I have lost my humor, I am a humorless man

English: Mark Twain. American humour. from Car...

English: Mark Twain. American humour. from Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I were to define the world around me I would say it is unfunny. There is nothing comical or even remotely humorous anywhere, and I mean it when I say this. Someone will always take offense and there is no way to avoid this. People love to take offense or that’s what I suppose based on experience. Either I am a very bad comedian or I have a knack at getting different sorts of people to despise me, most likely both cases are true.

I have been more disillusioned by the world around me than usual for the past few weeks. I have feared day and night that I am becoming as humorless as the people I have run into. I try to take myself less and less seriously everyday to remedy this, but the less seriously I take myself the less seriously I take anything happening around me. And I stay up at night asking myself whether I am perceived as a foolish hyena by the world around me.

Allegedly the great Mark Twain said: “I am the king of buffoons; I am a dangerous person,” and what of it. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. That what is ridiculous must be harmless, at least after it’s the laughing-stock of everyone present. Now if the king of buffoons is a dangerous person and there is a grumpy old buffoon of a king who perceives the king of buffoons as a dangerous person, doesn’t he himself become dangerous too? Should we suppose we all are dangerous? I say, yes.

We all are susceptible idiots full of hokey cokey and hocus pocus. When an idea, or anything, is approached, one puts their right hand in and then they put their right hand out. In out, in out and then shake it all about. The idea is waltzed around with until it sinks in and who knows what kind of an idea it is now. No wonder sometimes the humor and comedy in things are lost, especially when everything is taken out of context.

Dear friends, there is nothing to fear. As long as we all remember that life is not a joke and a very serious matter, a melting pot of laughter, pain, sadness, freedom, and injustice –along with many, many other things. Life is no laughing matter, we are.

I hope one day we may all laugh together instead at one another, but until then let us all make fools out of ourselves and bigger fools out of others.

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Why is Critical Thinking Important

THINK

THINK (Photo credit: Erik Eckel)

It is not about what one thinks or believes to be correct, but how one thinks and what evidence, or influence, brought said individual to that certain result. How should one practice critical thinking and why is critical thinking important, even in everyday life. No such notion exists in its own right, in the sense that the notion could be justifiable with itself. It is too often that I run into thoughts and conclusions made through misinterpretation and a hasty thought process.

I was inspired to think on this particular subject after reading some of the ludicrous presumptions and purposeful misinterpretations made on The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. I have to say how much I personally despise the arguments touting genetic determinism made because of the book and the arguments made in the name of selfishness, especially the supposed Thatcherite ideal of selfishness and the arguments using the idea of a selfish gene as validation for selfish capitalism. This has already been argued countless of times, I bet, and I won’t get into it, just like I won’t get into genetic determinism either.

The realization of how easy it is to distort anything said by taking apart the ideas and then taking them out of context, so to allow an interpretation to be made in accord to a personal cause, is a rather scary one. This happens way too often within the media and is done way too often by many politicians.

It is very easy to criticize from an ignorant and misinformed standpoint, though when arguing against facts the ignorant individual must be ready to accept that they are wrong. Sadly, this doesn’t tend to happen as most of the loudest critics are hard headed and refuse to accept that they are wrong. Fundamentalists and extremist groups tend to practice their ignorance and idiocy.

The world is full of know-it-alls, people in powerful positions, in such positions that allow them to influence other people’s views. It is highly likely as well that these people are exactly ignorant and idiotic, in some cases they are fundamentalists with extremist views. It is not rare to run into something fallacious within politics, media, school, or in a social situation, but it is rare that an individual would stop to scrutinize the issue. Opinions and supposed facts are made at a minutes notice, sides are chosen and arguments begun. The more elusive the argument, the more difficult it is to finish. This happens within the debate over morals and existence of a deity between theists and atheists.

It is important to ground one’s own views in solid facts, and even more in solid reasoning. Usually it is very pointless to enter ongoing arguments, but it is good to wield these tools during debates over issues that are going on closer to oneself. Question the authority of a dubious argument when facing one. If there is no explanation presented or if the explanation is not authoritative, based on faith, fallacy, or out-of-date information, then it must be dismissed as easily as it was uttered.

Human Importance and Religion

Existence 1

Existence 1 (Photo credit: Vincepal)

One of the main problems I see in religion is the utter self-importance of the believer when it comes to the teachings of the religion. One must always work to save themselves from the torture and sin that is life, by living according to the will of a god or the soul. Most religions, if not all, say that this life is a waste and thus glorify the release from this supposedly wretched existence which lies in death. It is preposterous to believe that this world is hopeless and full of sin, despite this world unarguably being full of something that could be described as evil, but the problem I see here comes when one surrenders their will to an almighty divine, spiritual purpose. As there is no hope then one must save themselves from this existence to prosper in the next one.

Are we or are we not important then as individuals of the human race? I would say we are, but not in the sense that there is some divine plan where we are meant to sing Kumbayah next to the almighty creator of existence. We are animals that have been gifted, by a series of accidents, a brain that is capable of surprising feats of knowledge and understanding. So I do not agree one bit with an ideology that would relinquish that gift to a menial purpose, like giving praise to a human sacrifice supposedly done a few thousand years ago.

I will go back to the issue of self-importance within religion and the paradox that it forces upon the person. As religions teach, humans are supposedly very spiritual beings that for whatever reason is stranded in the mortal plane. Therefore humans are of a higher consciousness within this material world and as such important in the eyes of the universe. In a sense given the freewill to make the wrong choices in a semi predetermined world. The truth is then supposedly placed right in front of us, so that we could not miss it. The truth being eternal slavery to the great unknown and that which is to come inevitably –be it death, nirvana, or the will of the almighty one. Our choices do not matter anymore and we are reduced to vermin who must do right according to the teachings, so that we could be redeemed to our deserved glory.

Even before I knew of evolution I always thought that humans were animals. This got me into a lot of trouble growing up and landed me a few undeserved detentions at school. The answer I received when I protested was the notion of humans being, exactly, something much higher from an animal, because of the will of God. I thought it was good to give a name to chance, humans thank their luck as much as they thank the lord.

Humans are subjective and most opinion can never be truly objective, so it is easy to accept a certain personal relationship with the mythical and become a humble champion of a cause. God is with us, always, and we love big brother for he looks after us and inspires us. I would like the idea of humans being lost to be discarded, because it is a very medieval concept that humans are powerless and lost in a bleak world where punishment only exists. When no knowledge of the world exists it is comforting to know that there is something out there that knows.

Now we have books and more information free to us everyday. Just like Louis Armstrong sang in What a Wonderful World, they’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. So it is high time to let go of myths. Humanity has reached that point where it can understand itself. There is no need for a kingdom of the lord, moksha, or spiritual enlightenment anymore. It should be understood that there is hope in this lifetime and its shortness should give it inherent value, so it is good to not waste it. Rather cherish it and cherish the lives of others that surround you. Seek knowledge and understanding rather than quick answers within dogmatics, for there is only outright cynicism within those ideologies and, what I would call, complete rejection of the value of nature, or existence.

There is no lighter side in dissent -or is there?

English: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko

English: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was reading the New York Times and I read an article about the most ridiculous form of activism. When I say ridiculous I do not mean to undermine the action, but to show my mere bafflement at the courageous act done by a few Swedish pilots over the “tightly” controlled airspace of Belarus. These pilots flew over Minsk and opened their cargo doors to drop teddy bears carrying pamphlets on July 4th.

I can’t explain how I gagged a few times while reading the article, which seemed to recount Mission Impossible if it were a comedy. It must have been very embarrassing for President Lukashenko, who subsequently fired some of his military personnel, mainly the head of the border service and the head of the air force.

Despite this rather cuddly activism with a punch to the gut,  I would say there is no lighter side to this work. This is just a success story, where everything went according to plan. The article reminds the reader that in 1995 a pair Americans in a hot-air balloon drifted into Belarus airspace by accident. Then they were shot down and killed by a missile from a military gunship.

These hot-air balloonists weren’t activists, but unlucky tourists, and just the same way the teddy bears could have been set aflame thousands of feet off the ground. One might think that the smallest forms of protest done by independent parties are safe and harmless, yet they sort of even are here in countries where there is free speech and freedom to protest between 10AM to 10PM with a legal contract from the authorities. Elsewhere things are different, like in Belarus as the article states. One can end up in jail for gathering plush toys onto a plaza.

Can there be, any, comedic value in dissent? I doubt it, even when one might see comedic value in a witty satire made of the authorities. Those who truly want to change something around them must take themselves seriously if they are protesting against something truly macabre, as the authorities will take them seriously even when they are just joking and could punish them in even more serious manners.

It is easy to be a sole crackpot living in a country where apathy reigns supreme over its people, as there is comfort for everyone. The dreary atmosphere of the city streets filled with alcoholics who receive their dole in the form of per mille. I have found myself in many tables where young people talk about other countries than their home country. Home is always right in these tables, everything is alright at home. The people who see a need for improvement are laughed at like comedians and despised for not being thankful.

Free speech has become the freedom to complain, and that is good enough for most. If the park with the president’s name is ugly or the statue of the forefathers is bent, you are free to say it: “This is ugly, I hate it.” or “It’s not good enough, but it’s alright.”
These both are read as, it’s okay, I do not like it yet it’s alright. It sure is nice to breathe fresh air in a comfortable country where self-deprecation is the norm.

This is the first world, free speech, freedom of opinion induced apathy. The utter apathy and weakness of oneself that follows. For example in Finland most people feel they do not have the power to change things around in their community, they feel their free opinions are void in the public eye. People do not innovate and band together, they do not make tightly knit and open communities. Most surrender their fate to the government which is nearly as lost in the world as they are.

I would like to request everyone who read this to correspond with their community on the issues they have, promote collaboration and friendship. You might not be a dissenter of any form of living, but do not have dissent against yourselves. Do not be a stranger to your neighbors and be positively active with your friends and relatives. You do not need to pull off a stunt like the one done over the skies of Belarus, but remember that the little things matter as well.