Saturday, October 22, 2005

Expounding on My Concept of Love and Relationships

As I sit here past midnight, in my little cubicle space at work, I decided to resurrect my blog from the dead for this special note I wanted to make (as I was thinking) about the moral basis of my theory of relationships. There is a very crucial difference between what I wish to promote as my theory of relationships and what gets passed out as "polyamory" or "open" relationships. The moral necessities of my theory are based on Objectivist ethics: 1) Personal integrity should be the hallmark of one's character. Integrity subsumes honesty, and honesty means never faking reality. 2) In relationships, as in other areas of life, there is no room for wilfull, deliberate and/or pernicious deceit. This connects with honesty, in that if there is any form of uncertainty, it should be brought out into the open. Any instance of wilful repression of doubt or faking of certainty is an instance of being deceitful and is compromising on your integrity. 3) In my theory of relationships, it is IMMORAL to demand from another any actions, deeds, services, emotions, feelings, etc. unless it is under the context of mutual exchange or arises voluntarily (in which case, there are no demands or obligations being made upon anyone). 4) Flowing from the above idea of no obligations, all relationships should involve individuals who consciously and freely CHOOSE to enter into a relationship of their choice without any coercion or obligations, they should NOT be expected or obligated to REMAIN in that relationship against their will, and no promises to that effect should be extracted from them. This also extends to the area of consensual engagement in a relationship by individuals intellectually capable of giving such consent without obligation or coercion. 5) Free individuals are independent individuals. They are an end in themselves. All their pursuits should eventually lead to their own personal goals. No one should be in pursuit of the goals of another individual, nor should they expect another person to pursue their goals for them. Independence and interdependence -- not dependence -- are the signs of a healthy relationship. Goals and values can be shared, and the hierarchy of importance of personal and mutual goals or values should be assessed together. 6) Regardless of the number of individuals in a relationship or regardless of the number of relationships one is involved in, the moral integrity of the individual is NOT breached unless any of the above principles are violated. For example, an individual could be involved in any number of relationships as long as there is a clear assessment of mutual goals and values that are communicated openly with all persons involved, they all maintain perfect honesty and integrity in the matter, they commit no wilful act of deceit against any person, and they do not obligate anyone in any way to assent or refuse to any act whatsoever. That is the essence of my theory on relationships. I feel marriage, vows, enforced monogamy, etc. are all simply meaningless. Infact, if one really thinks about it, surveying all the cultures of the world today, marriages that have a higher incidence of ending in divorce typically arise in cultures and societies that also have a higher/healthier sense of rights, values, dignity, and responsibility. It seems like societies that infact have LOWER divorce rates are the ones that are mostly culpable for the grossest violations of human rights, ethics, and morality. Their societies are typically unhealthy and repressive of individuals. Eg. of low divorce high ethical violations and civil indecencies: India, China, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, etc. Eg. of high divorce rates and low human rights violations: United States of America. P.S. I am now done. So, this blog is AGAIN officially dead until further notice. P.P.S. Hey, if Jesus could raise Lazarus from the dead only so that he died again one more time... so can I with this blog! So, don't complain!

Friday, October 21, 2005

NOPE! Not Yet!

Gays and the Bible

Homosexuality and the Bible Scripture is not the ally Christian homophobes think it is. By Bishop John Shelby Spong It is difficult for people who are not part of the Christian Church to understand the power its members attribute to the Bible. That attribution appears to non-church goers to be so irrational and so excessive as to be almost inconceivable. After all, they reason, the Bible is an ancient book with its earliest narrative, the Yahwist document, being written around 1000 B.C.E. and its latest narrative, probably the 2nd Epistle of Peter, being written somewhere around 135 C.E. There is no other piece of literature written in that period of history which people today still treat as a source of ultimate truth. A doctor or pharmacist practicing medicine or dispensing drugs in our time based on either the writings of Aristotle or the formulas of an ancient medicine man would be laughed at first, and then if this activity were not stopped immediately, they would be accused of malpractice, removed from their professions and even imprisoned. While that harsh a treatment might not be the fate of a chemist, biologist, architect or astronomer who acted on the basis of the knowledge available in the time the Bible was written, such behavior would nonetheless be considered ignorant at best, mentally ill at worst. Yet as strange as it might seem, the Bible continues to be quoted by 21st century Christians on a variety of issues as if this book somehow continues to hold literal truth and unchanging principles within its tissue thin pages. So deeply has this book been wrapped in the claims of divinely inspired inerrancy, that it acts like a wild card in current ethical debates. No where is this more obvious than in the controversy over homosexuality that rocks the Christian Churches of the world today. Inerrant claims for biblical truth have been present in the official statements of the Vatican, in the reports and resolutions adopted at the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Bishops of the world in 1998, and in the rhetoric and votes that have marked almost all statewide, diocesan, synodical and national gatherings of various Christian traditions including both mainline protestant and fundamentalist churches. Again and again over the last twenty five years negativity toward gay and lesbian behavior has been justified by an appeal to something some Christians continue to call "biblical morality," and to assert that there is something called "clear biblical teaching. One wonders what those phrases mean. "Clear biblical teaching" and "biblical morality" are not phrases of recent origin. They have been used in the debates over the centuries on a wide variety of issues. Yet when the smoke of battle over these ancient issues has cleared, it has always been the Christians, bruised and battered, but still clinging to their Bibles, who have been forced to slink away in defeat. But no matter how many times the "clear biblical teaching" has been shown to be dead wrong, the next new insight that challenges the patterns of the past goes through the same hostile process. Religious people do not seem to learn much from history. The Bible had to be proved wrong before the divine right of kings could be pushed aside and the Magna Carta accepted. It had to be defeated before Galileo's ideas about the non centrality of this planet in the universe could usher in the world of astronomy, and before Darwin's understanding of evolution could win the day. The clear teaching of the Bible also had to be overcome before slavery and segregation could be ended and before women could escape their second class status. In a remarkably similar pattern today, a major impediment to the quest for justice and the full acceptance for gay and lesbian people in the life of this society is the Bible, which is quoted over and over again to justify the homophobic prejudice that still so deeply infects our culture. Homophobia is a prejudice largely created and sustained by the scriptures of the Judeo -Christian tradition. However, the Bible is destined to lose this fight also and homophobia will join the parade of other human and religious evils like racism, chauvinism, the condemnation of mentally ill people, left-handed people and anti-semitism as one more dark cloud in Christian history, a killing prejudice that endured far longer that it should have because it was supported by "the inerrant word of God." But how accurate is the claim that the Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin? At best the record is ambivalent. There are seven biblical passages that are regularly cited by fundamentalist Christians and their fellow travelers to justify their condemnation of homosexuality. Three are in the Old Testament and four are in the New Testament. However, three of the four found in the New Testament are highly suspect and appear to refer to sexual anomalies such as temple prostitution, pederasty or forced sexual activity which are quite unrelated to homosexuality. So the biblical texts that actually condemn homosexuality as we today understand it, are only four in the entire Bible and none of them, interestingly enough, is found is the Gospels. According to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. Given the all consuming nature of the current ecclesiastical debates on this issue that fact comes as a shock. Jesus does talk about those who are victims of prejudice like the Samaritans, and those who are marginalized and rejected like the lepers, but he never says a word about anyone's sexual orientation. Perhaps church leaders should contemplate the possibility that they are, as one man once suggested, "making much of that which cannot matter much to God." When we turn to examine these four biblical proof texts, other insights develop. The first passage is found in the Book of Genesis, and relates the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. That narrative has given us the rather inelegant words sodomy, sodomite and sodomize. It is a strange story about ancient middle eastern hospitality laws and the right of the people of any town to harass and to violate sexually, any strangers to whom no fellow citizen has extended the protection of hospitality. This failure of hospitality left strangers at the mercy of the base elements of the city. Humiliating an unprotected visitor by forcing him to act like a woman in the sex act, was the supreme insult in these cruel and insensitive days. That is the underlying reality described in this biblical episode. Lot, Abraham's nephew, gave his protection to two male visitors at the end of the day when preparations for sexual abuse had already begun. The men of Sodom were furious and sought to take their intended victims by force. It is interesting that every time this story is referred to in other texts of the Bible it is the sin of inhospitality not homosexuality that is its focus. The climax of the story comes when Lot is judged by God to be righteous and is thus spared when the city of Sodom is destroyed. Yet Lot, seeking to protect these male visitors , who were said in the text to be angels, from being violated, offered to make his two virgin daughters available to the mob to be gang raped. After all they were only women! Later in this same story the "righteous" Lot has sex with these same two daughters and impregnates them. I never hear this narrative quoted to affirm incest! Yet this strange biblical passage continues to be used to condemn homosexuality. Perhaps those who quote it in this manner might want to read the whole story! Next there are two passages in the book of Leviticus which are part of the Torah. Leviticus 18 condemns a man for 'lying with a man as with a woman" and Leviticus 20 requires the death penalty for this offence. First, it needs to be noted that even John Paul II, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson, all of whom regularly condemn homosexuality as a sin condemned by scripture, refrain from calling for the death penalty as the punishment for this offence. They know that a campaign for the execution of homosexual people would not be tolerated so in a pattern of what might be called "selective literalism" this verse of the Bible is simply ignored. Second, one wonders why several other Torah rules have been generally ignored while this one is elevated to the status of "the word of God." The Torah prescribes a kosher diet which fundamentalists today ignore. The Torah says that a person cannot make a garment of two different kinds of fabric. It says that those who worship a false god should be executed and so should those children who are disobedient and who talk back to their parents! It orders people to observe the Sabbath by refraining from all activity save worship on Saturday. It assumes that slavery is a legitimate social institution, while defining women as the property of men. A book containing this kind of dubious ethical teaching hardly seems to be a competent authority to be used to make moral judgements about homosexuality. The premier New Testament passage condemning homosexuality is found in Romans 1 and is from the hand of Paul. It is the strangest of all the biblical arguments. Paul suggests in this passage that God will punish those people who do not worship God properly. The punishment will be that God will confuse their sexual identities so that men will lie with men and women with women. What a strange God! Thus saith the Lord; "If you don't worship me properly I will turn you into being gays and lesbians." I have a hard time imagining any one worshiping such a capricious and egocentric deity. The other issue that this passage raises is, what is going on in Paul that he would offer such a weird argument? Is this an autobiographical note? Does it illumine those passages in Paul's other epistles where he exhibits his passion for proper worship, for advancing beyond all his peers in piety? But the pursuit of that thesis will have to wait for next month's column. For now let me be clear. Quoting the Bible is not a legitimate argument to deploy in the current ecclesiastical and cultural debate on homosexuality. It is nothing more than an outdated and ignorant appeal to the prejudices of yesterday. It is an illegitimate and even a profane way to approach scripture. It does not illumine the complex issues of sexual orientation. This approach to the Bible should either cease forthwith or the Bible used in this manner should be relegated to the same dustbins of history where the text in the Book of Joshua, stopping the sun in the sky to prove that Galileo was wrong, now resides. Quoting the literal Bible in the service of one's prejudices must be named as incompetence even if it involves a proof text from "the world of God." © Baptist Watch.org Baptist Watch was created October 14, 1998 From John the Atheist

Thursday, October 20, 2005

This Blog is Still DEAD

I haven't officially revived this blog yet. When I do, I will make it explicitly clear. So, for now... it's still dead. Move on people!! ;)

Interesting Article on Rand's Critics

Who’s Afraid of Ayn Rand? By Alec MouhibianFrontPageMagazine.com February 11, 2005 If you’ve heard of Ayn Rand, whose centennial birthday was Wednesday, it is probably because you’ve read her novels The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. But back when the greatest female thinker in history was alive, the above question was quite revealing. It still is. Rand, a novelist and philosopher, came to America all alone in her early twenties after escaping Soviet Russia and before being castigated by everyone from Granville Hicks to Whittaker Chambers. Her first novel, We The Living, a semi-autobiographical depiction of life under communism, was panned by leftist critics for “failing to understand the Soviet experiment.” The rigorous philosophy she later developed—which she called Objectivism and which can be summarized by the axis of reason-individualism-capitalism—unnerved intellectual nippleweights from both left and right. And mutual hatred with Women’s Lib was established from the get-go, because she liked men. Mike Wallace reflected that Rand’s most vehement critics tended not to actually read her. So challenged were their basic assumptions by the ideas of this little big-eyed immigrant that they were too afraid to deal with them. Their fear of being challenged was a harbinger of an intellectual culture today in which monocle-dropping offense comes much easier than rational thought. And so, since her death, Ayn Rand has merely been dismissed and ignored by her elite adversaries. When I asked the chairs of the Women’s Studies and Political Science departments at my school what they thought of her, they both gave the kind of bashful, blushing smile that I normally give when reminded of my childhood crush on Oscar the Grouch. Read her in high school, grew up, moved on, haven’t thought of her since. Great sex scenes though. May we talk Hegel? Rand’s philosophy of rational egoism and individual rights certainly has its flaws, which mainly have to do with an overextension of her moral absolutism into inappropriate areas. (Although, viewed in the context of her Russian background, it is certainly not surprising that she was so fond of absolutes.) But those flaws are more than clouded by achievements that were remarkable both for her time and in themselves. She blasted long-perceived conflicts between self-interest and benevolence, profit and ethics, reason and passion, is and ought, theory and reality. With unparalleled clarity, she proved these to be false dichotomies—which, in the case of the last one, she was tragically unable to overcome in her own personal life. From the 1930s to the 1970s, the American founding principles had been widely considered dead as their founders. She brought them to life. Capitalism had forever been the province of grids and graphs. She provided a moral defense of it with unequaled passion. Philosophy had for centuries been synonymous with “zzzzzzzzzzzz.” She made it fun and interesting. Which is why, despite her shunning from academe, she continues to influence the people who matter most: people. Her books have sold over 22 million copies and continue to sell at a rate of half a million a year. Given their deeply intellectual content, those numbers are bowtie-spinning. In a national poll, Atlas Shrugged was voted second to the Bible as having the most influence on the lives of Americans. Those Americans include such varied icons as Alan Greenspan, the rock-band Rush, and (I swear) a gay-porn star named Jon Galt. Ayn Rand’s ideas fueled the free-market movement that has advanced so much in—and of—the world since the 1980s. Her intellectual eloquence in emphasizing the meaning of the American founding preceded Ronald Reagan’s political eloquence in glorifying it. Take this passage, from her book The New Intellectual: “If a drought strikes them, animals perish—man builds irrigation canals; if a flood strikes them, animals perish—man builds dams; if a carnivorous pack attacks them animals perish—man writes the Constitution of the United States.” Why? Because, as she explained in a different essay, “there are two potential violators of man’s rights: the criminals and the government. The great achievement of the United States was to draw a distinction between these two—by forbidding to the second the legalized version of the activities of the first.” *** The day that intellectual principles are restored in academe will be the day when Ayn Rand is treated by professors as more than just an adolescent indulgence. It will be the day when she is treated as the brilliant thinker that she was: a woman who made history by espousing unique ideas that brought it a great deal closer to its end. Alec Mouhibian is a student at UC Santa Barbara and a columnist for its newspaper, The Daily Nexus.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Until Further Notice

This blog is officially DEAD... until further notice.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Haha! This is worthy of being quoted on my blog:

The famous Thomas Huxley, Darwin's protege, once said this regarding his debate on evolution with the Bishop of Oxley: "I'd rather be an ape than a bishop." HAhhahhaahhahaaa! So true! Furthermore, quoting from AP/Yahoo news: "In an 1860 debate... the bishop asked Huxley which side of his family was descended from an ape. Huxley famously replied, "If there were an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling, it would rather be a man, a man of restless and versatile intellect, who ... plunges into scientific questions with which he had no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digressions and skilled appeals to religious prejudice."

My New Theory: God and Art

I think the excerpt below from my lengthy discussion of the evolution of Art is, I have inadvertently come to realize, a uniquely new theory. This hypothesis I have put forward can be a worthy subject for a doctoral dissertation! Hence, I decided to isolate it specifically below, to bring that most important point of the theory into focus:

This self-identification with God Himself allowed Humans to perceive the Universe with the Intelligence that was only thought possibile to gods. Primitive man did not understand the Universe nor did they seek much to understand it. They merely bowed their heads and worshipped it. The consequence of the Christian movement was to elevate man's pride in being Human, and thus seek to perceive the world as God would.

In what was truly man's greatest act of conceit, he captured all the greatest notions of his God and manifested that in the body of ONE HUMAN BEING, which meant that the Human body was idealized to withhold the essence of the fully Divine.

The representations in the Art forms that resulted from such a boost of human ego, I believe, captured that human-divine idealization, which also spurred the nourishment of the Human consciousness that was pulled to elevated levels of aspirations, which increased the level of our own assessment of worth and intelligence and esteem... finally, resulting in the amazing and enlightening evidences of human genius in other spheres of science and philosophy.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Statuette of the Petite Girl in Flight

The picture is really bad and fuzzy. I took it with my cellphone camera. It doesn't capture the picture I have in my mind's eye, yet this should give you some clue. I don't know who the artist is. But this is Art.

A Vindication of Art through a Work of Art

So, after having left my blog on the last posting about "My Death" for quite some time now, I thought I had squeezed the optimal effect out of it, and now it was time to move on... ;) Last night, I had a strange experience... what some religious and superstitious believers might call a moment of Divine praxis maybe (hmmm... I wonder if that had anything to do with the fact that I did attend Catholic missa yesterday... YES SASCA, I ATTENDED CATHOLIC MASS, but don't get carried away by it.... it was the priest who made me, the priest was SOOO HOT I couldn't help but stay on till the end of the mass so I could get to shake his hand and give him that "look"... you know, that... 'I'm so enamoured by your sexy good looks' look... anyway, I digress, but one last point about hot sexy priests that motivate atheists to attend church, there's nothing more sexy than a sexy priest who speaks spanish!! Ummmm... it was a spanish-service and needless to say, I understood maybe 1% of whatever was happening... yet I felt thoroughly "nourished", if you know what I mean! ;)) Okay... so back to what I was saying... so yeah, last night I had this strange experience. It was about 1:04 am in the early morning, and I was walking back to my apartment on Halsted st. I was walking alone by myself, lost in my own thoughts... I love these moments when I'm walking all alone and I'm thinking to myself... usually, I'm thinking out loud, and it seems like I'm talking to myself, having a conversation with myself, asking myself questions and then answering them (yea... I know, it's wierd... but it's the best thing in the world... now, who was it who said, if you feel incredibly lonely when you are alone, you're not in good company....?? -- Or something like that. It's so true) . So, I was thinking about Art. And I was thinking about the role and function of Art. And I was thinking about what Art should and should not be. And I was thinking about why ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is NOT Art. These were my thoughts: One can understand Art in evolutionary terms as having very crucial survival value. Art fulfills the spiritual needs of humanity just like food satisfies the physical needs. And just as advancement in food production technologies are almost always correlated with strong survival potentials for certain societies, development of Art in a certain direction correlates with the spiritual grown and sustenance of certain societies. If one notices the progression of civilization across history, one can see that cultures that promulgated Art, dabbled in innovative perspectives in Art have known to have nourished their collective consciousnesses and progressed in other areas as a civilization. Western civilization, in a huge part because of the patronage of the Catholic church, has been the locus of intense Artistic activity and creation. Originally, Art was almost always seen as a means to bring humanity in tangent with the Divine. Art was appropriately seen as the manifestation of the highest heights, of the most valuable values, of the most idealistic ideals, of the aspirations of all that is human to become all that was associated with the Divine. Art brought the sense of immortality of spirit into the consciousness of human mortality. That was the purpose of Art. It was spiritual food and nourishment for the human mind. The works of Art created by the Greats like Da Vince, Raphaelo, Giotto, Beethoven, Michaelangelo, all have one common theme running through them, they lead the human mind to visions of greatness, to the idealization of the human form and of the human condition -- while that greatness was perceived to belong to or come from Divine Beings, nonetheless, the invariable consequence of focusing on such greatness was to create a desire within feeble humans the urge to get as close as possible to that sense of the highest height. All those great Artists did precisely that. They showed values that were the highest ideals, the perfect human form, the most beautiful manifestiation of grace and love, the most uplifting and joyful sense of life in music. The mind was guided to reach higher, the think beyond, to aspire, to dream, to wish, to want, to achieve. These Artists, through their Art, nourished the human consciousness with STRENGTH (not weakness), with BENEVOLENCE (not malevolence), with a vision of IMMORTALITY (not death). And so, that is what Art is and what Art should be. Art is spiritual nourishment for the human consciousness. And just as you would not feed your body foul and rotten food that is infested with worms, you should not feed your mind and your consciousness with foul creations of charlatans masquarading as Artists. You have the right to insist that Art be as nourishing to your mind as the food you eat is to your body. And so, I was thinking, how did we regress from that wonderful vision of high ideals being recorded in Art, to the rubbish being splattered across our faces today, to the trash being piled up in front of our yards as Ready-made Art, to the jibberish being recited in our schools, to the maniacal gyrations of modern hip-shakers? If history can give us any indication, the nature and sophistication of Art in a civlization gives great predictions to the future of that culture, since I believe Art does have evolutionary survival value. European and western civilizations have flourished the most with its Art indicating idealistic representations of the Human individual form, of Human life and endeavors, of Human achievements, while African and South Asian civilizations in particular have grotesquely disfigured the Human form, idealizing the cow or the snake over the human form. And we can see that evidence of robust thinking minds are primarily in cultures that have nourished their spirits with the visions of greatness in their own human images, what they perceive to be "God-like" images. Infact, the judeo-christian culture made God look like Man, in Man's image and in Man's creation, and thus elevated Man itself to the status of God. This must have obviously served as a great boost to the human ego, allowing Man to gain such tremendous self-confidence in his ability to know more and become more like the God he created. This self-identification with God Himself allowed Humans to perceive the Universe with the Intelligence that was only thought possibile to gods. Primitive man did not understand the Universe nor did they seek much to understand it. They merely bowed their heads and worshipped it. The consequence of the Christian movement was to elevate man's pride in being Human, and thus seek to perceive the world as God would. In what was truly man's greatest act of conceit, he captured all the greatest notions of his God and manifested that in the body of ONE HUMAN BEING, which meant that the Human body was idealized to withhold the essence of the fully Divine. The representations in the Art forms that resulted from such a boost of human ego, I believe, captured that human-divine idealization, which also spurred the nourishment of the Human consciousness that was pulled to elevated levels of aspirations, which increased the level of our own assessment of worth and intelligence and esteem... finally, resulting in the amazing and enlightening evidences of human genius in other spheres of science and philosophy. On the other hand, evidence of mal-nourished minds are also closely associated with mal-nourished cultures and societies. They have plenty of hissing snakes and meandering cows to worship, but very few thinking minds that have a vision to look up to. ANd so, I am afraid of what might happen to our culture now if we permit the unrestrained assault of all that rubbish being dished out as art to the sanctity of our minds. Are we deliberately permitting the poisoning of our spiritual food? Will we be witnesses to the fall of our own civilization, to the stagnation of mal-nourished minds, to the vile odor of decaying consciousness? So that made me worry. I worried about how Art came down from what it used to be and what it has now become. It made me sad. And then, as I was walking down on this street (incidentally, this part of Halsted st. is rowed with numerous "Art" galleries... I suppose that explains why I was thinking all of this)... and suddenly I stopped in my tracks! It was dark outside, and it was dark inside this store-front room that I happened to glance into. And from the dark darkness inside, all I could see was an apparition! Atleast, that's what it seemed to be like. An apparition of a tiny, petite little angel, all whit and glowing in the dark, suspended in mid-air! It was such a beautiful sight to hold. I stopped, and looked more closely. It was a small but powerfully beautiful sculpture of a young girl caught in a position mid-air as if she jumped and stayed up there. It was hoisted up on a very thin, barely visible metallic stick. That, I thought, that was Art. It was an uncanny experience to actually see that statue just at the time when I was lamentaing about the state of Art in our culture today. It was almost like a re-assuring sign that gave me some hope again, that there are still human minds out there that reach for the highest height, admire it, and aspire towards it, that wish to reach it and convey its sense of life and joy they feel in the things they create... that there were still some people out there who did not worship the dirt, that did not seek to dig their graves in advance of their death, that did not hold contempt for this world and for all its wonders. It was a vindication of the role of Art in human consciousness, given to me by a work of very inspiring and uplifting Art itself.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

My Death

As I write on this blog every so often, I am amazed at what an astounding record of my life, my thoughts, and my experiences this has become. There is intrinsically a part of me in every word on this blog that I have written, and yet every word on this blog, every idea, every form of expression here – be it fiction or non-fiction – has failed to fully capture who or what I am. I once mentioned to someone that there is nobody in this world who truly and fully knows me. That maybe there are a few that come close to understanding a large part of me, but none who know the extent of every aspect of my life. I would compare myself to a thrilling work of fiction with 2-3 simultaneous plot lines running towards an as-yet-unknown climax that promises to have numerous permutations of endings and conclusions. That every third or fifth line of the novel if read separately, would be in itself a complete story. And that every new page would be like a new twist, and a new direction in the plot of the novel, and that the book in its entirety would be one huge intellectual labyrinth that one will find oneself lost in. That if you looked closely enough, you might find patterns of anagrams that seek to be deciphered, but shield an undercurrent of consistent themes. I can only imagine that if all these distinct and separated aspects of my life were to be brought together and were forcefully fused into a finite framework of observation, it would reveal itself as being more baffling than the most sophisticated equations in 11-dimensional string theories. The paradox of death is that it is at the same time an end as it is a beginning. It is an end to one’s self. But it is a beginning of everything about that person. The person dies. But his story only just begins to be told. When I die, there will be no more of me. But when I die, what will begin is an unraveling of me. The only regret I will have of dying is the beginning of that unraveling before the eyes of my mother. Among other things, I believe she will be deeply and irrevocably agonized upon her discovery of my atheism. More than anything else, I believe that will be her biggest torment: that she was not able to deliver the soul of her own son to God. Because, according to her innocent beliefs, she carries full responsibility for the fate of her children’s soul, such that the fate of her own soul is squarely dependent upon it. It will be an unbearably agonizing experience for her to realize that her only son rejected her most fundamental beliefs. That she failed as a Christian woman to instill even the smallest vestiges of faith in me. And so, in that pain that I know she will have to come to bear, I find myself troubled too. Troubled and pained to a certain extent, though much lesser than what I know she will have to experience. The only solace I have is in the ultimatum of death: the fact that death is truly the end. That even suffering dies with the person. And so, the peace I carry in my heart is that thankfully there is nothing beyond death for my mother to have to go through – no eternity of existence where she will be reminded of the loss of her son, where she will carry the shame of her failure – because death will offer her the most silent and serene stillness of all… and in that, I am glad death will be the end.

Oct. 4th: Thought of the Day

If life is your highest and most precious value, then by all means it should demand the best out of you in repayment - your greatest efforts and your highest achievements. If your life is something you cherish, then you cannot let one moment of that precious value of life slip away without it being fully lived, or exploited. If life is your priceless value, then it should in commensurate have equally priceless demands upon you. If your life is getting too easy for you, you ain't really living at all!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

What does my birthdate mean? Hmm... I would say it's quite true!

Your Birthdate: January 22
While sometimes employing unorthodox approaches, you are capable of handling large scale undertakings.You assume great responsibility and work long and hard toward completion. Often, especially in the early part of life, there is rigidity or stubbornness, and a tendency to repress feelings. Idealistic, you work for the greater good with a good deal of inner strength and charisma. An extremely capable organizer, but likely to paint with broad strokes rather than detail. You are very aware and intuitive. You are subject to a good deal of nervous tension.
What Does Your Birth Date Mean?