Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The idea of a bond is simple. You pay in order to purchase insurance against your screwing up. For example, as a personal representative, you buy a bond to insure against your stealing the estate assets.
With the law school situation, it is a little more extreme. Not only do you have to pay a sizeable amount of money in order to get your degree, you have to spend three years of your life devoting a sizeable amount of time to obtaining that degree--and typically, three years of your post-college life, which would otherwise be devoted to career. In essence, this ensures that you are more likely to adhere to externally-imposed standards of legal conduct: because if you lose your license to practice, you have also lost any value gained through monetary or chronological investment in your legal education.
Control of lawyers is thus assured. If everyone in the country/world were given the right and the power to practice law, society would come apart. Lawsuits could be much more easily filed. Mass tort claims could be tracked down and consolidated. Any social crusader could turn a formerly-ignored just cause into real trouble for the powerful. The law school time and money bond, and the exclusivity of the ability to obtain that bond, ensures not only that a very few will gain that power, but also that once they gain that power, they will fear losing it, else they have flushed a large portion of their career potential down the toilet, and wasted a lot of time and money in the process.
Law school: 3 years and 50 grand for an insurance policy that never stops charging.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Similarly to the prediction of weather, the ragnarist demands more and more traffic reports and crime reports, and gains a growing obsession with the "up-to-date-ness" of news items as the disease grows. The fearful mind wants to know the instant a car "accident" has happened, based on the belief that they will become closer and closer to 100% informed about something that they lack the capacity to predict. It is the same with crime reports and up to date "news flashes," because the more often those things happen, the more often they offer false comfort, with the reassuring belief that any new event that occurs in the random world has been explained and accounted for by the authorities. Clamped down on like the false sense of control that comes from harshly disciplining your own mind.
Media stations that favor authoritarian host model political shows will be more often riddled with traffic and weather reports, for this reason.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Symptoms, Part 1
The natural environment is one of the enemies of hateful minds. As discussed before, the primary (yet unattainable) goals of the fearful mind are order and control. The weather represents one of the most disorderly phenomenon of human habitats. For a long time, people have been pouring billions of dollars into meteorology in an attempt to learn how to predict the weather. Computers were invented and developed precisely for this purpose, to handle all the variables necessary to help predict the weather. The ultimate goal of prediction is control. Once prediction is 100% accurate, fearful minds believe that they will be able to then move to the next stage and take control of the weather, finally removing the uncertainty it provides.
100% accuracy of prediction will not be attainable, however. Firstly, because according to the Uncertainty Principle, advanced meteorologists will not be able to measure whether or not they are exactly right, because they will never know everything about the particles making up their weather equations. And secondly, because without that knowledge, they will never be able to make wholly complete predictions about the future of said particles. Yet, the “mapping-ahead” prediction of weather remains one of the fixations of the fearful mind. While the peaceful mind accepts the weather and goes on with life, the fearful mind is excessively interested in predictions of the weather, to attempt to gain control over the uncertainty of their future.
Lawns and Shrubbery
Lawns also provide a good crucible for life. In the natural world, grass grows up, sometimes so high that it denies sufficient light to the lower strands, who then become yellow and turn into fertilizer for later generations of grass. Across the surface of its natural growth, it develops endless, unchartable variations of height that cause a furor in minds fearing the disorder and randomness of the world.
To a mind seeking to resist and repress life, these natural variances are the enemy. As such, lawns must be kept under control by regularly mowing them to a rigid height, turning the grass into a neatly segmented geometrical block of color. The lawn must be excessively watered, so that it maintains an even shade of green. If planted in an area which does not naturally support grass because of its climate, the lawn must be reseeded and fertilized and watered even more, because life cannot be trusted to handle itself: it must, instead, be controlled with an iron fist.
Shrubbery is another arena of control over nature. Trees cannot be trusted to grow in any random spot where nature has seeded them. Instead, the fearful mind prefers to place them in orderly positions, even if those locations cannot sustain their life and strength. Bushes and hedges must be chopped and mutilated so that they maintain life only within an orderly geometric area that has been designated to them.
I used to wonder why housing developers would move into an area, chop up everything and level the ground off, then save a handful of trees in pots on the back of their giant trucks in order to plant between the road dividers later on. The trees would be too weak to survive on their own, having to be taped to wooden posts just to stand. If the theoretical purpose of these hideous acts was to enjoy the trees, was there not some better way to go about it than the transplant? No, because the real purpose was control and rigidity. Of course this process is not sustainable, healthy, or real. It is merely part of the struggle of the fearful mind to control the disorderly way in which natural trees grow. Displaying it ravaged and pegged up as part of a roadway divider, a decoration around an entryway sign or the fancy name of a housing development, is like displaying the flayed corpse of a disobedient medieval peasant to other peasants considering not paying their taxes. It sends a message to nature, and to the disorderly and beautiful universe, that life is under control here, under control by power- and order-hungry minds. It is momentarily reassuring to other fearful minds, in much the same way that a medieval lord fearful of losing his position will be reassured by the sight of a flayed peasant when he comes to dine with his friend. “Ah--things are under control here.” He can breathe easy and feel temporarily safe through the demonstration.
This is why American suburbia was characterized by the lawn behind the white picket fence. The uniform block of green lawn represents that nature has been brought under control. The picket fence and straight sidewalk to the house demonstrate the same. This is also why corporations, self-producing singularities of “logos” and identical copies of the same “product,” enjoy rigid geometric displays of grass and shrubbery control. They also insist upon employing regular teams of nature-control agents who will ravage the shrubbery for them. The sidewalks must be swept so that no aberrant leaves disturb those who walk on the bare concrete. Bushes must be constantly fought to keep them from extending their filthy limbs through walking or window space. Leaves and other natural detritus may not even be dropped on the ground, between the bushes, because it will distract from the orderly appearance of the rock or grass arrangements underneath them. Spare the rod, spoil the child!
Oil and Solar Power
The more beloved way for a fearful mind to attempt to control a lawn or chop limbs from trees is with the use of a lawnmower or hedge clipper that relies on burning gasoline rather than human exertion. Hateful minds are fond of gasoline-powered machines because burning gas, which is created from oil, is burning the decayed corpses of microorganisms that lived millions of years ago. However, even if they are not aware of the origins of oil, they enjoy burning it because it shuns the natural source of earth’s energy: the sun. The sun will be around for billions of years; it burns constantly; it is the most readily available source of energy on this earth. The energy inside oil itself comes from the sun.
The fearful mind does not like energy from the sun, because the sun is a constant reminder of the fearful mind’s lack of control and singularity. The fearful mind is unable to control whether clouds will come out, unable to keep the sun from moving around the sky, and unable to make it daytime or nighttime when it wishes. Likewise, the fearful mind shies from wind power, because the wind cannot be controlled.
An energy source that can be controlled is oil. Because it represents a “battery” of sun energy stored through photosynthesis within the bodies of organisms from millions of years ago, it is a more reliable, more predictable way for the fearful mind to gain energy. It prefers a cold, black, liquid battery instead of the sun, even if the process of utilizing energy from that dead battery is smelly, loud, and disgusting. Indeed, the foul burning and refining processes that allow energy to be drawn from oil are a blessing to the fearful mind, because they are an attack on the tranquility of the natural world.
Oil and Cars
This is why fearful minds prefer loud, smelly, consumptive vehicles. It may not be wise for their wallets or convenient to their urban lifestyle to, say, drive a vehicle six times as large as they need. However, it is an expression of power and control. The great noise it creates upsets the equilibrium of the natural environment and tricks the human into thinking that he or she has exerted some manner of control. Its size can also fool the human into feeling shielded, isolated, and singular. Its ability to consume and destroy more than it needs flies in the face of the way natural things reach a state of balance with their environment.
Nuclear weapons and mass Destruction
One massive quandary for me as a youth was the question of nuclear bombs. I would agonize with worry at the thought that, during the Cold War, some madmen might actually consider using nuclear weapons. How insane could you possibly be, I wondered, to even begin to consider employing in your defense a device that released deadly radiation over a large area? Let alone more than one? Wouldn’t it be preferable to die, or even to--dare say!--compromise, or make concessions, in order to avoid killing yourself, and billions of others, and kill them slowly, by poisoning the ground, the water, and the atmosphere itself by flooding things with bomb after bomb filled with radioactive particles?
As always, the theory of stupidity came back to save me. I ended up concluding that anyone who would use nuclear bombs was “stupid.” Well, maybe I was right. But viewing the quandary anew under the concept of a fearful mind offers a better explanation. Indeed, it is utter madness to think that so many people accepted or were willing to carry out the concept of a shared nuclear exchange during the Cold War. What would be left to save? Once something got started, where would it stop? The mere idea of being willing to let loose such unfathomable terrors is a bluntly hideous evil that stands directly contradictory to any concepts of mercy, peace, and life. But to the fearful mind, this is all par for the course.
Instruments of death and destruction are always fascinating to the fearful mind, because the fearful mind is the hateful mind. Destruction is the only way to attempt to bring about order, because once something has been demolished it is no longer capable of disorderly acts. Death is the ultimate expression of order; the ultimate victory over life and our living universe. Nonexistence stands as the opposite of existence. As existence is constantly fluid and changing, nonexistence is forever one single way. It is orderly and perfectly under control. Everything balances out, and all equations can be completed without trouble. The nonexistence of death and destruction is continually sought by the fearful mind, because it offers an end to the struggle with deviant thoughts. Hateful minds perpetually rush to fill the fearful void with more, more, more weapons and destructive potential. It is never enough.
This is the reason for the creation of terrible weapons. This is the reason for the willingness to use terrible weapons: because however it is expressed, it actually represents a desire to wipe out life. This seems like a simple conclusion--that those who want to kill have serious problems and could be the death of us all--but raw tons of stinking propaganda have somehow managed to muddle the issue and convince otherwise reasonable people that it is acceptable to argue for poisoning and destroying the human population.
People who on the surface appear good-natured and loving can, if they fear the multi-faceted nature of their mind, fall victim to the hate of life. They may say they love their children, regularly donate to charity, help old ladies with their groceries, and then casually mention that they are “willing to use ultimate force” to teach this or that faction a lesson, even if it could bring retaliation in kind. They would say that they don’t “want” such a thing, but that would be a falsity; being “willing” to use said force merely means that they imagine themselves wanting to do so, if merely the conditions were right.
Sex is one of the most loathed concepts of those who hate life. This stems in large part from the fact that it can create life. The reproductive process itself is bane to the hateful mind, because it cannot be controlled. As mentioned earlier, when two people reproduce the child will have some different characteristics than either of them. This is not just because of the random mixing and matching of the parents’ characteristics between the child. It is also affected by the natural process of mutation, whereby--just as particles pop in and out of existence in a vacuum at random--life evolves and changes even as it is created. Without these random mutations during reproduction at the subatomic level, it might never have changed from single-celled organisms to starfish, ducks, and chimpanzees.
These random mutations that life undergoes are loathsome to the fearful mind, because they cannot be controlled or predicted. They are proof with each new child that the world is disorderly, just like each unexpected gust of wind. Fearful minds attempt to counter this by fabricating theories of human “creation” or “crafting,” as out of mud, wherein a singular deity creates mankind directly as mankind, rather than by going through a random process of cellular mutation. Even without biology, minds at peace can easily imagine that humans were not always the same, simply by seeing themselves change over the course of their lives, seeing different children being born, or by watching generations of flowers and crops and using the imagination. Likewise, well before Christian creationism hateful minds can and have conjured up visions of humans being created purposefully by a singular force.*
The most important reason for the hatred of sex, however, is not its connection to life, because many who battle against sex are not even consciously aware of, or accepting of, the mutative properties of life. Rather, it is the battle with the individual mind’s own sexual drive that spawns much of the public behavior toward sex. As a part of life, human instinct is a constant natural drive that continually assaults the fearful mind with reminders of its own lack of control. Instinct is one of the providers of the “deviant thoughts” that upset the false singular view of the self at the base of the fearful mind. Among these deviant thoughts are sexual urges, which never stop reminding the fearful mind that no matter how they dislike it, they remain a part of a real, changing, living world.
The struggle within the mind is cataclysmic. The fearful individual tells him or herself that he or she is singular and in control of their thoughts and actions. They focus fervently on this belief, perhaps praying, perhaps meditating, perhaps just squeezing their eyes shut and concentrating. Then they get up and attempt to go through the world. But then--bam!--their mind generates a sexual urge. They are guilty and shamed that they could have thought something so wicked. They are afraid of the depths of their own mind, and wonder how “they”--their singularness--could have produced such a thing. Are they wicked themselves, through and through? Are they defined solely by that foul sexual thought they just experienced? They must be, because they are singular. But no, they believe they can control it, so they fight it back down. The sexual instinct, however, remains a powerful one, and the battle will continue as long as they are alive, unless they manage to alter their chemistry or biology enough to flee entirely from sexual life.
The sexual battle within the head can never be healthily resolved. Many who attempt to repress their sexuality have, as when attempting to plug a geyser, outbursts that result in even more negative behavior than that they were attempting to repress originally, such as imposing their sexual will on a weaker person, after which they may regain control for a time. A more simple way for them to win this battle, though, is by acting it out in the larger world. In the larger world, they can “win,” because while fearful minds cannot control the thoughts in their own head, they can control what their mouths say. Thus, fearful minds can group together for the purpose of bolstering one another’s sexual repressions by play-acting perfect expressions of anti-sexuality.
For example, fearful minds can form social groups where sexual activity is rigidly controlled, and where they congratulate one another incessantly on their victory over sexuality, while at the same time lambasting others for not winning that same victory (an act which is in itself self-congratulatory). These constant congratulations are needed to continually reinforce the charade that they have each won the battle inside their heads, which they never have and never will. Nonetheless, the charades must continue. For example, religious groups will congregate and discuss the sexual sins of their community at large, feeling superior as they bolster their own image of triumph. Occasionally, they may confess weak moments and deviant thoughts or urges to one another as part of a ritual celebration of the greater victory against sex.
* Of course, the divide between “creationist” and “evolutionary” views of the world is not the end-all determinant of which minds are fearful or peaceful, or how much. No one fearful mind will necessarily exhibit all of the fearful characteristics, just as no peaceful mind will be immune from every failed search for order. Indeed, many fear- and hate-based religious organizations now accept evolution simply because they wish to be seen as scientific even as they perpetuate their core messages. This phenomenon will likely occur similarly should any of the other trends discussed here--like the use of solar energy--become overwhelming enough to cause a shift in fearful-mind behavior. The primary and most important defining conflict of the fearful mind begins within their own thoughts, irrespective of public actions, and the trends discussed here are merely the way they are playing out within a certain period of time.
Not every ragnarist case has reached the fullest stages of self- and world-loathing. Like everything in the world, the sickness is relative and subjective. A ragnaristic mind may exhibit fear to such a small degree that it retains a general respect for the world, or that its fear and hatred of the outside world is managed to be kept under control by biological instincts of love and empathy, the opposing counterpart of fear and hate.
For example, lesser fears of the mind may simply result in a feeling of constant guilt, as the mind manifests its worries by linking its guilt to tangible actions in day-to-day life. For example, feeling guilty at not accomplishing “enough tasks” during the day, when the guilt has truly originated over deviant thoughts in the mind. Thus, a rational discussion of why the amount of tasks accomplished that day was sufficient will do nothing to alleviate the negative sensation.
Even the most befouled minds, though, may incessantly speak of their love or affection for various things. However, speech and action will generally bear out the truth as the ragnarist resorts to the linked behavioral patterns associated with some degree of hatred and fear of the self and the world.
Early Symptoms of Ragnarism
Desire to repress sexual behavior and physical bodies through social or governmental controls.
Easy to recognize: involves disapproving of expressions of sexuality, including public kissing, movies with nudity, navel rings, homosexuality in general, “gay marriage,” or other reminders of sexuality.
General passion for authority, the more singular and/or centralized the better.
Do not be misguided into thinking that this applies only to a preference for federalism or centrism. Remember that “authority” can mean many different things, including intangible authorities.
Decisive leaders are better than ones who debate, to the ragnarist, because they feel more authorative, and thereby make the ragnarist feel more comfortable.
Desire to divide living things, objects, avenues of inquiry, and the like into various classification systems, the more complex the better.
Heirarchies are eminently loveable to the ragnaristic mind, which wants to have everything fitted into its place, so it can be classified and identified. This makes them feel comfortable, as though they have a better handle on the changing world.
Ragnarists do not like tampering with their categories. This helps explain the resistance to “gay marriage,” because once the heirarchy has been created in any worldview, those who try to go outside the boundaries of the heirarchy become upsetting. The ragnarist is upset because if people are able to go out of the imaginary boundaries without being destroyed, it challenges the ragnarist’s view of the world.
Desire to express strength and authority to the world.
Guns, big trucks, loud stereos, etc. By manifesting these indica of power and authority, ragnarists feel that they are more in control of what is happening around them, just as they wish to control their own errant thoughts.
Fondness of absolute forms.
Ascribing loyalty to a cultural form, be it band or sports team devotion, the logo of a favorite coffee shop or clothing designer, etc., represents the desire for a more fixed, unchanging, unrealistic world. The team or clothing logo is an easily recognizable symbol, and helps fit people into heirarchies based on what they like. That is why ragnaristic thought believes that you can get to know a person by finding out which corporate logos (bands, television shows, clothing) they associate themselves with.
Moderate Stages of Ragnarism
Belief that the world is coming to an end in the near future.
“Near” being relative. This belief is part necrotic fantasy, part generalized fear. The generalized fear component is easy to understand: simply, the same fear of uncertainty and death that motivates the ragnaristic mind in the first place.
The necrotic fantasy is the more dire component of the two, because it represents the ragnaristic mind’s desire to end all the uncertainty and fear of living. It is a quixotic paradox of the future, where all uncertainties have vanished in the void of death and the end of existence, and the ragnarist can at last find “peace” from the difficulties of life.
This desire is commonly manifested in a desire for apocolyptic entertainment and lore. Most cultures have one or more religious necrotic fantasies in common acceptance, often with a recurrent theme. For example, in the Old Testament, Noah’s Ark and the flood, the genocide of the Nimrods, the destruction of various cities, and of course, the New Testament and Revelations and the Second Coming. These types of stories are highly appealing to the ragnarist.
Depending on the mode of entertainment, the mass killing is always perpetrated by the “bad guys,” but the entertainment most appealing to the ragnarist will involve an excessive focus upon the acts of mass destruction portrayed, the witnessing of the devastation, and of course, the vengeance the hero gets to take afterward.
Belief that the world is relatively young.
“Relatively young” being based, of course, upon the individual’s own perception of time. This occurs because the ragnarist views his or her own struggle with the uncertainties of the mind, and the uncertainties of the world, as the paramount qualities of creation: namely, that they are at the center of the world. The ragnarist is disinclined to believe that the world could have existed for very long prior to his or her own life.
As the ragnarist gains more knowledge about the world, and comes to be aware that more things may have existed in the past, the “self image” of the ragnarist extends into the past, to make the acceptance of a longer time period possible. For example, the ragnarist may conclude that the world has existed only as long as his or her species has existed, or his or her planet, or his or her belief in the physical laws of the universe.
Females, by virtue of their intrinsic life-creating and nurturing physiology, represent a natural target of dislike for the ragnaristic mind. An underlying belief in the unworthiness of female qualities will often occur in the ragnarist, including derision toward, or disbelief in, sharing, cooperation, empathy, physical frailty, the care of children, provision of food, etc.
A few examples: ragnarists will be scornful of diplomacy; they will be fierce defenders of property rights; and they will resist attempts to provide medical services, food, and clean water to children.
Women, and by extension, children, represent the future and hope of life, and particularly, the human variety of life. Thus, while social mores may prevent many ragnarists from doing direct violence, the ragnarist will resist attempts to better the condition of hapless children unable to provide for themselves, under the hallmark of expense, and will be hostile toward prenatal medical care, school lunch programs, and the like.
The female human womb is a target of particular ragnarist vitriol; see “abortion,” below.
Female ragnarists will often feel a desire to defer to authoritarian male elements around them, and try to find identity by fitting themselves into the lower rungs of an imagined heirarchy.
All of the disapproval of expressions of sexuality comes to a head at the moderate stage of ragnarism. Ragnarists feel a desire to fight against those who remind them that sexuality exists, and at the same time, their own inner battle against sexuality becomes more difficult to fight. Self-repression abounds, and rape or pedophilia may emerge, often in tandem with violence. (Violent pedophilia is often tied to the hatred of wombs and offspring; see immediately preceding section.)
Extreme Stages of Ragnarism
Belief that the world is coming to an end in the very near future, or immediately.
This mirrors the moderate stage, as discussed above, except in proximity. The most extreme ragnarists believe that the world will end very soon, and often want to hasten the process along by killing themselves. For example, eating poisoned jello. They believe that they will be removed from the world somehow, either before or after death, by alien spaceships or supernatural beings.
This belief frequently includes the facet that, when they are removed from the world, they will be judged by the contents of their minds. The ragnarist believes this, because the ragnarist believes that he or she is at the metaphorical center of the universe, and that the supernatural beings or aliens (or whatever else) will be extremely concerned with the specific qualities of the ragnarist’s mind. This fantasy traces its roots to the original conflict between the ragnarist’s sense of absolute self, and the errant thoughts within the ragnarist’s mind.
The necrotic fantasy of the end of the world here takes on a more fervent tone, as the ragnarists approach the end of the existence in an erotic way. They cheer in enthusiasm at the thought of mass death; they stoke the fires of war and destruction with hopes that soon, it will all end.
All the qualities of femaleness are loathed by the extreme ragnarist. Weakness becomes a target for unapologetic pulverization; attempts at self-control by females are viewed as loathsome. The mere incidence of physical frailty induces an attempt to destroy, and physical violence, in regular, terrible patterns, occurs.
For extremely ragnarist females, self-hatred becomes particularly keen, and the desire to follow orders and receive painful punishment is increased exponentially. Or, the ragnarist female may coalesce into a scathing attempt at authoritarian, “male” behavior, and model herself on everything she fears.
Where do all these different thoughts come from? You. Yet, many of these thoughts are of an essentially different character from one another. Your mind has the potential to choose between any of them. Even as the thoughts are spawned, you decide which one to act out. You are the “decider.” But if “you” are the one who decides, then where are the ideas coming from? Also from you, because your mind is not a singular entity, but a multi-faceted one. There is more than one “voice” inside.
Your mind can think of things outside of your control. Try not to think about a computer monitor--a black, flatscreen LCD monitor made by Dell. Stop thinking about that computer monitor. Etc. Your thoughts can never be completely controlled. There is uncertainty inside your own head. This uncertainty, this variance, can cause fear.
It is natural for us to feel fear about this uncertainty. When things are out of our control, they might change such that they harm or kill us, or limit our mating potential. That is why the dark can be frightening. It represents the uncertainty of chance, just like the insides of our heads--a place where we can’t always control the thoughts and desires that pop up.
The first step toward ragnarism is to fear your mind so much that you attempt to gain absolute control over its thoughts. Afraid of all the uncertainty, you can tell yourself that your mind is singular, not multi-faceted, and that all its strangeness, complexity and beauty can be condensed into a single thing--a single “you.” Believing that your mind is singular can help stave off the fear of uncertainty if you trick yourself into thinking that no more errant thoughts will enter your mind without “your” permission.
However, the reality of the mind will upset this illusion. “Sinful thoughts” will enter without your permission. You will see an attractive member of the opposite sex and register their attractiveness despite the fact that you are married. You will see a slice of chocolate cake and want it despite being on a diet. You will worry about problems at your job all evening even when you are supposed to be concentrating on relaxing with your spouse. The reality of the mind will always continue to upset the illusion of singular control.
Nonetheless, trapped within that illusion of singularity built up to protect yourself from the fear of uncertainty, terrible things can happen. For example, when that inevitable negative thought floats through your mind--“I wish that old woman in line ahead of me at the supermarket, who is writing a check by hand to pay for ONE item, would just die, so I could buy this and get home faster!”--the mind can come to believe that because it is a singular mind, it is fully responsible for that negative thought. Because of this, a person who believes that they are absolutely in control of their mind and their thoughts will become terribly guilty over time, because every negative thought that randomly floats through their mind, they will take as an indication of their true nature: the definition of them. If the mind is singular, then any foul thought that pops up must be what defines that person. “I am scum, who would wish an old woman dead just so I can get my supper home faster!”
This cannot be admitted in interpersonal society, of course. It is a fear for the private mind that believes itself singular, and defines itself by all of its thoughts. But its behavioral results can be witnessed in society, as discussed later.
The person trapped within this cycle will then perpetuate it, because deviant thoughts will only become an even stronger motivation to clamp down on the uncertainty of the mind. Striking out in fear, they will retaliate against random thoughts, wallow in guilt, and then become even more alarmed and have an even stronger response when the next rogue thought pops up. The randomness of thought within the human mind will continue to subvert even the strongest “defenses,” making the conflict interminable and interminably escalating.
For example, a married man who resolves not to be attracted to any woman except his wife can become upset when he catches himself staring at a cheerleader. He shakes his head and looks away, and curses himself for lack of discipline, then raises his head, proud that he has taken care of the “problem.” The problem, however, will recur, and will upset him more, driving his anger inward, and motivating him even more powerfully to gain control of his “wicked thoughts.” That control will be imperfect, however, and he will be foiled again, as the cycle continues endlessly.
Most of this goes on subconsciously, and it can take a lifetime to play out. Most people do not sit around thinking “I will gain control of my mind today,” even though some self-help books advertise this. However, having some conception of self is necessary for human beings, and there exists a difference between those who conceptualize their minds as singular--and therefore set up a spiral of fear of uncertainty, fear of self, and guilt--and those who conceptualize their mind as “of many,” and are therefore better able to handle the diversity of the world.
Like the mind, life itself is uncertain. It is random. Physicists have observed that, within vacuums, the smallest components of matter will pop in and out of existence, unpredictably: matter being randomly created, like thoughts popping up in the mind. Likewise, human reproduction is random. When two humans reproduce, their offspring may resemble them or their ancestors, but will not be exact copies of either of the parents--in looks or temperament. The rest of the living world is like this as well. Flowers will not resemble their parent flowers identically; beetles their parent beetles; monkeys their parent monkeys; snowflakes the one that came before. Even down to the smallest level, this tendency toward randomness and change exists. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle notes that you can never know for certain both the exact position and the exact rate of travel of subatomic particles. Without stopping time, nothing in this world can ever be exactly observed. It always seems, to some degree or another, subjective and ever-changing.
This world is one of endless possibility and constant flux, and so it is suitable that the human mind is that way with its thoughts. Yet, within the world, that same uncertainty and randomness of chance can cause as much fear as deviant thoughts within the mind. In this case, however, because those fears are not played out inside the head but in the physical world, the conflict is observable.
People who fear the uncertainty of the world can frequently come to dislike it. And why not? When you fear something for a long time, you grow to hate it because of how it makes you feel. The random world continually assaults the fearful mind with things that cannot be predicted, categorized, or stopped. The fearful mind responds with deep hatred, for as long as the fearful mind is alive, that mind exists within a world that does not conform to the singular unity it strives for. The conflict within the fearful mind--the conflict between a singular view of the mind and a multi-faceted view--is linked to this conflict with the outside world.
Trapped in fear and guilt, the fearful mind becomes the hateful mind, utterly loathing its own terrible changing mind, and also the outside world that keeps tormenting it--a “torment” perceived through a fear of the uncertain. Because the fearful mind refuses to embrace the constant change of reality, it craves unreality, or unexistence. The only peace from the conflict in the mind is the death of the mind. The only way to stop being tortured by the change of the world is to leave the world by dying. And the only way to end eternally, once and for all, this fearful, ever-spiraling conflict, is by destroying this hateful, random world.
Ragnarism is this fearful mind, which is always in conflict with its own existence.
Life is one of the most fun things in our changing world, because it offers a fantastic example of the randomness necessary to create existence in place of void. As opposed to empty nothingness, a rock is a very exciting thing. However, whereas a rock changes its position very, very slightly and slowly, and does so without a conscious intent of its own, life is dynamic. It directs its own change at a rapid pace, and it provides a forum for even more randomness inside the incredibly complex minds it can produce in some organisms. In our world, life is the fullest expression of the ever-changing nature of existence. And so, life becomes the thing most hated by the ragnaristic mind.
Life changes with every second. Life is chaotic and random. Life cannot be predicted or controlled one hundred percent. To the ragnarist, life is the enemy that must be fought at all costs. It must be resisted in whatever it does, and it must ultimately be destroyed.
I didn’t want to believe this conclusion. On the surface, it sounds ludicrous--people who hate life? How can that be possible? It’s self contradictory. Or at least, it should be.
hey guys...with all that is going on, the excitement is palpable!!! I was (and have been) reflecting lately on what the actual rapture moment will be like (whenever it happens....lol).....i Know it's instantaneous but do ya think we'll have like a second of "realization" like (**horn blast**) and then thinking, "OH IT'S HAPPENING!!! THIS IS IT!!" Or we'll actually feel ourselves being lifted up and sailing through the air??? OR, do ya think we'll just like blink and be in the presence of the Lord that quick??? (yea i know i think about crazy stuff sometimes....lol)
But sometimes when i consider the times, i almost can feel my spirit ready to leap outta my body (if that makes ANY sense....) oh well......back to the news.....just wondering what u guys thought......lol
The above quote came from the “Rapture Ready” bulletin board, at http://www.rr-bb.com/ The “excitement” the author was referring to was violence in the Middle East, and the prevailing Rapture interpretations among American evangelical Christians, who number in the millions, involve worldwide wars and the butchery of billions being presented in a positive light.
I used to believe there were just a few religious wackos out there that had silly ideas about the Bible and wanting to die so they could zoom to heaven. It’s hard to imagine people wanting to die, even though you occasionally read about the cult that poisons its members so they can be “saved” on the alien spaceship.
The ragnarist fears and hates the uncertainty of him or herself, of the surrounding world, and of life. This, then, provides explanation for the correlations between the endless numbers of social, public and political behaviors which, at their essence, seek to repress, control, or destroy life and the living world.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The good answer to Iraq is not "pulling out." Bush (and most of the rest of you--don't think I forget he had a 90% approval rating after 9-11) made one of the biggest messes in the world, and as a Vietnamese-descent person recently pointed out to me, pulling our troops out now to save THEIR lives is almost as arrogant a suggestion as continuing the occupation in the normal way, albeit with slightly more troops. (This person was referring to the way that, after the U.S. finished bombing and occupying Vietnam in the 1950s-70s, and finally withdrew, various Vietnamese groups turned on each other in a horrendous outpouring of violence.)
Well, I'm finally fed up with all the whining about that being the best possible alternative, so here for your reading pleasure is the official "The Only Right Thing To Do In Iraq." Yes, that's right folks: the answer to the quagmire in Iraq is right here, despite the fact that your T.V. has been telling you either (1) There is no good solution, or if you watch Fox, (2) everything is going well and Our Great Leader is spreading democracy, but if it's not working it's the Iraqis' faults.
Be warned: like any genuine correct answer, you're not going to like it.
The Only Right Thing To Do In Iraq
Iraq may have been filled with more extremely troubled, violent religious types than middle America, but now that we stirred up the hornet's nest, the blood is 90% on our hands until we fix it. That means sacrifice, and it means decades of sacrifice.
First, we must increase the number of American troops in Iraq tenfold (or morefold) while we simultaneously increase our investment in military humanitarian training, MP oversight of troops, and public oversight of (an all new set of) contractors. There need to be so many U.S. troops that you can't go outside without bumping into ten. And they all need to be smiling, well-paid, living in sanitary barracks, off stimulant drugs, getting 8 hours of sleep a day, and handing out free candy bars, Qur'ans, Bibles, stuffed animals, food and water, and whatever else on demand.
(We can contract K, B & R to build said troop facilities for the price of $1, or just continue criminally indicting top executives until the remaining ones agree to do the work for $0.50. And in case you're wondering, they have to give back the money they overbilled, too. The $0.50 charge is punitive, not restitutionary.)
Then, we need to pay to leave those troops there for at least 20-25 years while we invest billions upon billions of dollars building a medical and educational infrastructure in Iraq, and providing free and excellent public education to an entire generation of children, where they are taught about Iraqi, world, Arab and Muslim history under a code based on the Nuremburg trials. The vast majority of even the most prejudiced parents will allow their kids to be educated that way if clerics and tribal leaders are brought into the fold, and in order to gain access to the generous parenting subsidies handed out by the U.S.
In order to pay for all these extra troops and goodies, the U.S. is going to have to levy a 75% tax on all forms of income--corporate, personal, overseas, dividend, etc.--above $200K a year, so that military pay and pension for all ranks can double. That should solve the recruitment problem for a little while, and as Iraq gradually improves, it'll only get better.
After 20-25 years, when a generation of Iraqi children of all tribal, religious and ethnic affiliations have had a challenging, modern, diverse university-level education, the U.S. will beg their permission to pull out its forces and let the Iraqis replace them with an Iraqi army. Not because any of them have died in several years, but because it is rather expensive for the U.S. to maintain them. Iraq will consider whether or not it wants to give up the free army and police services, and if it decides to, the U.S. will thank it with a generous trade agreement and an economic development pact to share post-oil R&D facilities and funds, to ensure that Iraq will have a future as its pillaged natural resource runs out.
Expensive, yes. Unrealistic, yes, especially given that even the most radical Americans cannot seem to think of a more dramatic solution than "pull them all out."
On the plus side: after that income tax I mentioned is levied our government will still probably have a better fiscal situation than it does now, in addition to being able to fix Iraq up the right way.
In conclusion, pulling the troops out now has just been fed to you as a prepackaged "progressive" idea by the same corporate machine that brought you the original invasion. The powers that be knew damn well that Bush would self destruct in 8 years. The entire point of getting him in there was to make things so extreme that the more authoritarian elements in the Democratic Party would seem like a real policy change.
If you pull the troops out now, you are rewarding the corpocracy by allowing them to cease paying for the occupation while having already gotten all the benefits of oil ownership and Saddam-toppling. Go ahead: they're laughing hysterically as the "left wing" tries to justify getting them out of their credit card bills! Ooh, they're really scared that you'll make them stop paying even the token costs of occupation, while they still maintain their hardened military bases and oilfields! Stop it, please, they can't take any more! Riiiight. How did you ever fall for it?
After Bush, Obama and Clinton seem like left-wingers, and pulling the troops out of Iraq and leaving it to eat itself alive seems like a radically progressive solution. Good God. How can it be the right choice to set generations-old tribal and religious enemies against each other in a genocidal war, and then shut the door and walk away and tell yourself you're making the "best possible choice"? Don't be disgusting. Really, I mean it. What were you thinking?
Sin City at IMDB
First a brief relevant character summary. I’ll identify people by their real names, not their character names, for simplicity.
Josh Hartnett plays an assassin. Mickey Rourke plays a random muscular thug. Bruce Willis plays an aging cop. Jessica Alba plays an erotic dancer. Clive Owen plays a random boyfriend.
“Random” used here in the sense that no one’s past life, career, etc. has any apparent bearing on what they do in the movie.
I will begin with sadism. The entire movie, even to the extent that it permeates the other topics listed at the beginning, is an expression of enjoyed violence. Not in the sense of violence as an accurate portrayal of the world, or a necessary means to an end, or any of that. Rather, the violence is the end in itself, and it is meant to be thoroughly enjoyed by both the characters and the audience. All aspects of plot are shaved down to get at the violence, to the extent that the film mostly consists of sequences where violence is actually occurring, sequences where a character is sneaking about in anticipation of violence, or the occasional situations where characters are merely discussing violence. The violence is not senseless or purposefulness; it is reveled in. Characters and scenes are crafted to make the violence more enjoyable.
What stands out here is not the fact that violence occurs and that it is supposed to be exciting, but that is perpetrated by the central characters and presented in a morally positive light. In contrast to those who reason through things, talk things over, and see nuances and shades of gray in the world, the true heroes are those who are willing to be incredibly violent on the spur of the moment and really “get things done” in an enjoyable way. To provide motivation for these good guys--to “prove” that the violence they do makes them good--the bad guys commit violence, in a bloody spiral leading up to the eventual climactic showing of superior violence on the part of the good guy.
Bruce Willis’ clips are less instructive in this regard from a quantity standpoint, but more so in a sexual way. Involved in chasing down a child molester, Bruce Willis bashes a couple lookouts over the head, then approaches the child molester himself. In the presence of the 9-year-old girl he has just saved, he luxuriantly has a standoff with the child molester, then shoots the man in the ear, the hand, and at last the genitals, drawing out the imposition of power in a lengthy foreplay.
The attention to genitals and a sexual overtone to the scenes is present throughout. In a later encounter with the same child molester he previously shot in the genitals, Bruce Willis finds that the man has undergone extensive scientific treatment in order to grow his genitals back so that he can sire an heir for his children. What does Bruce do? Well, he reaches down under the man’s pants and manually tears off his testicles at the most exciting point in their combat, then straddles him and beats him furiously until, weak with effort, he has at last finished.
Mickey Rourke’s character, a big, burly “bear,” handcuffs Elijah Wood’s character, a slim, neat boy with a tidy “bowl” style haircut and round glasses, to himself at the beginning of their passion together. Then, he holds Elijah Wood down and proceeds to tie off his veins so that he can saw off his limbs one by one, keeping Wood alive during the torture. And then, the climax: Mickey Rourke leans back, smoking a post-coital cigarette and staring at Wood’s mutilated body, as he calls a dog over to feed on the ends of Wood’s severed remains.
The violence done by the good guys and bad guys is very much the same in these stories. Elijah Wood’s character cuts off women’s limbs, eats their flesh and then mounts their heads on the wall. To punish him, Mickey Rourke cuts off Wood’s limbs, entices a dog to feed on his flesh, and then carries his head off as a trophy to show to another character (with whom he then similarly engages in violent pseudo-coitus).
Paedophilia next. Bruce Willis shoots off the man’s genitals to save a nine-year-old girl from him. As Willis takes out the guy’s flunkies, he dictates a monologue to the camera about how much of a sicko the guy is, and how much Willis has to rescue the girl he has kidnapped. Over and over again, Willis reminds the viewer that she is nine years old. In this scene, her age is no simple factoid, and it is not enough that the moviegoer just remember it. Rather, it is repeated ad infinitum, like lewd descriptions in an erotic story: age as emphasis, age as arousal. Once Willis has shot off the evil man’s genitals and completed the designated “fight scene,” the (nine-year-old!) girl visits him in the hospital, confessing with tremulous eyes that she “loves him,” will always love him, and giving him a slow kiss on the cheek.
For reasons vaguely related to the plot, Willis ends up in jail for the crime of--you guessed it--kidnapping and sexually molesting a nine year old girl. Although he is, according to the movie, innocent. He is abandoned by his wife and all the rest of society, but the girl (nine years old!) writes him letters for eight years of prison. We are reminded repeatedly that it is eight long years. When Willis gets out, he goes to find the girl (who was nine years old!). She is an exotic dancer. He repeats to himself ad infinitum this time that she is “nineteen.” “This nineteen year old girl,” etc. until you’re sick of the reminder.
Now, how “nine” and “eight” add up to “nineteen,” I fail to see. Perhaps my math is bad; perhaps the movie was just directed confusingly. Or perhaps they’re purposefully trying to avoid stigmatization by the veiled hint that she is only seventeen. Regardless, they run off together on another adventure. She still loves him; she comes onto him, and he holds monologues in his head where he tries to restrain himself from going after a “nineteen year old dancer.” He reminds her--and the audience--that he is old enough to be her grandfather. And that she’s nineteen. Don’t forget that!
Nineteen (or seventeen, as the case may be) is not wandering into paedophile territory. The point, however, of harping on the age--and of Willis and the girl, played in her later years by Jessica Alba, is to arouse through association with the nine-year-old character portrayed in the first Willis sketch. That is why it was so important for the writer to hammer it home to such a degree in both of the skits involving that character. Bruce Willis runs a constant monologue with himself whereby he is worthless and vile for being tempted by this beautiful, fetching nine-year-old, nineteen-year-old, seventeen-year-old, it-doesn’t-really-matter-she’s-young sexual being that he wants badly. His wife and life drop out of the picture, and ultimately, he shoots himself with the gun to “save” Jessica Alba’s character from retaliation from the father of the guy whose testicles he has mauled twice. For his last monologue, he reminds the viewer that he, an old man, is dying so that a young, beautiful girl can live. Touching and honorable in and of itself, but nonetheless indicative.
The creator of these stories has a low sense of self-worth. Lacking a sense of confidence or worthwhileness, his expressions of how to get things done are violent because with direct violence, “the proof is in the pudding.” By engaging in violence so freely and with such affinity, you can demonstrate power, which you secretly fear you are lacking. As with the schoolyard bully, the expression of violence is necessary to shield yourself from an exterior world you fear because of the emptiness and lack of worth you perceive inside yourself.
Because of this sense of unworthiness, the creator of these stories is unable to conceive of sex in a way separate from violence. Sexual arousal is a constant part of life, but the creator of these stories is unable to acknowledge his own sexual arousal except when partaking in an activity (violence) that shields him from his own private demons. Thus, the characters have sex while they have violence. Josh Hartnett kisses, loves, and murders the woman in the red dress on the balcony. Mickey Rourke and Elijah Wood get handcuffed together while one gets off on maiming the other.
Bruce Willis constantly tells himself how unworthy he is of Jessica Alba because of his age, his status of being a dumb cop while she is an attractive dancer, and oh, did I mention his age as compared to hers? He can’t get enough of how “unworthy” he is, but she wants him anyway. This is the monologue that the creator of Sin City has with himself: unworthiness, coupled with the secret fantasy that the attractive and worthy will like him anyway. (Those who have read Brave New World may recall the same fantasy recalled there, of being an unlikeable, unattractive little toad-man who schemes and hates, and who has fantasies of being “patted” by the attractive female lead in the book.)
At the beginning of his segment, Mickey Rourke is favored with the company of the prostitute Goldie. He did not buy her; his monstrism of face is so bad that, according to him on camera, “he can’t even buy a girl.” He figures out later that Goldie only pretended to want him for protection, because he was big. He decides that she picked him up in that bar because she was scared, and looking for the “biggest, ugliest guy” she could find. Then, she dies in his bed, but he didn’t do it, so the movie says. Mickey Rourke’s entire mission to kill and maim is driven by desire to avenge Goldie “because she was nice to me.” The viewer is regularly reminded how Mickey Rourke is unwanted and unlikeable because of his condition (facial misshape), as in the Bruce Willis segment (age). But don’t worry: he will manifest violence to make up for her having sex with him that one night, and that will balance out the equation of his unworthiness and avenge her.
Misogony, ah, misogony. Here I will be laughed at, because Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke both repeatedly condemn the mistreatment of women, and fight to avenge them.
The classic pattern of Sin City is that the heroes condemn the villians for something, then do it themselves. Bruce Willis condemns the child molestor for wanting the nine-year-old (she’s nine years old!) girl, then wants her himself. Mickey Rourke condemns Elijah Wood for his vile tortures, then tortures Wood himself. And the centerpiece characters in the story vocally and loudly condemn the abuse of women, then abuse women themselves.
Mickey Rourke, on his crusade to avenge Goldie (it was wrong to kill a woman) is helped out by Goldie’s sister. Rourke tells the camera that it really gets him angry when someone hits a woman. A few scenes later, Goldie’s sister is coming forward, asking to be allowed to kill Elijah Wood’s character for the killing Wood perpetrated against Goldie. But Rourke can’t have that; oh no, Wood has been captured for the purpose of Rourke’s torture. So Rourke punches Goldie’s sister and knocks her out, then tells her that it is for her own good, after which he goes on to get off on torturing Wood.
Clive Owen begins his own shot by saving his girlfriend from her abusive ex. He expresses his own violence by plunging the abusive ex-boyfriend’s head into the toilet, where we are treated to Frank Miller’s own coveted shivambu scene of the boyfriend throwing up urine. After Clive Owen has nobly protected his girl, he realizes that the abusive ex-boyfriend and his similarly abusive friends will be heading to oldtown, where they might hurt the prostitutes living there. So, he goes to protect them. Once there, he gets into an argument with a prostitute, and when she won’t see reason, he slaps her and knocks her down. Standing firm until she gets back to her feet, he wins her onscreen kiss and undying love because he showed how tough he was.
Saying misogyny, of course, is not to say that the creator has any better view of men in general, or even of himself. It’s just one particular lens through which he fears the world. The fear of women is even more than the fear of men, though. That is why the exotic, revealingly-dressed prostitutes of old-town parade around with heavy weaponry: women are at once desirable sex objects, yet capable of causing great damage. And nowhere within there do they have an actual character, any more than does the fat, female judge who ignorantly sentences Mickey Rourke to the chair. The real thing the creator of Sin City fears from women is that they may reject him. His own lack of self-worth and confidence makes him view women as terrible valkyries that you must hit, abuse, and then kill for in order to have any right to temporarily restrain yourself from ravishing them.
Sin City is quite the mental petri dish for its creator. The heroes and villians alike are all essentially facets of the creator’s character, conscious and subconscious. The creator’s own uncertainty about himself, his body and his sexuality, is what causes the split into hero/villian. Am I good? Am I evil? Am I interested in nine-year-old girls? Am I right to want to torture people--is it righteous justice?--or am I wrong, and is it a disgusting perversion that makes me worthy of torture and death? Perhaps this is why so many of the scenes end in the death of the main character. The longest vignettes--Bruce Willis’ and Mickey Rourke’s--and with Bruce Willis shooting himself in the head, and with Mickey Rourke getting electrocuted. Both happily and deservedly, because they accomplished their violent, tortuous objective of getting even with those who harmed women.
Wonderful art. Interesting violence. The rare hint of social commentary by titling a character “rich” or “godly” or a “Senator.” An intriguing play of smokes and mirrors that give an insight into a very sad, very fearful mind. (And, a ghastly look at the way so many other fearful minds lacking in confidence find that sort of entertainment fulfilling, novel, and worthwhile.)
In the background of every scene, I can almost see Frank Miller curled up in the fetal position in the corner of a dank, dripping dungeon, shot in black and white footage. He can see angels and demons flying around, at once hurting him and protecting him, but they change their masks every second. How he would like to figure out which is which. How he wants to ask a beautiful woman, a seductive child, a handsome and powerful man, to help him, but he is so afraid that they wouldn’t love him back that he can’t quite close his hand around anything but a pencil. Scrawl the pictures, shred the pictures. Swallow the tears away.