Monday, April 30, 2018

Hard Hearted

     Does hardship make a person stronger? If so, at what point does hardship become too much for a person? If not, what does make a person stronger? Hardship does make a person stronger if one is willing to cope with and overcome the hardship. But even if overcome, a hardship can make a person harder. Emotional scars can make a person cold.
     Hardship becomes too much when a person loses everything that is good about himself in order to get through it. At some point, a survivor of long, difficult hardship can wonder if surviving was worth it. Then the person struggles with that question until finding something that does make carrying on worthwhile. Assuming anything does. The search can become a hardship itself.
      Hopefully, overcoming hardship is enough of a victory for one to reinforce belief in oneself so nothing good is sacrificed. Or maybe changed for the better. Emotional scars do not have to be crippling. They can be a learning experience.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Ten Commandments of Logic

     If you could teach everyone on Earth one concept, what would it be? I would like to teach everyone on Earth critical thinking skills. I cannot imagine how I would go about such a task. The best I can probably do is offer up a quick list of the Ten Commandments of Logic so you can avoid using them and recognize when others try to pass them off as legitimate arguments.
     The Ten Commandments of Logic can be enlarged.   Take it to heart and be on the look out for anyone trying to pass one of these fallacies off on you as a valid argument.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Soothing Balm of Religion

     Will religion ever become obsolete? As a christian, I believe Christianity will never become obsolete. But Christianity is a special case since it is truth. Religion in general will never become obsolete. Everyone will eventually realize this fact during their lifetime or in the afterlife.
     While individual religions will come and go, there will always be people who will look for something to believe in. Even secular humanism takes on aspects of religious belief. If you want to see some purple faced rage, tell a secular humanist you believe this is true.
     I do believe the quote from Karl Marx in which he states religion is the opiate of the masses still holds true. It is one of the few things Marx was correct about. The full quote is “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed people, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” By this, Marx meant religion eases people's pain. Because religion eases people's pain, it will always exist.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Alien Nation

     What would be the reaction of humanity if the existence of aliens was confirmed? We would react different ways, both positively and negatively, depending on the circumstances. I will run through the major ones off the top of my head.
     If the aliens are unintelligent bacteria, we are not likely to care. If they are cute animal-like critters, we will want them as pets. If they are intelligent, but so far away we will never have contact, no one will care. In fact, we will think any effort to reach them will be a waste of money. If intelligent aliens make it to Earth and are peaceful, it will be cool and many trinkets will be sold. If they are not dangerous l, there will be panic and conflict. Regardless of whether the aliens are peaceful, some people will be upset when Earth germs lead to their deaths.
     There are probably many more. People of various religious faiths will have some interesting reactions, but I do not assume I can accurately predict the thinking of various religious groups. I guess the Scientologists will be happy.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Sexual Assault

     Bill Cosby was found guilty on three counts of sexual assault earlier today. When sentenced, the television star and comedian could face up to thirty years in prison or ten years for each count. Truth be told, nothing of the sort might happen, as I will talk about below, but it is absolutely certain Cosby’s life has been ruined. Deservedly so. I believe he is guilt of the crime for which he was found guilty and many more over the years for which he will escape justice.
     There are two caveats about thinking Cosby will get a thirty year sentence. Since he is 80, let us refer to the possible sentence as a question of whether Cosby will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
    The first caveat to whether that will happen is Cosby is likely to serve all three terms concurrently. This would mean a maximum of ten years, but possible parole after five to eight years. Cosby could be a free man somewhere between 85-90 years old. Yes, the odds of him living to that age range are not great under the best of circumstances, much less with his poor health. Then again, he is likely to be sent to a locked nursing home=like facility for inmates precisely because of his age and infirmity. He may receive enough care to sustain him. He might also go under house arrest like he has been for the last few years.
    The second caveat is the inevitable appeal. Five other women unrelated to the case at hand were allowed to testify. Their testimony may have prejudiced the jury. Cosby's legal team might request Cosby remain under house arrest during the appeal process. As Cosby has shown up for every hearing and caused no other problems during trial, the judge would likely grant it. An appeal could take months or years. Cosby's lawyers could run out the clock until he dies a free man.
    What is the most likely thing to happen? It sounds morbid, but Cosby will probably die before anything significant occurs. The memories of his previous life will not sustain him in the life of squalor and deprivation to come from incarceration regardless of where he winds up. His health will collapse under the emotional stress. He could even kill himself if the opportunity presents itself. Whatever happens, it will be a sad, but well-deserved, end for the guy many once thought of as America's Dad.

The Ignoble Savage

      If an infant was lost deep in the woods somewhere and somehow managed to survive into adulthood, how human would he having grown up without the benefit of civilization?  A little more thought could have gone into the heart of this question. A feral human would still biologically be a human without civilization. The question is really how corrupt would a feral human be? It is the old nature versus nurture question.
    The answer is the human would be a complete savage. He would be in his rawest state—an unrestrained id whose only goals are his own survival while giving in to his most base desires. Human nature is the corrupting element of society. We restrain the evils of human nature in order to get along with others and receive all the benefits of civilization. But we are all a hot meal and a good night's sleep from absolute barbarism. Anyone who has ever cared for small children can attest to that.
    So Jean Jacques Rousseau was incorrect. Human nature corrupts society; society does does corrupt human nature. The noble savage is a myth.  Civilization creates an environmental which can encourage one to restrain human nature for the better, but the worst of humanity is always innately there to cause problems.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Deep Impact

    What personal action of mine will have the most lasting impact? I have no idea. I would like to offer up a better answer, but I cannot point to anything in my life I would call a legacy. It might take the perspective from beyond the grave to figure it out. I am confident whatever my impact is and to whatever degree it lasts will be intangible.
     My lasting legacy is going to be the emotional imprint I left on people. Maybe someone in particular. Again, I cannot speculate who that might be. You effect people, for better or worse, but your mere existence. Who can say what other people learn from and whether they pass it on to someone else. Something seemingly inconsequential could have a generational impact.
     I am not really into the Butterfly Effect. I do not buy into the idea the flapping of a butterfly's wing causes a tsunami on the other side of the world. But everything develops through a chain of events. No one can really guess how the small things can lead to major consequences. But it is probably safe to assume somewhere down the line I played a small part in creating something important, even if inadvertently, somewhere down the line. I have no clue what it might be at the moment.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Dreaming with Eyes Wide Open

     Why do we dream? Dreams appear to be the meaningless stories and images created by our brains during deep sleep. Scientists do not have a definitive answer as to why we dream, but dreams appear to have some importance in our physical mental, and emotional well-being. Dreams can effect our emotions upon waking up. Studies in which subjects were awakened before entering the dream state were irritable, had difficulty concentrating, and were depressed.
     Dreams serve several known functions. One, they can help us solve problems. Inspiration for creative solutions have come from dreams. Two, dreams can help sort through memories. There appears to be a correlation between dreaming and the brain deciding which memories to keep for later use and which to discard. Finally, dreams can help process emotions. Considering dreams can help us devise solutions to problems and deal with emotional issues, it is good advice to 'sleep on it” when problems are on your mind.
     None of these points address why we dream, though. Perhaps dreaming is our mind at play. The young tend to learn things through fantasy and play. Play is how they process reality. Perhaps our brains do as well. Scientists are not certain, so it is all mere speculation other than dreaming is necessary for our health.
     I am beginning to notice many of these alleged philosophical questions can be elucidated by science to take much of the mystery out of the question.  Perhaps this is why philosophy is so often considered a frivolous mental exercise  rather than useful problem solving.  

Monday, April 23, 2018

Fading Echoes

     How long will you be remembered after you die? I am in a unique position to answer this question. I experienced a Mark Twain-esque “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” when I disappeared offline from May 2013 to March 2014. My health was still languishing from surgery the previous October. Those who followed me online feared I was dead.
     When I finally could return to the online world after my oubliette exile in a nursing home courtesy of Team Chavis, I worked my way through a backlog of rest in peace messages from blog readers and social media followers. Probably about twenty or so.
    It was an eye opening experience for two reasons. One, it is interesting to see who will forget you after you join the choir invisible. Two, it is equally interesting to see how long those who did not forget you keep you in mind. The last message is received was in September, so I will be remembered about four months after I die.
     There will apparently be a significant line formed to urinate on my grave. but let us end on a high note, shall we?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Verne Troyer (1969-2018)

    Verne Troyer, probably best known for portraying Mini-Me in two installments of the Austin powers movie franchise, passed away over the weekend. He was only 49. While the cause of death was not released, a message on his Instagram announcing his passing alluded to depression and suicide. It sounds as though Troyer took his own life. It is always tragic to hear a life ended in such a manner.
     I knew Troyer mostly as Mini-Me. It was a hilarious, career defining character which was both a blessing and a curse for Troyer. The role made him famous, but there was no way for him to escape or move beyond it. While Troyer made a respectable amount of appearances in movies and on television, he was playing some variation of Mini-Me or at least cashing in on the character. With his 2' 8” size, there was not much else for him to do.
     I also know Troyer from social media. He was active on Reddit and the usual suspects Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. He liked to interact with fans, and was particularly good with empathizing with those who talked about the adversities they faced in life. There was usually an air of sadness in Troyer's posts. He definitely suffered from deep seeded pain because of issues surrounding his height. He let it be known he was struggling with issues of alcohol and depression. A stint on a celebrity knock off of The Real World made his personal demons clear for all to see.
     Depression driving one to the point of suicide is no laughing matter. Troyer wrote their hopes people would understand and not make a mockery of Troyer's death. As one who has often been surrounded by those who did not care about my mental or emotional state during my lowest points in life, I understand their feelings. I cannot help but feel melancholy about Troyer's struggle and untimely death.
     Godspeed, Mr. Troyer

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Extinction Agenda

     How will humanity go extinct? I addressed this question recently in the post  Stephen Hawking's Last Message to Humanity. Most likely man will be wiped out by an asteroid in the same manner as the dinosaurs. It has been 65 million years since the last planet killer hit Earth. We are due for another. A direct hit will kill us all, but it might also produce another big hit for Aerosmith. They have not hit the music charts in a while.
     Check out the post linked for a less snarky answer to the question of how humanity will likely meet its end.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Lowering the Goal Post

     What should be the ultimate goal of humanity? As a Christian, I think the goal of humanity should be to accept the gift of salvation by grace through Jesus. As a Calvinist, that will happen whether it is your goal or not. So the answer, true though it may be, makes for a boring answer. Would you like to try for a more substantive answer?
     I am not certain how substantive it is, but the answer is humanity needs to survive while simultaneously being as humane as possible. There is a goal easier said than achieved. You would think self-interest would involve the big picture of survival, but it does not quite happen that way. Note I said enlightened self-interest. We can ultimately survive as a species with only water, food, and sex even with the vast majority of humanity dying off. But being a little less self-absorbed could help more people survive.
     My answer to the goal of humanity feels like it should be more existential and optimistic. I am just not that optimistic about humans or their ability to overcome any circumstances that come our way. We are a hot meal and a good night's sleep from the collapse of civilization. Just look at how a sleepy, hungry toddler acts. He is not too far from you under the same circumstances. I have low expectations for the sort of goals we as a species can achieve.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Who Wants to Live Forever?

     If you were given the option of being immortal on the condition you could also never die by disease or injury, would you choose immortality? No way. Immortality does not include not aging. Who in the world would want to be old forever? There is also the point the human brain only has the capacity to hold about 400 years worth of memories. After 400 years, you would wind up like Drew Barrymore's character in 50 First Dates—never able to create new, lasting memories. No thanks.
     I answered a similar question a few years ago asking whether i wanted to be Downloaded into an immortal robot body.  Check out the post for more related thoughts.  i assume you already assume most of my answer even though an immortal robot body would eliminate the problems of aging and memory capacity.
     I just do not want to live forever regardless of circumstances.  Why would anyone else?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Harry Anderson (1949-2018)

     It was sad to hear Harry Anderson died last night. He caught the nasty strain of fly going around, then suffered a stroke back in January. He died in his sleep of cardiac arrest last night. His family noted he went peacefully.
     I was a big fan of Night Court back in the day. I cannot say the show heavily influenced me to study law, but it did not discourage me, either. Anderson was also a noted magician. I recall watching one of his magic show specials on a Saturday afternoon a long time ago and being impressed with his slight of hand and con man routine. I might never have heard of Mel Torme if not for Anderson. It is sad to see him go.
     Godspeed, Mr. Anderson.

The Name Blame Game

     Does a person's name affect the person they will become? There is some debate among psychologists whether this is true, but I lean towards the skeptical side. I doubt a elementary school kid named Robin Banks will one day hold up a chain of lenders before the FBI finally catches up to him. With apologies to Shel Silverstein and Johnny Cash, a boy named Sue may not learn to be a tough fighter because of his name.
     Take Rosey Grier. I doubt anyone thinks Rosey is a macho male name. However, Grier is a big, tough guy who played professional football and served as a body guard. Granted, he did not save his client Robert Kennedy from being shot, but he did wrestle the gun away from Srhan Sirhan. Surely that says something about how tough the guy was. Do you want to consider Grier taking up needlepoint later in life a sign of him being effeminate? I do not think so when weighed against the rest of his life experiences.
     There are probably hairdressers out there named Bruno and weightlifter named Francis. Someone would have to be an incredibly weak person to allow their name to hold them back in life. Even if you think it might, change your name. It is not as though whatever stigma you believe you will suffer because of your name cannot easily be eliminated. All that said, parents should not name their kids something stupid. There is no reason to create an unnecessary problem for their kids to solve.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Petty Little Lies

     It is impossible to live a normal life without lying. It might be impossible to go through a single day without lying, especially if you include self-deception. We certainly lie to ourselves must of all. In the Christian viewpoint, the Ninth Commandment forbids lying. The fact we still cannot stop lying even though we are commanded not to do so demonstrates our need for grace.
     We lie to protect ourselves. We lie to be tactful. People can perform some impressive mental gymnastics in order to rationalize dishonesty. So at what point is a liar who is not to be trusted. There is no quantifiable point as to how much a person can lie and what subjects they lie about before that person can be considered a liar. You must decide where the line must be drawn for yourself.
     As for where I draw the line, I have a weird answer. If you have not noticed, I am quite jaded about people. I grew up with alcoholic parents who thought they could hide their drinking problems. I spent much time around Christians who were more interested in keeping up appearances than actually being Christlike. Do I even need to describe my experiences with people while involved in politics and law? I have been lied to all the time. I am sure I am not unique in that, but I seem more willing than most to just say that it is the way it is and go about life and accept people are going to lie to serve their interests. I do, however, avoid the ones whose lies cost me the most damage. So I suppose the amount of damage caused is the criteria for whether a person's dishonesty is toxic.
     Do not take anything I said above as an excuse for lying. I work on my honesty, even when it causes me trouble, and so should you. Because it is the right thing to do even if perfect honesty can never be achieved.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Copy Degredation

      If someone you loved was killed, but another person came along and made a perfect copy down to the atomic level, would the copy be the same as the original person and would you feel the same way about the copy? Before I answer, pause a moment to appreciate how creepy this question is. Are you sufficiently disturbed? If so, I will commence splitting the question into two part in order to answer them.
     No, a clone is not the same person. One cannot clone memories, thoughts, emotions, or the soul of a person. The clone would be an exact copy of the outer shell of a person, but not what makes the person what I loved. The human body is greater than the sum of its parts. All that is cloned by copying a person is its parts. The intangibles will be gone.
     So obviously the answer to the second question is no. I would not feel the same way about the copy. The copy would probably only sadden me further at the loss of the real person because the the outward appearance would be the same, thereby serving as a reminder, but the intangibles would be so different. How cruel would it be to have some you love and not have it simultaneously? It sounds horrid.

Friday, April 13, 2018

For Art's Sake

  Where is the line between art and not art? Yet another highly subjective question, but one with far more contentious potential answers than those previously asked. Along the same vein as one man's treasure is another man's junk, one man's art is another man's trash while someone will think it is obscene no matter what. So the answer to what is art is will be highly opinionated.
     I support a broad definition for art. If it is a creative endeavor meant to evoke an emotional reaction, it is art. It may be offensive art, but it is art nevertheless. The Mona Lisa is art, but so is the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #23 and a nude spread of Anna Nicole Smith in Playboy. I go against the late film critic Roger Ebert and say video games are art. Art does not need to be well done in order to be considered art.
     The only time I question whether something is art is when one must have the 'right” opinion in order to consider something art. For instance, a young artist received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in the '90's for a work involving a Barbie doll standing next to novelty plastic vomit. The piece means nothing unless you know the artist intended it as a protest against how public perception of beauty compels girl's into bulimia in order to remain thin. It is difficult for me to consider it art when my proper reaction must be explained to me after I have already experienced a different one. Art should be open for the observer to experience and interpret for himself.
     Note I never claim whether I like a certain piece as a factor in whether it is art. Too many people think if they do not personally like a work of art, then it is not art. I can and frequently am repulsed grotesque or obscene works of art, but within the bounds of my definition, it is still art. So I view the definition of art in a broad manner.

Friday the 13th

     Check out a classic blog post on Friday the 13th and Confirmation 


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Living the Good Life

     What does it mean to live a good life? The question is probably the oldest in philosophy. There is no objective answer. I am not entirely certain, given the frailty of man in comparison to the influence of his sinful nature, there is an objective answer even for a Christian. But I am not exploring these question just to say I cannot answer them, so I will give it the best shot I can.
     A good life is one lived within the bounds of Christian virtue and fulfillment. I am speaking of Christlike virtue. I am referring to fulfillment as fulfillment of purpose. The fulfillment may not be personal. It may be God's purpose that is not part of your plan. Given my belief it is always god's will be done, not yours, it is impossible to say how well a Christian will fair under the circumstances of life. A good life is not necessarily a prosperous or even happy one. But it was for the greatest good.
     Note I do not include concepts like comfort, health, or wealth in the equation of a good life. Anyone who does is using a much more shallow definition of “good” than I am. A life in which sacrifices have been made is not necessarily a bad life as long as the good life I described above results from it. The trick is recognizing the question of whether one has lived a good life is, as mentioned above, subjective. There is rarely an easy answer as to whether a life lived was good.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Illusion of Free Will

     Does free will exist or is it an illusion? I must answer the question as a Christian. Inter tingly enough, I never encountered the question of whether free will was real or an illusion until my adult life. The problem was the Christian theology I was most exposed to was fiercely anti-Calvinist. Predestination I supposed made many of the Christians I knew growing up feel like they had no control. I have been a Calvinist for about twenty years now, embrace Predestination, and do not feel too bad admitting things are beyond my control. So take the following analysis with this in mind.
      I believe free will is an illusion. If God knew all the days of you life before you were born, then He knew every decision you are going to make throughout your entire life. God knows the choices you are going to make before you do. If so, then you do not have the capacity to make a free choice. The future has already been established within God’s omniscience. You do not know the choice you are going to make, so you have the illusion of a choice, but you really do not have one.
      Let us make an easy illustration. At some point in your life, you will be faced with a choice between A or B. God knew long before he even created you that you would choose A. If god knew beforehand you were going to choose A, then there is no conceivable way you could choose B. You believe you can choose B when making up your mind, but you cannot. You cannot go against God's omniscience in your decision making. Only your ignorance of the future allows you the illusion of the free will to choose.
     I got into a discussion on free will with a theologian about five years ago. I argu ed the position I argued above. He asked me what if God chooses not to know the choices you will make in life. The obvious answer would be if God chooses no to know something, then He is not omniscient even if he is willfully putting Himself in that capacity. But that would have heated up the discussion more than I wanted, so I just said that was speculation. The theologian conceded it was. I cannot say whether God's willful denial of knowledge to Himself is the best rebuttal—I am not convinced—but there it is. If anyone has something else to offer, feel free to do so.
     Free will is an interesting subject. I will probably revisit it again at some point. The likelihood increases if either I stumble across or someone presents to me a solid rebuttal to my belief free will is an illusion. Brace yourselves for the possibility.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Animal Crackers

    One of the more depressing aspects of philosophy is how often philosophers often diminish man's elevated position within creation. Man was made in the image of God and was granted stewardship of the Earth. Man is not just another animal even though the behavior of many people can cast doubt on the fact. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile endeavor to answer philosophical inquiries. With that in mind, is the meaning of life the same for animals as it is for man?
     I need to go in reverse order here. The question of what is the meaning of life is a subjective one. The issue will certainly be dealt with in detail further down the road at The Eye. But on a basic level, surely you can imagine my Christian views place anything concerning man to be above animals. Especially finding meaning in life.
      The purpose in life for animals is to eat and reproduce. That is it. While there seems to be many people who care about little beyond food and sex, there is still a hint of self-awareness within them there is more to life and they long for it. Animals lack the capacity to want more in life beyond eating and reproducing. So, no. The meaning of life is far different for animals and man. I would be interested in hearing a solid argument to the contrary.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Confronting Harsh Truths

     Our beliefs are what guide our lives. Each decision we make is guided by the ideals in which we believe to be true. But we also tend to believe only in those truths which are comforting rather than deal with the harsh truths of life. It is an interesting problem when you consider harsh truths are more numerous in this imperfect world than comforting ones. One must make the difficult decision either to confront harsh truths or wait until those harsh truths confront you.
     Which harsh truths are you ignoring? It is probably not an easy question to answer. Most people rarely, if ever, bother with introspection. In itself, not engaging in reflection is ignoring all harsh truths period. So there is the broad answer to the question right there. But harsh reality hits everyone at some point with the disappointments inherent in life. One may not even know what harsh truth was ignored until reality strikes and one is left with regret for not confronting reality earlier . Even then, accepting the harsh truth before it comes to pass may only improve coping skills, not producing an ideal outcome.
     I generally consider myself quite jaded. I am also a pessimist who realizes I can never have all my bases covered. There are times I even think I am above others because I accept this as fact. Not one of my redeeming qualities, but it exists and I acknowledge it. In the name of self-reflection, I ask what harsh truth of my life did I like to ignore? Something had to blow up in my face eventually, right?
      The easy answer is I ignored what a barrier to a normal life my health issues were going to be. I have always had orthopedic issues which were limiting, but manageable enough to which I could get along and even thrive in many endeavors. But I had a huge chip on my shoulder about anyone who anything anyone might say about how I was handling the situation or warning circumstances might become worse in the future.
     What is even more ridiculous is how periodically my health would take a major down turn for a year or more, yet I never honestly entertained the idea that would be a cycle continuing on for my entire life. So it can be difficult to acknowledge harsh truths even when they are kicking you in the ribs for months or years at a time.
     About fourteen years ago, I finally hit the point at which overcoming health issues in order to accomplish what I wanted out of life gave way to coping with health issues that will prevent me from getting what I want out of life. I am talking specifically about losing most of my eyesight and rupturing my colon. I was—no pun intended—blinded sided by the one-two punch. If I had acknowledged the harsh truth earlier, could I have prevented the devastating health decline? Probably not. But I might have been able to boost my coping skills so the last decade and a half might have gone more smoothly mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
     I am bound to be ignoring some harsh truths now in self-defense. It might have sounded above as though I was chastising those who avoid self-reflection. Far from it. I can appreciate when one decides their current coping skills cannot handle the confrontation. Just recognize your future self might not be in any better position than you are now. I was not, and I am still paying the hefty price for the bliss of past ignorance.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Commence Navel Gazing

     The hunt for blogging content can be a difficult one. As you have probably noticed, especially if you were around for the first incarnation of The Eye, I am producing less posts than I once did. One of the main reasons is a loss of interest in blogging about day to day current events. Scanning around the sites of many old blogging friends shows I am not alone. Another reason is a more reflective spirit emerged over the last few years for obvious reasons. These days I want to write about more interesting topics with a longer shelf life.
     Combining the previous two points, I have discovered a solution to the scarce content problem. I discovered a list of 202 allegedly deep philosophical questions. They were originally intended to be conversation starters, although I imagine if you tried any of them out at a party or on a date, you would be run off quickly. But they might make for good blog posts for those inclined to look into such topics. We are going to find out.
     They are generally questions about human, nature, existentialism, politics, and society. I will answer one a day, but know better than to promise posting one every day. I mean that when I post, there will not be more than one a day. As much effort as I put into getting a daily grind going at The eye, it is not happening yet. Quite a few questions overlap, too. The compiler probably never expected anyone to tackle them all, so did not make them exactly unique. There is still months worth of original questions, so the posts can keep coming for many months.  It all starts tomorrow.

An Exercise in Narcissism

     The tradition at The eye is to post a selfie only on holidays, but there are the occasional exceptions. Like today, for instance. Call it an exercise in narcissism or call it what it really is—a better photo than the one posted for Easter. Or at least better in consideration of what my decidedly non-photogenic self can manage.
     The whim to take another photo suddenly stuck me. Maybe there was just something about the last one I did not like. Whatever the case, I am glad I followed my instincts. I do happen to like this photo more. Your mileage may vary.
     Speaking of Easter, the holiday officially begins spring in my mind. After Easter, I expect warm, sunny days mostly until summer begins. But so far, every day since Easter has been cold, rainy, or cold and rainy. Where is the warmth of the sun? It does not feel like spring has sprung yet. The odd weather is throwing things off kilter. Hopefully, the peculiar weather is not sign of an equally odd summer.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Strange Case of Nasim Aghdam

     Now that things have settled down to the investigative phase of the shooting incident at YouTube's headquarters yesterday afternoon, it is safe to analyze what we now know. One of the main reasons I am reluctant to cover timely events at The Eye is how inaccurate the initial information frequently is. A blog has a more permanent, archival nature than a blink and it's gone tweet. I am more inclined to live tweet an event as it happens because I can immediately correct myself when more accurate information becomes available. Twitter is being lambasted for spreading false information. I posted erroneous facts early on yesterday myself. Such is the nature of the platform. I find it interesting it is the mainstream media critiquing Twitter for spreading false information when Twitter users are posting information they get from mainstream media.
     The initial reporting the female shooter was targeting her boyfriend in a domestic dispute and two other people unfortunately got in the way was untrue. Nasim Aghdam was actually a 38 year old Persian who was an adamant animal rights activist and vegan with a grudge against YouTube for filtering her videos, which limited her views and ad revenue. Whoever had her description in the next mass shooter profile poll probably also drafted a perfect March madness bracket and ought to consider buying a lottery ticket or two. Aghdam was also on Instagram where she posted reams of incredibly strange and often graphic photos espousing her views on animal rights. There were also many photos showing off her body. The common factor in these two subsets of photos is her ever present expression. Her facial expression never changes, and it screams crazy.
     There were more immediate signs Aghdam was planning to commit an insane act. Her father notified police she was missing and likely heading to YouTube headquarters because she absolutely hated the company. Police found Aghdam sleeping in her car Monday night, but let her go without any further action. She went on her shooting rampage the next day. This mat be another case of police fumbling when it comes to preventative measures, but I lack the inclination to critique the issue.
     I would like to offer up two other criticisms.
    First, no aspect of this case fits the gun control narrative. Aghdam did not fit the typical mass shooting profile. She was not white, not a man, an NRA member, and politically motivated. She was most certainly mentally ill and presumably on some antidepressants, but that factor is always ignored in these cases. You will not hear much from the pro gun control crowd for the reasons listed, but also because YouTube's gun free zone rule was ineffective.
    Second, YouTube does treat its users poorly when it comes to censorship and revenue sharing. I am not justifying Aghdam's actions by any means has been mistreating its bread and butter content creators for years now. The site most recently cracked down on firearms related videos from reviews to care and maintenance. It is not just fire arms, but political and religious debate, true crime, and anything that might be deemed remotely unfriendly to family viewing. Some user was bound to snap eventually. It is ironic the user who did fit more the social justice warrior profile than the usual target of YouTube's excessive practices.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Stephen Hawking's Last Message to Humanity

      Stephen Hawking died last month at the age of 76. The reknown physicist left behind a message for humanity: “Our universe will fade into darkness.” Well, there is a cheerful thought for you to ponder tonight as you fall asleep. Sweet dreams!
     Do not fret too much about Hawking's warning the universe will fade into darkness. It will take about five trillion years for that to happen. In about three billion years, the sun will become a red giant and incinerate all life on Earth, anyway.
    We probably will not make it the three billion years until the sun becomes a red giant. There is bound to be an asteroid strike before then. The last asteroid strike that wiped out most life on earth occurred 65 million years ago. We are overdue for another.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Selfie

    It is another holiday. Another holiday means a new selfie. Technically, it is Easter. But this year, Easter falls on April Fools day. I leave it to you to decide which my usual holiday selfie best represents. Which you choose can remain a mystery to me. In fact, it probably should.
     I would like to tell you I gained more weight since the last time I posted a selfie, but I am still hovering around the same spot as last time--90 lbs. On the bright side, 90lbs is a weight I have floated around, give or take a couple pounds, for the healthiest times of my life. I am still working on gaining more weight, but my anxiety has eased off knowing I can hold the same weight I was prior to my colon rupture in 2004. yes, that means I was underweight while living with Team Chavis. So, yeas, I am in a better, healthier state.
     I hope everyone enjoyed a nice Easter. I did. It was quiet and enjoyable even though it was overcast all day. You have to love those sunny spring days in South Carolina. They have been few and far between so far, but spring is young. We shall see what comes next..

Happy Easter!

    Happy Easter, everyone!
   Remember today is about the significance of the Resurrection. It is not about baskets full of chocolates, colored eggs, and bunnies. Losing sight of the true meaning of Easter is easy with all the distractions. The task will be even more difficult today as Easter regrettably falls on April Fools Day. Something simply feels wrong about that. I am going to avoid playing any pranks today. Your mileage may vary.
     Regardless, enjoy yourselves!