Archive | April, 2011
20 Apr

I woke up this morning after having a dream about you. I tried to fall back asleep, but it put me in a slump that lingered throughout the day. In the dream we were back at college, but you were with your new boyfriend and all the other people who I thought were friends. People who were first my friends, then yours, but who are now more involved in your life then they are in mine. I was standing there, trying to pack, obviously to leave, and you were humiliating me, tearing me down. The whole time I was speechless, just watching the spectacle from outside of my body.

I usually try to avoid thinking about you, but then there are days like today. I wonder what you’re up to, what you’re talking about to all the people who used to talk to me, how it feels curled up in his bed. Nobody tells me anything anymore.

In a way I prefer that.

I didn’t call to tell you about my new life, my new job, my new place, my new friends. I didn’t call because you have no right. You have no right to be apart of my life in any shape or form.

On the rare occasions you do cross my mind, I often wonder what I would say to you if I ever saw you again. I imagine all the things I could say, but I know it would simply be “Hi, how’re you?”

Not because I genuinely care, but because that is all I would manage given the overload of contiguous thoughts and emotions simultaneously fighting to get out. I hate you with every fiber of my being. But then again I don’t. It’s almost been a year and I take solace in the fact that of all the emotions I feel towards you, love is not among them.

The hardest thing by far has been trying to figure out what happened. In the confusion I know I’ve settled on some oversimplifications, possibly out-write fabrications that conveniently fill in the blanks left by my memory. I feel like it is unfair for me to hate you for the motives I’ve made up.

For the longest time I’ve been struggling to put my finger on exactly what it was that kept me from completely recovering.

I think I’ve narrowed it down. One word keeps popping up:

Betrayal.

It’s not the kind of betrayal that’s physical, but rather a deeper emotional betrayal.

I feel betrayed by your infatuation with another man for the last half a year of our relationship. I feel betrayed by how I was the nicest, sweetest, most devoted guy in the world to you and you were an abusive bitch; one who would stomp all over me just to make a point. I feel betrayed by the fact that you never told me to my face what you really thought of me.

It’s this betrayal that makes me feel a sick, heavy, nauseating poison pumping through my veins whenever I think of you.

The question I keep asking myself is will I ever be able to forgive you.

Karma smarma

7 Apr

Good afternoon boys and girls! Today I want to talk about Karma! Every once in a while I run into someone who proudly touts the fact that they’re a “big believer in karma!” This they usually do with a smile on their lips, a twinkle in their eye, and a bounce in their step! Yes sur-ree! They firmly believe in that warm and fuzzy notion that every good action done will be payed back in return!

And that’s about as far as their thinking goes.

But let’s follow this notion through to its logical conclusion, shall we? Now karma is originally from the Hindu faith, a main tenant of which is reincarnation. You see, karma has two parts to it:

A do good and good things will happen to you.

Do bad and bad things will happen to you.

“What goes around comes around” is a simple summation. With reincarnation, karma acts as a sort of moral equalizer, an assurance of justice in this life or the next. If you do bad things now, sooner or later bad things will happen to you; which brings us to kids with cancer:

Aw, don’t feel bad for this little guy! He’s getting what he deserves! He must have been a horrible person in a past life! So too were his parents! Wow, can you imagine how bad they must have been to deserve to watch their otherwise innocent child slowly die before their eyes? Payback’s a bitch ain’t it? Oh well, you know what they say, “what goes around comes around!”

Whenever someone says they’re a big believer in karma, they most always mean they only believe in half of it, the feel good half.

People who don’t believe in reincarnation, yet who still want to hold onto karma, often try to rationalize this conclusion away. In my personal experience, the majority of these types of people are the warm and fuzzy, liberal “spiritual but not religious” types. The problem is, without the cycle of rebirth, karma loses a lot of its ability to be a moral equalizer. Karma without reincarnation has no good explanation for why bad shit happens to otherwise good people early on in their lives. (Like kids with cancer). These people simply haven’t been around long enough to accumulate enough bad karma to deserve something so horrible.

You could argue that it is a result of the child’s parents’ bad karma, but that is beyond not fair to the child; and karma’s supposed to be all about fairness!

The other problem with the idea of karma sans reincarnation is (ignoring childhood diseases) the notion that you will eventually get what you deserve later in life. All you have to do is take one look around the world to see that that is blatantly untrue! Bad people get away with everything all the time! Just look at politicians, bankers, and child molesting priests! Stalin killed between 20 and 80 million people and lived a life of luxury and power till his last dying gasp. Evil wins every single day while the downtrodden and oppressed are distracted with movies and TV dramas where good always wins out in the end.

No, for these “spiritual but not religious” types their karma is a special karma, one tailor made for what they wish were true: To them, karma mainly focuses on paying back good deeds. In the rare times when it deals with paying back bad deeds, the farthest it will ever go is in giving a speeding ticket to that jerk who cut you off at the stop light. That’s it. No worse “punishment” for simple things that offend the believer in karma.

At best it’s very self-serving. At worst it’s an excuse to be apathetic about achieving justice.

 

Don’t confuse people for their religion

5 Apr

Earlier this morning I got into a small facebook argument about conservative Christians and sexuality when one of the people involved said:

“it’s important not to confuse these people with their religion.”

I can provide the full discussion for anyone who wants to make sure I’m not taking this out of context, but the way I understood what he was saying was that an individual (or group of individuals) who claim to be X should not be confused with X when they don’t actually follow X.

For example earlier this week a crazy lady tried to attack a painting saying that it was homosexual and evil for showing two women with their breasts exposed. Now this lady is crazy, there’s no doubt, but she claims her motivation is her religious views. There are plenty of conservative religious people (across all faiths, but primarily Christianity and Islam) who view the human body and any form of sexuality as evil.

When the person in the afore mentioned facebook argument said not to confuse people for their religion, he was saying that although these people claim their views on sexuality are Christian and are rooted in the bible, they’re not, and as such we should not confuse these “Christians” for being “Christians.”

But that just begs the question: What is a person’s religion if not the sum of their personal beliefs?

A group of “Christians” who would ascribe to said crazy lady’s views on the human body would undoubtedly say that they were Christians and that anyone who did not view the body as evil were not “true” Christians. The term Christian is essentially a useless term as it means whatever anyone wants it to mean. (Which royally pisses me off because any attempt at making words useless and thus making it harder to communicate concepts/ideas just reeks of 1984 style new-speak; but I digress)

If group X claims they belong to religion Y, and that their beliefs come from religion Y’s holy book, book Z, but nobody in group X has read or cares to read book Z, then isn’t their religion just whatever group X wants it to be?

Sure, their sexually oppressive version of Christianity might not be what Christianity is to you, but it is their version of Christianity and they’re going to call themselves Christians.  Are they wrong? They sure as hell think you are. Who’s right? Well nobody since it’s all “just a matter of faith and interpretation.”

In reality you can’t “confuse people for their religion;” whatever they say their religion is, that’s their religion. The 9/11 hijackers were Muslims, so too are the Muslims who say what the 9/11 hijackers did was despicable and un-Islamic. Abortion clinic bombers and the Westboro Baptist Church are Christians, so too are the liberal, gay-friendly, pro-choice Catholics. They all claim the same meaningless title to describe their radically different faiths. This in turn just inhibits our ability to discuss them and the views they have because the moment you use the term “Christian” to talk about the Westboro Baptist Church, another “Christian” with a different definition will jump up and scream that you’re generalizing and mis-representing the “true” Christians like them. (But I guess for some people muddying the water and making it harder for us to express ideas by requiring extremely specific, legalistic language is a good thing. Personally, whenever someone tries to inhibit the discussion of ideas, that’s a sign that they’re automatically wrong.)

How else are we to discuss these people if not by the meaningless title they choose to call themselves? Should we adopt an ever expanding system of Christian 1, Christian 1a, Christian 1b, etc? That would be impossible to keep track of, and yet again everyone would argue about what classification they get. Perhaps if we copied how we classified various animals by Life-Domain-Kingdom-Phylum-Class-Order-Family-Genus-Species and created a similar system for religious belief? Maybe then we can stop confusing lions for mammals and Christians for Christians.

Passion

3 Apr

I haven’t been writing as much lately, and the reason is two fold: Partly it’s because with a 9-5 job I have a lot less time, but the main reason is that I have lost my passion.

The watershed moment for me was when I wrote the post Forlorn Hope. I came to the conclusion that humanity is fucked at a very basic level. Yes, we are slowly inch by inch making progress, but the fact that we have to fight so damn hard to get that inch should tell you something about people. I wouldn’t say it is 100% pointless to argue religion and politics with people, but I just don’t have the desire to do it very much anymore.

In a way I feel like I have ascended to a post-political, post-atheism state. I was once starry eyed and zealous about both, and now I don’t care. It’s a faint feeling of superiority for which I am displeased with myself.

In my experience, passion is a fickle thing. My passions have always come in stages. My first passion as a kinder-gardener was volcanoes. Then in first grade it was the civil war, then Pompeii. In fifth grade it was guinea pigs. Between the ages of 11-12 it was the Titanic.

The biggest passion hit when I turned 12. The computer game Age of Empires II: Age of Kings came out and I discovered the middle ages. This passion would grip me for the next 10 years. I joined a medieval living history group, built a suit of armor, learned how to sword fight, and went to college to get my BA in history. For the longest time I was planning on living my life as a medieval archaeologist. I woke up early every morning for almost two years to go dig at a local site, I hurt my GPA by taking multiple language classes (not my strong point), and I even traveled to the UK for schooling. Now I’m not so enthusiastic about it.

Around the same early teenage years I discovered a passion for film making and politics. I seriously came extremely close to going to film school instead of a 4 year program for history, but at the last minute I had a huge falling out with my best friend and film-making companion. I thought about being a film editor for the rest of my life, but that passion died out.

Politics was a similar story. I used to volunteer and wage road sign wars before I could even vote. I’m not proud of it, but at the time I described myself as a political zealot. (I was a teenager, cut me some slack) I wanted a life of politics, fighting the good fight and all that. I almost majored in political science at college. My first semester I signed up for the freshmen starter classes, but then changed my mind at the last minute. I reasoned that I didn’t need a degree in political science to work in politics, and that history had been my driving passion for much longer.

The most difficult aspect about all of this is the lack of certainty.

Each one of these passions consumed me, sometimes for years at a stretch. While in the grip of a passion I was positive about my life’s calling. I knew what it was I wanted to do. Inevitably the passion died out, leaving me jaded and lost. How am I supposed to plan for life if I don’t that what I am passionate about today will be what I am passionate about tomorrow? I know some people might be tempted to say “Oh don’t plan!” but that’s not reasonable. You can’t “not plan” and become a medieval archaeologist. (My goal for more than a decade of my life) I had to plan what courses I took in college, what I did outside of college, how to build my resume for grad school, which grad school to go to, etc. Planning is a must. But how was I supposed to know my passion would die my senior year? (My biggest fear is that my passion and decade long plans were the collateral damage in the slow implosion of a serious three year relationship whose end coincided with that senior year, but I have no way of knowing)

Regardless, now I’m left in the uncomfortable position of floating aimlessly; passionless. What am I to do? A lack of passion is not something you can just “snap out of.” If I find a new passion, how can I avoid being cynical about it given my history with previous passions?

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