What do we leave behind in death?

 

Kurt Vonnegut is in heaven now

Kurt Vonnegut is in heaven now (Photo credit: PhineasX)

Today I asked myself this question, or more like, the company I was in put out this question and then I asked it from myself in secret. I wondered what do we really leave behind? When I try to remember people very dear to me that have died I feel somehow at a loss. What did they leave behind other than their earthly possessions, a handful of memories, and a longing? Once all the people who used to know that person are gone then there’s nothing left.

 

 

There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects.

-Kurt Vonnegut

I like this sentence, I think the way a Tralfamadorian novel is presented in Slaughterhouse-Five does sum up a human beings life pretty well. There was no real beginning to my life, ever since I remember I have been very much alive and happy, but never quite as happy as I supposedly was in my mother’s womb. Of course I have a beginning for the people in my family who had been around to remember a time when I didn’t quite exist yet. Once those people are gone I will have no beginning in anyone’s memory.

There’s no middle, we can’t determine the middle. What is the middle? This is not the middle of my life, get out of here.

There is no end either as we can’t really experience it until it comes and when we finally experience it there isn’t much we can experience. I hope all those who have experienced it are up in heaven and when I experience it they can all tell me how wrong I was all my life, and we would all laugh how we all were wrong about everything. The absurdity.

There is no suspense in a life, it’s not like we don’t know what’s going to happen until it’s too late. Only those afraid of everyday accidents have suspense in their lives. It’s not something we wish to have, please don’t confuse it with excitement.

What is the moral of our lives? Are others supposed to learn from us? There is no inherent moral in our existence and at every funeral I’ve been in during my life the last word that was uttered was a sigh-like oh well. Priests like to say oh well. Slaughterhouse-Five liked to say so it goes.

I would like to point out that Kurt Vonnegut’s so it goes really pinned the term we should all use when it comes to death. There is no cause and effect relationship when it comes to dealing with death now is there. Once your dead, you are dead, so it goes. When you are saying your last good-by to a corpse before it’s placed in the ground, so it goes.

And so it goes, oh well said the priest. Life went on.

I find human life valuable, something to be cherished. There is no meaning in life and we are living our lives in this changing world, reading texts from little computers like iPads and e-books. The world is changing and we are changing as a species, but there is something that we should not forget.

Today I heard an older man utter that love does not exist anymore these days, too much materialism and people don’t share a shelter. It does ring true at times, human beings are isolating themselves more and more behind their careers and individual independence ever since the industrial revolution. It’s just really peaked now as we have gained even more comfortable lives to have, alone, within four walls.

Love does exist, I believe. It does exist somewhere and we should not forget it. Though love might be too wrong of a word, maybe we could think of it as solidarity, or trust.

Trust is good.

Maybe as a species we should hope to leave behind all three. A trinity of love, solidarity, and trust. From one soddy homo sapien to the next and so forth.

So it goes.

 

 

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German Ban on Circumcision

circumcision set

circumcision set (Photo credit: istolethetv)

According to Reuters, Angela Merkel has been thinking of alleviating the ban on child circumcision in Germany. The Germans still seem rather weak when someone plays the Nazi card, or compares the decisions of the government on religious or racial hate. The controversial law was a great secular decision to promote children’s rights, but religious people saw nothing of that sorts. I quote from the Reuters article:

Pinchas Goldschmidt, the Swiss-born chief rabbi of Moscow who organized the meeting, said the ban was a fresh example of creeping prejudice in European law against non-Christians, after a Swiss ban on minarets, French and Belgian bans on Islamic veils in public and an attempted Dutch ban on halal meat.

“Circumcision represents the basis for belonging to the Jewish community. It has been practiced for 4,000 years and cannot be changed,” said Goldschmidt.

I find it outrageous that he says that the ban of circumcision before the age of consent is part of a creeping prejudice against non-Christians. In what Medieval age does his gracious holyness Pinchas Goldschmidt live in? When I read that comment I felt that a new low had been reached by a leader of a religious community. Of course he does not see the wrong in his own doing, for God is on his side.

No religious organization should be allowed to do genital mutilation on their children, by the same logic that would allow such acts many other acts and rituals should be legalized, but apparently genital mutilation is not that bad. When Goldschmidt says that genital mutilation and sacrifice has been practiced for 4,000 years and cannot be changed, he fails to realize that the tradition began during very savage times.

Another issue is brought to my mind by the same Reuters article, and I quote:

European rabbis ended their meeting in Berlin on Thursday in a defiant mood. They plan talks with German Muslim and Christian leaders in Stuttgart next week to see how they can fight the ban together.

The ruling by the Cologne Regional Court applies to the city and surrounding districts with a total population of just over 2 million people. The total population of Germany is about 82 million. Cologne is home to about 120,000 Muslims, whose plans for a new central mosque has stirred anti-immigrant sentiment.

The head of the Conference of European Rabbis urged Jews in Germany to continue carrying out circumcision despite the ban.

Defiance and dissent, though very admirable when used towards a worthy cause, in this debate on circumcision I am sad to see them reduced to a form of bullying done by a party that should not have political power. The tactics of their defiance aren’t even playing fair and are leaning more on advocating extortion. Either you let them perform the genital mutilation at a hospital or then they will do it underground illegally. They are holding their own children hostage in essence.

One of the problems here is that these people are being dishonest. They are touting religious freedom, but really they just can’t wait to get their hands on the genitalia of little boys, or so it seems. It is more a sick obsession, the same sick obsession that most religions have on sexuality, and the way I see it is more a fight between a completely amoral right against an ethically sane right.

Which would you have? I pose the question on to you.
The right to cut pieces of skin off your son’s genitals or the children’s right to be untouched.

The Price of Privacy?

Recently Facebook has been logging and scanning the conversations and updates that its users make to track down criminal activity. Reuters reported a case that took place on March 9th, where a 13-year-old South Florida girl was talking to a man over twice her age about sex. In their conversation they were planning to meet up after her school ended. Subsequently the conversation was flagged by the tool that scans the conversations and Facebook employees called the police. The predator was arrested the next day.

Here we can see the benefit from such a system, but is this kind of a system ethical? The majority of Facebook’s users are most certainly not connected to any kind of criminal activity, but what if the tool that scans and logs conversations falsely flags a conversation for a Facebook employee to read? Would this not be a breach of privacy?

The age old argument: If one  does not partake in any illicit behavior, then the person has nothing to hide. The individual does not need to fear the gentle embrace of the big brother. The same kind of ideology remains very popular in totalitarian states, as well as states that don’t look too kindly at freedom of speech. Well, big brother Facebook is watching you, me, and everyone else you know. Better not crack a joke that would imply something unlawful otherwise the police will be happily receiving you at the door. This is an exaggeration.

Though far-fetched for now, it’s interesting to wait and see until we have the world of The Minority Report on our hands, instead of mutants preventing crimes we would have apps and other internet tools do the job. It certainly seems that Facebook is building towards that, as they have added the data of earlier criminal cases to the database. Now each user is being profiled with this data, the way every nurturing and loving big brother system does.

The question I wish to pose is whether one should allow this breach of privacy without making any form of protest or just trade their personal privacy for the chance of having a conversation with a friend?

Commentary on the God of the Trinity

Christopher Hitchens speaking at The Amazing M...

Christopher Hitchens speaking at The Amazing Meeting 5, Las Vegas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to arguments on the existence of God and the nature of this divine being. The debates are usually riddled with redundant arguments coming from both sides of the table.

I am an atheist, despite there being no significant proof for or against the existence of a higher power, but I believe that humans should not live their lives enslaved to such being that does not really affect our daily lives. I solely see that human beings themselves should be accountable for any injustice they may partake in, as each individual in our species does have a rational brain that has the capacity to decide on one’s actions, whatever the situation may be. Of course this doesn’t take into account sociopaths or psychopaths, who could have an incapability to see the difference between just and unjust by default.

I ran into an article by Jacob H. Friesenhahn, a theology teacher at John Paul II Catholic High School in Schertz, Texas; called “Evil, the New Atheism, and the God of the Trinity”The article was mostly about Christopher Hitchens, who was known to be a loud and proud anti-theist, journalist, among other things. He garnered many enemies during his career for his strong opposing views towards religion and public figures. Hitchens was slandered by many articles written by theists after his death, but this one was slightly different. I would even say there was admiration towards opposing arguments and views. A very nice read.

Yet the article is written by a person who has a deep belief in a loving Christian god and most of the argumentation is as lost in fantasy as most of the rest out there, most of which referencing to the doctrine of the trinity. Though I do find the argumentation even leaning to the fanatical, the way the text is written is quite agreeable. Though I hope you read it, if you are interested in Hitchens and the whole religious debate.

I will share one of Friesenhahn’s arguments against one of my favorite arguments that Hitchens ever made:

Despite the frequency with which Hitchens seemed to repeat this polemic against God as dictator, I always found this particular aspect of his argument against Christian theism markedly weak. It is almost as if the Christian doctrine of God were formulated for the precise purpose of refuting this false concept of God, in relation to which we all ought to be atheists. The God of the Trinity, the God of interpersonal love, the God whose very essence is love selflessly shared among distinct persons, is the utter opposite of the image of God attacked by Hitchens, just as the God of the cross is the exact inverse of Hitchens’s God who stands by with folded arms as we suffer. -Jacob H. Friesenhahn

In this argument we are supposing that God is the exact opposite to the one Hitchen’s offers. The God in the bible is very capricious and wants to be loved by his creations. This sounds very much like a dictator rather than a loving father. To the North Korean population Kim Jong-il was as much a loving father as God is a loving father to a believer.

The only proof of a loving God is in the Bible, which was written by believers a long time ago. Written during times of suffering where a small hope for a miracle was a person’s only chance at slim survival. It all comes down to human empathy. No one would follow a savior who has not gone through greater suffering than themselves. In essence it was a marketing trick of the dark ages.

I would like to finish by saying, that dressing up a human sacrifice with grand words of selfless love, along with redemption for all in death sounds absolutely fanatical.

Of course something will seem markedly weak, if one assumes that the facts are on their side. If one allows themselves to be brainwashed into believing in a deity, be it done by one’s community or self, it is completely the same process as being manipulated by a despot with fear and lies.

An Introduction

This morning I find myself in rather a pickle with getting out of bed. I made the mistake of taking the laptop to my bedroom, instead of leaving it where I usually work or try to be productive. So I find myself in bed doing everything that needs to be done, or should be done. Weekends are fascinating in how even the most stressful things don’t feel as bad and you have a sense of time, where the tick tick ticks of the clock kindly envelops one in a silky veil.

It was a very typical and nice morning with seagulls and children screeching their lungs out. I would hope to be somewhere else than Helsinki, but I guess I wouldn’t mind if I did have a full-day job that would continue on and on. It just seems that everything there is on the market are short-term jobs. And the competition to land one of these short-term jobs is massive. I am always surprised when someone gets a job in a week, but I’ve already learned that my luck isn’t the best around and I should only hope to achieve things by its own merits. Everyone should, but it’s never bad to welcome a little bit of luck when it does come around. I always find myself extremely lucky when something unexpectedly good happens.

The reason I wish to start writing a sort of personal blog is to discover my own opinions and force me to decide on an opinion. There are things that I am very passionate about. Things I very much like to discuss, learn and argue about. Yet, why not learn to take it further than that? Try to do the same with matters not as controversial, like window stills and milk.

I don’t know yet what I will do with this blog of mine, but I warmly invite anyone who happens to read it to comment and engage in conversation.

Note: Using the onomatopoeia for a clock brings Lyme disease as a suggested tag.