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Mythological Stranger's Blog
Friday, August 31, 2007
"I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good."
The title quote is one of my favorites, from the roman play write and philosopher Seneca. I know, its a hell of a way to break my posting hiatus, and it may be the only post I'll make in the near future (I make no promises) but I'm just going to make this entire post a half-dozen or so quotes that I like.

So without further ado, my favorite 6 quotes in no particular order.

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."
~Albert Einstein

"He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not is a slave."
~Sir William Drummond

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
~John F. Kennedy

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
~Benjamin Franklin

"
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."
Abraham Maslow

"Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when it is quoted than when we read it in the original author?"
Philip G. Hamerton

And to close the post out, one that perhaps I should leave off because it contradicts the post. But hey, it's still clever.

"
A quotation, like a pun, should come unsought, and then be welcomed only for some propriety of felicity justifying the intrusion."
~Robert Chapman
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Thursday, June 30, 2005
New Link
Just a quick post to let everyone know they should go to eff.org (first link to the right) and check out what they have going on over there. Very informative and thought out.

Laters,

M.S.
(5) comments
Thursday, June 23, 2005
The Nature of Humanity
There are many popular view on the nature of humanity, so I thought maybe I'd offer up a few of them and my analysis of each one. Some of these points of view are secular, but most are obviuosly religious in basis.

1. Humanity is Basically Good (Good for the sake of being good.)
This is the most basic (and naive) viewpoint of the ones I'll list. It means exactly what it sounds like it means. That, given the choice, the majority of humanity would do what was right reguardless of consequences or punishments. I'm inclined not to believe this one, in large part because anyone who's lived in the real world is far too cynical to believe such sentiments.

2. Humanity has a Sin Nature (Good of their own desire.)
This is the christian perspective (along with that of the majority of other organized religions). It basically says that humans have a wicked nature they must strive against, but that the majority will be good for the sake of not being evil. I come closer to believing this one because I am Christian... but I think there is one aspect of it I disagree with, as I'll explain below.

3. Humanity is Fearful (Good for fear of punishment.)
This is the one of the three basic beliefs I believe the most. I'm not sure if I was the first to say it, but it is my belief that the majority of humanity is only good because they fear the consequences of being evil. Even the majority of Christians are (unfortunately) guilty of living under this belief. They claim they are following one of the first 2, but in truth it's a fear of the consequences of not being good that drives the majority of them (and the rest of humanity for that reason) to do what is right.

I'm not sure what inspired me to offer up this analysis... I guess recent events in the lives of those around me had me thinking about whether humans were really capable of altruism. Which, after I dismissed altruism as a dream, started me thinking about why good deeds were done in the rare instance where there was seemingly nothing to be gained by it. So... I know this was a pointless post, but it had been a while since my last one so I thought I'd put it up.

Always have a line to go out on.

~MS

"Character is higher than intellect... A great soul will be strong to live, as well as to think."
~Ralph Waldo Emmerson
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Saturday, April 30, 2005
If you buy this, I've got a bridge to sell ya.
Two years ago today, president George W. Bush declared that major combat in Iraq was over. Right George... we all believed you. But tell me why we're still there.

I know I'm not necessarily old enough for my opinion to hold water with some of those who may read this, but I'd like to think my limited life experience gives me the ability to see this from a angle some of you can't. I know more than a few military people even still. I even got a email from one of the friends I made in basic, telling me he was deployed in Iraq not six months ago.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but that was 18 months after major combat was over... and we were still sending in fresh troops. Seems to me that if major combat was indeed over, we'd have reduced our forces to a smaller "peace-keeping" force (like the ones we have in Bosnia, and Kuwait) but instead we're still expanding our number of troops there and spending more and more outrageous amounts of money. I'm not mad at the fact we're there... don't mistake my motives. I'm upset with the fact our president didn't respect the American public enough to tell us "yea... we're doing well, but we'll still be here a while." Hell, honesty is not a lot to ask for is it?

Back to the subject of money. Want to know something disgusting about this "war"? Not even counting what we've spent on troops' travel and foodstuffs (as their budgets are largely covered under the auspices of the Department of Defense) we've spent so much money in Iraq that, were we to divide it evenly with every American citizen, each and every one would get over $1500. And guess what? Bush just passed a bill to let him spend even MORE money over there.

You know, George, instead of raping social security with privitization; you might consider cutting back the amount of money you spend on wars that are, at this point at least, completely unneccesary (note: I did not say it wasn't necessary to begin with... just that "keeping it up" is not necessary now that we've crippled Saddam's regime)

I suppose it's fairly evident I don't support Bush's decisions all that much. But I'm not a liberal. I didn't vote for Kerry (his exit strategy sucked from a millitary viewpoint anyways). I voted Libertarian. And while some of you may count that as a wasted vote (in fact a couple of people have told me I wasted my vote) I believe that no choice, made on your own moral convictions, can be wrong. [I think I just threw this part in so no one would ask if I voted for Kerry. Bush is a better president than Kerry would have been. Or Gore.]

Ok well there's my rant for the day. I know it's been a while since I've posted. I just don't often think of a subject I consider worth posting about. So I'm off now. Peace, Love, and Happiness,

~M.S.

"You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it."
~Malcolm X
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Saturday, March 12, 2005
Who's Driving the Car, Now?
Often times, we analogise being in charge or control of a given situation with being in the driver's seat of a car. I've been reading a number of articles recently on the issue of discrimination (be it real or imaginary), and the thought occured to me: who is most guilty of discriminating against a group of peoples in the United States today? So... rather than start shouting "Oh! I'm the only one who's EVER been discriminated against!" as so many of the groups in some of these articles seem to be doing; I thought I might compile a list of alleged discriminations, redress them as best I am able, and come to a conclusion on who really suffers most under the lash of discrimination, at the end of the article.

We'll start with the most often used (and accused) form of discrimination: racial/ethnic discrimination. While many cases of actual discrimination amongst people not of the same ethnicity as one another may exsist in the United States, it is not nearly so rampant as some would like you to believe.

[A point of interest in this: while minorities have, for many years, been insisting that the police single them out as suspects in crimes, recent data released by the Harris County Police Department states that, of all arrests made in 2004, 34% were black, 33% were white, and 31% were latino (with the remaining 2% being smaller minorities in Texas). This contradicts the claims of discrimination there, but lets not get sidetracked. ]

Nor has it been completely eliminated, as some others may like you to believe. Rather, the majority of racial descrimination that does still exsist has done one of two things, as a general rule. It has either:

1- Continued in the form of a stereotype. This form is on the rise, dramatically. (i.e. african-american people are atheletes, arab-american people own convenience stores, latino-american people are in gangs, etc. etc. etc.) There's an impossibly high number of stereotypes to keep track of. And I suspect that everyone is, at some point, guilty of desciminating against another person through stereotypes.

-or-

2- Moved to a more intimate setting. These are fanatics we all know and despise for their desciminatory beliefs. Groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Black Book, the American Nazi Party, and the Black Panthers all come to mind. And yes, I do view the KKK and the Black Panthers as being on the same tier of racial descimination. Basically, they started out as a group adbicating a particular breed of peace "by any means necessary". But when you use evil means to produce a result, you become evil yourself. (old addage: "You dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you)

While these groups and their hatred usually stay underground (which is the best we can hope for, since we can't destroy them completely) infrequently a act of hatred will again draw the national eye to them once again. The most recent that I can think of at 5:45 am is the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. Because of these infrequent "uprises" national news would have us believe this form of discrimination is on the rise, rather than in recession as it more that likely is, and shall remain.

I'll pause here to comment this: I know there are many of you out there who, if you should read this, will want to yell at me about how you've been discriminated against due to your race/creed/gender/age. I ask you to remember, I never said it didn't happen. Only that its not as common as many would have us believe.

Now on to a very touchy sub-topic of racial/ethnic descrimination. Anti-white male. Even sounds funny, doesn't it? When I say this, you all probably know to what I am refurring: affirmative action. I'm all for people being treated equally reguardless of race/creed/gender but affirmative action hinders that. To say that a buisiness must have a certain percentage of minority employees (once it has more than 20 employees, it has to abide by these "rules") in order to recieve government benefits, is to taint the very ideal of "equality" affirmative action was designed to prevent. Basically, my point of view on this is that it has served its purpose and now needs to be either rewritten, or scrapped alltogether.

Onwards to another old form of descimination: sexism. Descrimination based on gender used to be a rampant, and horrible thing for women to deal with. As little as 80 years ago, the "seen but not heard" rule was still in widespread use here in America. But sense then, it (and many other rules like it) has been shattered by women's libbers. And kudos to them for it. And, having given some serious thought to the issue, I've decided that they're just about done. I suppose women still don't play professional football. But in all honesty, I think that's more then likely because.... well.... they just don't want to. I suppose again they aren't allowed in calvary units in the armed forces. But I suspect that will change in the near future, if a woman decides she wants it to. And here's the big one. The only one that will ever quiet the waters of sexual descrimination: a female president. This is something I fully expect to see within my lifetime. (I'm not saying I'd vote for her... but I usually don't vote for "main party" candidates anyways).

Stereotypes about sexes are also still around. But they're not nearly so bad as racial stereotypes, when it comes down to it. Women are bad drivers. Men are all horn dogs. their generally untrue, and (while widely stated) are not widely believed in the modern day.

Before I move on to my next section, I have a gripe about descrimination against men: my car insurance is 4 times that of my sister. I have no accidents, and not tickets on my record. She has 2 accidents, and 4 tickets on hers. So why is my insurance higher? I'm a man. Now there's descrimination for you, folks.

Moving on. The next step goes hand in hand with my personal gripe against insurance companies: ageism. While this term is usually used to describe descrimination against the elderly (a descrimination that occurs all to often in my opinion. Just think on the stereotypes that come to mind when you hear the words "80 year old") I'm inclined to apply it to a different group alltogether: 18-25 year olds. Yes I know, I lose a certain amount of objectivity because this is the group I'm part of. But I find myself under a cornucopia of stereotypes as a young male. I'm classified as violent, sexist, and foolish; because of my age. I know I'm off on a tangeant, but I'm writing this as much to vent as anything else, so I've a right to be on whatever tangeant I like.

Thats a short section, largely consumed by my personal gripe about the only form of descrimination i've been fully exposed to on a personal level.

Due to my belief that I cannot be fully objective in my opinion of descrimination based on sexual orientation, i've opted to leave the section on this out completely. If you want to read about it, go here but keep in mind that this site is blowing the amount of said descimination way out of proportion, as the media tends to do.

On to my last section (not the last type of descrimination, but the last I'm going to list and redress tonight). Descrimination based on belief. In a country founded on belief in religious tolerance, and acceptance, this is one which should, truely, not exsist. And yet it does. And the ACLU is to blame for it, in large part. In the past 20 years, the ACLU has become quite daring in how they willfully seek and destroy any reference to Chrisianity, under the guise of "separation of church and state". What they are forgetting, is that absense of a belief system (aka religion/church) is itself a belief system. So, by removing historical landmarks

(such as:
the 10 commandments monument in Mercer County, Kentucky;
the 10 commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building,
or most recently, the bible on display as part of a memorial outside a Harris county civil courthouse)

The ACLU is, in effect, not helping to stop descrimination against a belief system, but is rather helping to spread descrimination against Christianity, and any other religion forced to remove hystorical landmarks, for the sake of someone who wishes not to see them.

I pose a question to you, on the subject of belief based descrimination. why is the minority always right in this situation? Do you supose that, if I were to get a couple of thousand people to say that tall statues were a means of supporting one faith over another, we could get the statue of liberty removed? It may sound absurd, but it really goes along the same lines if you think about it.

My conclusion: yes descrimination exsists. That was never in question. but the group most desciminated against is a odd breed, and one you would not expect. The ones who I feel are most desciminated against are christians. So to answer my question about who's in the drivers seat in America: atheists are (and the ACLU).

I may be wrong. But this is my opinion. You're free to not like it, but do not flame my comments section. Constructive comments are, as always, welcome.

Have a nice night, everybody!
~M.S.

"Sometimes I feel descriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me! How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."
~Zora Neale Hurston
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Monday, February 14, 2005
Nothing to Write Home About
Well it went neither as good nor as bad as it could have gone. She didn't exactly play the friends card, but my suspicions were verified and she is seeing someone in a long distance relationship. But the impression I got from her was that she was impressed I had worked up the courage to ask her out, and I think she views me in a different light. Plus the friendship is still intact, and that's always a good thing.

I kept it very casual the whole time, and when she couldn't think of anything to say I just said "well it isn't as though we're mourning the death of anything here" and chuckled, and after that things were back to normal. I still think there's a possibility for a relationship here, but not right now. Plus I think I may have planted the "seed" of possibility in her mind, so maybe she'll give a relationship with me some more serious thought and who knows what the future may bring.

For now, I'm happy to count her among my friends, if nothing else (again... fow now XD)
Man... I'm just the eternal optimist today, aren't I?

~M.S.

"Once more into the breach, dear friends. Once more."
~William Shakespeare, Henry V
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Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Once More into the Wind.
Well I figured that since pretty much no one reads this blog, aside from 1 or 2 friends, it would be a safe place to vent a little to try to get a couple of things off my mind.

Basically I'm nervous as *tries to think up a clever analogy.... fails.* hell let's just say I'm really really nervous and it's just no damned fun. I'm nervous because I have to ask this girl from my Psychology class out on Valentines day (I "have" to because I decided if I couldn't do it then, I probably never could) and that's LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY now. Lol. I sincerely hope that the female readers of this blog (all 2-3 of you) can understand how much mental stress the prospect of asking a woman out puts on a guy. Its down-right scarey to put oneself out there like that, to be perfectly honest.

Especially when there's the possibility of them pulling the "friend" card. I loathe and despise the term "just be friends". To that end, I'm already "friends" with her, and frankly I want more out of the relationship, so I'm honestly not sure if her pulling the "friends" card would depress me, or just piss me off. I'm sure that wouldn't help the situation, but that's just how much I hate the "friends" card (if my bitterness doesn't give me away; I've had that "card" used on me acouple of times before and it SUCKED)

Oh well..... nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

I'll put up a post on Velentines Day one way or the other and let you curious people know how it went.

Bai.
~M.S.

"To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can."
~Og Mandino
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