Abortion

Abortion is a controversial issue with strong proponents on both sides. Let’s take a step back and analyse things a bit.

What about the language used? Pro-life sounds good. Surely you’re in favour of life! The not-so-subtle implication is that the other side must be pro-death. However, those on the other side use the term pro-choice which also sounds good. If you disagree with them, you must be pro-tyranny. But just as when it comes to politics, it’s not the name or even the intention of a policy which matters but what it actually does and what the resulting short and long-term effects are. So let’s focus on the facts.

If a woman has become pregnant, should she be allowed to terminate the pregnancy if she so chooses?

The question really boils down to whether it is morally okay to kill an embryo/foetus/baby in certain situations. I think 99% of the time it is completely immoral. But I want to explain why and address the arguments on both sides.

Firstly, religion is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what a book written a long time ago said. If you ask someone why it is bad to murder and they refer immediately to the ten commandments, that’s a red flag. It suggests they would happily kill people except that the bible prohibits it. Similarly, quoting existing laws is not an adequate argument. We must tackle these questions directly with reasoning and by considering them from all angles.

Unfortunately there’s an abundance of bad logic to be found surrounding abortion, most of which falls under the category of “irrelevance”: something is used to justify/condemn an action which we obviously wouldn’t accept in other contexts. Let’s go through some of the most common points found on the pro-choice side and “debunk” them.

It’s just a cluster of cells.
Every living thing, ever, is a cluster of cells. Admittedly, an adult human being is a staggeringly ambitious cluster of cells but nonetheless, it’s a cluster of cells. This argument seems to imply that smaller things are worth less than larger things. Are women worth less than men? Are children worth less than adults? Is a mouse worth less than a blue whale?

It’s not yet really alive.
A rock isn’t alive. We know this because if you leave it alone for 9 months and come back, it’ll be in the same spot and won’t have changed much. But a fertilised egg grows into a baby, then a child and eventually an adult, capable of thinking, feeling, reproducing and dying. It’s on its way, that’s why you have to go out of your way to stop it in its tracks.

It won’t feel any pain.
If you shoot someone in their sleep, they won’t feel any pain.

It doesn’t have any memories.
Neither do amnesiacs or babies.

No-one will miss it because no-one yet knows it.
The same goes for an orphan who’s moved to a new town.

It takes pressure off the mother who may go on to live a wonderful life.
Then you can kill anyone who stands in your way, as long as it makes things easier/better for you.

Who will look after all the children who have single mothers and end up on the streets?
Should we be pro-active in killing poor and sick people to make the world a better place?

If abortion is illegal, women will attempt it themselves or via a black market with greatly increased risk.
This is a more persuasive point. And it does actually make sense for something like drugs. The War on Drugs has failed and arguably made things worse. Similarly, there is clearly a market for abortions whether they are legal or not, so why not make it legal so they can be carried out more safely? The problem is that whereas drugs only affect the individual, abortions affect third parties – the embryos. There is a market for murder in spite of its illegality, but that doesn’t justify it. We can’t give in simply because some people choose to do it.

My body, my choice.
This is one of stupidest slogans which should really have been adopted (pun intended) by the pro-life side of the argument. It is indeed your body and it’s your choice what goes into it. If you’re pregnant, it’s clear what choice you’ve made (to have unsafe sex, just in case you couldn’t figure that out). Also, the baby isn’t part of your body. It’s inside you and it’s connected to you but it’s a separate living thing (you won’t die without it and theoretically it could be taken out and kept alive with advanced-enough technology).

The point is that all of these so-called reasons made irrelevant points which don’t hold up to any real scrutiny. They also tend to fall apart if you respond with the phrase: “use a condom”. Which reminds me of another one.

The condom broke.
If you shoot someone in the head, the fact that you thought the gun wasn’t loaded isn’t a very good excuse. You’re a responsible adult. Check first. Also, if a family has children with ages of 17, 16, 14 and 3 (with the implication that the most recent child was an “accident”), it’s not okay to kill the 3-year-old.

But the abundance of bad arguments does not prove that the alternative is right. So why am I pro-life? It’s simple: I don’t think you can justify killing a living human being. I’m not playing with words here – embryos are living and in this case, they’re of the human variety.

Being an adult comes with responsibilities. There’s a reason for the historic stigma surrounding a young, unmarried girl getting pregnant: it’s irresponsible and tends to put a burden on the entire family, both financially and in terms of reputation. Hence the existence of shotgun weddings. Making abortions legal relieves irresponsible people from having to face the consequences of their actions (aka: reality) at the small cost of killing a living human being. Reducing the stigma (which exists for logical reasons) by legalising and promoting abortion as if it’s normal and commonplace will tend to increase the irresponsible behaviour. Again, the phrase “use a condom” is flashing in bright lights in my mind as I type this.

Now I want to acknowledge some exceptional cases before readers get too flabbergasted. Of course, a woman can get pregnant from a rape. In this case, she had no say in the matter and an abortion may be the lesser of two evils. Should she be forced to go through a full preganancy and give birth to the rapist’s baby, all the while being reminded of how she got pregnant in the first place? What will be done with the baby? Will she have to look after it or will it be put up for adoption? Killing the embryo early on and holding the rapist accountable for this additional crime seems appropriate. Of course, if the woman wants to keep the baby, that’s fine but she’ll have to commit to it.

Another circumstance is where medical complications arise with chances that the mother or baby will be harmed or die at some point. The best course of action may be an abortion, depending on the severity of the risks involved.

After all I’ve said, there’s a good chance you still feel abortion is a complicated issue with a lot of grey area. There’s much debate over where to “draw the line” (generally in reference to the question of when does the embryo actually become a truly living, feeling, human being whose life should be valued). But in fact, this phrase is what originally drove me to reach such a definitive opinion in the first place.

Let’s see. We have a not-pregnant woman who, at a specific point in time, becomes pregnant as a direct result of a specific action. The timeline goes something like: not-pregnant, not-pregnant, not-pregnant, UNSAFE SEX, pregnant, pregnant, pregnant. If only we could find a clear place to draw a line? An analogy I like is the “commit to buy” button on eBay. Once you click it, you’re past the point of no return. Conception is well-and-truly the point of no return.

Let me end with what I think is my most persuasive hypothetical scenario. A young couple have recently married and the woman becomes pregnant. She announces it on Facebook to hundreds of likes and congratulatory comments. Her entire family is ecstatic and they’ve already started picking names. But then someone slips her an abortion pill (maybe as a prank, maybe as revenge for something) and it works. Is this a crime? I mean, it was only an embryo after all. Even if the mother herself was the one who abruptly chose to have an abortion, how would the father and rest of the family feel when they find out?

One other thing. My mother used to work as a nurse, usually as a midwife. She observed that some of the same women who got abortions would be back at the hospital months or years later because they were having difficulty getting pregnant. Abortion is not without risks or side-effects. And prevention is better than cure so “use a condom”.

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Status Update

I need something, or perhaps someone, so badly. I’m 29. So much of my life gone. I feel like I have nothing to show for it. Nothing has added up. It seems I did musicals to make friends that I never actually have any contact with other than Facebook (shudder). No regular friends of any kind at all. I’m in limbo with some people. Don’t know whether to make an effort or just wait or give up entirely. I’m not clear in my head. I alternate between different versions of what I should say and do. No-one from high school or university. No-one. Distant memories, less real than the movies I’ve watched in the last week.

What is my problem with Facebook? So many things. It’s hard to put into words: broken into little parts, it all seems harmless and cute. I think it’s similar to the issues I have with ads, sitcoms, the news, reality TV shows. There’s this world of media out there, vying for our attention non-stop. And we all want to be celebrities. And then Facebook is this magical site where you get to be a star. We’re all so happy to get so many likes, so much attention. But it’s fake. There is so little substance. It’s just another popularity game. People trying to outdo each-other with witty comebacks, memes, pictures, videos, references, hashtags, irony. It is the opposite of life. Frivolousness is glorified. Life is over-simplified. It feels completely corrupt. One person will post about losing a loved one, another will post an ambiguous and trivial status update, another will share a random article they found. I don’t know, maybe that’s what life is.

When I played soccer a few years ago, I had spasms one time and nearly felt like I had a heart-attack another. I was extremely stressed then and I clearly am now as well. Some sort of demon has stayed with me all this time. I don’t know if I will ever feel released from it. I hated the sport culture: I didn’t want to go drinking afterwards, training was too slow and not very fun (I didn’t need a coach, just practice and experience), I got low on blood-sugar during matches and felt sick, many of the players were overly aggresive dicks. AFL was similar. The bad sportsmanship I saw made me furious. Ironically these “masculine” sports felt like the gayest things I’ve ever done. Maybe that’s weird or irrelevant or homophobic but men act differently when women aren’t around. They’re all trying to be the biggest, toughest and roughest while actually showing how weak and shallow they are. I was always an individual. But still not quite confident for whatever reason. The problem is that I care about things so I’m emotional and unsure of myself. If I didn’t give a shit I could easily be intimidating, outgoing, a complete smart-arse.

Everything I’ve done was always to make myself more loveable. I wanted to be smarter, more attractive, stronger, kinder, funnier. Obsessed with learning and finding the keys. I feel like I will die alone. With only my thoughts and memories. But I’m so guilt-ridden that it’s hell. I’m restricted and frustrated. Every moment of hope is false. There is no end-point. But of course, that makes sense. Life is constantly moving. The problem is that I’m not enjoying the ride. I dread it. Almost all hallways lead to pain. Happy thoughts are perhaps the most painful because they remind me of regrets, what I’ve missed out on and what I may never have.

I have to take a chance. On several things. On jobs I don’t want to do anymore. Creative things I want to try. Making things, lots of things. Educational things, my own ways of explaining things, my own theories. Have more fun and silliness. More indulgence in music and movies. The things I love. I have to stop respecting bullshit. Get more confident calling it out. Be tactful but say something!

Every skill I work on is the one that will save me. Just a little better and then everything will fall into place. I will finally love myself and accept that everything is okay. If I was really good at chess then at least people would have to respect me or like me a bit. They couldn’t ignore me completely. I think the problem is that I was good at things as a kid. So I thought I might get really good at something as an adult. But nowadays we can see everything and everyone on the internet. For anything I can do, there’s a kid in Japan that can do it blindfolded. I feel like I have nothing. I don’t feel sexy. Women can wear suggestive clothing and move a certain way and it just affects me. But I don’t feel I can do anything to affect anyone. I’m too isolated. Don’t get out enough. I open up to the wrong people. My family constantly fails to help. And yet I turn to them because there is nobody else. I have to turn to myself. Trust my instincts. In retrospect, I have been right for years.

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Passage

Feeling strangely emotional and outside of time. I watched a home video of myself and some friends in year 12 from 2002. Instantly familiar faces, but now they just look like kids, these teenagers who were once my peers. It’s triggering a stream of other memories and feelings. The hope and excitement I used to have. Life was an adventure, I was going to learn so much, meet so many people, make such an imprint and fill my life with love and awesome things. There were so many interesting things I missed at the time. The way a person spoke, held themself, the way they would pause or think. The universe is so infinitely complicated. Thousands of millions of people living lives, having all sorts of conversations. Hundreds of days every year, mornings, afternoons, celebrations and gatherings. Okay, so maybe a lot of it is extremely boring. But the details, the body language, all those subtle little things are extraordinary.

I feel like a ghost now. I barely remember my high school, I’m hardly the same person. I would only recognise a fraction of my classmates and practically no-one from other years. Funny how years can just pass like that. Anything you haven’t looked at, anything you don’t regularly come back to, will fly right by you. Imagine all the people and things in your life that you’ve already seen for the last time. There are moments when you’ll discover something by accident and then realise how easily you could have missed it literally for the rest of your life. These hidden relics of the past can be so powerful when found again. Even beautiful things you’ve never seen before are lying around, waiting to be instantly loved and appreciated in a familiar kind of way and yet you may never find them.

Our world is so full of advertisements, external forces trying to grab our attention or influence us, that it becomes difficult to find the things we really want. Search for anything and you’ll find a million things that aren’t what you want but which desperately want your time and consideration. Ironically, if you tried to separate yourself from these cultural forces to be able to clearly reflect, you’d be sacrificing active living, no longer creating new memories but just trying to understand and keep precious everything from before a certain point in time.

It’s scary. This will be lost, this moment. Eventually it will be completely forgotten. Unless I can somehow make something. Start something. Leave a permanent mark (hopefully a good one). Even marks can be forgotten. They become words – so and so happened which caused this. We leave it like this, so please don’t touch it. We forget we can change a mark, fix or improve it, reinterpret it in a new light. We can leave new marks. We can make an even bigger impact. But we freeze ourselves in time, trap ourselves. It’s funny. When you’re ready, the universe is ready. And it will all flow, a metamorphosis will take place. Maybe it was already happening and this transition is simply the big reveal. You let it go, tear it down or modify it and all of a sudden you’re free. There’s some new space available in your soul.

Piles of partially read books. Mentally noted partially watched movies, TV shows and documentaries. Reviews and trailers. Snippets from forums. People I’ve seen or met and dreamt about. Fantasies I had about my future. A collection of ideas of things, but not actually things themselves. There are so many. Even finished things feel unfinished. What was the aim again? Why did I start this in the first place?

I used to catch so many buses and trains. It was a kind of ritual. Entering a new space. Assessing the people. Glancing at the cute girl every so often. She’s really pretty and I’ll probably never see her again. Trying to see what that person is reading. Why are they highlighting so much? Looking out the window. Endlessly drawn to the passing buildings, roads, clouds, trees, people, everything. A whole world out there and I’m somehow a part of it. I can think and make noises and move around and touch things. This whole place is real, all of it. My mind wanders. It discusses things back and forth. Consciousness ebbs and flows. Different things are in the background of my mind at different times, it knows what it’s doing. I am silent, deep in thought. Struck by an inner peace. This music was made just for me here, for this time right now. It’s so soothing, so invigorating and affecting. I get off the train, constantly observing people, laughing at little details. Now I’m walking. Familiar streets and paths. How is the weather? Isn’t the sky beautiful? I don’t get this music but I’m excited that I must be learning in some way from it. My existence is becoming richer, my world is expanding. This is a journey, an adventure. A barrage of passing images and sounds, faces and expressions and I can look at whatever interests me the most. I finally arrive and enter either home or school or some university lecture hall. The morning’s or afternoon’s meditation is over.

How much of my life has been spent fully awake? Truly absorbed in my surroundings, using all of my senses? Perhaps that is the best feeling. Being fully alert and having the freedom to do anything, think anything. My soul is intact and I own it. I define myself and communicate to the world through my being. I don’t fear death. My sensitivity is heightened. I will remember this experience and gain insight into the world or even myself from it. Then I wake up years later, not realising I’d fallen asleep. Where do I begin?

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Flat

Still lost. Can’t create any new music. So many possibilities but they all feel empty. Just bland, logical sequences. I don’t know how to understand my emotions, music itself. I guess nobody fully gets it so I shouldn’t worry. Just going through the motions of my life. A ghost observing the daily habits I have at this time. Scared of the full-time job I’ll soon be working. Not sure if I’ll cope. It’ll probably be fine. Easy even.

That sadness, all this anger I carry. Envious of people that are already married by this age. People living exciting lives or at least feeling loved. Getting what they want, being heard, laughed at, looked up to. People that are accomplished, noticed by others. I just sit and play chess everyday and keep making the same mistakes. Go in circles, hoping I’m somehow improving. That’s it though, you’re pushing. You’re struggling. It must mean you’re making progress. All that’s missing is that self-love or some better name for the same thing. A natural passion for life, the freedom to explore whatever I want to explore. I’m not wanting things as much. I just want to hide. Have a clean slate and start again. Understand my life, everything, this moment. Need a symbol or sign to lead the way. A reminder or something brand new.

I seek happiness through these indirect things. Where does the pain come from? That’s the issue that needs to be addressed. Getting good at chess won’t suddenly turn my life around. I’m so easily triggered by certain things, certain people. Fun girls. They remind me of how alone I am, how isolated and judgemental. I can’t be funny or cool, I can’t impress anyone. I feel worthless so perhaps I project that onto other people. I believe in self-diagnosis, or at least the idea of understanding things for yourself. Whether its maths or psychology or whatever. You don’t have to be an expert or take short-cuts but just have a firm grip on the important concepts. It’d be good to have more mastery of my feelings and emotions (not sure if there’s a difference). If I can’t master chess, how can I master anything else? I probably am learning a lot, but it’s subtle, invisible.

I’m getting in arguments every day. Fighting for my life, against unknown demons. Is this a standard phase that everyone goes through? Some test? I get angry at the Sun, the cold air-conditioning, any technology that doesn’t work. Everyone’s against me. How did I get like this? No answers yet. Just try to find peace, little moments of quietness and clarity. Keep playing music and chess, reading and thinking. The rewards will hopefully come later.

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Time

Keep thinking about this person. I think it’s just reminding me of how isolated and alone I feel. I really liked her and felt comfortable around her. But there were plenty of red flags. The problem is finding those positive feelings again in a different context. Or something. I think I have insecurities and that’s where all the pain comes from. I’m vulnerable. Which is fine, it’s a beautiful quality to have. Once I understand that, I can become stronger without losing myself. Fall into my emotions and understand them, use them. I just felt so worthless and betrayed. It has lingered this entire time and I feel like I’ve gotten nowhere. I hate myself for this as usual.

I only connect with people through their art. I prefer the way people express themselves when they’re aiming for something beautiful or divine or inspirational or whatever we watch movies and read books for. They take themselves seriously in that context, they become more than themselves. They become a vessel for some higher kind of communication. They are my friends, they’ve affected me and been there for me. These directors and actors and composers and writers. People talk so frivolously in person, in text messages. I only want to speak to the world, to other people in these artistic ways and yet I haven’t made anything in ages. I still try to joke around and uplift people, make them think or laugh or impress them with a skill they haven’t seen before. I have no idea if it makes any impression at all.

I seem to be obsessed with controlling people without realising it. That’s where my frustration comes from. Why don’t they try harder to learn new things? Why aren’t they more open-minded? Why don’t they understand me or see the depth inside me? The sadness? Why so short-sighted and shallow? Can nobody else see how superficial and self-destructive our society is? The way we jump to judgement or conclusions instantly? Or praise something that’s cute or clever, that conveniently fits into our pre-existing notion of beauty or originality? The way we drug ourselves, loudly argue over things and only want attention when we think we’re right. Highlight only the aspects of an argument that benefit us personally. A world of kids or teenagers in adult bodies. Throwing tantrums, taking revenge, muttering to ourselves because we didn’t get our way.

Barriers. Superconductors suddenly have no obstruction for the charges flowing through them below a certain temperature. That’s the breakthrough we each need. Things are only hard because we get in our own way.  Once you have the right idea and feel the freedom you intrinsically have, it’s easy. Occasionally it seems to happen. Everything comes naturally and you feel alive. You directly connect with whatever you’re manipulating or interacting with. You become one with it.

I’m scared about teaching. I don’t think this is the job for me. I just want real happiness for a change. To have a really great time. To have some life-changing moments. To be exhausted from happiness. To not be afraid or feel like I have to explain things or justify them, to have to apologise for feeling down. I don’t know why I feel this way. Why does it matter? Of course I don’t want it. I just want respect and trust. Space and time. To feel like everything is going to be alright.

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Cowardly Old Planet

There is too much hatred in me. Well, not really. Just a lack of satisfaction that I’m happy and doing what I want to do and making progress, making a positive difference. Sometimes I think I just need to relax and stop judging. It’s bad when I keep hearing myself say “I hhaaaAATE the way…” It’s terrible! What’s HapPeNninG to me? Relax man. I need to just see the choices I have now and keep doing what I find fun and rewarding and meaningful. Push myself to improve, take myself out of comfort zone. Stop judging things out of my control and just reflect or laugh about them. Anyway…

News reporters. The personas they put on. That stupid way of talking and moving their head and using overly conscious hand gestures. What I don’t like is the pressure they seem to put on themselves. It’s not that I find it annoying (although it can be indeed be distractingly annoying) but that they are meant to be professional journalists, conveying information and focussing on the facts. And yet more effort seems to go into hair and make-up, their speech, how they walk and the overall impression they make than on the actual story and its relevance and importance. I never get a sense of ownership of the story, that the reporter covered it their way. All of them fit into the same package. Plus, is the generic stock footage of banks, streets, supermarkets, the city really necessary? Does it add anything at all?

Why is it that so many great artists start out by being unconventional, breaking the rules and getting to the point of things without superficial elements interfering only to be universally dismissed and forgotten (and laughed at) until years later when everyone finally praises their work? I suppose it’s the same process with more serious occupations. Meaning most of the stuff at the top is mediocre and lacks vibrance. It’s popular in its time but will pale in comparison to what was great in retrospect. I do find SkyNews to be pretty good from the little I’ve seen of it. There are probably many independent or publicly funded media organisations that do good work. But it seems there’s money to be made in news and unfortunately high quality news reporting isn’t the best way to make the most money. Does it sicken anyone else the way news programs advertise themselves by pointing out all the great work they did during disasterous events? Is news just a branch of entertainment now?

The food chain of human beings. This just kind of hit me. I never understood how anybody had any power. Let’s say someone has some big fancy title and gets to tell people what to do. Why do they just do what he or she says? How can they be intimidated so easily? I’ve never had respect for authority. I feel nobody has greater authority over me than myself and I try to do what is morally right (what I believe is morally right).

Anyway, I realised it’s because of the massive structure they’re sitting on. It’s like A Bug’s Life (or 七人の侍). There’s so many of us, but we’re not united. Nobody wants to get hit first. Nobody wants to get fired. So they pass it down. Like a bully whose parents pick on them, they pass it on. Then there are the bureaucrats who live for this stuff. They want to climb a ladder. They believe the world works this way with everyone on a particular level and everyone starts at the bottom and tries to get to the top. They only care about going up. Of course, they want to earn it. But not by being creative or adding something to the world. Only by being good at following orders. Loving the rules and living by them. Sucking up to the people above and treading on the people below.

Freedom of thought. You should never accept guilt that you don’t feel you deserve. People can try to shame you but you should only feel shame from inside yourself. You’ll know why. Otherwise you won’t understand or learn. You’ll beat yourself up forever and never heal. I’ve heard people say that everyone’s racist. It makes me wonder, how do I know I’m not racist? I guess I don’t know for certain. But I strongly believe I’m not, in any way, and never have been. That goes for any form of prejudice or discrimination. I’m open to learning about myself but that’s why I need facts and examples

Too often, blanket statements are put out there, coming from a good place but not helping. Saying that people don’t realise they’re discriminating. That’s fine. But examples are more powerful. And these kinds of vague arguments get brought up all the time. If I call someone out on something, they can try to point out that I’m being a hypocrite by questioning whether I’m guilty as well but it’s irrelevant. It’s not an attack. It’s an observation. Acknowledge whether it’s true or not and then, separate from that, you can bring up things that I do if you want. We can help each-other.

I believe you should reflect on things, look inside yourself, be open-minded and listen to other points of view. But ultimately you have to trust yourself. You have no obligation to change your mind. Don’t let uncertainty creep in. Don’t accept fundamental ideas that you don’t really believe in or understand just to please others. All of your rational considerations will have been poisoned by something foreign. This is what happens when students accept a maths formula they don’t get. The rest of their understanding rests on an unstable base. How many things do you “believe” that you don’t believe at all?

You have access to all the truths out there. Your brain is just as unique and profoundly powerful as Einstein’s or any other highly proclaimed intellect. You can relate to all living things, have the potential to understand any possible concept. Don’t delegate any of your understanding to what apparantly know better unless you want to. And remember where you got the information from.

The right to lie. Murder and stealing seem like good examples of pretty fundamentally immoral things to do. But lying isn’t bad at all even though it is often referred to as one of the classically obvious examples of immorality. You don’t have to give information to anyone at anytime. Sure, you could come up with lots of examples where it’s bad but I could do that with murder and stealing as well.

Lying usually implies someone asked you something. They came to you. Chose to ask you. You don’t have to answer, let alone tell the truth. There are many instances where to not answer would imply a certain answer (usually an unfavourable one). Hence, lying is sometimes necessary to maintain one’s privacy. Lying might make someone untrustworthy and useless but certainly not worthy of eternal damnation. Anyone who believes all the information they get by asking is only asking for trouble (the word “asking” appeared twice, no, three times in this sentence). One of the most valuable skills in life is being able to read people, including detecting their lies. As they say, communication is 92.38% body language so make sure you’re “listening”. Instead, verify things for yourself or ask indirect questions. You can learn a lot (and usually with far more certainty and solid grounding) by being a detective and putting things together for yourself.

Every problem either has a solution (which can be found somehow) or there is some way to prove that it doesn’t have a solution. Of course, if you prove that it doesn’t have one, you can, and probably should, stop looking. I believe this logic applies to practically everything in life. As long as you understand (in whatever language) what you’re looking for and checked that it’s not actually impossible, your journey is worthwhile and should eventually end somewhere interesting. But be careful you’re not looking for something that doesn’t exist. People seem to go on these wild goose chases a lot. If it’s been a long time, it might be good to restate your assumptions and make sure you’re not wasting your time.

Sorry if this is pretentious. I feel like I used to be much sillier and just loved being satirical and sarcastic and making fun of things and wondering about things. Oh well. This is where I’m at for now. This point in my life. This month. This year and time and place. Hopefully I’m figuring some stuff out and this isn’t all worthless. Right? Right, everyone?

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The War on Ourselves

I basically have no political opinions. Or it seems like that. I always end up playing the Devil’s advocate in political discussions. Focussing more on the logic itself and *why* someone believes a particular thing and others believe something else. Not just for the sake of it, but so that I can understand how they got from A to B, what are their assumptions and why do others who are just as smart as them disagree so vehemently? Where does the disparity come from?

I can get worked up about things as much as anyone else, but my ignorance often stops me in my tracks. I soon realise I have nowhere near enough information to come to a definite conclusion or make a judgement. So why get overly passionate or upset? People often seem to get really into it. And then I get involved by trying to not take sides and calm people and focus the discussion on facts and the breakdown of where their opinions stem from. I often get lost and don’t know how I actually feel about the issues. The different opinions sound convincing most of the time.

Are people just stubbornly used to everyone seeing things the same way as them? Or being able to force them to? Are they reluctant to have to change one of their beliefs or the way they understand something to be? Maybe I’m the other extreme. Too obsessed with knowing for sure. Always convinced that *maybe* somehow the other side is right or some information is missing. Ultimately, I feel most political arguments are pointless. The answer should be obvious once the information and the exact details of the issue are made clear. If they aren’t clear then no clear answer can exist and that’s okay. Disagreements are due to misconceptions. They don’t understand economics, they’re only looking at part of the picture, they’re associating two things together that are really separate, they’re just missing the point (like me).

Propaganda. On both sides. Everyone trying to cut eachother down. Unrelated images expertly juxtaposed to make a point, to have an emotional impact. Missing an opportunity at universal poetry that has power and relevance to all people and all times and instead taking a cheap shot at an easy target. Reminds me of advertising, except it’s not for a product, it’s for a belief. Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove had a lot to say about politics in an effective, satirical, powerful and thought-provoking way. More of that would be welcome!

Did anybody ever like a politician ever? They’re just another person doing their job! Why not help them or offer some tips instead of constant comparisons with the dictator-of-the-month? Can’t all the parts of society help eachother? Why are we so quick to judge our leaders without first assessing our own lifestyles? Are you flawless in your line of work? Could you lead a country and have everyone like you? If they messed up, let the facts speak for themself. Let the truth be known to everyone with all the context that is needed to properly appreciate it.

Imagine a maths lecturer trying to convince a group of people of a certain mathematical truth. If he writes out his approach clearly and the steps and assumptions make sense, nobody can argue with it! Questions could be answered if necessary/desired. There would be no need for a raised voice or interrupting or anything immature. People could discuss the maths and help eachother understand it but there wouldn’t be any question about the result. Perhaps this is the difference between art (which provokes thoughts and feelings in a free but guided and profound way) and propaganda. Or maybe maths doesn’t apply to everything and I’m misguided.

Politics feels more like a sport. The way it doesn’t progress anywhere. It’s just different topics each week (or the same ones with the same arguements) and people on two sides competing to be heard. It’s a hobby for a lot of people, they love to talk about it and take sides. It reminds me Life of Brian. Right! This calls for immediate dicussion! Surely the first step to real change is understanding why something is right or wrong and then showing the world and spreading enlightenment.

Vague frustrations, not being able to express myself. I see so many manipulative images everywhere. Everyone trying to compete to own my mind and control my thoughts, influence my thinking. I should always try to love and pursue what I do understand and care about. Take charge of my life and not get caught up in the flavour-of-the-month topics. When you ask a question, that’s when you’re ready for the answer.

I think I often miss the forest for the trees (or whatever the quote is). Someone will post something about how all men disgust them and I’ll have a gut reaction that it’s a stupid generalisation when perhaps that’s not the point. I don’t have to hijack what they’ve said. I don’t know. Those subtle turns of phrase can be tricky. If you don’t mean it literally, then what do you mean? What other things have you said that don’t technically carry the meaning you intended? I think it’s healthy to look carefully at yourself as well though. Why not take the time to reflect on things just for the sake of it instead of waiting for an event to provoke a reaction and opinion? The point being, it’s easy for me to criticise how everyone else looks at the world and comments on it but what am I commenting on? What am I working to improve in the world?

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