liveonearth: (Default)
I have often said "it's a free will universe" as a basis for extolling choice as a power, whether conscious or unconscious, for determining your experience. To "choice" I always connect the concept of responsibility. Responsibility always follows immediately upon choice. Those who tremble before this power of choice may even habitually refuse to make choices, unwilling to take on the responsibility that choice of necessity implies. This is a choice in itself, a pattern of omission and passivity with it's own distinct effects and power to manipulate. All this having been said, what if in fact it's not "a free will universe" after all? The concept of "predestination" also has a long history in philosophical and religious thought and stands as a counterpoint to "free will" with it's own ardent supporters. When I look at an average day, things happen and I respond. Needs arise and I must act. My breath and heartbeat and peristalsis are events occurring to me, gifts freely given from what great source I cannot truly fathom. I won't pretend to resolve here a millennia-long question. And in the face of it, perhaps, at the very least, we might choose with lighter hearts, and enjoy the uncertainty knowing that our every action is effected upon waves of permission from powers greater than our own.
--Gil Hedley, Integral Anatomy
liveonearth: (pentacle 2)
This is the after-elementary-school program being offered by an organization called The Satanic Temple.   It was news to me, but the Satanists I met tonight at the FFRF meeting consider themselves to be atheists.  They do not believe in a metaphysical God or Satan.  Satan instead is a symbol of individual liberty, of the ability we each have to say "I'm out" when someone offers us a load of dogma.  Lucifer, of course, is the fallen angel in Christian mythology who refused to tow the line.  "...Our metaphor of Satan is a literary construct inspired by authors such as Anatole France and Milton--a rebel angel defiant of autocratic structure and concerned with the material world. Satanism as a rejection of superstitious supernaturalism."

This take on Satan is all fine and good if you're inside that particular literary bubble.  If you, like me, grew up surrounded by Christian mythology, Satan is THE bad guy.  So I was a bit taken aback that they want to call their program this, and their club, and so on.  Why choose such a hot button for Christians?  Why not call it after school Humanism, or Atheism, or Evolution???  Well they do have a reason.  The concept is that Satanists can assert their rights as a religious organization and influence public affairs, reminding the dominant religious groups that in America such privileges are for all religions, not just the chosen ones.

I also learned that the legal definition of a religious organization is one that takes a stand about god.  Hence an atheist organization is a religious organization in the good old US of A.

The Oregon chapter of The Satanic Temple is brand new.  They've offered After School Satan Clubs at two elementary schools where Good News Clubs are already offered.  They plan to teach evolution, and how the world was formed.  The only problem is that when the local chaper offered an open house at a local school, the superintendent of the school (Karen Gray) let all the students and teachers go home an hour early, effectively eliminating the curious audience while also ticking off the parents who had to get out of work an hour early to pick up their babies.  Only two students signed up.  I wonder how many would have signed up if it was the After School Spaghettimonster Club?

The 2001 Supreme Court Decision called Good News Club vs Milford Central School resulted in a decision that the Milford school's restriction of the Good News Club violated the Club's free speech rights, and that no Establishment Clause concern justified that violation.  If you don't remember the Establishment Clause, it's the part of the First (free speech) Amendment that prohibits the establishment of religion by Congress.  So after school programs are allowed access to school premises regardless of content.  Free speech is allowed by religious groups as well as boy scouts, debate and chess club...and Corporations, but that's a separate ball of wax.

The Good News Club is a private Christian organization for children.  Their goal is to Christianize the next generation.  They teach elementary school kids that they are sinners and that they are going to hell if they don't repent and do right by this one particular version of God.  The Child Evangelism Fellowship creates the curriculum and trains instructors.  They have over 40,000 volunteers in the US and in 2011 there were 3560 clubs in public schools in the US and over 42,000 clubs worldwide.  THIS is how they get off calling it a Christian Nation.  And they are effectively brainwashing children before they've developed the powers of discimination to know they've been hoodwinked.    A 5th grader is unlikely to really comprehend that the teachings after school are of a different nature from the teachings in school.

Because of the 2001 SCOTUS decision, Satanists have the same rights of access to public schools as Christians, so After School Satan is one answer to the Christianization.  The name is intended to provoke Christians, and it does.  There have been ample protests.  The goal is simple: to get the Christians to remove their programs from public schools, so that then the Satanists will go back into private and stop enticing their children with cool programs and rebelliousness.

One of the coolest things I heard from tonight's programs was the 7 Tenets of The Satanic Temple.  They are beautifully enlightened so I will share:

I. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.


II. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.


III. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.


IV. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.


V. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.


VI. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.


VII. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

Wouldn't it be nice if THESE were American Values?

liveonearth: (praying girl)
There are no gods, no devils,
no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition
that hardens hearts
and enslaves minds.


--Inscription planned for a monument
to be installed on Arkansas Capitol grounds,
if the state persists displaying
the 10 commandments.
liveonearth: (gorilla thoughtful)
 It is man's pretense that because he has choice, he is free.
--Krishnamurti
liveonearth: (moon)
https://vimeo.com/111507586

Loved this video showing all my friends getting beat down. Everybody takes a turn at this level of whitewater. If you aren't willing to take a beating, you shouldn't be out there.

Cult Notes

Jul. 7th, 2015 09:27 pm
liveonearth: (moon)
I don't really have time for a thoughtful post about this but I do want to get my notes off of this ripped up envelope and into digital legible form.
deciphering notes on a tattered envelope which I just squashed a fly in )
liveonearth: (House religion psychosis)
I am just home from a terrific talk on cults by Lisa Kendall of Portland, Oregon. Her family joined a cult called The Move of God, which Wikipedia calls a nondemoninational charismatic Christian group. It happened because her 7 year old sibling made friends with another 7 year old on the walk home from school, in a city that seems as safe as Portland.
Read more... )
liveonearth: (neuroactive substances)
If you live and Portland and haven't picked up a copy of this month's Willamette Week (free news weekly, online here: http://www.wweek.com/portland/index.php), this issue is likely to get snapped up. They've named it the 420 Issue and it is all about the businesses and culture incurred by the recent legalization of cannabis in Washington and soon Oregon. What struck me initially is the amount of wordplay around the subject, and the generation of witty new phrases, words and hashtags that accompanies the surge in businesses and products containing cannabinoids. There is great excitement about the new availability and openness that comes with legalization.

I for one am OK with recreational and medical use. I think that the risks to society of adults using cannabinoids are fairly minimal. It certainly doesn't make people drive dangerously the way alcohol does. It does have a whole set of risks that aren't covered in this issue, and that really need to be kept high in our awareness as this drug becomes widely acceptable.

One risk that is coming into focus these days is of extreme overdoses. Back when folks just inhaled smoke, coughing stopped them from partaking too much. Vaporizers now make inhalation gentler and it is easy to overdose when consuming edibles. With either method you can't tell how much intoxicant is in there. With humans ingeniously extracting and concentrating the active principles, it could be very strong, or contaminated with solvents. With edibles the effect takes time to kick in. It is terribly easy to overdose for folks who are experimenting for the first time, and who have no tolerance at all.

The conventional media take on overdose--blaming it for many deaths and claiming that it is deadly--is probably overblown. It takes a massive amount of pot to kill, perhaps more than anybody is likely to actually reach because unlike opioids it is so unpleasant getting there. It is however a relative unknown: having been illegal for so long, we don't have scientific studies about overdose. We hardly have science to justify all the medical uses that have already been approved. We are going to find out now.

Another risk is incurred by the fact that edibles make the drug palatable to people who would never smoke it. It is tempting to children as candy. There is the danger that children, teens and early 20-somethings will enjoy sugary yummies containing cannabinoids and permanently alter their brain development. Later on in life there is still a brain changing effect, but in early life when the brain is still forming, the effect can be severe.

On top of these new risks due to the availability of edibles, there is the old risk of respiratory injuries resulting in sinusitis and bronchitis, and risk of more dangerous conditions like pneumonia and COPD. There is also the fact that marijuana increases heart rate significantly in most individuals. Folks who already have hypertension or heart palpitations might give themselves a heart attack.

I suppose my main message in the light of all this 420 excitement is BE CAUTIOUS and PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN because there is a lot we don't know. I believe in freedom and individual discretion as most Americans do, and I also know that people can be terribly foolish and injure themselves and others, especially when intoxicants are involved. I cannot protect the whole world from poor choices, but I do hope that this warning is heard widely. Please take care of each other and if you are going to play with the newly legalized products, start very small.
liveonearth: (business dance)
People that don’t move
will never notice
the chains
they carry.



― Shannon L. Alder
liveonearth: (flower and bird)
The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
liveonearth: (i buy books)
Another person discovers that having too much stuff is a burden on one's life.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/living-with-less-a-lot-less.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

In a recent study, the Northwestern University psychologist Galen V. Bodenhausen linked consumption with aberrant, antisocial behavior. Professor Bodenhausen found that “Irrespective of personality, in situations that activate a consumer mind-set, people show the same sorts of problematic patterns in well-being, including negative affect and social disengagement.” Though American consumer activity has increased substantially since the 1950s, happiness levels have flat-lined.
liveonearth: (moon)
I can't seem to get the speech windows to embed currently, but you can find it online if you want to look. It's worth hearing. I just listened to it.

He's trying so hard. Obama is reaching out to all sides, working to encourage Americans of every stripe to admit that we have something in common, to accept that our shared interests can be promoted by our government. He has many good points. Unfortunately, the people who most need to hear this message are guaranteed not to hear him. The easiest way to maintain a dogmatic or extremist position, is to completely avoid all other inputs. It is possible for a person to sit there and hear the sounds of the speech, but to tune out entirely inside, to hear only the internally entrenched brainwashed messages of whatever pundit or preacher has had most impact. If only we could get all Americans, congress included, to admit that there is importance to every geniune concern that comes to the table. At least Obama knows it. He is the most impressive moderate I have yet to witness in the US presidency.
liveonearth: (tiger approaching)
A venturesome minority
will always be eager to set off on their own,
and no obstacles should be placed in their path;
let them take risks, for godsake,
let them get lost, sunburnt, stranded, drowned,
eaten by bears, buried alive under avalanches -
that is the right and privilege of any free American.

--Edward Abbey
liveonearth: (endless_knot)
He's retiring from congress at age 77, and going on a speaking tour. He has signed on with the Greater Talent Network to book his speaking schedule. Should be interesting to see what this senior statesman does in his retirement from congress. He's not done yet.

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/political-potpourri/2012/dec/6/ron-paul-hire-liberty-free-market-speaker-circui/
liveonearth: (333 only half evil)
Most humans exist somewhere on that line between enslavement to destructive habits at one end and total consciousness and nonattachment at the other. In exactly the same way, freedom of choice can be represented as a continuum. Realistically, very few people could ever be found operating at the positive extreme, truly conscious and consistently free.
--Gabor Mate, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, p305.
liveonearth: (trek jive)
Being a geek is all about
being honest about what you enjoy and
not being afraid to demonstrated that affection.
It means never having to play it cool
about how much you like something.
It's basically a license to proudly emote
on a somewhat childish level
rather than behave like a supposed adult.
Being a geek is extremely liberating.
--Simon Pegg

(Thanks [livejournal.com profile] indigo_forest.)

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