iwbiek's blog

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where trump's policies really lead

i just received word last night through my wife that our very good friend's brother, who's lived in the US illegally for twenty years and fathered three children there, had a court hearing day before yesterday and will be deported. he didn't come to america on a makeshift raft, nor smuggled in a fruit truck. he came from slovakia as a student, and by the time his student visa expired, he had already begun working and saw the opportunity for a new and better life for his family. i'm not sure why he didn't pursue legal status, but, having been through the process myself (in slovakia), i'm sure it had something to do with lack of funds and wanting to get down to the business of earning money and raising an upstanding family, rather than devoting precious time to an uncertain and needlessly byzantine process. he has since become a successful businessman and positive asset to the community. he hasn't been back to his home country in 17 or 18 years because he has always been afraid they won't let him back into the US. his oldest son, who was fathered in slovakia and thus is not an american citizen (so i'm told; i have no idea what his immigrant status is), is already so successful at 18 that he drives a tesla. now he may very well have to set aside his youthful dreams to become breadwinner for the family if they do not emigrate to slovakia, which is not an attractive option for them. or will the state now help bear the burden of raising these lawfully american children, now that they've taken away their primary provider? i doubt it.

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political correctness encourages essentialism and artificial dichotomies in the area of religion


christmas is for christians. hanukkah is for jews. diwali is for hindus. ramadan is for muslims.

except only at the dawn of the millennium have things become so deliciously (read: alarmingly) simple. political correctness, at least in this instance, is a perfect example of western cultural imperialism, in the form of essentialism. for those of you who don't know, essentialism is basically the idea that any construct--religion, culture, nationality, political ideology, etc.--has some sort of core or "essence" that makes it what it is. so, in this case, christmas, with all its attendent traditions, including santa claus, is, in essence, a christian holiday. ergo, a christian is someone who celebrates christmas, and a christmas celebration will always be at odds with the values of anyone who is not a christian.

the logical problems with essentialism should be obvious to anyone. beyond the inherent logical problems, once a person begins to look at the historical details of how religions have interacted, the essentialist view falls apart quickly. to preserve it, one has to look at religions in a vacuum, apart from their historical contexts, in which case we're looking at religions that literally no one follows.

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theses on humanity

i cannot claim complete originality with any of these ideas.  these short statements comprise my general worldview after a humble thirty-one years of existence.  i post them here to invite comment and also to clarify and systemize these thoughts for my own convenience.

1. everything that a human is capable of exists in him already: just as matter can neither be created nor destroyed, no part of human nature can be created nor destroyed.  external stimuli may serve as catalysts, though said stimuli will not be catalysts for the same reactions in all humans, and in many humans said stimuli will not be catalysts at all.  these reactions are possible to predict only in the most general way, and even that only after great effort and with no small measure of talent.  regardless, at base, every human is capable of every possible act.

2. nothing is more important for the greater part of humanity, subjectively speaking, than preserving as much human life as possible.  there being no more logical standard of determining "right" and "wrong," this standard is the most expedient to adopt.

3. clarity in communication is the most important factor in moving toward a world that is generally more tolerable.  it is also difficult to obtain because it requires a great deal of both effort and humility, two things of which humanity is in chronically short supply.

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jonah and the whale/big fish/whatever the fuck

still recovering from my vacation--six weeks back stateside, reconnecting with the fam.  the first two weeks were spent in naples, florida, with predictable debauchery.  let's just say when you're bobbing along peacefully on an anchored raft in the clear waters of the gulf of mexico with a tecate sweating in one hand and a fat maduro rothschild clamped between your teeth, you start to think about some stupid shit.  gloriously stupid shit.

my mind being on maritime matters, for obvious reasons, i pondered the story of jonah and the whale (that's right, i fucking said whale, get the fuck over it).  specifically, i pondered the smug response that invariably comes from the vast majority of christians whenever one calls the story by the name it's had for fucking centuries: "jonah and the whale."  the right corner of their mouth turns up, their eyes squint ironically, a quick explosion of air issues from their nostrils, and, in a superior tone only a high-level trekkie confronted with a casual sci-fi fan could approximate, they deliver what apparently is some kind of fucking bombshell in their world: "aaaactually, the bible says big fish."

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