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Archive for July, 2007

Nihilstic Tendencies

Posted by DeadAnarchistPhil on July 29, 2007

I know I’ve not blogged for a while, but I’ve not been well and I’ve not felt like doing anything because of new medicine. The only thing I’ve done webwise is my Profile On MySpace, it doesn’t require lots of thinking just moving of the mouse. I’ve also got some family problems to deal with too. So basically I’ve been really pissed off as of late so I typed in to google how I felt and came up with this. And it just makes sense, especially the quote: “Society essentially exists to protect us from awareness of our own nothingness“.  I’ve been looking for those words since i was a teen to express my thoughts on society. I’ll get round to replying to comments eventually, so just leave a comment I like reading your opinions. Take care and much love. Phil.
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    “A bakery in Maine hires a new clerk.  She’s a very attractive young woman who tends to wear her skirts rather short.  The men of the town hear about her and line up at the bakery the next morning.  Each one asks for raisin bread, knowing she’d have to climb a ladder to reach it.  After hours of climbing up and down the ladder, she finally asks the last man,  “Is yours a raisin, too?” He answers, “No, but it’s a twitterin’!”
     

I have noticed more and more examples of nihilism in psychology lately, ever since the constructionist view has replaced the old behaviorist view. Erving Goffman wrote a book in which he suggested that, as you peel away the social constructions we surround ourselves with, you eventually find that, like an onion, there is nothing inside.  This bothered him a great deal.  Likewise, terror management theory, a quasi-existentialist minitheory in social psychology, suggests that society essentially exists to protect us from awareness of our own nothingness.

Let me explain:  When I pay for my groceries, I write my name on a piece of paper and give it to the clerk.  Amazingly, the clerk accepts this paper cheerfully in exchange for wonderful edible stuff!  The store sends the paper to a bank, where someone who believes they have the right tells me that now I am worth less than I was before!  Checks, money, stores, banks, jobs, purchasing, and financial worth, not to mention psychology and college, are all social constructs.  You don’t have to believe in them!  That’s what happened to confederate money.  That’s what happened to all those savings and loans a while back.  That’s what happened to several of my jobs.

But then, perhaps everything else is also a social construct.  Male and female for example:  What is it to be male or female?  Chromosomes?  “Plumbing?”  Dress?  Psychological convictions?  In which society?

How about the self?  Is it just a mentalistic construct, as Skinner said?  Or a bundle of perceptions, as Hume said?

Or what is it to be human?
 

    “Three very-pregnant women are waiting to see their doctor.  The first says “I’m sure I’m having a boy this time, because my husband was on top, and I always have boys when he’s on top.”  The second one says “That’s interesting; I guess I’ll have a girl, then, because I was on top.  The third woman begins to cry, and the other two ask her why she’s crying, and she says “I think I’m having puppies!”
     

 These kinds of questions give some people (e.g. David Hume) vertigo.  Others (e.g. Jean-Paul Sartre) get nauseous.  Kierkegaard felt dread.  Many feel angst or terror.  To counter these unpleasant feelings, we hold on — some for dear life — to our social constructs.  Reality (hell or not) is other people.  And anything that attacks that social reality must be denied or destroyed.  Criminals, saints, the mentally ill, heretics, foreigners, geniuses, the rude and obnoxious, the truly assertive… all of these are threatening.

Historically, this nihilism is based on the philosophies psychology is rooted in.  Hume said that there is no reality beyond sensations.  Kant said there is one but we can never know it.  Either way, all you can do is construct a reality, and the only thing that provides any solidity to that reality is if others are construing it like you are.  I, of course, believe that Hume and Kant and the last few hundred years of philosophy were wrong.
 

    “Queen Elizabeth and Princess Di were out driving in the family Bentley when they were overtaken by highwaymen.  The thieves demanded all their jewels, but the ladies insisted that they weren’t wearing any.  After searching them, the thieves decided to settle for the car, and left.  As the Queen and Princess were walking back to Buckingham palace, the Queen asked Di, “Weren’t you wearing a diamond ring when we left?”  Di said “Yes I was.  But when I saw the thieves, I hid it up my… well, you know.  But weren’t you wearing that sapphire necklace Prince Philip gave you?”  The queen answered “Yes, but when I saw the thieves, I put it up my…well, you know.”  They walked a little further and the queen added “It’s a shame we didn’t have Princess Margaret with us; we could have saved the Bentley!”
     

One quality of humor in general, and especially off-color humor, is its leveling quality.  Even the queen has private parts.  Even the president has to pee.  We all eat, excrete, have sexual desires, die.

There is, supposedly, a South American tribe where they believe that men do not defecate.  Obviously, the men can’t really believe this.  And I can’t believe the women would fall for it, either.  But they teach their kids this:  When a boy becomes a man, his anus grows shut.  This seems ridiculous to us.  But didn’t many Victorians believe they were above sexuality?  Don’t many people in our culture believe in eternal youth?  And why do we hide public rest rooms in America?  Do our architects believe we are exempt from the need to urinate?
 

    “A young couple had a hard time talking about sex, so they went to a marriage counselor for advice.  He said they should think of some silly, neutral word they could use when they wanted to have sex.  They picked washing machine.  One night they were in bed and the husband said “Washing machine!”  She said “I’m sorry, dear, I’m just too tired right now.  Perhaps you could wake me up later”  Two hours later, he tries again, whispering “Washing machine!”  She says “I’m still tired.  Could you give me another hour?”  Later that night, she wakes up, now refreshed and says to him, “Washing machine!  Washing machine, honey!”  And he tells her “Never mind, dear. It was a small load, so I did it by hand.”
     

Off-color humor destroys your social expectations, so you are “falling into nothingness” — but only for a moment:  Then you are caught by the soft mattress of sensuous reality!  It’s very primitive, really.  Little babies like to be thrown into the air and caught again.  We like to scare ourselves on roller coasters or with scary movies — because we are supported by a realer reality.  And we laugh!
 

    “An inventor comes to the president of General Foods with a peach.  The president says “What’s this?” and the inventor says “Taste it!”  The president tastes it and says “It tastes like a peach. So what?”  The inventor says “Turn it around!”  The president turns it around, takes a bite, and says “Incredible!  It tastes like a banana.”  But the president, hoping to steal this idea, says to the inventor “That’s pretty good, but if you really want to impress me, make one that tastes like a woman!”  The inventor promises to try, and goes off the his lab.  A month later, he’s back at the president’s desk with another peach.  He says to the president “Taste it!”  The president tastes it…and then starts to gag and spits it out.  “It tastes like shit!”  he screams at the inventor.  And the inventor says “Turn it around!”
     

Why are so many people turned off by off-colored jokes?  Why do so many hate them?  I find it bizarre, for example, that the TV Guide, which actively promotes a highly sexual and aggressive media, repeatedly notes its offense at any occurrence of mooning on TV.  What’s so bad about mooning?

One answer is that a culture that survives is one that successfully convinces everyone that, without it, you are nothing.  So the culture needs to condemn, first, all other social or cultural realities (e.g. “other religions are wrong!”), and second, any reality that is stronger than itself — i.e. sensuous reality.  So our cultures often forbid us from talking about sex or digestion or other pleasant things….
 

    “Jacob needs to rebuild his outhouse and dig out his pit.  Some of his cronies tell him he can save a lot of time by using dynamite.  “That way, you destroy the outhouse and clean out the pit at the same time!” they say.  So Jacob sets up the dynamite under the outhouse and runs a wire out to the barn.  As he pushes the plunger, he sees his dear wife running to the outhouse and going in.  He runs after her, but it is too late.  Everything goes sky-high.  Miraculously, his wife survives.  He asks her “Are you all right, Rachel?”  And she says “Ya, but I’m sure glad I didn’t let that one go in the house!”
     

Another answer is that some people are simply more scared than others.  Perfectionists (i.e. anal retentives!) seem to build personal structures that they need to defend in the same way that authoritarians need to defend social structures.

We joke about what scares us.  But it isn’t just whistling in the dark.  I’m suggesting that jokes directly, explicitly tell us that there’s nothing to be scared of!  Behind the relativity of social reality is the solidity of a sensuous reality. As Fritz Perls once pointed out, sometimes we should lose our minds and come to our senses! 
 

C. George Boeree

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Islam At Odds With British And western life.

Posted by DeadAnarchistPhil on July 1, 2007

Before anyone starts, I am not a racist, and talking about and discussing any religion isn’t racist or bigotry.  
  
On Friday 29th of June there was car found packed with explosives and nails, this is what it contained, 60 litres of petrol, Gas cylinders and nails. The car Found outside a London night club (By accident!), by paramedics on a call out would have caused tremendous damage and loss of life if it had gone off. But because of the actions of a brave or witless policeman, depending on which way you look at it, it was foiled. Now, today on the 30th of June 2007 a car at Glasgow airport with two men inside rammed or parked the car in or at the front of the building and in some way not known yet, set some sort of explosive device off. It didn’t all go according to plan, one of the men was set on fire while the other fought with police and passers-by.
  
I know it’s early days yet, but I’m assuming it’s going to be a terrorist attack. Even if it isn’t (Though I doubt that very much), terrorists have attacked us before and planned to attack and been foiled. The thing I want to touch on is why?
 
The thing that comes to my mind and many other people’s minds is religion. It’s no secret strict religion and most ideologies divide communities and people and leads to mistrust, misunderstanding and suspicion inside those communities. Even if the people in the communities are both born and bred in the same community, speak with the same accent, have the same coloured skin, their religion or ideology will still divide them in some way. We only have to look at our very own religious ideological and physical battle ground, Northern Ireland, to see it first hand! They are more or less the same people, who have lived there for thousands’s of years, have the same ancestors and the same genetic make up. Then some guy or gal comes along and says: “You are this, and they are that! Therefore you are incompatible!” From that point on their own little religious practices become their identity and also become the right thing in their minds. Whether it be praying, farming the land in a certain way, sacrificing animals in a certain way and justified murder through religion.
  
I know the above is a very simplistic way to put it, but it’s basically the full story. And I’m aware that even if religion wasn’t the dividing factor in this kind of situation, humanity would still find a dividing factor or invent one to force their beliefs, way of life and will on others. But at the moment I’m going to focus on the Islamic religion/ideology as that’s the point of this particular blog. So, why do these people feel the need to commit these acts of terrorism? From what I have read, seen and heard on the net, TV and papers, they don’t like the way we live. They also don’t like the way our Governments roll in to Islamic countries, blow it to pieces and use it as a battle ground with or without our troops being there. They also don’t like the West’s support for the Jewish state of Israel, which most Muslims don’t recognise.
 
There are other points but I think these are the main three, so let’s analyze them:
     
(1) Britain, and indeed the west, is an extremely free and also very extremely ostentatiously decadent place to live. It’s not wrong for women to have many lovers, or men, it’s also ok for same sex relationships and marriages (almost outlawed in every religion). You are also free to have vices, be it legal or not. You’re free to question and satirize Islam/religion (Well all most!). Promiscuity is fine, western culture is very selfish in places and all the emphasis is set on worldly goods and material wealth. Pornography (All kinds, besides animal & child which is just sick) is accepted, nudity, sex before marriage, worship what ever god you like, women free to work and hold positions of power. The list goes on, but all this goes in the face of Islam and many religions.
  
Now, I’m not crazy about western culture myself, it’s very hollow and centered around wealth, position and status. The way people ‘relax’ by drinking alcohol or by smoking a cig or a joint. The way people lust after money as if it’s the be all and end all of life. Though I don’t agree with some minor parts of western life, it doesn’t mean that the individual can’t  or shouldn’t do it, if it’s with in the bounds of the law, reason and they don’t harm anyone else by doing it then it’s ok, I don’t care! Smoke yourself stupid, drug youself up to the eyeballs, drink to destruction, work all your life for a piece of paper and your status, just don’t expect me to join in. And that’s all fine with me. You could argue the above things would have an effect on me, but that’s another blog. But basically, we are the modern-day Sodom & Gomorrah and some of them think it’s their duty to God to destroy us.
 
     
(2) Western military interference in Muslim countries. Direct or not, this does happen all the time! It’s been happening for some time and will carry on. The West has propped up and endorsed some Dictators in the Muslim world and out side. Most of the time it’s to exploit Oil or mineral wealth, Iran is a good example, Iraq is also a good one, back in the 1980s Saddam was the US’s and the West’s friend, they even sold him weapons to fight Iran. A classic US west example of fighting an enemy without getting your hands dirty! There’s also Chechnya, (a small fragment of Russia) that want’s its independence. The tiny country is majority Muslim. This war between Russia and Chechnya has been going on for a while, but it’s the fact that the West turns a blind eye to the war and the killing there, in return for Russia’s support for the ‘War on terror’.
  
There are many other instances of this in the world, inside Muslim countires and out, sadly it’s nothing new, it’s just what the economic power does to keep economic and military dominance and control of the world. The point is these images may go unreported on our TV as it isn’t good TV viewing in between Coronation Street and Bad Girls, they are usually shown later on in the evening when most of the population has watched off prime time TV and gone to bed or gone for a swift pint. These programmes lay it down on the line what’s happening, and what’s being done in your name. These aren’t the only people who do it, the videos of these people being killed are taken to Mosques all over the world including here in Britain, and it only takes one mental, corrupt and evil bastard to brainwash these young alienated Muslims (The reasons for alienation are above. I’m not saying alienation is a justification for what these people do). So there it is, extremists are made by our Governments’ dirty double dealings in the developing world which are then twisted by the leaders of the terrorists who make it look like there is a war on Islam and Muslims, when in fact the West is doing the same thing the terrorists are doing, trying to gain more control.
 
     
(3) The West’s support for Israel. There has always been some sort of problem in Israel. It goes back thousands of years, but the most recent troubles started with the 1947 UN partition plan. Israel was going to be split in to two states, the Jewish state, comprising 55% of the total land, and the Arab state, comprising 45% of the land. And Jerusalem would be administered by the UN so as not to lead to any fighting over it. Sounds fare doesn’t it? Israel agreed to it, the Arab league did not! This then lead to the Arab League to order violent attacks on Jewish citizens, the Jews fought back, won and proclaimed their independence. This then in turn lead to the Arab/Muslim countries to invade and attack Israel. This war effectively lead to the problems we have today, with Israel holding and settling lands that it shouldn’t have and the same goes for the Arab countries that surround it. The problem is, every time the Muslim/Arab terrorist/freedom fighters, fire a rocket at Israel, Israel retaliates by storming or firing back in to the countries where the rocket was launched from. So do this back and forth for the next 50 odd years  and you end up with the situation we have.
 
Now, Israel has been militarily supported by the west over the past nearly 50 years, especially by the USA. Israel has also consistently not complied with UN mandates to pull back behind its lines amongst other things, after it’s numerous wars with the surrounding countries. It regularly kills and in-prisons it’s own Arab population, accusing them of Terrorism. Even with all this the US and the west still supports Israel, it gives it weapons and money, the reason why? Because the US is run by right-wing Christians, who believe it is their job and duty as Christians to protect the holy land from Muslims. So add to this a twisted religious tosspot who stirs it all up and we have more ready-made propaganda by our own Governments for the terrorist leaders to recruit more Jihadies to the cause! 
 
So there is the three main reasons for these people to go around and commit murder in the world. I know you’re sitting there thinking they don’t have to to do it, but because of religion they feel obliged and obligated to. It’s them and their God who they think is under attack, this is religious teachings that are hardwired in to the brain when they are children at work here. They think if they don’t do it they will not go to heaven and not receive ever lasting bliss at God’s side, remember they actually believe this stuff.
 
We know not all Muslims do this or support this! The Koran is very clear, not like a lot of religious books, but still, some times it’s taken out of context. But, Islam and Judaism are so stuck in the stone as regards to their religions there are bound to be problems integrating in to any society, especially in to one like the West. They still ritually sacrifice animals, don’t marry outside their own faith. Islamlic law states a woman should be stoned to death for having an affaire with a married man, While the man get’s off free! I know the Islamic law and Rule book was written after Mohammad died, and was written and based on how he lived his life, but this law is still part of their religion, even if we know it’s a load of  crock.
 
The fact is they follow this book to the T – and this book that isn’t worth putting under your bed to replace one of the legs – tells them to go out and commit these acts, and the majority of the Muslims who don’t get involved, don’t do enough to stop it. And the reason they don’t do enough is because either their religion tells them not to, or they don’t care! I find it hard to believe the Muslim community in the UK doesn’t know who Islamists are. So to cap it all, they come here, they have their own culture, have their religion, have a job and free house and money if need be, but when their fellow brothers and sisters plot to blow up the  unbelievers, they say nothing! You all know I don’t mind people doing what they want to do, be it pray to their God, wear a pointless piece of clothing to hide your body, speak how you like and just basically live your life the way you want to. But there has to be a little bit of understanding and socializing between people in a community. There’s no point in moving to a country and living behind a religion and then segregating yourself from the rest of the surrounding community because the religion or religious leaders say so! It just doesn’t work!
 
The Muslim community in Britain and the rest of the West should realize they live in the West, and not in the dust bowl they came from anymore and they don’t have to live the way they used to, that’s surely what they came here for wasn’t it? They are doing themselves no favours by letting their religious leaders impose the same pointless, freedom limiting religious laws on them and not challenging them! They do themselves no favours when they stifle debate on the subject of their religion, they do themselves no favours when they let the politically Correct brigade speak for them, i.e no Christmas decorations because it offends them or Christmas party or St George’s flags! They do themselves no favours when they cling and adhere to a stone age religion, they do themselves no favours when they let the same people from their flawless religion kill people! I’ll tell you something now, British society aint perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than living in a stone age religion where women are denied rights and you stone a person to death for a trivial offense.
 
If you don’t like society, then don’t take part. If you want to dress from head to toe, then do it. If you want to segregate yourself, fine, it’s your choice. But for fucksake! Open your eyes and your mouth and don’t be dictated to by religion and tell somebody if you hear anything about any attacks! You are not betraying God by saving lives! Either that or go to a country where you wont have to do none of the above, I’m not crazy about society, but I would rather live here than anywhere else, why? Freedom!
 
So, they do it partially because of the situation in the world (Mostly in Muslim countries). They also do it because of religious indoctrination. But, only a minority do it. So does it take a special kind of person to strap themselves with explosives and fill the car with the same thing and then blow themselves away and anybody else nearby with them? Are they mentally unbalanced or are they on drugs to stop them from feeling nervous? I think it’s a feeling of alienation from western society and religious brainwashing. And not forgetting that all important mind-set, be it natural or by drugs. Either way, it isn’t going to end any time soon. It’s not like the cold war, we can’t just out do our enemy economically or millitarily anymore, they don’t have to out do us, they only have to scare the population. Take all the money away and they will still come up again somewhere else in the world. You could say improving conditions in the developing world would reduce the numbers. Or for the west to have a foreign policy that doesn’t involve blowing the shit out of Oil rich countries.
 
I can’t see western nations sharing the wealth and making the lives of people in the developing world better, just to please a bunch of Religious extremists. If they did the numbers of terrorists wouldn’t be so large, it wouldn’t be the end of it, but it would greatly reduce the numbers. So for the time being, looks like we’re stuck with them. What do you think should be done?  
          
         
 
        
       

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