Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sam Harris Confronts Little Bunny Foo Foo

Yes, it's all an illusion, this idea that you can choose to pick up those field mice or not. You, the hapless rodents, and the good fairy are locked in a web of causality that stretches beyond your control or understanding. Your conscious mind is a tiny ship on a massive and treacherous neuronal sea, the impulses to inflict violence emerging from mysterious depths you can not imagine with a force beyond denying, even though on some level you know it will bring your doom...

But choice still matters. Your actions free or constrain the lives of countless creatures in the field in ways we can't even realize. Just as my words to you, the warnings you've already received... these bits of stimuli are right now affecting what you will do next. And strangely, they become part of what you are. As you alter your own life and the relationships you have with small, terrified fleeing mammals, or an angry and disappointed supernatural creature who for some baffling reason is enforcing a bizarre moral code here in the wilderness, you are discovering yourself through time. Who is Little Bunny Foo Foo? Whoever he is, he has two more chances.

It's false comfort to think that you decide what your circumstances and the dark parts of your own brain are telling you. You're no more than a puppet deciding that he wants to move with his strings. But your mind, your actions, and finally your fate are you nonetheless, and no one else.

You are a goon, Little Bunny. Live like one.


(Photo of Sam Harris under Creative Commons license. Source: http://www.fritankesmedja.se/sam_harris_bara_vetenskap. Information here.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"I'm Gonna Have To Get Zombie On You Bitches?" By Fred Rogers

I guess it's going to jump off like Night of the Living Dead with some of you people, huh? I guess you're going to come home, sit down, take off your shoes one at a time, and then notice me standing behind the curtains with a maniacal grin and a moldy cardigan, right before something absolutely horrible happens to you. You're going to try to reach that bat under the bed in time? I don't think so, friend. I think you're gonna be a walking Tastykake.

Not all of you. Many of you are cool. Keep the good memories. You're always welcome in the Neighborhood. But I see people yakking on their cell phones while some poor clerk is trying to help them - like the guy on the other side of the counter doesn't even qualify as a human being, because he's got a nametag. I see you treating waiters and neighbors and employees like they're garbage, like they're invisible. I see you driving like you're the goddamn Road Warrior.

You know what breaks my heart? It's partly because you've got too much friggin' self-esteem. And it makes me think that's my fault. I spend my whole life trying to make the world a better place, and you nasty ridiculous people are the result? No. Fuck that. Because I will rise from the grave, and I will take you bastards out. One by one. I'll come after you, Crow-style.

Let me explain something some of you missed about what I was doing, okay? You're special. You really are. But that doesn't mean you're the golden holy center of universe. They're not the same thing. Other people are special too. There was a whole country of special little kids I was talking to, and now they're doing your laundry, or washing your car, or typing your memos. And you need to respect them.

You're important, because you have a suit and a job and money? Nope. Let me tell you the secret. Your salary, your title, your club membership, and whatever else privileges you - it's nothing. It's just the way you have of being a teensy, tiny little part of a system no one really controls. There is no freedom there. No individuality. Some day you will shit the bed, and the people will put another jerk into your corner office, and that jerk will play the exact same part you play right now.

The closest you come to true moral freedom in your day is when you're dealing with a stranger. Some counter guy, some woman who gets your coffee. Some voice on the phone you don't have to be polite to, because they can't fire you. Then you can be yourself. Then you get to decide whether to be good or not. It's the time you're truly special. I thought you'd understand. You're grownups now. The world is what you make of it. I did what I could, but my time is over.

Some of you get it. As for the others... shape the hell up, or I'll be crouching in the closet, waiting to chomp your skull open like a Cadbury. Call it my last public service.



(Note: Photo is a copyright image downloaded from Wikipedia. My (and their) fair use rationale and rights information is here.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Message From John The Divine, Author Of The Book Of Revelation

It was Nero.

Okay? Everybody clear on this? The Emperor Nero. He persecuted a cartload of Christians, and after he died there were all these rumors he was coming back with an army from the east to stomp on the righteous. Nero was the guy I was writing about. And he's gone now, so... find yourselves someone else to go balls crazy over.

I left hints, people. The seven heads of the beast were the seven hills of Rome. And there was a whole "cheating death" thing with that wound that healed. Plus the name NERO CAESAR in Hebrew characters has a numerical value of 666. Smart folks have already looked into it. Nero, Nero, Bo-Bero, Banana, Fanna, Fo-Fero... Mee, Mi, Mo-Mero, NERO!

Here's who the Antichrist isn't. He isn't Barack Obama, or the pope, or the UN with its black helicopters coming to steal your guns and fluoridate your water, so your kids'll grow up to get gay married and practice New Age pagan rituals with Oprah, or any other crazy crap you're thinking up with your little militia group meeting in basements and trading gas masks you bought off eBay. No one's going to put a microchip in your ass that makes you worship the devil, okay? I had a whole bunch of absolutely batshit hallucinations living in that cave, but black helicopters and butt microchips weren't in any of them.

Have you ever noticed that when anyone has a prophecy they make all the real action happen right in their own time? Wow, all those thousand year-old predictions just happen to be popping off next week, right before that trip to grandma's. Guess we don't have to kennel the dog after all. What a weird coincidence.

Or, conversely, maybe you're just doing what every other person on the planet does... which is looking at your own life and trying to fit it into some great, big cosmic pattern, because no one can stand the thought that they aren't right at the center of everything important. Which is why countless apocalyptic writers - like me, for instance - always seem to say the antichrist has just appeared. Or is just about to appear. Antiochus, Frederick II, Peter the Great, and a pile of other people have been named and accused and everyone held their breath, and whoever the boogeyman was just made his way through life, then croaked, and somehow the world didn't end.

Now there are a whole group of people who believe the Great Firecracker is going to start with a massive war in Israel that will soak the region in blood... and they're actually happy about it. Because long before it happens they'll all be miracled up to a cloud to dance around with Jesus and the big-tittied angels and watch the rest of humanity go through this horror, as if the whole thing were some kind of reality show.

I spent a huge portion of my life eating bugs and crapping in bushes, and I still think that's the most messed up thing I've ever heard of. How can these people have the vote?



Here's my advice. Maybe don't live your whole life like everything's going to end in the next twenty minutes. I'm not saying it won't. Hell, even Richard Dawkins won't place bets on that. But it's not healthy, okay? Hug your kids, volunteer at an animal shelter. Try to support political candidates who don't have armageddon as part of their political platform.

Terrible stuff will get to you all by itself. And don't think Anyone up there will yank you out of it at the last minute. Trust me on that one - most of my associates got roughed up pretty bad.

Belief is kind of my thing, but even I know you shouldn't believe everything you read.
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