Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Religion Has To Go

I used to have a live and let live approach to religion, as long as your faith didn't want to kill unbelievers like me, as so many have, I didn't care what place of worship you attended. I now find I have no tolerance for religion. I have no issue with your god, it's your religion I struggle with.

When I say the sky is blue, and you agree, neither of us know if the other is seeing the same color, if what we call blue is the same thing. When one person says the word god, who knows what everyone else sees?

I don't have any problem with a god, or gods, however people interpret the word. Whether you mean a supernatural individual or nature, whatever your god, that's your god and I have no interest in disputing that with you. Religions are not about god, they are cultural, political and financial institutions, and I do have a problem with them.

My main problem with religions is all the complete bullshit they expect their followers to swallow. Special hats, wing'ed horses, talking snakes, rules about body hair and diets and all the rest. So much bullshit. Stories declared as history, violence as service to a god, supernatural intervention, bullshit. 

As an example, Moses, received the commandments directly from his god, don't kill, then directed his general to kill all the Canaanites. Bullshit. Major religions are based on the life of Moses, his conversations with his god. How can this be?

The rest is history. Wherever religion goes idiocy and corruption follows. It's nothing to do with a god or gods, it's just humans exploiting the best nature of other humans, their desire for something higher, turning that to their own advantage. Religion turns the best of humanity into the worst. If you don't believe me, buy a newspaper, death and torture at the orders of religions appear every day. People being held in the chains of superstition and ignorance, brainwashed from birth, is less reported but equally rife.

The other major problem with religions is the way they are used to justify, even promote war. War is the worst of humanity, religion is often a cause of, or a justification for war. How can anyone follow any faith that has any part in this? 

Why do you need your religion? Isn't your god enough? Let religion go. Your support tacitly supports the violent extremists who claim the same faith, your support allows religions to control governments, by withdrawing your support you will be serving humanity, and probably your god too. An educated, 21st century adult can't possibly believe all the bullshit religions spout, so stop swallowing it. You know it's bullshit, let it go. 

If your god insists that all other gods are impostors, you have to ask yourself why your god created a world with so many gods? You already don't believe in lots of religions, what's one more? Of course your god didn't create lots of other gods, humans created gods, not the other way around, but if you believe a god or some gods really exist, surely that's enough? You don't need a self serving institution to reassure you, do you? 

I can no longer tolerate religions, they've proven themselves despicable, all of them. Your god or gods are your business, but your religion has to go. 

In 2016, for the love of your god, religion has to go.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Fast Buses, Not Fast Trains

Here in Australia there is talk of building a fast rail line between the two largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney. To me this smells of the thinking of the past.

The development of electric engines, batteries and solar power leads me to believe that this is how public transport will be powered in the future. Combined with driverless vehicle technology I cannot see why we would build the old technology of vehicles on rails. 

A flat, straight road is quicker and cheaper to build than rail. There is no reason that driverless buses built for the purpose, on a dedicated road, should not travel at 300 kilometres per hour, a three hour trip between Melbourne and Sydney. Buses are more flexible than trains, a break down doesn't close the service. Instead of one train carrying a large number of passengers, a driverless bus could depart with a smaller number of passengers every minute. Buses can turn to conventional roads when required. Apart from maintenance they will cost nothing to run, fresh solar powered batteries installed after each trip. From one major dedicated bus road a network could easily be built to connect rural Australia, when driverless vehicles become the norm the same buses could also use conventional roads to more remote locations, at a lesser speed. 

When this dedicated fast bus road is built there is no reason private driverless limousines and buses couldn't share it, fees for private use could help reduce the cost of public services. 

For either rail or road some tunnelling under congested city traffic will be required. The flexibility of road vehicles, once the driverless variety are conventional, will allow fast buses to service different areas of the vast cities, so travel to a central station can be eliminated. Tunnels to the outskirts of the two cities may be long term projects, but once the main road is built the network can grow as it becomes financially viable.

A rapid ground transport option between Melbourne and Sydney makes sense. Air travel is expensive and inefficient, we spend more time getting to and from airports and dealing with security than we do flying. Ground transport that arrives in the centre of the city, with future options for arriving in many parts of the city, will often prove quicker and easier for many of us. Given comfortable seats, wifi and a clean bathroom I'd choose the bus every time.

Rail was great technology,for its time. Rapid ground transport is an excellent idea, we need to look to the future for the technology we choose.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Australian Politicians Living In The Past

Australian politicians live in a culture that the Australian people have grown out of. 

It takes a long time for a politician to go from youthful interest to a position of power. It is natural that the culture they began in is the one they continue. In Australia that means the two major parties are staffed by people who believe that working class people vote one way and middle class people vote another. Australian people no longer see themselves as divided this way, don't perceive themselves as part of any class or unable to alter their social position. They don't vote on the basis of their current financial or social standing, rather on the basis of the wealth or status they aspire to. 

Meanwhile politicians believe the culture they grew up with still exists, and behave accordingly. They scramble to score points for their party, believing the public to be partisan and cheering them on. All they do is ostracise the public more each day. The two major parties are so similar, in policy and character, that the public can't comprehend what all the fighting is about. It all looks like an anachronistic game, which it is. Politicians obsessed with party brawling are ignoring the business they were elected to undertake, the business of serving the people. Politicians are serving themselves and their old fashioned fantasies, to the point that the entire system is breaking down, hindering rather than helping the nation.

We, the people, need to find a way to educate our politicians, explain to them that we no longer feel represented by any of them. The first party that understands the electorate has changed will thrive, it is in the politicians interest to learn, yet they seem determined to learn nothing and continue their outdated nonsense.

Our political culture has changed, politicians have not, our country is suffering as a result.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Panama Papers, Governments, Corruption

Every day our governments spend billions of dollars on police, security and intelligence services. Every day, billions of dollars, yet it took a whistle blower to leak the Panama Papers. What do our police, security and intelligence services do, if they don't seek out criminals who steal from all of us by not paying their taxes?

We can only believe our governments are protecting those who launder money. We can probably guess why.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

What's Wrong With Your State Of Mind?

What's wrong with your state of mind that makes you want to alter it all the time?

Introducing chemicals to your body in an attempt to adjust your mind to a state you'd prefer is a lottery. Which chemicals do you choose? The ones in beer, or the ones in cocaine? What result will you achieve? Do you know? Do you know what result you are seeking, or are you aiming for anything except what you are feeling right now? Do you even know which chemical you are buying? 

Another option is to alter your life, live in a way that results in a state of mind you are happy with. It's your mind, why not take care of it? Give it some work that satisfies it, some healthy chemicals in the food you eat and some rest, your mind doesn't ask for much. 

If your circumstances offer you no hope, then by all means take any drug that comes to hand, give your mind a break from reality. Most of us have choices, we're free to live how we choose, the choice to alter our brains instead of altering our circumstances is like tuning the engine when the tyres are flat. 

If you alter the state of your mind as a leisure activity that's entirely your choice. You say that it's fun. Is it? Is your state of mind after the drug more fun than it was before the drug? What was wrong with your state of mind before you altered it? 

Mind altering drugs are just chemicals that alter your mind. What's wrong with your state of mind that you feel you want to alter it?


Monday, March 21, 2016

Don't Go Searching For The Loch Ness Monster

If you go searching for the Loch Ness Monster all you'll prove is that you've missed the point of the story, that you've missed the point of stories.

The clue to the factual existence of the Loch Ness Monster is in the name. It's called a monster. How many monsters have you encountered in your life? They mainly appear in stories. In fact they only exist in  stories. To go in search of a fictional character calls into question the state of your mental health. 

If you do go to Loch Ness with a bunch of radar and other equipment and prove, beyond doubt, that the monster does not exist no one is going to thank you. All you'll have achieved is ruining a perfectly good story, you'll be that sad bastard who tells the birthday girl that her balloon only floats in the air because of helium. It's much more fun to believe that the balloon floats because of magic, that a terrible and ancient monster lurks below the water. 

If you should prove that it does exist no one will believe you. We know it doesn't exist, but we choose to believe in it anyway. That's what stories are, the choice to believe, the fun in believing. Why not believe in a monster, in King Arthur, in Romulus and Remus? They're beautiful, wonderful stories that bind us together, that create a culture. We like to believe that there are dark and scary things in remote places, in dreams, in times and places we'll never see. We like to believe there are champions and heroes. These stories give us courage. By imagining them we imagine ourselves facing them, they help us tame our fears. 

Stories are one of the best things about humanity. They broaden our imaginations, help us to mature, teach us the everyday is not everything. Every time we kill a story we diminish humanity. 

We know the Loch Ness Monster doesn't exist, that's why we are so fond of it. Proving the story false ruins the wonder. The shallow, heartless stories of television are bereft of magic, they're proven true or false before the hour is up. The choice to believe is where the magic in old stories lies. 

Don't go searching for the Loch Ness Monster, all you'll find is your own emptiness.


In The Park

We were standing in a park. A very synthetic park, on top of a concrete car park, a man made nonsense of a park. We ignored the glorious views of Sydney Harbour as we talked. We talked of love. 

She loved me, but there was something she couldn't tell me. I loved her and couldn't understand. Her head was down. I gently placed my crooked index finger beneath her chin, lifted her eyes to mine, a very synthetic gesture, just like in the movies. I was a very synthetic man in a very synthetic park, I couldn't understand, I wasn't real enough.

Her eyes, profound sadness, sadness beyond my understanding, real. There was something she couldn't tell me. I wasn't real, why would she expect me to understand?

Years I waited, for her to tell me what that sadness was. Her final message to me, "sorry, for everything". 

She died on February 8th. I don't know how or why. I know she suffered a paranoid schizophrenic breakdown over the last few weeks of her life. I know now, that was what she couldn't tell me in the park that day.