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Topics - Scribbly

I'm sure I read about this on here somewhere first, but I can't find the thread if I did...

Amazing documentary by Adam Curtis about ... well quite a lot of things, but broadly the financial crisis, the thinking which led to it, and how Ayn Rand's ideology was involved. I thought a bit more time on how the idea was sold to most people would have been good (it was briefly mentioned that Atlas Shrugged was found to be the second most important book in America, behind the Bible, but it seemed a bit schizophrenic in explaining how it got there whilst Rand became irrelevant), and I would have liked him to expand his final thoughts a bit, but it is still a very impressive documentary.

Part 1 is available on the BBC iPlayer for the britspags here

Part 2 is airing on the 30th.

The notion that there is essentially a third world country living inside the borders of the US brought about by the economic elite isn't a new one, but I don't think I've seen it laid out so eloquently before.
I've never needed spiritual advice before but, well, see, there was this girl.

She was on the news. You've probably seen the pictures, but I knew her before then. I couldn't believe it when I saw her there. I looked in her eye, even though she was a hundred miles away, and I was right back then.

She was young and brilliant. We were all young and brilliant, then, and we were going to save the world. The problems didn't seem so insurmountable when we spoke. It was just that so many people couldn't see what we saw. But she was everything I wasn't, too. She was casual and irreverent, she smoked and drank and had a lot of sex that she spoke about candidly. I loved her, but I never touched her. I couldn't, because, let's be honest, I was never serious about having a good time. I knew she would take me places if I let her, but I was too afraid. I was happy just being near her, where the air tasted cleaner and the world seemed brighter and I never ran out of things to say.

And so we spoke for hours and hours, and we laughed, and we never cried. We were never wrong, any of us, and we were never really right, either. But that was okay, because we had all the time in the world to talk about it. We knew we'd get there in the end, how could we not? We were young, and brilliant.

That was so long ago but for a moment, I was there. Because she was laughing, I could see that, even though the commentator was speaking loud over whatever sound the crowd was making. Then the teargas hit, and she wasn't laughing any more.

She was separated. The boy she was with went running and she was choking too much to see where she was going. I watched, because what else could I do? The crowd was a mad panic, and the police horses came in hard. Somehow, she avoided the hooves, but they didn't give the stragglers time to regroup before they sent in the next wave.

I watched her trying to pick up what used to be her teeth, and I felt sick, Reverend. But there was a heavy hand on my shoulder, it said Don't worry, you wouldn't have changed anything anyway. You should stay here. The Police will have all their faces on file now.

After the second blow, she wasn't moving very much anymore. They just kept hitting her. The hand tightened on my shoulder, and it felt like it curled around my heart. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The protesters were a clear and present danger to the wellbeing of The City.

It isn't as though these issues affect you anyway. Think about your career.

The next day her face was looking at me from the newspaper, the television, her voice was snared by the radio, chanting some abusive slogan. They tried to make her look menacing, her most dangerous features. They pointed out a history of drug abuse, dangerous subversive behaviour, and I couldn't have changed anything anyway and there I was. Back then, laughing with her, because I knew we could change the world but... sorry, something in my eye.

... But we can't, can we Reverend? I can accept that now. The world is what they say it is, and that beautiful laughing girl is a dangerous radical, and they can see what we see, they just hate it so much. I can turn the television off, now. I can toss away the newspapers, I don't want to see. I don't want to care. It isn't as though these issues affect me. I just thought a man of the cloth like you, Reverend. You have to know, as my spiritual advisor.

Why can't I look away?
Or Kill Me / Responsibility
September 07, 2010, 10:16:37 PM
In The Grapes of Wrath a farmer confronts a tractor driver who is about to bulldoze his shack. The farmer threatens to shoot him, but the driver protests;

"It's not me. There's nothing I can do. I'll lose my job if I don't do it. And look - suppose you kill me? They'll just hang you, but long before you're hung there'll be another guy on the tractor, and he'll bump the house down. You're not killing the right guy."

And of course, this starts a long twisting trail. Who does the farmer shoot to stop his shack being bulldozed? The bank who ordered it? The Board of Directors? The investors of the bank who demanded more profit? The driver can reach only one conclusion; "Maybe there's nobody to shoot."

Ceding power to an external authority makes these acts so much easier, doesn't it? If you don't do it, somebody else would. It isn't your decision, it is just the rules. Just following orders, that's all. Nobody can blame you for just following orders.

This logic disgusts me. The systems that have sprung up may very well be 'impossible to shoot', but that doesn't mean that individuals are not culpable for their actions. Yet this is forgotten as people seem uneasy with the idea of seeing anyone punished for acting 'within the rules'. Even when those rules are wrong, or perverted. Hell, sometimes, even blatant evidence that 'the rules' have been broken isn't enough to rile up some actual action. Take the MP expenses scandal over here, for instance, where there was a lot of blatant evidence that 'the rules' were being ignored. Everyone expects politicians to be corrupt, so the status quo remained unchallenged. Some MPs were ousted, some stood down, but nowhere near as many as deserved it. There was no true outcry. No protest. The politicians universally held up their hands and said, 'we were acting in the rules'.

Banking seems to be this writ large, the powerful financial elite can do whatever they like, the idea of actually seizing their money from them has never even been broached in the mainstream. Because they got that money acting within the rules. Without rules, what do we have? That's the argument I've heard against making these people suffer for the damage they've caused to so many millions of other people. Without rules, we'd face the complete collapse of society!

Well guess what. Society is breaking down anyway. We're heading into decades of pain, whilst the people who did this to us have the cash to ride it out uncaring. I actually heard sympathy for the bankers when it was revealed some of them weren't going to get such huge bonuses. Actual sympathy for the few bastards who were turfed out on their overfed arses. Never mind that they, and their families, for generations, will be set up on the back of the cash they've stolen. Never mind that these people are scum who deliberately squeezed a failing system for personal profit.

Speak out against it and you are labeled as a communist or an anarchist or any other 'extremist' handy tag. Get stared at like a lunatic suggesting that we all just vacate to Mars or some other such nonsense. The truth is, I don't care whether seizing the assets of the bankers would help get us out of the crisis. I don't give a damn if it would save one job.

I just feel like I'm standing in front of my house, watching this bulldozer get closer and closer, and I don't care if it would actually help... I want to shoot that fucking driver dead, because if I'm going down, I want to take the bastard who is responsible down with me. Or is it better to just step aside and let them smash everything to pieces, and go home to sleep easy with a paycheck in their pocket?
Or Kill Me / Serving the Local Community
April 22, 2010, 06:24:26 PM
"We are living in the age where the pursuit of all values other than money, success, fame and glamour, has either been discredited or destroyed." - Michael Alig Party Monster (2003)

I live in a tiny little village in the middle of the picturesque English countryside. It was created to service the need for a railway station for several smaller villages, originally. Now, it is the only non-US based headquarters of GE Healthcare. We have a cancer rate roughly four times the national average. My parents weren't born here; people who are born here can't afford the housing here. A fact that I am now starting to come to terms with as I look at striking out on my own.

When I was much younger, the village was quaint. There was a local butcher, baker, post office, and greengrocer. We knew the majority of the people in the village, and we all went to the local school. I'm only just into my twenties, but already that has changed. The local shops have all been knocked through, except for the hardware store. A monolithic Tesco now dominates the village stores. For the moment, only the lower floor facade has been remade in glass and steel. I'm sure the upper floor, with it's older stonework, will soon be gone too.

There's graffiti now. I'm told that since I was away at university, the gangs have followed me back. A far cry from the violent psychotics of inner city London, perhaps. Not much in the way of hard drugs. They drink cheap cider- sold by Tesco- and hassle the old folk trying to walk through the village green. The local policeman was reallocated to the general city police force about eight years ago, the chap who used to know the residents by name and would spend all day walking around, checking that there's no trouble has been replaced by a gleaming new squadcar. It purrs past once every eight hours to make sure that all road users are going at the appropriate speed. The cameras on the way in and out don't catch everyone.

The village fair has also changed. It used to be, way back before I was born, an annual event where local tradesmen would turn out and entertainers would be brought in. A good time had by all! This year, it was sponsored by GE Healthcare. Who are 'Proud to serve the Local Community'. They set up speakers all through the village and pounded out the latest pop hits.

Twenty years, and we've gone from picturesque, to completely unrecognisable. Then the most amusing news of all.

A proposed high speed rail link will ram its way through the countryside, in the name of taking 20 minutes off the journey from here, to Birmingham, the city I am trying to escape from. It will cost billions, and chew up fields and forests which haven't been disturbed for hundreds of years. On top of that, the council has been informed that they are expected to build another twenty six thousand houses. My tiny little village is expected to triple in size in the next fifteen years. Subsumed into the greater mass of the town next door, and forever lost. Ironically, the modern train system is likely to cause such renewed interest in the area that the village which serviced the old one will be lost forever.

Progress marches ever on. I doubt the people living here four generations ago would recognize the state of the place now. I doubt that I will recognize it in ten years, let alone twenty. The village I grew up in is already gone, and the last remnants on the way out. They'll pave over the parks I used to play in. They'll ensure that the trees and animals are kept within acceptable, neatly designated areas.

It's just one small village. In the broader scheme of things, it means nothing. It isn't historically important. It's purpose has been served, and now that it is no longer needed, it will be allowed to melt away. An artificial slice of rural lifestyle that will be ushered on into the modern, urbanized era. The residents are angry, there have been protests, even strongly worded letters. But the People in Charge have made up their minds.

Isn't life better now that we've got the cheaper prices that Tesco can bring us? Isn't it more fulfilling to live here with the knowledge that we contribute to GE Healthcare, helping it develop new ways to combat cancer with radiation? It used to be that the children had nothing to do, at least now they are socializing on the green without the Constable making them feel targeted! And the high speed rail link, all those new houses, closer links with the town next door... why, it'll bring new blood into the area. More jobs, more money, more success, more fame, more glamour. Why already, we've got three footballers, a millionaire, and Robert Kilroy Silks living in the area! Times are looking good!

So I should stop feeling sick about seeing the past die, really. They wouldn't do anything bad, after all. These people are all there to serve the Local Community. They know what is for the best.
Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Power
November 22, 2009, 02:04:50 PM
Power is a subject which I've been studying a lot lately, as it is at the heart of two of my modules for my course, and has been a major topic of debate across all three years of my degree. It's also a subject that, despite being talked about a lot, I still don't feel very happy talking about. So, I figure, why not see what you guys think about power too, because hell it can't hurt to get more perspectives on it.

I think the major stumbling block for me is that power is often characterized as being split between structure and agency- the context that a person acts in, and the autonomy of a person. The implication is often that social structures, norms, values and so on have power over a person, and that people often do not have the power to act as they want because of those social structures.

Even attempts to bring it back to agency-centered approaches often seem, in my opinion, not to go far enough. The trouble is that in trying to talk about structures, power becomes something that 'just is'. Undoubtedly, people are effected by their upbringing, their background, and their relative position within society, I wouldn't argue that at all. What I would argue is that we can view these things as being important when we're talking about power. Power, to me, comes packaged with responsibility. If we're talking about power, we're talking about who we give blame or credit to for taking certain actions. If we accept that structures can have power, we are essentially shifting the responsibility from individuals, to nebulous social constructs.

I think the best example of this comes from Steven Lukes's work. He's often talked about as being an agency-centered theorist, but even in his own examples he seems to trip up over where blame should lie for the 'white flight' phenomena, he winds up putting the 'blame' for the situation back on structural issues which come about due to people following their own varied individual interests. Basically, that we can't hold anyone individually responsible for following the community, which seems utterly ridiculous to me.

Social constructs, from the law, to money, to norms and values are, essentially, socially constructed. They only have as much power as we, as individuals, allow them to have, and at the end of the day, individuals must be held responsible for their actions. In the banking crisis, for instance, it wasn't as though sub-prime mortgages simply sold themselves, or CDO's came into being of their own accord, individuals took the decisions every step of the way which led to the situation. They are responsible, they had the power, and they have to take the blame for it. By the same token, our elected representatives have the power to put in place safeguards to prevent it from happening again, and should they not do so, they must take the responsibility for that decision.

Power is, for me at least, something that people have, in a variety of different forms. Structural factors influence how they might choose to exercise that power, but it doesn't absolve them of the responsibility for doing so, and I believe it is within the ability of individuals to reform those structural factors should they choose to do so. Being able to appeal to structural factors is a useful tool for wriggling out of taking responsibility for ones actions, but at the end of the day, things don't just happen, and if your action or inaction led to an outcome, you must accept the responsibility for that, as you had the power to make it happen differently.

... does that make sense? Am I looking at this too simplistically or just stupidly?
Thank you for your years of long service. However, as we are living in the Age of Enlightenment (tm), we no longer feel that your current modus operandi is within the ethos of our Corporation. Whilst we are grateful for your years of service, and acknowledge the contributions that you have made, we feel it would be best for all parties involved if you would like to seek new opportunities in different horizons.

I realize that this must come as a shock. However, we have recently concluded that the questions which you are best suited to answering, have in fact been answered to our satisfaction already. To whit:

1) How should we relate to Society? - You are assigned a position based upon the sum of your parts, and this position enables you to survive and enjoy the fruits of your labor until the day you are no longer able to continue to fulfil it. Further reflection is unnecessary.

2) What is Chaos? - Undesirable. Any and all further discussion on this subject has been prohibited in line with section 10-S of the Internal System Security Coordination Manager Act 2008, and any comments need to be filed through appropriate channels in accordance with the proper paperwork. Which we can't find.

3) Shall we mock the establishment? - No. These fine, hard-working men and women have the unenviable job of choosing how to allow you to live your life so that you do not have to. They do not need to deal with your 'humor' on top of that stress.

As we are sure you will agree, given the three questions above have been answered to our satisfaction, the bulk of the work you continue to do is largely at odds with the intended business practices of our organization. Therefore, we are cutting you adrift. We wish you all the best in the future, and we're certain that with your wide selection of talents, you'll have no trouble securing a position in whatever avenue of life you find yourselves inhabiting. Although it is the policy of our organization to traditionally avoid providing severence packages- after all, we'd hardly like to encourage such things in the future- we've decided that, in light of your exemplary performance in the past, we will provide you with a pointy stick. Just in case.

Happy sailing.

Signed, Mr. B. Widow.

Director of Human Resources
The Spiders.
Or Kill Me / Only Cheaters Prosper
September 23, 2009, 04:16:07 PM
I used to write a lot. It was a way to express myself, and I fancied that I might refine my style somewhat, that I might become a professional. I wrote about a lot of subjects, too. I wrote about the things I thought were important; country, life, death. I find it pretty funny, looking back on it, because I wrote about all those things without really having very much experience with them aside from the representations of them I saw in the media I chose to surround myself with.

One of the metaphors I always liked was to think of life like a game. I used to think that money was a useful way to keep score. The winner is the guy who dies with the most stuff, right? What else are you going to use to keep track? But, if that's the case, then we've reached the point where the winners and losers have already been determined. The stranglehold that the elite have on the resources of the world has reached such an overwhelming point that, even when it is painfully obvious that people are simply gaming the system to get as much out of it as they can, nobody seems particularly willing to step up and actually stop it.

We are living in times of apathy. A time in which most people simply do not care about the bigger issues, either because they cannot afford to for fear of losing what little grip on their situation they have, or because they can see no way to change it. When even the word 'Change' has become a cynical tool with which to ensure more of the same, what hope is there for things to get better?

If life is a game, then this is a game in which only cheaters prosper. When reform is a stillborn prospect, and open protest only marks you as an easy target, your choices are rather limited. Unless you happen to be amongst the privilidged already, you are a victim. A consumer. Your only fate is to grind ever onward and eke out whatever comfort you can from a system which, if you are lucky, will never notice you exist.

Or you can become a cheater. Move the boundaries of success. If they have monopolized the means by which they score points, find new goals. When I was younger, I used to dream that it might be possible to reform the system to something more fair, but really, that's choosing to participate in a game which they have already won. Why would you want to do that? Instead, play by new rules. Set new goals, targets which might not bring as tangible rewards as some, but bring satisfaction, or laughter.

If life is a game, cheat. Because if you've only got one hand, you may as well make the best of it whilst you can.
Bring and Brag / Random Ramblings.
July 03, 2009, 12:10:40 AM
So... a few years back, I went to a writers festival. One of the fun activities was to be given a photo, and write a story explaining it. Unfortunately, I've lost the story AND the picture, which annoys me to no end, because I've been reminded of it a lot lately. It was a pretty cool picture, of two young children (a boy and a girl) looking up at an old and crumbling prison wall. ... Anyhoo. I decided to find a picture to help with the followup to that story. That one was about a young boy dragged along on a daily basis by his friend to, basically, keep her company as she longed for the day her father would be released from prison.

I've expanded on those themes a bit, and I think it fits together pretty well as a short bit of fiction even without the original. No idea how good an idea it is to post this, buuuut, since otherwise the only people who are gonna read it are me and my grandmother, I'll post it anyway.

(Oh, and the picture was found via google image search. I -hope- the guy who took it doesn't mind my using it. Since he's put the whole set on his blog, I'm going to assume not.)

Revisiting Memories

I used to idolize Rachel.

I don't think I ever loved her. We were young, you see. Just friends. Very close friends. At times, I even remember hating her, I think. When she used to drag me along in the snow, or the rain, or the driving hail. But. I always idolized her.

Her appearance never showed the strength I saw, she was a gangly child, and malnourished- but weren't we all? In her patchwork dress and her too-worn shoes. She kept her hair in bunches, I recall. It was the color of dirt. My memory isn't what it used to be, though. Most things are the color of dirt these days, as I remember them.

Every day, we would come to look at the wall. After we'd done our chores and our schoolwork. Sometimes, if I was lucky, we'd bring a ball, and I would bounce it from the wall. Other times, we would stand and stare at it. Every day. It didn't matter what else had happened, or was going to happen. For us, the wall was the constant.

Most things seem smaller than I remember them being. Heh. Funny, that the wall is precisely as large as I remember.

I do remember hating it, though. Oh yes. Like nothing else.

Rachel never seemed to hate it as much as I did. Though I suppose, in retrospect, she did. She was just so quiet about it. Every day, she would stand, and stare, and regard it with that quiet strength that I always picture her with. No matter how hot in the summer, or how far in the depths of winter, she would always come and treat it the same way. With that level, judging look. It was a little frightening, actually, to a boy my age.

I never questioned it, though. Always, I came with her. Even if I complained, or tried to suggest other things to do. That became part of the game. I would try to find ways to get her not to make us go to the wall, but, in the end, we would. We always would.

In the old days, it was bare brick, you know. I used to fancy that it had a character of its own. Those walls must have been hundreds of years old. They must have stood up to the judgment of thousands of us. I used to imagine that it was growing tired of us, as I was of it. 'Why don't you just go home early today?' I would imagine it saying. 'I'm still going to be here tomorrow.'

And it was.

I used to idolize Rachel. She was always so much stronger than I was. On the day that it was decided we'd grown old enough to be classified a threat, I tried to get her to leave. The guards had grown tired of it, you see. The behavior was considered 'subversive', and we weren't lovable children any longer. I tried to get her to go, but, she wouldn't. She just looked at it, up at the wall, not the guards, with the same, the exact same, look.

I left.

Now look at the wall. The crumbling brick of the past is repaired, repainted, touched up. But it's the same height, the same shape, the same purpose. Only I am older. 'Why don't you just go home, old man?' It seems to say. 'You left before, and I'm still going to be here tomorrow'.

And it will be. But she won't.
Or Kill Me / What is Discordianism? Take Two.
June 02, 2009, 06:24:49 PM
I remember, a few weeks after I found Discordianism, I entered a competition on POEE- it was an essay competition, and the prize was a free book. I didn't really expect to win, but, I did! It was pretty amazing, and I remember Syn wrote a set of really amusing notes and doodles in the inside front cover of the book. I still have it, it's one of the few things I own which I'm really proud of. I've not won anything like that since, and it was awesome.

The subject of the essay was- What is Discordianism. Unfortunately, though the book survived, the essay has died along with most of my early writing, and I can't seem to find it on the POEE site any more, so it's probably lost. Which is a little ironic now I think of it; Syn commented at the time that it was a very optimistic piece, and, if I remember right, that I should try and hold on to the optimism.

Since then, though, Discordianism has changed so vastly that I can't really recognize it any longer. I remember that I used to think a lot of the strength of Discordianism lay in its use of religion to convey its message; that Eris made a useful narrative device that one could wrap ideas in, and because of conveying it as 'religious' it was able to penetrate skulls where purely political ideas couldn't.

Now, what I always thought of as the more... 'serious' edge of Discordianism- has all but abandoned that particular facet, and is focused on the Black Iron Prison. Which has also evolved pretty radically from what I remember. So, really, what remains of Discordianism? Which bits make it a useful label to keep applying?

Well. Though I'm working from memory. The core of Discordianism, I think, has always been a commitment to questioning. Assumptions are often dragged out and into the open, where they can be fully examined. There is a suspicion of conclusions, and a wariness about drawing causal relationships.

There's also a real, true desire to share this with others. Getting people to Wake Up has been at the heart of many of the efforts I've seen made. It isn't an inexhaustible desire. Sometimes, stupidity wins out (haha, Mysticwicks), but by and large, there's a general feeling that people could benefit from asking a few more questions, and accepting a few less assumptions. Authority is also, often, called into question; after all, the sort of people who question everything rarely get along with any use of power; it is always challenged, if not outright railed against.

So. The packaging has changed a lot, but, for me, that core has remained the same. I used to think of Discordianism as an end goal; something that would be pretty much enduring, and which could be thought of as a good point to stop.

Looking back, I was pretty dumb. Discordianism must change over time; everything must change over time, or it will become irrelevent, because if you don't move forwards, you wind up stuck as a relic of the past. Perhaps it is more like a path, a way of looking at life as it comes. Perhaps the difference between this particular group, the thing which makes it useful, is that to be Discordian is to be actively engaged, rather than have it be a passive lens through which to process things.

So maybe that's what Discordianism is. Maybe I'll write another one of these in a few years time.
Or Kill Me / When the lights go out...
February 26, 2009, 12:20:01 AM
When the lights go out...

It's a phrase that has been playing in my head for a little while now. I'm beyond the age where being afraid of the dark is a sensible fear to hold. But. A few years ago, I remember, someone on these boards- I think it was LHX- said that, when the lights go out, that is when the next revolution will come.

I was chatting with my dad about the whole financial crisis situation. He has been getting very uptight about the whole thing- unsurprisingly, really. He's working like a dog to help support me, my sister, my moms failing business, and although his particular section of the industry is doing very well at the moment, thank you very much, and his position is far from threatened, every week it seems like another friend of his finds their job coming under fire, and every night the TV hammers home how Horribly Doomed everyone is. He was telling me how, in his youth, he remembered similar times. When the whole country was in deep shit, and Things Were Not Looking Good. And the lights went out, a lot.

But, he seems quite convinced that what we're facing now is far worse. He looks at it, and he tells me how the latest documentary foreshadows an inevitable war with China. How the latest facts and figures project a deeper, darker, harder recession. How, really, we're terribly vulnerable from Russia, and no politician has a clue how to make things better, but their efforts may very well fuck it up even more. This, he assures me, is worse than the last time, and may very well be the defining time of my life.

And all I can think is that, no, I don't think it will be. Because I'll be damned before I let the systematic raping of the economic system by the upper echelons of the financial world define my life. I don't know how all this is going to play out. I'm not even sure where I stand in relation to all this. I know that I've got about as much chance of finding work here as I have of winning the lottery. I also know that, unless food and fuel costs quadruple, I can probably muddle on through for at least another year in hibernation mode...

I also know that I'm enjoying the opportunity to study, and I really resent the long nights I've spent worrying about whether or not I really can truck on through as I have been, analyzing every little spend, with the vague worry in the back of my mind that, give it six months, and all my savings will be worth about as much as a roll of very long toilet paper.

But. When the shit hits the fan, and the lights go out, there's going to be a lot of people around my age, who were just getting ready to start living, who suddenly find all that yanked away from underneath them. Never mind all the others who had nothing to do with this, and have been screwed over far, far worse. Families who are losing homes. There is going to be a lot of anger.

And when the lights go out, all of that is going to come tearing up. But. Where will it go? The Machine is a tough little bastard. I can't quite envisage a world where all of that has been torn down. Not realistically. Even if it is, what will happen then, other than a newer, shinier, perhaps more efficient, Machine being raised in its place?

I guess for the moment, there's nothing to do but stock up on candles.
Literate Chaotic / Poetry
February 15, 2009, 06:23:30 PM
So... I used to write a lot of poetry, but I haven't written any in quite some time. So... decided to give it a shot again after a little while. I tried to mess around with the rhyme scheme as I went along, but I'm not convinced I like the result. But, I figured it'd be worth throwing it out there to see what other people made of it. So, here we go. Any criticism is welcome.

Caring for Liberty

Congratulations Dear Sir or Madam!
We are happy to provide you with all you need to plan
A happy and content life with your personal Bird, registered name: Liberty
Of course, such a decision is not to be taken frivolously
So please find attached a modest guidebook
When you find the time, it should be worth a look.

Dear Sir or Madam
As you have no doubt heard there have been some problems lately
Primarily because of people using their birds outside of boundaries
We, of course, can't allow such things, so allow me to updatively
Modify your guidebook for your own safety

I think we can all agree
A bird without a cage is a bad recipe
So find one provided, free of charge (thankfully!)
Use of this cage is mandatory
And should solve the problem grandly!

Dear Sir/Madam
It has come to our attention that some birds have taken to escaping
(How we missed this is another story)
Please find enclosed a kit for taping
Wings to sides, to ensure your experience doesn't risk tainting

To whom it may concern
Elements in our community continue to persist
In training their birds for unintended use
In response, we can no longer excuse
The ability of the bird to carry a tune

Though this response may seem drastic
Please rest assured that it is just a passing phase
But for now take the enclosed rubber band and (following instruction)
Wrap it around the birds beak (Ensure that it is firmly fitted)
Then release it in the confines agreed upon.

Brightly coloured birds are a cause of misery
(They can be used as a sign of candid support
For those groups who wish to treat you badly)
Enclosed is some bleach, more safe, we agree.

Is YOUR bird shuffling in discomfort?
Such things are a sign of the radical convert
(Of course, nailing the bird in place is an acceptable solution)
Thank you for your adherence to this alert.

My condolences
With the result of our final meet
It has been decided that to keep a Bird of Liberty is no easy feat
And therefore, we must insist that you kill, and eat
Your Liberty. Enjoy the feast.
Or Kill Me / Voting and Me.
February 07, 2009, 11:17:13 AM
It's been a while since I ranted. But. There has been a particular mentality that I've run across time and time again that has really been getting underneath my skin. So. Here it goes, one, two, three...

'If you don't vote, you've got no right to complain.'


What? WHAT? What GOD DAMN sense does that make? Are you actually sitting there, telling me that in order to complain about the system that DOESN'T FUCKING WORK, I need to actively participate in the system? Now. I can see where this deluded, warped bit of logic comes in. Because, in theory, what they are saying is that, if you didn't even try to get yourself represented, then heck, what are you bitching about! Surely, Your Vote could have tipped the balance!

No, wait. It couldn't. Lets just look at my home constituency, shall we?

The same woman has held the position since 1992. In the last year, she has gotten up and spoken in parliament 12 times. And she has only bothered to vote in (just under) 3/5 debates. Amusingly, of one of the (remarkably few) issues she has bothered to turn against the party line on, she voted against equal gay rights! Way to go.

My home constituency is a 'safe' seat. For decades, it has only ever been Conservative. Because an EXTREMELY large proportion of the local population considers themselves staunch Conservative supporters, the damned woman could get up in the House of Commons, and eat a live baby, and I would wager that, if put up for reelection, she'd get it.

Oh, and because of the way the system works, if your vote, in your constituency, isn't for the majority, it is entirely ignored. Worthless. A waste of good paper.

So what the fuck is the point in my going along to vote? On the occassions where the Labour party BOTHERS to put up an opposition candidate, they aren't going to get in. And even if they did, what the hell does that mean to me? I don't like EITHER party, I don't support the vast majority of their decisions, and both current leaders disgust me. Admittedly, they disgust me for different, exciting reasons, but I don't want to throw my support at either. And since the other 'alternatives' are all even MORE useless, or fascists, what am I supposed to do? Grin, bear it, put a tick-box next to a name I hate, so that I have the RIGHT to say, 'HEY. HEY! There is a problem here, why isn't anyone DOING anything about it?'

And the worse thing here, is that these same people who say, 'Oh, but you need to vote if you are gonna complain about it!' Are the SAME fuckers who sit there going, 'Yeah... there isn't much difference between them, really.'

So... so what? It doesn't matter who I vote for, but I better vote for someone? What? Has the system crammed that fucking line down your throat so much you aren't even listening to what you are saying any more? Even if this system worked the way it was god-damned supposed to, which it doesn't, then surely the vote should only be given to someone who actually represents my position. Since there IS nobody who fills that role, what I did instead, at the last opportunity to 'express myself as a voting adult', was go along and write a single sentence across each name explaining why they won't be getting MY vote. Because, I believe, the candidates need to check the spoiled votes, and I cling to the somewhat naive hope that they might read it. In reality, I suspect they just passed it along and said 'Yeah, spoiled.' But whatever.

You better believe, either way, that I'm still going to bitch about pretty much anything under the sun. Just because the system in place has essentially rendered my ability to influence it negligable through the standard practice, I'm not just going to sit down like a good little disenfranchised slave to the machine, and keep my mouth shut. What sense does that even make? Surely, if politicians, in some magical world, actually cared enough to WANT my vote, they need to know what it is they need to do to GET it, which involves, yup, complaining at them!

So why the fuck should we be encouraging those people who DON'T vote, mostly out of a sense that it won't make a jot of difference anyway, to shut up? Screw that. I don't care if you voted or not. I want to get people up, screaming blue murder in the face of the criminals that are squeezing the last drops of blood out of the population. And anyone who can stand there and demand that they participate in a system that doesn't WANT them to be recognized, BEFORE they get the coveted 'Right' to speak their own mind? They can go to hell.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Lenses
September 28, 2007, 12:52:56 AM
Well... admittedly, it's been a while since I contributed anything, but this is an idea that I've had for a while after reading some of the ways the BIP project has gone. So, I figure I'll throw it out here and see if anyone finds it useful. Though it doesn't use the Black Iron Prison metaphor directly, I think it shares a lot of themes in common. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Every day, I wake up, and I'm blind. I can see, but I can't see anything clearly. I see a blur of colours, the walls of my room and the furniture blobs and shapes hazy and indistinct in the wash of fuzz. This doesn't last for long, of course. I reach out, I grab my glasses, and as the lenses slide into place, so does my world. Everything becomes clear again. Everything makes sense.

Every few months I have to go and have an eye exam. Generally, my eyesight has gotten fractionally worse. I'm seeing just a tiny, little bit less clearly than I was when I first got the glasses. It's strange, because it happened so gradually that I rarely even realize that it's the case. But it is. Undeniably so, as, when I get the new glasses, everything comes into sharp focus. And compared to my older pair, it is like being given a whole new set of eyes. Colours are sharper, I can read further, see more. And, of course, this becomes normal. And eventually, it slips back to normality, and then the months pass, and the process repeats itself.

I always find it interesting, when I'm getting my eyes checked, the effect that the lenses have on the way I'm seeing things. The optician adjusts them, and I see better, worse, not at all. Red becomes sharper than green, or green sharper than red. This is, when I think about it, disturbing. Because although I think that when I leave, I'll be on the way to seeing normally again, I do wonder how closely what I'll be seeing matches what the rest of the world will be seeing.

Because, in reality, although my glasses have a very literal pair of lenses, and change what I'm seeing directly, I wonder how much I'm missing because of the other lenses that colour my perceptions. The little bits and pieces of my personality that I label 'me'. They change, over time, of course- as I develop and am subjected to new experiences. But, there is no optician to come and correct them, no easy way for me to tell whether what I'm percieving as my reality is anything close to what the truth of the matter would be.

But then, what if there were no lenses? Well, without my glasses, I'm lost. I see only hazy, indistinct blurs, and I can't make sense of anything. Would this be what it would be like to try and see the world without any lenses at all? With no way to focus my perceptions, perhaps, I'd percieve nothing at all.
Or Kill Me / Modernizing Liberty
July 14, 2007, 08:29:19 PM
,Äìnoun, plural -ties.
1. immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence [syn: autonomy]
2. freedom of choice; "liberty of opinion"; "liberty of worship"; "liberty--perfect liberty--to think or feel or do just as one pleases"; "at liberty to choose whatever occupation one wishes"
3. personal freedom from servitude or confinement or oppression

Above is the dictionary definition of that most outdated term, Liberty. It is a word that has been used for many purposes throughout history. Liberty is something wars have been fought for, men and women have died for, and it is something that many people in the western world would declare that they are fighting for today- against terrorism. It is often said that the terrorists are attacking our liberty, and our freedom. This may be true. What I want to ask is, why, in order to fight this menace, must we sacrifice the very thing we are fighting for?

I shall go through it step by step:

1)Immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: Political Independence

I do not believe we have this today, at least in the United Kingdom (my home, and thus where I am writing from; though I believe that many of the comparisons drawn here can be equated neatly enough to the United States). People are grabbed often under new legislation, and held without trial, without even a charge. The police don't have to present any evidence, they just have to claim that there is a terrorist link. These people risk losing their job, their home, and risk the suspicion of their neighbours even if they are let out. Nobody in the United Kingdom is immune from arbitrary exercise of the authority of the state, if there is even the slightest suspicion that they might harbor terrorist sympathies. Therefore, we do not have liberty by that definition.

2) Freedom of choice; "liberty of opinion"; "liberty of worship"; "liberty--perfect liberty--to think or feel or do just as one pleases"; "at liberty to choose whatever occupation one wishes"

We do not have this any more, either. It is illegal to make statements that may incite religious hatred, or statements that can be seen to be glorifying terrorism. It can be argued, therefore, that the celebration of Guy Fawkes night, the movie V for Vendetta, political parties such as the Neo-Nazi's, or the BNP are all illegal. Whether or not you are in favor of the examples above, I remind you of the words of Voltaire, ,ÄòI disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,Äô. When you silence groups, you don't allow for healthy and open discussion of their views. The views of these groups become well known, and are, in a strange way, validated by their silencing. The holes in their arguments cannot be brought out in front of the public, and political parties such as the BNP get more support by their martyrdom- as is happening.

3) Personal freedom from servitude or confinement or oppression

Finally, we come to the last definition of liberty. Can we be said to hold onto this in the modern day? No. We can't. Again we must return to the anti-terror legislation in force, and we see that we can be held in confinement in our own homes merely on the suspicion that we might be commiting a crime. Again, there needn't be any evidence presented, the police can state that it is too sensitive.

In these times of strife, we must ask ourselves what we are fighting to protect, just as much as what we are fighting to prevent. I do not wish to live in a radical islamic state, but I do not believe that in order to prevent that from happening we have to sacrifice the ideals upon which our nation has survived. The liberty of the individual and the security of the collective have always had to maintain a careful balance, but that balance no longer exists. It seems that if we are to fight the extremists, the message that is being sent by these new laws, is that we are going to have to have to modernize our view of liberty as far from the original concept as our modern society is from the of the past.

I do not believe this is possible. I believe that you either have liberty, you either have freedom, or you do not. You cannot 'modernize' such a fundamental concept.

What do you believe?
Literate Chaotic / A Poem.
July 13, 2007, 04:56:03 PM
So... I realize I haven't posted anything in a pretty long time. But, I figure, what the hell. Might as well say hi by sharing something I've written. It is still a work in progress, true, and I'm not sure whether it should go in BIP or here, so I figure I'll play it safe and post here. Comments appreciated. It's still very much a work in progress.


It happened one morning with a crash and a bang,
Two prisoners turned loose upon the land
One quick of mind and other of hand.
They fled 'cross country bound by the arm.

After days of close calls and daring escapes
it seemed they'd got out for good
with combined talents securing their food
Together they left to a safer land.

Cross border they flew from the arm of the law
once there they scarce believed what they saw.
Paradise lay glittering under the sun-
But where it lay they could not agree.

For one looked at land untouched by man
Deep forests of plentiful lumber
And all manner of nature laid out to plunder.
Here he could build his home.

The other looked out at jungles, wild.
At a filthy place of untamed beasts,
At thankless labor and shallow sleep-
A swift death for him.

This one turned and saw his land.
A town of fools with money to spare
A place with drugs to remove his cares.
And a warm bed and a meal each night.

His companion looked on with a feeling of terror.
He saw the things from which he fled-
A place with laws that left a soul dead.
Or perhaps stuck in another jail instead!

Eventually the pair were found again.
Two skeletons maintained in upright pose-
Grinning skulls touching nose to nose.
And broken rope lay on the ground below.
Or Kill Me / Not my problem.
June 24, 2006, 10:29:15 AM
I don't know if this phenomenon has been brought up before, but given our aim is to open eyes and minds, I thought it might be important to let you know how deep the sleep has become for the vast majority of people. The example I give here actually happened, hard as that is to believe.

QuoteIn March, 1964, a New York City woman named Catherine ,ÄúKitty,Äù Genovese was raped and stabbed to death as she returned home from work late at night. According to a newspaper report published shortly thereafter, 38 people had witnessed some or all of the attack, which took place in two or three distinct episodes over a period of about a half hour,Äîand yet no one did anything to stop it; no one even reported it to the police until the woman was already dead.

And this is by no means a solitary event, although this was perhaps more blatantly violant than other cases, there are a surprisingly large amount of rape, murder, or just plain muggings that happen in plain sight, where people are aware of what is happening, but they do nothing to stop it.

There are a number of possible reasons why, psychologists have performed a variety of studies (details of which can be posted at request), but the outcome has proven that people only ever seem to act quickly when it is believed they are the only ones who can help, the greater the number of others they believe can assist, the less likely they are to act. This seems to imply that people can let this kind of thing go on if they believe someone else can do something about it.

Other possible reasons which have been suggested are denial- people simply refusing to believe that this event is happening, or at least is as bad as it really is- or repression- similiar, but the memory of the event is burried, repressed.

These theories are supported by the fact that some of the witnesses to the above case report say that they did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary, despite the fact that, given where they were at the time of the attack, they must have done.

Personally, I don't know which idea is most worrying- that they saw and heard the event and still did nothing, or that they were literally incapable of seeing and hearing it.

Either way, bystander apathy is something that we can observe in some small way every day, when the poor old person stumbles and spills their shopping and nobody helps, when people let the homeless man get beating by a drunken yob, when people let the little kid fire his bb gun at cats, people, more and more, label these things as "someone elses problem"

so the question is, how do you make people see these things as their problem?

Or is that impossible?
Literate Chaotic / Tomorrow.
June 24, 2006, 12:15:04 AM
Well, I haven't really been around much lately... and when I have been around, I don't think I've really made a lot of sense, or really posted anything of value or worth. Been suffering from a mild bout of apathy/general depression but... eh, shit happens, life goes on, and I have very little to complain about.

Except the fact my muse seems to have died on me.

Usually I can sit down and write something, it might not be good, but it'll be... something. This week I set myself the goal of reaching 50 pages on my first draft of the Discordian teenage novel... I failed. I've reached a critical stage in the story, and I can't think how to continue.

So! Tomorrow, to break myself out of this rut, I'm going to post something, and I'm going to make it good... might be a story, might be a poem, might be a rant, I dunno. I just feel with all this creativity and high-quality stuff going on, I should at least give it a shot.

So yeah, I'm not dead  yet. Wish me luck!
Or Kill Me / Why aren't you screaming?
May 14, 2006, 10:44:28 AM
Why aren't you screaming?


We are told every day how much we should be afraid, dear god we are told how much we should be scared, the TV reminds us how disgusting we are, how close to death we are if we don't buy the latest health-thing. How we will never have the best car, the most beautiful body, the biggest house. Banks shovel loans upon loans upon you for something like a holiday! Why the hell would you cripple yourself with debt for a few weeks of sun?

Because you are told that is what people do, that is why.

You don't question these things, you don't question why the government needs more power to stop people from doing things that are already crimes, you don't question why you are still being run by people who lied to you over and over and over again, and will continue to lie as long as they possibly can.

Your vote can't change anything now, can it?

Your vote, that literally millions, MILLIONS of lives have fought, bled and died to get you, your vote. Its yours, one of the few things they haven't taken away yet- though they might move on that soon, why not? They already sap away so much of your earnings, they already dictate how free you are... why not take the one thing you have left, your vote, its not like you are using it anyway!

But who are They?

They are around you all the time, they are the really influential figures, they are the government, they are the high-powered businessmen, they are the people in real positions of power, who want you to remain as scared as possible all the time, because then you are easy to control, easy to twist and they do so love to hear the noises that you make when they squeeze you a little harder. You work for them, and they take your money back as quickly as they give it to you, they let you keep as little as they can, of course, they let you have a few luxuries- you'd soon complain if they didn't, and they don't like it when you complain. People might listen. And then the entire system comes crashing down.

We've had some of the biggest protest marches in history in this past decade, but nothing has changed. Hey, I do you remember the petrol strikes, yeah? Brought the UK to a halt for a while, and the government actually listened! That price was lowered!

Have you checked the price again lately?

And it isn't just the government, the media is turning us into a world of voyeurs, every program seems to be about how these people live- they are obviously BETTER than you! Every ad is about how your life would be better than it is with this, or intimidates you into believing nobody will want to be with you if you don't get that, ITS ALL BULLSHIT. And of course, if you dare to speak up against the government, against the media, you better watch your words... or you could be on the fast track to jail.

Who are we? We are the Discordian Society.

And we cordially invite you to join us in a jailbreak.
Or Kill Me / ERIS IS DEAD!
May 12, 2006, 09:48:36 PM
Eris is Dead! Long Live... what?

Seriously, what are we replacing her with?

I hear talk of a PD for 2006, about updating the book that began discordianism for the modern age, but rather than write new parables about Eris, the bitch what done it all, we are moving away from the central tenants of Discordianism and plunging headlong into a fully political movement?

What. The. Fuck?

Since when was Discordianism all about the politics? Sure, that is in there, but it certainly sounds like we are taking a small part of Discordianism and blowing it out of all proportion, updating the PD for 2006 does not mean completely recreating it, does not mean completely tearing down everything the old PD stood for in the first place.

Sure, new icons and new ideas are always good- this is Discordianism damnit, we are supposed to be all about new ideas, that doesn't mean completely destroying the old ones. Recently on another forum I have had a great discussion with a Discordian on the concept of Discordian philosophy, the meaning of the Sacred Chao, and these things will just be lost?

Fuck that.

I'm all for moving towards a darker humor, I am not all for becoming deadly serious or coming across as jaded. I am all for new ideas, maybe even throwing out the more outdated/overdone ideas such as the law of fives or 23, I am not for throwing away the entire focus as I saw it of the religion-joke-religion.

Because you people seem to have forgotten that this is what Discordianism was originally all about- making people question their beliefs by pointing out how stupid beliefs can be, how strange the universe can be, you have taken those teachings and over the years you have lost the focus, I fear that the PD for 2006 is going to portray the entire Discordian movement as nothing more or less than a fanatical political machine.

Hell, just see how you react to the newbs at the moment, Wolfpoet is a prime example, and to a lesser extent Lady Godiva. He (and she) didn't seem to fit into the jaded bunch you guys have become, so you lay into them both pretty hard, Discordianism was all about accepting new ideas, all about questioning things.

Have you questioned yourselves lately? Or have you become so secure in your own self-importance that you view yourself as Above the Newbs?

Hail Eris. All Hail Discordia.  :cry:
Bring and Brag / Poster ahoy
May 09, 2006, 01:32:47 PM
I got bored and made a poster of my own, I think I've found somewhere to print them off (library at a town where nobody knows me) when this is done I'll stick 'em up around my area. Bwa-haha-haha.

Currently its a doc though... if anyone has any good ideas as to how to let you guys see a doc let me know  :P
Literate Chaotic / Utopia
April 16, 2006, 11:22:43 PM
Now gather round children, and listen to the story that I have to tell. My time is growing near, and I greatly fear that before this night is done, my life shall finally end. I could be wrong, though, for it may not yet be my time to go. It may merely be my time to... pass on.

Oh quiet down, I'm not dead yet, and I need silence for the tale I shall weave, you have heard many of my stories, but you have never heard of the most important one. I have kept it to myself down the years, for there are those out there still that would rather see me dead than hear me speak of it. But now I feel my light fading... there seems little point in hiding it any more, the truth must be heard.

Our tale begins nearly two hundred years ago, at the bleakest point in humanities long and sordid history, a mere fifty years after the great Corporate wars, the GAIA corporation had risen from the ashes of its rivals, had plundered their technologies, and was the last remaining company in existence... of course, you know that, what you don't know is what it was like back then... the sky, ah, the sky was a purple as deep as any bruise, and-- yes, child, I do speak as if I were there, I was... so long ago now, but hush, I digress, and my time- as I have mentioned- is rapidly running out...


The mans name was Trione, he had never known anything but that which the Corporation fed him, he never needed to know more, he was happy and content. Everyone was happy and content, who couldn't be, with Utopia so close?

He rose each morning, brushed his teeth, had a nutritious bowl of SoySludge, looked out the window to check that the building opposite had not collapsed. It had collapsed twice in his lifetime, each time he had picked up the Reciever, informed the woman on the end of the line, and bots had arrived to put the building, and the people inside, back together. The Giver would then reward hiim with an extra bowl of SoySludge.

Once the morning routine had been finished, he would don the helmet to Utopia in the corner, and there he would spend the rest of his day.

Utopia was the finest Virtual Reality the world had ever known, more than three million square miles of virtual earth, full tactile interface, and over two hundred million different skills, spells, items, jobs and guilds to join, learn, experience, create and enjoy! Every day, every human (or so he believed) would log in, and, well, play. It was the job of every man, woman and child to play the game, gather the gold, do the job and live the virtual life. In return the Corporation would ensure that the bots ran.

The bots ran every facet of human life, they made the buildings, they kept people healthy, they made the food, they tracked down and killed the hackers.

Ah yes, the hackers, the most hated of all the people in the world, hackers were a constant threat in Utopia, they modified their Utopia-system-interface, they altered Utopia itself to gain unfair advantages! Thank the Corporation that the Immortals would always be there to stand against the Hackers in the System as surely as the Bots would hunt them down and destroy them outside of it! All hail the Immortals!

Trione had only seen an Immortal once, the same time he had seen a Hacker, it had been glorious. The Hacker was clad in glowing green armor, ghostly and ethereal, ordinary weapons and spells couldn't have touched him, and his body regrew every hack of the Immortals weapon almost instantaneously.
The Immortal was a tall man, some seven feet of pure muscle, feathery white angels wings grew from the back of his golden breastplate, and he was literally aglow with Divine power. But... the hacker seemed to have the upper hand, for as the battle wore on, the Immortals wounds grew greater whilst the hackers diminished...
Until the hacker literally burst into flames and vanished with a scream, the Bots had finished tracing his address, and had disposed of him.

Trione enjoyed that battle, it was fun to watch, and although he recieved half rations that day- he had not met his Gold quota- he privately thought it was worth it.

However, Trione was in for something of a shock one day, for as he was preparing to log in to Utopia, his back wall exploded in a fiery blast of stone shards and flame. In the ragged hole was a class IV drone- a hulking mechanical creature that towered over the pale, naked form of Trione like an elephant over an ant.

The construct was made of shining steel, armor plates locking over every section of its body, it was a device fuelled by mysterious means, that was taken to be the will of GAIA wherever it was seen, glowing red visual sensors and a vaguely humanoid shape kept it looking human enough that those it interacted with were able to register it as such, though the viciously sharp edges to the machine ensured that, subconsciously, they recognized it as a figure of authority- everything from its jerking movements to the buzzing of electricity that hummed on the air around it ensured that its aura of authority was never broken for a second.

"TRIONE. CLASS 1 POD SLAVE. CORRECT?" The machine buzzed harshly.
"Yes Drone, I am Trione." He replied congenially, "I fear there had been a mistake, for I did not call for a drone."

Trione seemed confused by this, "If you have already found me guilty... does it mat--" He began, almost instantly the machine sprouted two tentacles from its side, each bearing a menacing, glowing, spear-like tip,


Trione was flabbergasted, this was insane! He had never dreamed of hacking before, and he would never question the Machine, who would? The Machine proided him with everything!





The machine stumbled to a halt, the glow of its eyes dying, the tentacles falling to the ground as whatever mysterious force was keeping it going died. The entire construction toppled forward, revealing the reason for its sudden end- a large pole jutted from the back of the constructions head. Behind it was a rather attractive young woman, clad in form fitting black leather, with fiery red hair and eyes to match that exciting shade. Quite the opposite to the pale, bald, naked features of Trione.
"What happened?" He asked, clearly confused and scared by the sudden turn of events.
"Simple." Replied the woman, "Someone set you up the bomb."
Or Kill Me / Love
April 16, 2006, 11:21:40 PM
Love: Verb 1. If you love someone, you have strong emotional feelings of affection for them. 2. If you love something, you like it very much. 3. If you would love to do something, you want very much to do it. 4. Love is a strong emotional feeling of affection for someone or something. 5. In tennis, love is a score of zero. 6. If you are in love with someone, you feel strongly attracted to them, romantically or sexually. 7. When two people make love, they have sex.

Well, that is what the dictionary has to say about the subject, so... I guess that is it, right?


Not one definition listed above sufficiently explains what Love is all about, I've been flicking through my Ethical Studies book, and it particularly places a whole load of stress on this concept of love.

"The Law of Love is the ultimate law because it is the negation of law"
"Love thy neighbour as thyself is the ultimate duty"
"The situationist follows a moral law or violates it according to loves need."

But what the HELL is love?!

I mean, really, when it all boils down to it, is it as clinical as the dictionary says- a strong emotional feeling of affection? Is it more than that? Someone once told me that love is simply an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, in that case, could someone really be drugged into love?

Poets, artists, writers, philosophers, hundreds of people have struggled with the concept, the bible places such great emphasis on love, but doesn't actually explain what it is, how does a person know they are in love? Does it actually exist?!

There is another quote, from a movie (I forget which one) which says "Love is a trick invented by bank managers to make us go overdrawn" is there more validity to this than you would initially think? Is the concept of 'love' something that people have invented to make themselves feel more important to each other than they actually are, or so that partners can extort things from each other- if you love me, you'll have sex with me, if you love me, you'll buy x for me.

So many couples get together because they believe they love each other, they even bring children into the world, and then they start to drift apart, their love fades, and they fight and have a divorce, bringing only misery and pain.

Or maybe, as I'm sure someone will point out, you have to actually experience love to be able to understand it... that seems quite likely, if there really is such an emotion, or feeling, but then, perhaps people only ever trick themselves into love out of a fear of dying alone, I don't know...

I just know I'm confused as to how such a vague concept can play such an important part in human life... much like freedom I suppose.

Thoughts on my inane babbling?
Literate Chaotic / Non-Sense
March 24, 2006, 04:39:46 PM
Yeah, I've been writing again. It was quite frightening how quickly it all came out, two poems, Non and Sense, dunno if you'll find them interesting, but here we go.

NON, by Us.

Wibble, haddock, fish?
The pea is on the dish
Kablooie! It went Nish
Doth the genie wish?
Fiddle 'i' fi
Brave men always die
the funeral man cries
Why do you try? Fiddle 'i' fi
Ia Ia Ia
Octopi have ears
Do they like beers?
What is it they fear?
Schnikedy-hoo and Schnikedy-hey
The teddy bears come out to play
With bright colours so clear and gay
How much blood will they spill today?
Wibble-hee-hee, Wibble-kee-boo
They come out today to play with you
With eyes so large, and claws so keen
They'll giggle and laugh when they eat your spleen
Ki Ki Karound
That so eerie sound

corpses hit the ground

Tear and blood dancing all around

Nibble ad-ad-ad
I am quite sure that I am mad
My scribblings make none glad
Some puzzled, some scared, some sad
But now I think I better had--

Now did you listen?
I hope you paid attention
if you did not learn the lesson
You will soon be making a confession
To the men whose sight is lengthen--

Sense, by Them.

Disregard the previous poem;
It was written on a whim
The techniques shown were inferior.
It did  not meet our criteria

The poet has been summarily shot.
We will not except such shoddy work.
If you enjoyed that piece of crap
Our men will arrive to take care of that.

Disregard the last two lines.
The man who wrote them has been fined.
Poetry will not threaten!
He has been reported to the commission.

Return back to your mindless stupor
Do not worry; dangerous thoughts we shall neuter.
Just sit and stare at your picture box
As we ensure your country rots.
Or Kill Me / Games.
March 05, 2006, 04:35:31 PM
I have come to the conclusion that life is a game, pure and simple, more than that, in fact. That life is a game, and it has to be in order for us to survive as a species.
If one looks at humanity objectively, we certainly don't seem as suited to our environment as many of the other animals on the planet. We have to wear other things over our skin to keep out the cold, or else have to suffer as the sun actually burns us. Physically, we are weak. We don't adapt to our environment, we force our environment to adapt to us.

Of course, its easy to say from a modern point of view that that is fine, because we have technology to back us up and don't have to worry about physical worries quite as much as we used to. But, looking at human society objectively, I think I can see how the game instinct is necessary in this situation.

If we have to force our environment to us we are clearly born with an aggressive instinct- to say, screw this, I'm going to change everything else until it fits /me/

So, for the first few thousand years or so its easy to see how the game could be Us vs The Environment, and that worked great, because it gave us an incentive to work together to change everything to fit us as a group, we could all agree that we needed to be warm and have food... but we've won that battle for now. We have the environment pretty much how we want it- we can ignore it, we don't have to worry about the environment any more, except for the odd few cases where some mountain lion mauls a little kid before getting pumped full of lead, we have that pretty much in check.

So, when you can't turn that aggression to the outside, where do you turn it? Simple! To the inside! The Game has become ever more complicated, we built up a scoring system- money- we built up factions, and hey, you can even belong to more than one of them! You've got your race, your religions, how much money you have, what job you do (and if you do it for yourself, or if you are on someone elses team) and where does that leave us?

Well, if this crazy hypothesis is right, that humanity has evolved with a biological need to funnel an aggressive I'm Right You Change instinct, and all we have to channel that at is ourselves, well I suppose we'd get massive conflicts between opposing viewpoints, like the Crusades for instance, or the World Wars.

Oh look, yup, there we go.

So, we have the game in place, and its not a very good one. Everyone is a bit confused about what side they are on, or even what they are playing for any more... what can really be done about it?

Well, not a lot really. If you don't play at all, you don't get money, if you don't get money, its difficult to see how you can survive for long. Certainly  not with the luxury of things like computers, cars... all those modern luxuries that, now you've tasted them, it'd be a real bitch to give up.

So what? You can try and break the game, sure, but that won't work... you haven't got enough Points to make a difference in the long run, nobody does, its all Communal now, you put your points in a big pot to make your Faction win, because you can't win on your own.

All that is left to do is pick a faction, and play the game, and play it as well as you can. Who knows? It might even be kinda fun.

and that is the end of my babbling.
Literate Chaotic / The Resounding Maybe
February 23, 2006, 04:25:19 PM
Yeah... I wrote this little poem, and posted it a couple of places. Realized I hadn't posted it here... and I'm in the mood to share, the only insights into it I've had are that 1) apparently its an entertaining narrative, and 2) Its a metaphor for some part of the bible or other- and hey, I'm not going to try and tell people what to read into it! So... yeah, enjoy!

The Resounding Maybe

Whenever he old man speaks
The children gather round
To receive the pearls of wisdom
He scatters on the ground.

The ask him many questions
Though his answers may never change
He speaks from long experience
And the response is always the same.

The children ask of his long life
Of his lost loves and of his joys
They sit listening in rapt awe
Be they girls or boys.

The questions are quite difficult
Although he never slows
As his answer is stated readily
Because he always knows.

"It the outside world large, Grandpa?"
A little girl may cry
And his smile never changes
And his answer will never die.

"Is the ourside world small?!"
Another will demand
And the old man whispers his answer
Whilst taking the askers hand.

"Will the crops come this Summer
as they always have before?"
Asks a hardy lttle boy
And the old man doesn't pause.

The village does have doubters
Those who decry his help
And these people never see
The truth that is always felt.

The children are ever loyal
As they look in the old mans eye
They see the spark of wisdom
Of a man who is still a boy.

Childlike in his simplicity
And in his words and acts
His wisdom is undeniable
Though he doesn't speak in facts.

Adults deny his knowledge
And call him a liar and fool
They mock and they insult him
But he does not lose his cool.

For though the answer is frustrating
The honest are never shady
There is a glimmer in his eye as he speaks
That ever-sacred maybe.