Back to Blogging?

I stopped blogging for awhile because I thought it was a waste of time.  Meaning the blogger puts in a lot of effort and in return gets next to nothing except the illusion that he has “got his message out to the world”.  I may just start again and try to make myself believe that “God is watching”, in the words of that old Bette Midler song LOL . . . 

Cheers,

Brandr

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Christians and Relativism

relativism2

Christians, especially Evangelicals, are “relativistic” when it comes to truth.  

Matt Slick (what a family name!) of Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM) states that “cognitive relativism . . affirms that all truth is relative.  This would mean that no system of truth is more valid than another one, and that there is no objective standard of truth.  It would, naturally, deny that there is a God of absolute truth” (http://carm.org/what-relativism).

1st: “God as absolute truth” is a slippery slope.  

Which god?  Thor?  Zeus?  Mazda?  Yahweh?  And even if you pick the Christian’s Yahweh, whom they co-opted from Judaism, where do you get an adequate description of him / her / it?  The Bible?  Well, here’s a problem:

2nd: One easy way to disprove the Bible is to see how loosely the New Testament writers quote the Old Testament.  

Paul Copan, an Evangelical university prof in Florida (http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201302/201302_026_misquote_OT.cfm) tries to defend the Messianic misquotes by offering some Guidelines for Understanding the Old Testament in the New: 1. “Fulfillment” in the New Testament is much broader than “completion of a prediction”; 2. New Testament writers saw Jesus living out Old Testament Israel’s story. This covers most of the passages they allegedly took out of context; 3. New Testament writers handled the Old Testament as did many Jewish rabbis of their day; 4. The New Testament authors read the Old Testament Christocentrically, and sometimes they go beyond what the human author originally intended.

??? It pretty much seems that you can read the OT however you like.  Using this fast and loose method, we could prove Michael Jackson was the Messiah!

This whole scene is hilarious.  I remember a few years ago, when Evangelicals were moaning about Western culture’s “postmodern” turning toward relativism.  Famous Christian apologist Josh McDowell still moans.  The irony is: Christians are at the forefront of turning truth into mush!  They can reason that the Bible misquotes and errors are simply a matter of interpretation.  It’s not a far leap then to justify anything, including overseas wars based on lies and unjustified fears for their own security.

 moral relativism

Seems to me that non-Christians have a more solid grasp of truth and justice.

I’ve been reasoning with Christian friends about Jesus NOT being the Jewish Messiah, esp re: NT misquotes of OT, but they seem to respond that their pleasant experiences with God over the years is proof enough. Add to this truth-trashing the fact that Evangelical apologists themselves are saying that the NT writers had the right to be fast and loose on OT citation, because it’s a “Christo-centric” take on the NT.

If truth is so relative, then I should start worshipping my shower head, because hot showers make me feel like I’m in heaven! Or if you’re Bruno Mars, good sex will instantly transfer you to paradise . . .

Cheers,

A Truth Seeker

contact me at: 

thorsblad888ATgmail.com

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Religious Naturalism et al

“RELIGIOUS” or “RELIGULOUS”?

The word “religious” has been taboo for me for many years.  

During the many moons I spent as an Evangelical Christian, we always said “it’s not about religion, it’s about relationship” i.e. with Jesus.  Which is a crock of horse droppings, because you can’t have a relationship with someone who’s dead and buried.  Despite believing that something’s true (e.g. Jesus’ supposed resurrection) just because you repeat it twenty thousand times.  And your only “proof” are some manuscripts which don’t exist, and the remaining ones that have been doctored and copied generation after generation for centuries, until the final product of today’s good-looking modern Bible version.

From my secular surroundings these past few decades, “religious” also sounded bad to a society pretending to base their lives on scientific reasoning, while at the same time believing in the fantasies of infinite economic growth.  The secularists, despite some of their defensive outcries, are every bit as much “religious” as the Evangelicals and other faith adherents.  They believe that the environment can be scraped, mined, exploded, sucked on or sucked up, manipulated, cloned, bought, sold, exchanged, dumped upon, etc.  Their creed is cheap labour, an expendable workforce.  There are no limits, only stockholders.   There is no finite land base or resources, only markets.  And when they fuck it all up, they say that the governments, in collusion with the billionaires, the scientists and innovators, will come up with some magical technological solutions to un-wreak the havoc they have wreaked upon the earth.  LOL.  This is Manifest Destiny of the modern, capitalised, industrialised, urbanised, high-tech world.   And it’s just as foolish as the Christian version of Utopia.

Sorry for the rant here ; ) . . . Back to “Religious Naturalism”.  


LINKS

Here are some useful links:

Religious Naturalism: Where Science & Spirituality Meet

Wikiquote on Religious Naturalism

What Is Religious Naturalism? by Jerome A Stone

Are You A Religious Naturalist Without Knowing It?

Religious Naturalism or Naturalistic Spirituality

Religious Naturalism Defined

RN: WASSIT?

This is a quote from the last website cited above:

Religious Naturalism is a pluralistic paradigm that proposes a spiritual/intellectual approach to life devoid of supernatural assumptions.

It is religious in that it advocates a sincere subjective interpretation of, feeling for and behavior towards life and the world. Those things considered most important are deemed sacred and respected. It is naturalistic in that it uses objective science, evidential truth and reason to understand what is rather than supernatural explanations, although some proponents maintain a god concept. Some sectors of it may use cultural sources to form like-minded communities. Religious Naturalists find commonality in their ethical values, spiritual development and tolerance for diversity of thought.

So, the adherents have targetted “supernaturalism”, i.e., belief in an alternative, invisible universe which influences our present cosmos.  Commendable.  It’s like the proponents of European’s Enlightenment, who exiled the gods and declared themselves, i.e., the Europeans, as the centre of the universe.  Later on, a few of them figured out this was sheer madness, so they put Nature as the centre of their belief system.  These were the Pantheists, the Transcendalists, some of the Humanists, etc.  

Problem was, and still is, that the European is still in the centre, despite all pretensions at honouring Nature above all.  No one has renounced The White Project(s) of:

– imperialism / colonisation

– industrial expansion

– capitalism (even in its socialist / communist version)

– urbanisation

– scientism

– “worship” of technology and belief that it will eventually solve all our woes

– etc.  

They figure that humans, i.e. enlightened Europeans and all who follow their lead, are still the wisest, are still on top.  No one is honestly listening to indigenous peoples and others who hold to a more genuine Nature-based worldview.

In fact, I would argue that this is still a version of “supernaturalism”.  Because supernaturalism, at its core, means something above Nature.  And, we Westerners still mistakenly believe that we call the shots.  We may include other ethnic groups, or nations, but we remain in control.  

So, to me, for Religious Naturalism, or Naturalistic Pantheism, or for any of these new-fangled Western attempts at “Back to Nature” to succeed, I propose: 


1. Critiquing and renouncing the Western Enlightenment Project.  You can blame it on the Christians or the Abrahamic religions or whoever you want, but you need to point the finger at all the secularists who still believe that White Man is in the “driver’s seat” of civilisation.

2. Shutting up and listening to indigenous peoples.  Yes, their Nature-honouring cultures have been tainted, distorted and compromised because we Euros had a “travel bug”, along with our lust for resources.  But ultimately, the Indigenous Worldview(s) have worked harmoniously with Nature for millions of years.  Our Western Project has managed to screw up the planet in a couple centuries.  Go figure.

3. Taking responsibility.  Despite it being too late to save our species, and most other species, from extinction due to climate change and crossing other ecological and societal “tipping points” or thresholds, we still are responsible for our actions.  So be responsible.  Grow up.  That means that we ought not continue in thoughts, words and actions that ultimately kill off Nature and ourselves.  We need to do what’s right, i.e., live a very low carbon lifestyle, despite the fact that the CO2 and methane we’ve already sent into the air will eventually be the death of us all.  Maybe, perhaps, I’m still hoping, that we can all “buy a little time” and extend our sojourn on the planet for a couple extra years.  

I’m not being misanthropistic here, folks.  This is reality.  It’s time to wake up and smell the petunias.  

Cheers,


Brandr


Please send reflections and rantings to me at:

thorsblade888ATgmail.com

Categories: Culture, Enironment, Ethics, Pantheism, Satire and Humour, Spirituality & Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Highlights of 2013

 Well, today’s the last day of 2013.  What a year it’s been!

 

I’m surviving and thriving, and so is my family.  Here are some highlights:

 

– had another spanking new BB

 

– got a closer relationship with my TT, older 2zi and other rellies

 

– Unfortunately, my pop’s health has gone downhill, as he lives in an extended care seniors’ home

 

quit Xianity altogether, with a few nightmares (seriously!) and mourning the loss of morning prayers and friendships . . . but in the end, with joy and thankfulness!

 

– spent a few months looking into New Atheism and Skepticism, before rejecting them as unreasonable and downright stupid

 

– officially adopted Naturalistic Pantheism as my foi de choix

 

– looked into Deep Green Resistance and made the same conclusion as with NAs & Skeps

 

no driving at all, except the one day last month my friend lent me his car.  I was so surprised that I hadn’t lost my Indy 500 skills!  I guess with over 20 years of polluting the atmosphere, I still “have it”, in terms of driving talent.  But now, I’m converted to saving this planet, and kicking the asses of those doing the opposite!

 

no cell phone, except for surfing the Net at McDonalds and Tim Hortons, recording, taking pics, learning languages.  How sweet it is to not be bothered by the riff-raff always calling with unimportant matters ; )

 

no Internet at home, very nice too.  Ended up going to McDonalds almost every day, and my fat belly now proves it!

 

– made some failed attempts at new friendships, one fellow being a counter-culture Biblicist, and the other an eye doctor exiled from America after ripping off the state goverment 10s of 1000s of $$$.  Well, for me at least, live and learn . . . 

 

– had a wonderful bonding time with co-workers at my present job

 

– did this blog (Blogger & WordPress)

 

travelled nowhere

 

– went to the local parks and forests a million times

 

– learned to read Punjabi, and memorised at least 10+ basic phrasesHindi is slowly coming along too.  Watched a kazillion Bollywood and Punjabi DVDs at home, and flicks in the nearby cinema.

 

– read up on Sikhism

 

rode my bike to Richmond 2x and Aldergrove.  Walked 1/2way, then ran 1/2way from Guildford to Walnut Grove, pushing a BB stroller with a carseat on my back, then on top of the stroller.  Crazy, I know.

 

cycled, ran, walked, bussed it everywhere.  Oh yeah, bummed a few rides off family and friends too.  

If I remember anything else, I’ll add it later.

Cheers & happy NY!,

 

Brandr

Categories: About Blogging, Children and Child Rearing, Enironment, Family Values, Fatherhood, General, Health, Indian Culture, Learning Hindi, Learning Punjabi, Life Ponderings, Marriage, Movies, Pantheism, Spirituality & Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Children’s Book Review: Jim Carrey’s How Roland Rolls (2013)

Jim Carrey-how-roland-rolls

Jim Carrey writes in the same way he acts: colourful, exaggerated, in-your-face.  And yet, as always, he seeks to pull the heart strings.  And pull he does, with all his might, with all his comic fervor.

Roland is a wave, with big dreams and a wide network of friends.  He faces the challenges of big ships, whales, loneliness, and another wave bent on destruction.  But Roland pulls through, and eventually gets introduced by an old seabird to a girlfriend.  Her name is Glimmer, and the two waves have a great time slashing and playing together. 

But then, they face their biggest challenge: the end of their journey.  The shore represents the end of the line for the waves.  When they crash and mix together, they are struck with the notion that this is not the end, but only a new beginning.  Because they realise they are part of a Bigger Picture: the ocean, the planetary water system, the puddles on the street, the steam from mother’s iron, and the little girl’s tears.

The point Roland shows is this: We are all connected.  We are all significant.  We can’t go it alone.  We rely on one another.  And we keep moving, moving, moving. 

We are not just little waves.  We are the entire, wide ocean!

Yes, a little philosophical.  But Carrey helps us answer some of Life’s Big Questions: Who are we?  What’s our purpose here?  What’s our connection with Nature?  With one other?

Superbly illustrated by the master illustrator and animator, the much celebrated Rob Nason, How Roland Rolls is sure to be a delight to both kids and adults.

Cheers,

Brandr

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Having All The Answers (Or Not)

it's the question that drives us 2

Ever watch The Matrix years ago?  Trinity said to Neo: “It’s THE QUESTION that’s drives us.”

This morning as I was prepping for work, a thought occurred to me.  Because my wife and I have a baby, and I’m thinking about how to instruct him re: life/spirituality/etc.

My thought was:

Christianity & every religion give you a full menu that supposedly answers all of life’s Big Questions: 

– where we came from, 

– who we are, 

– if there is something or someone “out there” grander than us, 

– etc.  

answers to all lifes questions

My question to all the religious, and also to the non-religious so-called “science believers” is this:

How can anyone be arrogant enough to hang out a shingle & tell the world you can teach us all the answers?  

Even if you’ve answered one question, who can say we’ve answered them all?  

When I was 13, I was so impressed that these Christians I knew had all the answers.  It saved me time and effort seeking on my own.

Lazy way to approach life, in my present opinion.

In conclusion, I’m going to teach my son to be a seeker.  If he’s old enough, he can join any religion or philosophy, no problem.  But I and my wife (who’s Evangelical) will not give him any full-fledged package that claims to have the A to Z of Truth.  Even if we did, he’d probably rebel and seek his own answers after 18.  As he should!

Cheers,

Brandr

Categories: Children and Child Rearing, Family Values, Fatherhood, Life Ponderings, Spirituality & Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sorrow and Joy of Leaving Christianity & New Atheism

TRUTH SEEKER CRYING

It’s a bit ironic.  I’ll never be in the good graces of the New Atheists and Skeptics, who would otherwise cheer my opposition to Christianity.  Problem is, for them at least, is that I hate them both “with a perfect hatred” (Psalm 139:22; ha, a guy who rejects the truth claims re: the Bible still quotes it all the time, weird!).

I just met a new immigrant from Mainland China.  She recently converted to Christianity and goes to a local Chinese church.  I found this out as I was warning her that many people here in Metro Vancouver are seeking new immigrants to “cheat”.  They will try to convince new immigrants to join their multi-level marketing life insurance or vitamin company, or their religion.  Basically, my message is: don’t be a sucker.

Well, she already got pulled in to the local Chinese Christian community.  And for someone brought up on the dark, nihilistic Marxism of Communist China, Christianity must seem refreshing to her.  She was shocked and surprised that I had been an Evangelical Christian for 30 years, a seminary graduate, and a former missionary to China for over 5 years.  And now, nothing.  She had seem others go in the opposite direction, i.e., from atheism to Christianity, but not vice versa.  So, I mentioned that the event that got me questioning the entire Christian system was when I discovered that Europeans had killed off 100+ million indigenous peoples from Alaska to Argentina in the Americas.  Christian Europeans either happily joined in on the Bloodfest, or idly sat by and refused to utter a peep in protest.  Thus, any religion whose premise was “love your neighbour as yourself” could not possibly be the main ideology of people committing the biggest Genocide in human history.  No, can’t be.

But it is.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow to know that the world’s hugest empires (Rome, Britain, French, Spanish, American) had had Christianity as one of their main forces.  Oh, and let’s not let the Atheists get off scot-free: Enlightenment ideology, although it pretended to question Christianity, basically followed in its footsteps.  I.e., they all, Christians and “Enlightened” Rationalists, believed that their worldview was advanced and everyone else’s was backward.  Advanced Westerners were either on top of the Biblical or Evolutionary Pecking Order.  All others, especially the “pagan savages” who dared live simply and sustainably for centuries, were at the bottom.  And were good only as slaves or cheap labourers.  Or corpses.

Well, all I can conclude is: goodbye to Christianity.  And goodbye to Enlightenment Rationality.  Sure, both have some good ideas.  But both are ultimately deadly.

That’s why I’m looking more to indigenous and Eastern philosophies for truth.  Because our ideology has led to arrogance, to destruction of the environment, to the marginalisation of indigenous peoples.  Our freedom is ultimately good only for stockholders and barons.  The rest of us are sold a fantasy, a dream that says: yes, one day you can be rich too.

Sometimes I miss being a Christian.  The certainty.  The community.  The knowledge that if I get hit by a car tonight, that I will forever be in Heaven with my wonderful Lord.

But it’s all a smokescreen, just as are the rantings of the New Atheists who tell us that science is the answer, that growth is good, that rationality will lead humanity to collective salvation.

I’m still seeking.  But at least I know what to avoid.

Sometimes I feel sad, like today.

Other days I feel so happy to have had my eyes open to the truth.

Mixed emotions.  That’s normal.  That’s life.

To live another day. . .

Cheers,

Brandr

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The Oppression of the Rains (a poem featuring Rob Ford)

It’s only been 5 minutes

And it already feels like a night spent in Guantanamo Bay

What started as a light drizzle

Has become a deluge

As liquid air pours on me

With a merciless beat

I ride, I cycle, I beat it

As fast as possible

To the local fast food chain

Where I can listen to tasteless songs

And fill my stomach with

Calorie-laden yet palateless grub

And flip through Rob Ford’s last exploit

“I have more than enough [!%#&#&]

To eat at home”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4siKr6qY8w

What percentage of pollution

Is in every drop

Of rain?

And what percentage of Ford

Dwells within most of our

Maple leaf forever politicians?

Till we meet again . . . .

Categories: Ethics, Family Values, Life Ponderings, Marriage, Politics, Rich Vs Poor, Satire and Humour | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Radioactive (In a Good Way)?

IMG_20120318_100935

Radioactive . . . it’s a word that has us recalling the March 2011 earthquake in Japan, with the subsequent leaks from the Fukishima nuclear plant.  Even in today’s news, a robot has detected more radioactive leaks.

And yet, the term can be twisted to mean something positive.  According to Wikipedia, Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds stated about the hit song “Radioactive”:

“‘Radioactive’, to me, it’s very masculine, powerful-sounding song, and the lyrics behind it, there’s a lot of personal story behind it, but generally speaking, it’s a song about having an awakening; kind of waking up one day and deciding to do something new, and see life in a fresh way”

Hmm . . .”radioactive” as awakening, doing something new, seeing life in a fresh way.  That’s novel . . .

When I first payed attention to this song, after I’d heard it a million and one times, I was lead to believe that it was a pro-environment song, lamenting the decline of the planet.

Lyrics:

I’m waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I’m breathing in the chemicals

I’m breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse
Whoa

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive

I raise my flags, dye my clothes
It’s a revolution, I suppose
We’re painted red to fit right in
Whoa

I’m breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse
Whoa

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive

All systems go, the sun hasn’t died
Deep in my bones, straight from inside

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive

Breathing in chemicals?  Prison bus?  Apocalypse?  If this is a song about “revolution”, then it’s pretty ironic.

And yet, it’s very fitting.  Because all we do now is in the context of more and more challenges to the environment.  The world is getting warmer.  It’s not just another stupid cycle, as the Right Wing pundits claim.  The shit is hitting the fan.  And the fan may soon run out of electricity.  Check out Daniel Whittingstall’s piece entitled “The Global Environmental Predicament” (Note: I don’t endorse Deep Green Resistance, the site hosting this article, because I think its ideology equals a quick trip to a hot jail cell.  However, the DGR girls and boys are pretty good at describing the ecological problems we are facing).

With all the apocalyptic doom and gloom, there are a few voices that are saying we need not allow anxiety to guide our actions, nor cause us to blindly follow governments claiming they have the answer.

There’s a recent book called “Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth” edited by Sasha Lilley.  Here’s a synops:

Our world is reeling from dire economic crises and ecological disasters. Visions of the apocalypse and impending doom abound. Governments warn that no alternative exists to taking the bitter medicine they prescribe.

Catastrophism explores the politics of apocalypse—on the left and right, in the environmental movement, and from capital and the state—and examines why the lens of catastrophe distorts ourunderstanding of the dynamics at the heart of numerous disasters and fatally impedes our ability to transform the world. The authors challenge the belief that it is only out of the ashes that a better society may be born.

Here’s another review:

Catastrophism, while a first-cousin, is the political counterpart to religious apocalyptic mentality. It is the belief, the political strategy, that the changing social and political conditions, getting progressively worse either by own accumulated weight or by encouragement from outside sources, will get better, harkening to a new world. The left does it, the right does it, the State does it.If there is one theme that pervades this insightful and fascinating book, it is that this type of thinking breads apathy and inaction. The authors caution against this apathy, in fact, cautions against engaging in catastrophic thinking in that this mentality is self-defeating and plays into the hands of the power structure.

And still another take:

Catastrophism in the realm of environmental politics is not new, but it is becoming both more common and more dangerous. What matters is not whether we find it distasteful, but whether it has been effective as a tool for resistance. And from this standpoint, catastrophism has failed.

Despite predictions of impending environmental collapse and 90 percent loss of life on the planet, large masses of people have not flocked to environmental groups, led protests demanding an end to greenhouse gas emissions, or called for the United States to take real and serious action on climate change. A recent study discussed in the book hints at the reasons for this lack of activism. Interestingly, the study found that the more an individual understands and appreciates the science behind climate change, the lesslikely they are to be involved in making changes.

I would caution anyone from reading too much into this as it serves no one to dumb down or bury the science, but some general conclusions can be drawn. Eddie Yuen points out the most important one in his essay. He believes there is a real and obvious incongruity between the severity of the problem and the pitiful solutions on offer from the mainstream of the environmental movement. As an example, Yuen discusses the 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, in which Al Gore explains the science behind climate change and points out the massive global problems that are just around the corner. At the end of the film the solutions on offer are a variety of individual lifestyle choices including recycling and taking shorter showers, actions that will have almost no effect on the problem. Yuen posits that even without a radical analysis, people still can determine that these solutions are insignificant in the face of this gigantic problem. People realize, though perhaps subconsciously, that if this is all Al Gore has to offer, then we are already doomed and we may as well stay home and do nothing. When the massive and very real problems are not coupled with any sort of realistic and coherent set of beliefs and solutions, they serve only to demobilize people.

Catastrophic politics among left-wing radicals, discussed in the essay by Sasha Lilley, typically comes in two forms. One is rooted in the mechanical determinism of many in the Second International/Social Democratic Marxist tradition. It was these individuals who believed we could—and perhaps should—simply sit back and wait for the eventual collapse of capitalism to usher in the glorious socialist future. While that species of laissez-faire is still present in some political circles, the revolutionary socialist tradition has been largely successful in discrediting this view.

The other form of catastrophism is commonly touted today among anarchists and some ultraleft Marxists. These groups don’t so much believe the determinist argument that capitalism will collapse by itself so much as the idea that some sort of catastrophe can spark people to action. This is seen in those who think a terrorist act or some other radical action performed by a committed minority will wake up the masses to their revolutionary potential. Another variant of this is the argument that the working class needs to be more and more victimized before they will rise up. Both of these move away from the Marxist conception of working-class self-emancipation.

The authors admit that there is an allure, and even a thin veneer of plausibility, to these types of politics. However, when subject to analysis, these catastrophist arguments are very thoroughly and convincingly debunked throughout the book.

Catastrophic politics are a politics of defeat. Now more than ever we need a set of politics and beliefs that can explain the causes of the catastrophes facing the planet today while offering real and realistic solutions. This book is a superb intervention into a necessary debate on how we move forward, not simply in the environmental movement but also in the larger project of social change.

What we need is revolutionary optimism: an optimism that doesn’t deny the terrifying realities we face, but rather one that empowers us to change those realities. Without the belief that change is possible and that we can win, there will never be any meaningful action.

Perhaps the idea of the song “Radioactive” is that we can face all the dangers ahead of us with courage and clarity of mind.

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age

Yes, it is a “New Age”.  There’s stuff happening today that has never happened.  We shouldn’t delude ourselves by saying “there’s nothing new under the sun”.  Sure there is.

And yet, panicking doesn’t help.  Remember the book by Naomi Klein, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”?  Klein basically outlines how corporations and governments use disasters in order to do away with the old and bring in the new.  Because former resistance has been neutralised.  Numbed with shock.

Well, Naomi Klein is also warning us not to become passive because the shock of both disasters and subsequent enforced change zaps people of whatever energy they had before.

Instead, like in our song “Radioactive” here, we seek realistic, practical solutions to the negative forces that assail us.  Worry, as both Jesus, Buddha and a host of others said, will get us nowhere.

And   n o   w h e r e

is not where we ought to be.  Instead, we need to be

n o w   h e r e

Present.  Immanent.  Mindful.  Alert.  Local.

Right here.  Right now.

Cheers,

Brandr

contact me @

thorsblade888 AT gmail.com

Categories: Enironment, Music to Raise the Dead | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Hole In My Heart

I remember when I was a fresh university grad, there was a simple song on the radio that didn’t become very popular.  But it had a catchy tune, and has been stuck in my head for the past two decades.

Here are the lyrics to the song “Hole Hearted” by Extreme, who had a smash hit with the acoustic ballad “More Than Words” in 1991:

Oh yeah wooh, hey hey hey hey hey yeah
Life’s ambition occupy my time
Priorities confuse the mind
Happiness one step behind
This inner peace I’ve yet to find

Rivers flow into the sea
Yet even the sea is not so full of me
If I’m not blind why can’t I see
That a circle can’t fit where a square should be

[Chorus]
There’s a hole in my heart
That can only be filled by you
And this hole in my heart
Can’t be filled with the things I do

Hole hearted [Repeat: x2]

This heart of stone is where I hide
These feet of clay keep warm inside
Day by day less satisfied
Not fade away before I die

Rivers flow into the sea
Yet even the sea is not so full of me
If I’m not blind why can’t I see
That a circle can’t fit where a square should be

[Chorus]

There’s a hole in my heart
That can only be filled by you
Should have known from the start
I’d fall short with the things I do
Hole hearted [Repeat: x6], yeah

Anyways, my point here is not to bring up songs from ancient history, but to discuss the idea of “emptiness in heart”.

I recall during my Evangelical days (1981-2012) that many gospel tracts and pamphlets emphasised the “hole in the heart” of common folk, whom Christians call “sinners”.  They claimed that only the invisible “Jesus” could magically enter into a sinner’s heart and fill the gap.  Emptiness problem solved.

Well, I’m not Evangelical now.  And I feel empty.  I’m sure that a Christian would be quick to tell me to get off my ass and re-invite Jesus into my heart.  Haha, I wish that life could be so simple.  Thing is, I felt empty as an Evangelical.  I just didn’t realise it to the extent I do now.  The whole Christian kick was a cover-up to soothe my emotions and make me think I was full.

Folks, I declare to you that, in a sense, to be human is to feel empty.  Not every day.  Not all the time.

But it’s normal.  And it’s necessary.

As much as I dislike U2 and Bono these days, I still figure their ancient hit, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, is a good reading of life on Planet Earth:

I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you

I have run I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in the fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire
I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was one empty night
I was cold as a stone
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for

You’ll notice I didn’t quote the rest of the song, referring to the Christian “Kingdom Come” and the cross of Jesus.  Because no one has “broke our bonds” or “loosed our chains”.  There is no Messiah.  No Saviour.  No Apocalyse.  No time where “all colours” will “bleed into one”.

I didn’t intend to write a post dissing Christianity.  No.  That’s too old.  On the other hand, there’s one thing we can highlight:

We are seekers.  Each and every one of us.

And also:

To seek is to be human.

Pity the woman or man who stops seeking.  Yes, there are these types out there.  Satisfied and never seeking.  There’s nothing wrong with satisfaction.  Gratitude.  The feeling of being full.  Happens to me all the time.

But, sister and brother, we shouldn’t stay there.  Life has so much more to offer us.

The hole in our heart is what keeps the adventure going.  Keeps us seeking.

Keeps us human.  A part, an integral part, of Mother Nature, of the Cosmos.

Pretty philosophical, eh?

So I was riding my bike around my neighbourhood during my lunch break from work.  Just meditating on how empty I feel.  Maybe part of it is wrong.  There’s this feeling that I should be doing more, should be fulfilling my potential.  I have so many skills, but don’t know where to apply them.  My current job, my present life situation, are only using a fraction of what I have to offer.

And I want more.

While cycling around, I thought of the times in my life when I was busy.  In demand.  Going here, going there.  Seeing this, seeing that.

I recall thinking, during those times, how empty all the hub-bub was.  I’ve been rich, and felt dissatisfied.  I’ve been popular, and discontent.  I’ve been fulfilled, and yet conscious of a huge void.

But then I figured, this is good.  Seeking, that is.

Because it’s the journey that counts, as you have probably heard a million and one times.

Because we need to keep going.

Our kids are watching us.

Future generations are taking note.

Our descendants are paying attention to our role model.

As the collection of diverse and often contradictory Christian Scriptures say, “Knock, and keep on knocking . . . those who seek will find . . . We are sorrowful yet always rejoicing, poor yet making many rich, having nothing and yet owning everything” (Matthew 7:7; 2 Corinthians 6:10).  Hmmm, even as a non-theist, I’m still quoting the Bible, even though I am taking it out of context ; ) . . .

Anyways, keep fighting the good fight y’all.  I’ll be quoting more of Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, Buddha, Mohamed, Rumi and others as time goes on.

The hole in my heart.

That precious void.

I’ll cherish it till I die.

And pass it down to the next generation.

Cheers,

Brandr

Categories: Life Ponderings, Spirituality & Religion, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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