ask did you get a degree in a practical skill or a hard science?

And a lot of these whiners who complain about their college debt also bitch about not having a job.  Which is odd because the unemployment rate for college graduates is around 4.4%.  So I have to ask, what did you get your degree in?  Was it sociology?  Women’s studies in relation to Enlightenment culture?  A Master’s degree in Music theory?  What possible degree did you get that makes a high school graduate a more appealing hire?  I got a B.A. in English with a minor in Education, I knew that this qualified me to teach English and not much else, good thing I wanted to be an English teacher…but I got a degree in a field I wanted to go into and I knew there was a reasonable need for the profession.  What worthless liberal arts degree did you think it was a good idea to drop 60K on…because I can promise you if we split that 4.4% into hard science degrees and Liberal arts, the hard science ones would be much lower than 4.4%.  You wanted to study what you wanted to study.  Fine, it’ s your right.  But when you have given yourself a skill set that makes you unemployable you should learn to live with the consequences of your actions and not whine to me about it.

Did you refrain from having children until you were married?

Oh, here is a big one for the people whining about their lives in “the other 99%”  they bitch about child costs but very often I do not see reference to a spouse.  I know some wonderful women who had children before they got married and who are doing well in life (strangely they don’t whine a lot about things being other people’s fault), but I get the feeling they’re going to not only tell their own children, but society in general, having children before marriage is really, really dumb.   I would even go as far to say that having children before you’re relatively financially stable is a questionable move, but let’s deal with the more egregious problems.  Having children, married or not, employed or not, makes your life infinitely more complicated and difficult.  More rewarding, certainly, but infinitely more complicated.

And I’m sorry but I can’t feel sorry for people who have children when they’re not ready.  It’s not like it just randomly happens without any personal choice (okay yes there are two exceptions, one involves rape and then you have my instant compassion and desire to help you, and the second way usually also comes with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh…but these are the exceptions, not the general rule) on your part being involved.  Yes, are the deadbeat dad’s also to blame, hell yes, and I will instantly support a law that says that dead beat dads who don’t pay should have the very organs that got them into this mess surgically removed…but I don’t see many 99% people arguing for more personal responsibility, so that’s neither here nor there.  You made your bed, you sleep in it, don’t ask me to subsidize your bad choices and I won’t ask you to subsidize mine.

Let me ask did you work hard at your job before you were fired?

Oh so many of these people who say, “I am the other 99%”  seem to have lost their jobs.  Oh boo-hoo.  I know some people have lost their jobs because their companies went under, but if they were competent I think a good many of them got new jobs.  And other people are fired because they refuse to go along with the incompetence/unethical behavior of their superiors, and again if they were competent they probably got a new job relatively quickly.  But you know what, most people who get fired get fired because they’re the worst person on the job.  Businesses that need to fire 1,000 people don’t fire their 1,000 best employees—no they tend to try to fire their 1,000 worst employees. (Unless it is a union job and then they are required to go by seniority.  But I don’t see many people identify themselves as “the other 99%” being against such corrupt union practices, in fact if anything I’ve see n nothing but support for unions.  And well it’s a little hard to feel compassion for someone who loves their destroyer.)  So I really have to ask, every jackass who complains about A. losing a job and B. not being able to get a new one, did your prior work ethic and skill set have anything to do with those things?  Because even in this economy I have a really hard time thinking that someone with a good education, a strong work ethic (which breeds strong recommendations from your coworkers), and dedication can’t find a job.  Yes it may not be as good a paying job or even one they really want, but it’s a job, and people with good work ethics tend to find those jobs.  So really, can you tell me straight faced you were the best employee the company had and that despite your skills and work ethic you lost your job.  Or is it that these whiners who worked for 20 years and were then laid off were laid off because they just sat in that one job for 20 years, becoming complacent and letting their skill rust, seeking only to meet the bare minimum of work…a minimum which during economic hardships gets reset at a level higher than they’ve ever given.

Let me ask do you have friends?  Real friends?

I am the world’s biggest asshole.  There are days I make Greg House look like a cuddly puppy.  And I know without a doubt that if I were to lose my job or my apartment or come down sick that in addition to my family I have at least a dozen friends who would take me in and do whatever was in their means to help me get back on my feet if I needed it…as I would do for them without even thinking.

How few real friends must these people have to have no one to fall back on.  How bad are all of these people that they have to whine that the rich should have their wealth stolen from them.  I’ve always noticed that when I complain about these people on their blogs that so many of the friends of these self reported “other 99%” are quick to call me heartless and unempathic for not wanting to share my money for someone I don’t have any respect for…well where were you when your friend was in need?  You’re quick to chastise me for not wanting to share my hard earned money with someone I dislike, did you so graciously share every dime you could with your friends?  Did you stop going to the movies to help pay for that extra $20 for your friend’s chemo?  Did you cut back on dining out?  Did you make up the spare room for them so they wouldn’t have to pay rent?  There are friends in my life who I will put myself in debt for to help them, because they are worth it.  Where were you for your friends?  Or is beating up on people who use logic instead of blind unquestioning corrupted empathy the extent to which you will go?  With friends like you…

 

Let me ask, do you have character? 

Obviously the mere act of whining states no.  But let’s ignore this for a moment. The fact of the matter is that many of these people shade facts, use half truths or out right lies to drum up sympathy.  All of it is ethically equivalent to lying.  And anyone who engages in it is totally without character.  Let’s use the most recent picture I’ve seen to make the rounds as an example.  (And I’m using screen shots from his blog instead of just links…because I’ll be honest, he strikes me as the kind of guy who would go back, edit the facts, and then call me a liar).

He uses the phrase “part time” to get sympathy because we all think of part time as less than 40 hours of work…a technical definition is 30 hours or less.

He says here in his picture that the insurance he was getting wouldn’t cover his treatment of cancer.

Yet on his blog he states:


He was not “part time” in any conventional sense until after his diagnosis.  So that’s a half truth at best.  And at 60 hours he must have been making more than the limit that Arizona aid requires.  So let me ask you what is a fair limit?  How many people should be allowed on state and federal aid.  Give me a dollar figure of where the line should be?

He outright lies when he says churches won’t help.

So they did  help up to a point.  Yes could they get the money in time, no, but this guy says he has stage IV cancer…it takes time for churches to raise money for charity, they can do it, but just because you can’t have it now does not mean churches can’t and aren’t willing to help, they’re bound by the same laws of economics everyone is.  (Laws that state it would be much easier to raise money for charity if it weren’t for the fact that Americans are being beaten down with massive government regulation and taxes, you know what the 99% is demanding).

But my personal favorite is his implication that his minimum wage insurance wouldn’t cover his treatment.  Why do I love this one…well…this one from his blog announcing that he has cancer…

It’s so hard being a pathological liar when you don’t have the entire DNC there to help keep your lies straight.  So which is it?…is it that the insurance wouldn’t cover it (which in reality, I have my doubts, most plans, even crappy, will always cover the removal of a tumor…they just won’t cover the chemo and radiation because those treatments actually have an obscenely low success rate…especially on Stage IV cancer…but who knows it could be a really, really crappy insurance plan) or is it that you stopped paying for insurance of your own free will (he looks to be in his 40’s which would makes this an incredibly dumb move, given how after 40 your chances of major disease jumps, no matter how little he’s getting paid).  It’s one or the other, it can’t be both.  Either you had crappy insurance or you stopped paying for it.  Being a liar is so difficult when you have to keep all your lies straight.

(I could do a whole blog on how he seems to be saying he hated the pay cut that saved the business from bankruptcy and by extension everyone else’s job…but let’s ignore his gross lack of economic understanding for the moment).

Did you maintain a healthy community life?

This one is actually part of the friendship question. As Aristotle observed no one can live completely out of society and be considered a good person unless they are a beast or a god.  And there are remarkably few who can live with only a few close friends as their primary contact.  Most people need human connection to be considered a good person…so if you shunned society for so long, why is it society’s responsibility to take care of you.  Seems rather selfish and self-serving….but I forget I’m the egotistical and unempathetic one.

Did you start saving from an early age?

Really there is no excuse for this one.  If you didn’t save you’re either an idiot or knowing taking a risk hoping that whatever you are putting your money into will pay off.  If it’s the latter you wouldn’t bitch because you knew it was your fault and your fault alone.  If you’re an idiot, well, as you can guess, I’m not inclined to sympathize with you.

Oh and a lot of these people have a lot of medical problems.  Cancer seems to the biggest one.  Strangely, unlike every cancer patient I’ve ever seen they’re awfully vague about what they have…they describe having cancer and then describe symptoms that sound like benign cysts.  They say they have cancer….but if you can track down their blog they use the technical term for a throat doctor…which makes me ask how much did you smoke?

So before you want me to feel sorry for your disease let me ask some other things:

Do you ever habitually smoke or drink?

Lung cancer is one of the 3rd most common types of cancer up there (when you add in all the other cancer that smoking can increase the odds on the whole smoking related thing because it’s the number one killer).  Now if you smoke or drink I do not look down on you.  I understand it’s a wonderful feeling.  Hell, if I could afford the habit, I would look like a sixth member of the Rat Pack with the amount of alcohol and nicotine I would be putting in my body.  But guess what, I would blame only myself when I got diagnosed with a disease caused by my habits.

Do you over-eat?  Do you exercise?  Did you not lead a sedentary life style?

I’m sorry but a lot of diseases are heavily related to lifestyle and asking me to pay for medical treatment that was the direct result of the fact you did not care for your body…I’m having a hard time caring.

Now if you have a disease or condition that is no fault of your own, of course I feel for you.  I mean I wouldn’t expect someone who from childhood was deaf and blind to be able to write books and take care of herself…oh wait.  Or someone who had their neck broken to be expected to learn to breath on their own again without the help of a machine and make it a goal of walking again…oh wait.  Or someone with a degenerative neurological disease to make major contributions to science and beat all odds by living to 70…oh wait.  Damn, is it just me, or are there enough cases of people with a debilitating disease overcoming the challenges that disease brought and showing us the best of humanity not by whining others should take care of them, but by doing what no one thought they could, that it makes it hard to take the major whiners seriously.  My heart goes tends to go with one group and not the other.

Did you abuse drugs?

Kind of a no brainer.  But given the amount of crack pipes they found at Zuccati Park, I feel the need to mention this one.  I do believe that people can recreationally use certain drugs and not have it damage their life…but most of the time that is not the case, and if you feel the need to engage in this kind of activity don’t expect me to feel sorry for you. (And of course there’s that little hypocrisy about the money spent on drugs that could have gone to savings or self betterment). 

And finally do you learn and grow…or do you whine?

I believe that all of life is a giant classroom from which we are supposed to learn from.  And the best lessons are the hardships, the crucibles that show us what we are made of, and what, if we choose to, is the best within us.  Choosing to whine about it on the internet.  Not exactly what I would call learning.   Frankly, even ignoring this point I doubt anyone who claims that they are “the other 99%” could claim that they have not made the mistake I have detailed.

I know some of the people who whine and bitch and moan about their problems when they read this will wish I got to experience their hardships.   They’ll wish I lose my job.  They’ll wish I get cancer or some other debilitating disease.  Bring it on.  I’ve dealt with unemployment before with grace and honor.  I can do it again.  As for disease…well I had to die of something, I accepted that decades ago, and because it will not come as a shock I guarantee you I will not whine or say that it is unfair or that others should help me because they have more than I do. I promise you that in my death I will have more honor, courage, and virtue than those who claim to be in “the other 99%” have in their entire lives.

Now will all of these apply to everyone, no…but you show me someone who over time earned a college level education when times were good in a practical field, who always gave their best and excelled at work, who lived a healthy lifestyle and didn’t engage in behavior that was utterly lacking in common sense who is in on hard times but still trying to support themselves, looking for any job, because no job is below them, or has come down with a debilitating disease, I have and will help them in any way I can.  I have not seen one person like that claim “I am the other 99%.”

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Filed under Arizona, Capitalism, Charity, Death, Economics, Education, Equality, Evils of Liberalism, Faith, Fear, Free Will, God, Government is useless, Happiness, Individualism, Law of Intention, Long Term Thinking, Love, People Are Stupid, politics, Purpose of Life, Selfishness, Welfare

Misconceptions about New Agers and Pagans: That we’re all liberals

One of the main reasons for this blog and my book Republicans and Reincarnation is to kill this persistent myth that that all Pagans and New Agers are liberals (usually the common beliefs paints us as the hippie progressive type).  And I’ve had a few blogs about various misconceptions about New Agers but I felt I should once again deal with this major one.

Why?  Well because as the GOP race gets closer to the end (and especially since that dimwit Santorum has been given press time far exceeding what his lacking intellect would justify) I get to once again hear the phrase “Judeo-Christian values” bantered around and around in debates, speeches, on blogs, in news stories, on Facebook and Twitter.  Judeo-Christian values.

I have asked in various different forums and in person what that phrase “Judeo-Christian values” means.  Each time I have asked I have gotten nothing for answer.  I mean if it’s supposed to be a catchall phrase for a long list of values and principles shouldn’t someone be able to list it?  And it seems to be usually argued that these values dictate that you should be a conservative, but I’ve heard it argued the other way around.  I think part of the problem is that nobody really knows what that list means.  Yes the Founding Fathers followed Judeo-Christian values, but if you corned Washington, Adams or Madison and got them to delineate even 5 of those values I doubt it would be even remotely be close the list Santorum, Huckabee, or Perry would come up with.  And if we don’t know what that list is, then how can we even use the phrase.

One the other hand I can tell you exactly what some of the values of New Agers and Pagans are.  Is this a complete list?  I doubt it.  But it is a list I think any person who calls themselves a Pagan or New Ager (I’m just going to use New Ager as a catchall from here on in) can agree to…and I think they clearly lean to one political philosophy over another.

God is a being of love and reason.

Unlike some religions New Agers do not load down God with very human flaws like anger and jealously (or in some truly insane cases genocidal rage and say He is not bound by such things as reason).  We accept that old Platonic formula that God is Good, which means that God is Reason and Just and Beautiful and True (and adding the logical extension that Plato forgot but the Christians didn’t, God is Love).  This doesn’t translate into any political form by itself, but it does offer us the idea that reason and compassion should be a guidepost in all things.

The Divinity of Life

Every New Ager I think would agree that life, all life, has a spark of the divine in it and as such has value.  Now there might be a wide variety of debate over the equality of the value of a turnip and a human, I would be more firmly planted in the field that human life is unique and given special predominance, but I think we’ll all agree that we are not slaves or servants of God, but a part of him, his children (and if we can get rid of our fears and delusions) his equal.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on A Course in Miracles [Italics added]

What does this translate into politically?  It wipes away any political system that denies that “all men are created equal.” This doesn’t have a lot of value in most modern American political discussions, because I would hope we all agree on this, but it is a place to start.

Intellect, Free Will and Liberty

The next thing I think we all agree on is that our greatest gift from God is our intellect and our free will.  We have the ability to look at our life and not just analyze but choose the course we are to take.  This is what makes us the equals of God; beside God no other being in the universe has both the intellect to judge the world around them and free will to act upon those choices.  Some religions decry reason, others consider our free will a sin and think we should slavishly reject our will and submit to another’s.  We however revel in ours because we know that when we use both perfectly our will and God’s are not opposed, but the same.  We take comfort in the fact that while free will can allow us to make mistakes it also allows us to learn from those mistakes and grow.

“He tells you but YOUR will; He speaks for YOU. In HIS Divinity is but your own. And all He knows is but YOUR knowledge, saved for YOU, that you may do YOUR will through Him. God ASKS you do your will. He joins with YOU. He did not set His kingdom up alone. And Heaven itself but represents your will, where everything created is for you. No spark of life but was created with your glad consent, as you would have it be. And not one Thought that God has ever had but waited for your blessing to be born. God is no enemy to you. He asks no more than that He hear you call Him Friend.”—A Course In Miracles Chapter 30, Section 3

What does this one mean politically…well quite obviously the political extension of free will is liberty, the right to exert your free will.  And as it is a gift from God the freest use of our liberty should be allowed to the greatest extent that it does not harm anyone else’s right to life and liberty.  Thus it is the government that governs least that governs best.  Further since everyone is equal this pretty much dictates a classically liberal democratic-republic.  It also means that any drive to control society through government should be curbed, government is not there to tell people how to live their lives, only to protect their right to life and liberty (oh and a few other things, but we’ll get to that).

The Point of Life is Happiness and Learning

 

See there is a reason I ordered the first three this way.  New Agers view life in two ways, as an individual life, and as a series of lives in a long chain of reincarnated existences.  From the individual life perspective the highest goal is Happiness  (capital H), Happiness in the Aristotelian sense as a fulfillment not just of our needs but of our aspirations and highest virtues and greatest gifts shared with friends.    Meanwhile the goal of the multi-life existence is Enlightenment (a return to God) which is more of an eternal Happiness.  Happiness is in each individual life is a requirement for meeting this goal, but you also need learning, self-reflection and growth.

“If you possess happiness you possess everything:  to be happy is to be in tune with God.”–Paramahansa Yogananda

In a political sense this translates into two very important points.  The first point, when considered in light of our first three values, leads to an acceptance that rational self-interest (if Happiness is a goal rational self-interest is the only way to get there) and rational self-interest leads to capitalism when taken to a grand scheme.  Capitalism is the only system of economics that allows for the expression of free will where people are allowed to treat each other as equals and deal with each other through reason (or if they choose through compassion).

Quality over Quantity in Life

Having that view to Happiness and leads to a natural preference for quality of life over the quantity of life.  What does that mean?  It means we New Agers should find more beauty in a single act of compassion of one person helping another than in a million welfare checks handed out.  It means that a short life lived well is more important than a long life merely survived.  It means that life should be judged by the quality of our choices, the number of true friends we make, and the amount of learning we achieve…not the years lived, the diseases survived, or the amount of things collected.

“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.”—A. Sachs

What does this mean in a political sense?  It means we should reject calls for social welfare programs because they only care about quantity of life not quality…but it does reaffirm our need to be generous and charitable in our personal lives.  But just because some choose to make the wrong choice and not show the amount of charity that will bring them the most happiness, it is the previous points about free will and Happiness destroy any argument that these individual’s foolish choices of irrational self interest means we have to provide for those who do not have.

The Long Term Solution is the Best One

When you live with a belief that you’ll be reincarnated, as most New Agers do, long term planning is kind of important.  The karmic payment plan “Buy now, pay forever.”  So not just in your personal life, but in the political sphere, short term fixes are usually to be shunned as you will always have to deal with their effects…even if those effects are over a generation off.  So government plans that won’t work for the next 50 years, hell even a hundred years are not popular when in the New Age mind set.  Programs that will never be able to pay for themselves and never yield real long term progress should not be popular with New Agers, and this leads to a fairly conservative view point (note I’m saying conservative not Republican, those idiots can be some of the most short term thinkers around).

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Classically Liberal democratic-republics coupled with near laissez-faire capitalism and thedesire to keep government small, efficient, and protecting your rights is the logical out- growth of Pagan and New Age principles.  One wonders why so many Pagans and New Agers are liberal.

 

 

And you know what?   Forgetting that these are values of one spiritual outlook or another…I would bet you the Founding Fathers would agree with this list more than any list Rick Santorum or Barrack Obama would come up with as their guiding values.

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Filed under A Course in Miracles, Aristotle, Capitalism, Conservative, Constitution, Death, Declaration, Equality, Evils of Liberalism, Faith, Free Will, God, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Happiness, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Love, Marianne Williamson, New Age, politics, Purpose of Life, Religion, Selfishness, Spirituality

Movies for Conservatives: Moneyball

Best film of the year

“I know you are taking it in the teeth, but the first guy through the wall… he always gets bloody… always. This is threatening not just a way of doing business… but in their minds, it’s threatening the game. Really what it’s threatening is their livelihood, their jobs. It’s threatening the way they do things… and every time that happens, whether it’s the government, a way of doing business, whatever, the people who are holding the reins – they have their hands on the switch – they go batshit crazy.”

Oddly enough, as I certainly wouldn’t have called this being as good as it was.  Yes when I first heard about it I thought it would be good movie, perhaps a great movie, but I was honestly surprised that I feel this was the best movie of the year.

Certainly the acting was better than what I’m used to out of a sports movie.  Pitt always does a good job in whatever he’s in (although he does not always pick good scripts, not the case here, but before you throw some bad movie he did back in my face).  But while I would say that this wasn’t Pitt’s best performance (Meet Joe Black) it certainly was one of his better ones as we see him go from worry to elation, fury to happiness, and back down to depression again.  All the while also emphasizing that he is more than just a GM with a cool idea, showing that he does have a human relationship with his daughter and a true passion for the game.  And this is also the first film where I have ever seen Jonah Hill actually act instead of just seem continuously annoying.

Also I love the pacing on this movie which somehow kept all the threads—his personal life, his relationship with Hill’s Brand, his relationship with his manager and trading all of the players—all perfectly balanced so that nothing beyond the Moneyball plan becomes dominant.

And while there a lots of reviews that want to talk about the greatness of the technical aspects (acting, directing, writing, etc) I would like to talk about how thematically this movie leaves all the others behind.

And it is this ingenious plan that makes this movie better than most.  It understands economics.   It understands basics concepts of economic reality that much of the world does not.  For instance the basic truth of “adapt or die” in business. When, as Brad Pitt’s Bille Beane observes, “There are rich teams and there are poor teams, then there’s fifty-feet of crap, and then there’s us” playing by the same rules that everyone else does, in the same way it’s always been done without any variation will lead only to being under fifty feet of crap and nothing else.  So, as in any competitive system, when you’re loosing you need to change the rules and ways you operate by…something that the American public and government might want to take into account when they make their demands that we return to be being an industrial superpower.  (I particularly like that when I looked up the real Beane, his biography on Wikipedia says that now that all of baseball has adopted his moneyball offensive strategy in picking players, he has refocused on defensive skills…adapt or die).

This movie shows that you need to go for what works not what people think will work.  People counted steals (and a whole of other bizarre data as shown from the first recruiting scene…like if you have an ugly girl friend) when, as it is shown, actually getting to base is more important.  It’s similar to modern companies bizarrely caring more about stock price than profit, short-term profit more than long-term profit, the immediate revenue more than a product that will actually sell.

We also see that while this is in some ways kind of obvious as an idea in retrospect (yeah you need to care more about winning than anything else) people will fight it.  People will fight change even if it makes sense. Doesn’t matter that the current system isn’t working (as it wasn’t for the A’s) they will fight for the old way and refuse to even try anything new.  Beane had to fire people, trade valuable players, and constantly fight up hill just to prove that trying something that in some ways is kind of a no-brainer just to show it works.

It shows that the past is something to be learned from not lived in.  In fact Beane rewards Brand for saying that he was a terrible ballplayer.  He has no illusions about what his skills were and what mistakes he made, but, unlike most people, he learned not to repeat those mistakes in his own life nor would he try to help others repeat those mistakes.

And most importantly Beane (and the director of this film)  understand the importance of character and relationships over money.  I know I emphasize money a lot in this blog, because it is important than a lot of things liberals consider important…but he cares more about achieving something than money which is a correct outlook (I’d tell you what

Beane fought, and luckily won, against a system that was making all the same mistakes that are helping cause our current economic problem.  This should be one of those movies that every American goes to see and you should take notes.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Art, Economics, Faith, Happiness, Long Term Thinking, Movies, Movies for Conservatives

Rick Santorum’s perverted view of America

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”—Thomas Jefferson (Notice the use of the singular “mind” and “man”…if he had meant society he would have said “minds of men” but rather this is a statement against tyranny over even a single individual…yes he was a little lax on fulfilling that depending on the complexion of the individual in question…but I’m going for a philosophical concepts here, not the fact Jefferson had personal issues.)

Today’s stupid liberal quote come from uber-liberal and Christian Sharia supporter Rick “I will trample every freedom history has ever known to establish my theocracy” Santorum.

Putting the “Fun” back into psychotic fundamentalism

From Rick Santorum’s book, It takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good:

“It wasn’t a freedom that celebrated the individual above society. It wasn’t a freedom that gave men and women blanket permission to check in and out of society whenever they wanted. It wasn’t the freedom to be as selfish as I want to be. It wasn’t even the freedom to be left alone, with no obligations to the people we know and to the people we don’t yet know. The Constitutional Convention’s freedom, American’s traditional freedom–or the better word, as I defined it earlier, liberty–was a selfless freedom, freedom for the sake of something greater or higher than the self. For our founders, this liberty was defined and defended in the context of our Judeo-Christian understanding of humanity. Often, in fact, American liberty meant the freedom to attend to one’s duties–duties to God, to family, and to neighbors. Our founders were in the business of constructing a nation, a political community. No-Fault Freedom, a freedom from every tie and duty, provides no basis for that project: it is a principle of division and social deconstruction.” (44)

Okay this is perhaps more frightening than anything I have seen Obama say.  Granted Obama’s actions are those of a petty banana dictator trying to create a fascist state…but he’s an idiot and doesn’t do it well.  Most notably he can’t come out and defend his statist collectivist views.  But here we have Rick Santorum doing that very articulately.

Let’s take this monstrous evil apart bit by bit.

It wasn’t a freedom that celebrated the individual above society.

 

Yes the Founding Fathers believed in none of that tripe that said individuals “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Oh wait.  Notice how liberty is joined with the pursuit of Happiness.  Happiness (capital H) is an Aristotelian concept that an individual has reached the completion and fulfillment of their life through the expression of personal virtue, not through the collectivist service to virtue that Santorum suggests here.  A society cannot pursue Happiness, only an individual can.  A society cannot have a right to life, only an individual can.  But, Santorum wants you to believe that Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin who worked on the first draft put a social right in between two individual ones.  And if you believe that one I have a lovely bridge to sell you.   Further, pursuit of Happiness is an expansion of John Locke’s right to property (his original rights were the right to life, liberty and property and no one in their right mind ever thought Locke was talking about social rights not individual one).  If, as Santorum dishonestly suggests, the Founders held society above the individual then that would mean the right to pursue Happiness as a more evolved idea of property, was only for society, which would mean that property should only be held by society and not the individual….and you wonder why I consider Santorum a filthy socialist.

And of course the Founders held the good of society above the good of the individual.  Which is none of them ever broke any of the laws that were for the good society for personal gain—so long as you ignore that John Hancock made a fortune as a smuggler.  And if you put the good of society ahead above the individual then you would see the need to pay off the debts incurred by a massive war fought partly to defend you from the French and not complain about the numerous taxes levied to pay off that debt…oh wait no they would rather risk “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” than pay those taxes.  By the way Rick, honor is also a personal virtue.

Notice also some of their complaints

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

All of those are actions by the British Government attempting to bring about the “public good” but at the expense of personal liberties.  Notice Rick, how the individual is not being sacrificed for the good of the whole by the Founding Fathers.

Notice also phrases like “To secure the public good and private rights” from Federalist 10 by Madison, which seems to place the individual on equal, not subservient, value to the public good…you know kind of like how Christ put the individual on equal footing to everyone else when he quoted Leviticus and said “Love your neighbor as you would love yourself.”  Ignorant, and evil, collectivists like Santorum also seem to miss the second part.  But I shouldn’t expect someone as zealously passionate about his religion to actually read the damn book.

It wasn’t a freedom that gave men and women blanket permission to check in and out of society whenever they wanted.

As Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington did quite often.  And stop me if I’m wrong but wasn’t America founded by people who wanted to check out of society and start a new one, wasn’t this nation founded by people who wanted to check out of the society of Great Britain, wasn’t westward expansion driven by rugged individuals who wanted to check out of society and go west (which was, last time I checked part of the Founding Father’s vision).

 It wasn’t the freedom to be as selfish as I want to be.

Which I’m sure is why Jefferson said “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”  It might be easy to assume Jefferson held the attitude to all private actions that didn’t hurt anyone.

Or try this one from their contemporaries Adam Smith

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.”

Selfishness is what defines human progress.  But Santorum wants to think in the very plebian and uneducated way of sin and virtue.  Selfishness and Selflessness.  It shows that he had done little to any study of the philosophy of the Founding Fathers, nor does he know anything about his own Catholic doctrines…as study in either would lead him back to Aristotle who saw each virtue to have two vices not one (but you know when I looked up Santorum’s education, it came from the Dickenson School of Law, named after John Dickenson, a man so morally bankrupt that he is the only person who had the chance to sign both the Declaration of Independence AND the Constitution AND refused to sign both.  It’s good to see Santorum is keeping up with that legacy of opposing what is right and good and true).  But back to Aristotelian virtue.  It is not a choice between selfish and selfless it a choice between the virtue of rational self-interest and the vices of narcissism and selflessness.  Rational self-interest is where one puts ones needs, wants, and desires first but not at the expense of others, where one’s rights are on equal foot with the rights of others, and where we treat others with compassion, not just because we have the duty to, but because it makes us feel good.  Santorum confuses selfishness, caring about your own concerns, with narcissism where you care ONLY about you and damn how others are affected by your actions (one might say this is the behavior of a sociopath, but even most high-functioning sociopaths take the needs of others into consideration as a means to their ends…so it’s hard to find a lot of examples of this particular evil.  Most evils in the world are caused more by short sightedness and ignorance, not by narcissism).

 It wasn’t even the freedom to be left alone, with no obligations to the people we know and to the people we don’t yet know.

I think he is trying to pervert Edmund Burke’s definition of society (and by extension) as “a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”  But a partnership is not an obligation.  The partnership Burke spoke of was to not view government as a joint stock company like short sighted East India Trading Company he had to deal with (the GM of it’s time) which was designed only to make a quick buck, what he was talking about was that society and law should be made with the long term good in mind.  That we should not solve our problems by heaping problems on future generations.  But if it is trying to pervert Burke he forgets that Burke was probably America’s chief proponent in Britain of our argument to King George III and Parliament that said we have a God-given right to be left alone when we choose so and our only obligation to you, our parent country and society, is to “hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”

There are however no “obligations” or “duties” in this, only the basic ethics to not intentionally harm others (i.e. future generations) but we have no obligations other than the ethical injunction to not maliciously and unjustly harm others.

It is the freedom to be left alone.  Who the hell does this man thinks made this nation?  A bunch of people who just sat in society and always worked in it or those who constantly moved west when they got tired of society.  Don’t like society, move to America.  Don’t like the first colonies’ society, move West.  Don’t like the colonies society, cross the Appalachians.  Not thrilled with the society of the new Union, cross the Mississippi.

Oh and I hate to make this observation, but I have never in my life known a person with an IQ over 110 who doesn’t long for at least some point of each day where they have the freedom to be left alone, who doesn’t want time with their own thought…who wouldn’t yearn for days to be left alone if not longer…what does it say about a man who not only doesn’t want that freedom, doesn’t understand it, but actually wants to outlaw it.

The Founders would have agreed with their contemporary Adam Smith that our obligation is to ourselves and to reason because through these two things naturally develop empathy and compassion…and without a rational self-interest there can be no empathy, compassion or ethical behavior.  And I don’t know if there was enough in all 13 colonies to make them agree with this disgrace of an American named Santorum.

The Constitutional Convention’s freedom, American’s traditional freedom–or the better word, as I defined it earlier, liberty–was a selfless freedom, freedom for the sake of something greater or higher than the self.

Yes, they were after something higher than one person: property and property rights.  And the Happiness of the individual.

I don’t know how selfless it was, as it was very much for the defense of personal property and the right to shoot anyone, be they an individual or a tyrannical government, who dared think they could take your hard earned property…but it was for something greater because they knew that if you could not control your own fate through work, property and achievement there could be no Happiness.

But this man clearly doesn’t believe in Happiness…no, like a good little Kantian he only believes in duty and obligation.  (Remember that Kant is the philosophical basis for Communism and Nazism).

 For our founders, this liberty was defined and defended in the context of our Judeo-Christian understanding of humanity.

Could someone please tell me what Judeo-Christian values are?

Would that be the Enlightenment/Thomist-Aristotlian view each person was personally responsible for themselves.  Perhaps the Puritan/Protestant view that salvation of self was a personal matter and that each person is saved or damned based only on their own merits as an individual.  Couldn’t be the Unitarian view that Franklin and both John and Abigail Adams had that took that Protestant view of individual relationship to God even further and saw it not only as personal but private as well.

Perhaps it might be the in line with the view of the Bill of the Rights of Englishmen that more or less implied that since we can’t possibly know the mind of God we’re not going to legislate in such a way that suggests one religion is more right over another….you know one of those British things that the Founding Fathers actually wanted to continue.  Shame you don’t want to continue that Rick.

Might it be that Judeo Christian understanding of humanity that a Catholic like you should know, that of St. Thomas Aquinas, who in the Summa Theologica stated that “human law does not prohibit every vice from which virtuous men abstain, but only the more serious ones from which the majority can abstain, especially those that harm others and which must be prohibited for human society to survive such as homicide, theft and the life.”  Hmm…even Thomas Aquinas seems to recognize the importance of personal property rights (and this was still before the only ethical means of economic dealing, laissez-faire capitalism, had really been codified in both law and practice)…shame a man from 1200 is centuries ahead of Rick Santorum (but frankly people in 500 BCE were centuries ahead of Santorum).

Often, in fact, American liberty meant the freedom to attend to one’s duties–duties to God, to family, and to neighbors.

No you have a duty to yourself.  If we are made in God’s image then there is nothing higher we can serve than our self, our reason and intellect which makes us the equals of God if we choose to use them, our free will which according to the Christianity is something no other being in existence has been given.  Yes, if we are being true to ourselves, our reason and our will we will be compassionate and kind to others and wish them the best and help them when we can, but because “love [them] as we love [ourselves]” not because “we love them more than we love ourselves” (I seem to not remember that little distinction in the Bible).

 

Duty, a fascinating word.  As in duty based ethics.  The ethical system of fascists and communists everywhere.  Thank God the Founding Fathers were versed in logical people like Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke and Adam Smith who recognized that it was self interest that caused people to be good and the goal of society to provide the tools to become a good person if they choose to be (but never forcing a person who is not harming others to be something that they do not choose to be)—they thankfully never gave into the evils that the word duty has created other the course of history.

Sad they didn’t have the DSM-IV around yet…they could have also looked up Dependent personality disorder.  (Which is pretty much the opposite of a narcissistic personality disorder, which is apparently what Santorum thinks anyone has if they have even the smallest concern for their own well-being).

 Our founders were in the business of constructing a nation, a political community.

This is perhaps the only correct sentence in this quote.  Of course the Founders thought of it as one joined together by mutual consent rather than forced upon people.

No-Fault Freedom, a freedom from every tie and duty, provides no basis for that project: it is a principle of division and social deconstruction.

I will not disagree that people are often at their best when they are involved in society and working to better it (there are of course numerous exceptions, which Santorum might have heard about if he ever actually read something)…but it only yields something good for everyone when it is done by choice with the goal of personal fulfillment being equal or higher than the wanting to do good for others.

The point of society is to produce the highest good and the highest good is personal individual Happiness.  Granted the best society is the one that allows (not brings, because Happiness can only be achieved, never given) for the most people to reach that Happiness…but that Happiness can only be achieved in a society free of preposterous concept of duty…individuals are good by nature and choose freely to help others, they do not need moral obligations to enslave them to do so.  Rick Santorum fails to realize this, and fails to realize everything that is good in this nation.

***

British historian Lord Acton observed, “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought.”

What Santorum insanely proposes here is that “Liberty is not the right to do what our reason tells us we ought, but the obligation to be enslaved to invented obligations to one man’s narrow definition of God and to everyone else in society of others. “

Which sounds like one the Founding Father’s actually supported…and which one do you think Adams, Hamilton, Washington, and Jefferson would be drawing lots as to who got to shoot him for treason?

***

On a side note this is the second time in the last couple of weeks I’ve had to attack a Catholic who also happened to be a communist and who tried to use religion as a cloak for his evil.  What the hell?  I’m a Pagan, but believe it or not, I have a lot of respect for Catholic doctrine and the Catholic Church.  While neither is perfect, they have done far more good for the world (philosophically and materially) than they have done harm.  When did it get infested with this socialist tripe?

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Stupid Liberal Quote of the Day…

Today the quote comes from a fan of massively intrusive government, socialist Rick Santorum:

“And that’s sort of where we are in today’s world, unfortunately. The idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we’re seeing it in our society.”

 

He has a problem with the idea that “the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions.”  Notice he doesn’t say the state has a right to limit how you act on your wants and passions (which it does if said wants and passions hurt another person)…but he actually said the state can legislate your wants and passions.  Your thoughts and feelings.  What you usually think of when you hear the terms “Thought Crimes” or “Big Brother” are nothing compared to what Santorum wants.  Not even entitled to the sanctity of your own mind.  Nope, the government can legislate that too.

 

I’m sorry, you idiot, but you’re running for the nomination of the Republican Party which is supposedly the party of conservatives.  And true conservatism means you can live out any want or desire or whim you have so long as it does not harm another.  You can be as miserly, as sexual bizarre, as charitable or as boring as you want and as long as you do not directly hurt another person you can.  Because, unlike you Mr. Santorum, we believe in liberty, not a Christian version of Sharia.

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A final word on Christmas Charity Part II of II—New Age Charity

 

Okay, so in the last blog I think I’ve shown all the idiots who claim Christmas is a time for redistribution are without basis.  Why?  Because Christmas is a time of charity, and taking money by force is not charity.

 

Charity is not blind altruism and denial of self.

Charity is not government redistribution of income.

Charity is not welfare or entitlements handed out by the state.

 

But just tearing down bad philosophy is only half the job.  You need to show what charity should be.  And as a New Ager I have a tendency to look to all the world’s spiritual teachings (not just one book but many) for insight into truth.  So don’t take my word for it…but let’s start with that one book most in the West turn to…

 

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. “

Proverbs 11:24-25

Clear and simple.  Charity is a virtue.  But notice that it is not given as an order but advice that it benefits the giver.  Odd it doesn’t seem to mention anything about “fair shares” or “moral duty” or “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth.”  No, it seems to be personal charity and personal charity alone that is praised and rewarded here.

 

“Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “

Matthew 6:1-4

 

Seems to me that this is saying that charity and generosity are supposed to be private acts done by individuals.  And the closest thing to welfare and government entitlements at the time (the synagogues) is condemned as the work of hypocrites because it is done neither for the spiritual good of the giver or the desire to help the receiver…only for the vain attention that the public act of giving brings.  How much more despicable and ethically reprehensible it must be to demand that others give but that you don’t have to.  

 

Or we could turn to the East…

“Give up kindness, renounce morality,
 And men will rediscover piety and love.–Tao Te Ching 19

 

We have this in amongst the Tao numerous libertarian statements we have this one which suggests when you no longer demand altruism and rigid standards of morality and duty that people are once again allowed to deal with each other like human beings and then will treat others as such.

 

Or we could go to one of my favorites…

 

“Charity given for the sake of righteousness, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness. But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion. And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.”—Bhagavad-Gita  Ch17. 20-22

 

Notice how all conceptions of income redistribution and welfare seem to meet more the definition of “mode of ignorance”…and really it’s only called ignorance because I think Krishna thought “shit-for-brains” lacked the poetic nature that the rest of his words in the Gita had.

 

All of these quotes seem to be saying that charity and generosity should be personal, not a massive more by society.  They seem to be saying it should be done to improve the soul of the giver…not all that concerned with improving the state of receiver because you have no way to control the free will they have (although both the Gita and Christ seem to imply you should not give indiscriminately, but rather choose the object of your generosity to be a person worthy of such a gift).  All of these seem to suggest the amount to be given is a personal choice not some concept of what your fair share is as determined by society.  All of these are concerned with your soul, not with ending poverty (in fact I think Christ said something about there always being poor and you should worry more about personal connections with loved ones than with the poor…but then again, unlike many liberals who say they’re Christians, I’ve actually read the Bible).

 

So be charitable.  But because it feels good, not because you have any duty to do it.

 

And I’ll leave you with this from my favorite book, A Course in Miracles.

 

 

“The teacher of God is generous out of Self interest.”  A Course in Miracles Manual For Teachers Chapter 4 Part VII

 

 

 

 

 

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A final word on Christmas Charity Part I of II

So these last few weeks I’ve seen a lot of people talk about charity and generosity in reference to it being Christmas.  And a lot of what I’ve been reading on the internet and seeing in the media shows to me that once again people do not really understand charity (or any virtue for that matter…but that is a much larger undertaking which I will put off for the moment).

Now I’ve already gone over the psychological and spiritual benefits of Peter giving to Paul vs. the detriment that comes from robbing Peter to pay Paul in Republicans and Reincarnation, so I’m not going to go over ground I’ve already covered and bore you with that.

But I was doing my daily reading of news and op-eds on the net and ran across this little moment of insanity and evil “Christmas means the redistribution of wealth” by Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo .  It’s a fascinating if not horrendously perverse and monstrously evil article because it goes beyond the usual Robin Hood clap trap (because if you actually read the stories Robin steals from tax collectors and gives back to the people who earned the money in the first place).  It’s sad that liberal papers like the Washington Post have to dig so low just to fill their rags that they take the ranting of a guy who also argues that Queen Isabella, the one who created the Inquisition, be up for sainthood and defends Pope Pius XII, also known as Hitler’s Pope, as being “maligned” .  Honestly, I wouldn’t bother with this article if it wasn’t for the fact that I have heard shades of this argument for the last few months…and this article just puts all of these arguments in one big spot.

Obviously this twit is supposedly coming from a Catholic point of view (I use supposedly because there are many Catholics who don’t pervert the words of the Bible in the way this idiot does) and I’m coming from a New Age point of view, so I will be attacking a few of his premises on grounds of religious difference…on these points I ask that you only listen to my points before dismissing my side based on any religious beliefs you may have.  (Also there are going to be a few tangents because this man makes such random justifications for his beliefs that I have to also go all over the place to point out what a moron he is).

He starts out with:

“Jesus came to save the world.”

It’s a problem when I disagree with the first words you put to paper (it’s like reading the first words in Kant where you make the most preposterously idiotic, mentally retarded, and morally bankrupt statement that life isn’t about Happiness…when you start out with a false premise you know it’s all downhill from there.)  Why do I have a problem with this…well because if you actually read the Bible, and certainly if you believe in Christianity with its concept of Hell and eternal damnation, you have a view that he came to save some who would hear him and, eh, the rest of you know where you can go (John 12:46 “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”…and those of you who don’t believe…Also you might care to remember that it is “peace on Earth to men of good will” not “good will to [all] men”).  Also I thought he came to save souls, not the material world.  But this guy justifies his belief that the whole world is defined by quoting that famous passage of the Bible, “He’s got the whole world in his hands”  (okay he admits it’s from a “spiritual” as he puts it, not the Bible…but really, “spiritual” might even be a bit too complimentary. ) Really?  That’s the best you have?  He’s got the whole world in his hands.

Is this really a problem?  Yes and no.  I do believe that all the enlightened beings of history, Jesus of Nazareth included, came to save ALL humanity by helping them choose to free themselves from the delusions of this world and raise us to a higher spiritual level so he would be right if he meant save our souls.  But like most liberals he is a rank materialist who can see no value in anything other than the physical world around him and thus to him “save the world” means make our lives in the physical world, here and now, perfect (not to mention just ignoring the whole free will thing suggested by the condition “whosoever believes in me”).

And thus, for this crazy author, this means that we must have income in equality…because as he states

“Christmas 2011 comes on the eve of an election year when Catholic America is confronted with an escalation in society’s class divisions and a concentration of wealth worse than under the Roman Empire.”

(And I don’t even know where to start with that one…if you track his links back you’ll eventually come to an article that calculates the wealth of the elite in Rome (the city) versus the poverty of Rome (the empire), utterly forgets that there was a trading class of merchants throughout the empire which are more or less equivalent to the middle class,  ignores the vast amount of patronage and welfare programs in the empire…and completely forgets that Caesar has more money than all the Senators and Equestrians put together…I am still trying to put together all the data, and finding data on inequality in Greece, Rome, and the Dark Ages is near impossible, but distribution of income has never been more equal than the last 50 years of human history.  Also something to consider, the bottom 10% in America probably lives a life that Alexander and Augustus would have envied).

 “The idea that the world needs to be saved – and not just individuals — is contained in the doctrine of original sin as found in the teachings of St. Paul the Apostle. How can he say that a child who has just been born is a sinner? “

Ah, the heart of the matter, the heart of all liberalism (and the mis-named social conservatism…even though there is nothing conservative about it)… That people, at their heart are evil, they have to be saved by someone outside of themselves.  Now I will state that this is really the teachings of the Council of Nicaea (and a few other Council’s) rewrites and the not the words of Paul, but that’s an argument for another time.

As to his question about children and sin, well actually it’s called reincarnation genius…you know the dominant belief within Judaism at the time of Christ, the prevailing belief of every advanced civilization except post-Nicaean Christianity…might be something to that…but that’s neither here nor there really.  What we really have to deal with is the preposterous view of Original sin.  The idea that people are inherently evil and must be controlled.  Sounds kind of like liberalism doesn’t it: you’re evil and can’t be trusted to make the right choices, you’re corrupt and need to be controlled by something bigger than you.  Happy philosophy you have there.  Meanwhile I choose to take the side that there is divinity in the human soul, human reason, and humans were made in the image of God with all of his potential and reason within us if we choose to use it.  But I have hope for, faith in and love for humanity and you have a story about eating a piece of fruit…which sounds more like the acts of a rational God?  Also the teachings of original sin are attributed to 2nd century Bishop Irenaeus, not St. Paul…but as we already established this man clearly knows nothing about history.

To save time I’m going to skim over the next paragraph where he also shows he has a great grasp of history when he says…

[…] The evil person alone prospered in the Roman Empire. […]

…Because there were no just and good people before Jesus…Cicero, Aristotle, Cyrus the Great, not to mention thousands whose names weren’t recorded by history, never existed…before Jesus all life was apparently somehow a Hobbesian nightmare but yet still somehow managed to progress.  Am I the only person who didn’t get such a dark view of humanity from reading the words of Christ in the New Testament?

 “But Jesus changed that imbalance by substituting for selfishness Christian love of neighbor in Jesus’ name. The world’s original sin of favoring evil over good has been wiped away for those baptized into Jesus’ life and resurrection.”

 

This is really sick.  No educated and rational Christian seriously believes that only Christians are good people and the rest favor  “evil over good” as a general rule…and the fact that a major newspaper prints this twaddle is an insult to all the good that Christianity and Christians have ever done or thought.  I would like to remind this idiot that the commandment Jesus quotes from, Leviticus 19:18, commands you to love your neighbor as you love yourself (which actually is kind of selfish…rationally self interested, in between the two evils of narcissism, not caring about others, and altruism, not caring about yourself).

He then goes into, very poorly, a justification that since all individuals are sinful, society is sinful too, and that as individuals need to be saved, so does society…

 

“The concept of society’s structural sin that is suggested in Pauline teaching was crystallized in the theology of liberation when it appeared among Latin American theologians after the II Vatican Council. Based on a socio-economic secular analysis of history in secular academia, theologians like Father Gustavo Gutierrez spoke of structural sin. Upholding an unjust political and economic system would only perpetuate injustice, they argued. Good people could be trapped into a web of doing bad things because society fostered a way of acting that normalized immoral behavior.”

…If you need to reread that a few times, I’ll understand.  It’s terribly worded and poorly thought out, so it might take you a few times to get what he is trying to say (his fault for being a bad writer and thinker, not yours).   So society is evil and that causes good people to do bad things.  So again we have a very liberal view that there is no free will and people aren’t responsible for their own actions.  Now you probably glossed over that phrase “theology of liberation” because no explanation was given.  What is it?  I’ll tell you (and if you don’t believe me, go look it up yourself).  It’s the theory that Christ wanted everyone to spread the wealth around, even though he was friendly with some of the rich, and to spread it around by legal force if necessary, even though Christ had a I could care less “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” policy towards politics, and though he may have advised some to give up their riches (riches made off of slavery which was the economy of the time so certainly lacking the ethical basis for profit that capitalism allows, and always as a personal suggestion not as societal policy) he never demanded or forced anyone to spread the wealth around…yes clearly Christ wanted Marxism.  The theology of liberation is a belief in economic socialism, that you should worry about how much others have, rather than just doing your part to make the world around you better, you have to punish those who have done wrong…because the mote in the rich man’s eye is always more important than the board in yours…I’m sure Christ said that somewhere.  It also teaches that profit is of course evil, as all socialism and Marxism teaches…because we all remember that Christ praised the servant who buried money and made zero profit and condemned the servant who made lots of money…oh wait.  The long and short of it is, it’s Marist socialism dressed with a few out of context quotes of Christianity to try and get Christians behind it.  Further, did you notice how not once he held up even a shred of proof that capitalism is unjust (maybe because it’s pretty much the definition of justice) unlike the government controlled economy he advocates (which breeds the very injustice he says he opposes)?

The mere fact that he has to gloss over what it really is, shows even he knows what a house of cards his argument is.

“Detractors have caricatured Liberation Theology as advocating violent revolution against White capitalists. In contrast, based on the Just War Theory, theology restricted violence to a response against violent attack, reasoning that self-defense is legitimate when measured by the countervailing force trying to take away human life and liberty.”

First off St. Thomas Aquinas, who said that not all evil should be prevented by law because more often than not they will hurt the individual in their path toward grace (Summa Theologiae, I-II Qu96 Part 2) , is probably spinning in his grave right now that you have made a mockery of Just War Theory like that (Aquinas sets out three requirements for a Just War—proper authority, just cause, right goal—liberation theology lacks all three, Summa Theologiae, II-II Qu40 part 1 ).  Second, saying you follow Just War Theory and thus aren’t a violent bunch rings about as true as genocidal lunatics saying they practice a “religion of peace”…oh wait, in practice they’re a bunch of socialists too.  I’m seeing a theme here.

(The Declaration of Independence was founded on that same principle: armed revolution in defense of God-given rights is “as American as apple pie.”)

And Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin are now spinning in their graves that this idiot would dare put a belief that requires taking away people’s liberty and right to pursue Happiness, not to mention the sacrosanct right to property, and have the audacity to justify it by referencing the Declaration.  It’s a pity I’m not a Catholic, because if I was I could rest knowing that this ass’s only time not spent in hell would be when they were deciding if his heresy against the Bible (sixth concentric circle) or his treason to the U.S. (ninth) was the deciding factor in where he would spend eternity.

“Christmas 2011 is not a call to violent revolution.”

Why be violent when Obama is trying to make this law.  After all, technically you can be arrested and detained without counsel or trial if Obama doesn’t like you right now.

He goes on and on in with this drivel but there are two other quotes of his I would like to point out.

“This is the message of Pope Benedict XVI this year for World Peace. “We cannot ignore the fact that some currents of modern culture, built upon rationalist and individualist economic principles, have cut off the concept of justice from its transcendent roots, detaching it from charity and solidarity,” writes the pontiff, echoing an earlier Vatican Committee’s statement in support of the Occupy Wall Street movements around the world that protest laissez-faire Capitalism, the concentration of wealth and the economic philosophy of Ayn Rand. In place of these unfair social principles, the pope calls for “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth.”

 

Okay first off OWS isn’t protesting laissez-faire because we don’t have laissez-faire, haven’t had it in over a century…what they’re protesting is what is being mislabeled as crony capitalism, which I tend to call the first steps to socialism…and bizarrely enough the corruption they’re complaining about will only be helped by the socialism they’re asking for.  Second, Ayn Rand, really?  Friedman, Sowell, Hayek, Williams, Laffer, Von Misses, Smith.  The great philosophers of capitalism and you pick Ayn Rand (Rand is nice, but she is to economic theory what Dr. Seus is to reading…a good place to start but a terrible place to end.  This would be like critiquing English’s ability to create great literature and using Stephen King as example of why English can’t produce good literature).  Thirdly, we have an “adequate mechanism for redistribution of wealth”, it’s called capitalism, law, and merit and it says you get out of life what you put in.

“If Benedict XVI were a candidate for the presidency of the United States, his call for “redistribution of wealth” would be controversial. Can it be dismissed as left-wing socialism? No doubt enemies of Catholic social justice will tar the pontiff in this way. But the ideal “from each according to his ability; to each according to his need,” doesn’t originate with Marx. It comes from the Acts of the Apostles (4:34-35; 1:44-45).“

It is left wing socialism!  The current Pope is a pathetic replacement for his predecessor who actually fought to defend liberty…and it’s not tarring him, it’s applying reason to his statement and seeing them as wrong.  Hate to tell you this, but the Pope is not infallible (but then again this writing did come from the apologist for Hitler’s pope).  Ah and quoting two passages from Acts written by Luke, a guy who never met Christ (and was a vicious anti-Semite to boot) in describing how early Christian communities copies their Essence predecessors in sharing everything…this was of course before Paul came and turned it from a wacky cult to an actual religion.  A shame he couldn’t quote a single line from Christ to justify this as a Christian behavior.

I’m getting very tired of this moron…if you want even more detailed rebuttals go here

 

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A word from Paul Ryan on what this election means…

I love Paul Ryan …

He doesn’t go over all of these issues but this is what we need to make this election, and every election at every level about:

Here is your choice

The Individual or the group?

Low Taxes or the government saying it knows more about spending money than you do?

Small Government or a welfare state?

Opportunity with the possibility of failure or stagnation and equality in misery?

Economic Liberalism/Economic Freedom/Capitalism (which always works) or Keynesianism/Krugman/Marx (which has never worked)?

Rules or loopholes?

Inequality of joys or equality of suffering?

Do you have the right to do with your body and your life what you want so long as it harms no one or does the government get to say what you can say, do and think?

The right to live your life or being merely safe at a subsistence level?

The right to fail and learn or to be taken care of like a child?

The personal responsibility to help yourself and others or the letting someone else do it for you?

Is the Constitution the highest law of the land or just more of guidelines?

The national responsibility to defend the weak from tyranny or letting others fall and say it’s not our problem?

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness or existence, control, and the guarantee of subsistence?

I’m not saying that one or any of the current GOP candidates fits this bill perfectly, although some come closers than others (*cough*Bachmann*cough*…that will sound better on the podcast)…but these are principles of America vs. those of the what now passes for Europe (although the UK might just pull out and join us in principle, God bless David Cameron).  Every time, every election, every level.  We are at a cross roads and we cannot afford to choose anything but America.

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Meditation of the Week: The Fifth Chakra


Someone pointed out that while I tied the first three chakras to the psychological outlook of certain psychologists (First Chakra—Adler, Second Chakra—Freud, Third Chakra—Jung) I had not done this with the 4th and 5th.  This was partly because I was waiting to get to the 5th because the only psychologist who I know of who covers these two is Abraham Maslow…also he is the last psychologist we’ll be dealing with because as there are so few people in the world rooted in the sixth and seventh chakras no one has yet to come up with a psychological make-up of saints and enlightened beings (although A Course in Miracles does come close).

Maslow’s psychology, based around his hierarchy of needs, actually coverers all the chakras.  The first level covers the needs and issues of the first two chakras, the second level the 2nd and third chakras, the third level which deals with companionship, friendship and love clearly deals with the 4th chakra, and his 4th level, esteem needs, covers the fifth or throat chakra.  The esteem needs are those, according to Maslow deal with self-esteem, achievement, and confidence.  We need to know our place and purpose in the world and embrace it with passion and vigor.  This is often why the fifth chakra is associated with artistic pursuits, because it is often through art that many people best express who they are and what they believe.  However one could just as easily do this through being an inventor, being a great businessman or manager…as long as you are doing what your are really good at and really enjoy you are in line with your 5th chakra and meeting the esteem requirements…granted not all of us have found that…that’s why we still have to do these little things, these small actions to spark the creative juices to help you connect you to what you should be doing.

So this week we’re back to silent meditation.  I want you to sit for at least 15 minutes each day (I’d prefer 15 straight minutes, but if you have to break it up into three five-minute periods that is okay) and while sitting  (lotus position if possible)  focus on your fifth chakra, the spinning blue circle in your throat and see it blindingly bright with light.  Then ask the universe “What am I meant to do?”  then clear your mind and listen carefully for an answer.  Try to keep your mind clear but notice what thoughts do come to you over the course of your meditation, they may be the answer you’re looking for.  If you can do this twice a day, once in the morning before you start your day (giving the universe a chance to answer you through some sign in your day) and once at night (giving the universe a chance to answer you in your dreams) so much the better. 

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More Misconceptions of the New Age: Crystals, incense and the rest


So when I asked my friends what they thought of when they heard the phrase New Age I got a lot of responses regarding crystals, incense, and music. I was looking for misconceptions about the New Age, but this really isn’t a misconception…New Agers really do go for all of that…but I think it’s misunderstood as to why we do it.

New Agers believe, not entirely without basis, that everything in existence is really just energy vibrating at different levels (don’t roll your eyes this is one of the more popular theories of quantum mechanics). And with this we find that certain objects have certain vibrations that correspond to certain patterns of thought. That certain sounds and even certain stimuli (like scent) can also help raise the vibration level of the person using them.

Now do New Ager’s believe that just by putting a crystal in our hands we suddenly are lifted to a higher level of enlightenment? No. It’s something we use to focus, to help us remember and concentrate. You know like crosses, stars of David, rosary beads, mandalas, formulaic prayers, water in a baptism, and the Eucharist. Few of us believe in the full power of these things when we’re not of the faith that uses them, but we do understand their uses. They’re tools to help us control our thoughts. We just have quite a few more than most religions because we tend to draw items from every religion because we believe that almost all religions can be a way to truth. If a crystal works for you in helping you raise your thoughts, use it. If it doesn’t, don’t. If a crucifix does the same thing use that.

So yes, we do have all those things that make New Age stores so profitable, but understand, in that aspect we’re not really different from any other religion…we all have our tools for helping our thought focus more on God. You have yours. We don’t insult yours when they don’t work for us…

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Misconceptions about New Agers: That we believe in a lot of gods

So apparently some people believe New Agers believe in no God (which I dealt with). We do. Some people believe we worship Satan (which I’m not even going to dignify with a full blog). We don’t. And then some people believe New Agers are a bunch of polytheists worshiping an insane number of gods. This is incorrect…but at least I understand where they get this from.

Let me start with a comparison. Catholics worship only one God. That is a given. But they pray to a whole mess of Angels and Saints. Why? Because if you believe in angels,  archangels and saints, you believe that God does use intermediaries that can specialize in certain skills for certain needs and certain problems. Why? Because sometimes grasping the infinite concept of God is a bit much for our brain, especially when we’re under stress…i.e., when we’re praying for help. It is a great help to be able to see an intermediary, someone that looks more human, is more relatable and can be more understanding of what our problems are. Yes, we can pray directly to God, and should, but should you need something more relatable in a time of need you have saints and angels to pray to. (And I apologize if I didn’t get the exact details of Catholic dogma, I did try to be correct in the broad strokes).

Now over to New Agers. Pretty much the same thing with us. We believe in angels and saints. We believe that a Saint from any religion can help us because they have reached a level of enlightenment much higher than the average person at present and will not care about such petty things as what name you attribute to God. If you call on them they will come, be you Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, agnostic or New Ager. It doesn’t matter, you called for help they will come and do what they can (understand however it’s more of a whispering in your ear to see the opportunities to earn what you want or to get out of the situation you want to get out of, or at least to calm or strengthen you as the situation and request may call for). (More along the lines of what you saw in the movie City of Angels than in It’s A Wonderful Life).

However, New Agers don’t just call on saints and angels. We tend to have a much wider base of enlightened souls to call upon. And I don’t just mean Buddha, Krishna, Christ and Lao-Tzu. No we tend to take a lot of the old Pagan deities as well. Do we actually believe in the stories of Mount Olympus or of the Vedas? Not really. But we do believe that there was likely some enlightened soul behind that story, a truth that gave birth to the myth, and that is the person we’re calling upon. Further, I know some New Agers call up figures who were clearly fictional (I’m not going to name names so as not to embarrass anyone). Are they asking for help from no one and getting no help because they didn’t use the right name? No. New Agers tend to believe that the Heaven and all its beings are bright enough to know what we’re asking for even if we get the name wrong. There really was no Saint Christopher in history, but I’m sure some angel or enlightened being who did specialize in helping those in need of protection or guidance during journeys responded to all the calls for Saint Christopher…and if this enlightened being ever needed to reveal itself to someone (an exceedingly rare experience, but moments of revelation are not completely unheard of) it might even identify itself with that name just so as to help the person it was coming to understand what it was there for.   Now in a lot of cases we do refer to the enlightened souls as deities or gods, but more out of respect for the other religions we took them from, not because we really equate them with God.  Although you might hear a New Ager use the term Ascended Master as a catch all for all of these enlightened souls.

So do we call upon a lot of saints, angels, and gods (lower case g…who were likely just enlightened souls from very long ago) for help, and pray to them? Yes we do. But we don’t worship them. No. We understand that they are intermediaries who can better understand our problems and what me may need (although honestly angels are a bit detached as well—absolutely no understanding of how time works, if you’re praying to angels for help be sure to be very specific in terms of when and where). I think it’s safe to say that most New Agers believe there is only one God who uses a very large task force of intermediaries to help us.

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Let’s make our economy like the Swedes…more Capitalistic!

As I’m getting bored arguing about why economic freedom works and redistribution of income doesn’t (there are two chapters in Republicans and Reincarnation on that, so you’ll understand on why this seems repetitive to me).

So let’s take a look at a country which the liberals love to point out as a model of a good socialist system.  Sweden!  A country whose public health care system is a mess.  Where vouchers have resulted in a strong education system.  And whose recent prosperity has been mainly due to…can you guess…replacing the socialist policies with the capitalist one.  But don’t take my word…


Contest for the comment section…what great puns did I miss out on making because I am not familiar with ABBA?

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Filed under Budget, Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Conservative, Debt, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Happiness, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Natural Rights, People Are Stupid, politics, Taxes, Teaching, Unions, Unjust legislation, Welfare