Just some theories I try to live by. I think I made them up myself unless I subconsciously stole them.
Seek out experiences, not pleasures…
but don’t feel guilty about your guilty pleasures.
Don’t judge others openly regardless of how horrible they are, but that doesn’t mean you have to trust them or hang out with them.
Do what you need to do to get along with people. Or leave.
Don’t allow emotional vampires to take advantage of you.
Worry about real-world affects rather than emotions…
but recognize that your emotions have real-world effects on the people around you.
Watch carefully how people treat others, and watch their moral values. Recognize that most likely they will treat you the same as they treat everyone else.
Don’t automatically assume your friend was the good-guy in a given situation. Statistically your friend has only a 50/50 chance of being the good guy, though hopefully the previous item should raise your average a little.
Reject the Golden Rule. Treat people how they want to be treated, not how you want to be treated. This does require a bit more thought, but it’s worth it in the long run and besides helping you make allies in life, will also help you understand and predict other people’s behavior.
Worry about the long-term benefits of the things you do for others, even if doing the right thing for them makes them angry in the short term.
Remember that punishments, vengeance and justice committed upon people, animals or things just never works out for the overall good in the long run. Even if the immediate problem is solved, and emotional satisfaction is gained, the long-term bitterness and other unknown repercussions will almost always outweigh the benefits.
Always listen to your intuition, but never trust it.
In a science and logic vs intuition or religion standoff, science should win…
but recognize that sometimes you’ll be in a situation where you don’t have enough information to make a scientific and logical decision.
Base your view of reality on what you see, hear and feel, and on actual real-world facts and not on what you are told.
Set aside time to embrace spirituality and alternative realities to your core, while always remembering they don’t actually exist in this universe.
Become aware, any way you can, of how your brain operates, and be brutally honest with yourself about it.
Never believe something until you see it… within reason.
Things are either true or not true, but you have no real way of knowing so everything you think you know should be seen as probabilities, and instead of thinking that something is true, that you believe in it, think of it in the probability that it is true, knowing that nothing can ever be %100 guaranteed to be true, no matter what.
On that same note, embrace the unknown.
Remember that all human beings are equally important, including people all over the world, regardless of nation, race, personal preferences, past crimes or age. Even if they hate you and want you dead, their emotions are still equally as important as yours. This doesn’t mean you can’t fight back against them, but it does mean you must respect them as human beings.
Never jump to the conclusion that safety should be prioritized over fun.
Do what is moral and right, not what is legal or what the rules say… assuming you can get away with it.
Always live a lifestyle well below your income so you can re-invest extra income to better your life in the long term.
Be conscious that how you spend your money has an effect on your community and the world.
Admit your mistakes quickly, before other people point them out. This will increase their trust in you.
Don’t lie. The majority of the time that someone suspects you of lying, they don’t say anything, but they judge you for it silently and there will always be long-term consequences that are difficult for you to grasp in the moment…
though I’m not opposed to lying to an agent of the law or rule enforcement if it’s the morally upstanding thing to do.
Remember people will sometimes use big words and complex logic when they actually have no idea what they’re talking about, in an attempt to manipulate you.
Always ask yourself why you are doing something in a certain manner and if the answer is something dealing with rules, tradition, custom or “this is how it’s done” you need to stop and think if there might be a better way, while trying to look at the issue from a purely real-world goal-oriented manner.
Speaking of goals…
Be goal oriented. Big goals, little goals. It’s better to have ten goals and fail on six of them than it is to have three goals and succeed on all of them. Be sure to have big goals, even ludicrously big goals, such as world peace. Don’t neglect the smaller goals though.
Seek altered states of consciousness, whether this is through drugs, meditation, travel, story writing, etc.
Don’t be afraid to cry, but you don’t need to do it in front of anyone.
Write about your emotions in some fashion, even if it’s just a poem once in a while, but getting feelings down in text can dramatically help you understand them.
Always concern yourself with how you impact the world, because you always do.
Remember that in the end you will regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did. (I think I stole that line from someone.)
Try to make your default answer yes.
Try to make the world a better place with everything you buy and do.
Avoid large chain stores and restaurants but don’t be a nazi about it.
Avoid hydrogenated oils, preservatives, refined flour and sugar and corn syrup but again, don’t be a nazi about it.
Don’t automatically assume natural is better… though it often is.
Don’t assume technology can solve your problems.
Don’t forget to find a way to tune back into nature.
Don’t think of your enemies as someone to fight. Think of them as someone to help become a better person.
Embrace open communication no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
Always think about all possible avenues to solve a problem because you’ll never know when the answer is lying at your feet if you just turn in the right direction.
Don’t try to tell anyone how to live their lives (like I’m doing now)…
speaking of hypocrisy, remember it’s better to be a hypocrite than to not care.
Don’t let any person, religion or webpage like this one tell you how to live your life.
So I am adamantly pro-choice, but I have a few serious objections to the standard pro-choice rhetoric that we see these days.
My main issue is with the lies we’ve been telling.
I see two important questions surrounding abortion: 1) at what point does life begin? and 2) at what point does a human become a person?
The first question seems scientific, and is very simple to answer. By any definition of life that I’ve ever heard, it begins at conception. That’s the point when the human begins its growth as an individual animal separate from its mother. This is just a scientific fact. If a worm or a fly is a life-form then there’s no way to argue that a human fetus is not. Simply because it relies on its host for survival does not mean it’s not life.
At what point a human becomes a person, on the other hand, is not a scientific question at all. This is entirely a matter of opinion and emotion. People have every emotional and spiritual right to see this their own way, but as a society of individuals trying to get along, we have an obligation to respect other people’s viewpoints. If I get a dog, and I love my dog, and I decide that my dog is a person, then I expect my friends and family to respect my perspective regardless of their personal beliefs on what is or isn’t a person. This is not about being right or wrong. It’s about having respect for other people’s feelings.
To claim that a woman’s convenience is more important than a human life is understandably disgusting and offensive to a significant portion of the population, and always will be. When the pro-choice crowd insists that unborn babies have no rights or value as human beings when there are so many people who care so deeply about them, our opponents are naturally going to feel disrespected and are going to lash out by doing things like blanketly attacking Planned-Parenthood or forcing women to have trans-vaginal ultrasounds.
This attitude is about more than being respectful, it’s about telling the truth. It’s easy to see that most women are lying when they say a fetus is not a person, because if they were to get pregnant then have a miscarriage, only a very small percentage would simply shrug it off and say “Oh well, it’s not like it was a person.”
I believe we are shooting ourselves in the foot by making these arguments.
Another place where we are lying, at least here in America, is in lawmaking and the US constitution. I once read on the Addicting Info website, that a woman’s right to choose is a constitutionally guaranteed right. Nowhere in the constitution does it guarantee women the right to kill their unborn babies. I wish it did, but it does not. The tenth amendment clearly guarantees the rights of states to make their own laws and establish their own values.
So often with sacred texts, we twist their meanings to suit our own beliefs. We don’t want to come out and say that we don’t support this document, or we think it was wrong, but we can’t give up our beliefs or stop fighting against the repulsive things that are being done in the name of the pro-life perspective, so we tell ourselves over and over again that Roe-vs-Wade was constitutional. I agree that the outcome of Roe-vs-Wade was the morally correct decision, but it was not the constitutional one. If we want to be a nation of laws, we need to respect the law, even if we strongly disagree with it.
There’s two simple facts that everyone on both sides of the issue tend to lie about or ignore, but they are important topics surrounding this issue, as they are about the suffering of innocent children.
1) Some women make terrible mothers. I’ve seen mothers repeatedly make jokes about abandoning their children or even use it as a general threat to keep them from misbehaving. I once saw a mother hit a child who was barely old enough to talk because he took three or four extra seconds to get into their car. I recently watched a mom threaten to cut off her child’s fingers. The bottom line is that there is a small but notable percentage of mothers who literally hate their children and wish they had never been born. I find it odd that our society so readily admits that men can be abusive and neglectful toward children while ignoring the fact that women can be just as bad.
Most of these women who hate their children gave birth to them semi-voluntarily. I can’t even imagine what things would look like, or how much children would be suffering, if these women were forced under threat of guns, violence and imprisonment to give birth to a child they never wanted. They would no doubt take their frustrations out on the children. Forcing innocent children into this situation is completely unacceptable.
2) Another harsh truth I wish to point out is the fact that orphans frequently feel completely abandoned by not only their parents, but by all of society. There are countless orphans all over the world who go through their entire childhood knowing that no one loves them. Not in a Marilyn Manson, emo kind of way, but in a literal, not one person cares whether you live or die, your foster parents get paid to take care of you sort of way. In America these children get passed from one home to another and their “parents” don’t form any more of an attachment to them as they would a co-worker at the office. I’ve heard horror stories of far worse situations in some countries, where orphans are kept in a single room for their entire childhood and never learn how to talk.
It is true that a child can be given up for adoption immediately after birth and can usually find decent, loving homes. However, these children technically are not orphans. In the vast majority of cases the pain of giving up your baby is so intense that parents are not able to go through with it until a few years later when the child has little chance of finding a decent home. When a mother gives her child up for adoption at birth, it causes her, and occasionally the father, intense emotional distress.
The fact that pro-lifers casually say “just give them up for adoption” as though it’s a simple, acceptable alternative to abortion shows either a total lack of concern for the children’s welfare or a dramatically unrealistic view of our foster-care system and adoption process. I think as pro-choicers we should give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s the second option, and attempt to educate them.
“The difference between knowing you’re wanted and knowing you’re not is quite big… It’s like going to a party where you know you’re not invited no matter how polite people are.”
-Absolutely Fabulous, (1992)
Interesting facts about gun ownership and crime rates. It usually seems like the liberals are the ones more likely to use statistics and logic to argue their points, but it seems when it comes to gun laws, everything is backward. Why are people so terrified of guns when there are about twenty things in the United States that kill more people? If we put the same effort and public attention into combating heart disease that we do into gun violence, we could save a whole lot more lives. The statistics on this page are pretty hard to argue against (assuming they’re accurate). It seems the gun control advocates either use manipulative statistics or resort to describing just how terrified they are, while implying their opponent’s fear of a totalitarian government is not worth considering. I thought liberalism was about logical problem solving, not fear mongering.
I started following Neil deGrasse Tyson a few weeks ago on Twitter, probably because he said something funny about the belief in God. I’ve respected the guy ever since I saw him on some old Nova documentaries and now I think I respect him even more after some of his recent tweets.
Tweet #1 Dec 4:
Serving Jury Duty this week. Criminal Court, Manhattan. I wonder if they will pick me.
Tweet #2 Dec 4:
Last time, defendant was accused of selling 3000milligrams of cocaine. I told the Judge it was just 3grams. Was then sent home
Holy crap! 3000 milligrams of coke! That guy’s a monster! He must have a whole cocaine warehouse…
Tweet #3 Dec4:
FYI: Three thousand milligrams is about the weight of a penny. More tweets to come — in at least a few billion nanoseconds.
oh wait… three grams… well that’s not so much. Why do you think the judge would want it labeled as 3000 milligrams instead of the more concise 3 grams? Well, because he’s attempting to manipulate the jury’s and the public’s opinion. Does this seem honest to you, even though they are not technically lying?
Tweet # 4 Dec 5:
Things you might say if you flunked Astro101: “I’m not in control of my life. The stars and planets are.”
Um… okay, this has nothing to do with this post… but it’s a pretty true statement. It’s kind of a scary idea that someone on a jury might literally look at your zodiac sign to help make their decision, but I have known people who I think would do this.
Tweet #5 Dec 5:
Done with Jury Duty. I said I could not convict a person solely on eyewitness testimony. They sent me home. I’m now 0 for 4.
Now this is the tweet that made me write this post. This is something that I’ve been saying for years but it seems difficult for me to find people who recognize what a serious issue this is. Eyewitness testimony is unreliable. The true stories in the right column of this website are many of the events that defined my life, and yet when I was writing them I found it difficult to piece together exactly what happened, even though I knew the overall story and how it affected me. If you were to talk to the other characters in any of these stories, they would no doubt have notably different accounts, particularly when it comes to the emotions of the situations, despite the fact that I wrote these almost as accurately as I could. This is just one of the drawbacks of being human. This is why I feel it’s unreliable and therefore immoral to rely on anything other than a solid scientific set of evidence or a straight-up confession when convicting someone and sending them to prison. Unfortunately, our criminal justice system doesn’t agree with me.
…and he’s 0 for 4? That means four times he’s been dismissed as a juror? Is a world-famous physicist not smart enough for jury duty? A scientist like Neil deGrasse Tyson is not going to be fair and impartial enough? Does anyone have a link to the judge’s tweets explaining this?
Tweet #6 Dec 5:
After hearing my skepticism of eyewitness testimony, six other jury candidates promptly agreed. And they got sent home too.
Our system doesn’t look favorably on logic.
Tweet #7 Dec 6:
Eye Witness Testimony: High evidence to the Courts. Warped evidence to the Psychologist. Low evidence to the Physicist.
So I’m pretty happy with how things turned out last night. I got everything I wanted with the exception of %5 of the vote going to Gary Johnson, but I kinda knew that wasn’t going to happen. I’m glad Obama won, of course. I was rooting for him, though I certainly didn’t vote for him this second time around. People seem excited that now that he doesn’t have to worry about reelection, he will show his true colors… what I don’t know is will he show himself as a liberal and come around to marijuana legalization and fight extra hard for health care and equal rights, or will he show himself as someone who is in bed with the military and is gunning for a war with Iran. I guess only time will tell.
Marijuana got legalized here in Washington and in Colorado, and the fact that it passed in two places means the federal government is going to have twice as hard of a time fighting it. A couple other states legalized medical marijuana, so an end to the drug war actually feels like it could happen in my lifetime.
Gay marriage was legalized here in Washington (thank God… and speaking of God I’ll give another shout out to Faith • Equality • Family, my new favorite religious organization). Gay marriage is a ridiculous thing to fight about and I pray that the religious groups just give up and let it go because it’s such a dividing issue that’s wasting resources and distracting everyone away from important issues like foreign policy…
…and actually, to go off on a tangent, a gay issue that I think is more important than marriage, is blood donation. It seems a lot of straight folks don’t realize that men cannot donate blood here in the United States if we’ve had gay sex since the 1970′s. What they define as sex I’m not sure, but people seem to believe that even oral counts. Even I had forgotten about this little detail when I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago about how I felt guilty for never donating blood, and didn’t realize it’s not even legal for me to do so. (As an anarchist I know that’s no excuse and I trend toward straight anyway so it would be no issue for me to get away with it.) But this is a good point because this isn’t just unfairly limiting gay men, it’s also limiting bisexuals and a growing number of straight men who have experimented once or twice. As the gay community becomes more accepted by society, experimentation is going to become more acceptable and appealing in the straight community and this law is going to become more damaging as time goes on. There’s no reason why a law with no scientific basis should be putting people’s lives at risk and complicating our already convoluted medical procedures… not to mention the fact that it’s insulting and bigoted. Anyway, I really hope the gay community turns toward this as their next issue, though I’m not sure if that’s something that can be dealt with on the state level.
It feels weird… marijuana was legalized here in Washington State last night. What am I gonna do now? I’ve waited almost fifteen years for this, now, in one month, I will no longer be a criminal. I won’t have to worry on a daily basis about being harassed by the police. I’ll be able to be totally open and honest about my habits. It’s kind of surreal. Probably not much will actually change about my life, and will possibly even be smoking less pot now, as the thrill seems to be already waning.
It’s fascinating to think about what kind of effect this might have. It sounds like it’s going to bring in a tremendous amount of revenue for the state, which is going to be big motivation for other states to follow suit. We’re going to be a testing ground for legalization and the whole world is going to see that marijuana does not make you go crazy. Perhaps our crime rates will lower by a measurable degree and that will be even another selling point. This could be the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition… I hope.
Most people think of the drug war as just being kind of lame, like who cares if these guys smoke weed? But I really feel as though the drug war causes a tremendous amount of problems throughout the world that too many people in America are not aware of. Many nations have been devastated by conflicts driven by the drug trade, and the industry is frequently used to mask the weapons trade, and the whole system creates massive confusion and an air of distrust and hostility throughout the globe on both state levels and personal levels. I’m proud that my state could possibly, if all goes well, be the beginning of the end to all that.
This is a website I just had to share because as an anarchist I believe in embracing whatever I can to shake up my beliefs, anything that makes me see things in a different light, and as an atheist, I have to be fair to the competition, so to be fair, here is an excellent example of a faith-based community that I could get behind.
You can also watch their intro video here.
This site is specifically focused on LGBT and gay issues within the church and does a great job of arguing that the homophobic attitudes do not reflect the true intent of religion, but more importantly it’s an example of a community that sees God as love.
It’s fascinating that people don’t think police brutality exists, yet we can hear about incidents like this… or do we? Does anyone pay attention when this kind of thing happens? Does anyone care about police brutality victims or do we just assume they had it coming?
When you examine it from the officer’s perspective, in order this kind of thing to occur, the officer has to be so thoroughly comfortable with force, violence and causing suffering that he sees this as reasonable in the situation. In order for him to do something like this so blatantly while thinking he could get away with it, indicates that he has done things like this before or seen these kinds of things and grown very comfortable with them.
Very few people will question a police officer in these situations. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to someone carrying a gun who could destroy your life. That’s why the vast majority of the time, they get away with it and incidents like this are just the tip of the iceberg.
Think about it. I made hundreds if not thousands of drug deals in my ten years as a dealer but was only busted once despite flaunting it on the internet using my real name. If I can get away with that, I think the police themselves can get away with a whole lot more.
I wonder how many Americans are aware of this. In the face of The United States deliberately forcing innocent Iranians into starvation with devastating and hateful trade sanctions, what do the Iranians do? They offer to send aid to help New Yorkers after the hurricane.
Sometimes I wonder if this is how the rational people in early Nazi Germany felt. I know that’s a harsh statement, but I can’t help worrying. I feel like my country has gotten their priorities and perspectives dangerously mixed up. Just as one example, how can we hate Iranians when they show us this kind of compassion, and they haven’t even waged a foreign conflict in over a century?
I feel like half our country has been brainwashed into hating people for no reason, and will invent any kind of excuse and jump through a multitude of mental hoops to maintain their hatred. Meanwhile, you talk to the liberals about war, about how Obama wants to dramatically increase our military, supports drone raids, murdered a group of teenagers because one of them posted some opinions he disagreed with, and openly supports the sanctions that have caused suffering for innocent Iranians, and liberals just have the attitude that yeah, these things are bad but we shouldn’t really prioritize them because Obama supports gay rights and abortion and that’s what really matters. I wholeheartedly support gay marriage (or even better, getting government out of our personal lives entirely), but I can’t understand how a slip of paper from the government is so important in the face of worldwide death and destruction and the things that Barack Obama supports. I’ve gotten used to the conservative war-advocates in America, but what’s really been bothering me lately is the apathy of my fellow liberals.
Both parties are spending us into the ground. Both parties are in bed with the military and pushing toward global domination. Both parties oppose an end to the racist and globally devastating war on drugs. Both parties pander to whoever will give them a vote. Both parties can be bought by anyone with enough money. Both parties lie and consistently make empty promises. Both parties ignore the constitution or manipulate it for their own gain. And neither party will ever face real consequences as long as we go along with the two-party system.
Obama was the first and only Republican or Democrat that I’ve ever voted for and now I have to say I regret falling for his promises. I understand he’s better than the other guy but the lesser of two evils is still evil.
So this year I voted for Gary Johnson because my values won’t allow me to put my stamp of approval on a corrupt system.
“Make the world a better place…”
“Stoners go to heaven, cops go to hell.”
“Automobiles destroy more lives than drugs.”
“‘Go forth and multiply’, don’t just multiply.”
“Can’t you see? We all live on the same planet.”
“Government/religion = war/opression.”
“Police destroy more lives than drugs.”
“All I want is to make the world a better place.”
“Are you afraid of what I have to say?”
“I have a right to be me.”
“Society won’t work without freedom.”
“See? It’s not hard to be open and honest.”
“Yes, it’s true: we are human beings.”
“You didn’t realize we were human beings?”
“The most famous drug dealer on the planet.”
“Writing for freedom since the year 2000.”
“Collapse of government: our only hope for peace.”
“Patriotism means standing up for peace and freedom.”
“The meek shall inherit the Earth.”
“We are all a community.”
“Anarchism: frightening, but our only hope for peace.”
“Anarchism… to break the cycles of vengeance.”
“Those who follow the rules get raped.”
“Slow down and take a look at the world around you…”
“Time to embrace communication.”
“Time to embrace peace.”
“Time to embrace diversity.”
“Time to embrace compassion.”
“Time to embrace freedom.”
“Rules were meant to be broken.”
“Keys to successful society: peace, freedom, diversity.”
“Keys to life: communication, honesty, patience, faith.”
“The peaceful anarchists shall inherit the earth.”
“Guns don’t kill people. Governments do.”
“You declared war against ME?”
“As long as there is law, morals take a back seat.”
“Time to stand up and fight for your freedom.”
“Let’s grow some balls, people.”
“Communication is the key to understanding.”
“My life-goal is world peace and freedom. What’s yours?”
“Paradigms are like snowflakes.”
“Being naked saves laundry money.”
“If you don’t think for yourself, you don’t think.”
“All people must contribute to peaceful society.”
“Your tax money is going toward killing people.”
“Ethics always come first. Not laws.”