Let’s think about stuff, shall we?

Nothing too heavy… just war, disaster, politics, religion, life, death, the answer to everything, that kind of stuff. Oh, I know it wont be easy, but I thought about them enough to do this post, and I am not that good at thinking… Put some vodka in your coffee and let’s get to it!

Have you ever really thought about all the things we have no control over in our lives? No, you haven’t, because if you had, your head would have exploded or you would have jumped off the Golden Gate bridge by now. Or you would have started a blog… ha! Oh sure, you can think about them individually for short periods of time, but not all at once and not for long.

Since we first started walking upright and became self-aware, we began to realize that being alive is dangerous. As someone more clever than me once said: “Life, nobody gets out of it alive.” (I think that was either Socrates of Groucho Marx)…

We were surrounded by dangers… saber tooth tigers, volcanoes, earthquakes, disease, famine, and other people… who might just want to kill us to steal our pointy spear-stick. Now I am not going to turn this into a post where I explain once again my theory that because death is a scary, unknown mystery… which humans hate… and life is full of things like lightning and stars and darkness and stuff we didn’t understand that this led us to invent mighty deities that we could use to explain the things going on around us and how they came to be created and what would happen to us after we die. Oh no, I’m not going to do that.

This is just a simple post about how we all deal with the fact that we have so little control over our fate… our destiny. There seems to be two main ways to deal with inconvenient truths: Denial  and stupidity.

Denial is when you know about something bad and just pretend it isn’t as bad as it really is.

Stupidity is when you just don’t bother to learn about bad stuff.

They both work pretty well… if you can manage to stick with it.

Deniers are a funny bunch. There are a few inconvenient truths that are so universally accepted as fact that when people deny their existence, the rest of us lump them together as a group. Then we label the group. Now we have groups called things like ‘climate change deniers’ and holocaust deniers’. This might be where stupidity and denial sort of overlap a little. Because, dear deniers, I will let you all in on a little secret. When the rest of us use the word ‘denier’ to lump you in a group, we don’t really mean ‘denier’ when we say ‘denier’. We mean ‘stupid’. We think you are stupid. Or crazy. Or maybe a little bit of both. When you manage to convince yourself that something didn’t happen… like the holocaust… or that something isn’t going to happen… like climate change… despite overwhelming evidence, we just shake our heads and try to figure out what is wrong with yours.

I don’t want to get back on the topic of religion, but I do have to say that for some strange reason, overly religious people make excellent deniers. There is also the strange phenomenon where people use religion as a basis for not worrying about something like climate change and pollution. They tell themselves that if the planet is warming up, then it must be part of their god’s plan, so it must be a good thing. I think this falls firmly into the stupidity side of the equation, but there is a good bit of denial mixed in.

So, once again, I have no answers, no insight. I just want to start us talking and thinking about this stuff. I think humans have one weird tendency that causes us a lot of trouble. We seem to accept that however things are where and when we are born is the way things are just supposed to be. We get used to stuff. We think it makes sense. And this leads to conflict, because when you think something makes sense, you tend to assume that it is also right. And when you think something is right, you take it too seriously.

Once again, religion comes into play. People are just so touchy about the god they either chose, or more often, the one that was handed to them by their parents. So it is all too easy for a Catholic to say that the red spot placed on the forehead by Hindus… the Tilaka… is silly, but then for that same Catholic to turn around and get really upset when someone else points out that the Pope wears funny hats. Where in any religion does it say you can’t have a sense of humor, people???

Okay, I got off track… I do that… Back to stupidity and denial. I sort of sometimes wish I could achieve on or the other. Life would be so simple if I was stupid and could just ignore or deny facts when I don’t like them. Billions of other people have managed to work their way into one of these mindsets. Lucky bastards.

So to sum up, we like to think that just because something happens over and over, and we have seen it happening since we were little, that they must happen for a reason and make perfect sense. I will fill you all in on another little secret: We make all this stuff up. Everything you see around you, everything people do… well, except for sleeping and eating and pooping and sex and few other things, are all stuff we just decided to start doing. Think about that for a moment. Let it soak in. We make stuff up.

Take anything as an example. How about weddings? We see weddings as normal events. We get into huge arguments over who can and can’t marry who… ‘no, it is only a man and a woman, gay people can’t get married, that makes no sense at all’… (Oh crap, how did religion sneak in here again?)  Hey, marriage makes no sense. You only think it does because they have been doing it for a few thousand years. But break it down. Every aspect of marriage is a human construct. The ring, the cake, the white dress, the ceremony, the words, the honeymoon. You think this all came to us as a divinely wrapped package? No, we made it up. It all came from different mating rituals slowly evolved over thousands of years by many different cultures.

And the sad part is that it really doesn’t make sense. Marriage was mostly invented to keep women subservient to men, or to combine households for mutual support. Marriage for love is a relatively new idea. So is marriage between a man and ONE woman.

Also, the whole idea of young people spending that much money on a one time event when they are getting ready to start a new life makes no sense by any standard. Invest that money. When you buy a dress for thousands of dollars you are supporting the fashion industry. Save that money… or use it to go to Europe in five years once you start getting on each other’s nerves.

Okay, have we established the fact that life is mostly just a bunch of rituals and circumstances and constructs that our ancestors slowly conceived of over time and that eventually took on a shape and form that we recognize today? Good.

I leave you with one last example of things we humans do that we pretend makes sense but obviously doesn’t:

WAR.

We do it all the time. We have been doing it since we first starting banding together in groups. We never seem to get tired of it. There has been a war going on somewhere on the planet almost every single day since civilizations started to rise.

So we, us silly humans, have somehow come to the conclusion that there must be a reason for war. You can get a job as a soldier. Think about that. You are like a fireman, sort of… you put on special clothes and get paid to sit around waiting for the next fire… only it is a war, not a fire. We train people to kill other people… as a job.

I am not saying I don’t ever see the need for war, and I am definitely not saying anything against soldiers. I respect them. I was in the Navy when I was 17. But it is a weird concept.

Take World War Two as an example. Yes, Hitler needed to be stopped. That was a just and reasonable war… but just consider it for a moment. For a period of six or more years… more if you add the conflicts that led up to it… a large percentage of the humans on this planet were involved in killing one another. Not just the guys who picked up a rifle or flew a plane or manned a ship. Not just the people in uniform in support roles. Oh no. The people at home worked in factories making the weapons, or grew the food to feed the war effort, or worked in labs designing new ways to kill other people.

So that’s all I’m saying, I guess. Don’t assume that just because you are used to something that it automatically makes sense. Think about things.

You can always deny them later.

Or pray for stupidity.

About pouringmyartout

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113 Responses to Let’s think about stuff, shall we?

  1. List of X says:

    PMAO, your guilt trip made me take a vacation from a vacation trip I’m on now to read something on WordPress. This post is it. After three days of relaxation, I feel my brain is now sufficiently rested to read and comment. See, I’m trying to guilt-trip you for guilt-tripping me. 🙂
    I do think about this stuff, and I also have a theory that explains everything (I don’t have to be humble, I’m on vacation), and I think it works well with yours. I think the reason for most things people do is the quest for perceived predictability. We want to know that a person we’re with today will still be there tomorrow, hence marriage. We want to be sure that our country will have access to cheap oil, so we invade another country that has it. We want to be sure that a hurricane doesn’t destroy our house, so we make up an invisible man in the sky in charge of weather and rules we’re supposed to follow so that he spares our house. Stupidity and denial are the easiest ways to get to that perceived predictability – it’s much easier to believe in a man in a sky, than actually learn geology, biology, chemistry and everything else. It’s easier to invade another country than build own sustainable energy industry (but tell that to those who actually have to go to war). Marriage… ok, I’m fine with that.

    • Well… I think you cheated. I think you’ve been thinking about stuff before I asked you to. I think maybe you’ve been thinking for your whole life. I think I like your thinking… thanks for doing some of it here… or at least telling me what kind of stuff you have been thinking about in general. Good thinking!

  2. Pingback: The whole thing about global warming is interesting… | Pull up a Big Armchair and talk your heart out...

  3. WilderSoul says:

    (Oh man, this is even longer than I thought… sorry!)

    The whole thing about global warming is interesting. I watched that movie by Al Gore with all the statistics, some years ago. I also wondered about these excerpts from the Bible at Revelation chapters 8 and 9, and thought, well that sounds like global warming. Everything drying up, as it is already, like where huge lakes are now huge desert areas, with fishing boats stranded in the dust.

    …a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green vegetation was burned up.
    …a third of the sea became blood; and a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were wrecked.
    …a third of the waters turned into wormwood, and many of the people died from the waters, because these had been made bitter.
    …a third of the sun was struck and a third of the moon and a third of the stars, in order that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not have light for a third of it, and the night likewise.
    (excerpts from Revelation 8 and 9)

    Actually it is worse later, when apparently the truly heartless people are the ones left to see it get this bad, at Revelation 16. I saw the stats or charts on the Inconvenient Truth, and/or an Atlas, showing the dead areas of the sea, where the warmth has changed the water and the coral reefs are dying, which are needed to support the life of fish, etc, and couldn’t help comparing it to what it says about the sea in this chapter.

    …a hurtful and malignant ulcer afflicted the people who had the mark of the wild beast and who were worshipping its image.
    …the sea. And it became blood like that of a dead man, and every living creature died, yes, the things in the sea.
    …the rivers and the springs of water. And they became blood. “…because they poured out the blood of holy ones and of prophets, and you have given them blood to drink; they deserve it.”
    …and to the sun it was granted to scorch the people with fire. And the people were scorched by the great heat, but they blasphemed the name of God, who has the authority over these plagues, and they did not repent and give glory to him.
    (excerpts from Revelation 16)

    What I find interesting is that those who are truly peaceful and loving, do not go hating and murdering and killing, and abusing and molesting. I think that truly peaceful and loving people are holy. I don’t think it is anything about wearing a funny hat, or painting a dot on a forehead. So when I think of who would be killing off holy ones, I reckon it is angry religions who do not want to be shown up as unholy. Perhaps angry governments who don’t want to be shown up for bad stuff they do. In general, anyone who hates love and loves hate, would pour out the blood of those loving people, because they hate them.

    I don’t find anyone else talking about these verses, and there are some religious higher-ups who call this book the Devil’s Book, even though they claim to be Christian, and it is part of their Bible. Many people are told not to read it by their church leaders. I wonder why…

    Pouring My Art Out, you asked me to think, and I thunk, and I think you probably won’t like it. 😦
    I thought about moving it to my other blog, and actually I might just copy and paste it there. Perhaps you might like to delete it.

    I see your concern in your post, and I believe it comes from a good heart.

    About marriage – it sounds like you are talking about the weird invention of “Weddings,” which I totally agree on how it has an invented and commercial / tradition-based nature. Marriage I believe is much much older, and if pain is a teacher, it teaches that to split from a marriage partner is extremely painful, and one of the most stressful things you can do in life. I was a slow student when it came to painful broken relationships.

    I will shut up now.
    (About time! Everyone cheers and claps!)
    Goodnight! I’ll see what has become of this sometime tomorrow.

  4. H.E. ELLIS says:

    I am curious why when someone wants to illustrate an example of religious intolerance or ignorance, he/she immediately jumps to Catholicism.

    I wonder…

    • Well… and this is just a theory… but I think once you publicly take a stand on covering up, moving, hiding or ignoring child molesters, especially if you are a huge institution that:
      A. Is in charge of the safety and wellbeing of millions of children, and
      B. Has proclaimed itself to be the arbiters of what is right and wrong morally, and
      C. Claims that being good is the way to get to heaven, and that they are the only ones with the keys, and
      D. Has no problem at all passing judgment and eternal damnation on anybody else that does stuff that they find icky…
      Then you open up the door for people like me that think I should be able to tease you a little.
      But as I said, it’s just a theory.
      That being said, I do like the new Pope.

  5. I got here via your Freaky Tikis on We Poets Show It. Had a little browse around, like what I see and followed.
    Obviously your guilting ploy has worked. So many of us are suckers for a good dose of guilt. My particular brand is Catholic guilt. Although I do think the pope wears funny hats. There’s a lot to be laughed at in life. I mull it over and don’t have answers except love and laughing. And big doses of light. Works for me. :)x

    P.S. If you’ve prepped the photos you might as well go for it. Shame to waste the effort. 🙂

  6. Lynda says:

    “…the answer to [life the universe and] everything” is 42.

    Sorry, could help myself with that one and you left yourself wide open for it in your first paragraph, did you not? 😉

    I chose my religion as an adult, but began really thinking and questioning what my folks practiced at the age of 13.

    I married for love. I chose to stay married because I knew it was an institution that needed to be worked at to make it last. My core belief is that it was meant to last. Been married 34 years now and think another 34 would suit me fine. Is it easy? No. There is a balance of give and take, compromise, and dedication to each other. And sometimes making it work means forgiveness. That may be the hardest part, and not just forgiving your spouse, but yourself if need be.

    War? I haven’t a clue, but we have pretty much been at it since the beginning of human existence.

  7. userdand says:

    I’ll start with this, since it is what I am compelled to address by the post at the moment. I may go further or not. I just don’t know today.

    You seem to be uncomfortable with religion (though I suspect more religiosity to be precise) and ritual. You keep bringing it up and “apologizing” for bringing it/them up. I would propose that, whether for right or wrong, they keep coming up because they are an integral part if the fabric of our lives (yeah, I know, like cotton) and play a necessary part in providing continuity and consistency in a world that seems bent on rapid change which may often be against our individual or collective wills.

    In staying with your examples, marriage may be a construct of society that is perpetuated by various religions or other belief systems, but that does not make it either undesirable or an nu-natural social system. Not saying this is the way you feel. Just stating a case. The legal “tie that binds” gives us assurance (though far from insurance) that the person we have entered into a relationship with will be exclusive to us and offer a committed effort so sustaining the relationship. In reality, we may be expecting way more than we can hope for, but there is implied security given by the ritual of marriage both encouraging and allowing us enter into having a family and purchasing items common to our collective wants and needs. As we have historically experienced though, the contract is only as reliable and effective as are the people who enter into it. That is why I say it is more assurance than insurance. That’s it for now.

  8. Doobster418 says:

    Your ploy worked. I stumbled across your “I’m puzzled” post, so I naturally had to read the post about which you were puzzled…or at least puzzled by the lack of comments. And so I read it and I have to admit, it was pretty damn good. Quite provocative, in fact. And for me, it resonated. So you have hooked me. I may even, if I find the time, go back and read some of your old posts. Hell, I may even buy one of your books. Who knows? I am going to follow your blog because I like what you have to say and I like the way you say it. And isn’t that pretty much what blogging…and writing…is all about?

  9. Al says:

    Nothing makes sense on this planet any more. There again, I don’t know if it did in the first place

  10. mikesteeden says:

    There you go – a genuine ‘like’ and a comment from a bloke who has just read every word. I agree with pretty much all you say. I guess I would I’m an old atheist, yet you have made a multiplicity of points all valid one’s at that. Good on you I say!

  11. love says:

    Ok. I’m thinking …;)
    Denial is an extremely effective coping strategy, and thus pretty popular lol. I reckon you can add the concept of monogamy here too. Most of us fail at it and we still see it as a failure, we’ve made that up, that guilt and negativity. Everything passes, this we know but we still cling on to the idea of ‘forever’. Have we constructed these rituals simply to ease our insecurities? Is life really all about suffering because we are in denial? It’s a lot easier to embrace stupidity than to embrace our ability to make informed choices. It’s an enjoyable rolllercoaster for me, veering between feeling in and out of control…sometimes everything makes sense and sometimes nothing does. I choose to be aware and I choose to be happy and I reckon I ponder our attachment to denial everyday.

    • That was some good thinking! I don’t even have answers to any of the questions I brought up, or the ones you did. Everybody handles uncertainty in there own way. Denial and stupidity might even be better than knowing all the things that are wrong if we can’t do anything about them. I admire people that are active in trying to control their own fate and the fate of this planet, but I never seem to have the energy to join them. It is so much easier to complain about problems than to try to fix them.
      As for marriage, I think it is a human invention… but lust is a biological force of nature. That is going to win more often than not.
      Thank you for the lovely comment!

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