ZOMJ it snows in winter!

Simple observation: every year something so unexpected happens that no one is ever prepared for the scope of that disaster. Namely – it snows. In winter time…

I can perfectly understand how the recent snow-dump on Istanbul could wreck havoc: they had more snow than ever in recorded history, disrupting transport and air traffic. I can sort of relate to the normally Gulf-Stream-warmed Netherlands experiencing a short set-back that delayed my own flight by a total of almost 2 hours due to some snowfall. But there is one capital city where such calamity is as regularly unprepared for as regularly it happens: Moscow.

You see, in Moscow every year the municipal infrastructure is completely taken by surprise when the first heavy snowfall of the year inevitably arrives. Usually happening well into December, this yearly occurrence never fails to cause a major mess-up in the city traffic, as cleaning vehicles happen to still be in maintenance and meteorological forecasts seem to never hit the channels of those, who are responsible for having the snow-cleaning fleet prepared in time :).

I was pondering over this strange tendency of many places to be taken aback by not only major, but also relatively minor weather fluctuations as our flight was circling Amsterdam unable to land, and the train delays equally fired my suspicion that weather channels may be out of the vogue among some key groups of people who manage appropriate response agencies…

But enough about the snow. At the very least I am lucky to swap the ice age of Prague for that of Holland for a while :). The lower lands have welcomed me, albeit a couple of hours behind schedule, into their icy embrace last night. Being me, I, of course, managed to run into the “does not compute” case right upon arrival, but what would life be without a little fun?

I got onto the train from Schipol to the Hague where there were almost no free seats and decided to put my small suitcase up onto one seat and my dear self onto another. Some man materialized behind me and informed me “I’m going to sit here” (pointing at the spot I eyed for myself) by the time I placed my suitcase. I told him I was going to sit there. He directed me to sit where my suitcase was. I asked him how and where does he suggest I put my suitcase then (there are no shelves and leaving it between the seat rows in the way of other people was not the best option). He insisted that he would be taking the seat I was planning to take and that he doesn’t care about my suitcase – I could put it anywhere else just not on the seat…

Now, I understand sound reasoning when I’m given some, and had he told me something on the lines of him having to travel for over half an hour and if I could please find some spot for my stuff that would allow him to take a seat, there would be no issue. However, he said something so stupid I wanted to mentally punch him, albeit he was otherwise a nice guy and I was too tired to engage in empty polemics. He said he had paid for the seat…

Reality check: the local trains that run without seat reservation do NOT charge per seat. You pay for the ability to ride the train – not for a guarantee to land your butt onto a chair. That ability is left to ‘first come – first served’ system. If it were true that someone ever paid for the actual sitting spot on those trains, it would mean that a) ONLY the exact number of people that corresponds to the exact number of seats on the train would be able to board the trains (clearly NOT the case, as the number of passengers traveling standing up is clearly an indication of something else going on) and b) there would be a fare difference between the ticket prices between “yes you can land your bottom” and “you have to travel standing up even if the whole train is empty”. There is none. The ticket price corresponds exclusively to the distance traveled, whether you’re lucky enough to find a free chair or not.

I now regret I haven’t brought that simple fact to his attention. I should have. Uninformed citizens shall be corrected :). Instead I just put the suitcase on my lap, having on the go also ignored the “it’s hard for foreigners to understand” and “you have to pay extra fee for such big luggage” remarks – both of them utter lies. I am yet to see a single person pay extra or be demanded to pay extra for a small suitcase, or even for a huge one for that matter (yes, I seriously doubt the ginormous suitcase of the Italians sitting next to us had been paid for… or that a Dutch couple with a kid who had landed their big backpack onto one of the free seats after ‘the man’ disembarked the train paid extra for the backpack seat…), on a local train with no assigned seating. He may have confused the seating business with international or local express trains and luggage fees with actual oversize luggage on some specific train connections somewhere in the world (I can’t judge as I rarely travel by train, but I am yet to run into ANY restrictions in size (well, as long as it’s possible to fit in)/weight of luggage…

Such was my adventure set upon arrival this time :). Other than that, it’s cold but sunny and I’m looking forward to the Latin Charity Gala in Leiden tonight :).

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Latest fun and funny news

Nothing heavy this time, just an up-date on the miscellaneous events of the first couple of weeks of 2012 :).

1. In case you haven’t noticed it yet all over my Facebook and elsewhere – the MAD DAWN Challenge project is up and running :). You can find out more about it here. We are going to shoot the intro video early/mid February in Amsterdam (dates to be specified) and you can meet us both there, if you wish!

In the meantime, don’t forget to friend and/or follow us on Foursquare (newest and shiniest addition to our network!), subscribe to project up-dates via e-mail on our website, join our ginormous (and growing) LinkedIn network, give us a thumbs up on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, add us on Google+Flickr, subscribe to our YouTube, TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THE PROJECT, and maybe even throw a dime to our cause on GoFundMe or directly on our home page.

2. I’m starting to get a decent grip on driving. The only trouble still is multitasking on short-notice :). In addition, my dyslexia kicked in big time when I actually turned left when the instructor said to turn right. I warned him to tell me ahead of time, as left/right verbal commands often get mixed up by my brain and I need time to figure out what ‘left’ and ‘right’ actually refers to… Oh well, so far it was only once :D.

3. Everything broke!!! Almost in one weekend! Last weekend my electric kettle stopped working, the heating system thermostat went kaput, the actual heater’s electric panel got some contact un-fused (this all resulted in my house slowly descending into a 4-day ice age, as temperature dropped to around 12 degrees inside…). The landlord dropped by and replaced the thermostat, but the electric panel needs to be fixed separately. Good thing is we found out that hitting it makes the contact catch back up and turns the heating back on, so it’s at least a temporary solution that enables to keep the place warm :). Oh the shower head and shower hose ka-boomed as well. In short – it was a fun weekend :).

4. I have a new super cool fan! :D. Well, maybe not, but I recently got a comment on my “Happy 2012 – be vulnerable!” entry that showed me much love :D. Am a bit too lazy to re-post it all here, but I created a public note on Facebook with the original comment, my reply and consequent reply back to me by that same person… You will see why I had to delete it from the actual blog comment section :D.

5. It actually SNOWED here today! Like, properly snowed, covering cars and streets with a layer of white! First time proper snow in the city – woohoo!!!

It all melted off in a few hours and changed to rain instead, but we had at the very least some precious minutes of real winter :).

That’s all from my corner of the universe for now!

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This post has been found in violation of H.R. 3261, S.O.P.A and has been removed.

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Happy 2012 – be vulnerable!!!

Greetings to everyone from the first day of 2012! I was wondering what type of a message to release into the world at the new symbolic beginning cornerstone and the message actually fell into my hands all by itself. Thus, instead of boring you with more of my lengthy scribblings, I leave the floor for someone more entertaining and educated to give you some food for thought for the upcoming year :).

Have a happy one!!!

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Holiday cheers!

Very happy holiday season to you! Whether you celebrate anything or not, spend the money you’ve been putting aside all year on presents or not, or just get a day off, holiday season is here again. It’s all good – the traditions of family gathering at least once a year is a healthy habit!

In the spirit of the holiday most often celebrated in our neck of the woods, allow me to brighten your day with a couple of takes on the topic that you can insert into your holiday playlist 🙂

First is Santa that you may wanna keep away from your spouse:

Second is Santa you might wanna keep away from your planet (listen through – you won’t be disappointed 😉 ) :

Finally, a little reminder about all those people who celebrate this year exclusively for cultural reasons:

I personally don’t mind keeping it Christmas: in the memory of CHRISTopher Hitchens. Or some other special people who changed the world…

Happy holidays to all!

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Fishy business…

“Give a man fish – he will live for one day. Teach a man to fish -he will live for a lifetime. Teach a man religion – he will die of starvation while praying for fish…” (somewhere on the internet…)

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Group pictures? ROFL yeah!

This is EPIC :D. And the guy deserves a medal :).

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Light up your plastic bottle!

Ever thought of switching electric light bulbs to used plastic bottles and saving on electricity bills? Maybe you should! 🙂

It is amazing how resourceful and creative people can be under conditions of scarcity… We are quick to forget that all of the comforts and technologies of today are not a result of lazy, comfortable life someone led – we fail to appreciate how dire circumstances and pressing needs of the past have shaped the society of today through all the new amazing things we get to experience every day.

These two videos show an example of the thinking and the spirit that we so pressingly need in today’s world. Instead of waiting for top-down salvation of any sorts (governmental or, worse yet, divine), we need to take the initiative into our own hands and employ the grassroots approach to the living, to the society and to the initiative.

Watch how “Isang Litrong Liwanag” campaign headed by philanthropist Illiac Diaz turns plastic soda bottles into nifty light bulbs in small homes, which absorbs sunlight and spreads it out inside a house.

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The future is now

I just ran across this talk and it is amazing, inspiring and humbling to follow the line of thought of people like this. The technology presented in this talk will blow your mind – enjoy 🙂

Part 1

Part 2

And before you jump to “he’s only a part of the entire team of people who came up with this” – another TED talk was given by his supervisor at MIT and she clearly credited him as the backbone genius mind behind it all. Not to discredit the rest of the team, of course, but very few inventions get massive with one single person working on them ;).

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Obama lost his bloody mind: indefinite detention is okay!

We hear a lot lately about the ‘police state’ that the USA has turned into… We hear a lot about the ‘military/fascist regime’ the USA is becoming… And we had been warned of the consequences of all this not even back in the summer (see below), but by people like Ben Franklin, to whom the famous phrase ‘Those who give up their liberty for more security deserve neither liberty nor security’ is attributed…

One hoped a few years back that someone with apparently enough brain power to run a rational and inspiring campaign and to appear as much less of a baboon than the unnamed predecessors of his might change the tide… Well, dear president Obama – you are a brainwashed/corporate-controlled, twisted individual with no consciousness. You have failed the hopes of the entire world for a better USA, for a better world leader, and for a better country for your own citizens – AND you managed to sound rational and split-personality in one single speech. I applaud you for showing your true colors prior to the upcoming elections. This isn’t to say that any other candidates are any better – not necessarily. But well, if there was one speech to take you down as a symbol of hope for the better of the USA and the world – you’ve just about made it.

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Eins, zwei, drive!

Yes, I FINALLY made it to the driving school after all those years. Needless to say, it’s much fun :).

The first lesson was on theory, and once again left me feeling like a total idiot :). I love that :). The second lesson was a how-to video (guys it was an actual VCR!!! When was the last time you saw those?!) on basics of driving.

The third lesson was supposed to be, in theory, first among the many simulated drives – stuff done on the computer… Naively expecting this to be the case, I was very surprised when the instructor (awesome guy 🙂 ) told me to get into, like, a real car…

He drove it to some empty street and, well, explained everything on the go… By the end of the hour I got to drive the damned thing around the block – wtf? Haha :D. Well, good news – there were no other cars and no pedestrians around… I’m not terrified of the process at all, but I’d rather have some training in safety of the simulator to just get used to the pedals etc. a bit instead, because right now I have to make sure I do that part right AND not run anyone over (or the car into anything else 😀 ) – that’s too much for my brain to handle at once :D. But oh well, when I texted my mom about this after the lesson, she replied “Cha! Nothing changed in 40 years!” 🙂 🙂 :). That she is behind the wheel without a single accident (that is, driving almost daily) for all this time kinda gives me hope that I’ll manage, too :).

Tomorrow is lesson two, the instructor threatened to go into the streets with traffic. I hope he was just joking, or the next entry will be on pedestrian body count and property damage 😀

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Captchas are awesome!

Ever had to ‘waste’ your time typing in those computer-generated words called ‘captchas’? Little did you know, you were contributing by your efforts to the spread of human knowledge!!!

Another project by that same guy explains how you can learn a foreign language for free – while doing the same thing.

Watch his amazing TED talk here!

(Note: I always try to embed videos, but TED currently doesn’t seem to like to be embedded on WordPress… Let me know if this talk gets uploaded to YouTube – this way it can get embedded directly into the post 🙂 )

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Bored? Rob a bank! :)

Sometimes we all tend to complain over the lack of excitement in our lives… Forgetting that it is, in fact, all in our hands! This is a story of someone who robbed banks for a living – enjoy and get inspired!

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Dear believers…

God here.

First, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,000,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous. Grow a brain.

Second, if I did, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors, their credibility or their possible ulterior motives, yet you cite them for the most extraordinary of claims.

Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Japanese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.

Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who withheld evidence of my existence in the first place.

Fifth, I would not care who you do or how you “do it.” I really wouldn’t. This would be of no interest to me, given that I can create universes. Oh, the egos.

Sixth, I would have smited all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and yet you speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric for me to even contemplate).

Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second — every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

Move on — get over me. I did.

(P.S. If someone knows the original author – please let me know so I can give due credit!)

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Two lesbians raised a kid – and this is the ‘loser-monster’ they got…

Questions?

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The price of ignorance

Those of us enjoying prosperity, peace and the internet in today’s world are forgetting something crucial: that we are not to be given the credit for the current state of affairs. All our achievements, advancements and comforts are rooted in deep past – in the discoveries of people who went beyond the common understanding in their inquiry. They often experimented with things that were deemed ‘useless’, ‘pointless’, a ‘waste of time and resources’, ‘insane’…

In today’s society, we are yet again seeing the growing divorce from inquiry into the fields of knowledge yet unexplored. Why bother, one may think, wasting resources on some voodoo laboratory stuff? Well, had no one ever bothered with laboratory voodoo, you and I would likely still live very short and disease-ridden lives in homes without electricity, and I would have no way of allowing you to watch this video on your computer via embedding it on my blog…

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You’re a fucking moron – deal with it :)

Warning: profanity ahead 😉

Every now and then I enjoy going off on swearing sprees. Not to prove anything at all – just for the fun of it (I am not even very good at it either, I’m afraid 😦 ). And I’ve noticed something… Many people have so little of the balls, character and self-esteem, that a few common swear words can send them into a defensive frenzy over the perceived insult to their self-worth as a human being…

While swearing may not always be polite, I think they somewhat justify the validity of whatever it is they had been called by overreacting like pussy-wimps to every goddamn fucking worthless name-calling occasion…

From great writers to most favorite comics – swear words are fair use to all. So what’s the matter?.. If I were to shed a tear for every time I was called any variation of a retarded nazi/communist cunt I can possibly conceive of, I’d fucking drown in my own kitchen in under a week. However, somehow I was able in my bitchy, commu-nazi ignorance grow enough of an understanding, unlike some people, that my self-worth is an entity fully independent of the labels attached to it by others, whatever those may be. Anyone is free to call me any name in the book, as long as they don’t act upon it.

Yes, some people aren’t fine with something like that. However, somehow I’m still pretty sure it’s better to be called a moron than to receive serious death threats every day from those who consider profanity ‘evil’ – of course, this is only in my own (un)-fucking-humble opinion. I also am enough of an adult to realize that, especially in the heat of a moment or discussion, name-calling, however ‘uncivilized’, may often occur. So goddamn what then? I could fill up a thick suitcase with post-it notes if I were to record every time I was called names at the university during debates alone! But guess what? I am also enough of an adult to realize that yeah, sometimes all of us, including myself, can say something or do something that can justifiably be given its proper name. I frequently do things that by anyone’s standards would qualify me as a bitch, just as an underdeveloped evolutionary mistake of a human – and that by my own very generous standards of the extent of ‘human-ness’…

So just f.y.i.: if you cannot take a name on occasion – just grow the fuck up. It’s not a magic spell, it doesn’t affect or define who you are, your character, or your worth. Besides, it only sounds as bad and insulting as you make it in your head. Equally, by taking a defensive, you strengthen the perpetrator’s conviction that they were justified covering you in degrading epithets – is that your intended solution? Cry “MOOOMMYYY!!!”, get upset, hide behind her skirt? I say FUCK that pussy ass horseshit!

How about…. aaaaahhhh, I dunno…. Nourish your sense of self-irony? You may find a whole new dimension to humor and peace within. And if you happen to be a complete dickheaded moronic douchebag on occasion – just fucking deal with it, DUUUH! Extra credit if you can turn it all into a joke.

Love ya’ll!!!

Now PISS OFF!!! 😀 😀 😀

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Incredibly moving speech: Mental Illness and Why The Skeptic Community Should Give a Shit, JT Eberhard Skepticon 4

You may think mental illness does not concern you, but you are mistaken. Right the very now you have a friend who suffers from some form of mental disorder. Or maybe you do but you think there is something wrong with your character…

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I AM FUCKING ANGRY, YES! I am ENRAGED! Here is WHY

Next time you ask me this retarded question of why I am so mad with believers – re-watch this video to save me the typing time. I rest my case.

Or not…

You see, someone watched it and could not see past the word “angry”… So here is a bit of a break-down:

Let’s start at the dictionary, shall we? “Anger, noun: A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” Please note that “OR” part. The person saying anger is ‘bad’ overlooked this one, altogether with the main point of the speech…

Someone suggested being loud and angry isn’t the way to go, and being more humble and politically correct would be right. Well, I beg to differ and to offer that being humble and politically correct hardly ever advanced the cause of ANY civil rights movement, or any movement for that matter, As long as people are comfortable, secure, fed, lazy and QUIET – there is NO change a-coming. Equally, humble and quiet people never STOPPED anyone committing atrocities en mass (“peaceful civil disobedience” may have been a humble ACT, but definitely not inspired by feelings of humility – instead by OUTRAGE at the injustice). Being quiet makes you an ACCOMPLICE in social injustice and crimes against humanity  (a very long reasoning on this matter can be found here).

Being humble solves nothing… You can humbly meditate in your personal cave over the injustice in the world and humbly suggest in a very polite voice that, well, maybe creationism shouldn’t be taught in schools or, maybe, genital mutilation isn’t a very good idea after all? In my humble opinion, FUCK HUMBLE (pun definitely intended).

The person who commented, ironically, also called for the need to manage one’s anger and emotions… completely missing the “when it is managed properly and directed at the right cause” part of the speech…

BLIND FAITH IS WRONG. It is wrong under ALL and ANY circumstances. It is ALWAYS wrong. In and of itself. And it screws up your brain, too.

It is WRONG to take anything on blind faith, leave alone having the egocentric narcissistic OCD mental disorder strong enough to actually DARE walk around telling OTHER PEOPLE that what they think and feel and that how they live their lives is WRONG, while how “I, the BLIND BELIEVER, happen to KNOW “THE fucking TRUTH”, oh and also “THE fucking WAY” how to live YOUR life ‘properly’“.

It is BLIND, fanatical FAITH that allows for such grand things as NAZI fucking GERMANY, STALINIST fucking RUSSIA, NORTH fucking KOREA and SUICIDE fucking BOMBERS, anne frankly, if anyone is OKAY with ALL THAT – then I am angry at you too. Justifiably so.

This isn’t a talk about a philosophical concept of god – I can have that with you over coffee any evening with great pleasure. This speech wasn’t about who is right or wrong, who is closer to the ‘truth’, who has more ‘reasons’ to think as they do. This speech was about BLIND OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY, moral self-righteousness, egocentrism, hypocrisy and REAL harm done to REAL PEOPLE over philosophical concepts. I’m sorry if anyone’s compassion and understanding of sociology doesn’t extend far enough to actually understand THAT much.It seems that homo sapiens is one of the few, if not the only, species that is capable to go as far as hating and killing for the sake of an abstract IDEA. It’s as peculiar as it is terrifying. For the most part, however, it is blood-chilling.

Which is precisely why ANY ideas that instill a sense of DIVINE SANCTION are asinine and are to be eradicated at the ROOT. A privately held conceptual/philosophical belief in some higher power is ONE thing – and not necessarily a problem. Unfortunately, in virtually 99,9999999% of all cases it is packaged together with the conviction of DIVINE SANCTION, and ka-boom, world goes batshit crazy right at that point, and THAT point is what we atheists are mad about. More than that, if you are not as equally mad, there is seriously something wrong with you and/or your understanding of the world affairs.

It is EVERYONE’s moral obligation to stop this – for too many reasons.

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11 Holiday Gift Programs That Benefit Nonprofits and Make the World A Better Place

Holiday season is approaching… Maybe do something different this year?

“Many of us will purchase hundreds of dollars in holiday gifts over the next six weeks, and with some conscious consumerism those dollars could also help some of your favorite nonprofits continue their work in 2012. Now in it’s third year (View the 2009 Edition and2010 Edition), the 11 holiday gift programs listed below benefit nonprofits and thus help make the world a better place:”

11 Holiday Gift Programs That Benefit Nonprofits and Make the World A Better Place :: 2011 Edition « Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits.

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I’m a loving human being… unless YOU are gay

(disclaimer: this is NOT a religion-bashing post, this is a post on human differences, obedience to authority and its consequences, irrespective of anything related to religion)

I’ve come across Dan Pearce’s blog entry titled “I’m Christian… Unless You’re Gay” a couple of days ago and a few things baffled me… For one, it is hard for me to understand how incredibly vested is the non-acceptance of differences in some cultures, and on what feeble foundations such non-acceptance is built up. It is hard for me to imagine what type of hell must the poor people who choose for themselves go through in dealing with this, although one ‘great’ example of what type of ‘loving regard’ one might have to put up with can be found in one of the responses to the original blog entry

There are a billion of reasons why in-group/out-group relations are bound to be complicated, or why we may not like those who are different to us… For example, here is just one of many videos tackling the subject of preference-holding (among other things):

It is exactly the understanding of why such tensions arise that allows us to deal with them rationally, to disperse them as a trick of the mind that they are, and to instead opt for a humane regard and treatment of other human beings…

We are afraid of the different, but only until it is unknown to us and holds no human face… Maybe we should strive to engage with people we think of as different, even reconcilable with ourselves – not in order to necessarily adopt their positions, but in order to UNDERSTAND. Understanding doesn’t imply agreement, it doesn’t even imply empathy – but it DOES make one a better human being when one understands where someone else is coming from, and it does make this world a much more enjoyable place for us all.

This isn’t to say that ALL views must be equally tolerated as having their right for existence (I don’t care, for example, how many people may hold an opinion that baby-rape is fine – it’s fucking wrong regardless), and I’ve written extensively on why such tolerance is, in fact, damaging to the society in “The Declaration of War on Global Terrorism“. However, we may still ‘invite the other side to lunch’, as Elizabeth Lesser suggests, if only to find out how to prevent certain rotten convictions from arising by understanding their underlying causes…

In addition, it may not always be the individual’s fault for acting a certain way. Group behavior and institutionalized behavior differ from individual behavior. Sometimes we do things we are told to do, and it ends up horribly… (You can watch Philip Zimbardo’s video on what a perfectly kind individual is capable of doing in an institutionalized setting here). When soldiers were executing Jews in Nazi Germany or anyone in Stalinist Russia, this is exactly what was going on…

Understanding is the key to avoid such horrors. Understanding and a specific mindset. Mindset that questions and never accepts authority ‘just because’. Such questioning allows us to exercise our own judgment of wrong-doing correctly, as the experiments on the subject show (below is a fun video by one great girl explaining the need for understanding).

Mindset that won’t allow anyone to resort to behaviors that drive people to suicide just because they feel ostracized for being different… Often so not just by their friends and community, but by their own families…

The end of the year is the time we look back and analyze, evaluate and plan for changes… Let’s all look back and analyze and evaluate whether our behaviors in any way were such that could harm the well-being of others just because they may be different from us, and let’s take concrete steps, starting with understanding, to eliminating such behaviors from our arsenal forever, shall we?

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Lesson on forgiveness…

The Independence Day in Warsaw was marked by sunshine and violent clashes between anarchists and neo-nazi groupings, whose demonstrating marches’ paths across the city wound past the hotel, where the conference I am attending is being held. We were advised not to leave the hotel during lunch, even though by then they should have moved towards the city center, and to be careful in the evening if we needed to relocate – so serious was the situation. Not only Polish protesters were there – tens of thousands of people from all over Europe had come to participate. So far from the Polish news we got that 17 policemen (who had to tackle the crowds in full anti-riot gear) were injured…

Earlier today one of the conference participants had suggested that on this memorable day (and date – 11.11.11), all of the participants born before 1945 (inclusively) could come up front and in a gesture of our common goal here on Earth (same old peace, happiness, harmony and love stuff) ask each other for forgiveness (in their own language) for their generations’ hatred (even though they themselves were too young to directly participate in any of the active manifestations of this hatred) on their behalf, and also forgive themselves for being a part of that war generation. It was symbolic – conference participants are already, regardless of their countries of origin, religion, age, gender, language and so forth, basically all old friends. In the light, however, of the impending clashes between the youth, which they fuel on hatred just as symbolic, but nonetheless potent enough to still cause deaths and injuries to people, as well as discriminatory practices, it was a lesson that many across the globe might benefit from learning…

When honor killings are dragging on to this day, while even the original causes of ‘dishonor’ are already forgotten; when an Irish Catholic hates (beats up, kills…) a fellow Irish Protestant for no other better reason than symbolic hatred passed on from preceding generations; when all over the world people hate other people simply because their great grand-fathers also did so (and those did because their own great-grand fathers did… And those, usually, did because of some ridiculous mistake, doctrine, misunderstanding or myth…); when hatred-escalation that is in-built into our psychology is allowed to go out of hand and manifest itself in such unspeakable scenarios as in the former Yugoslavia or Rwanda – learning to forgive may be the only life-saving tool left to us worth trying…

I recall when a Holocaust survivor spoke at our school (and it’s a crying shame that the full history of the Holocaust in not taught worldwide in due detail, for it is an enormous lesson for humanity…). She didn’t go into any specific gruesome details and her telling was not as emotional as one could expect, but she did mention the inhumane conditions in the camp and how she was treated. Rape and torture over the course of several years pretty much sum her story up…

One of the questions someone asked her after she finished was whether she hated the  Germans and the SS officers who treated her this way and who tortured and killed other people in the camp, including her friends and relatives. She said no. She said, first of all, many Germans were helping those like her and generally were good people, even during the war. As for the SS and other camp personnel – she said she forgave them… Those men, said she, were only carrying out the orders, and it was war time. Besides, said she, hatred was such a heavy burden to carry – she had already had enough to deal with in her life, she saw no use or comfort in wasting her health and energy on nurturing hatred in her heart and mind on top of it all, and not much life left to live to waste it on such self-inflicted torture…

I remember I thought to myself that if this woman could forgive for what all had been done to her, then I doubt there can exist any other person (including myself) who can ever have a more solid case for holding the grudge against someone else anywhere on this planet…

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Message from the other side

A few years ago I got talked into a parachute jump by someone from the dance community (this, of course, makes perfect sense 😀 ).

We have arrived at the small airport, got enough training in those few evening hours to know what to do with our eyes closed and went off to the tents. There were rooms available, too, but setting up a tent was cheaper – and more fun. I got the best deal of all: the person I shared the tent with had a proper all-weather one, and an inflatable mattress as a bonus :). The less fortunate other guy in the group got soaked under night rain because he chose to sleep under the roof extension of the girls’ tent (which also got some water into it through the roof ventilating fabric – this was a summer tent version for good weather only).

Despite everything having already been paid for (including two jumps – second one optional), in the morning at breakfast the leitmotiv of the day was already set in our group: “ain’t NOOOOO way I am jumping!!!”

This and other variations of “I seriously doubt I will do this” lasted us all the way through the airplane ascent. The fact that, besides the instigator and the instructor, we were all first timers, and that the tiny plane looked like it may not make it up there (or anywhere at all) in one piece didn’t add much confidence either. The wait was rather frightening, in other words.

Much less frightening was seeing everyone in group one happily hopping off into the air on step 3 (as instructed, we were to take three steps to the door at “go”: one, two – fold hands on the chest – and “thwheeeeeeee!!!”), one after another. Even less frightening was actually being (for whatever weird reason) pushed out of the plane on step TWO by the instructor when it was my turn. Okay, maybe he was just a jerk and wanted to have some fun, so I figured since I was already in the air by then I might wanna proceed as instructed and check upon the chute. I looked up: the chute was there. “All good”, thought I, and looked back down. Then I thought “wait, it’s not ALL good…”

I looked up again: sure enough, because the instructor gave me a decent torque on my jump, I corkscrewed right into the air instead of jumping straight, thus tangling up the suspension lines. “Aha!”, said the brain, “we were prepared for this!”: determine which way it’s twisted; pull controls apart; kick (ASS! Haha 😀 Not! 😀 ) leg to twist the opposite way till fully open; pump air; enjoy flight.

After all that, I was one of the two idiots (instructor not counted) who landed where we were told to – roughly 700m from the terminal (the smart people navigated ‘incorrectly’ to land right in front of it). The instructor was still being a jerk, so he decided to instruct me on the landing. I was still a first-time dummy and listened to him. Since it takes a few seconds to land and some of that time was lost in translation, when I landed my chute flew a bit over me and pulled me slightly ahead just enough to cause a very soft but shameful re-positioning from up-on-the-feet to down-on-the-knees. A little van picked up our chutes, but we had to walk all the way back to the terminal. Lesson was learned: screw the guy!

The second half of the afternoon had a much more excited “Nah, I did this wrong, so I totally gotta jump again to do it right this time!” hue to it. We had to curb our enthusiasm for a little while, waiting for the little patch of slightly rainy clouds to pass, and then for the sport jumps to take place, and then we were at it for try two. Thankfully, no one pushed me this time.

Being lightweight has some perks: I and the other girl (who was even smaller than me and weighted 46kg… Did I mention her brother, besides being soaked in the rain and of the same parents, was over 2m tall and they looked nothing like one another? 🙂 ) got about 12-13 minutes of peaceful suspension in mid-air, unlike our heavier company who were all down in roughly 7 (ha!). It may be a bit more of a problem, however, when you’re navigating in side-wind. It simply didn’t blow the first jump round, and I underestimated it by roughly 50 final meters that I have come short of a soft spot I had chosen for myself to land on – of course, right in front of the terminal. Since I missed it though I was in the field to the side of the terminal with no one to give me useless advise from the ground on how to land. 200 meters by altitude meter: pull controls half way down. From 100 meters by altitude meter: slowly pull controls all the way down to landing. I should’ve been in textbooks: I landed softly on my feet and the chute fell as it was due right behind me. No one was anywhere near me to share the triumph… Unfortunately, I also forgot the jump certificate in their car on the way back and lost the contact with the instigator, so I guess I have to do it again some day!

In the meantime, I decided to jump off the bridge instead. If you recall the specific status up-date on this from a few months ago, you could easily tell people who know me apart from those who don’t :D. I wrote, among other things, that my decision was final and that I sure hoped it’d work… One of my friends kind of almost spoiled the whole fun by writing “bungee?” right as the first comment. Fortunately, it was NOT bungee (mwwwaaahahaha) that I had signed up for…

So, finally, the mystery is revealed: it was a Kien Jump. Ideally, you’d stand on one bridge and be tied to another bridge, jump feet down (unlike bungee, the chord is at the body center) and swing back and forth a few times. In the absence of two cool bridges, you jump from one side of the bridge while the sling is tied underneath it to the other side. Not as much of a swing as between two bridges, but sure as hell enough for starters!

The poor friend of mine I suggested this to was in for the classic bungee, and thus we set off to Chomutov to the highest legal bungee bridge in the Czech Republic.

Upon arrival I was first and foremost feeling pretty cold. Because it was near freezing outside, although sunny and beautiful (see for yourself!).

This bridge is 67 meters above ground.
View from directly under the bridge.
The bridge carries traffic – it must be fun for passers by to watch the poor victims go down! This specific spot is good for observing someone else jump off, as no extra spectators and people are allowed onto the bridge itself.

I was rather indifferent to it all at that point. We filled in some forms (the joke was that it was a disclaimer allowing them to use our organs, if anything…), and got permanent-marker en-signed with a number on the hands. The joke on those ones was that it would be easier to identify the bodies. You can see the mood was right :).

Marked for easier body identification :).

There was a baby in the stroller (not alone, obviously – with parents and grandparents), so we also joked about jumping with the baby. In the meantime I got called to the bridge. Myself and that other guy (the baby’s dad) got instructed on what to do once we’re down and done screaming. He jumped first, I had to wait and freeze some more.

Finally, the expert came to tie me to the sling and set me off. That is roughly where the whole idea slowly started to seem MUCH more frightening than that memorable airplane ascent a few years ago could ever dream of. I climbed over the bridge railing and the guy said to jump on his count of three. In the meantime, I was thinking of some potentially creative soundtrack to accompany this with.

That little red spot in the upper right corner? Yeah, that’s me…

Too bad that I heard that magic “three” just before I would’ve hit the eureka moment with something generic like a Tarzan theme, so instead I ended up with a completely mentally unrehearsed and born of absolute, pure terror of that first step into the void loud, piercing AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Taking the first step… (note how the technician, the girl that’s being pulled up from a bungee jump and myself – we all are wearing red jackets 🙂 )
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAh!!!!

I gotta tell you people: parachutes got NOTHING on bridges! For some reason, the closeness of the ground (well, if 67 meters can be counted as ‘close’) doesn’t help – it makes everything worse. So while I was fully silent and chillin’ during the actual jump off the plane, I was pretty damn resentful to step off that bridge. It’s a good thing they have someone counting you off there, because I could totally see myself chickening out and climbing right over if I had about 2 seconds more of thinking time.

A few swings behind my belt, I proceeded as instructed and descended onto the ground below (by letting the rope slip through the carabiner in a controlled fashion), where an assistant was waiting.

What they fail to tell the ‘swingers’ is that they need to then, unlike the lucky jumpers who get lifted up onto the bridge, actually climb up back onto the bridge. In a way, I was happy for the exercise – I finally warmed up. On the other hand though, 60 meters up the slope on a terrain that has very little to stably set feet on without the danger of sliding right back down?.. I’m sure if they mentioned that aspect, fewer people would sign up :).

I made it all the way up in one piece though, got my ‘hero’ certificate (I actually think it went rather un-heroically, if anything, but well – the paper says so…) and was right in time to immortalize the leap into the abyss of my poor friend.

It turned out that he had an extra certificate for a bungee jump for someone who didn’t want it in the end…

Since he said it would be a shame to let the certificate go to waste, I got myself talked into doing the actual bungee jump – the following weekend. Skipping ahead, I must say it probably was a dumb decision 😀

Back to the bridge, I was hoping that bungee jump would be psychologically easier – it didn’t require stepping off but either falling down or jumping. I naively considered both options less challenging…

The world is mine!!! (This was while I still was thinking that bungee would be easier….)

We were very lucky with the weather both times – even though it was cold, it wasn’t raining. I had to wait my turn for quite a while, so I took the opportunity to chill in the sunshine a bit :).

Catching tan :):):)

Finally, it was time… I and some other unfortunate human being, whose turn was right after me, were instructed about what to do. Then I was tied by the ankles, climbed over the bridge railing… and fucking panicked!

SOMEBODY, HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, just to clear this up: I’m not afraid of heights, I totally love them. I was also up until that very moment perfectly convinced this would be ‘better’ (as in, even less frightening) than last week… But here I was freaked out to the point that I asked the technician to give me a couple of moments to breathe this through! He did (lovely fella! 🙂 ), but I think he has been doing this for long enough to know just how much thinking time is enough, so a few moments later he went ahead counted my last seconds of presumed safety off and gave me a very slight push on the count of three…

The ‘helping’ hand :):):)

Poor fellow (in white) watched all this… He was also terrified – he got the jump as a gift from someone. I don’t think I helped him much by my panic attack :D. I probably didn’t sound very encouraging on the way down either… Think about how terrifyingly you would scream if someone’d push you off a bridge… that was exactly the soundtrack to my fall, alas my own voice cover version 😀

At this point I was thinking “what a fuck was I thinking!!!! Agreeing to this was madness!!!”
Seriously, peer pressure is a bitch…
I was immensely relieved when I felt the pull of the band and the first bounce up.

Once I stopped free-falling and started bouncing up and down, my brain finally figured out something that it refused to acknowledge all along: I’m safe. I laughed nervously a bit and hung head-down, waiting for the lift-up… In the meantime, another woman jumped down into the swing – she probably screamed louder than even I did, so at least, thought I, I wasn’t being THAT lame 😀 😀 :D.

While I was waiting, the shoe on my right foot felt like it was slowly sliding off… (Actually, my friend told me one girl jumping before us lost her shoes in the process – good thing is there is someone down there to bring them back up 🙂 ). Even knowing that it’s perfectly normal, and that even if by some magic I’d slide out of both cuffs I’d be caught by the safety band right away, I was still more than happy to finally, after a few failed attempts, catch that buoy-looking thing that fished me back up onto the bridge :).

Back up, safe, alive and still terrified... It was time to leave...

Frankly, I’m quite divided in my final opinion over that second jump… It was cool, of course, but I probably underwent a greater scare than necessary… Maybe having jumped just a week before I was already wired for fear more than I would’ve been had I just gone there not knowing what to expect? :). I’m kind of freaked out a bit even just looking at those pictures 😀 😀 :D. The good part is, however, that I ticked this particular “to do in life” thing off my list… At this point I’m in the “never again!!!” camp, but who knows – maybe as the freshness of the terror wears off in time, I would end up repeating something like this somewhere else (say, the highest bungee jumping bridge in the world?…)… I just hope I don’t end up like this guy:

Holy fuck…

And what about you? Share your story about the most terrifying thing you’ve ever voluntarily gotten into – and survived unscathed, although probably slightly shaken, and as a hero! 😉

Posted in All about me, Experiences worth having, In my spare time... | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Declaration of the war on global terrorism

One more rapture safely behind us, I decided on this memorable (yet another) first day after the (yet another) end of the world to declare a war…

While I may not be a world government or any similar legally fictitious entity, I am damned well not okay with terrorism and I want world peace (if only because I want to travel to every country on this planet, and how on earth am I meant to get somewhere where an open armed conflict is full on? 🙂 ). And while we’re at it, I am equally not okay with anything that goes against progressions in the realm of the human rights and science – I consider any action taken against those developments to be a crime against humanity as a whole. And me. And every human individual on our planet. So war against that, too – throw it in the bag 🙂 (If you don’t get the specific reference, run a quick search on YouTube. Hint: it’s a music video).

Fair warning: this entry is likely to offend you at one point or another, so please make sure to read the disclaimer in the end (will be in bold). If you can’t stomach the overall entry – it’s probably because it is about you, which should then make you really think hard about the direction your life is taking. And please don’t bother leaving comments calling for truce – not gonna happen :).

So…

This all had begun maybe a much longer while ago that I can even recall, but my “fury” (the reasons for ” ” marks can be found here and here) had been spiced up on a few specific occasions that eventually lead to this war declaration.

One of such occasions was hearing from adherents to a certain set of dated ideas that people who live a virtuous life but refuse to accept those dated ideas will be, unfortunately, eternally damned for suffering the tortures of hell, while people who commit atrocities of unbelievable scale, like Hitler (sorry, I know he’s probably THE most used poster-child example of anything that has ever been wrong with humanity… but hold that thought as I will come back to him later) can deserve an eternity of bliss regardless of their acts: upon repenting their sins and accepting to believe the given set of dated ideas… Back when it happened, it set me off on a huge research spree to refresh my rather not-too-recent-enough factual information on the subject matter at hand, which has been, for the most part, gathered here.

A few hate-comments (from people I never knew/interacted with before… Who obviously, and ironically, felt they had the right to come to MY FB wall with their hatred… I’m happy they have decided to un-friend me rather swiftly, as I obviously disturbed them by common sense just enough to threaten their little cognitive self-deluding comfort) on my posts dealing with support for the rights of homosexuals and the rhetoric of the atheists have kept the “fire” burning in the meantime. Some comments from my actual friends urging me to “stop this anti-whatever campaign and chill off already” also took place, and then finally came Jeff (no last name, but you know who you are 🙂 ), who got into a “discussion” with me first in comments to a post and then via messages (as he, of course, was prompt to un-friend me too 🙂 ). To shortly summarize Jeff’s scientific method (and Jeff is a self-proclaimed respectful and open-minded person, mind you – the exact open-minded type I am also declaring a war on, by the way), he informed me at one point that the USA is NOT a secular country (which it is, and always has been ever since its inception), then provided the “reason” for this “fact” to be pretty much the exact darn definition of a ‘secular state‘, albeit paraphrased, then consequently denied to read any links provided to him that both explained secularism and the emergence of the USA as a clearly secular nation from its inception… at which point he pretty much forever lost any credibility and benefit of the doubt anyone sane would have given him in the beginning. However, the extensive exchange of mail lead me to a few more good sources and a very important realization: there needs to be a war, after all.

I could go on at length about why there needs to be an open war on bullshit, but why make my life harder? Other people have done part of the job for me. Therefore, I will first copy here a few excerpts and summaries of the communique with Jeff (which you can either read for your own amusement or skip :). And by the way: 1) I informed him that I use ALL CAPS only as a means of emphasis, not “screaming”, as it’s simply faster than bold/italics, especially in FB messages and 2) I also often forgo capitalization in fast-typing messages like this – pure laziness, as well as a form of tribute to e. e. cummings (note: PROPER name capitalization here – that’s how he signed his name 😉 )), and then invite you to do your homework for once and explore a couple of very important sources I will cite at the end. If you decide to skip mail exchange, then I will indicate with a “START HERE for Jeff vs me” the beginning of the section you can fully skip and something else in bold to indicate where you should resume reading again :).

I first invited Jeff to see this video

(by the way, a brilliant channel. And fills me with hope that there exist in fact young, well-educated people with enough courage out there. Whatever you may think of the looks/manner, the message is priceless), not for the purpose of proving anything (and I explained this extensively to him. I also warned him of the form of delivery and asked to disregard it and rather focus on the message), but just as a summary (when I get tired of re-writing what I already had to write too often, I find some source online that does my job for me 🙂 ) of what are my concerns as someone who doesn’t buy into some old mythology to begin with. I also asked Jeff to share the video with those of his friends who hold some beliefs, so that they actually could understand ‘the other side’ and maybe make their rhetoric more effective upon accounting for those concerns.

Interestingly enough, upon other things he wrote:

“You have no idea who or what I am. Your small capacity for understanding wont allow it.
Because in your pomposity and drive to be better than everyone else, You missed the point with your overblown intellectualism.”

Here I need to mention that in my first message to him I also linked the “Crushed by the intellect” blog entry, which he, of course, failed to read… (lest he would never maintain those accusations). Since he never bothered to serve as an example of someone who is interested in figuring out who the other person is, neither bothered I to investigate what kind of a person he was, beyond our writing. I’m sure he’s actually a nice pal, but it’d seriously help him to, well, investigate prior to opinion-forming… And hence it all began…

“START HERE for Jeff vs me”

In that same message, he continued:

“What actually led me to unfriend you is your disgusting “holier than thou” (LOL) attitude that your atheistic beliefs were somehow better than anyone who follows a faith. Your over the top attempt to beat me up with your intellect failed. I left because it was boring and shallow. The sheer amount of nonsense made my head swim. The mere fact that an atheist needs to mock someone’s belief or belittle them is sheer stupidity. and a whole site dedicated to that is a shrine to stupidity that puts them beneath the holy rollers.

You said” I do have a problem when anyone’s private sense of moral entitlement starts to be forced down other people’s throats, down onto little children and into the state laws – THAT I have a huge problem with.”
I don’t ask anyone to follow any message. BUT i find people who attack religion to be just as offensive as those who attack with it. I AGREE WITH YOU and firmly believe that no religion should be forced on anyone. I ALSO BELIEVE in a common respect for others beliefs even if that belief is a lack of belief. I am sincerely offended most by people who wish to force their world view on people who have differing views.
I can respect your atheism but it is apparent you have no respect for someone with different views. Even in your attempt to offer a video you presume an arrogance to teach others the right way to do something, which of course is your way or a way you agree with because that can be the only correct course of action. You’re arrogant enough to judge me and make assumptions about who I am that are so far wrong its laughable and really makes you sound stupid. I actually am an open minded person.”

Which pretty much summarizes the entire build up: have respect for the belief…

Well guess what? I fucking won’t.

Jeff, by the way, true to his ‘methodology’ didn’t watch the video in full, and after he finally did, could only have a mind open enough to derive this much:

“fucking sad was that video…i watched it…half of it…it was so much repeated regurgitated one-sided diatribe i could have puked. I can easily pick apart every useless factoid that poor actress spouted. The fact that you consider yourself an intellectual and you put stock in it proves me right again.
explain my reasons for what? for having been insulted by your asking me to watch a video that in your self ascribed superiority would set me (and those that think like me) right? you don’t even see what you’re saying and why its so offensive do you? you have all the traits of an elitist snob with out the substance […] I at least started to watch the video, but it was more like the inability to not look at a train wreck which is what it was. A train wreck of one-sided selfish-motivated liberal bullshit that presented only the facts relevant to making a one-sided argument instead of speaking truth.”

Kind of failing to realize that, well, to begin with this isn’t an actress… Also, I don’t quite understand where the “untrue” part of the video is, as it basically simply lists actual laws and those in motion that have been, to public knowledge, lobbied through into the legislation of the SECULAR nation of the USA by the various Christian denominations’ lobbyists… Which was the only ‘point’ of including that video – demonstration of effect of organized lobbying power on legislation. Incidentally, it happens that the ONLY two organized lobbying power in support of the moronic laws that go counter human rights happen to be the religious groups and huge MNCs…

My reply to Jeff included:

“if they sat at homes and thought “well, our faith teaches us it’s bad to abort babies… but, well, it’s our faith. laws of this country are secular, and are made to serve every one of my fellow human brothers and sisters. out of respect and love for them, i should NOT vote on such matters: this way i do not cast a vote to support something that my faith prohibits me to support, but neither do i intervene in the liberty and rights of my fellow human beings to choose their own course of action”… you just don’t SEE THAT kind of behavior too often, do you?…

i’m basically saying that otherwise well-meaning, kind and actually (often) highly intelligent people vote into LAW things that go against EVERYTHING the modern society is based on – EVERYTHING that, in fact, allows for peace and prosperity and intellectual and information boom, freedom of the arts and expression – EVERYTHING. based on what? on something that PRIVATELY THEIR held belief tells them is something that “shall be done” or “shall not be done”…

so they, while in fact reaping the fruits of, well, atheist advancements for the most part (let’s just face it: science, philosophy etc weren’t particularly theist just about at the same time as, well, most of the great stuff was invented in this world.. actually an older example was provided before by petr, who reminded me that in ancient arabia, all the while koran was regarded as a philosophical work open to liberal interpretation, it was an exuberant nation that gave us mathematics, was the center of world trade, arts and etc… then came another government, made koran literal and voila – you can see for yourself how far behind they lag now in science and so forth just in a couple of centuries, all that after being the leading region for progress… but i digress), while actually laying foundation for the destruction of the very mechanisms that allow all that to exist…

it’s a little bit like a huge MNC dumping poisons into the water and air… which THEIR CEO’s and workers THEMSELVES end up breathing and drinking, inevitably (another thing i can never wrap my mind around)…

just to sum it up: i in fact have NO problem with privately held beliefs in fairies. as i pointed out in a comment to jimmy (on my wall):

‘I wrote this before and I’ll repeat:
1. I have NO problem with anyone believing in toothfairies, santa, jesus, krishna or whatever the hell else they please… as long as that belief is PRIVATE, NOT indoctrinated onto children under 18, does NOT interfere with due process of law, and does NOT cause hateful, discriminative action or speech.
and 2. true, there are many great religious people out there. as there are many atheist assholes. and vice-versa. not the point. point is, for a good person to do good, it takes nothing. for an evil person to do evil, it also takes nothing. but for a good person to do evil, it takes religion…’ ”

I was rather irritated with him by that time, so I went on. I also made a point, note, on not caring what people privately believe… I think I’ve changed my mind. Believing in bullshit that makes one render one morally superior to anyone else and in having a key to the eternal guidance for the only acceptable way of living – should be lobotomized out of people for all I know… (Before you burn me on the stake: this is a metaphor, obviously. But if i had a magic wand and one wish in it, I’d rid the world of all religions – they won’t be erased, no – why. It’s cultural heritage, after all. But they’ll all safely migrate into the realm of “ancient myth” and “ancient philosophies” together with the myths of ancient Greece, and will be regarded and taught appropriately to their due place. Thus, I wrote to Jeff:

“so then yeah, then that enrages me, because why i if i get raped and get pregnant should bear a child from the rapist just because SOME church prohibits abortion? or why should i, were i gay, be unable to live in a loving union with my spouse with all the benefits of law as other married couples do? and then, yeah – in that case, i DO sympathize with that video rant because, well, if MY taxpayer dollars should go to spreading aids, denying people their rights, discrimination and so forth then no, i do NOT agree. and not humbly, either. you see, the whole reason for the fury is NOT a belief in itself, whatever it may be (as strange as it may seem). fine, some people believe in fairy-tales. okay. our brains are hard-wired for “magic”, so it’s easy to understand how THAT happens. BUT, what I AM against, and others like me, is the CONSEQUENCE OF ACTIONS taken by people of faiths.

if a person believes in allah and is a good person – awesome. we’d be friends. (we are – i have friends from all major religions in the world, as well as a few peculiar ones . and i mean real-life friends, nothing fb-related) if that person’s belief in allah makes him wrap a bomb around himself and blow a bunch of people up – i am NOT okay with THAT.

if christians think abortions and gay marriage and what name you are EVIL – i actually don’t give a fuck. if they go ahead VOTING for LAWS that prohibit gay marriage and the right of women to abortion – i DO have a problem. it’s NOT the faith it’s ACTIONS that are taken on its behalf.

because guess what? good people would either not vote at all, or vote FOR civil liberties. regardless of faith. but faith DOES push to the voting booth the morally righteous ones who DO vote AGAINST civil liberties.

don’t get me wrong, idiocy does the same – lack of education etc… rednecks would probably also vote against, but ask them why?.. GOD doesn’t like it. they may know nothing, and nothing of god. but they heard somewhere some time that “god doesn’t like it”. that’s enough of a reason for them..

ops, pardon this is running long, i better hush. i hope you see the point, and the fact that my frustration comes from not an attack on faith as such, but as a back-lash to what it happens to do in reality, tangibly. and it’s just in those cases of law TOO WRONG to not be infuriated by it – you’d probably also agree, i hope, that gay marriage and abortion rights should not even be debated in a civil society any more – it should long ago have become a norm, like in many european countries.”

Here comes Jeff’s infamous response about American non-secularism…:

“your rant is full of hypocrisies…and it is the idle mind of an over exuberant and inexperienced teen.

you want to be able to rant publicly against religion…but for a religious person to publicly espouse their beliefs should not be allowed because of all the crimes you feel have been committed in the name of religion. but you only see your view.

for example..i have not tried to sway you to any religious view or political view. you have no idea what my views are.

but here you rant and try to ask me to see your point of view and accept it.

You presume to know what is in peoples hearts which is astoundingly arrogant while holding yourself up as an accepting pinnacle of open minded virtue while at the same time mocking peoples beliefs.

Who the hell do you think you are to tell a group of people how to raise their children?? you call it indoctination, where they call it a moral upbringing. freedom means they can do just that….they can teach their children to love or to hate or to worship allah, jehovah, adonai, budha, satan wicca, or whathaveyou…

freedom of religion…

I live in a country where many people left everything they knew to establish a place of freedom and to be able to practice their religion (or lack thereof) freely and publicly and to establish that country so that no one else would be oppressed like they had been. and to this day, people leave the oppression of secular governments and oppressive religions to freely practice their faith (or lack of) in the USA.

and for your information…this country was not founded as a secular nation…do your homework…the founders were very religious…and open minded…read their writings and you can see that…”that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights” is not a secular statement. It was an endeavor of true moralilty born of their religious beliefs.

and in a civil society…a free society…we do not squelch public debate

the only point of yours i have seen is that you are very proud of what you think you know.

Your ignorance astounds me.”

So I wrote him back:

“our ignorance astounds me even more. claiming that USA was not founded as a secular nation?… which planet are YOU from?…

that aside… i don’t claim to KNOW every single person’s inner motives. and guess what – i am aware they think they’re doing the RIGHT thing. i’m sure you’re also aware that many roads to hell are paved with the greatest and best-est of intentions…

children should not be indoctrinated into faith by the means of imposing fear onto them (you will otherwise burn in hell for eternity…all your friends and family members who don’t behave well will also be tortured in hell for eternity… if you or them don’t do what the religious authorities tell. it’s actually very close to child abuse when you say that to kids at early age. if you dare refute that, i suggest you to go take a few years’ worth of psychology – might help). yes, we grow in a culture and cultures have values and shared beliefs. these beliefs CAN be passed on to the other generations, but in a non-violent form. in a non-coercive form. rather as information and common rituals than fear and dogma. if you can’t see the possibility to pass on cultural values without the complete brainwashing part – it’s your ignorance, not mine.

aside on practicing whatever religions they wish – yes. and, as you are so clearly unable to grasp, it’s fine (by me, too). (btw THAT is exactly THE definition of a secular nation – where ANY religion, or none, are just as equally permitted to be practiced as any other – DUH… you seriously amaze me on this point… on top of that, founding fathers could have whatever privately held beliefs of their own – however, they were smart enough to understand that singling one or other religion as the state one is a route to disaster. and consequently america was founded as a SECULAR nation under the principles of the rule of LAW, not GOD, and strict separation of state and church (which is now a bit less strict, sadly). so do YOUR homework.) however, that license to practice, just like sex, was granted to consenting adults capable of making their own choices and passing their own judgments, and thus it should be. children can grow up with values of any religion, too, but it shouldn’t be shoveled down their throats and neither should they learn under threat, which is the case now. they also should be given answers to their questions about other religions and values, and not told to “shut up and stop questioning” (that alone is probably the most dangerous habit people get into, in general, belief or not, that drives most of social calamities in the world – when people shut up and stop questioning anything and thinking for themselves. governments LOOOVE that though… sheeple are easier to control).”

At this point out of sheer curiosity I sent Jeff quickly found links on secularism and inception of American state. He replied:

“crushed by lintellect? more like baffled or buried under bullshit. your enormous ego still misses the point as indicated when you can say things like who should be allowed to practice their religion and when:
“children should not be indoctrinated into faith ”
freedom of religion means its none of your business

BTW, did you even read your links or just the parts you liked?

God and the Constituion:
Blessing is defined as a favor or gift bestowed by God.
Close enough for me.

I have not once preached that you should believe any faith. Your “research” means nothing to me because your statements continue to show a lack of respect for other peoples beliefs.”

By the way, when I agreed with him previously that the video is “of a ranting teenager”, which, however, does not invalidate the points made by her at all, he actually somehow managed to understand that I AM a teenager who likes to rant… (This will explain part of my reply to him):

“people who are religious aren’t stupid. they hold no inherent personality traits that are common to them all. and some highly intelligent people also are believers. please be so kind and stop putting words into my mouth and thoughts/judgments into my head that aren’t there.

people who are religious ARE much more inclined to not question. to not question authority. and to base their ACTIONS on those moral absolutes they regard as holy. even if those actions happen to go against the advancements of the civil society in the realm of civil liberties and human rights. there is an inherent moral self-righteousness in any set of faith, whatever it is. unfortunately, this is exactly what leads to such bullshit as the fact that gay marriages are STILL not legalized everywhere in the world, as should have been already done long ago; abortions are illegal, sex education is “abstinence education” (which is NOT education. and it happens to throw USA up top among the developed world in the rates of increase of teen pregnancy and STDs. way to fucking go, USA…).

unlike YOU, i actually read. and those links were just a quick fix for your sake of your immense gap in information on USA secularism. also, unlike YOU, i actually READ the ENTIRE fucking constitution of the USA. there is NO god in it. never has been. you simply once again prove your (lack of) proper methodology by “glancing” over things, giving them a cursory read and proclaiming yourself an expert.

oh and please don’t give yourself so much credit – i don’t care what you think. as long as your actions and votes follow the course of a civil society, not of fairies or “moral lessons” they bestow onto people – i don’t care what you or anyone thinks.

to ranting teen – wow, you only now realized that sentence was about the video?… A+ to you my friend on reading and comprehension. same goes for your assessment of the blog entry (which you have NOT read, and i can bet my life on it. yet again, amazing sight of insight on your behalf, because had you bothered – you’d probably withhold your retarded (yes, it is such) comment on the entry’s behalf. or maybe not, as you seem to be unable to properly read and understand something written in your own mother tongue just very well enough…) which is why my original proposition to bring this entirely meaningless (for the reasons that have to do with your laziness, if anything, whether it comes to doing your research, claim-refuting, or even reading something before forming your opinion of it… i mean, wow… you vote like that too? by skimming campaign headlines and leaving it at that?… then damn, god bless america indeed – cuz he won’t, for the reason of non-existence, and it doesn’t deserve any better…) exchange to an end still holds.

(a couple more of such “insights” of yours and you’d prove yourself either basically a major troll, or someone peculiarly hell-bent, for whatever exotic reason, on fully discrediting himself as a discussion partner worthy of any regard whatsoever from anyone who’d ever wish to ever talk to you about anything…hmmm… maybe wisest to just, really, stop writing. or start acting a bit different, if you’re capable of it)”

Now, we’re almost at the very culmination and end of this all, yay! Jeff’s reply:

“discussion partner? is that what you consider me? so i should be honored i guess…that a person of your dizzying intellect would stoop to discuss things with me? no…i’m not…sorry. if you are capable of having an open mind…then step out of your ego and re-read your posts…egotistical, elitist and judgemental are the first words that come to mind. I still have no idea why you are persisting in this line. You only accept definitions that you agree with, disgard facts when they don’t fit your perspective and then insult the person who presents them. You seem intent on trying to beat me up. For what reason, I don’t know.

I’m sure there are people like you who work just as hard to impress themselves and congratulate themselves on the storehouse of information they have. Unfortunately, like you they can’t comprehend what it is they know or show respect for others who have differing beliefs.

I took issue with your lack of respect for other peoples beliefs and misuse of words. You worked very hard here to justify your elitist attitude and I applaud your ability to type, but so far have failed to sway me to your justifications or way of thinking. Bye”

>THIS IS WHERE YOU SHOULD PICK UP READING IF YOU DECIDED TO SKIP ME VS JEFF PART 🙂 (although it was rather informative of the development of the declaration of war…)<

And this is kind of where my “respect” thing started to crack down… In my own words, my sentiments were the following:

“i only accept definitions that have at least SOME vesting in reality and have been accepted as THE definition by that stupid and insignificant to you little person… no, not me – THE REST of the WORLD. just to get that one out of the way. (and you still haven’t read that blog post, as i can see… just an observation – nothing else)

nobody asks you to FEEL anything here (or else, please quote me directly ordering you to feel something, including “honored”)

what you read into how i “sound” in my comments is projecting – of your own little personality flaws onto another person. it’s okay, we all fall into that trap every now and then… in case you are truly interested in how i sound – it’s intense, it’s mocking, and it’s sarcastic – but not for elitist or other reasons that YOU see as fit in the situation. it is actually because i normally discuss things with people who know me personally – and they happen to also know the jokes, the sarcasm and the true tone of whatever i’m writing. that you don’t know it doesn’t mean my tone is all of a sudden different – you simply have never interacted with me in person (btw that blog entry could help shed some light into this all… including “my way of thinking”, which you keep so grossly misinterpreting, to our mutual consequent dissatisfaction… also, for you as someone unacquainted with me personally maybe you’d need to read the “i am always right” entry as well that’s linked in the very end of the “crushed by intellect” one…), and so you (consistently) read much more into my writing that has ever been there to ever begin with.

as for respect – you are asking me to respect intolerance, bigotry, lies and elitism that you yourself accuse me of… how exactly does that demand add up in your head?…

i will NOT respect certain things, just like i will NOT tolerate certain things. would YOU respect and tolerate a murder of an innocent person outside of an armed conflict/due prosecution through the process of law? i don’t know about you – i would not.

i would equally not respect or tolerate people who play experts on things they know shit about, people who discriminate, who vote for laws that limit civil liberties and scientific advancement, lie, murder, rob and teach to never question authority. and i don’t care how much you or anyone else will demand, coerce or entice me into respecting or tolerating any of the above – it just ain’t gonna happen. so am i then disrespectful and intolerant? hell yeah – i am. to willful (underline that) ignorance, to hate, discrimination and downright crime – yes, i neither will respect nor tolerate those.”

Hence comes the war. I thereby no longer will be respectful of faith of ANY sorts that carries any the following characteristics (and here’s why):

1. Includes a belief in all-powerful deity and afterlife that is determined by one’s conduct.

(Because it offsets the rewards/punishments to “later”; because one’s way to heaven or a prosperous next life after committing genocide can still be paved by some retarded rituals – like prayer, repentance, etc; because it induces blind obedience to authority and places that authority into the hands of a toothfairy, making believers think that their toothfairy is a better guide of behavior than THE LAW; and for a shitload of other reasons – see linked material in the end. Also, because SCARING little children with prospect of eternal torture (or a future life as a bug) as punishment for ‘misconduct’ that awaits them and everyone they love shall such misconduct happen is TERRORISM. It is psychological torture and should be made explicitly illegal. If you don’t think religion IS terrorism – there are some people who can explain the idea to you, like this funny guy:

2. Has ANYWHERE in its scriptures and/or postulates ANY line of text that suggests that ANY justifications of ANY form of discrimination exists at all (example: “sodomy is bad”, “non-believers are doomed to hell”. Because anything discriminatory is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY – as defined by me and the rest of the sane world. Because it infringes on human rights instead of advancing them).

3. Has ANYWHERE in its scriptures and/or postulates ANY line of text that suggests that ANY justifications of ANY conduct, whether VERBAL or ACTIONABLE, that constitutes a violation of ANY human rights, INCLUDING rights of children, women, sexual minorities, ethnic minorities, etc. (self-evident why)

4. Has ANYWHERE in its scriptures and/or postulates ANY line of text that suggests that ONLY THIS one particular set of scriptures/postulates grants the ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING of ANYTHING AT ALL. Be it moral conduct, history of humankind, proper practices for the living, even a single fact of any sorts, or what name you. Includes claims that anyone who refuses to believe the specific scriptures/postulates is “too ignorant/stupid/limited to understand ‘THE GRAND TRUTH’ ” of their preferred invisible friend.
(Because NO ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE AGENT EXISTS ON THIS PLANET. Yes, even YOURS IS NOT SUCH, EITHER – FUCKING LIVE WITH IT. Human brain and ability to understand and perceive are EXTREMELY LIMITED, plus we have mechanisms built-in that make us see stuff that is not there – all the time. (If you don’t think so, try imagining how “eternity” actually looks like… or insides of a black hole… (good luck…) Or maybe you have a thorough understanding of, universe aside, at least EVERY single process going on on Earth? Or all intricacies of the human mind and how it works? Reality check: you fucking don’t – and can’t. EVER. No one does/can. Live with this, too). So if you for some reason think that YOUR brain and abilities are SO much better than those of the entire human race that YOU are actually capable of FULLY or (even partially, but somehow BETTER and more profoundly) grasping some ABSOLUTE, ‘divine’, eternal, all-encompassing concepts – go sign up for a psychiatric counselling with a case of severe narcissism, ego-mania, god-complex and a few accompanying delusions RIGHT NOW)

5. Lists a limited number of “rules” and distinguishes “proper” and “improper” behaviors that are claimed to maintain their validity FOREVER. (Because if that was a good rule of thumb, we’d still burn witches, hold slaves, rape ‘non-believers’ of all sorts and generally engage in some UNACCEPTABLE behaviors. Because the law, through its due process, is and must remain open to revision and adaptation to reality – while sacred law is NOT. That ALONE should scare anyone enough)

6. Has ANY form of eternal (or in fact ANY kind of punishment at all. This DOES include a favorite religious “you shall live your life in suffering and misery if thy disbelieve”) punishment outlined ANYWHERE that is reserved for those who refuse to believe in the specific scriptures/postulates EXCLUSIVELY due to their refusal to believe non-substantiated, unproven ANYTHING at all, including the given scriptures/postulates. (Because blind faith (and not LACK of thereof, as many theists claim) led to the rise of the Third Reich and the Holocaust (Hitler’s back, as I promised 🙂 ), to the Stalinist gulags and to North Korea’s mass hysteria (turns out they consider US aid to them to be an offering in honor of Kim Jin Il…) poverty and other issues. Also, because NO divine being can possibly exist that would ever need to COERCE and threaten anyone into believing in it. If such even existed, it’d be a LOUSY one unworthy of any respect at all).

IN SUMMARY: If you, as a person, happen to privately believe that you have some SPECIAL, UNIQUE, THOROUGH and UNDENIABLY CORRECT (without any need of proving WHY so) knowledge/understanding of ANYTHING AT ALL, be it origins and purpose of existence, proper way of living and conduct or what not, or especially ANYTHING as of yet unexplained by scientific method, and you thus regard your knowledge/understanding as SUPERIOR and more profound/accurate/correct than any knowledge/understanding of ANYONE ELSE, then GROW THE FUCK UP, face the fact that you are NOT special, and that just because you like some work of literature or some philosophy over all others does NOT make you an EXPERT on ANYTHING RELEVANT TO THE ACTUAL REALITIES OF THE WORLD YOU’RE LIVING IN. Just the same as, having slept through the “physics” class at your school, you should, upon graduation, have enough wits to realize that you are probably NOT a fucking expert in quantum mechanics and not position yourself as such. Note, also, that not a single expert on ANYTHING in this world will be nuts enough to ever claim ABSOLUTE and ETERNALLY SUFFICIENT knowledge/understanding of ANYTHING. EVER. Maybe there’s a reason for it? (hint: yes, there IS)

Now, having made that clear and having officially declared war on blind self-righteous faith of any sorts, and specifically and very strongly on the organized religion – ANY organized religion anywhere on the planet – here are the promised few sources that sum up why it must be, indeed, an open war and why tolerance is overrated and should give way to better, more assertive tactics (such as kicking “creationism” not just out of the classrooms, but out of the public sphere debate – it’s too much fucking honor to grant them; scraping discriminatory laws that originated in some theist moral; introducing mandatory critical course on world religions in cultural context in all schools and STOP GIVING CHURCHES TAX BREAKS; denial of tolerance, respectful discourse and other permissive bullshit towards all this dangerous nonsense):

1) A little example of what tolerance causes – case study: USA. In focus: history, secular origins and frightening changes in legislation that we should all be afraid of. USA is a world dominant culture – if something happens there, it DOES set precedent. Let’s make sure it’s an adverse precedent – such we do NOT follow. (A glimpse into American historic journey from secular origins to creeping Christian agenda-run state. Roughly 55 minutes long. Originally it was available fully available on YouTube but the user was removed… You can listen to the audio file in full here: “Consider the Atheist” Madalyn Murray O’Hair)

2) Speech by Sam Harris (selected for being a very good summary of the general ideas and concerns shared by most non-theists) on why belief is a dangerous thing in itself (part one of five linked. Watch the entire speech)

3) TED talk by Sam Harris (yes, again. And again for being a very sound summary of the general point, rather than ‘the only one’) on how science can much better inform us of a proper moral conduct than any belief can ever dream of, as well as other relevant points and dangers of resorting to faith.

4) (not obligatory, but recommended): If you are still concerned about ‘losing the magic’ or whatever not else, Richard Dawkins has a book which you can actually listen to right here on The Magic of Reality. That should in roughly 6 hours clear all remaining doubts :).

We can get rid of mass faith AND maintain the cultural diversity. Just the same as we can shelf Greek gods under ‘myths’ and still study them and derive value from that study. We can observe the rituals of our culture and rejoice in them – not because they are sacred, but because they carry cultural value. We can teach children about ALL world religions, explain to them why we personally adhere to any specific view, and allow them to decide for themselves what to believe (note; even MENTIONING things like “hell” or “punishment”, or any other threats for their not believing what YOU do as a parent is prohibited) when they are old enough to make that decision for themselves. Treating ANY set of rules as infallible dogma is idiotic at its best – circumstances change, so do rules, live with it. Cherry-picking nice little segments to go by, just as picking inspiring quotes is fine. Regarding ANY single source as the ONLY and BEST source of ANY type of information is insane. Especially if that information is based on “presumption of MAGIC”.

If you disagree with this post, find it ‘offensive’, or ‘intolerant’, or you want to suggest me to ‘chill off’ – then please first spend a couple of hours of your Farmville time on exploring the provided links. If you STILL think my declaration is unjustified – then fuck you. Remind me to stop talking to you – I no longer want bystander hypocrites around me who are okay with tolerating human rights abuse, wherever it comes from, and those who sheepishly invoke ‘respect’ towards practices that clearly have NOTHING to do with respect for anyone themselves (stoning? genital mutilation? denial of rights? are you fucking KIDDING me you are OKAY with that???!!!), simply because a group of people, however large and for however long, regarded such practices are okay by their standard. No they aren’t – violation of human right is violation of human rights. Period. Any cultural norms/practices that go against the most basic human rights are dated medieval barbarism and must be prohibited. Stop lying to yourselves and hiding behind ‘cultural relativism’ schism, because by your same twisted fucking tolerant logic Nazism is perfectly fine. So is communism, any form of dictatorships, torture, discrimination and other things you tolerate (though I bet don’t like when they are applied upon you, do you now?).

We have too much to lose if we sit down and stop the fight. It can happen too fast. And it requires a full-on war. Those beliefs in fairies cause attitudes of moral self-righteousness and self-justification beyond any analysis of the grounds for such (which by the way do not exist), superiority, and conduct of despicable nature that can bring down and destroy all advancements humanity has reached via secular progress vested in the scientific method in the past millennia. This is no longer a joke, an empty threat, or something tolerable. Unless we re-shape our world on the basics of humanitarianism instead of blind belief, we’re doomed big time. I don’t know about you, but I refuse to passively sit there and, like a bystander allowing someone to get murdered, raped or tortured, allow for belief in fairies turn this world upside-down and rid me of liberties and future as such.

DISCLAIMER: As a person, you ARE fully entitled to privately hold ANY belief you find suitable to your liking – I have said before and I will repeat that I have no problem with that. HOWEVER, you are ONLY entitled to your beliefs under the following conditions (and those allow for NO exceptions):

1. You realize that your belief constitutes your own private opinion and choice, just as beliefs of other people constitute their own private opinion and choice, AND you thus realize that YOUR selected belief is NOT in ANY way BETTER, MORE CORRECT, PROFOUND, VALID OR SUITABLE FOR MORAL GUIDANCE OF CONDUCT AND BEHAVIOR THAN ANY OTHER. In other words, you fully realize that you are NOT in a possession of some ABSOLUTE and ULTIMATE understanding/knowledge and neither is anyone else (or any GROUP, for that matter, however big or long-lasting – numbers or persistence of a delusion do NOT justify bullshit! Back in them days nearly everyone was certain for a very long number of generations that Earth was flat – a shitload in numbers for a shitload of time… were they right though?..).

2. Whatever you may believe to be “right” or “wrong” according to your preferred dogma does NOT permit you to get involved in a political process on its basis. You are entitled to your belief ONLY if your political and civil actions are taken from a strictly HUMANITARIAN point of view – the position of rule of law and human rights. This means if you ever vote for/support (or did so in the past) ANY law or practice that denies basic rights to a SINGLE human being – you’re a fucking hypocrite, you should stop doing so immediately and MUST get involved in 3 different human rights legislative lobbying campaigns (suggestions: gay marriage, abortions, proper science classes in schools, scraping off the clause that allows indefinite detention of persons SUSPECTED of terrorism (because DUH, this is just a modern version of WITCH HUNTS, don’t you get it?) – good list for starters) to cleanse your sins. You MUST then remain an activist for those causes until the respective laws are finally passed in your state/country. Then and only then you can consider yourself forgiven – meaning that quietly sitting on your ass/knees and praying, or meditating, or confessing to an old senile man in a booth DO NOT fucking count. ACTIVE involvement does.

3. You are entitled and allowed to TOLERATE and RESPECT ONLY the type of beliefs (tied with the proper use and understanding of thereof) as described in this disclaimer. You must from now on either dump your false tolerance for all the rest of the harmful bullshit forever and become someone actively spreading the message of WHY this war I had declared (together with other non-theists) is urgent and should be supported en-mass, or join the camp of such admirable figures as Hitler (yet again 🙂 ), Stalin, Mao, Saddam (the list goes on… and YES if you do nothing – you ARE one of them). If you find yourself disagreeing with this point, if your “political correctness’ and “respect for cultural diversity” nonsense still blind your vision – you are just once again a hypocrite allowing for evil, inhumane action in this world.

To finish up: if after reading (and fully understanding) the main part of this post, including the provided links (be happy I didn’t ask you to check ALL the links in “On matters of belief 😉 ), as well as carefully reading and fully understanding the disclaimer, you STILL find yourself offended, find me overreacting/too “aggressive”, or secretly tick me off on your “going to hell/going to get reborn as a bug” list – inform me please and we shall part ways in life. Consider it a winter cleaning of the closet. Just as I will no longer tolerate evil, I will no longer tolerate people around me who allow evil to happen. YOUR bystander attitude puts ME in danger of facing the consequences of potential LAWS all over the world that can get ME killed for wearing some piece of clothes somebody doesn’t like. Well fuck you if you are fine with something like that – for I am not.

End of the declaration of the war on global terrorism.

Posted in All about me, Inspirational, Mind queries, Thoughts, Useful, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dressing up: masquerade worth an effort?

In nature, it is common among many species for the males to be decorated in a very elaborate manner for the purpose of impressing the females. The females, on the other hand, are usually wearing camouflage, as they should be unnoticeable within the surrounding to potential predators while caring for the young.

In human species, the dressing-up part somehow has been passed onto the females instead… Not to ignore the well-dressed men out there, as there are plenty, but it is usually women who go through all the insane sacrifices that any metrosexual would never even dream of.

Discounting those who are somehow obliged by their industry to wear something ridiculously inadequate for the weather, occasion and any laws of physics, I am puzzled as to why the otherwise relatively sane, often very intelligent and multi-competent women turn dressing-up into a religion. I am not talking here about having some style, liking to look a certain way, hiding bad skin under a thin (please mentally underscore 😉 ) layer of foundation: I am talking here about wearing a thin mini-skirt and a pair of stilettos over the fish nets… when it’s -10 ‘C outside… while having to take public transport to the other side of the city… in a blizzard… I’m talking about wearing thin stripper-heels when going sightseeing… in a city covered by cobblestones… I am talking about missing out on proper nutrition and favorite activities in order to buy something that happens to be “in” this season, or happens to be in the possession of an “impressive label”  (and thus ridiculously overpriced) to impress, predominantly, complete strangers…

I like fashion – in the same way that I like art. Some of it looks lovely to me, some of it funny, and some utterly ridiculous. Neither is my branch of specific interest, neither pays my bills. It could be nice to have some items, if possible and affordable, but I won’t die if I never will have that questionable honor to sport some world renown label. And no item, regardless of its beauty, has the power to force me to give up my food and my hobbies, my plans and interests, my health and my comfort.

Fashion magazines, movies and other media scream at us women, trying to equate looking good with success in any area of life – love, work, happiness… I call bullshit on all that!

Maybe you will turn a few extra heads if you always look amazing, but what will allow you to find your soul mate, interest him/her in yourself and (isn’t, like, this the most important part here?) keep him/her is unlikely to have too much to do with your wardrobe. I’m not saying turning into a smelly shredded monster is a better option, as extremes are something to stay clear of in many situations (and this is one of them). I’m saying it’s your character, lifestyle, interests, personality, behavior that would decide if anyone would want to stay with you or not. Unless you are a doll-faced, Barbie-built (although you probably don’t want to have her exact proportions, to be honest…), prize-item-looking babe, why don’t you scrape this stupid dream that someone would stay with you just because (or mainly because) of how you look and/or dress. And in case you are one of those rare beautiful people – are you sure you will be happy in your life being nothing more than a decorative accessory to something/someone?

Dressing up may make you feel good, but it’s an instant-fix. I have just recently read a feature on an underwear model – a beautiful, well-paid and definitely well-dressed girl. She hates herself, her life that is void of any intimacy of any sorts, and is on the brink of a mental break-down. Covering your inner sorrows by a new piece of wardrobe material is just as effective in the long run in making you happy as thinning down house maintenance to refreshing paint every other year. It may look bright and beautiful, but in its proper lifetime (probably way too soon, too) it’d collapse and bury everyone inside it if not properly taken care of. If fashion-chasing becomes a major manner of entertainment and it is not related to your profession – stop before it gets to the point in which the underwear model is at. Your entertainment should be predominantly something that fulfills you, and not your closet. Consider activities that involve you actively and allow you to grow, become better, learn something, engage with others outside of your normal social setting. Find a meaning to your life, a goal to follow (hint: it is not that LV bag you’re now thinking about) – an immaterial goal. Follow the values you stand by. Do something to change other people’s lives to the better somehow. All that would make you happy. Fashion-chasing, especially alone, would only dry your wallet and soul.

As for work – no sense of fashion would substitute competency, personal skills and passion for what you do.

Back to myself… I had my fair share of dressing up when I was little. I can still do so when I feel like it or situation requires. However, you are out of luck trying to find me freezing my butt in a mini in the middle of winter – even if I somehow absolutely must wear one for where I am going (if you come up with any place like that, let me know 😀 ). In such cases I dress for the weather anyway, take my ‘fancy’ version of whatever with me and change at location. Same applies to make-up, as I either don’t use any, or if inspiration strikes me, spend 10 minutes tops on it. It may not be an option for everyone to ditch make-up, as it may be not simply vain mask-wearing but a way to correct for some otherwise u features, but hours in front of the mirror are only appropriate in a horror-film make-up room, not real life. Spend that time getting some more sleep, exercise, fresh air and fun – you’ll look much younger, fresher and attractive when your eyes are bright with life than when it’s impossible to see them under the make-up.

I am probably at this time of my life the worst dressed person out of all people I interact with. By worst dressed I mean I am wearing the same two pairs of jeans, one pair of sneakers and rotate a few tops about 85% of the times (I have a washing machine, in case you’re wondering 😉 ). Unless I’m out dancing (and even then I stick to the same old items – just from the ‘dancing’ part of the wardrobe), I want to be comfortable. Period. I want to be dry in the rain, insulated in the wind, relaxed in the heat – I don’t want to stress over ruining some ridiculously expensive item at an impromptu brunch on the grass. You catch the drift.

How has this affected my life? Wonderfully! I am happy – I am warm when I want to be, comfortable, able to run after the tram without breaking my leg in high-heels (not an urban legend, actually – a friend’s friend happened to break her ankle exactly that way – running after the tram… in thin heels… on cobblestones…), able to change quickly between dance classes and survive anything that comes my way. I don’t miss out on meeting incredible people. I may not have a conventional career (I was a student up until now, too) – but I don’t want one, I have a better plan (although I admit for that one I might have to at times pay just a little more attention to what I’m wearing… Sigh…). Most importantly – my priorities, goals in life, lifestyle, interests and dreams – they do not become slaves to the minute mood changes of the fashion industry. I watch it, as it’s inevitable, and I may even pick something I happen to like, although I’m most likely to wear it another season, but I’m practical rather than fashion-crazy. Somehow, I don’t think my life is any less exciting (if not more) than that of the people who devote their schedule to fitting in regular shopping sprees, sales and so forth.

So here are some questions, girls and boys: is it really that important to you how someone is dressed? Or yourself? Do you think there is any sense in prioritizing fashion-chasing over other human qualities and activities?..

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