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
April 08, 2015 - 12:23 p.m.
Yesterday was not good. I never left the house. Sometimes this blog becomes a mental health diary. I was going to say "this is happening more and more," but that's not true. It happens when my mental state has such a big effect on my life. A day where I don't get dressed is not necessarily a bad thing. When I had better living conditions it was often a good thing. There were days I would not do something I enjoyed because I enjoyed staying home even more. But that's not what's happening now.
I do not want to write about being unhappy. So let's see what else I can write about. Well I can tell you something that I'm happy about. I'm going to visit Emily and Joe this weekend. They run the Steeple Coffeehouse. The Kennedys are playing there Saturday night. If you are anywhere near Southborough MA go to the show and you can see me too. I told Pete and Maura but that was a long time ago and I'm hoping they forget so they will be surprised to see me. Of course they have already seen me in Vienna VA, Marblehead MA, and Saratoga Springs NY, so it can't be that big a shock.
Writing about that put me in a better mood. I of course thought about food to say positive. Now I did have a great breakfast. I made matzoh brei to make your bubbe cry. This was pretty extreme. I chopped up pork sausages and mixed it right in then I cooked it in bacon fat. Yes that is just as good as it sounds. They are frozen precooked sausages so I nuke them first. I usually mix in Taylor ham. I have done it with bacon too it's harder to cut the bacon up into small pieces.
I should have made a better dinner. I had all day to prepare. All I had was grilled cheese. Yes I love grilled cheese but that's not the point. Today I'll make the sweet garlic chicken. I have another day with nothing on my schedule. I will make myself leave the house. I wish it were a nicer day so I could take a walk.
There is a door to the roof in my room. Guys just walked through my room to repair the roof. They were very friendly. One insisted on a fist bump. That's not a complaint. I liked that.
I've been thinking a lot about atheism and religion and even more at the core issue, epistemology. Yes I am the kind of guy that uses terms like epistemology. I have to make up for the fact that I forgot the word diligence before. It was the word I needed in conversation and it couldn't reach my fingers so I could type it. Epistemology is the study of how we know things. I'm a rational empiricist, knowledge comes from observation and logic. It's objective. It always bothers me when people believe things based on how things make them feel. You might have noticed that I will criticize articles and facebook posts that I agree with if the reasoning is wrong. It morally wrong to use a fallacious argument even in support of a good cause. I'm with Faramir, "I would not even deceive an orc with a falsehood." If you are right you should be able to find valid arguments.
I know it shouldn't but it upsets me when people reject logic and observation, reject science, because they want to believe what they want to believe. I recently had an experience with a friend. She posted something on Facebook that had all the hallmarks of a viral meme. I thought it unlikely to be true. So I did the simplest thing to research things like that, I checked it out on Snopes. It was there. The post said that food product was killing us and the FDA was ignoring it. I won't spread the lie and say which one. The truth was the food did include a chemical, not something added, a natural byproduct of the cooking process, that had been shown to cause cancer in rats but not humans. Moreover this chemical is found in many other common foods, not just commercially processed ones, and not in any way more in the product singled out. So I posted the link to the Snopes article as comment. Her reaction was, well they didn't used to know that smoking was bad for you so that proves nothing. The fact that there wasn't evidence that it was harmful wasn't enough. It could be true so she chooses to believe it. And she continues to eat the other foods that contain the same chemical. Then the next day she posts that she is going to look for something that says another food has health benefits. She wanted it to have them and that was enough. I'm pretty sure you can find something on the internet that says any food is good for you and other site saying it's bad for you. People can say anything. They can come up with justifications. That's not evidence. They are at most grounds for doing further research.
This kind of thinking is dangerous. It lets people deny global warming. It lets them adhere to economic theories that have made consistently wrong predictions. It leads to two peoples saying they each have a right to land. Wanting something to be true doesn't make it true. When you want it to be true you should be more skeptical to overcome your known bias. Hey I see articles all the time on how bacon is good for you. People will always send them to me. I take it as a joke. I love bacon but it isn't good for you. It's one of the few things that deserves some of its bad health rep. It's not enough to convince me that it's not worth eating it but I'm not going to argue that people should eat more of it. I'm dubious of all the new studies that show that coffee is good for you too. They are as valid as the ones before that showed it was bad to you. When you get to real science you don't flip flop, you refine. Newton came up with the theory of Gravity over 300 years ago and even though we've come up with better it still works great where it always worked, which is almost all the time. Where it's wrong it's by small amounts except in the most extreme cases.
Do I keep that last paragraph? It lost focus. But it moved naturally? I'm going to keep it.
What am I going to make for breakfast? By poetic logic it should be bacon but it's not bacon's turn. I think it's time for my special grits with eggs, ham, and cheese mixed in. Now that has to be good for you. It looks terrible
I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.
Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
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