Tuesday, July 24, 2012

not in my backyard syndrome

i identify myself as a coloradoan. recently a massacre occured in a denver suburb.  
although a perspective worth reading won't minimize any pain coloradoans are experiencing, i hope it will relieve the need to come up with rationale and a cure to end violence:

there is no way to know what the killer was thinking; how he grew up, his spiritual beliefs, his brain chemistry. people have been killing each other since people existed. there is no end all to violence in the world. chemical imbalances and unfairness are parts of the human condition. it is hard to swallow that such a hard thing to witness and identify to is meaningless- our little human existences seem so important and we try to make sense out of all of the stimuli we process and meaninglessness is not fathomable to the human psyche.  

instead of suffering the passive societal guilt, i will love and put forth love and try not to underestimate the potential for unfairness in the world. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

aequitas equitas

hey evolutionary anthropologists, i have a question- why does it seem that people are wired to seek fairness?  there doesn't seem to be any "fairness" in the universe: quite the opposite in fact, chaos and entropy do not transpire into anything close to fairness. fairness seems to be a human construct. we gauge things by it, seek ultimate truths about it, find great pleasure in enforcing it. usually someone benefits from a projected fairness, in fact, i almost always feel something is more fair when i gain from an outcome- fairness looks selfish to me in that way. 

a short list of common and silly fairness judgements: 
"it isn't fair that i am poor." 
"it is not fair that i don't have a free ride to college."
"it isn't fair that i have to buy health insurance!"
"it isn't fair that i make $x an hour and the waltons make $x."
"it isn't fair that others don't do things for me."

in all of these instances, fairness equates to personal gain. they are all selfish (we are all selfish, to some degree). not everyone can be well off. not everyone will make the choices that will lead them to happiness. not all children will live into adulthood. not all people will be cured of their diseases. not all parents are good providers. that's the thing- you are doing yourself harm by not accepting the raw truth of the universe, most things are out of your/human control. by leaving life's happenings up to fairness you rob yourself of choice, consequence and the understanding that most of the human condition is fleeting and uncontrollable... and that's fucking neat and worth admiring, intellectually.

my most irrational plea for fairness lies in the social contract of driving in the us of a. i detest when people cheat, cut, or act in only their interest. i feel that it is unfair for someone to cut in line! or when i put my turn signal on for five or more seconds and someone doesn't let me get over. where does this irrational "fairness" quality come into my conscious mind!? also, it is only unfair to me because i am not the beneficiary of that action. breaking the social contract is acting unfairly, to me or other members of society. so i get it. fairness exists as a social construct.

fairness is equivalent of control of the uncontrollable; or the belief that there is an ultimate being rationing fairness. because you know, it is only fair that that 7.6 million children under 5 died in 2010, and of course that you didn't get that raise at work. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

a reoccurring theme

i read on the dish by andrew sullivan, that "...a study published in the April 2006 American Sociological Review found that 48 percent of Americans would disapprove if their children married an atheist, the highest disapproval rating of any named group." this disturbed me! i guess i forgot i could be discriminated against. i am a little saddened by this statistic because i put in real effort to be a good person, make good decisions and do right to human-kind. i posted this quote on my fb page and got some interesting responses. what i got from a theist (and quite liberal) friend is that some theists believe there must be a check in place (like an vengeful spiteful god) to give them the consequence necessary to do right.

i guess i am wired, from the start, slightly differently than a theist. i have always recognized how splendid and amazing it is to exist as a present self without a myth! it is neat enough that my egg dropped that month and my mom and biological father hooked up. i don't need a story that doesn't make any sense to think existing is awesome. the recent discovery of the higgs-boson (~125GeV, holy shit CERN! CONGRATS!) is mind blowing and super duper neato, i don't need "And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light." i need to understand how a photon acts as both a particle and a wave length!

i wrote previously about this outstanding, albeit necessarily vague, short paper on the probability of a personal existence. there are a couple factors that i think could enhance this paper. firstly, using anthropology, there can be more precise statistics regarding surviving youth to reproduce! we understand a great deal about each era, the climate, the diseases, the missions and invasions... how neat is it that in the 16th and 17th centuries, the rate of survival in the first year was 12%? that means, if you're reading this your ancestors survived when 88% of their peers and siblings did not, only in the first year. then, they survived past childhood, the black plague, smallpox, and the spanish flu. they survived and found a mate to make another generation of survivors to beat the odds and so on and so on until your mother and father hooked up and here you are today. i would like to see the data that Mr. Binazir published revisited and his variables reweighed to reflect more (or less) value to each century,time period- diseases rampant, rainfall or drought... with less ceteris paribus. i hypothesize that the outcome would be the probability of any single existence would be even more slight.

that slight probability is fascinating and real and worth taking every wondrous moment i have and basking in it. does that make me unmarriable? i guess so. the exclusion and disrimination is necessary from the theists and i will have to accept that. also, the rejection of my kind reinforces my understanding that it is nearly impossible to be truly open minded when the basis of your belief's parameters are unmoving and inflexible.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

reflections on perceived freedom

today is a day we should all get in touch with our philosopher kings and consider what it means to be free. what we are willing to do for a "free market". how free we are to make our own decisions or to reject our citizenship. today i am particularly interested in thinking about the OG founders of the US of A and their ideals for the land. i cannot resist mourning for the indigenous populations of this continent and the total loss of recognition of their peoplehood; what should be their natural born rights stolen from them as if they were not human. this hideous treatment continues today, and i refuse to be proud of it. i am ashamed of this cruel legacy in the name of the dollar.

the US of A was not founded on freedom and good will, it was founded under the pretenses that some people didn't want to pay the church (and state) of England most of their wages. it was founded on the idea that there was a better form of governing, a more fair and just governing of it's men (not women, children, people with any higher degree of skin pigmentation).

although there is much to be angry about, much to protest and we retain our right to protest (only on paper), i do feel some love in my heart for "Amercia"(really, Mitt?):  i live in a beautiful place that i am allowed to have an abortion, own land, obtain material possessions, play in National Forests and Parks. i am proud to be free to choose to believe or not in a diety and show as much or little skin as i please. i am proud that my husband was raised in a society where he was taught to respect women and love his daughters. i am happy we are not starving and we are vaccinated for many awful diseases.

i beg you, my fellow americans, today as you watch the fireworks with your beer goggles on to appreciate that you can- drink beer; speak about the injustices at current and how you can help change them; control your personal reproduction; vote; own land; and have the choice to become educated.

feliz quattro de juilo, amigos.