Something, something

My psychotherapist had to cancel for tonight. We’re down to two sessions a month (progress!), so that means unless I reschedule, I’ll go a month between sessions. A bit dubious about that, but I’m not really up for the whole “intimacy” discussion we’re supposed to have, especially since I sincerely don’t think I’m the problem here. I realize that’s a difficult case to make, but in past relationships, I certainly remember all the times I was there for my partner — a helping hand, a calm voice during panic, a listening ear. But I also remember all the times when I needed a calm voice, reassurance, a helping hand, and all I got was rolling eyes and deep sighs and “we need to talk.”.

I sincerely don’t think the problem is my emotional unavailability — I think it’s the emotional unavailability of the people I choose to partner with. But there’s not a lot a therapist can do with that, especially as I am currently “uncoupled.”

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Atheist politics and technocracy

No time for a full post, but here’s a comment I wrote in response to a post on Friendly Atheist:

I’m a bit reminded of the technocracy movement that sprang up in the early 20th c. Nowadays, people use the word “technocrat” as a pejorative, especially when talking abou the EU. But there was a time when technocracy was a going political philosophy that, ultimately, went nowhere.

The problem is that you still need to have democratic involvement in defining what the actual problems are, before you start advocating solutions. Rationalists are very good at coming up with pragmatic solutions, but not everybody agrees on what the problems are. In the absence of democratic voices defining the problems, technocracy quickly becomes autocratic and authoritarian.

Suppose that, democratically, the people focus on “too much diversity” as a problem. Rationalists can come up with a workable solution to that problem, but the solution is not likely to be pleasant. Or suppose the problem is “not enough nationalism,” or “too many taxes.”

Likewise with atheists/secularists. Solving societal problems is easy, if everyone buys into it and places their trust in the experts. Defining the problem is the tricky bit.

Separation of church and state

So, I’d like to make a radical suggestion — let’s privatize the courts. The legislative and executive powers would still remain in the hands of the state, naturally, but judicial activities should be kept strictly separate. Free people should be allowed to choose their own judges, juries, and lawyers, free from government interference.

If Joe Six-Pack wants to press charges against me just because I shot him in the knee while simultaneously fucking his wife, of what interest is that to the state of California? This is a dispute between two free men, and we should be able to resolve it according to the dictates of our consciences, and no possible public interest could be served by locking me up in jail like this.

LOL! j/k.

It’s a suggestion so absurd as to be unthinkable.

OK, now imagine yourself transported in time to 15th c. Europe. Explain to the locals why separating off an entire branch of government, allowing everyone to set their own rules according to the dictates of their conscience, and forbidding any state interference or control over the rapid proliferation of distinct and conflicting institutions that will inevitably rise in its wake, could possibly be a good thing.

More to come, but I’ll leave you with this quote from Thomas Hobbe’s Leviathan:

He therefore to whom God hath not supernaturally revealed that they [religious laws and revelations] are His, nor that those that published them were sent by Him, is not obliged to obey them by any authority but his whose commands have already the force of laws; that is to say, by any other authority than that of the Commonwealth, residing in the sovereign, who only has the legislative power.

I am a misanthrope

You think atheists/humanists/freethinkers have it tough?

Check out the Wikipedia article on misanthropy.

Let me tell you, we don’t get no respect. No respect at all.

/* nervously adjusts necktie */

Misanthropes don’t hate humanity. We’re not filled with disgust. Scratch a misanthrope, and you will find a person with a deep, abiding, and non-judgmental love of human beings. Go ahead, scratch me. Lower, no lower; more to the left. Ah, that’s it. Oh, yeah.

But somewhere, something went terribly wrong. And that terrible wrongness played out again, and again, and again, at increasing levels of social distance, encompassing immediate family, then friends, lovers, colleagues, political representatives, and so on outward from the cornfields of Indiana to the cornfields of Jilin and everywhere in-between.

Social scientists have one explanation; psychologists and cognitive scientists have another. Philosophers, as usual, weigh in. The vast majority of people, religious and secular, would rather not give it any thought at all.

Misanthropes, ultimately, love you very much, and we want to be sure to let you know that. We’re just very, very, disappointed.

Trayvon Martin

I don’t care how dark the image is, and I don’t care how badly a 17-year-old tries to look tough. He’s got a baby face. I had a baby face when I was seventeen. I grew a beard. I looked like a baby-face with a beard. (I look like a baby-face with a beard today, 31 years later. Beards are awesome, but ineffectual.)

There’s only one way that a grown adult could have found Trayvon “suspicious-looking” and threatening, and it starts with r and ends with acism.

What does Trayvon Martin look like? To me, he looks like a sweet boy, probably awkward around girls, too smart for his own good, and desperate to be something he’s not. Of course, now he’s dead, which is something he authentically is, and always will be.

I’m a white dude who lives in a majority black neighborhood (cf. the fictional Ernest Valdemar, Francophone resident of Harlem, NY) in a major metropolitan center; I live just down the street from a magnet school for inner-city high achievers, and I see kids like Trayvon all the time on the sidewalk outside my condo, usually full of high spirits and bravado, which, last time I checked, are not capital offenses.

Test post

some things I want to write about:

– humanism/atheism/scepticism
– polysemy
– history
– culture
– humanism
– humanities
– responses
– linguistics
– culture

– literature

– why there’s suddenly a big space

– did I mention history?

– this is a test of editing in wordpress