Now this particular post is one I've been intending to make for QUITE a while. Longer than a month, actually. Every time I think about writing about this I usually end up distracting myself with something else - a terrible vice of mine.
Anyway, here goes:
In a world of good sense, it is entirely necessary to justify explain and criticise one's own beliefs. To question them. To question everything, really. I am introducing a concept here - that of critical thinking. Critical thinking means evaluating ideas, propositions, theories, ideologies and systems in detail, with as much neutrality as possible (i.e. not taking sides) to find out the hidden motivations, structure and power behind what appears simple on the surface, In short, critical thinking asks "why" and doesn't stop until every avenue has been explored and the root causes and motivations are discovered.
Critical thinking is not some fancy thing university kids do. Critical thinking is for you, and anyone that ever wonders WHY things work (or don't) the way they do. Sure, it takes a bit more effort than merely stating what appears obvious, but this effort is worth the greater understanding that it affords you.
If you cannot justify your beliefs, I have no reason to accept them. For if you can't justify it, it means it did not originate through your own effortsn which rather negates holding the belief in the first place. For example, I certainly did not come up with the concept of critical thought myself. However, I have outlined the reasons I support it, therefore justifying my position. Curiosity is a vital instinct for human survival, and should be celebrated.
I am an atheist because I have found no evidence whatsoever for the proof of a being named God, who (which) by his (its) very definition is unfalsifiable. 100% of events that have occured in my life can be explained by completely natural phenomena (as opposed to supernatural). Furthermore, even events that cannot be explained by today's understanding of science do not prove religious miracles - all they prove is that science needs to do some more investigating. Religious miracles are invalid scientific hypotheses, not as a direct result of being religious, but rather because they are unprovable to begin with. For individuals that claim they have had a conversation with (God), there are plenty of natural, scientific explanations that suggest how the individual might have experienced such a conversation that do not require the intervention of an unfalsifiable, supernatural being. Furthermore, most religions advocate faith, which I see not as something useful, for this reason: Faith, quite simply, is the tendency to believe an assertion despite a complete lack of a method of ever testing that assertion. Faith is irreconcilable with science, which requires that assertions be tested and thrown out if they cannot be proven. Faith might go undefeated by logic - because it ignores logic entirely. This is not a strength of the concept, it is a weakness. That some people might be happier entertaining beliefs of (God) through faith does not make the existence of (God) any more or less probable. Finally, I have no need of (God) or a belief system to behave morally - I instead think that one can arrive at a perfectly good system of ethics and morals through intelligent debate, critical thought and scientific reasoning.
This one shouldn't require much elaboration. Quite simply, I am attracted to both sexes. That's all there is to it. My justification for being attracted to both sexes is my own sensory perception, which I will never attempt to impose upon anyone else. Despite claims to the contrary, bisexuality is as diverse as any other sexuality. Some bisexuals favour one sex over the other (this does not mean that they are less attracted to either, but that experience of their 'preferred' sex has resulted in more feelings of attraction over a lifetime, statistically speaking, when compared with their 'less preferred' sex). I consider myself as having a preference for females, if only because I feel I can relate to them better. There are other bisexuals that have strong preferences for one sex (often termed bicurious) and there are those that have a preference for neither, being equally attracted to both. In the end, what does it matter? The belief that bisexuals are really just gay people in disguise is an idiotic one - if even one person in the world can experience attraction to both sexes for even a single minute in his/her lifetime, that alone would be proof of bisexuality's existence. What the world needs is to stop taking a prescriptivist approach to sexuality, instead exploring it for whatever they want it to be.
A possible reason that bisexuality might worry certain monogamists is the cold, hard realisation that should their partner indeed be bisexual, they can never fulfill their partner's entire epectrum of sexual desires alone, owing to being only one sex themself. My rebuttal to that is that any person that truly believes that they, and they alone can satisfy the entire spectrum of sexual desire of another person, bisexual or not, is delusional and arrogant.
Everyone that reads this blog has probably picked up on it by now - I'm an anarchist.
First of all, this does not mean i advocate chaos and disorganisation of society. The association of anarchy with chaos is a linguistic error. I believe that organisation is an important ability of humans and is entirely necessary to achieve functionality in society.
Anarchy, then, actually means that I oppose statehood and any of its associated power structures. I instead believe that decisions should and must be taken only by those proven qualified to take them. Where these decisions affect other people, the others will be given a say in how they are implemented. I oppose hierarchies on the basis of a hierarchy being a very inefficient method of organisation. Hierarchies limit creativity, define some humans as being worth 'more' or 'less' than others and are all too often imposed on people unwillingly and without any merit. Defining people in terms of being 'less' is abusive, as it is a personal attack on that individual's identity, compentence and autonomy. So what I advocate is the abolition of all that divides people into categories of 'better' or 'worse'. This also includes the abolition of the concept of criminality. My point is simple. If even one person suffers from a faulty 'justice' system, THE SYSTEM IS FLAWED AND NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. Consider this: which is more important, laws or people?
As a further point, I am often asked why I oppose capitalism if it indeed creates a free-market and promotes egalitarian trade. The truth is that it does NEITHER OF THOSE THINGS. Capitalism is NOT egalitarian - it favours the established over the newcomer by affording more resources to those that already have them. Corporations are becoming more and more powerful and find ever more ways to influence lawmaking in their favour, while small businesses and individuals continue to suffer as they simply do not have the resources to compete. 'Market factors' are typically understood as being events that affect the economy. No one really creates market factors by themselves - it seems to be something that just happens. So let me get this straight - we can't enjoy ourselves like we used to, because there is a recession? Who the fuck exactly decided that there was going to be a 'recession', and how dare they interfere?
You might say, yeah, but the recession is no-one's fault, money just devalues over time, shit happens.
But I have two quick points of rebuttal to that.
1) This in istelf proves the unfairness of capitalism (and as per my previous point, if a system is unfair or flawed, it MUST be fixed as a humanist imperative). You can run a business on perfectly sound, ethical practices, be completely savvy about the world around you and quite honestly market your shit like a baws, and still end up getting completely screwed owing to factors beyond your control. And by get screwed I mean end up having no money to pay for health, education and food. You know, things we don't really need.
2) There is also the fact that not everyone loses out from a recession.
Oh, fuck, you mean somebody might actually be doing better as a direct result of many others doing worse?
No shit. Take banks, for example. They can fuck around as much as they like with people's money (such as by lending out up to nine times their actual assets) and the economy, but what happens when people have less money to give to the banks? Oh, that's allright, the government will write a nice cheque for them.
From your taxes. Which if you don't pay, you will be kidnapped legally by the government and tortured mentally and physically every single day for up to 10 years.
Oh, but there's more.
Did you know that the capitalist system owes more money than it has?
Isn't that funny? That means that all these debts everyone seems to owe each other can never and will never be repaid. Logic dictates that value cannot arise out of nothing - it takes value to create value. Labour is one such transaction. We can call it the Law of Conservation of Value - the sum of the value around the world in the economic system will always equal 0 (or x). It works in the exact same way as the Law of Conservation of Energy.
Except now, thanks to this unpayable debt, capitalism expects us to believe in a negative figure of value. What nonsense!
If this was something that resulted only in a few rich men in suits having arguments, it wouldnt be a problem.
Except, Third World countries owe debts to the First World that they cannot pay. Colonialism is unneccessary, and quite frankly, too much effort. Why not just subjugate them by imposing debts on people that cannot pay them? Who cares if 1 billion people are starving? It must be their own fault.
Make sense now? This all comes back to a belief based on an obsevation of mine. That is that power, by its very nature corrupts. But further, that corruption, by its very nature, empowers.
When no one person has any power over any other person again, we will witness the end of corruption.
Recreational drug use
I recognise the dangers that recreational drug use, like any kind of drug use, may pose. I even admit that there is plenty I do not know about drugs. However, I consider it my human right to use whatever substances I please. I never agreed with my state or any state's rule on banning any drugs. I do not and never have recognised the legitimacy of such rules. If you, government, are reading this, my statement is clear. You do not have the right to impose these laws on me, or anyone else.
Please note that this does NOT extend to behaviours while on drugs that may harm people, animals or other beings, such as drinking and driving, a behaviour i do not by any means support. My point, rather, is thus: My sensory perception is mine to experiment with in whichever way I see fit. If you know of a person that 'takes drugs' (never forget of course that alcohol is a drug, and most often a recreational one at that) and then becomes abusive, then what is problematic is the abusive behaviour. If the person cannot maintain his/her behaviour while on a drug, then it is that person's responsibility not to take the fucking drug, not the law's responsibility to ban it for everyone else. Banning recreational drugs is the same as censorhip - entirely baseless and applied on spurious evidence. Indeed, "it's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't eat steak", in the words of Robert Heinlein.
I've saved the best, and most controversial, one for last.
That is, polyamory, the belief that a human may indeed love, or even hold attraction for more than one other human simultaneously. A person who practices this belief is called a polyamorist - see also Ethical Slut.I have argued this point against people time and time again, and it never seems to stick. So perhaps I should start with first principles.
In an earlier paragraph, I stated that I do not believe that the full spectrum of an individual's sexual desire can ever be fulfilled by a single person. Sexual freedom is a human right. It is up to each person to decide how important the fulfillment of their sexuality is. To attempt to decide this for someone else is abusive. Any person that convinces you that their sexual needs are more important than yours, or even, that your sexual desires are not as important as something else (i.e. patriarchy, religion) is not to be trusted. My personal belief is that sexuality is nothing short of divine - not in terms of being granted by (God) or by a powerful being, but in terms of something to be respected and valued. As such, you have no right to interfere with the sexuality of another person. My own sexuality desires nothing short of a kaleidoscopic plethora of varied experiences. (I think my references to colours, light and waves when talking about sexuality is a result of my occasional synaesthesia).
As such, I see the very idea of commiting exclusively to one person indefinitely to be a rejection of one's own sexuality. Because one person cannot satisfy the entire spectrum,what this says is thus: My sexuality is not so important. I'd rather have the security of a monogamous relationship that both my partner and I are emotionally blackmailed to stay in.
The reason I think these relationships invariably result in emotional blackmail is that sexuality is hard to suppress. It wants to be free. If you are capable of feeling attraction to someone (i.e. not asexual) then how can you not feel attraction for someone else? I have never been convinced of a legitimate case of a person's entire sexuality consisting of one person over a liftetime. A married couple may be legitimately and sincerely in love, later divorce, and both partners should retain the ability to feel attraction for other people, as evidenced by them dating others after the divorce. I think that they had this ability even while attracted to and professing love for each other, but they suprressed the ability to be attracted to others in the vain hope that perhaps they could engineer theirs and their partners' sexuality to respond only to each other.
See, I had a discussion with some friends a few days ago. It amounted: "If one partner in a relationship experiences attraction for another person, doesn't act on it but merely experiences it (because attraction is not a choice), they will immediately start feling guilty. The guilt is self-imposed. Furthermore, upon expressing this to the partner, what will most likely happen in a conventional relationship is that the partner will condemn the other's sexuality and express anger and jealousy. To add insult to injury, the jealousy is blamed on the other partner, and this is somehow sanctioned as fair behaviour. When I suggested that the feelings of anger and jealousy are the responsibility of the jealous partner to fix, not the other partner, I got the response "so then you must take care to suppress your own sexuality for the sake of your partner, because you hope they'll do the same for you".
I could go on about this for pages and pages. The point is, sexuality is something to be valued, not restricted. Restricting your own sexuality for the sake of others is, in my view, allowing them to manipulate you.
One final note: Do not respond with
"omg your polyamory is dangerous and you're going to get STD's". I am not advocating having unprotected sex with people indiscriminately. In the interest of pragmatism, that would be a very bad idea.What I do advocate is caution, honesty and full disclosure, all guided by the principle of caring for other people.
"your idea of casual sex is against the ideals of committed, loving sex". Not if the point of sex is for pleasure. What I am actually telling you is that the only person's sexuality you are allowed to determine is your own, NEVER that of your partner, children or members of the community that you may influence.
"tl, dr". Then fuck off and go read someone else's blog.
Critical, well-thought out replies are absolutely welcome, even if they disagree with everything I have posted above.
Thanks for hanging in there. Good night :)