I don’t think I have any readers. But I thought I should post something anyway. It’s been a while since I have posted. Not for lack of content, but rather, I am working on an idea. I started on it in my last blog, “Evolution, equality, and differences Pt.1” However, it is a controversial subject, and before I continue to write on the subject, I’m finding I have to do a good deal of research. Not just to educate myself on the matter, but to make sure I word things in a way that allows for the least amount of misinterpretation possible.
As a preface, the very notion of race is incorrect to begin with. I could get into the history of the idea of “race”, but I’ll leave that research up to the reader. I use that word in this entry for the sake of simplicity. Wherever the word “race” is used, I mean it to refer to people who come from a different area of the word that may result in subtle differences in skin tone, facial or bodily features, or any other difference in appearances. Though it is not limited to these alone.
People have a misinformed idea that we are all the same. And because of this “sameness” we should have no trouble getting along. Genetically speaking, we humans are all very similar. There is more genetic diversity between say, a pit bull and a lab, than there is between say, a sub-Saharan African and a Native American. (I use this example because sub-Saharan Africans and Native Americans are the farthest apart in time, and also in space if you take into consideration the path of human migrations.)
Does this mean that there are no differences beyond physical appearance between any two “races” of people? I think not. I would argue that the process of evolution will favor not just differentiation between appearances, but also temperaments. Evolution is a complex process. And wherever humans go, evolution will eventually rule out unfavorable traits, while simultaneously encouraging favorable traits.
The first humans were black skinned, and came out of Africa. This is well known. In Africa, you’re a lot closer to the equator, the sun is brighter, and days are longer. Black helped protect early humans from the potentially damaging effects of bright sunlight. It kept them safe from sunburn and skin cancer. As we moved into northern climates, having dark skin would have been an undesirable trait, and natural selection would begin to phase it out. The body needs sunlight to metabolize vitamin D, and sunlight has a harder time getting through dark skin. In Africa sunlight is plentiful, and powerful, so this was not an issue. But in northern climates, over time, you would be far more susceptible to diseases related to vitamin D deficiency. White skin absorbs it faster and more efficiently. So in northern climates, pale skin will give you an advantage, allowing you to more readily and easily absorb vitamin D. It is the process of natural selection through evolution that guides this process.
Does this mean that a dark skinned African can’t migrate to say, northern Norway and survive? Of course not! Times have changed. We have an easier time getting our nutritional needs met than our early ancestors did. Likewise a pale skinned person can live in equatorial areas and be fine, provided they take care to avoid sunburn.
Geographic location will dictate, through the process of natural selection, what people will look like. Does this mean that any one race is better than another? More superior, more advanced, more valid? Such beliefs are at the height of ignorance.
Anybody reading this blog, and the comments I make may get the impression that I am anti-religious. I can easily see how one could get this idea. Let me clarify that despite the things I say, I am not opposed to religion. I am not opposed to god.
What I am opposed to is what I call spiritual exploitation. We are all faced in life, with the realization that we are going to die. We really don’t know who we are, where we came from, where we will go. And this is frightening. Many a night I have awoken from a black sleep in a cold sweat. Gripped with fear as the true realization dawns on me that a day will come that I will not exist. At least not in this corporeal form. While those specific experiences may be unique to me, I know I am not alone in fear of the unknown.
Because of this fear, people want answers. They want to know what will happen. So they turn to religion for those answers and meaning.
There are those who would exploit this vulnerability that is inherent in the human condition.
Many churches and religious institutions are guilty of this. Not only do they benefit from peoples spiritual deficits, but they misrepresent reality.
Am I opposed to the individual church goer? Of course not. I understand their predicament, because I suffer from the same. I just don’t get any comfort from it. Either way, whether we belong to a church or organized religion, we’re going to die. Religion offers a little comfort to the weary soul. It has it’s place in society.
But for one person to tell me that what they believe is right, and what I believe is wrong, well, that is just… wrong! What works for one, may not work for another.
To personally gain whether in power, influence, or financially from one persons spiritual vulnerability by misrepresenting reality is the height of evil.
For the firs time in my life, I watched a sporting event. Last night the guys at work decided to have a Superbowl party full with appetizers, snacks, HD TV, the whole works!
I’ve never been a fan of sports, and even somewhat oppose them. But I realized that doing something I wouldn’t normally do can be a good thing. So I gave it a try.
After the experience, I’d have to say that I would be hard pressed to recall something that was more repulsive, generic, abhorrent, shallow, and soulless. A prime cultural display of a culture that severely lacks culture. A culture based solely on materialism, selfish gain, opposition, nationalism,”us vs. them” mentality.
Did you know that this commercial was not allowed to play during the Superbowl because the producers didn’t have enough money to show it during that time frame?
But a pro Monsanto commercial aired, as did a pro Walmart commercial.
So an issue that has to do with something sacred, immaterial, and meaningful was excluded from this event. But everything material spiritually and culturally empty was shoved in viewers faces? And even more funny, was that there was a commercial promoting Scientology…
Further, in the post game chaos, players were being interviewed. Of course, one of them had to thank god for his success. As if God was rooting for his team, and his prayers mattered not only more than the prayers of the opposing team, but the prayers of billions of people starving to death world wide. More than the prayers of children being sexually abused by clergy. God leaves their prayers unanswered, but caters to the “me vs you” “I’m better than you” mentality that is inherent in the jock mind.
But this is what the American God is all about. He cares more for the striving athlete, the aspiring sellout bubblegum pop singer, the corporate backed in your face purchased talent TV teen idol!
These are the issues that matter to Americans. This is what gives us material to discuss at length with fervor in the bars and at the office, because most of us are to shallow and ignorant to have anything of import to speak of.
There’s large investments being made to promote the idea that sports matter. That it’s something to be followed. That the more you’re into sports, the more you matter and what you have to say matters. The reality is, it doesn’t matter. Being well versed in sport lingo doesn’t make you an educated, valuable person with meaningful outlooks on life. It will make you feel this way, but it’s an illusion.
“Oh it’s just mindless entertainment” you may want to say. I’ll be the first to say I partake in plenty of mindless entertainment. There’s limits.
How much money do you think was spent by broadcasting companies, and corporations pushing their product in your face? How much money do you think the athletes made? How much money swirls and revolves around just that one sport event? I’m not aware of the exact number, but I’m sure it’s more than the average person can ever dream of having. I won’t bother pointing out where that money could be better spent. If you can’t figure that out, you are certainly part of the problem.
I cannot support an industry, that values entertainment at the monetary value that is placed on sport. An industry that values materialism, intellectual emptiness, hero worship, and competition.
I cannot support an industry that promotes the idea that something of no value has value. An industry that presumes that God caters to those who have the most, and are the best.
The vast majority of us today, live in a world far different from that of our ancestors.
Progress: Progress is a good thing. Technology is a good thing. When we hear the world “technology” we tend to think of computers, i pods, cell phones, video game systems etc.
While these things are technologically advanced, they are only one branch on the tree of technology.
To the ancients, fire was technology, a club was technology, an adz was technology.
A broken stone with a sharp edge was technology.
Later, language became technology, religion itself was technology!
It used to be that anything that helped us to better cope with and understand, and work with the world around us was technology. Humans continuously sought out ways to make menial tasks more bearable. We also sought ways to make the world more sensible.
Psychology, language, spirituality: These are the pinnacle of human technological advancement.
But today’s technological advancement is far different from what used to be.
Take a look around. People work their fingers to the bone and for what? A flashy new car, the latest best computer, A high def DVD player?
I’m not dogging on material possessions. I have my share. And I’m just as guilty as the next guy of wasting time away on video games and social networking.
Sometimes I think it’s necessary to take a step back. To look at the world through the eyes of those who came before us.
Even religion today resembles the latest greatest technological trends more so than actual spirituality. It’s streamlined, quick, easy, convenient. It offers up all the answers in an establishment that absolves us of our wrong doings and spiritual shortcomings for a small donation and one hour of our time.
Spirituality is more complex than that. It’s personal. Sometimes uplifting, sometimes gut wrenching. Sometimes deep and wide, sometimes high and narrow. At times it builds us up, other times it tears us apart. At times strong, at others weak.
And always something that should move us. Drive us, motivate us, carry us, inspire us. Something always to be on the forefront, though often on the back burner. It should change every day. And we should look at the world through the filter of our own unique self made spirituality.
Only then can we be in touch with those who came before us. And hope to have a slice of their wisdom and understanding. Those who lived with the earth, not on it.
It takes a special breed to live in the northern lands we call Minnesota. Cabin fever hits hard in these cold times. Nothing to do, nowhere to go. Cold is all pervasive. It hits hard and gets into the bones, making every joint feel arthritic. The sun reflects blindingly off the blanket of snow that covers everything. To make matters worse it sets around 4:30. Cold, dark, foreboding times!
This is only in the southern half of the state. The northern half is worse!
Temperatures plummet on the frozen shores of Lake Superior. The lake is too big and the waters too fierce for the lake to freeze, but the waters get oppressively cold. The wind whips off the icy shores with the viciousness like a starving and outcast timber wolf.
This is the land in which we live, we Minnesotans, we the offspring of northern European immigrants who sought a place similar to home.
And yet how peaceful it all is! The earth sleeping peacefully under its blanket. The last rays of the setting sun shimmering and twinkling through the ice. The still silence of a sleeping forest devoid of foliage.
Enduring a Minnesota winter is like hitting a reset button on the consciousness. As we see the dying life all around us in late fall, so too does a part of us pass in the depths of winters cold embrace. The summer life we led, the ideas we had, the bustle, the story, comes to and end, and passes into memory. And we wipe the slate clean in our cabin fever induced breakdown. And only when we feel on the brink of collapse, are we ready to enter the brutal heat of the Minnesota summer, and build ourselves up once again.
Welcome to my corner of the web. This is where I will post my personal rants. My identity and personal information will be mostly absent from this blog. I’m a little on the paranoid side. I will be posting my views and thoughts on such topics as politics, philosophy, religion, current events, and anything else that comes to my mind. To give my reader an idea as to who I am, to help put things in context, I’ll be summarizing my views on these topics as time goes by.