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Category Archives: Bully

Ramble: Nothing is Sacred – and that is Good!

No, nothing is sacred. And even if there were to be something called sacred, we mere primates wouldn’t be able to decide which book or which idol or which city was the truly holy one. Thus, the only thing that should be upheld at all costs and without qualification is the right of free expression, because if that goes, then so do all other claims of right as well.
~~Christopher Hitchens

Sacred is an adjective used to describe a person or thing worthy of worship or declared holy. Sacred usually has a religious context, however something or someone that has been set aside for dedicated purpose can also be sacred. Anything designated as sacred is considered to be untouchable, and inviolable. In an absolute sense any critique of that which is sacred is itself an act of blasphemy.

Blasphemy is the act of insulting; showing contempt; lack of reverence to a deity, to religious or holy persons or sacred things; or toward something considered sacred or inviolable. Blasphemy is by its very nature in the eye of the beholder. If I don’t think of an object, place or person as sacred then my lack of reverence cannot be blasphemy. Yet to those that hold an object, place or person as sacred, my lack of deference is clearly blasphemy. This disagreement about what is sacred and what is profane is the heart of all conflict. And how are we to judge what is truly universally sacred?

We are simply imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. If there is a divine being somewhere out there we have no way of knowing on our own what is inviolable. We have no proof of the divine, or even the message of the divine. We simply have myriad stories of what others have declared to be the ultimate sacred message. Zeus, Odin, and Mithra have been sacred, and now are mere mythologies. When faith fades and crumbles, it is clear the sacred transmutes into the mundane. Think of all those who died because the profaned Jupiter and Apollo – their deaths meaningless punishment for an imaginary crime.

This is why it is best that nothing is sacred.

That is not say we should display contempt towards the sacred beliefs of others. There is still the need for respect for other ideas, other thoughts, other needs. I accept that there are those that feel the need for “something more”, all I ask is that they accept in return that I do not and never will share those same beliefs.

There is no god out there that cares what we individual humans think or do. There is no god out there to judge us for our greed and stupidity. We humans own our own misery and cruelty. No outside agency is to blame for the raping and pillaging of the world. If the world is to be a better place, it will only be better because we collectively have chosen to make things better. It is our choice to live as a swarm of locusts on our mother earth, consuming everything within our reach. It is our choice to leave nothing behind but our toxic excretions.

Nothing is sacred. Everything is allowed. And in the end it is what we chose to do with that freedom that matters. It is the essence of human nature to rely upon the divine as an excuse for inaction: hey not my fault! Don’t worry god will look after the consequences.

It is all just excuses. There is no god that compels us to behave, or to do. Our sins are our own. We make the choices – and we own the consequences. Fully and completely.

Time to grow up people. Nothing is sacred. And you have no excuse for the mess you are making.

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Ramble: I’m not white…but sometimes I play one…

It happened again. That funny question that irks and tweaks the underbelly of self-identity. “What are you?”

The snark rises and I stutter, “Ahh…huu..man?”

The smirk flashes annoyance, “No I mean like where are you from?”

“Oh I am Canadian – born in Ontario. Not far from here…”

Interruption arises, eyebrows raised, “No I mean your people where are they from?”

“My parents were refugees, fleeing tyranny. And…”

A spark dawns and interjects before I can finish, “Oh you are Middle-eastern. Turkish?”

Now I am annoyed, and I can feel the emotions brush across my face and furrow my brow.

“How about I finish. They came from Europe. 1956. The failed Hungarian Revolution made my father realize he couldn’t stay because he would be arrested and tortured again. And my mother had just had a baby. So when the river froze in December of 1956 they walked across the ice to what is now Croatia.”

A nod. I see they are listening.

“My mother’s brother was in Toronto, so he sponsored them to come to Canada. And in July of 1957 they arrived in Quebec on a refugee ship. And…”

I can see the question coming before it becomes sound, “So you are European – cause you don’t really look white. Kinda Asian actually. Your almost black hair, and skin with a hint of colour and your eyes are almond which is why I said Turkish…”

My turn to speak up and over, “Yeah. Hungarian-Croatian. Well actually Croatian-Hungarian is more accurate. The village was mostly Croatian, but in the Hungarian side of the border. That part of Europe is a mix of people spilling between tribes and blending. I hear there is some Gypsy – Roma – ancestry in my genetic makeup. And some of the tribes that settled in the area had Asian and Middle-eastern origins.”

The other listens, and nods. And summarized my label, “So you are white then..huh. So hard to tell.”

I sigh, and reply, “Nope I am not white, but I’ve been mistaken for one before. I am human. And while my skin has a lighter-tone, my attitude is universal. The place of my birth, and the colour of my skin has nothing to do with how I have experienced the world, or how I think. My advice to you is top labelling people based on outward appearances. You cannot judge a book by its cover; Nor can you see the human inside the body if all you see are the shape and colour that they wear. Yes indeed we are each unique individuals; but close your eyes and open your ears! And you will be surprised to learn that we are all more alike, than we are different.”

I can see my words have offended, as they turn and move away. Truly they meant no harm in asking such an innocent question. Yet it wasn’t innocent at all, merely unthinking and presumptive.  As I watch them leave, I can hear my mother’s voice in my head, “This is why you can’t have nice things – you always break them.”

Yes Mom, I do break them. Because I expect them to be better than that to begin with…

Ramble: Holiday Safety Message

Friends – please be careful during this time of celebration!

Yesterday I went to a Christmas party. You know the story; I had a few drinks – a couple of beers. A scotch or two. Or three. Ending with a Jägerbomb or two. Maybe. It gets foggy.

Well anyway, you get the idea – I was tipsyish. Still I did have the sense to know I shouldn’t take my own car home. So I did something I never do: I took a cab home.

Sure enough, on the way home was a RIDE check. Fortunately though, I was in the cab and so they just waved me through. I arrived safely home without incident.

Which was really a great relief – and a surprise since I had never driven a cab before.

I don’t even remember where I found it.

It is safely hidden in my garage – which brings me to my point: does anyone have any advice on how I should get rid of it?

(…a cut and paste from an email sent to me – with my own custom edits…and be safe when celebrating: Please don’t drink and drive. Ever.  🙂  )

Ramble: Sacred Thoughts

Recently I have been having a debate about the “sacred”.

I find the word is overused as a tool to make people listen – similiar to the way the concept of “privilege” is used to kill debate.

Today I posted this in response to an article about Jennifer Lawrence profaning some rocks in Hawaii with her holy-J-Law butt.  Just because I rather enjoyed the sound of my own voice on this one, I decided to copy and preserve my ramble on why “nothing is sacred”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/09/jennifer-lawrence-hawaii-shoot-sacred-rocks

Proof at last (again?) that Jennifer Lawrence is an ass – and an itchy one at that! Apparently one can be wealthy and successful and have no class. (See President-Elect)
 
Still not sacred. Not the rocks and even less so her itchy ass (and there are some that do worship her ass…)
One can have/show deference and respect without accepting that everything mundane is sacred. Water is not sacred. Rocks are not sacred. Books and the words they contain are not sacred. I would propose that the word you are looking for is not sacred – sacred is holy and inviolate and the belief that something is sacred sets up an idea/thought itself as crime for thinking differently. Those that profane the sacred must be purged. The Satanic Verses. Charlie Hebdo. Atheist must be killed. Apostates must be killed.
After all, just think how many people have declared the Second Amendment as sacred? Or that Capitalism is sacred and Socialism is profane? Nothing is sacred – anything and everything can be questioned and critiqued. Otherwise we would still be living in a flat world watching the sun chariot orbit around our sacred place at the centre of the cosmos. Copernicus. Galileo. Darwin. Jesus. They all disrupted the inviolable..
People must stop declaring everything as sacred; once something is sacred that ends all reasonable discussion and dialogue. Instead: Tell me what is important to you; how it has meaning to you; and the what and why of how it gives you strength and meaning to your inner world:
Water is vital; Rocks have memory and meaning; These words move me…
So what word are we seeking? I am not certain – I just know that translating cultural concepts from living Lakota or living Hawaiian into the western baggage of dead Latin is likely to lead to inaccuracies. Yet, I do not think we disagree on moral principles – simply on the words doing the framing.
In the end we are debating semantics and lexicon. Which seems and sounds rather pedantic and academic – yet that is exactly the heart of all legal documents and the source of all wars. The words we choose to use, to make sacred, unite us; and divide us.
.
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
~~T.S.Eliot

Ramble: What Elder Abuse Looks Like

Tonight I read a story in a local paper about an elderly woman who had devoted her life to a co-operative community. She had been a founding member of the co-op, and so involved the community even named the Community Centre in her honour! However, a few minor complaints  in the past year has resulted in the volunteer Board of the co-op taking steps to evict her from the community. She is about to be exiled from her home, and her life’s work.

Now I know I have only read part of the story. And the Board may indeed by entirely “right” in their belief that they are doing the “right” thing. But here is the thing all “right” action must also “do right.” Justice is not punishment, justice is about making things better.

The news story is here: An 82-year-old woman battling cancer is facing eviction from her home of 22 years.

Waterloo senior battling cancer being evicted after running afoul of co-op bylaws

Please my readers take the time to contact the Co-operative and let them know what you think of their lack of compassion.

This story reads to me as one of elder abuse. Betty, the 82-year-old, may indeed by an annoyance to the current community. However, it is clear she has also helped foster and build the foundation of the current co-operative community. The part of the story where the Board prevented Betty’s friend from providing supportive care to Betty is simply barbaric.  Again – yes the notice of trespass may have been justified by the application of the rules. However the Board (and community) should actually have offered to help Betty during that time period. What did the Board do to help Betty cope and adjust?

Contact info for the Co-operative is here:

http://www.beechwood.coop/contact-us.html

Telephone: (519) 886-0359
Fax: (519) 886-5593
Email Sarah Tieleman at: office (at) beechwood (dot) coop
Email: chris (at) beechwood (dot) coop
Snail Mail: 693 Beechwood Drive, Waterloo ON N2T 2P6