Some people may have noticed that I recently changed my profile picture on Facebook to a new image I created in inkscape. It looks like this:
This is a special image which I created using the clip feature of Inkscape. There are actually three objects in this. The background is a chessboard, then on top of it is a chessboard flipped the other way. Then a unicorn is clipped onto the top layer chessboard so that you see the “cut-out” version of the unicorn of opposite colors.
I consider it one of my best works of art because it uses the chessboard and the unicorn.
The chessboard, which is also called a checkerboard is special not just because of the board games played on it. It’s also a perfect tessellation of squares. It also represents balance because there are exactly 32 black squares and 32 white squares. Black and white are my favorite colors and I love patterns that use only these colors.
The unicorn is my favorite of the mythical animals because it’s basically a horse except for the horn coming out of it’s forehead. The unicorn also tends to represent various things depending on who you ask. It’s generally considered a peaceful animal of moral purity or goodness.
By combining these two images into one, I find that it represents nearly everything that I am about.
Poffo Ortiz messaged Chandler and asked him to moderate a hangout comparing his views to those of his friend Peter Moriarty. Another guy named Ethan joined for awhile too but it appears he didn’t stay on very long. Many important topics were talked about that will be of interest to people in general as well as clarify the differences between the goals of Poffo and Peter in their approaches to a life centered philosophy.
Here are links to where you can see more stuff by Poffo and Peter:
Peter’s Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1242542309104719/
I haven’t posted to this blog in awhile. Between working at Hy-Vee, publishing podcasts, and sometimes playing Minecraft, I haven’t had much to write about. Besides, I get mostly hateful comments when I do say what I’m thinking, but the following is a copy of my most recent Facebook post about my thoughts on Hillary and Trump. Notice that I waited until after the election was over to say this? There is a reason for that. I do not like to give the impression that I am out to convert people to a political view. I hate politics and have tried to make it clear that I am not affiliated with a political party nor have I voted in an election since the time I voted for Mitt Romney.
So for those who are bored out of your mind and have nothing else better to do, go ahead and read the following:
“I have a suspicion that many people probably voted for Trump because of his statements claiming to be pro-life. I find that rather disturbing given that he’s almost certainly a rapist and will most likely start wars that kill lots of people who have already been born.
Some of you may still remember that I’m absolutely against abortion and spent a long time debating it before finally giving up. I don’t talk about it much anymore but I will say this much. That was the biggest reason why I simply could not vote for Hillary Clinton even though nearly all my friends wanted me to and kept telling me she was the “lesser of two evils”.
At the same time, I couldn’t have voted for Trump because I don’t believe a word he says. And I do believe he raped those women too. Is he the “greater of two evils”? Honestly I don’t know and don’t really care at this point. He’s our new president for better or worse.
I’m just glad that election is over. Let’s just admit that the 2016 election was just complete stupidity and that as usual, it only made the American people turn against each other as they often do whenever there is conflict.
We are all in this mess together that none of us chose. It is because I understand that choice is a complete illusion that I find myself unable to hate anyone no matter what their political opinions are.
The main thing that matters to me in life is speaking about these important issues with my cohosts on the podcasts I do.
I hope that people get back to the heart of what matters in terms of respecting life and having ethics that make sense first before ever digging into politics.”
One of the things that bothers me is the fact that people just can’t agree on hardly anything. For example, my friend Jamie mentions how people disagree on morality or ethics. Given the fact that people disagree on basic questions such as the meaning of life, whether killing is good or bad, the existence of gods, evolution, and climate change, how are people supposed to work together at solving problems?
My short answer is that people just cannot live together and be happy at the same time. Unfortunately we are all stuck on this planet and are constantly affected by what others do. People cannot work in harmony if they are having conflicting beliefs and desires
Take for example cigarette smoke. When I am bringing in carts at my job, all it takes is one person smoking their cigarette and I start feeling ill. There is no way out of it. I have to walk by them every time I go in and out. For a lot of people, the smell of smoke is unpleasant, but I’m particularly sensitive. I become unable to breath and have to hold my breath while walking by. It’s quite likely that I’m allegic. So obviously from my perspective it’s harmful.
But let’s also consider the harm it’s causing to the smoker. At this point people are aware that it causes lung cancer, heart disease and other problems:
So you would think that something as uncontroversial as this would be one of the top things that people should stop doing. It should have been illegal long ago. You would think people could agree on such a basic thing.
But no, it appears that the people who like smoking want to continue to do so. They don’t care that they are killing themselves and others. And of course the companies who produce them want to keep selling them. It’s a prime example of how a monetary system kills people.
But wait, it’s not exactly that simple. It’s a chemical addiction too:
This is where it becomes extremely important to understand that people don’t have free will or free choice. If we lived in a world where people could literally choose to do whatever they want, then addiction to tobacco, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, and heroin would simply not be a reality. So I want to make clear that this isn’t anyone’s fault. None of us have a choice in our biology or the conditioning that society imposes on us, but that doesn’t mean that we will forever be chemically addicted to dangerous substances.
I’m not very optimistic at this point that people will agree enough to make the required positive changes in this world, but what I’ll say for now is that it’s best to start with issues that are fairly uncontroversial. Let’s start by eliminating smoking before we even bother debating other topics.
I certainly don’t have any illusions that this post will make a difference. But it’s my thoughts at this time and I am considering listening to debates on this topic. Particularly I’m wondering if there is a single person besides me who thinks that humanity should make changes to eliminate the sale of cigarettes and alcohol. Maybe they will become illegal or maybe stay legal but become obsolete due to other social changes. In any case, that’s what I have to say for now.
My friend and cohost Jamie Soden wrote this awesome book about why free will is an illusion and also the flaws of Christianity. It’s an excellent 17 page book that won’t take you very long to read.
You can download it from here. Please read and write a review.
I want to quote a few of my favorite things from this book and tell why I like them.
“What if you are a rape victim? Could you then decide not to be depressed or not feel bad about being raped or molested as a child? Simple answer, you cannot, nobody of sound mind would like such things done to them, or others.”
On this Jamie could not have said it any better. We can’t just choose to feel good about being raped. I would hope that everyone knows this. Some things are just painful are we will do whatever we can to avoid them.
“Here’s the second problem, God who is all knowing and all powerful, creates predator and prey and Christians call it “intelligent design”
Well sorry but in my view and I’m sure others would agree with what I’m about to say here, if God necessitated predator and prey and the suffering of countless innocent lifeforms (not just humans) in order to keep a population “balanced” then he is a pretty lousy designer. Why not limit breeding in accordance with existing resources and carrying capacity of our and every other habitable planet in the universe instead? Better still, why not make plants all non carnivorous, all fungi non lethal and all animal life vegan and not hostile? Why does suffering need to exist? And Christians use this faith as –
– their comfort on their death beds, I take comfort in knowing that all suffering in nature wasn’t caused by an immensely unsympathetic madman, I also take comfort in knowing that when I die I will not be going to a place of eternal torture.”
This is the perfect summary of why the God of Christians and other monotheistic religions is absolutely cruel. It was apparently God’s design to have animals kill each other all the time and have a constant fight for survival. God is not omnibenevolent as theists claim. He’s not vegan and could only be described as a sadist for designing a system of such constant pain.
People such as Jamie and myself are able to see through this belief system and know that it can’t provide comfort to anyone except selfish psychopaths who are content thinking that God loves them even if he hates other humans and non human animals.
“I don’t care if people call me a “socialist” or “idealist” for saying this, I’m only making statements based on my experience and life observations. True morality was man made and therefore isn’t objective, but as long as other people exist, morality is useful and so are ethics. It is in fact idealistic to apply black and white notions on poverty by expecting everyone to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps when they didn’t have them to begin with.”
I’ve talked with Jamie about the topic of morality and whether it is objective or subjective. My take on this is slightly different than his. There are two types of morality.
The first type of morality is directly based on the hedonic imperative which Jamie mentions.
My opinion on it is this: Under the hedonic imperative, good is synonymous with pleasure and bad synonymous with pain. This is not a human invention because human didn’t invent the feelings of pleasure and pain. They are simply bound by these sensations and will seek pleasure and avoid pain.
The second type of morality is one that humans invent based on arbitrary feelings that have no basis in reality. This is the type of morality that religions are full of and that are harmful. Jamie’s book describes why free will is a false belief and the free will belief is at the core of the idea of “deserve”. All notions of people deserving things either good or bad are completely out of the picture when you understand that people don’t choose their thoughts or desires. The idea of punishing someone because they don’t believe in your particular god or because they feel attracted to the same gender is complete nonsense and isn’t a true form of morality, but is an action based on ignorance. It’s this type of morality which must be rejected but the first type of morality is what will still be in effect. In any case it’s a deep topic worth further discussion.
As a final note, I’m so glad Jamie finally wrote this down. George, Trick, and I have been telling him how much good he could do if he was writing and organizing his thoughts. He had already been writing tons of important things on social media, but too often they get lost in the trash heap of Facebook and Twitter. This will serve as a more permanent record of what Jamie has learned in recent years.
The featured image above is a quick photo I took with my laptop showing the new Pinkie Pie doll that I bought at Hy-Vee. They were selling them in the floral department.
The original facebook post is here:
But later while I was at work, my friend Shawn added some hilarious captions to my image that took the weirdness to a whole new level. They were so funny that I had to share. So I’m making this blog post and uploading the edits Shawn made.
And for the record, anyone can add funny captions to my pictures with ponies. I’m quite happy about expressing what a brony I am. I love horses and I especially love My Little Pony because it has so many good moral messages in it.
And on a related note, Monique and I did a video called Pony Politics. Check it out if you haven’t already.