Friday, March 14, 2014

Economics, Probably Wrong

Here's a thought. With the decline of manufacturing over here, seventy percent of our economy is based in some way on consumer spending. Now, that's a terrifying number but it's a number nonetheless, and we have to live with it for the immediate moment.

So, what happens when you increase purchasing power for a vast section of the consumer base, which is to say provide them with more money to buy things with... which is to say, increase the minimum wage?

Economics as I understand it functions on the same principle of interconnectivity that drives a lot of the modern world--the more people that exist in the system, the better it functions, because you have more backups and a larger flow of money in the system, allowing for larger purchases, which allows for more/better manufacturing, which continues the cycle.

So what happens when you concentrate the vast majority of the money into the hands of a very few actors in that system?

Saturday, February 15, 2014


I've been thinking over the past... months? Year? Some large frame of time, that I may be addicted either to the Internet or to computers. Both of which sound like stupid things to be addicted to, to me, but based on my understanding of how addiction works, it might be feasible.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thoughts on God

Some background, first: I was raised Evangelical Lutheran, to give some context when I talk about God. I sang in choir for quite possibly seven years (I don't remember exactly how many), which is what gave me my singing voice, of which I'm proud. Confirmation, alla that. And yet I'm never really certain about God. Never have been.

I'm a very concrete guy. Seeing is believing, feeling moreso than seeing. God isn't either. Plenty of good arguments against, all of which are based in pretty strong logic. I generally like logic--things making sense is good.

But I really think I want to believe in God. It'd be nice, for one thing. God knows I want there to be something after all this. There's some good arguments for God, after all. And I've yet to be presented with a completely ironclad argument against. Granted, the triple combination of omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent is a bit tricky. But let's think about it. What can I conclude about God?

I've been told a number of things about him, all of which could be untrue. It could be equally untrue that the Second World War ever happened, since I never saw or felt that either, but generally speaking I've been told enough about that that I can conclude there must be something to it. Same applies to God.

God is omniscient. God is omnipotent. God is benevolent. YET: bad things happen. Human physiology features some shitty-ass design. Evolution is a thing, the world is much more than six thousand years old, and much science has proven that the universe is effectively a giant chemical reaction.

All well and good. But, a number of points remain.

Firstly is that free will exists. Predestination is bullshit, John Calvin was wrong on that score if nothing else. We can conclude free will exists because we can conclude it. Since God is omnipotent, we can therefore conclude that this is by design--God wants us to have free will, and to make our own decisions. We can also extrapolate that this isn't necessarily something that's always been true of God--Old Testament testifies that God really, REALLY cared what people did and thought at some point. Then this changed, at some point in the four hundred years between the Sack of Jerusalem and Jesus' day. A mellowing.

This segues nicely into the second point. God is omnipotent, omniscient. But what about perfect? Islam would argue yes, and I have much respect for Islam, but I'm not so sure. Humanity is made in God's image, and humanity is ABSOLUTELY not perfect. Look at the construction of the elbow, or the inner retina, or the hilarious ways brain chemistry can fail catastrophically. An omnipotent creator presumably could create a perfect being if they wanted to. What's more, gods being wrong is big in a lot of theologies, and presumably since God changed from laying waste to cities and killing assloads of people in the Old Testament to forgiving all sins through belief in the New, God can be argued to change. So God can be reliably said to be accurately reflected by his people, which suggests that God is not perfect.

Which continues to the third point. God and evolution--do they jibe? A contingency point here is taking Genesis as allegorical instead of literal, which absolutely all of science screams to be the case. Evolution as a process could then be argued to be the result of intelligent design. A long chain of predictable, if not 100% predictable and thus predetermined, events in a long scientific observation stretching back 13 billion years to one inexplicable event.

Let there be light.

The Big Bang is generally agreed upon as the current scientific jumpstart theory, but precisely what caused the primordial soup to catch light and blow up into a universe is unknown. It's beyond our knowing. Sound familiar?

There's millions of more points that could be taken and argued, but these three are big ones and these are the answers I have so far. So if God is benevolent, why do bad things happen? Because humanity has free will--we're not dolls in the most elaborate dollhouse ever. Bad and good things happen because we want them to and bring them about, not because God mandates them from the Heavenly Control Room. God himself covered that he was going hands-off in Jesus' day. It makes sense to me.

Is Jesus divine? I have no goddamn idea, I'm not starting into that one yet. No opinion, currently leaning towards yes based on prior party line.

One final thought: is Revelation worth anything as prophecy? Fuck no. Revelation is as allegorical as Genesis and has already happened, referring to the predicted collapse of Rome. Remember that it was written when Christians were still a prosecuted cult. The Bible may be holy writ, but the core text is TWO THOUSAND YEARS OLD. Context in history is so incredibly crucial. In conclusion, God is not telling Michelle Bachmann to do anything and it will take a lot more than socialized medicine to end the world.

EDIT: Can't get enough thoughts. Old Testament is "good" history but unless you're a Jew you don't need to follow its rules. New supersedes Old. The New Testament has exactly one Commandment: through belief in God & Christ, you are saved. Follow that shit. You want more? Code of conduct specifically? Check out this shit, I call it the Golden Rule: TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WISH TO BE TREATED. Straight from J-Man himself. Buddhism, Jainism, and all the Abrahamic religions share variants of that thing. Give it a try some time, it's pretty rad, and it'll make you hell of friends.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


In this culture, a stigma is laid on people who don't make the grade. Any culture applies stigma to people who don't fit into template, of course, and as cruel or wrong as that is it's kind of a feature of cultures. But what about people who don't keep up?

The poor, the homeless, the unemployed. These are viewed as lazy, shiftless, otherwise inferior based on their inability to hack it in a capital-based world.

But why are they inferior? They are inherently inferior because they're poor or unemployed, etc.; if they weren't inferior they wouldn't be in that position. Except that's bogus. We know that's bogus. Pure sociology denies it. Many, many factors create situations of people being poor, homeless, unemployed. Many of these are completely beyond their control. Some are completely unrelated to anything THEY do. Logic dictates therefore that there is nothing inherently inferior about someone who is homeless or unemployed. So why do we treat them like they are?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Inherent Value of a Person

Though any number of ideas for the title/location of this blog were thought about and discarded (mostly because other people had taken them already), I decided eventually to settle on "inherent value". I settled on this for a very simple reason--no matter how much I ever hate myself or other people, I have a core, almost inexpressible maxim that applies itself to me and everything else I do. Sometimes it causes more trouble than good, but I would be very afraid of myself if I met a version of myself that didn't uphold it.

That maxim is this: There is inherent value in humanity. To expand on that a bit, simply by being a person capable of thinking, expressing, and communicating, every human being has some degree of worth and value inherent to them. Race, creed, sexuality--none of those things factor into it. If I think, and therefore I am, I am worthwhile.

Of course, every absolute has its exceptions. This is also true of this maxim. Unlike any number of other maxims I could come up with, however, the exceptions to this rule run in only one direction--positive. A human being so badly crippled (physically, mentally, or otherwise) that they can no longer communicate with people does not lose their inherent value. Nor does one who is born so defective or otherwise harmed that their capability to operate in society becomes hindered or ruined. Why? That, I can't articulate. Not at the moment I'm sitting here and typing this, anyway. Probably I'll come back to this once my attention is less divided.

Inversely, there are certainly people out there who are horrible people. They have done horrible things, held horrible beliefs, whatever. Those are not inherent traits. Nature versus nurture goes to nurture, every time. Those people may be considered scum for their actions or beliefs, and that may or may not be justified, but that DOES NOT nullify their inherent value as humanity. Does it override it? Maybe. Though I've been angry enough at people or things that have happened to judge for myself whether it does or not, in the end I don't have the right to exact that actual judgement. It isn't my place to decide whether someone's actions have made them less of a person.

The problem, of course, with things like this is that they're so clear and perfectly formed when you think of them, and by the time you get to writing them down they jumble up and contradict themselves and it never looks as nice as it did in your head. Metaphor for life, I suppose.

Brush Off the Dust

It's been a long time since I used one of these. The old blogs on this site were all related to fiction writing and other brainstorming. I've stowed them away, none of them are really relevant anymore. I might do another writing blog here some day, but not for this one. Unless it's relevant, maybe. I intend, with this weblog, to get out any variety of things that I feel like I need to say, but have otherwise had no outlet for besides telling them to friends. "Inflicting", in some cases. Probably not all. Most of this stuff will probably be political; I've become a very political person lately. I suppose it's impossible not to be, these days.