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The Real Alternative


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The old New Age, hippie saying “Be Here Now” taken to the extreme

Today’s tweet caught my eye not because I believe it. Cummon. The idea is that a large chunk of history never happened and we’ve just artificially filled in the gaps.

From a commonsense perspective this is rubbish. A quick web search brings up all sorts of historical persons and acts during this “phantom time.”

We have lots of records. Physical records.

However, I mention the idea today because, well, it did give me pause over something maybe related.

Some schools of metaphysical thought claim that we can’t be sure of anything but the present. For all we know, they say, the universe is huge, flickering bunch of “presents.”

So this present that I’m writing in is really – according to the theory – just a present with a lot of true, false or simulated memories.

The next flicker could be an entirely different present (with an alternate set of history and memories) and I wouldn’t know the difference.

This next present would be just as real as my current present. And then in the next flicker, who knows… an entirely new set of memories, history, beliefs.

Image – cwamkid.blogspot.ca

For those adhering to this idea, each moment is just as true, false or simulated as the next. And there could be countless flickering streams, all happening or possibly alternating at once.

Freaky?

Yeah, a bit.

But I think the notion is intellectually impossible to disprove.

If you find it hard wrapping your head around this, consider a computer processor. When multitasking, the processor alternates bits of data at super high speeds. Data flies through the processor so fast that tasks appear simultaneous to the user (for example, streaming music, transferring files and blogging).

But again your data is alternating at great speeds.

Could we be the same?

Obviously this is not a question to make the headlines in a 21st century where we’re mostly worried about lunatics with bad haircuts bombing us into oblivion.

But in the 91st century, who knows?


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Coffee lovers? Read this…

Coffee is my only drug. Thank God it’s cheap. I’ve tried going off and generally have felt like half a person when doing so. Or, by way of analogy, a house with the top floor missing.

However, this article got me thinking. Maybe I’ll intersperse a little more water among cups.


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I’m back… not that I ever went away!

Do you ever get burnt out writing? Do you sometimes feel that you spend so many hours working on something and make little or no real impact?

It happens to me sometimes.

So I toyed with the idea of merely tweeting interesting stories and feeding them through here. Without commentary, I mean.

Also, sometimes I just get bored of my own thoughts and want to slip into the background.

Maybe you can empathize.

But today I’m back. I’ve decided to write again, to add commentary to interesting tweets. And to not just tweet (even though finding and choosing good headlines takes a lot longer that you might think, and isn’t as impersonal as it may seem).

Today’s tweet caught my attention because, well, it’s true. We are so sensitive to so many different special interest groups. But oftentimes we hear terrible things said about those who, for whatever reasons, don’t fit into the status quo.

It’s a bit of a farce to uphold liberal ideals with some groups and to turn a blind eye to others. We should try to be nice to everyone… not just the flavor of the month.


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New Anti-Corruption Masters Degree in Vienna

When I saw this I wanted to add “that should be a laugh” to the tweet but there was no room for more characters.

However, I shouldn’t be too cynical. When I had just finished my PhD I found only one sociology reference book (by Blackwell, I think) that even listed the topic. It said that corruption was a relatively new topic for the social sciences due to the difficulties in studying it. So true.

At least this course is making a stab at it. Some discourse is always better than no discourse. Ironically, I had this conversation with the very guy who shafted me at the university of Ottawa. A conversation about discourse concerning numinosity, that is. Not about corruption, per se.


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Can we blame the Bible for rape and sexual assault?

Reading this tweeted article, something struck me as not quite right. First of all, the ancient world wasn’t just about Jews and Christians; and sexism and sexual crime was rampant in almost all early cultures.

That makes sexism the root cause. A lot of the Bible reflects and reinforces ancient cultural biases, as do most other holy books.

Why would sexism be widespread in the ancient world? Well, we don’t have to tax our brains to come up with a plausible explanation…

Physical size.

Physical size has become far less important in the 21st century, so naturally things are changing for the better.

Another problem with the tweeted article has to do with today.

In Canada I am happy to boast that we are decades ahead of most of the world in terms of multiculturalism. In Toronto, where I live, Christianity remains the majority religion, but it’s only at 56.7%. And 49% of all Toronto residents are foreign-born.

So obviously other countries look a bit backward to progressive Canadians when it comes to living peacefully with different folks from around the world. “Progress” doesn’t only mean who gets the latest gadgets or finest threads at the lowest price.

But I digress. The point is this:

Rape and sexual assault still occur in most global cultures. It’s not entirely about religion or the holy books. Instead, a brutish mentality is to blame. Thankfully, time and right education will erase that lingering brute.

MC


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The sad raccoon stalker…


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Sacrifice, Service and “The Holy Helper”

Today’s tweeted story got me thinking about sacrifice and service.

So many people find themselves in situations where they feel called to make sacrifices. If this truly is a call from God, then it’s a beautiful thing that usually bears fruit in unexpected ways.

But there might be another type of person who plays the role of the holy person when really, they’re not that holy.

A while ago I wrote that I hadn’t been to Mass over the frantic Easter season, and that I might never go again. Well, that didn’t last very long. And I’m glad it didn’t. Yesterday I visited one of my favorite downtown Cathedrals and saw a person who, in my opinion, is fairly spiritual but also playing the role of “The Holy Helper.”

The Holy Helper brags about being a saint and how people, even strangers, ask for her prayers. But she seems to have a dark side. An unresolved dark side.

Some months ago at another parish The Holy Helper began swearing obscenities at an Asian lady seated in front of me. The Asian lady was calm but also a bit startled. She turned her gaze toward me as if to ask, what the heck is going on here?

I’ve known The Holy Helper for over a decade and have watched her become progressively strange. After cursing the Asian lady the HH began talking to me as if nothing had happened. I couldn’t endorse her behavior by ignoring it, and gently suggested that swearing at others in public is not a good thing.

Then I tried to tell her that I went through a challenging phase in my own spiritual development. I never swore at people in public, but was trying to help by sharing my own story.

Before I could get my words out, The Holy Helper became angry and indignant. She knew it all and I didn’t understand. I suggested she seek professional help. Moments later she started swearing at me. “You are a F***** Loser!” she yelled.

I was shocked and somewhat traumatized afterward. Fortunately another person gently ushered her out of the Church.

Yesterday the Holy Helper was back at the Cathedral. It’s sort of frightening when I see her. She hasn’t apologized so I don’t know if she’ll start swearing again. Maybe she’s gone even further over the edge and will assault me physically.

A sign that designates no swearing in a city.

A sign that designates no swearing in a city – Wikipedia

I doubt it but am not sure.

Keeping my phone set to “video” gave me some confidence. Afterward I wondered what I would do if I captured her on camera swearing at me or someone else.

Would I report her or just let it go again?

I feel that if someone is roaming around verbally abusing people, they should not be allowed to persist. They need help. And if they’re not going to get it themselves then some kind of intervention might be in order.

Why do I tell this story?

Well, partly because I’m somewhat annoyed. When I go to church I don’t want to have to deal with borderline personalities. I just want to pray and feel close to God.

I also feel that The Holy Helper is a great example of someone identifying with the role of being a sacrificial saint without giving due attention to her own issues. Hence, a lingering shadow of resentment builds up. A shadow that comes out in abusive ways.

Anyone could all fall into this kind of mindset if they are not honest with themselves. We’ve all heard stories of nuns slapping even burning children in their care, priests molesting kids, and so on.

Repression is a nasty thing.

On the other hand, sacrifice can be beautiful but only when in line with God’s will. Everything else is probably based on some kind of psychological compensation. Compensation means we play up real or imagined personality traits that make us feel superior because underneath, we feel inferior.

That’s not true spirituality. And if left unchecked, a subconscious sense of inferiority can unexpectedly flip into its opposite.

That’s when the innocent have to run for cover.