Tonight we watched the first episode of a short-lived American series from 1999 called “ACTION“. I’d never heard of it before but this first episode was great. A little like a combination of The Office and Entourage. In fact, I’d be surprised if Marky Mark didn’t use this as part of the inspiration for Entourage. If you can track it down, check it out. Stars Jay Mohr as an arrogant Ari Gold-like Hollywood film producer and Illeanna Douglas as his former-child-star-turned -high-priced-call-girl-turned-Vice-President-of-Production. It was produced by Joel Silver. Apparently FOX only ran 8 episodes and then canceled it.
Doc Searls has a post up about his religious beliefs, something that surprised me. I tried to leave him a comment (even registered on his site for permission) but got an error. Doc, for the record, it was:
Sorry! There was an error: Can’t evaluate the expression because the name “referer” hasn’t been defined.
The error was detected by Frontier 9.5 in mainResponder.respond. Webmaster: email@example.com. Time: Tue, 29 May 2007 06:56:52 GMT.
I tried several times.
Anyway, here’s the response I was trying to leave:
Doc, I’m surprised (an understatement!) to learn that you are a religious guy. The next time you come on G’Day World we’ll have to make that the topic of discussion! It’s been a regular theme lately.
I read Hedges piece and while it is obviously extremely well written, the flaws in it are deep and wide – as are the flaws in “faith” in general.
Let’s take your quote from above:
“This individualism… is a gift of the Abrahamic faiths.”
Perhaps Hedges has never heard of Socrates.
The Old Testament is replete with tribal doctrine. In fact the central tenant of the OT is that the Jews are the race beloved by Yahweh!
Exodus 11 – God kills the firstborn of everyone in Egypt so “that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”
Exodus 32:27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
Leviticus 25:45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
And the list goes on and on and on.
The New Testament is no better.
Jesus (if you believe he even existed and, if he did, that the NT is any accurate record of what he might have said and did, there being zero historical evidence to either of these questions) also preached that anyone who didn’t listen to his messengers deserved to be brutally killed:
Matthew 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Matthew 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
So much for altruism and individual responsibility. Whilst the NT does say (briefly) to love they neighbour, the REAL message is:
Love thy neighbour… as long as they look like you and believe what you believe. If they disagree with you, kill them. If they like to have sex with men – kill them. Love them as long as they are Jews who agree with you. Everyone else is fair game.
The Code of Hammurabi, which pre-dates Moses’ laws by 600 years, established a public list of guidelines for individual conduct. This idea that Abrahamic ideas lead to the idea of individual responsibility is just vacuous.
In fact, in his book “Ideas: A History From Fire To Freud”, Peter Watson argues that the Catholic Church fought aggressively AGAINST the idea of “individual faith” as they (rightly) understood that this would diminish their temporal and spiritual power.
The main concern I have about faith is that is dulls the mind. It entreats people to accept untestable bronze age mythologies in a time when the human race needs, more than ever, all hands on deck. We won’t build a better world by clinging to 2000 year-old superstitions. We won’t build a better world by refusing to acknowledge scientific evidence. We won’t build a better world by hiding behind well-meaning phrases such as “love thy neighbour” – which, by the way, significantly pre-dates Christianity – while on the other hand using mythology to mobilize armies.
It’s my belief (yes, I don’t have evidence to support this particular theory… yet) that the only way for us to build a better world is for the human race (or, at least, the West) to jump fully into the 21st century – let go of our primitive bronze age belief systems (without completely denying their important role, for good and for bad, in our history) and accept the scientific method as the best way we’ve come up with so far to determine the facts of who we are and how the universe operates. Everything that we can’t verify with evidence is merely one of many theories and not something any rational person should believe in.
You’ll be seeing a lot in the MSM today about Chavez shutting down Radio Caracas Television. The Rag Blog has a great interview with Noam Chomsky on Venezuela from Venezuelanalysis.com dated May 18. He talks about the polling in Venezuela that demonstrates the popularity of Chavez with the people. He is the first Government they have had in a long, long time who is actually taking steps to help the poor. Is he an evil dictator? Or a man of the people? I don’t know, but I know that the impression I get of him from mainstream media seems to be lopsided. The question is – why?
Hey – are the LINKS in my posts showing up the RSS feed? I was just looking in Netvibes and I can’t see any links. There are about ten links in the post below. Can you see them? Is that broken along with the page breaks? (Yes, TPN IT is *still* trying to figure that out).
“More than 10 percent (of Americans) think that Noah’s wife was Joan of Arc.”
I snorted with laughter when I read that this morning. It’s from an article in the NYT that Tony Harris sent me about Stephen Prothero’s book “Religious Literacy”. Other fun facts from the book are that
Approximately 75 percent of adults, according to polls cited by Prothero, mistakenly believe the Bible teaches that “God helps those who help themselves.” Only half can name even one of the four Gospels, and — a finding that will surprise many — evangelical Christians are only slightly more knowledgeable than their non-evangelical counterparts.
Now… the next time I suggest that Christians (in general) aren’t the most well-educated or intelligent demographic on the planet, go easy on me, mmmkay? I’ve got hard data to back it up. Stand back ladies and gentlemen. Here comes the de-religification of the human race (yes I made that word up, see how clever I am??)
My latest post for The Age is up. It’s called “Staying NaÃ¯ve“.
A great quote from Quotiki this morning to get you on your way:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
When I was reading Anais Nin last night she mentioned that her therapist, Otto Rank (one of Freud’s contemporaries), showed her that the neurotic is just using their creative faculties in a misguided manner, that there isn’t anything wrong with them, they just need to use their creative powers with a new focus. I think this quote hits it on the head.
Speaking of Freud, I just discovered that he committed “doctor-assisted suicide”.
A heavy cigar smoker, Freud endured more than 30 operations during his life due to mouth cancer. In September 1939 he prevailed on his doctor and friend Max Schur to assist him in suicide. After reading Balzac’s La Peau de chagrin in a single sitting he said, “My dear Schur, you certainly remember our first talk. You promised me then not to forsake me when my time comes. Now it is nothing but torture and makes no sense any more.” Schur administered three doses of morphine over many hours that resulted in Freud’s death on September 23, 1939.
How many of you have installed the TPN version of Particls? Any feedback?
Soâ€¦ has anyone installed Spinword? My best score on Spinword Eternal is still only 11860. Anyone beat that?
Okay, Okay, I’m finally on Facebook. Here’s my profile. Holy frak, hasn’t this just gone nuts lately? I’ve had a bunch of invites saying people have added me as a friend, which I assume makes me part of their invite blast just after they joined themselves. I spent some time on it this morning and, unlike Second Life, in this case I *can* see what all the fuss is about. It’s simple, clean, huge amount of features, and of course yesterday’s announcement of the Facebook platform is just going to make it even more useful.