I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
February 20, 2015 - 11:12 a.m.
I hope I can finish this before I have to go. I'm meeting Erika for lunch. that means eating breakfast early and I can't write this till I'm done, I am just waiting for the WfUV Question of the Day to be done before I eat.
I'll start with something that I should have written about yesterday. I almost got run over yesterday. I was crossing Grand Army Plaza to get to the Library to meet Carolann and a cab just ran the red light at the crosswalk. He stopped at the light where he'd have hit other cars. I acted like a true New Yorker. Ratzo Rizzo knew the score.
When I left my office I had another New York experience. I took the elevator to the first floor, there was one other woman on car. When the doors opened a student tried to walk in before she got off. He had to back off. But he then immediately started to walk in again before I could get off. He succeeded. He wasn't going to back off again. He apparently had never used an elevator before. And it was the first floor. I had to be getting out. He couldn't think I wasn't.
I went from my office down to see Carey. No not Carey. I could call him Carey not Carey or I could call him New York Carey or male Carey. But I don't. I call him Bad Carey. Why is he bad? He's not a cute girl so he's bad by comparison.
He works down in Tribeca and I was supposed to meet him in the lobby of his building at 5:30. I arrived at 5:29:30. When I went inside the security guy asked me what I was there for. I said, "I'm just meeting a friend." He asked "What's his name" and Carey said, "Me." That was perfect timing.
I met Carey because he was helping me out and had to give me something. Bad Carey is very good. He will help me with just about anything. He couldn't stay for dinner. Hew as meeting somebody else. So I went shopping at Trader Joe's. I tried something new their deep-dish
What the hell did I do last night? I was going to watch Jazz but was interrupted. Oh year, I talked to Heather.
I'm going to return to one of my standby topics religion. I almost went with simply listing my standby topics. but realized that I had something somewhat new to say.
I'm an atheist but I know that I'm not going to convince anyone to stop believing. Sometimes I'll write about why I'm an atheist but that's to either explain how my mind works and or to give support to closet atheists and agnostics. And I will sometimes try to push agnostics into atheism.
But what other people believe is not my problem, or most people's problem with religion. If in your heart you believe I the blind idiot got Azathoth that's your business. Belief is a personal matter. The problem is when people stop believing it's personal and think that other people's behavior should conform to their beliefs like it's objective truth. There is no religious belief that a majority of the world agrees on so clearly that's problematic. This problem manifests itself on many different scales.
If you follow current events at all you can see the damage done by radical Islamicists. The Islamic State feels that everyone should follow their interpretation of Sharia and will kill all those that don't. There are the individuals that have killed because they feel that other should have to abide by the Muslim proscription against images of Mohammed.
If you go down a level you find that a majority of people in some countries people feel that blasphemy should be illegal. Apostacy can be punished by death in some places. In Saudi Arabia the public practice of any religion but Islam is banned. Thousands have flocked to the Islamic State from around the world because there is a reservoir of people that believe that they have the right to inflict their religious beliefs on others.
But of course it isn't just Islam. El Al the Israeli airline can't operate on Shabbot because of the objections of Orthodox Jews. If you drive in the Haredim neighborhoods in Israel on Shabbot you are risking trouble. They don't just think they can't work on the Sabbath but neither can anyone else.
In America look how many Christians feel that this is a Christian Country. Mike Huckabee, a Republican who was elected governor and has significant support for a presidential bid thinks that American Law should be grounded in the bible. You can't be a viable Republican candidate if you don't say that Christians have the right to discriminate against gays.
There isn't a religion in power anywhere that doesn't have believers who want to force others to follow their religious dictates. There are radical Buddhist monks attacking Muslims and Hindus.
Bertrand Russell lumped ideology with religion and so do I. Communism worked in so many ways like received truth. People had to show that their beliefs were consistent with Marx and Lenin. And of course the Communists in Russia suppressed religions and China still does.
When the US constitution was written the English Civil War, which was a religious war, was not in the distant past. People fled to America because they were on the losing side at the time, both of which wanted others to follow their beliefs. When the Puritans were in charge it wasn't enough that they couldn't go to theaters, they had to make sure that nobody else could either. So when they wrote the Bill of Rights the very first amendment dealt with Freedom of Religion. They knew the damage that could be done from having people believe they could dictate the beliefs of others. When people now complain of a war on religion what they actually mean is that they feel they should have the right to inflict their beliefs on others.
So believe what you want or not believe as you want. Just don't expect everyone else to follow your beliefs.
OK now I have to get dressed and go meet Erika for lunch.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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