vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
Been a long time since I've linkdumped here. But the series of links from Wednesday followed such a clear thematic pattern I have to save this.


Post-Christian America: Gullible, Intolerant, and Superstitious

One may rightly object to that last comment as a general thing, but given the links that I will link to below, it turned out to be prophetic.
Ross Douthat has written powerfully about the political consequences of post-Christian conservatism. It turns out that when men and women shed their faith, they don’t necessarily get more liberal, but they do get more tribal and vicious. Many members of the alt-right, for example, famously shun Evangelical Christianity (calling its adherents “cuckstians”). Indeed, as we learn from the battle between social-justice warriors and their right-wing counterparts — the emerging class of godless, angry populists — when you remove from your moral code any obligation to love your enemies, politics hardly improves.

The damage extends far beyond politics, of course. If there’s one abiding consequence of the shallow theologies and simple superstitions of our time, it’s the inability to endure or make sense of adversity. It’s a phenomenon that fractures families, fosters a sense of rage and injustice, and ultimately results in millions of Americans treating problems of the soul with mountains of pharmaceuticals. ...


South Park raised a generation of trolls
Is it just me or has South Park gone full cuck?” wondered fans on Reddit’s The_Donald immediately after that episode aired, and probably not for the first (or last) time. But in the aftermath of Trump/Garrison’s election, those same, vigilant cuck-watchers were back to crowing over how South Park had really stuck it to politically correct types in a scene where Trump/Garrison tells PC Principal, “You helped create me.” That South Park positioned this as less of a triumphant comeuppance than a suicidal backfire didn’t seem to matter. And the show more or less left it there—portraying Trump/Garrison as a dangerously incompetent buffoon, but also as the ultimate “u mad?” to all those liberals they fucking hate.

All of which makes Parker and Stone’s recent declaration to lay off Trump in the coming 21st season a real disappointment at best, cowardice at worst. The duo is, of course, under no obligation to tackle politics—or anything else they don’t want to, for that matter. They’re also right that mocking Trump is both redundant and “boring,” and also that everyone does it. For two dyed-in-the-wool contrarians, Trump comedy feels every bit as bland, lifeless, and sitcom-safe as an episode of, say, Veronica’s Closet. Furthermore, Parker’s complaints of the show just “becoming CNN now” and not wanting to spend every week endlessly restacking the sloppy Jenga pile of Trump-related outrage is completely understandable. Believe me, I get it.

That said: Man, what a cop out. South Park has already spent the past 20 years being CNN for its CNN-hating audience. Meanwhile, Parker and Stone have proudly, loudly thumped for a “fearless” brand of satire that’s willing to mock everyone from George W. Bush to Scientology to Mormonism to Muhammad, even under death threats. To shrug now and say, as Parker did, “I don’t give a shit anymore”—right when, by their own admission, the influence of the show’s worldview has reached all the way to the White House—feels especially disingenuous, and suspiciously like caving to the young, Trump-loving fans with whom they have forged such an uneasy relationship. (“South Park bends the knee on their fake-news-fueled portrayal of President Trump,” one The_Donald post gloated, followed by many, many more.) If they truly believe that those trolls in the mirror are “horrible people” who are helping to “fuck the country up beyond repair,” it would be truly fearless to tell them why, with no hint of ambiguous, everything-sucks irony that can be willfully misinterpreted.


Porn is Destroying Dicks, and My Job
I should probably explain that I am Tantric healer, which means that I touch penises for a living. It's certainly not all I do, as an ordained priestess who supports men in cultivating sacred, conscious relationship with their authentic sexual expression, and the Divine Feminine herself. But, for our intents and purposes, all you really need to know is that I touch a lot of penises.
...
What's wrong with bucking and clenching and grinding? they ask. Well, these are the actions that speak to Voon's findings, which state that the porn addicted subjects "had greater impairments of sexual arousal and erectile difficulties" than those "healthy volunteers" we referenced earlier. The bucking and the clenching and the grinding are all indicative of desensitization, and of my clients' desperate attempts to generate some real-life arousal, because—as we've already determined—they have become tolerant to subtle sensations, and now require gross and exaggerated stimulation to feel themselves at all, let alone to achieve orgasm. [Graphic description follows of what to expect of a healthy male and a broken one.]
...
It's one thing to be numb and unreachable on your Tantrika's massage table. It's quite another when you are entwined in your lover's arms, and she wants to share a connected, mutually-satisfying, erotic experience, but all you can do is pummel and pound while clenching your eyes and your nether regions, calling up any number of online scenarios in your imagination to trick yourself into a semblance of turn-on. Because this is yet another downside of porn addiction: It makes your partner's needs and wants and humanity kind of irrelevant, if not downright annoying, because the porn addict is used to pixelated, 2D "women," who are so much easier to (not have to) deal with than the real life-version, what with their emotions, and their periods, and their clits.

"I prefer seeing you, because honestly, I feel sort of resentful when I have to give my partner foreplay," admitted a twenty-seven year-old client.


I spent 23 years as an elite fighter pilot, and it taught me that motivation is meaningless
A cure? A diagnosis? Pride and lust are wonderful motivators.
In real life, when fear, fatigue, and doubt set in, no speech can provide the motivation you need to keep going. The only thing you and your team can rely on is discipline.

"Discipline Equals Freedom" is Jocko Willink's formula for achieving success. ...

Literally overnight, my motivation evaporated – as did most of my interest in spending a career flying from a carrier. For the first time in my life, flying wasn't fun. I realized that the dream job was just that: a job. And it was a job that was going to require me to do things I didn't enjoy or find easy.

Fear can debilitate a carrier aviator, especially in combat. To succeed, I had to get past it. My self-discipline was all that I could rely on, and I needed every ounce that I had. ...

Most of my time was spent with men like Chris Kyle, who would sit next to me on rooftops, motionless for hours, observing the city through the scope of his rifle. Day in and day out, I watched him do the tedious, thankless, and unrewarding work they don't show you in recruitment videos or movies. Few things can sap your motivation and focus like Ramadi's suffocating dust and 115 degree heat. The only thing that gets you through an environment like that is discipline. And although that discipline often goes unrecognized, it doesn't go unrewarded: It allowed Chris to save countless lives and made him the most successful sniper in SEAL history.


DoD spends $84M a year on Viagra, similar meds
Not to suggest at all that the porn caused this too. But they are both repeated exposure to destructive, dehumanizing evils with significant neurological consequences.
A report published in September found that the incidence rate of ED among active-duty personnel more than doubled from 2004 to 2014.

Researchers at the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center found that the overall incidence rate of ED climbed from 5.8 cases per 1,000 person-years in 2004 to 12.6 cases in 2013, or more than 1 percent of the total population.

According to the report, 100,248 cases of ED were diagnosed among active-duty members from 2004 to 2013.

More than half of those were classified as "psychogenic," meaning the dysfunction was related to psychiatric rather than physical causes.

A number of factors can contribute to ED, from mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, to medications for treating physical and mental conditions as well as injuries, illness and aging.


"Everything Except Country and Rap": What You Really Mean
Relevant for this one line at the end:
Do you really like everything, or do you just like everything you’re told to?
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Further yet again to my garbled... garblings (as clearly there was no muse inspiring me in any of that), here is something by people who have done a much better job. Content warning: endorsement traditional Christian views on gender and sexuality, which may well include the ones you, the reader, consider terrible and hateful, or make you think of same )
There's a lot more and to quote all the good stuff would be to quote almost all of it. Little of it may make much sense outside of Christianity, or at least it won't make sense within modernity (while possibly making a good deal of sense in some pre-modern pagan societies).
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
First, a passing thought:
A good design is seamless, unified, harmonious, whole. A bad design is fragmented and arbitrary, its elements stuck together ad-hoc with no consideration as to how one flows into the other. When the intelligent design researchers (and what they do is genuinely, legitimately research - I say this as a barrister and solicitor) look for signs of design, the usual formula is to isolate a harmonious design, deny the existence of its effective cause within creation, and conclude therefore that God must have done it. This is to deny that the effective cause is part of the harmonious whole, and to claim that there has been some kind of unnatural severance within creation. In other words, the signs of flaws and corruptions of the unified design of the original. If these are the signs of the Designer we seek, then that designer is not the One who designed causation for our use, Who is everywhere present and filling all things, Whose designs are at all friendly to us.


And now, have some cave worms (note: taxonomically not worms) to cleanse the palate.

According to this study, if you're white, male, well-educated or in the scientific "in", you are more likely to believe GMOs are safe. Or, rather, distrust increases the further you move out of this inner elite circle. There appear to be no controls for socioeconomic class. Am immediately reminded of Lewis' critique of Man's power over Nature being ultimately the mere power of some men over others.

Relatedly, I'm not the first to compare our economic system to a Paperclip Maximizer. The only real debate is just what is analogous to paperclips - mammon itself, or consumer products.


And now for some less short-form reblogging...

Fr. Stephen Freeman posts a trilogy of posts about sex and gender.

In case the blog is ever moved and the pictures are lost again, here are the pictures the accompany each:cut for spoiler - their best impact is when you read each article itself )

All three are well worth reading. That said, one quote struck me in particular:
In all discussions of our gendered existence, Christians must remember that male and female are eschatological images – they are images towards which we are moving, not givens according to which automatically live. The male who is not self-emptyingly male, is not yet what he shall be nor what he should be. The female who is not self-emptyingly female, is not yet what she shall be nor what she should be. And, of course, our situation is still more tragic and broken. For some, the experience of the energies of our nature is changed – whether through the brokenness of genetics or nurture. They are not yet what they shall be nor what they should be. We share a tragedy that is common to all humanity.
This is incomprehensible without an understanding of what Blessed Mother Maria Skobtsova was getting at in her reflection concerning the emulation of the Mother of God. It also provides, in my experience possibly for the first time, a framework for how we should approach masculine and feminine identity and prescription, in a way that finally relates to the theology of kenosis and the Cross (beyond the way in which all suffering so relates).

This leaves, of course, the content open: just what is male and what is female kenosis? Mother Maria's analysis is tantalizing, providing enough to offer a start to the dialogue but leaving nothing close to a clear, yes-no-depends method of recognizing either or both in another.

I'm starting to understand how Thomas Aquinas felt.

One possible answer: the distinction, outside of biological functions, is more descriptive than prescriptive in that if we simply follow the Way the means of that expression will make themselves known. But why then are there any commandments aimed at consciously maintaining the distinction?

Then Dana comments on Part 3 referencing a book called "Flight From Woman", and another hint suggests itself: every known effort to create a genderless society has only succeeded in creating a misogynistic society. Whatever the reason for it, it just happens that in our civilization the male is unmarked and the female marked, and to try to reform society such that everyone conforms to neutral the obvious thing to do (given the mindset of the revolutionary who is typically also an iconoclast) is to purge that which is marked. The requirement to maintain the distinction - especially in the New Testament where the early Church was going up against the gnostic heretics - may be (inter alia) a safeguard against that evil, which would be toxic to (again, inter alia) anyone who would otherwise have sought salvation through the feminine route.

I say "anyone" at the end of that paragraph. I do not believe in a strict individual (lit. individuus) binary where being on one side on one thing necessitates being on that side on everything else to the exclusion of the other. To believe in such exclusion would be to deny that any woman can carry her Cross, or that any man can be pierced to the heart by the sorrows of another - a denial both theologically monstrous and obviously untrue in experience. One of the most liberating and beautiful things I've found about Orthodoxy compared to Western theology is that to say X is Y is not to imply, in the absence of a genuine contradiction, that X is not Z.

But then how are we by (prescriptive, theological) nature male and female, but not all androgynous (~male and female created He every one of them~)?

Perhaps to all these statements should be added "without limitation", as the lawyers do. Are we each created, then, to find only the highest fulfillment in only one of the paths, however great our works may be down the other? We might, instead, speak not of paths but aspects, or abilities and potentials, or differing gifts of grace, or even statistics in an RPG (tempered, of course, by the constant remembrance that without God our works are nothing).

Or perhaps another test question is: which is worse off: a woman devoid of the feminine and a man of the masculine, or a woman devoid of the masculine and a man of the feminine?

I offer a very crude example.

The former (failure of own gender's virtue):
  • a group of men. One suffers emotional turmoil. The others lash out angrily and bitterly, say all manner of evil against whoever they feel may be responsible, fail utterly to bring consolation or solve the problem.
  • a group of women. One suffers emotional turmoil. The others do not know how to handle it and leave in shame.

The latter (failure of other gender's virtue):
  • a group of men. One suffers emotional turmoil. The others do not know how to handle it and leave in shame.
  • a group of women. One suffers emotional turmoil. The others lash out angrily and bitterly, say all manner of evil against whoever they feel may be responsible, fail utterly to bring consolation or solve the problem.

If both are equally bad, then this gives us no reason to believe that humanity is not fulfilled by total positive androgynity; if the former is worse, then that supports what we are taught.

This is increasingly becoming a matter of "I'll know it when I see it", without any ability to formalize what is going on. The Thomist understanding frustratingly remains.

Will hit Post for want of a logical conclusion.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
The main difference is that his is actually worth reading. (If somewhat bare of Heavy Weapons Guy references, but that's probably related.)

Two articles worth mentioning:
A ‘free’ China, for him, is emphatically not ‘free’ in a bourgeois capitalist sense, nor even ‘liberated’ in a Marxist sense. It’s fascinating to see an intellectual, reckoned a ‘leftist’ in Chinese discourse, defend certain non-teleological and anti-modern Confucian political ideas and understandings as necessary for China’s continued ‘modern’ reform and development. Dr. Wang himself is likely quite aware of the irony; the reason he eschews the term ‘left’ to describe himself, after all, is because he feels a terminology imported from a Western revolutionary context has very limited traction in a Chinese one. ...

My own interest in China stems from the fact that an immensely long body of civilised tradition – a body which goes back, with few interruptions, for 3200 years – is brought into a constant, disruptive and disorienting contact with the most frantic, brutal and unvarnished forms of modernity. And unlike in other nations – like Japan or Korea – no serious attempt is made to paper over or downplay or explain away these violent juxtapositions. No soothing political noises are made to the effect that one can have a society grounded in Confucian values that is at the same time fully integrated into a value-demolishing global economy. Tradition has not yet been reduced to an ersatz of itself in the service of modern ideologies.
This dovetails well with some cultural observations I've made myself over the years, including where Chinese capitalism seems to avoid certain Western vices while exacerbating a few others. (Glaring example: the sometimes hilarious disjunct between the concerns of modern, updated Canadian estate and family law, the product of two generations of jurisprudence from post-industrial, post-sexual-revolution liberal gweilo litigants, versus what goes on on the ground with the majority of Chinese clients of similar socioeconomic status.)
Like Solovyov, Mencius recognises that human beings have the distinction of moral feelings to separate them from animals. And Mencius’s account of the ‘four beginnings’ bear an uncanny resemblance to Solovyov’s basic moral feelings. Mencius’s ‘sense of shame’ (xiu’e zhi xin 羞惡之心) and Solovyov’s are identical. His ‘sense of compassion’ (ceyin zhi xin 惻隱之心) is directly analogous to Solovyov’s moral feeling of ‘pity’. And his ‘sense of modesty’ (cirang zhi xin 辭讓之心) is somewhat culturally-coded into a Chinese mentality, deferring honours and rewards out of a knowledge of one’s place in the social fabric, but there’s enough of an analogy within that cultural coding to be drawn to Solovyov’s feeling of ‘reverence’ to be, at the very least, interesting.

(this last one is not the best quote by a long shot. The entire thing is well worth reading.)
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
A rock-club which is supported by the church keeps its own coffin, and if a believer wishes to lie down in this coffin for a while and think about death, he is not forbidden to do so, because many Russian saints used this practice. "The main thing, you should not forget that life is wonderful," Hegumen Sergy says.
The entire linkdump will take some time to go through.


All that "Christianity is a way of life", "you need the Spirit in you", "accept Jesus into your heart" talk is, I think, incomprehensible without this framework:
Barlaamists and Barlaamizers not only are empirically ignorant of this spiritual and angelic liturgy, but they deny it, dishonor it and mock it. They completely identify worship with hymns and prayers, which they want to understand with their reason, because otherwise they don’t feel like they are praying. In other words, they are based entirely on their reason and make it absolute. The question is: if they think in and desire to pray this way, then how will they learn about the other-worldy liturgy and how will they enter into this after their death, since they are ignorant of it and fight against it now?


And more:
The Law applies in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament. The Law is not only in the Old Testament. The Law is in the New Testament as well. Why? Because it is Our tutor to bring us to Christ’. The Apostle Paul says it clearly: ‘The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ’ (Gal. 3:24). But when St Paul says Our tutor to bring us to Christ’ he does not mean, as the Lutherans and others suppose, that the Old Testament Law is a tutor to lead us to the New Testament. No. The Law leads us to the state of purification.
[the writer explicitily ties this to the Miserere further down.]

Also of note:
“Because the beginner cannot manage this, as he has not yet distinguished between the nous and the rational faculty, he sits and prays as much as he can with the rational faculty, under the guidance of his spiritual father. He prays continually until the day when, instead of praying this prayer with his rational faculty, he begins to pray it with his nous in his heart.”

The amazing thing is that, when the nous enters the heart and prays, the rational faculty is outside observing the movement of the nous.


The distinction seems very close to the rider/beast analogy I had before. And the description of the underlying problem seems to be describing the same thing with respect to each, but with a different (obviously mine inferior and more misguided) approach.


Wherein I am tempted to move out to Chilliwack so I have an excuse to go to Fr. Richard's parish on Sundays, as he points out the emperor in such majestic, priapic nakedness in this whole hideous kerfuffle:
...What I am suggesting, though, is that in our preoccupation with canonical questions about sex, we forget to ask something more essential: to what extent do our sexual behaviours manifest self-desire rather than desire for our Creator? Even if our sexual behaviour is ‘canonically approved,’ so to speak, how can St. Paul’s words to the Romans challenge us to repent of the lusts of our hearts and turn back to a love of the One who made us?

Again, this is a question we too often neglect to ask of ourselves, and our neglect continues to hinder our struggle to understand the place of sexuality in a God-centered human life. While we may win the canonical battle, we end up losing the moral war because we have lost sight of where the ‘front line’ really lies.

For instance, when dealing with unmarried people struggling with lust in its various forms, our concern tends to lie with ensuring that a person’s sexuality is ‘contained’ in a heterosexual, monogamous marriage. Once the single person finds themselves a suitable mate (we believe), their lustful urges can be safely channelled. If they were tempted to lust after sexually explicit images on the internet, they can now ‘safely’ act out with their spouse. Less often do we question whether a single person’s problem with lust might have less to do with the absence of a canonical ‘outlet’ than with a sexual identity fundamentally oriented to self-desire...
tl;dr those who accuse one side of this culture war of pharisaism have a point. But the corollary remains that Christ came to fulfill the law, not abolish it.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
Some contextual points on Hong Kong.
  1. Hong Kong was a fishing village on a goddamn rock when it was annexed by the British in 1842. The population grew and exploded during the 20th century as a result of a number of factors, but a huge one is the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). During the Chinese civil war and subsequent purging, thousands fled the violence by escaping to Hong Kong — including both sets of grandparents in my family. One was a Western car dealer in Shanghai; the other was from a landowning family. FWIW, I still have some distant relatives from the latter side in China. I have no living relatives in China on my maternal grandparents’ side. Everyone was killed.
  2. Throughout the 20th century, Hong Kong flourished, grew, and developed a distinctive culture and economy. I’m not saying everything was rosy as an English colony. I’m saying the culture and economy are real and independent from China.
  3. The events of Tiananmen may seem like they were a long time ago, and have entered history as the kind of event that’s lost its shock over time. But twenty-five years is a short time for many Hong Kongers, and Tiananmen’s outcome was far from predictable at that time. Remember that Tiananmen was only eight years before the handover. Imagine watching the coverage that summer and knowing that was to be your government soon.
  4. All of this is to give just a bit of history as to why I and many others say: Hong Kong people do not consider themselves to be the same as mainland Chinese. When I say I’m from Hong Kong, I mean that. It is not the same.


A Real Look Into The Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution.
I’ve had so many concerned friends from around the world recently message me, concerned for my safety in Hong Kong. This post is to show my dear friends, and those from around the world what its actually like here in Hong Kong at this moment.


a word from Gary Pollard
Start with this: that the parents or grandparents of almost every Hongkonger came here to escape the politics and chaos and lawlessness of mainland China.

Today, they look at a local government made up almost entirely of people chosen for their loyalty to the PRC, irrespective of their ability or their personal ethics. Almost every government minister has profound “communist” sympathies or former DAB or “leftist” connections. Some are not so “hidden” Communists. That is the only reason they are there. It feels to many Hong Kong people that they are trapped, ruled by these people. No one voted for them. When the public DID vote a prominent leftist out of the Legislative Council, the Chief Executive just appointed him to the Executive Council, which has MORE power. Screw your democracy.

That would not seem so bad if the Legislative Council could impose any restraints on the government. But too few observers understand or care that the Legislative Council is half made up of functional constituencies who are either kowtowing to Beijing or to big business. There is a split voting system where legislation must be passed both by geographically elected legislators and these special interest legislators, who are basically lobbyists. The public did not vote for them, but they can veto ANY legislation aimed at controlling the government or supporting grassroot interests.


How do protesters stay in contact with each other when the government has shut down or censored Internet and mobile networks? Simple: You don't use either.
Meet Open Garden's FireChat, the messenger app protesters in Hong Kong have been using to circumvent government attempts to prevent them from organizing by blocking social networks like Instagram. Instead of relying on a single website or government-controlled networks, FireChat uses a technology called mesh networking for its "Nearby" chat mode.


‘Against My Fear, I See That You Hope’: A Professor’s Open Letter to Her Hong Kong Students
I am inspired that you are making the student boycott your own. Earlier I had written that you were inspired by May Fourth and the awakening of social consciousness. But observing you I have come to realize that this interpretation is far too simplistic, that initial reportage did not give you enough credit for both adaptation and innovation. Some have invoked May Fourth, and some—like Longhair when he spoke to you—lectured on Gandhi and Martin Luther King. No doubt their examples have inspired you. But reading the Chinese University boycott magazines and your reportage in Ming Pao, I see that your examples are recent and cosmopolitan. You are looking to 1968 in Paris, the 2011 Chilean student boycott, and 2012 in Quebec. You self-consciously organized the preceding campus meetings to follow Quebec, to be as democratic as possible, to give each of your classmates ownership. What I thought had been naïveté was a careful imitation of a model you had identified to be successful. So, though elements of your protests may have historical roots, I salute you for seeking a new model for Hong Kong, one which—your leadership tells us—will influence student movements to come.


Things that could only happen in a Hong Kong protest
Apologising for the barricade you put up
An entrance to the Causeway Bay MTR station was barricaded and emblazoned with signs shouting out for democracy. In the middle was a small cardboard sign - also written by the protesters: "Sorry for the inconvenience."
and the "violent", "extreme" contrast.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
The best stupid pun ever.

But I don’t want to stop there. There a few deeper and more mysterious applications of this. The Lamb slain at the foundation of the world as a type of evolution.

That said, another, biologically more, philosophically less cf. colonials: more* ambitious take on the Nth Men story.
(Also he has thought out giant spiders :O :O :O||||~)


*2014-08-21 EDIT: The more I think about it, the more I think Bogleech is right. This is better in every way: humane where MAM was profoundly misanthropic, humble where F&LM was arrogant and certain, hopeful even in death where MAM and F&LM are ambivalent. This is what science fiction ought to be.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
An Orthodox Christian Exposition of Islam
Truly il miglior fabbro, compared to my shoddy attempts at conveying the comparison.

tl;dr if you take Orthodox Christianity and replace the guts with all the guts that were rejected by Orthodoxy, while keeping all the trappings of Orthodoxy that aren't directly contradictory to the newly implanted theology (e.g. icons versus wholly transcendent, never-incarnate God), you basically end up with Islam.

A good deal of Protestantism (including what I've rejected in the past) goes the same way with the same replacements, but inherits radically different trappings. If Orthodoxy is Wolfenstein and Calvinism is Doom, then Islam is Map31 - old look and feel, new engine. (The analogy breaks down, obviously, when the "new engine" is the one with less features, functions and versatility.)

(That said, it's definitely worth a read if you have any interest at all in either Christianity or Islam. Also the reference to the Christian God as Allah in the end is, intentionally or not and at least to the eyes of this Western-raised near-English-monoglot, a brilliant inversion of the technique used in the Beatles' "My Sweet Lord". [2014-07-21 Prompted to re-read b/c of this. Definitely intentional given the progression from "God/Allah" to "Allah" alone.])

It occurs to me that one of the big rebuttals to the Protestant argument about the "fall of the church" also applies here: how did two movements so removed from each other in space, culture and time end up with such similar, independently arrived at conclusions, unless there was some kind of truth to it? But the analogy stops there: the "fall of the church" usually is in reference to preceived additions - Trinity, icons, liturgical tradition - but what we're looking at here is deletion in a sincere attempt to fit everything into a rational, logical order.

- The Trinity contradicts itself and borders on polytheism, so let's remove it. It is beneath God to come down to Earth as one of us human scum. (In Islam from the start; eventually you get more unitarian groups from the Protestant tradition)
- This old verse says no graven images, so let's get rid of all images.
- We need to standardize everything, so let's make "The Book" binding (no pun intended) so that everyone's reading the exact same law-reduced-to-writing and everything not in that book is treated as hearsay and optional, unreliable apocrypha.
- The wrathful, vengeful God of the Hebrews looks all wussied up in the New Testament, so that is clearly a later deviation. Let's go back to being sinners in the hands of an angry God.
- If God is all that is good, then things are only good because God wills it to be good. Therefore, any "moral compass" we may have in our hearts is only a temptation and a passion.
- The last 3 points, if taken without a deep underlying faith in the starting assumption of a loving God, strongly imply that we need to be as harsh and unforgiving as possible, to be maximally true to God's divine image. (cf. Westboro; Taliban every sharia jurisdiction that isn't actively trying to soften its image for some material or political gain/survival)



(also new tag for Christianity-related posts)
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Tempted to add, or at least reference, this in the Aornos setting.

That all said, a second opinion about that 3WC guy. tl;dr he's a dirty sodomite that "rape is legal in this sci-fi utopia" thing actually wasn't some super-meta take on patriarchy, nor the "true ending" to 3WC merely a reconsideration of the Confessor as an individual character, but what those things look like on a more obvious level.

A potentially helpful guide as to when a rape analogy might not be wholly inappropriate.

So with that in mind: "The most basic, most rudimentary spiritual need of the Russian people is the need for suffering, ever-present and unquenchable, everywhere and in everything."

---

And now, more RPG ideas so this isn't purely a linkdump.

"Alignment" system based on species' Fundamental Narrative.

Winnowing; Cummunion; __________

I propose Dialectic, but only for the purposes of the system for now. NB: this also posits humanity as the honour-obsessed tribal warrior race.

The D fundamental narrative in a nutshell: 2 opposing sides accumulate resources and merit. Resources is wholly abstract and includes numbers of individuals allied with a side as well as merit of otherwise equivalent resources. Our entire moral system is based on the honour bestowed upon the side that wins.

The fundamental assumption is that merit and resources are connected.

Evo-psych explanation: Fighting between groups over resources and territory has been the fundamental struggle of almost all our evolution.

Because of the impossibility of instant communication within a group, and the historical inefficiency of constantly dedicating and sacrificing numerous individuals in long-term processing of possibilities (cf. ants), we have required each group to develop a "head" to coordinate it. The coordination takes place through arbitrary tribal displays which became increasingly complex over time in an arms race against fraud and espionage. This is further complicated by a layer of pack-based system of mating and family groups.

Classified guide for deep-space agents: When dealing with the ones with the fleshy heads on stalks, please remember the following basic rules:
  • Do not ask a question directly any manner of direct question to which the human is privy, whether asked directly of the human or not, if the human did not initiate the contact to tell you the answer. A question must be couched in at least 2-3 key points of indirect phrasing to sufficiently distract their thoughts before the combat instinct kicks in and your query is responded to as an honour-challenge. Simple methods include using a descriptive phrase in place of a noun, or "baby-talk" avoidance of a pronoun, as well as turning the question into a meta-statement about how you feel about the issue at hand.
  • When a human accuses you of some terrible non-specific violence, it may be a simple figure of speech congratulating you for something you did well or they otherwise enjoyed watching. They do not mean any offence, but may take offence if they notice you cringing at their well-intentioned compliment (they are surprisingly good at reading normal body language even though they claim to rely greatly on their peculiar eye- and mouth-flaps and headstalk-waving).
  • If attempting to capture a human ship, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SURROUND IT WITH OVERWHELMING FORCES AND ATTEMPT TO NEGOTIATE USING REASON. A statement that there is no rational alternative but surrender has a special meaning in their honour code as a licence to fight to the death of every living being in the area (cf. the catastrophic Galaga siege). Disable the ship by stealth and isolate unarmed crew members (risky - "the only unarmed human has had their arms cut off") or cargo (less effective - there have been cases where humans have jettisoned high-value cargo because of some thing or other triggered in their honour code) to use as hostages or bait.
  • If captured by multiple humans wearing non-matching colours, try to get one of them to state out loud a very specific means that is the best means of killing you, or even better, our entire people. This is extremely counterintuitive but many of our best agents swear by it: such a statement, once heard, is inadvertently accepted as a challenge, they will fight each other over which method is the best and you can escape in the confusion.
  • Do not let them see your fear. Humans have unfortunately assumed a deeply-ingrained fear response to the appearance of our own fear-response displays. Which would seem relatively harmless, except that, having evolved as a slow-moving apex-predator opportunistic scavenger, their fear response is attack.
  • Use the name they give you, however unpronounceable. Humans routinely slaughter people over perceived slights respecting names, killing human, myconian, aerealine, spacer, prosophosid or otherwise indiscriminately.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
I was not aware of this. tl;dr brown Aragorn is canon, God said it, I believe it, end of story


Ask versus Guess culture. (h/t [personal profile] conuly)
More judgmental commentary here. Given I had reblogged this with the tags "shame culture" and "guilt culture" I will admit I agree with this commentary.


one tab
the immediately following tab
Totally unintended.


Day 1 – I got a haircut today. It’s a lot shorter now but not working class short, not army short. Back at home, Sarah said that she liked it, that she could see herself playfully gripping tufts of my hair during sex. I said, “Why don’t we test that hypothesis?” and she obliged. God, I love her so much. If anything were to happen to her, I swear…

Day 2 – Sarah’s dead.


overlooked D&D monsters.
Also his comic (arbitrary example) is my Best Thing Ever of the whole week. (It really is.) (seriously.)


[personal profile] helarxe, I would be surprised to learn you had no part in the making of at least one of these alien races.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
We Don't Go There At Night
Rules & Guidelines:
  1. The story text should be the only text in your comic.
  2. Use the text any way you like.
  3. Your comic can be as long or as short as you choose, in any medium, on any subject.
  4. Your comic must be spooky.


The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang
We don’t normally think of it as such, but writing is a technology, which means that a literate person is someone whose thought processes are technologically mediated. We became cognitive cyborgs as soon as we became fluent readers, and the consequences of that were profound.
A thing that needs to be read. Fiction, if I recall.



Eating indigenously changes diets and lives of Native Americans
History and health came together one dark November evening for Marty Reinhardt at Northern Michigan University.

Reinhardt, a professor in the Native American Studies program, was helping to serve up fry bread, Indian tacos and other offerings at the annual First Nations Food Taster, a fund-raising event for the Native American Student Association, when he had an epiphany: “Would my ancestors even recognize this as food?”

Much has changed between Reinhardt and his ancestors. Indians have long since been removed to reservations, and diets based on seasonal hunting, fishing, gathering and gardening have been replaced by government-supplied commodity foods. Indians have suffered a crisis in diet-related obesity and health issues.

These disparate threads converged that evening in the Lake Superior port city of Marquette, Mich., as Reinhardt, of Anishinaabe Ojibway heritage, turned his question inside out, “I wondered if I could eat what my ancestors ate.”

The spark of curiosity soon evolved into a formal, university-sanctioned research study, the Decolonizing Diet Project — a year-long challenge to eat only foods that were in the Great Lakes region before 1602. The initial food challenge ended in March but the research into indigenous diet continues.
I remember during one of those days on campus in September where various clubs had their stands and one of them was the First Nations Law club and they were giving out free fry bread. I remember quietly politely accepting, but being less than impressed in the end and wondering what had been lost. The memory of that flavour is vivid, as is my post-dinner memory of my mother's very Chinese, very good cooking, and it is that contrast that makes me pay so much greater attention to this article.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
And [personal profile] helarxe breaks his long silence with of all things.

Incidentally, on notes of such monstrosities, while I've spent the week demanding in vain a proof of the apostolic succession, whatever line of thinking got an outspoken adherent to this kind of insight from someone who is not immediately in that situation himself is to be presumed not to be all that egregiously founded on falsehood.

Incidentally, on what to be when grown up.


While contemplating the theology of the Passion versus the assumptions of patriarchal privilege, an idea for a horrible, equally possibly blasphemous and important depiction occurred to me. Here is some discussion about that. The real discussion is actually in the comments and the article itself can be skipped if you read those.
(Ultimately the idea was decided against, as there was no way to ensure a non-prurient motive)


"Taking this into account, the authors revise the family tree of jawed vertebrates, showing that there is a serious possibility that the modern bony visage originated with E. primordialis’s ancestors. This would mean that humans look more like the last common ancestor of living jawed vertebrates than we thought, and that sharks are less primitive than palaeontologists assumed, having done away with their bones as an adaptation."


That's some strong pale fire right there. tl;dr Jane Chance gives the L.R. the same sort of postmodern, use-the-book-it-shouldn't-use-you-who-is-the-master, death-of-the-author "analysis" that I was taught in high school and undergrad. I bought into that sort of stuff hook line and sinker back then, managed to get As without reading more than 1/4 of any of the books (if even that).

For entertainment's sake, a more liberal (mostly in the sense of "liberally applied") evisceration here (although this writer misses the whole problem with the other book).


Stop the presses, I'm getting off.


All that the malice and atheism of the Dragon, the cruelty and rapacity of the Beast, and the fraud and deceit of the false Prophet can generate, or accomplish, swell the the list. No personal or national interest of man has been uninvaded; no impious sentiment or action has been spared...Shall we, my brethren, become partakers of these sins? Shall we introduce them into our government, our schools, our families? Shall our sons become the disciples of Voltaire, and the dragoons of Marat; or our daughters, the concubines of the Illuminati?


In a word, yes.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
In those days America had no king, and everyone did as they saw fit.



Boomhauer - Dust in the Wind


'A legislature is thwarted when a judge refuses to apply its handiwork to an unforeseen situation that is encompassed by the statute’s aim but is not a good fit with its text. Ignoring the limitations of foresight, and also the fact that a statute is a collective product that often leaves many questions of interpretation to be answered by the courts because the legislators cannot agree on the answers, the textual originalist demands that the legislature think through myriad hypothetical scenarios and provide for all of them explicitly rather than rely on courts to be sensible. In this way, textualism hobbles legislation—and thereby tilts toward “small government” and away from “big government,” which in modern America is a conservative preference.'


10 Myths About Science Fiction And Why They Matter
This isn't just about science fiction. Not even in the broad sense.
(See also this, this and this)


And the quote of the day.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Before everything else, if you read nothing else in this post, take a mental health break. It will break your mental health in all the best ways.


Riotous Eater of Flesh

A carnivorous tribal warrior-race from ______, a sweltering, ecologically volatile forest/ocean planet revolving around a yellow giant deep in the Orion Arm. Naturally resistant to damage and poisons, they have no claws or venoms of their own but rely entirely on things fashioned from available materials or forcibly extracted from other beings. Most of their brain matter is optimized towards problems of food, weapons and territorial displays, with a small non-reproductive caste dedicated to inquiries not directly related thereto. Capable of some limited hivemind-swarming, partially coordinated through their otherwise primitive displays.

Their homeworld rotates on an unusal axial tilt that is just enough to create significant climate differences on the surface while preventing any part of it from being permanently frozen over the year; it is speculated that their natural aggressiveness created a need to rapidly spread out across their world and adapt to its numerous varied climates and sources of nutrients. Their legends say that the planet has been subject to several mass extinctions in the past, apparently the last one perpetuated by these creatures themselves.


...


The reverse furry's face would lack the muscles and coordination necessary to form human expressions, and its eyes would have almost no visible whites.


...


Two dichotomies have been on my mind about what realities exist for us:
  • Transcendental, Institutional Real, Arbitrary

  • Personal, Impersonal

By transcendental real I mean like a rock: no matter what you say, it - or at least the underlying matter constituting it - is still there. (And if what you say is "You with the jackhammer, break this rock and clear our path", the resulting multitude of rocks and dust remains.) There is underneath the surface perception that, if known, becomes a connection to a greater world beyond our subjective interpretation.

By institutional arbitrary I mean the fact that we would call a certain composition a rock and not a pebble, gravel, lava or dust.

Generally, to say it without making an authorial value judgment, people will prefer the personal over the impersonal.

I would rather not imagine a society of people who would categorically value the institutional arbitrary over the transcendental real, rather than valuing the latter as the important one and the former as a necessary evil to be tolerated. A predominantly urbanized, industrialized subculture with an economy where the biggest commodity is information can get very close to such a thing.

The world of the rationalist is transcendental real and impersonal. The personal is relegated to a separate universe, a multitude of isolated wills that observe and act upon a mechanical, passive it that constitutes our (however grudgingly) shared environment.

The world of the ancients, with their gods and ancestors and karma and appeasements, is personal and institutional arbitrary: it's all about who you know, and the what eventually follows.

The core of Christian belief, immediately beneath the Resurrection, is of a transcendental [let's keep "transcendental" here for what follows] personal Reality that is the only true and self-sufficient one over all the others.

Following a childish, Manichean logic, h Hell would then be on the opposite corner: institutional arbitrary and impersonal, a fungible anonymity in which love is literally nonsensical (not merely dismissed as irrational for being against self-interest) in which everything is dictated by arbitrary merely institutional, unaccountable systems of deeming and pretence that are real only in the injustice and suffering they create. A modern, comprehensive bureaucratic state is often invoked as an example, though there are less immediately brutal implementations.

A frequent apparent contradiction, that God made "the world" good but "the world" is also a sordid mess ruled by Satan for the malefit of all, is resolved when the references are understood to mean two distinct worlds on opposite corners of this simple grid.

Following a more traditional distinction, t The remaining two corners aren't that lovely either.



Anyway, here's a thing about how guns work:



[2015-11-11: Made some long-overdue changes to the terminology names. (Short words beat long ones.) Mostly motivated by Fr. Stephen going along similar lines.]
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
This has been sitting in my DW draft window for far too long and I still don't know what to do with it.


On why we cannot have nice things. (and are fat)

...

And for the first time the gender binary and the whole birth control issue are explained to me in a sensical way.

While we've still got a stringent adherence to one man and one woman, not merely one and another, and I can think of a particularly uncharitable and horrible way to interpret the admonishment to satisfy one another, this is a far, far cry from the evil condoms and the quiverings of others who claim Christianity.
The idea that God created human sexual relations only or primarily for procreation denies the special creation of man that separates him from the animals. Furthermore, it makes God the author of evil and a cruel tempter worse than even the devil. It teaches a Calvinistic Orthodoxy and elitism, because, on the one hand, God removes the elect (i.e. celibates) to the cloister and desert, away from the world and the presence of tangible temptation. And on the other hand, He condemns the non-elect and yokes men and women to the grievous burden of living in the closest and most intimate proximity, of being tempted and drawn to one another, but permitting them to come together only for procreation, because the marital act is evil. Because this perverse premise tramples on the words of God and the Apostle, it was condemned by the Apostolic Canons, the First and the Sixth Ecumenical Councils, and other local Councils.
I will not quote from footnote 28 as all of footnote 28, which is quite lengthy, would have to be quoted for effect.

I should stress at this point that I do not necessarily post things and even say they are good because I agree entirely with them. There are many things one would like to be true, and other things that are believed by those who believe the things you are considering or may even already agree with, that are quite something other than true. But at least, as an argument against gender-neutral recognition of marriage, it is something at least a small step removed from the usual garbage-in, garbage-out groundless essentialist categorical denial.

(And of course without limitation I actually agree with footnote 28.)

Which leaves us with this:

  1. Homosexuality is a sin because the homosexual act cannot be done in the context of a marriage, which to be blessed requires the union of two persons in Christ as the reconciliation of the two gendered halves of humanity in a way that embodies the unity of all those who would be saved, and without such blessing cannot amount to anything more than fornication.

  2. Homophobia is a sin because it divides people against each other, twists men's perceptions of affection, taints all relationships with inappropriate thoughts of sexual domination, isolates its perpetrators and victims in shells of hatred and shame, paralyzes men against any expression of love towards other men (and we're talking about a religion that's all about Love of a God traditionally marked with male Pronouns!), drives people to murder and suicide, and ultimately denies the creation of humanity in the image of the good God.

If one and only one of homosexual and homophobic acts were to be lawfully allowed, which is obviously the more Christian answer?
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
I take back certain things I may have said about Ground Branch a while back. actually coming along quite nicely given what is trying to be done.

On panopticons and when terrorists win.

Here, have some more imaginary evil.

...


Dumped by phone call. Asked if I still wanted to go visit her friend with her as we originally planned. Struck me as less than ideally unawkward.

Over the year I'd thought of her as a lifeline, or more aptly a possible final straw that would tip the balance.

Timed something wrong and was not listening to loud music through earbuds while Joel Osteen was on in the other room. He spoke of Zacchaeus, and I was reminded, and became at peace.

Then I called.

She wasn't angry at me. There wasn't hate in her voice. I could have kissed her for that alone, but obviously this was not the time for various reasons.

There was an Interruption, and now I'm posting this pending her return call if she makes it. If not, then some other day.


And now I wonder whether this would get me working on NML again by the end of tonight.

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated October 21st, 2017 15:40
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios