Monday 18th of February 2019

carrots, sticks, ethics...


A writer called Grayson Quay — well, I have no idea about his age — has a naive enthusiasm about religion that shows he has not grown up since the invention of Santa Claus. It seems that Grayson has not digested the importance of secularity, despite a successful college education. He tells us that "Identity politics demands that we 'educate ourselves'. So why are its practitioners so often ignorant of religious belief?


Young man, M.A. student at Georgetown University! What do you mean by this?

Identity politics refer mostly to political positions based on the interests and perspectives of social groups with which people identify. So, what is the problem? Why are many of these people ignorant of religious beliefs? Does god pay attention to the source and style of adulation?

People will identify with being “male", "female”,“republicans”, “democrats” “religious” including “Catholic" and “Episcopal”, “Shia" and "Sunni”, “rich” “poor” “royalists” “black” “white” and “garbage collectors".


At this stage, there is a lot of information floating around and we are bombarded with advertising and creeds, many motivated with the colours of the balloons and the hats of devotion both in order to reinforce our Identity Politics or push us from our perch — as well as making us buy products with cash. 


That we pick and choose a side in this lot is normal. Often, it’s because we’re born into the environment that gives us our original “identity politics”, including the colour of our skin, not to be misunderstood as “celebrity politics” which could be what young Quay is mixing up with, by referring to:

One more example. Last month, San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral (which is, of course, Episcopal) held a “Beyoncé Mass” that featured choral renditions of Beyoncé songs and a Beyoncé-based sermon designed to empower women of color. The entire thing was reprehensible [in what way?], but there was one moment from Vice’s coverage that really caught my eye. About a minute into the video, Vice reporter Nyasha Shani Foy mentions that the Beyoncé Mass could help attract a younger crowd to church, and then recites some statistics about how drastically Catholic Mass attendance has fallen since the 1950s. I was flabbergasted. Foy, who I’m sure knows an entire encyclopedia of identity politics terminology backwards and forwards, couldn’t be bothered to learn the difference between Roman Catholicism and Episcopalianism.

So here we are, Identity Politics in this "young" man’s brain is the label with which one prays to god, not the Christian generic umbrella which might have been what Vice reporter Nyasha Shani Foy was referring to. In the context above, whether one mentions the Catholic numbers going down or the Episcopal going up, being upset about an imprecision shows a misplaced pride — and still is not a real way to understand the foible of humanity.

For example, laid out on the floor of that Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (Saint Francis — himself declared a heretic by the popes of the time), is a labyrinth that is based on the medieval labyrinth of the Catholic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres (built between 1194 and 1220), France. Beliefs have it that if a visitor walks the path of the labyrinth it will inspire them into a meditative state. This does not even suggest that one would start believing in god.

A labyrinth is an abstract image of the way our brain is constructed with its twists and turns and hidden dead ends. Following the pathway would demand good eye/limb coordination, hence concentration to do it right would spur a certain "transic hormonal quality” — a Gus Leonisky atheistic  explanation of transcendence based on natural reactivities. 

So on the question, "why are its practitioners so often ignorant of religious belief", how much does young Grayson knows about sciences and their various disciplines from biology to quantum mechanics?

Educating ourselves out of — or into a different — “identity political group” is not a sin, nor is "not being fully briefed or aware about some obscure, or less obscure, religious identity”. For the average secularist atheist, religious beliefs are baloney are should be by-passed in our increasingly secular world. 

It takes a lot of time to know everything. And we never do. At some stage we have to make educated guesses on the “value” of certain knowledge. Some knowledge is useless. Religious knowledge is useless. The difference between the Catholics and the Episcopalians should be known, but making no didactic difference is not going to shake the world unless one starts a world war about it. But it still would be a useless war about useless knowledge. This has been the historical framework of the reformation back in the Renaissance.

The main trouble with “identity politics” is that there is usually a 15 per cent proportion of political populations anywhere, that should be considered “swinging voters”. These are people with no strong allegiances to any "identity politics". There, people can be divided into subgroups, around opportunism, with different reactivity to the main “identity politics" — including greed and compassion in various mix.

The main cooking ingredients that governments manipulate “identity politics” with to get (re) elected or not, are: carrots, sticks, ethics (including lies)...


Gus Leonisky


A non-swinging monkey.



The picture at top is We, a Russian dystopian novel...


Grayson (read above) tells us:


When I was an undergraduate, my favorite professor was Dr. Messer, an expert on the great 20th-century Southern Catholic novelist Walker Percy.

Percy’s novel The Last Gentleman begins with an epigraph from the philosopher Romano Guardini, predicting a future in which “the unbeliever will…cease to reap benefit from the values and forces developed by the very Revelation he denies” and love “will disappear from the face of the public world.


What a lot of rot… Percy and Guardini were not philosophers — and were boring as shit with a stiff religious bent. But without batting an eyelid, Grayson carries on:


To help us understand this abstract post-Christian prognostication, Dr. Messer would tell us a story. His wife had a friend who was educated, cultured, and smart. One day, the friend asked Mrs. Messer a question: “You’re a Christian, right?” Mrs. Messer confirmed that she was. Well then, the friend wanted to know, why do so many church buildings have the letter “t” on the roof?

While this level of ignorance might sound comical, it’s become increasingly acceptable among America’s cultural elites.


What a lot of extra rot… This had to have been a “joke” by the “friend" of the Messers. An old flippant “joke” that does not explain the "abstract post-Christian prognostication” in any way.


The "T on the churches" may have been an allusion to Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” that completely eluded the worthy Mrs Messer. Huxley wrote Brave New World while living in Sanary-sur-Mer, France, in the four months from May to August 1931.


What could explain the "abstract post-Christian prognostication", mind you, was the proliferation of such dystopian novels and stories from the 1920s onwards. World War One had been brutal. God had been bruised and many people joined the rank of the secularity. Escapism, fun and warning about totalitarian views, especially religious views, became the new fashion — with short bob haircut and short dresses, while the Charleston dance became the craze. Optimism was driving industries while the threat of fascism was a cultural thermometer in the arse of society.


There had been a lot of “science fiction” stories written since the mid 1800s, including Frankenstein by a young 18 year Mary Shelley. Jules vernes wrote many others and we had the dual "good and bad" of Mr Hyde...


Jules Vernes' novel “Paris in the 20th century" was not published until the 1990s, because “it was too dark” exposing the failure of individuals and societies, under dystopian constructs which at the time was considered the equivalent of enforced “equality” and the inflexibility of a monoculture, in which people were unable to adapt. Sounds a bit like paradise, where everything is so perfect that nothing can change but everything goes pear-shape.


In Star Trek, the relationships structure which falls under the final say of commander is managed with a relativistic dystopianism, in which differences are acceptable to a point, while “maintaining the dream” of the Voyager team is the goal. "Very USA".


We (Russian: Мы, translated as My) is the dystopian novel by Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin, completed in 1921. The novel was first published in 1924 by E. P. Dutton in New York in an English translation by Gregory Zilboorg. The novel describes a world of harmony and conformity within a united totalitarian state, a harmony that could descends into a dangerous anarchy.


But many parallels to the bible exist in We. There are similarities between Genesis and We, where the One State is considered Paradise, D-503 is Adam, and I-330 is Eve. The snake in this piece is S-4711, who is described as having a bent twisted form with a "double-curved body" (he is a double agent). References to Mephistopheles are seen as allusions to Satan and his rebellion against Heaven in the Bible. The novel itself could be considered a criticism of organised religion, as well as of the excesses of a rigid atheistic society.


We is also contemporary to the famous movie “Metropolis” — a 1927 German expressionist science-fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. Written by Thea von Harbou, a German screenwriter, novelist, film director, and actress, with collaboration from Lang himself, her husband. This silent film is regarded as a pioneering work of science-fiction in movies.


At the time, new scientific theories from Einstein's relativity to Niels Bohr's quantum mechanics were making stride while shaking the old apple tree of paradise. 


There were earlier “dystopian” exploration of the human condition. Even Dante’s work is bordering on the satirical dystopian by showing various "results".


We have recently mentioned the satirist Lucian who is sometimes considered the father of science fiction. He wrote satires about totalitarianism and empires. Lucian's works were wildly popular in antiquity and many writings attributed to him have survived to the present day. His most famous work is A True Story, a tongue-in-cheek satire against authors who tell incredible tales, which is regarded by some as the earliest known work of science fiction. 


And we all know (or should) about 1984…


So our next investigations have to expose how governments manage our pseudo-state of dystopia in which the elites control the loot, without letting us know we are in one. Governments use carrots, sticks and ethics (in which deceit features prominently)...

when our heads are still soft...

63 percent of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency. Yet, on the other end of the spectrum, the rear end of the spectrum, if you will, and you should, Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion. Meanwhile, worldwide 1 in 10 people only make $2 a day. Do you know how long it would take one of those people at $2 a day to make the same amount as Jeff Bezos has? 193 million years. And that’s if they only buy single-ply toilet paper. And yet there are riots in the streets for the most part, at least not in the US.

Camp is puzzled why we are okay with this and says the reason is “the myths we are all sold.

Myths that are ingrained in our social programming from birth when our heads are still soft. These myths are accepted and basically never questioned,” Camp said, adding that he feels it is his job to lay them all out.

Myth #8:  We have a democracy

If you think that we still have a democratic republic, ask yourself this: when was the last time Congress did something that the people of America wanted that was not in the benefit of corporations? You probably can’t do it, right?

Camp claims that Congress doesn’t do “a damn thing without the approval of their sugar daddies.”

He noted that even the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter believe that America has been transformed to an oligarchy – a small corrupt elite group controls the country without much input from the people.  

The rulers need the myth that we’re a democracy to give us the illusion of control,” he said.


Read more:


Read from top...


A 92-year-old woman in the United States has shot and killed her son because he wanted to put her into a care home.

If you do not see a parallel with the way the US governments have been behaving since Abraham Lincoln, you’ve got too much wax in your ears.
See, the USA has been gunning for any one who wants to prevent them from being the only top dog on the planet, with a simple ethics': “you’re my bitch or I kill you”…
Simple, direct — though in reality, a lot of effort is made with rationality to make the deed more palatable to the bitch in question.
The ethics are simple: we don’t want you to be on our level. We don’t want to be relegated. We want to plunder your feathers. The various excuses and deceit moral manipulation of such ethics are brilliant. They are not exclusive to the Americans, and these go back to even before the destruction of Carthage (149-146 BC). The Church has also been a great weaver of such crooked ethics to do things that were (and still are) despicable.
Talking of Abraham Lincoln and the church lets mention that other dork in the bible:
22-1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 
4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 
10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.


What a lot of rot!... The donkey should have known that this was a crock from the time it was discharged. It had carried the wood on its back and now Abraham had to carried the wood on his own back up to the mountain. This smelled of goat crap. 
What a dork Abraham was for not telling god to go and fuck Himself (god is a male).
So god makes stupid demands. And He (god is a male) even does not condescend to tell Abraham to stop the stupid sacrifice, Himself (god is a male). God gets his angel to tell Abraham to stop, instead. The test was a stupid as all come get out.
The worse part of this fabled-nonsense, is that Judaism, Islam and Christianity all stem from "this moment in time” in which Abraham was hearing loony voices in his stupid head. And people rationalised these stupid voices in their stupid caboose. Still do. Look at Mike Pence! Ethics? The plot was lost. As soon as the monkey started to delude itself and tell stories, the human did not stand a chance. 
Lucky, some people see through this nasty ethical moralistic fog. But it’s hard work to survive when the loonies actually control the house-rules because they are the ones with the guns (or the wood for a pyre, or tons of the mighty dollars) and declare themselves in charge because they know how to spruik the bad excuses and nasty manipulation of ethics, into moralisations that are “acceptable” because we can't do much about their bad faith. We are the sacrifice to their loony values of god, greed and guns.
At least, we, at the bottom of the barrel, know the value of good ethics, but we're the morons ending up at the frontlines to protect the psychos who sacrifice us to their god of war for a buck...

Happy ethics...

ah... I love it...


Today, I think virtually no one cares about that stuff anymore. There are still some aging internet atheists who get off on biblical contradictions and like to bait Creationists, but that battle is over. It is not that anyone won or lost, it is just irrelevant. For Christians to continue shoring up defenses against that sort of enemy is like maintaining the Maginot Line.


Gus: This is a fascinating read, from one of Dreher's readers, Beowulf... It stems from a discussion by Rod about The Final Pagan Generation, a history book by Edward Watts, about the lives and fortunes of the last Romans born before the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity... Do I feel targeted as one of the "ageing internet atheist"? Of course and I do enjoy this sobriquet (even if I am irrelevant or not even being targeted).


It is the discussion we have to have but who will prevail, or who will diversify? Who will live in peace?

We no longer have to convince young people about anything regarding evolution or God’s existence–that is not at the core of their worldview. If you show them a demonstrably superior way to live, their beliefs will adjust or they will at least listen. I think in general praxis precedes theory anyway. In other words, the debaters of our age who will gain followers will be the Jordan Petersons telling dissatisfied people how to live, not the William Lane Craigs.

What we cannot do, if we are to win the younger generation, is argue to maintain/uphold the imperium. We cannot tie Christianity’s fate to any version of America–whether 18th century or mid 20th. The cultural capital of America is spent and we will be merely swabbing the decks on the Titanic if [we] tie ourselves to America. This the Trump temptation. I am grateful for the time Trump is buying us, but it will all be for nothing if we use it to embrace America as our ethos rather than establish countercultural communities of virtue.


It is a very good point, yet not as simple as it seems, as everyone will build their own local countercultural notion of "virtue". With this we need to discover how to deal with charlatans, religious and mercantile — including the merchants of drugs, weapons and dangers — personally, rather than rely on a general patriotic system that has been relatively proven, yet quite crude. Thus, our groups instead of being "National" become smallishly insular. With these, we need ernest communications, linguistic connections and less rituals of virtue, all with more honesty and love. It is something to program, as well as compassion, in the inevitable rise of Artificial Intelligence, in which the power of deduction becomes far greater than our own.

With AI, we could learn better to live with each other and with ourselves — all in accordance with naturalness and our own invented stylistic options, though some people are fearful of Artificial Intelligence. Here is Henry Kissinger:


Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has issued a stark warning to humanity: advances in artificial intelligence could lead to a world which humans will no longer be able to understand — and we should start preparing now.

What if machines learn to communicate with each other? What if they begin to establish their own objectives? What if they become so intelligent that they are making decisions beyond the capacity of the human mind?

Those are some of the questions the 95-year-old Kissinger poses in a piece published by the Atlantic under the apocalyptic headline: ‘How The Enlightenment Ends.’


Read more:


Fair warming, but now, as human "enlightenment finishes", this Artificial "mindness" could be a Renaissance of Intelligence, being the next step of our chosen destiny, by understanding complex processes while developing our secular relationships in which pain is minimised and contentment is cultivated with understanding of the necessity of compassion. All without destroying the planet settings. A big ask.


See also:

The greater meaning of meaninglessness...