Archive for August, 2007


People in Glass Houses - Tanya LevinI’ve just read People in Glass Houses by Tanya Levin (Black Inc Publishing) and I was somewhat disappointed with the rather bland expose of the mega-church phenomena that is the Hillsong church. Although it makes me wonder when I noticed an advertising campaign about Hillsong last weekend with some sad character doing a pitiful job at selling the church (if that’s what it is) whether the advertising is a result of this book critiquing the so called “prosperity” church. Are they in some sort of damage control? Perhaps not, I just stumbled across the TV ad a couple of Sundays ago when watching morning television which I don’t normally do, so it may just be coincidence although Einstein’s “God doesn’t play dice” reverberates in my psyche.

Tanya likens the Hillsong church to a cult and I don’t think there is anything revelatory in this description, Christianity is a cult, the cult of Jesus and some could argue that all religions are cults and on occasion I’d agree with such sentiments. Tanya writes;

One analysis of twelve-step groups, the most famous of which is Alcoholics Anonymous, suggests one hundred different signs, though psychologist Edgar Schein has suggested belief change happens in only three steps: unfreezing, changing, refreezing.

The Orange Papers has a 100 point cult test where Agent Orange attempts to classify A.A. as a cult and I think it can apply to religious organisations, pyramid schemes, psychoanalysis groups, marketing and get rich schemes etc. etc. and Hillsong isn’t beyond the scope of Orange’s well researched cult test.

I can only hope that the book will cause a ripple in the community, so much so, so that the Government loses their fondness of being seen at the delusional Hillsingers church. Having Australia’s political leaders swaying to a half arsed rip off of a Happy Valley rave party is embarrassing and we don’t really want the national church to be a bunch of money grabbing Jesus freaks praising the “God of Money”. Although Johnny Howard would love to have these good Christian folk voting for his prosperity at the ballot box, no doubt. There is nothing preventing the state to affiliating itself with any church of its inkling, because as far as I know Australia hasn’t a constitution separating church from state, however I have some confidence that secular Australia would kick up a stink if things became overtly churchy, I would hope so anyways.

With the Pentecostal theme of delusion, there are certainly some strange views about world events that leave me flabbergasted, my mouth drawn open and thinking what the fuck? 😯 Last night, Four Corners on ABC TV depicted some strange delusional states happening in the land of evangelicals, like what the fuck….dinosaurs aren’t millions of years old? What they walked around..let me guess 6000 years ago. Another misconception, that evolution is an explanation of creation eliminating the need for God. No! No! No! A resounding No! Evolution is a standalone explanation of how life formed and continues to form and it does not invoke or refute a God, it merely describes a process by which life transforms and diversifies. Whether there is God that drives the process or it is a natural process without God is not what evolution defines or even attempts to identify.

I can fully understand some of the angst by some prominent scientists against these hard core theists who continue to convey misinformation about what has been established as facts and using children to implant ignorance and fear of something that the religious leaders view as a threat to their ideology.

The most scary thing apart from the bigoted homophobic rantings or second class citizenship of women is the apocalyptic prophecy these fundamentalist crusaders adhere to. In an age of nuclear technology, this delusional fantasy is becoming rather concerning when the separation of church and state is becoming blurred and fanatical crusaders of delusion have access to weapons of mass destruction. The silly notions of a 6000 year old earth is piddly piss when some of these theocratic madman are plying for some sort of self fulfilling prophecy accosted from fictional texts.

Category : Rants | Blog

Splitting the introverted atom!

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Somehow I get the impression that my pursuit with intellectualisms is an attempt to abolish a connect with a bigger picture. To somehow narrow the ventricles of my life into a simplified field, where I can split reality into two distinct forms. These two forms are what everyone experiences and they can be simply defined as inner and outer realms. The inner life and the bigger outer life seem to me, to be separate entities, that I suppose most people integrate into a whole but I seem to have difficulty in reconciling the two to form this convergence. I want the two to be separate and distinct and almost hidden from each other and it appears that I am semi unique in this regard. I may be judging this from an unreliable perspective, which can easily be seen when comparisons are invoked, however I get the distinct sense that what happens in my inner realm is not what appears in the outer. I filter the content so that what you see is not exactly the truth but a version of the truth, adjusted to fit the exterior environment. I’m not making much sense with this self analysis, maybe because what I am trying to say sounds conceited or deceptive when in general most people have this duality to some degree. In many respects it is deceptive because I have this split happening in a conscious awareness, also because it is a comparison between what I observe in others and how I observe myself to be, so therefore, it is a deceptive rating game that will invariably invoke an emotional response as it relates to the self, myself. Moreover I may observe my position in a certain sense but still be in conflicting position due to being conscious of this observation but still behaving in a way that may be undesirable to “how” I should be behaving.

So how does this vague explanation or justification relate to the evasive pursuit of intellectualism? I’m not sure. I guess a part of the answer comes down to being able to appreciate who I am without falling into the comparative rating game. I have a introverted personality and it is this aspect about myself that I have great difficulty in reconciling with the perceptions of who I ought to be by the world at large, who invariably don’t appreciate the hidden realm or who discard this world as some sort of false or deceptive world. Intellectual pursuits fit nicely in this hidden world and it offers consolation to me. It is the only place where I can exercise freedom and be free to be exactly who I am or even who I want to be. There is no boundaries to where the imagination can roam and the “conformity enforcers” are silent. The world appears a little hostile to introversion where it seems that being an introvert is wrong and invalid. Recently I came across a piece of journalism in The Sydney Morning Herald entitled, Diehard gamers find love online, with the opening paragraph depicting introverts as lonely;

Online games like World of Warcraft are supposed to be turning us into loveless, lonely introverts, but Emma Marshall just doesn’t see the connection.

The general consensus, that introverts are shy, lonely and isolated is based on an extroverted definition and is a stereotype. To be cast into this stereotype is where the duality problem I briefly mentioned earlier arises, where the disconnect between what I should be and what I am, exists. To say that a game can manipulate what personality type you are is by far the most stupid thing I’ve ever come across. I would argue that introverts are born that way, or at the very least it is a personality trait that is formed during early childhood like any other personality trait. It is set in concrete by the time you are four so to make a sweeping statement that you can be turned into an introvert is just wrong.

Caring for your Introvert is a fantastic article and a must read for the extroverts of the world who harbor the belief that we must be converted. I’ll confess that most of the discomfort and disassociation I face in going about my everyday life is centered in conforming to an extroverted world, a world that doesn’t fit with who I am or what I am about. It is heartening to know that there are others out there who appreciate the splitting we introverts, on occasion have to endure.

Category : Rants | Blog

No sleep till ….

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I’m pretty absent today. I valiantly faced the day even when the angel of night forced my consciousness into the wee hours of this morning. Fatigue is something that I need to address and will require a concerted effort in self care to be able to nip it in the bud even if my conscious mind reels at the idea of sleep, which it sees as a waste of valuable time. I suffer at the hands of this veritable foe, as it claws at the shards of in-sight that it clambers to investigate without recourse to the collateral damage that lays strewn around edges of fluorescent luminance, as eyes weigh heavy in afternoon haze.

Do I live in an age where sleep is considered a weakness, something to be conquered as an initiation right of passage or a matter of survival? In many cases this is the case but of course my indulgence in conquering the last frontier of awareness in perpetual daylight is not aimed towards the corporate rungs or duty to mortgage lenders but rather a savage pursuit of  enlightenment that offers nothing as fruits of its labour other than a dullness of spirit in the corporate machine.

Perhaps it is a double edged sword, for every grain of sand I steal from the hourglass, a corresponding grain is lost, never to be returned.

Category : Rants | Blog

Search for something

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Information overload. I’ve burnt out circuits in this head of mine in an attempt to find a reality that I can sit comfortably in. Still I persist in attempting the impossible when perhaps the answer lies under my nose. Maybe I am too blind too see. It may help if I define what it is I’m actually looking for. It stares blankly at me. I just don’t know. Maybe I just want some form of possession. Something that will embrace me in an all encompassing fluidity or passion. Something that will evaporate time. I could be banal and say I just want happiness but it seems at odds with who I am, I don’t think I can find it or possess it because it marks some sort of end, achieving some lack of conflict or acquiring a level of peace. It is probably odd saying I don’t want happiness and that is not to say, that moments of happiness aren’t worth experiencing but a steady stream of it seems excessive and liable to become a base line for comparison, which may not be sustainable. It suggests that one has reached a conclusive point, an end and for some reason the struggle seems a more noble notion to me.

I am intrigued by conviction, unfailing conviction. Certainty. The absolute. Black and white. How does one arrive in a state of certainty about anything? Belief without doubt. Maybe that is what I’m looking for, some infallible belief. Does it exist? Does one mark a line in the sand and say this is what I believe and from here on forth I swear allegiance to it? Work toward developing it? Reinforce it with repetition? What should this belief even be if it is worth developing?

The quest continues………

Category : Journal | Blog

Questions to the muse

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No answers only questions. Perhaps it is the only thing that I can hope for, questioning without recourse. In my limited capacity, asking questions is all I can really do, to fathom some meaning to my existence. It is why I find myself in a continuing flux of some indeterminate future, wondering if anything has merit or if it all is just fanciful illusion. I can understand why people behold religion or belief in the supernatural to find solace in this cold expanse of a seemingly unlimited universe. Well perhaps that is not entirely truthful, I’m trying to understand why it is so important for people to have belief in some form of deism or theism or spiritualism and why having an eternal life is so attractive when I find the idea of infinite existence a little overwhelming and more than a little horrid. What would you do for an eternity? Is it merely a metaphor of hope? Does it transcend into living a more moral existence? I don’t have answers, like I said only questions.

More questions. The first law of thermodynamics states that no energy can be created nor can it be destroyed, so in some sense then a spirit if it is an energy can not be destroyed nor can it be created for that matter so my line of reasoning has been quashed even before it began. I was going to muse that perhaps this would in some way rationalise eternal life into a sort of perspective, but if energy or spirit cannot be created then the spirit must be formed outside of energy, some other field, outside of laws of physics or mechanics. It bothers me that people keep referring to spirit and that I have no idea what they are referring to. All these little metaphors and poetic terms endearing themselves to some thing outside of the material world, the world of stuff. Terms like “the heart” or “spirit” invoking romantic notions of something outside of reality, binding the material with the metaphysical. I have some notion what people mean when the ascend these terms into daily existence and with our relations to each other and things but in supernatural terms they seem vacant to me. I embody something from the heart as a metaphor for an emotional state or the spirit of some occasion to the enthusiasm one holds to that thing. But when someone says pray from the heart it becomes difficult to summon an emotional response to some imaginary abstract form like God. Linking the spirit as a life force, the stuff of life is beyond the scope of my consciousness. Having to have “faith” in some imaginary thing is beyond me.

Christians like saying that God is Love and it seems reasonable if that were all that lay in this claim, but then having to assign this Love into a supernatural deity is beyond comprehension. To have faith that this is the ultimate truth and that it ought not be questioned or is beyond analysis and outside of human comprehension is strangely lacking in substance. Then when you think about it, love is a curious proposition in itself. Curious because it encompasses a rather broad range in human experience.

When I was flirting with the spiritual I did adopt this notion that God is Love but it started to unravel somewhat when I began to think about it. It is a beautiful notion and in its positive sense it transcends into something good and binding but curiously it can also transcend into something all together bad and negative.  So we have this strange polarisation where God is Love and “Love is the Devil” so the question is, is Love good? or is it bad? It is relative and thus imperfect so it diminishes and provokes uncertainty in ascending it to omniscience and omnipotence.

It is where I flaw in faith, I ask too many questions that aren’t original in any sense but invoke a caution or mistrust in some instances and not so in other senses. The paradox of existence, the existential paradox. I’m very fond of the scientific method and enjoy the fruits of scientific inquiry in all of my day to day existence and I hold a lot of “faith” in this method. Big ideas like “the Big Bang” and evolution seem plausible and I hold a belief in these theories but I can’t seem to extend this belief onto a creator or God. It is a peculiar disposition I think because something like the Big Bang is just as hard to grasp as God, so why believe one and not the other?

The paradox I have no answer for, maybe they are both the same thing? A bit like the Love dilemma, the good and the bad are of the same coin. Perhaps it is because the Big Bang appears to be neutral, there is no dichotomy between good and bad, it just happened without some silly feud for control, which for something supernatural seems so reminiscent of human behaviour. If we are created in the image of God then it worries me that in this other realm there exists power struggles that we humans partake in, perhaps mimicking the gods own control issues. Science seems to abandon the trivialities of our own judgements of what is right and wrong, good and bad, and just deals some fairly indifferent facts. Although the facts are benign it doesn’t mean the purposes and uses that we then choose to employ are of the same value. The choices are in our hands ultimately so we’d want to hope that the dichotomy of good and bad is favoured towards the good and that Love isn’t too much like the devil.

Category : Rants | Blog