Thursday, September 29, 2005

Massive Update...

.:Today's LSS:.

The WAVE Jingle is really stuck in my head right now... too bad I can't find lyrics.

How's about a different song, then?

It's Your Birthday
by R Kelly

Girl I bet you thought I had went and forgot
It's a special day
Your gift will be something you will remember
For the rest of your days

(So get ready and I'll take you out) and show you some love
(Show you what partying is all about) once we hit the club

(It's your birthday) so let's party and have some fun
(It's your birthday) we'll dance til the morning comes yeah
(Happy birthday) girl let's step the night away
(Happy birthday) and we're gonna celebrate, yeah

do do do do do do do do do do do...

Oh we'll be laughing and singing and grooving on the way
With smiles upon our face
Nothing but VIP
Darling for you and me
And there's so many dancing feet
Dancing in harmony

(So get ready and I'll take you out) and show you some love
(Show you what partying is all about) once we hit the club, yeah

(It's your birthday) so let's party and have some fun
(It's your birthday) and we'll dance til the morning comes yeah
(Happy birthday) let's step the night away
(Happy birthday) we're gonna celebrate, yeah

Let's go

Do do do do do do do do do do...

Go Drea, it's your birthday!
Go Joanne, it's your birthday!
Go Jaya, it's your birthday!
Go Channél, it's your birthday!
Go Angie, it's your birthday!
Go Julie, it's your birthday!
Go Ebony, it's your birthday!
Go Teshonda it's your birthday!
Go Kim, it's your birthday!
Go Lisa, it's your birthday!
Go Devine, it's your birthday!
Go Simone, it's your birthday!
Go Vernice, it's your birthday!
Go Gina, it's your birthday!
Go Kat, it's your birthday!
Go Carmen, it's your birthday!
Go Kel, it's your birthday!

.:TV Appearance!:.

The TV Appearance has come and gone, but at the end of the day, nobody had the foresight to record it. Ah, well.

Still, so there we were, Krisette, Kathy, myself, and Hrbs on safety duty. I got there earlier than anyone else, and was a bit miffed to find out that it was Channel 23 and not Channel 2. That meant all my plugging was all for naught. Heh. Still, no big deal, notwithstanding the fact that the small bit wasn't recorded.

It was close to 7 in the morning when we had to demonstrate fire-spinning, and we had to get out of the studio because it didn't seem possible for us to spin in there. So we went outside, and while we were looking for a nice spot, I was running by them the idea of spinning in front of the Big Brother house, and maybe giving a dose of reality to that show...

And then, a whole platoon of security guards assembled in front of us. We naturally felt a bit nervous as we lit up.

After the short spinning session, Patty Laurel and her partner interviewed us a bit. Funny fact: Patty Laurel is the only person I know who was both my classmate and my student. She was my classmate when we were both seniors in Comm, and then she took Dr. Ibana for Philo 104, where I was a teaching assistant. Glad to see she still knew me.

I also ran into Oz and the other guys from the band that used to practice at Kathy's place. Interesting... no John, though. Heh.

.:The Ultimate Warrior:.

A new DVD has just been released, entitled "The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior", chronicling the short-lived but highly controversial career of the Ultimate Warrior.

In any case, the Warrior has naturally responded to this DVD scathingly in his website.

I don't know whether or not the Warrior can sue the WWE for this debacle, but amid all of his insane ravings, the Warrior does make some very important points that cannot just be dismissed away by saying that he's a nut...

Take this paragraph from him as an example:

"The greater distance I can create between myself and those other Legend talent you evidently consider having lead constructive courses is exactly what I am looking for. I guess I’m just not cut out to be constructive in the way you define it. Whore out yourself and your family for an unimportant, superficial cheap-ass celebrity long after you’ve had enough; blame drugs, other abuses and addictions and just simple life responsibilities for failing at life time and time again; bring kids into the world and then desert them entirely or raise them to be ‘useful idiots’; frequent rehab visits or OD in a budget hotel room over a vile, sorry-ass bag of dirty street drugs; be an unequivocal hypocrite, be on the record saying one thing but always rationalize doing another; let your body, mind and spirit go to hell; become a born again Christian, hock it until no one buys the con anymore, and then crawl back to you and hypocritically participate in WWE’s debauched, carnal storylines; talk tough but never take a stand and back it up; despise McMahon when you don’t have a contract, lick his ass when you do; know no principles and have no integrity; refuse to behave grown up even when you are; be afraid to challenge yourself to do other things than what you’ve already succeeded at; accept that you are only a pro-wrestler and it’s all you'll ever be able to do, and any success in the business you have is never because of anything you contribute and earn, but only something that McMahon has the power to grant; and finally, most of all, crawl back to you, King McMahon, for a final bout of self-degradation. Hell, Vince, that’s a lot of feebleminded, lazy work to be constructive. I’d just rather do the harder thing. I think the reward is greater. Call me a kook. That’s right, I guess you intend to. Vince, your adulterated brand of approval and respect I cannot find the self-disgust to lower myself to. I make no apologies."

I feel sorry for the guy, really. Couldn't they just leave him alone in his little corner of the world or something?

Of course, the day he comes crawling back to Vince will be the day that I will have every right to laugh in his face... but he's holding out on that even longer than Bret Hart has, who is now on good terms with Vinnie Mac...

.:From Pro Wrestling To Philosophy:.

I am a pluralist. Not an atheist. Reading this piece has given me cause to think, though... it's an atheist thinking aloud...

"I firmly believe in the impossiblity of free will in any true sense. Cause and effect are inescapable, whether you think we're simply a collection of atoms in a whole universe of atoms, or whether you believe in souls, everything we do still happens for a reason, and that reason had a reason, and so on and so forth. I don't mean there is necessarily some master plan, simply that we are are nothing more than the culmination of our genetics and every experience we've ever had, neither of which are, ultimately, up to us. Every choice I make I make because of who I am (e.g. I choose to drink milk instead of orange juice because I like milk better. thats part of who I am. i'm a milk drinker), and who I am can be traced back to factors far outside of my control.

For an atheist like myself, this effectively means nothing.

But if there were a god who was omnipotent, omniscient, and the creator, then the moment he created anything he had to know exactly how it would all play out, and not only that, decided to create it that way. he knew, at the dawn of time, that I would be born and that due to my genes and the structure of my soul and my interaction with the rest of his creation, I would like milk better than orange juice. Sure I have 'choice', but every choice I make I do because of who I am, and I am who I am because he made me that way. He knew that I would be in Boston in 1986 because my dad was the sort of guy (because he made him that way) who would take the job (which he knew would be presented to him) that would result in him moving their, and he knew what apartment we would take and he knew exactly where I would be on that fateful day in july when I fell down the stairs and broke my leg, and he knew I would fall.

And he left it that way. There is no such thing as free will, everything happens because he made it that way and knew exactly how it would play out and just decided to let it play out that way. The Holocaust, the crucifixion, that time my dog got hit by a car, Katrina, 9/11, Carrot-Top. All of it.

And here's the thing. Because he's omnipotent, it doesn't have to be that way. He could have very easily created a perfect world with just as much choice as we have right now (i.e. superficially lots, and in actuality, none). The argument that he gave us free will so he couldn't just make us good is crap. He didn't give us free will because we still rely on cause and effect and every single effect gets traced back to him, and how is making us good any less of a violation of free will than making some people schizophrenic and some people geniuses and some people shy and some people clumsy and...You get my point. he made us who we are. And he made some of us evil (or at least, made us the sort of people who when confronted with the environment which he knew we would be confronted with would inevitably choose to be evil), he made some of us sick and twisted. He made some of us Christians and some of us Atheists and some of us Scientologists. He made hurricanes for us, and earthquakes too.

Satan's a non factor, because guess what? God made him too, and the same rules apply.

And yeah, he did make everything good too. But saying we sshould just be grateful for that would be like saying that if your mom bakes you a batch of cookies and puts razorblades in one cookie, you should be grateful to her for all the other good ones. No you shouldn't, because it was well within her power to just leave out the razorblades entirely.

Thats one of my gripes with the notion of God.

The other is the whole hell thing. Why does he want to be worshipped so badly? What is so vital to God about our love for him? Yeah he created us, but so what? My dad fathered me, and if I said I didn't love him so he locked me up in the basement and tortured me, he's be called evil, and rightfully so. Even if God is the creator, and all powerful, and good (though I don't buy it), why should we have to worship him, or even believe in him? What does it matter to him? And it can't even be rational belief, based on evidence. It has to be faith. He is so adamantly attatched to the notion of our worshipping him without evidence that that is specifically touted as his reason for not offering any proof. Its like some sick test, where the teacher won't give you any evidence for one answer, but if you don't choose it you get your kneecaps broken.

I've heard the argument extended before that hell is simply an absence of God, God 'loving' us so much he cuts us off from his presence if we reject him. But say that turns out to really suck, so I say 'hey God, I give up, I believe in you.' Why can't he just forgive and forget. Why is everything eternal. Why can't he just say 'okay, you said your sorry, all is forgiven, seeing as how I am infinitely good and all that, welcome to heaven'.

But I wish to go against these notions against free will on several points of divergence...

First, assuming you are an atheist:

1. Free will exists if you believe a human's existence to precede his essence. Yes, limitations are indeed present, but these are inevitable. This in no way denies your free will. As Sartre would put it, a human being is a life-project that one builds up in his own way. All choices are indeed contingent upon each other, but not infallibly so. A human being who exists before having an essence makes his own essence in the things he does.

2. We are more than the sum of our parts. Everyone knows this saying, and cliche as it may sound, this holds especially true for a human being made up of genetics and surroundings. For some reason, when all these come together, the human being formed by it is still a human being capable of making choices that do not necessarily add up to one's genetics or surroundings. You still have a choice. No matter if the choices are limited, they still exist.

3. Free will is not just a check to see if one is free from anything that impinges upon his decisions. Freedom from, freedom to, and freedom for are radically different concepts, and only the first two are covered by this very myopic view of what free will is that the writer was espousing. You can be free from the restraints of genetics. You can be free to do whatever you want. But in the end, what is your freedom for?

Now, let's presume you are not atheist and believe in religion, primarily, Christianity or Judaism:

1. Not all definitions of God as omniscient and omnipotent preclude knowledge of all that was, is, and will ever be. There are some schools of thought that believe that since the future does not exist, then God does not unequivocally know something that is not yet.

2. Just because someone knows something does not mean that he controlled the outcome. I personally know that Matt Hardy will lose on RAW next week and move to Smackdown, but does that mean that I myself determined that outcome? Of course not. God knows I will do something, but He also knows that it was I who chose to do something. The word "will" in and by itself denotes an emanation, and not an imposition. Your actions emanate from your will. Actions imposed by someone else are against your will.

3. To say that because God created us and He is omnipotent, therefore everything we do was predetermined by His acts is clearly an assertion. Why so? Because the assumption is God created us with free will. That's akin to a programmer throwing in a randomly self-generating variable in a given code, which means that the programmer left something to chance. God, in this sense, left it to chance.

Now, what about the writer's notions about God creating evil?

1. The problem with some people subscribing to God is that He ends up becoming a scapegoat when things go wrong and He is all but forgotten when things are going well. If someone excels, he praises himself. If he fails, he blames God for it. If anything, human beings created evil by the power of their free will. Just because something is inherently good does not mean it can't be used for evil. Satan was a result of his own choice to rebel against God. God did not create Satan. Satan created Satan.

2. God as a parent figure to us should make it clear by now that because of our free will, God will not do everything for us. While parents do not want their children to ever be harmed, does that mean they will prohibit their child from doing anything that could remotely harm them? It would be absurd for a parent to prohibit a child from ever walking, or riding a bike, or getting married, just because they don't want their child to be harmed. It just doesn't work that way. Besides, God's concern is less of physical harm than it is of spiritual arm, isn't it? Yes, we rely upon cause and effect to some extent, but to say that this is all we ever do is definitely not true. Things aren't just an endless chain reaction from one starting point to an inconceivable end point. Why is it that way? Because God made it that way. We cannot bring it upon ourselves to charge upon God our concepts of how the world should be because we are not God, and we cannot believably put ourselves into His shoes. If we could, then why does it seem that omnipotence is such a hard property to illustrate in comic books? We don't have it. Ergo, we can't expect to tell someone who does what to do with it.

3. What may seem evil to human beings may not necessarily be so when viewed from God's vantage point. Ants, if they were intelligent enough, would hate humans for walking. But to us human beings, is walking evil? Of course not. Take that on the grandest, most infinitesmal scale of God. Can you honestly say that you are the final arbiter of what is good and evil?

And how about the notions of heaven and hell?

1. While there are scriptural texts that allude to the concepts of heaven and hell, concepts tend to vary depending upon the culture in question. Furthermore, the concept of heaven and hell is not as simple as a scorecard of the good and bad things we did in life.

2. We are temporal beings right now, which explains why the ramifications of our actions and choices tend to be temporal as well. Now, the moment we become eternal, then our choice will clearly be eternal as well. If so, the moment we reject God for all eternity, we reject Him for all eternity. We do not have the excuse of fickle-mindedness to use when we make a choice as an eternal being whose choice would have the same longevity as us.

3. And lastly, God doesn't need us to believe in Him. We do.

In a world where meaninglessness and cynicism abound, in a world where voyeurism is now available on your television set (Hello, Big Brother!), in a world where we always ask for more, believing in a God is our only hope that after everything has been said and done, oblivion is not what waits for us on the other side.

What is it to God if we don't believe in Him? That is a genuine question. At that point, we begin to realize that God isn't asking us to believe in Him because He wants it, but because if you look deep down inside of yourself enough, you'd realize that you need it.

But hey, this is all a matter of opinion. If you are perfectly fine with an infinite void on the other side instead of the promise of an eternity, I, as a pluralist, cannot but help to respect that.

In the end, though, we live. By no merit of our own, we live. For such a boon to us that we never did anything to earn, who are we to make demands about what we have been given?

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