The Co-Opting Of “Karma”

I want to put it right out there that I have not read the Bhagavad Gita. I am not an expert on karma, whether it is the Hindu vision of it, the Buddhist vision of it, or the Granola Chomping, New Agey, Buddha-Lite vision of it. I have read here and there, I listen,  and I pay attention. To my understanding, and please, actual experts on it correct me if I am wrong, it is not some tit for tat, good for bad exchange. It is not, at least not strictly, a means of correcting bad deeds with good and keeping some sort of cosmic check book. Continue reading

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Staying the Course Consequences Be Damned

Remember a few years ago when so many of us had fun at the Bush administration’s insistence that we “stay the course.” It was ridiculous, of course, and we said so. The idea of continuing with the course of action despite evidence it is wrong is not just silly, it is outright dangerous and eleven years, and ten thousand plus American lives later, we see that. That administrations detractors have rightfully condemned the behavior. The problem being there is more than a little hypocrisy in this. Continue reading

Abortion, Animal Rights, The Death Penalty, Vegeterianism and Ethical Laziness

I came across a meme today, a picture of an empty electric chair with the claim that it was the cure for pedophilia. I am not fan of child abusers, who would be, and indeed have a particular loathing for them. That said, it saddens me to see so many memes like that. I am also not a fan of the death penalty but every corner of the internet and every place on the ideological spectrum seems to like the idea so long as it is a group or person they disagree with. Oh to be certain the left couches it in terms of just wishing something randomly horrible would happen to someone but that is just comparing apples to slightly riper apples. You would think that two million years of hominid evolution, and self-awareness would help us shake the desire to see those we disagree with dead. Continue reading

Duty, Obligation, and Chores

No one likes to feel obligated. It is like the Sword of Damocles hanging over your head. You want to get rid of it but you do not always know how. To make matters worse we do not always know when we are obligated. Some situations are obvious, but many, maybe even most, are less so. Sometimes we feel like we are obligated to not make others feel obligated. Boy do things get sticky then.  So many of our interpersonal relationships deal with a certain amount of obligation, and as mentioned so much of it is hard to recognize and reconcile, that we avoid how that makes us feel. Continue reading

Just a Tiny Conspiracy Theory, and a Dream

Truthers, Birthers, Lizard Man enthusiasts and all their ilk drive me nuts. I am a big believer in Occam’s razor so when people take the long way around the barn to get to an idea I am skeptical. Most of these folks present their beliefs without any proof and more than a few of them actually expect you to believe that the lack of proof is itself proof. So I am not a fan of conspiracy theorists at all. That said, I do believe there is a world of difference from simply suspecting something and holding it as absolute truth, so if you have a notion, and only present it as such, then I am OK, I have a few myself. Continue reading

The Curse of Socrates

Portrait of Socrates. Marble, Roman artwork (1...

Portrait of Socrates. Marble, Roman artwork (1st century), perhaps a copy of a lost bronze statue made by Lysippos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“The life unexamined is one not worth living.” Socrates said that over two thousand years ago. He aspired to a better understanding of his world. He wanted to discover, not just be told, what love, justice, beauty and the good were. To him, just being handed the definitions of these concepts was not enough. He felt we owe it to ourselves and our community to work out what they really mean so we can better live up to them. The opposite side of the coin, of course, is that “ignorance is bliss.” There has been scientific study to back that up, by the way. Also, they executed Socrates for his efforts, so there’s that. Continue reading

Adding Insult to Inquiry

Not A and Not B

Not A and Not B (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Many folks who know me have accused me of being a smug know it all. The accusation is not entirely without merit however it is drastically overstated. They decide they do not like what I have to say, and rather than try to go after my argument and find what it is lacking, attack me and call me arrogant. I am not the only person who receives this treatment of course. Conservatives in our culture like to bemoan the liberal, educated elites. This bit of chicanery trickles down over their fan-base (given the nature of American politics I have decided to stop calling it their demographic) who eat it up, actually believing these snake oil salesmen have their best interests at heart. Continue reading