Friday, August 17, 2012

A Western misconception about Islam

I just saw Muslim Imam explaining the technique in wife beating linked to, from Everyone in the thread predictably crowded around and said how depraved and horrific it was. That's one of the favourite pastimes that occurs on ATS; someone will post some particularly horrific crime or piece of apocalyptic doom porn, and then a crowd will gather to condemn the depravity of the article in question, and gasp about how scandalised they are.

Of course, yes, a Muslim imam giving a tutorial on how to batter your wife is disgusting; but at the same time, I feel that there is an element of Islamic morality, which Western audiences apparently fail to understand.

Said element is the fact that the West places emphasis on the wellbeing of the individual, whereas Islam, conversely, places emphasis on the wellbeing of the collective.

To explain what this means, an American or European person observing Islamic behaviour, will think that it is horrific if Muslims flog or honour kill an individual, because of the suffering that said individual will go through. Muslims, on the other hand, consider the integrity of the collective society to be more important; and if the individual in question is guilty of a crime, will feel that the entire reason why the individual needs to be punished not only with barbaric severity, but also publically, is in order to ensure that the entire society is not overrun with individuals engaging in the same crime.

I'm actually getting fairly tired of seeing Americans in particular, condemn Islamic behaviour, recently. The reason why, isn't because I don't consider Muslims degenerate; they very often are. It's because I believe that humanity is very possibly currently headed towards extinction, and that if human extinction occurs, America will very largely be responsible for it. As a result, Americans claiming moral superiority over anyone else on the planet, is basically a sick joke, at this point. Capitalism is most likely going to kill us all, and my money says it will do so long before the Muslims get around to it.

I've been using the Internet long enough to have seen first hand, what Capitalism did to it, Americans. If I had no other reason to view Capitalism as a bad thing, its' rape of the Internet would be enough. I remember when the Internet was a self-organising, meritocratic technocracy; protocol specifications were adopted and used on the basis of whether or not they worked, and when the Internet Engineering Task Force and W3C consisted of the only group who, as far as I'm concerned, have any right to political power whatsoever; non-psychopathic engineers and scientists.

Capitalism destroyed that. The W3C in particular became corporate whores. I saw what a comparitively obfuscated, convoluted mess HTML 4+ has been, compared to the HTML specifications released prior to that. The reason why, of course, is because when said prior specs were released, the W3C had not yet had their souls contaminated by Microsoft.

One last point, related to this post's original topic. I'm really not afraid of an Islamic takeover of the entire planet any more. I'm not sure why, exactly; but for me, the fear of it finally, truly ended earlier today.

Again, I don't know why I'm not afraid of the Islamic tidal wave. Everything I've read about the subject tells me that logically, I should be. That there genuinely are large numbers of Muslims out there who are committed to the wholesale assimilation and murder of non-Islamic human society, including me.

Yet when I think about it now, the only thing I feel is pure calm. I think maybe it's because, although I'm not a Muslim, I'm also not an atheist; and I truthfully have come to feel that Muslims and I believe in the same God, or close. There's a lot of evil in Islam, yes, and I'm not going to try and deny that; but there is some real beauty in the Qu'ran and the Hadiths as well.

On Above Top Secret, I also met two Islamic women, who really assisted me in looking at both sides.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The War Culture

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.

Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.
-- Bill Britt, The 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism.

"Every day is Memorial Day. Every day is Memorial Day."

I was in the supermarket, looking at the DVD cover for the "Green Lantern," movie, when it hit me. When the realisation that had been dancing around my intuition's peripheral vision for who knows how long, finally came into conscious awareness; although there had been hints before now, like the last time I watched Terminator: Salvation.

"In a universe as mysterious as it is vast," the synopsis of Green Lantern read, "an elite corps of protectors for peace and justice had existed for centuries."

I stopped reading there, because what I'd been aware of for who knows how long, suddenly snapped into stark reality, before me, even though I don't know how to completely verbalise it, even now; but here goes.

There is an inherent paradox, in fact any number of paradoxes and contradictions, in the phrase, "protectors for peace and justice." I think Krishnamurti was the first one I heard say, that talking about fighting for peace, is directly akin to saying that we must lie in filth for cleanliness. The thing I've realised is, that the only people who've come up with the entire concept of needing "protection," from anything at all, are the Service to Self psychopaths; and they are the ones keeping the whole sick game going.

I'm a civilian. I haven't been to war. Yet something that a number of video games has taught me, is that in real war, a particular parallel is developing. It's this scenario where there's always another Big Bad to fight, somewhere; another raid boss.

"Every day is Memorial Day. Every day is Memorial Day."

In terms of the last 140 odd years offline, first it was Keiser Wilhelm, then it was Adolf Hitler, then it was Joseph Stalin, then it was Fidel Castro, then it was Ho Chi Minh, then it was Sadaam Hussein, then it was Osama bin Laden, then it was Moamar Qaddafi, then it was Bashar al Assad. Tomorrow it will probably be Ahmedinejad, in Iran. There have been any number of other smaller leiutenants along the way.

In World of Warcraft, first it was Kel'Thuzzad, then it was Illidan Stormrage, then it was Arthas Menethil, then it was Deathwing. There were any number of other smaller leiutenants along the way.

You might be wondering what the point of my thinking is, here; where this is all going, and why you should care. On, I kept seeing American veterans over and over again insisting to the civilians, that during the GWOT, in Iraq and Afghanistan, they'd somehow been defending someone's freedom. What the thinking members of the forum audience could never figure out, however, was just who's freedom that was, exactly.

It wasn't the freedom of the people living in those countries, themselves; unless we want to talk about freedom from corporeal existence. It hasn't been the freedom of domestic American citizens, unless we're willing to entertain the idea that lethal domestic use of unmanned drones, or Obama getting together with his lesser caporegima to decide who will get whacked by remote this week, is what the Constitution's framers had in mind.

I've started to realise, that what the people running the show want, is a scenario where, in the end, the cause for which people are fighting, in and of itself, basically becomes immaterial. Oh, the cause will be there, however vague, or peripheral, or riddled with utterly implausible bullshit it might be, so that as a last resort, we can drag it out and point to it as justification, if we ever feel the need.

That's not going to be the real point, however. The real point, will simply be that we keep fighting, purely for its' own sake. War as culture. War as a way of life. War simply because, supposedly, that is what we do. I'll never forget seeing the prologue to the video game Gears of War 2, where it was implied that warfare is a supposedly inherent, instinctive element of human nature. That is exactly what the psychopaths want us to believe; because for them, but not for us, it's actually true.

I made a decision, after seeing that, that gaming had lost its' innocence for me, and that I wasn't going to play any new computer games, or at least not violent ones. Today, the only thing I do in video game terms, is vicarious engineering in Minecraft, and the difficulty setting is Peaceful. I use that game as a means of building the types of models that Jacques Fresco has for the past 60 years now.

Jacques and I have a lot in common. We both like to think of ourselves as engineers, even though most other people would disagree, (especially in my own case) and we both dream of a better future; a future which nobody else seems to want. He, Nikola Tesla, Hermes Trismegistus, and Bucky Fuller are my role models; not Patton, Mussolini, Hitler, or Duke Nukem.

I had the thought while watching Terminator Salvation, recently; while watching Christian Bale and a few other people walk point through some generic underground cavern, that what I was seeing on the screen, was what the psychopaths wanted for us. A fully automatic, frag grenade present, and Kali only knows what future. A scenario where a continuing, never ending stream of blood, and fecal matter, and smashed bodies, and shattered minds, all transmutes into the dollar bills which the ruling psychopaths use to light their cigars. An unspeakable perversion of Alchemy.

I remember being in the Hall of the Brave, in Orgrimmar, during my time playing World of Warcraft; and similar online lobbies for several other games. I remember the sense while playing the various games within the Quake series, that the battle was constant, endless, perpetual; that 24 hours a day, it went on. Over and over again. Longer than years, longer than decades, longer than centuries. Forever.

Qoy qeylls puqlod,
Qoy puqbe' pu'.
yoHbogh matlhbogh je suvwl'
say' moltchu' may' lw.
maSuv manong 'ej maHoHchu'.
nl' be' ylnmaj 'ach wovqu'.
batlh maheghbej 'ej yo'.
qljDaq vavpu' ma' Dlmuv.
pa' reH masuvta Hqu'.
mamevQo'. maSuvlaH. Ma'ov.

Hear! Sons of Kahless,
Hear! Daughters too.
The blood of battle washes clean,
the warrior brave and true.
We fight, we love, and then we kill,
our lives burn short and bright,
then we die with honor and
join our fathers in the Black Fleet
where we battle forever,
battling on through the Eternal fight.

The nature of it, has made me think, that maybe the Hindu concept is accurate. Maybe time in general is just one giant circle, and everything that has ever happened before, is either happening now, or is going to happen again in the future. Over the last few nights, I've been watching documentaries on the Pyramids in Egypt. A lot of people are starting to say that the Egyptians had to have technology that was better than what we've got right now, because we couldn't build the Pyramids ourselves with what we have.

"Every day is Memorial Day. Every day is Memorial Day."

That's what we're meant to think. I want to say here, once and for all, that Lest we forget is a lie. A cruel, sick, twisted lie; like most of the other lies the psychopaths use against us. The point of remembering war has never been to bring about the end of it, but exactly the opposite. By keeping war perpetually in our minds, the psychopaths hope to normalise war. They want to create a scenario where endless war is seen as a completely natural thing, for human beings. Beyond the usual grieving process that is healthy and normal in response to any of our loved ones who have died, the only thing honouring the fallen does, is ensure that there will be more of them.

The one thing I think the veterans love, more than anything else, is the distinction between themselves and civilians. To the American veterans on, I didn't know what I was talking about. I was just that infuriating boy from Australia. I think it was back when I was playing Doom 2 in the mid 1990s, however, that I started to realise that we were headed towards a society where, eventually, there'd be no such thing as a civilian. If you don't believe me, remember the Batman Massacre. Remember also, the imagery of Bane, and the way that character behaved, in The Dark Knight Rises; which like it or not, the Batman shooting was a reaction to, if only synchronistically.

I remember how ironic it was, when I read a citation from some UN documents, by Mike Adams, where the U.N. was talking about how it wanted to establish a global monopoly of violence. That's not what we're headed towards.

These games train everyone who plays them, at least conceptually, in infantry tactics.

Think about what that means, for a few moments. It means that if you are a parent, your child plays the Call of Duty series, he's going to learn what walking point means. He's going to potentially become extremely knowledgeable about modern warfare; the weaponry, the equipment, the jargon, you name it.

Your child, if he plays these games, will be taught that organised, systematic, collective murder, is the appropriate central focus of human existence.

Is this an education you want for your child? Is this an education that you want for yourself?

I've realised, ultimately, that I do not need to have experienced the real thing, to know that I do not want it.

Humanity is capable of better than this. We've come too far as a species, for our end to come as a result of this type of suicide. This has always been the main source of my frustration towards homo sapiens. Man is capable of a sufficiently greater degree of potential than what he currently exhibits, that I am incapable of more than barely comprehending it; and yet he insists on focusing on his own most base, negative, and bestial instincts, even to the point where extinction becomes a genuine possibility.

I'll let you in on another big secret, as well. My attitude here, is not coming from any professed enlightenment. I'm a long way from that. I've been permanently banned from four different Internet forums, including both versions of the World of Warcraft forums.

It simply comes from being tired of conflict, in whatever form. It doesn't need to be a scenario where I'm actually in direct risk of literally having my head blown off. Conflict between myself and the people I live with, or even the video game kind is enough.

I'm not one of their mercenaries, but I can still get rid of whatever degree of it exists within my own life. No more drama. No more even thinking about physical conflict of any kind. No more violent video games. I'm over it.

"Every day is Memorial Day. Every day is Memorial Day..."

Not any more it isn't. Not for me.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Terra Nova: The Horde is Evil

Terra Nova: The Horde is Evil

While I appreciate the questions you've raised here, Mr Castranova, I will admit that I feel that some of your answers definitely leave something to be desired. I want to reply to some of these points. I'm posting on my blog primarily due to the size constraints in the comments column on the article's page.

There are good reasons for playing evil characters - to give others an opportunity to be good, to help tell a story, to explore the nature of evil.

This in particular is something which I think perhaps should have been given more consideration in the rest of the article. Evil is not a word with a simplistic definition, customarily speaking.

My son (age 3) was afraid of my character. He was afraid of the Undercity. And that's just from the imagery

As a toddler and up until around the age of four, the appearance of the Count from Sesame Street caused me particular consternation when he appeared on the screen. I don't, personally, consider most of the imagery associated with the Forsaken to be substantially more disturbing than the Count was, however. My primary character is actually a Forsaken Mage, and given that my race of choice in Warcraft 3 were also the Scourge, I feel to some degree qualified in answering this point.

I would have joined you in defining the Scourge as "evil"; unreservedly so. My use of them in Warcraft 3 was almost entirely motivated by aesthetic considerations; I will admit to having found Nerubian architecture highly appealing.

The Forsaken, however, are an entirely different matter. Given that the Scourge were completely under the control of Ner'zhul, (and I mean completely, in terms of mental superimposition) I don't feel that it could be effectively argued that individual beings within the Scourge had a large degree of choice regarding their actions. Given that the Forsaken have become divorced from the Scourge, however, their situation is not the same. They can, admittedly, choose to continue behaving in an entirely evil manner, or they can choose to attempt to atone for their earlier actions as members of the Scourge. Thus, I consider the acts of any individual member of the Forsaken to be their responsibility and their responsibility alone; I do not feel that a moral generalisation regarding the whole of Forsaken society is appropriate. An analogy here which you may find comfortable would be to think of people who have been freed from any number of real world groups who employ the use of mind control. The superimposition of a false personality can cause a given individual to behave in ways which they would never consider outside the group's environment, and once removed from said group's environment, their original personality and individual ethical model are free to re-assert themselves.

I think there is another point here that needs to be made about the Undercity, and that is that aesthetic choice does not necessarily go hand in glove with moral position.

While I would not refer to myself as Gothic in the entire, formal sense of the word, I will admit that my own aesthetic taste in some respects perhaps does tend towards that which could be considered disturbing by mainstream standards. I have, I will admit, undergone severe psychological trauma at times in the past, and consider that that factor may have something to do with my own aesthetic predisposition; however, I do not in my own case consider it an indication of my being "evil." As an aside, my younger brother has been very firm friends for a number of years with another teenager who perhaps could be described as Gothic in a definite sense, and whose mother is a practicing Wiccan, as well as having a very dear friend online myself who is also a committed Wiccan. These three individuals are also among the most genuinely altruistic and hospitable people that I have ever known.

The point here is that moral judgements about individuals should not be made, I believe, merely on the basis that the initial external appearance (or certain other sociological choices, such as religion) of said individuals is disturbing to one's own cultural sensibilities. Apart from often being inaccurate, such judgement is also likely to quite rightly be found highly offensive by its' recipient.

If my undead warlock were an extension of myself, something I was pursuing for mere enjoyment, then it ought to be a troubling question for me, sholdn't it? Why am I finding pleasure in expressing myself in a form that frightens 3-year-olds?

There are myriad things in contemporary society which could be found traumatic not only by 3 year olds, but presumably by older people as well. I do not necessarily advocate that a 3 year old should be playing WoW, nor do I feel that the environment should necessarily be one in which a 3 year old could be comfortable. Adulthood brings with it complexities and ambiguities in a great many different forms, and it could also be said that even if you yourself were committed to behaving in an entirely sterile way, you could not legitimately control the behaviour of others such that, in a game like WoW, your 3 year old could entirely avoid seeing things which were likely to upset him. I suspect, for example, that you would not wish for your 3 year old to be able to witness two adults engaging in sex, even if it were occuring in the context of a loveing, monogamous relationship, and an entire absence of any form of deviancy on the part of the two adults concerned. My point is that there is nothing wrong with said adults in that context making love; it is normal, healthy, and indeed essential for the survival of said relationship. However, many of us with young children would also agree that despite it being normal for the adults, it is still likely something that a young child could find disturbing, (or at the very least highly confusing) and hence, not something that the children should be exposed to.

You might then turn around and say that in the context of sex, that's true, but that the analogy doesn't hold for a necromancer. My own answer (and I realise that this would not hold for others) to this would be to say that my own choice of magic-using characters is generally one made entirely based on pragmatism; that is, that it makes a lot of sense to me that a magic-user is going to have a major survival advantage in a partially magically-based environment. It is also true that in a real-world sense, I am not a person with a lot of physical strength, and thus would not mentally approach a fight in the same way as someone who did. My own approach there is based on either avoidance or intellectual problem solving, and I find it much easier to carry that approach over into a game rather than attempt to create a new model for dealing with conflict which is entirely hypothetically based.

A necromancer could be seen as a character who attempts to borrow the physical or melee capability from corpses due to not posessing physical strength himself. Given that he deals with the dead in this manner, it probably makes sense in the minds of Blizzard's artists to associate a certain amount of (perhaps sensationalistic or theatrical in some instances) Gothic imagery with the character.

You might then still say that a necromancer raising the dead in such a manner has connotations which are disturbing; I would agree with regards to my own sensibilities, which is why I do not have a necromancer character myself.

My assertion is that this is a genuine and significant moral issue that everyone who chooses an avatar needs to think about. Morally compulsory.

Again, that depends on whether or not your perspective is based purely on what characteristics that character has available with regards to solving in-game problems, (from an entirely mechanistic/pragmatic point of view) or that you view your avatar as potentially having implications beyond the game itself. I personally do not; in my own mind the game is just that; a game. Using a mage character within the game does not mean that afterwards I'm going to go outside and want (or expect to be able) to throw fireballs at a next door neighbour.

And hence the choice of Undead, by a scholar, as an act of self-expression (rather than study, exploration, serving as a foil, etc.), is questionable from the standpoint of personal integrity.

That's your perspective, and you're completely entitled to it. My perspective is that it is an individual's own choice, and that it also doesn't necessarily reflect on said individual's integrity at all.

In advancing these positions, I am upending a number of apple carts.

You're stating opinions. That in itself I have no problem with. What does somewhat concern me is that your perspective seems to be that your own way of looking at some of these things is the only possible way...and with all due respect, it isn't.

But what I sense is a passionate and arational commitment to denying the presence of ethics at all in the choice of how we play.

I originally started playing as an Alliance character, and only started my Horde character because all of my local offline friends had Horde characters, and I wouldn't have been able to communicate with them in-game otherwise.

However, as time went on and I read more about the backstory, I actually started viewing the Horde as being a lot more morally desirable than the Alliance, to be honest. The Orcs are shown to have only been behaving in an excessively militaristic fashion in the first two games because of external spiritual influence; influence which, in the context of the game's universe, would have been largely impossible to resist. They were basically enslaved, given the equivalent of temporary genetic engineering, (the bloodlust) and then told that fighting was the only chance they had to end said condition of enslavement.

Once they were freed, however, they started behaving in an entirely different way. They saved both the Tauren and the Trolls from extermination, and their primary goal after that simply became the foundation of their own nation.

On my own server anyway, (Jubei'Thos) Horde characters are close-knit, and we help each other. High level characters actively work to protect lower-level characters from Alliance attacks. We have a number of high level Alliance characters, (mostly elves usually it seems; the race who apparently can do no wrong in many people's eyes) who specifically attack "nursery" areas in a manner which I consider enormously cowardly. Of course in their minds, they're probably mounting attacks against the "unclean, evil Horde." Try being on the Horde side of the fence in such a scenario; you start to see things a bit differently.

Also, in terms of Orcs being monsters, I've never read about a single literary universe which had elves where they were not genocidal, xenophobic, hypocritical snobs who saw themselves as the Master Race; in Dragonlance in particular, they even try to exterminate each other. Ditto for the Humans; They're "civilised" and anyone who is different gets labelled a monster or savage whether they actually are or not.

One more thing: Offline, I'm autistic, and was born early enough (in 1977) that autism wasn't anywhere near as commonplace when I was a child as it is today. I know what it is like to be included in group scenarios purely for comic relief; I also know what it's like to be literally considered non-human. My parents have verbally asked themselves what they did wrong to have given birth to me, and my father once said that if I'd been alive in Germany at the time of the Holocaust, I would have been at the head of the queue being led into the gas chambers, alongside the others who were sent there.

I'm proud of being a member of the Horde, and when I truly think about it, I wouldn't want an Alliance char now. They can have the humans and elves; the "beautiful people." They can have their concentration camps and their belief that they're the exclusive flower of civilisation.

We on the other hand can continue to have our proverbial Big Tent, co-operate with each other, and help each other; we'll have the "freaks," the outcasts and "monsters", the people they don't want.

Loktar Ogar!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Fractured Singleton: Free Open Source Support: The Bad and the Good

The Fractured Singleton: Free Open Source Support: The Bad and the Good

this is a response to on my new local wiki to the above link and several others like it, which I am hoping will be able to offer people some assistance.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Red Hat's silent Linux coup de tat

Microsoft to buy Red Hat? Say it ain’t so | Open Source |

If this were to happen, the GNU Project (and most likely Linux as an operating system) would be finished. By supplying the degree of development hosting/facilities that they have, and investing their own staff in the development of the packages, Red Hat have in effect hijacked large portions of the GNU Project's software, including such critical packages (to a GNU/Linux system) as Glibc. In doing this they have also demonstrated understanding of one key fact which Microsoft have not grasped...Namely, that the Linux kernel itself is only a single piece of software, and that the lion's share of the userland is comprised of GNU Project software. Control the GNU Project (as Red Hat now effectively does, at least in very significant portions) and you control the operating system itself. The GNU Project in a very real sense ceased to be free software from the moment its development moved to

But wait, I hear you say. All of the GNU Project's software is licensed under the GPL. Surely the GPL would protect the software even if Microsoft bought out a large number of its developers? If Microsoft were to stop with the acquisition of Red Hat itself, then yes, it would. However, considering that Microsoft's next step would almost certainly be to close the source of these packages, the GPL would very rapidly become a legal inconvenience. In that event, the only thing they would need to do would be to step on the FSF itself, which they could probably very easily do by financially seducing whichever members of its' development base they didn't get with the acquisition of Red Hat, and the foundation's legal team. Richard Stallman has in truth retained very little genuine relevance these days, and is for the most part now considered a fanatical crackpot. Microsoft would find isolating him from his organisation to be simplicity itself if they were to seriously attempt it.

Then again, the above would probably not be necessary. Red Hat have already demonstrated that the functional equivalent of removing access to source code is possible with Glibc. Glibc in particular was a highly complex package to begin with...but Red Hat have been progressively working to raise that level of complexity to such a degree that the package will eventually be unusable to anyone but the company itself. Given what a crucial component a C library is to an independent operating system, and how few viable alternatives exist because of the level of complexity inherent in the package, Red Hat's hijacking of this package will essentially mean that not only will the creation of truly new Linux distributions no longer be possible, but it will essentially end the possibility of creating new GNU compatible operating systems in general. Red Hat have in essence done exactly that which was advocated for Microsoft by VinodV in the first and second Halloween Documents:- Glibc's use as the lynchpin of new Linux distributions or GNU compatible operating systems has been rendered impossible by raising Glibc's level of complexity to undiscoverable and near proprietary levels.

Embrace and extend: Take a standard, add proprietary functionality, don't document it or provide specifications for it. If you ensure that the proprietary functionality you add is sufficiently crowd-pleasing in nature, it will become so popular that the open standard will grow to be considered irrelevant and obselete, and people will become dependent on your own closed, non-free product. End of story, as far as people genuinely doing their own thing with software is concerned.

Add to that the fact that high level members of Red Hat's staff have joined the Open Source Initiative, and the picture of Red Hat's subversion of Linux (and with OSI, potentially the legal arm of the entire FOSS movement) is complete. Linux is now being held in a stranglehold by the company, although it may not be readily visible as yet...All Microsoft's acquisition of Red Hat would essentially do is drive the final nail into the coffin.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Why I Do Care About Terry Schiavo - A Response

Why I Don't Care About Terry Schiavo

I consider this article rather insensitive. Yes, I agree that we should not allow our emotions to be manipulated by the media. Yes, I agree that the American media are making a sick, depraved circus of Terry's situation, like they do with just about everything else. And yes, it's no secret that I consider George W Bush and Co. to be a group of thoroughly evil human beings. It doesn't surprise me in the least that that government and its theocratic fascist constituency are exploiting Terry's situation to further their own political agenda, which they seem to be able to do with virtually any incident that occurs these days.

There's a difference though, between pointing out that people should most definitely not be exploiting Terry's situation for their own gain, and expressing indifference to Terry's suffering in itself. The fact that there are ghouls in the world who would use the plight of a starving, semi-comatose woman to further their own ends does not in any way deligitimise said woman's anguish. I don't believe, for the record, that Terry is or would be completely oblivious right now...I think she would be in a tremendous amount of fear, confusion, and pain. I don't want to wallow in those things for the sake of wallowing in them, but I do feel for this woman.

I don't think it's pandering to anybody for me to empathise with her, or that it's allowing myself to be led by the media. I simply feel concern for her and desire a positive end to her suffering, in whatever form that can come. I also would like the media circus to end as much as anyone, but I know sadly that it won't.

The other thing a lot of people need to consider is that given what life on this planet is going to be like for the next ten years or so I suspect, Terry will most likely be better off if she does die. I don't believe the world's going to be destroyed in the same sense that the Christian fundamentalists do...but I do believe that the current period corresponds with what virtually every culture on the planet has at one time or another predicted as being the end of society as we know it. That doesn't mean things aren't going to go on in some form...I think they will...but it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Terry should be allowed to go in peace.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Can We Dare Believe It?

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan

The critical analysis of George W Bush's recent inaugural speech by Peggy Noonan, a woman who by all accounts has been a long and steadfast advocate of Bush, is cause for cautious, but nonetheless breathless optimism. When I read her words, I find myself experiencing the minute beginnings of an emotion almost never felt in connection with neoconservatives - hope. I find myself daring to believe that maybe somewhere in the depths of her soul, there is the faint stirring of the possibility that maybe - just maybe - Bush and his government have been mistaken about Iraq and the involuntary export of democracy at gunpoint...and that by extension, this crack in her belief could somehow be widened such that she might eventually be willing to concede the idea that again, maybe - just maybe - Bush is also wrong about a whole lot of other things.

For so long those of us who have been greatly disturbed by Bush's reign of horror and blood have had to try and accept the idea that his advocates were completely immune to reason or the voice of conscience. That for them, perception was entirely subjective and voluntary...that dissenting or contradictory information would simply be met with oblivion, as though it did not exist. Peggy represents the possibility that maybe - just maybe - that is not always the case. Maybe with some of them, we *can* get through.

Maybe, some can realise that underneath all the whitewash, propaganda, and spin, the invasion of Iraq has been wrong...hideously and murderously so.

Maybe, some can realise that Iran would be far worse.

Maybe, some can realise that after Iraq, after Iran, Bush will eventually bring his unending hunger for blood and repression back home, resulting in the confiscation of first remaining freedom, and then lives.

And maybe - just maybe - those who are able to see George W Bush for who and what he truly is will somehow be able to start to drive back his isolation, seperation, and fear...before it is too late.

Thank God for you, Peggy...and I do not invoke Bush's God here either. I invoke here the God of those of us who know that love and the creative impulse - the impulse to create life, rather than to destroy it, as was done in Fallujah and elsewhere - are the primal driving forces of our infinite Universe, and that that Universe is unspeakably greater, more varied, and more filled with possibility than the majority of Christians ever can or likely will know. Know, however, that in questioning Bush's speech, you have done far more than you may realise. You have potentially lit a small, flickering light in the midst of a sea of darkness so great that many have questioned whether they would ever see its end. Thank you.