Sunday, September 4, 2011

Are There Universal Morals?


It's true. I haven't wrote a decent blog in months. Too much has been on my plate to even sit down for an hour or so and write on a topic I am passionate for. I work way too many hours, and I am forced to spend a lot of time concentrating on work related issues that I have no real passion for. That being said, it doesn't mean that I haven't been engaging in intellectual discussions of which my true passion lies.

I have a saying that an intellectual conversation is the only conversation worth having. I often steer the going topic at hand towards one of my many passions in social situations. That is of course, religion, politics, philosophy, science, history, and a few other noteworthy side passions I have like architecture, music and art.

Lately, I have found that the morality debate is one of the most interesting debates to be engaged in. I recently watched a panel of philosophers speak about morality without god, at an event hosted by the Center for Free Inquiry, of which I am a part of. All four of the panelists agreed for the most part that there is no such thing as a universal morality, or moral truth. I have been struggling internally with the notion that there is no universal moral. I believe that there has to be some, at least one, although I am not completely committed to the idea.

A universal moral is one in which there are no exceptions, that is true regardless of the culture, location or time in which it takes place. Take for example of the idea of human rights, quite radical for its time. Is it a universal moral that all human beings are entitled to a basic set of rights that cannot be abridged by any other human beings or acting authority, and if so violated, would be wrong regardless of the time, culture or circumstances? Or is the concept of human rights, along with every other moral position, simply just relative to whomever says it?

We all know that total moral relativity results in some problems. A society can for example, develop a moral code in which to live by, dependent on their collective circumstance, and turn it into their culture. It will then be wrong to do "A" in this society, but right to do "B". And children growing up in this society will be inculcated accordingly on what is right and what is wrong. Now, when someone from another society, where they learned that doing A is right enters this culture, the newcomer will have to learn to adjust their behavior or face consequences. They may still believe that doing A is morally right, but their new society had deemed this wrong and set up rules to prevent it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Truth About Mohammad




Things that I already knew for the most part, but maybe you didn't. An insightful look into the "prophet" Mohammad, the man considered by Muslims to be the best example of the perfect human being. See why an analysis of Mohammad's life can so easily dismiss this disingenuous claim.

Noam Chomsky on the falacy of free-markets


Monday, August 29, 2011

Back From D.C.


Summer 2011 is almost over. Where did it go? I just got back from a vacation to Washington D.C., Virginia and West Virginia. I was suppose to fly out to the west coast but hurricane Irene ruined that. So as for my trip to D.C., I can say that for sure, I'd rather live in New York. D.C. is the political capitol of the U.S. of course, and with that comes a bit more of a straight laced, button down culture.

Now I didn't explore the whole city, and stuck mainly to the downtown touristy areas. I saw the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Memorial, the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the White House. I also took a walk downtown during the middle of the day. It's nice to see all the historic monuments that I've seen so many times on T.V. in person.

It is amazing how geographically close NYC is from "the South". The Mason-Dixon line is actually the southern border of Pennsylvania and is considered the cultural boundary of the north and southern U.S. and was also the line that divided the slave states and the non slave states for much of the 1800s. It lies a mere 120 miles southeast of Midtown Manhattan.

South of the Mason-Dixon line, exists the southern culture of which many northerners know from stereotypes. While I was in rural Virginia, and West Virginia I saw the southern country lifestyle up close in person. I went to a Casino in Charles Town West Virginia, where you can drink, smoke, gamble and maybe even meet a prostitute in the same room. I actually won 30 dollars gambling on the slot machines, the only time I think I ever gambled in a casino. In Virginia, I got cursed at by a redneck for hitting his car when I opened the car door in an IHOP parking lot. I got many stares at various places whenever we went out to many places. I never felt uncomfortable to the point of feeling unsafe, but did not feel like rural Virginia could be home to me. My friend says he feels at home down south and he's an ex-New Yorker. Go figure.

I did learn that in the south, different towns have very different feelings and cultures towards race. Where one town might frown upon an inter-racial couple, another town miles away would have no problem. In other words, communities must be judged on an individual basis. That is something I failed to consider.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer 2011


We are in the midst of a sweltering typically New York City heat wave. Temperatures are in the high 90s and the humidity is not much lower. So far summer has been nothing but work. Last weekend I slept in and didn't even go out. I was just too damn tired. I realize now what a stupid decision that was. Summer will be over before I know it, and I should spend every free day I have out enjoying life and the outdoors even if it is by myself.

Work is still sucking my life and time away. I have money now so I can't complain, but it seems that I have no time to spend it. It's such a catch 22: last summer I was unemployed and had little money, but I had all the time in the world to hang out and enjoy my life. This summer I have plenty of spending money but I'm working like a dog, and it seems like I have no time to spend it, let alone enjoy it.

Weekends seem to disappear over night. Before I know it, it's Monday morning and time to go to work. I even have to work on the weekend sometimes. It is such a horrible wager to make. Be broke, or be busy all the time.

I'm going to Washington D.C. in the end of August, I'll take a flight over to Oregon after that. Something to look forward to but not much. I need to get out more, but my job pretty much ruins the possibility of doing anything on the weekday. I remember back when I used to be a security guard and I worked 40 hours a week. This was the summer of 2005. I remember that summer as been a particularly fun summer mostly because I discovered this bar called Lit in the East Village and it was a particularly good spot for easy hook ups. But I can't remember what I did on work nights. I assume I mostly went home, I think a few nights I went out or hung out in friend's houses. I smoked a lot of pot back then so memory is a bit hazy.

It's mid-summer and so far the fun has yet to begun.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Want My Life Back


At 6:30 AM I burst awake to the sounds of my screeching alarm clock. I silence it with a whack from from my sleeping hand. When I finally get up, I am barely able to scarf down a quick bowl of cereal. A shower gets me a little close to actually being awake. One last look in the mirror before I head out to a 12 hour work day. By the time I get home it will be dark, even for this time of the year, and I will have returned to this zombie-like state.

Now all day at work I sit in a little cubicle, with a little head set staring at a dual-monitor computer for 12 hours. Case after case, the work load never ends. A glance out the window on a beautiful May day seeing the sail boats on the harbor being guided by people having fun, makes me realize what I am missing: My Life.

What I really regret is not going out and having more fun outdoors when I was unemployed last summer. I had so much free time, but what did I do? I spent most of it on the internet, at home with the shades pulled down. Picturesque summer days passed by me, and I missed them all. Now I long for the amount of time I can have. The weekends are not enough.

I've been in this situation before. I've known what its like to work a lot. I don't like it. I don't like working period. I like to party but I don't like to be broke. What can a person do in this situation? Summer is here (almost) and that means that this is the time to make things happen.

FML

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sexual Politics


There goes that pesky sex drive again, making me do things I don't want to do. Making me bother that girl who just wants to be left alone. Making me go out and humiliate myself when I'd rather just stay in my comfort zone. I wish I could just turn it off, like a switch, so that I could concentrate on other things more productive. In truth, our sex drives have a purpose: they are what motivate us to procreate and this is of course the driving force of the continuum of all species.

I'm always amazed at how women can be sort of asexual in a way in terms of not being motivated by sex to do almost everything, as men mostly are. Then, they can suddenly become sexual creatures when they are with the right person in the right circumstance. It is a very peculiar outcome of thousands of years of human evolution. The hunter and gatherers that we were have conditioned women to attach emotional bonds with those men who could provide the most food and resources. They didn't think as much with their eyes and try to sleep with the first willing participant as the hunters did, and so they attached an emotional bond with a man first and then they become ferocious sexual beasts.

This is how things were with a girl I once dated. She had such an emotional bond with me that I excited her sexually by almost everything I did. Had I met her on the street or perhaps in a bar she might not have even been willing to engage in a conversation with me, let alone sleep with me. The same woman who would might not look at you twice, could suddenly become intensely sexual attracted to you if you struck the right emotional chords with her through the right situation. This has frustrated men since the beginning of time, who merely wanted to spread their seed without any emotional baggage.

Meeting women in bars has its ups and downs. On the one hand you can get laid really fast and even jump-start head first into a relationship in the fast track. These usually never last longer than a month or two. On the other hand you must deal with rejection from very beautiful and highly sexualized women who just want to go out for a drink and have a good time and who are not there to meet anyone. As frustrating as it is, the possibility of success far out weighs any fear of failure. That's evolution in a nutshell.

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