12-21-06 12:21  •  Merry Shopping Spree!

...and a happy new consumer debt!

Remember, Je$u$ is the Rea$on for the $ea$on!

So as you sit around the stolen pagan xmas tree and enjoy the abducted Roman feast day, take a moment to consider all who have been killed in the name of Christ so that a single book of myths might be paraded about as some kind of truth by the insane.

12-11-06 10:20  •  Protect the Self

Jenny: Is it possible to love unconditionally yet also protect the self?

Who is it that protects the self?

That is the real "self" and since it can protect, it needs no protection.

The thing which you call self, that needs protecting so, is just a passing fancy. It is delicate because it is woven from nothing.

Love unconditionally.

You can always make another self to protect if you wish, but the chance to love is only now.

12-08-06 10:20  •  Plant Eating

Chaz: Our early black ancestors followed diets almost exclusively of plant-foods. Then, many of the materialistic pagan hunters-gatherer societies consumed and introduced dead flesh as a large part of their diet and worship.


Lenny: Take on their spirits? Sounds like a very good thing to me.

Chaz: To most Heathens this might sound like good tasty treat, killing and torturing innocent animals to digest their flesh and devour their souls... would you eat your pet kitten or puppy?

My "innocent" pet cats are quite happy to share the numerous mice, rats, rabbits, birds and other small game they hunt and kill, and while I don't have any need to hunt at the moment, I assure you I killed as quickly as I could when I did hunt, unlike my "innocent" cats who prefer to torture and play with their prey for entertainment, much as "innocent" whales do.

Chimps, our closest relatives, take great pleasure in hunting and they also systematically kill other tribes in wars of aggression over territory.

So I'd guess we've been eating meat and warring for a long time, probably at least 6 million years to back when we split from the chimps.

As for cats and dogs, both are regularly eaten in several cultures. There is very little a human won't eat, even other humans, except carrion - a sure sign of being an omnivore.

Chaz: Humans are meant to be plant eaters.

Our gut sucks for digesting plant material and our jaws are way too weak for serious plant eating. You'd wear out your teeth and jaw in no time if you didn't cook and/or mechanically mash your veggies. A comparable plant eater to us gut-wise would be the rabbit who despite still having a significantly longer gut proportionally, is still forced to eat its own shit in order to sufficiently digest its own food.

Internally we are pretty close to pigs, including how we taste, and we both favor nutritionally dense food of opportunity, be it animal or vegetable, another sure sign of an omnivore.

Chaz: The human body soul was not designed to catch nor eat animals!

I don't know why you think that, since humans are the ultimate hunting animals on the planet.

Orpheus: Of course, we know that people can do all sorts of nasty stuff
and that the nasty precedents can be found in nature
but there is also supposedly something called free will...

Which, of course, is eating in a way that pleases orpheus.

Orpheus: It isn't compulsory to booze and eat meat and beat up on women and kids and go to war etc...

Did you know that all child molesters eat vegetables?

It isn't necessary to molest children in order to be a vegetarian, but it certainly is possible to imply it in a cheap guilt-by-association ploy.

Chaz: But, just think how many cows are Bludgeoned on a daily basis!

Now think of cows being chased and brought down, then eaten alive, by a pack of wolves, pride of lions or a bear.

Welcome to the wonderful life of an herbivore. With the exception of a very few, like elephants and whales, all herbivores have symbiotic relationships with predators.

Unlike humans, most predators don't have the luxury of killing humanely.

Jean-Luc: I'm okay with eating meat, even with some hunting - just not trophy hunting, the worst kind. Trophy hunters go for the best looking, strongest animals. These would naturally be the best genetic specimen. Removing them from the gene pool logically weakens the deer gene pool.

Actually trophy hunting in species in which a dominant male does most of the mating increases the gene pool by allowing non-dominant males a chance at the action.

Also you are mistaken in thinking big trophy males are superior. They just are bigger, stronger and more aggressive. If trophy hunting favors big males then the species will adapt as small males survive and big males are deselected, aka killed and mounted. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that process. A hunter which favors a particular food always influences the genetics of the prey.

A nice example is that zebras have developed the ability to spontaneously abort on the run if attacked by a lion. The lion gets a snack and the mothers life (which is more important to the species than the fetus) is preserved.

There is no way to look at something like "trophiness" and say "oh that kind of deer is best." All you can really do is see if a particular type continues to survive long enough to breed. That is the only evolutionary measure of success.

Jean-Luc: So Swarm, you feel that artificial evolution is superior to natural evolution?

There is no artificial evolution. There is only evolution and everything that happens is a part of it. We are not seperate, nor are our actions in any way special, and, what we better start figuring out fast...we are most definitely not exempt.

Jean-Luc: Humans should not be in the business of pimping out tiny deer ass.

Now you are just equivocating.

Jean-Luc: Evolution has made the larger animals superior!

No it has not. Evolution doesn't have a superior or inferior. It just has alive and breeding or not alive and breeding. If big and strong results in alive and breeding, that is favored. If it doesn't, then it is not favored. It is as totally simple and totally fair as it can possibly be.

Jean-Luc: Big deer are what made the deer herds strong.

You are just seeing the deer, and just seeing them in terms of what you favor. What made the deer system strong was a very healthy interaction of deer, cougar, wolf, and deer habitat (to grossly over-simplify.) The cougar and wolf part of that system is gone and a lot of the habitat is changed. If all hunting was banned, the deer just overbreed, die off and destroy the rest of their habitat. We have tried this several times already and it is not a pretty sight. If you search you can find the pictures of thousands of sick and starving deer littering the stripped forest, carcasses piled about rotting. The deer are definitely not healthy without a strong predator.

Jean-Luc: We should just let nature drive evolution, not people with guns.

People with guns is no more or less nature than anything else.

12-06-06 6:34  •  Involving the Law

Serena: How can I get my husband back? I love him unconditionally, but I recently experienced being on the other end of his physical aggression.

That always sucks.

Serena: It was something he had never done before...He felt remorse the next day. But then, when I called the police, he turned away from me! He blamed me and told me I was out to "ruin his life" and "damage" him because I involved the law.

I'm not saying calling the police is either the right or wrong thing to have done, but just a FYI, if you want to preserve a relationship the next time something like this happens you might want to try counseling or divorce before trying the police. Particularly since it was the first time it had ever happened. No guy is going to want to hang out with you after you get him convicted, whether he was wrong, right or indifferent to begin with.

Serena: He then proceeded to divorce me and shut me out of his life. We have no contact due to his probation (it’s been nearly 5 months since I have spoken to him) and I don’t know that even when he is legally allowed to talk to me, he will.

Are you expecting him to? It sounds like you not only involved the police, you prosecuted him and got him convicted and put on probation. That is a pretty serious adversarial relationship towards someone you claim to love unconditionally. It certainly is not putting him first in your life, being forgiving, or trying to work things out.

People make mistakes. He did some sort of violence against you. You gave him a permanent criminal record.

I'm not sure what you think unconditional love looks like, but it wasn't there and you are both better off not associating with each other and getting on with your lives. I would strongly advise not bothering him in the future. If he was trying to keep his violent side under wraps before because he loved you, or at least thought he did...well, he won't be trying any more, and it would be a stupid provocation to tempt him further.

Serena: He did more than “some sort of violence”, he violated the inherent trust and faith I had in him AND he physically hurt me. I would never have thought this possible, but it happened and now we are both dealing with the end result. Yes, it’s better that we stay away from each other, however sad it makes me.

12-05-06 3:45  •  You Can't Disprove Him

Grim: When it comes to theists, their common argument is that atheists can't prove a negative - 'There is no god'.

This seems like a very weak argument FOR god - 'You can't disprove him!' You can give examples such as The Invisible Pink Unicorn, The Flying Spaghetti Monster and The Celestial Teapot - which you can't disprove either. But this doesn't seem persuasive. What can I say as a counter?

One of the things that bothers me about the hard atheists is they get so worked up about god. 'You can't disprove him!' is not a weak argument for god. It is no argument for god. The theist has nothing to offer except their fears and feelings and irrational traditions.

It's not that there is no god, it's that there is no reason even to consider that there might be a god.

The hard atheist is letting himself get suckered into considering a question that deserves no consideration what-so-ever when he attempts to disprove what is a prima facie irrational proposition to begin with.

While this is just a supposition, I think part of the problem is that "God" has been falsely attributed with actual meaning for so long it is difficult even for atheists to look at the matter objectively. The "good news" of new gods like IPU, FSM and CT is they can help diffuse this viseral sense of legitimacy of the question.

So sure, it is fun to rip up vacuous arguments for god as entertainment, but serious consideration of a question requires a serious basis to engender such inquiry and so far there is no serious basis to engender legitimate debate on questions of deities beyond the utility of myths, and the damage caused by those who cannot distinguish myth from fact.

True: *applause*

Nicely done, Swarm!

12-04-06 4:25  •  Materialism Vs. Spiritualism

Jess: I can't explain my conflicting positions to my girlfriend. Philosopically, I am a materialist. But socially, I'm an an anti-materialist (anti-consumerism) advocate. How can this be?

You only need eyes to see the everything is made of stuff, but you have to be greedy to want all the stuff to be yours.

Jess: She understands now, thanks!

12-03-06 7:45  •  How Long?

Tydye: How long is love supposed to last after your heart is broken?

When your heart is broken, heal first.
Love lasts as long as it does.
There is no need to worry about it at all.

12-02-06 7:45  •  Right Livelihood

Boe: I am trying very very hard to get onto the eightfold way, and I am managing pretty good if there wasn't this little issue.

I work in a BAR.... and I sell alcohol and cigarrettes there... at least i am doing this for someone else. Silla, the way of proper behaviour, tells me that I should not sell drugs to people, but I do it to pay the rent. But I see what the alcohol does...

I know in Buddhism there is no "right" or "wrong" but what do you think I should do?

Right and wrong aren't as important as they seem to you at the moment.
If you follow the eightfold path and five precepts then you'll stay out of trouble while you figure out what you need to.

As for what you do...

There is what works well and there is what does not work so well.

Do what works well.
Don't do what doesn't work well.

Learn which is which and keep practicing to refine your skills. That really is all there is to it, seriously. With just that much you can figure it all out from scratch if you need to.

Working in a bar is a challenging way to find right livelihood, but it is not impossible.

How can you help your patrons and show them real compassion?

You see what alcohol does. That is a start. What can you do with that insight?

When looking for what to do, always start with where you are.

12-01-06 12:06  •  Honesty and Skillful Means

Od: Is honesty always the best policy? Even Buddhism uses "skillful means" (lies and deception) when effective at setting someone on the right path...

The standard example is...if a building was on fire and there was some one who refused to believe you when you said he was in danger, then you would be justifide telling him his wife just arrived and wants to talk to him now.

You are employing deception, but it is without personal benefit or there is even personal risk and the person deceived is definately benefiting.

This balence is important because at some point the person will either clue in or should be clued into what is happening. If the deceiver is benefitting or the deceived is getting short shift, the resentment which results will undo any benefit.

One thing skillful means is not, is a justification to avoid the truth. The ultimate goal must be that the person deceived comes to an eventual full understanding. Skillful means is a didactic tool for teaching around problems which are ineffable.

Read more in the Archives.