Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The narcissism of the small difference.

I am writing this to vocalize and illustrate some of the shortcomings and oddities of human nature that is represented everywhere, even through my space.
It seems both inevitable and irrational, with things such as my space, that humans focus so much on what Freud called “the narcissism of the small difference.”

I found it both odd and revealing that within the “religion” category there was both atheism and agnosticism, both of which are not religions. I also found it odd that the category was titled “religion” and not something more appropriate such as “worldview” or “metaphysics” for that would be the more inclusive and acceptable category. For what does it say of those that do not subscribe to religion and/or the notion of holding “religious” views when they must describe their “religion” and religious views in a one word response? This seems rather shallow and exclusive to me. Not to mention the plethora of religions that the category neglected to include in the first place.
I do not hold to a religious view of existence and I consider my worldview to be a euproxophy not religious, I hold to humanist principles and more succinctly with the secular humanist viewpoint. This worldview of secular humanism is not a religion and it is not accounted for within the category, which I feel is exclusive and too preoccupied with “the narcissism of the small difference.” Being that I am wholly concerned with humanist principles and that the majority of my views and beliefs align with secular humanism this also means that I am an atheist, which to me is a moot point being that it cannot be definitively proven either way at present time. I am hesitant to claim myself an atheist in the open public for numerous reasons, the largest being that atheism is not a coherent worldview or metaphysics, it is merely an epithet used to describe ones disbelief in supernatural entities and forces. I am also hesitant to claim that I am an atheist because the mere word “atheist” seems to be bound to immorality, perversion, heresy (which ironically translates to “choice”), foolishness, corruption and a seemingly endless slew of nefarious characteristics. I certainly wish that atheism did not carry the negative baggage that it does but two thousand years of dogmatically institutionalized castigation and defamation is certainly not easily quelled.
I do affirmatively consider myself an atheist rather than an agnostic and this is both intentional and designed. I find there to be insufficient evidence for any sort of supernatural entities and/or forces, not only that but I find sufficient evidence that these entities and/or forces are not needed when describing and understanding existence and that sometimes, maybe even the majority of the time, such notions actually impede and obstruct further progress in such understandings. I simply cannot ascribe to a belief that claims that there are forces, or a single force, that is both conscious and undetectable that “created” material existence and looks out for natural mechanisms in any way, shape or form. I reject the notion of god in all the various forms that it has comprised but some would like to say you must remain agnostic regarding god, for god may be the underlying totality of all existence that binds everything together, be that supernatural or not. My problem with that is that this seems to undermine the very definition of god, which necessarily consists of a supernatural entity/force and such supernatural definitions are those of which I reject. One must be careful to define and describe the god in question, for if one must remain agnostic regarding a Christian definition for the fact that one cannot demonstrate the falsehood of such a notion then one must also remain agnostic regarding the Greek and Roman gods, which one would likewise not be able to demonstrate the falsehood thereof. We are really all atheists I just do not make an exception for the monotheistic supernatural entity/force of Christianity. For Christians are surely atheists regarding Hindu gods and Zoroastrianism’s god, again, I merely reject them all equally.

Oh, what a tangent this “religion” category got me into.

I also had a hard time seriously answering the ethnicity category. For this category always illustrates the human instinct to relegate an individual into a racially discriminatory subset. I was forced to choose white/Caucasian which, again, seems both odd and exclusive. I find my “ethnicity” or “race” to be just as human as the next persons, I would much rather label myself as “human” rather than “white” or “Caucasian” both of which are fraudulent descriptions. White is not a color let alone a race and I also have no relation to the Caucasus and no belief in the outmoded ethnology that had produced the category. Should it not go without saying what “color” one is by their picture? Does it really matter what ones color is if indeed they haven’t a picture? If one is either “Asian” or “black” is that really a difference that is consequential? Are they not both humans retaining the very same genetic material? Again a prime example of what Freud called “the narcissism of the small difference.”

Thursday, March 09, 2006


I have been embroiled in numerous debates recently one of them regarding logic and the other the legalization of “illicit drugs”. I would like to post about the idea of legalization.

I, being a libertarian and a realist, believe that it is both unconstitutional and impractical to not only prohibit certain, discriminately selected, substances but to wage an all out war on them. It is unconstitutional to revoke the rights of private citizens in such a gratuitous, and oddly selective, manner. It creates, and has created, one of the world’s most heinous black markets in history ruled by gangs, mobs and terrorists.

The number of overdoses and health related toxic injuries greatly increases when you prohibit a specific drug forcing those that seek its use to attain it through the black market. Where there is a demand there is a supply and despite any effort to curb either the demand or the supply of certain drugs both steadily go on, if not increasing. When you relegate the supply of a drug that is in high demand to the clandestine and criminal elements you are effectively ensuring that the drugs offered are poorly produced and are of highly dangerous qualities. Drugs that are produced in a clandestine manner are replete with contaminant chemicals and toxic precursors that increase the drugs danger and the user’s health risks. Simply put drugs are far more dangerous when they are prohibited.

Some argue that legalizing and regulating illicit drugs would effectively send the use of them sky ward, I find that the opposite would be the likelier scenario. If one were to observe drug treatment center statistics and trends one would undoubtedly notice that the majority of addicts and abusers that occupy such centers are those that use and abuse illegal drugs. The majority of individuals that inhabit treatment centers and rehabs are there for illicit street drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroine, phencyclidine (PCP), etc. These are the drugs that people are supposedly doing less of because of prohibition. Then you have the individuals at treatment centers, at a far lower rate, for alcohol and prescription drugs (such as oxycontin, valium, vicodin, xanax, etc.). The drugs that are legal and regulated by the federal government have fewer addicts and abusers.

Our current jail systems are overwhelmed and under funded for the prohibition of illicit drugs. Many of the jails are full of individuals convicted of a drug related crime (mainly simple possession). Then there are the outstanding numbers of felons that occupy jails for heinous crimes such as grand theft and homicide that are drug related. Making it a crime to sell, buy or posses certain drugs greatly increases crime. If a cocaine abuser could readily purchase cocaine, that has been produced cleanly and regulated safely, they would not ever face the need of reverting to crime to fuel and pay for their drug.

Some also claim that the strain that legalizing certain drugs would have on healthcare and the taxpayers would be too great. The current war on drugs costs taxpayers an annual 40 billion dollars. This sum of money, no longer being thrown away in the name of a war on drugs, could easily be relocated towards programs such as healthcare. Not to mention the enormous revenue that would be produced by selling and taxing the drugs.

Also certain illicit drugs that so many people are appalled by and would never like to see legalized are already sold, bought and possessed for medical purposes. Cannabis sativa being the most commonly known case, however, far fewer people are aware that methamphetamine is being used for legitimate and legal medical purposes. Methamphetamine is a schedule II substance which means that while it is illegal within the United States to buy, sell or posses this drug without a DEA license or prescription that it is legal to buy, sell and/or posses this drug with a DEA license or prescription. Methamphetamine is currently being used by Americans all over this country for legitimate medical purposes and the regulation and distribution has not been a problem. The pharmaceutical name for methamphetamine is Desoxyn. Granted the regulation and distribution for medical drugs is different but not so entirely different for there to not be a logical inference.

In summation it is unconstitutional to deem certain substances illegal (and to erode private citizen’s constitutional rights and liberties) and the war on drugs that we now have the displeasure of waging is one of the most costly and damaging policies of our government. Prohibiting substances (as the prohibition of alcohol so readily proves) simply creates far more problems than it resolves.

I don’t believe that smoking cannabis sativa or opium on a regular basis is a wise decision but neither is smoking nicotine or drinking alcohol and it is my firm belief that all of these substances should be legal and that those that wish to use them should be able to do so. Only a country that is unconcerned with true freedom and liberty would make such substances illegal.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What is Secular Humanism?

To me secular humanism is the embrace of life here and now. It is the act of ceaseless inquiry into the world’s mysteries and life’s uncertainties. It is the unwillingness to surrender to superstition, supernaturalism, and any form of theism without proper evidence for support. It is the act of searching out answers and finding truths through scientific knowledge and methodology. It is understanding that there is no room for supernatural explanations for phenomena witnessed in life, that there is a natural and scientific way of understanding such phenomena, and that when we reached the limits of scientific understanding we must be willing to accept that we cannot yet understand such phenomena while refusing to accept supernatural explanations without any evidence for support. It is the knowledge that what we cannot understand or explain today may surely be understood and explained in the future and to wait for this day rather than subvert science and embrace irrationality in any form of supernaturalism. To me secular humanism is saying yes to life here and now. It is the progress achieved and looked forward to. It is the undying empathy, unconditional positive regard, and general concern for the well being of other people and life in general. It is holding responsibility for ones own actions, it is holding ones self accountable. It is a rational moral code and guideline for ethical conduct. It is the endeavor to remediate the world’s ills, create a more peaceful world and existence and attempt to make a cohesive and tranquil world-state.
To me secular humanism is the challenge to bring about the best of your abilities, to actualize your potential and develop your potential to the highest significance possible. It is sharing the love of life with others, enjoying the company of acquaintances and loved ones while having the pleasure to do so.
It is the realization that we are all members of the immense human race; that we all share a common humanity, this being enough reason to support and protect one another. It is defending human rights when violated or in jeopardy, whether defending black culture from racist white supremacy, championing women’s equality in a sexist ‘mans world’, fighting for homosexuals equality in an ever volatile homophobic environment, to simply upholding common civil liberties gone amiss. It is making the most out of what you are provided with, it is making the most of the wonderful opportunity that you are afforded by having life. It is the knowledge that life is more precious and delicate than we sometimes believe it to be.
To me being a secular humanist means understanding that there is no spiritual realm or supernatural existence, and that when you die there is no continuation of yourself in any form. It is the knowledge that you are a physical body and that your conscious awareness and personality are extensions of this physical body through the highly complex and advanced human brain, that when you die this organ will deteriorate and dissolve hence your conscious and personal existence will cease to exist. This knowledge, to me, means that I must make the most of my life now while I have the fantastic opportunity to do so. I shouldn’t waste my time and opportunity, I shouldn’t look towards the sky and hope for better days, I must make the better days come about for myself with my own ability and power. When negative situations happen or obstacles are faced, I should not pray to a supernatural force that does not exist and sit back hoping this force will intervene on my behalf, rather I should actively go out and attempt to rectify and improve the negative situations or overcome the difficult obstacles with my own human ability.
To me being a secular humanist means making the most of life here and now, being the best person that I am capable of becoming, helping others strive to be the best that they can be; working to help create a citadel of peace and beauty upon this earth, striving to help people and life in general live a more satisfying and tranquil life. To me secular humanism is everything that I know, value, respect, cherish, and love; it is a way of viewing life while at the same time engaging in life in the most practical and positive way possible. To me secular humanism is championing human ability, reason, and compassion; secular humanism is saying yes to life.