Dear Moms and Dads, I Am an Atheist

More talks on religion with myself and the late Christipher Hitchens lead me to a conclusion. I have to apologize to my parents, because if their God is the one true God, I am certainly going to their version of Hell. That’s not something I can console them for, or even help them to reconcile with me. I don’t know that they believe in my being a good person to absolve me of my sins, or if the priest must first forgive me of my minor transgressions against mankind in order to be saved. That’s just an odd thought though, isn’t it?

Imagine reaching some giant gates where a saint in emanating robes tells you “look, you didn’t do a bad job. Honestly, if it were up to me, I’d let you in and let you join everyone. The fact of the matter is, you didn’t sing about God or tell people how amazing he is, so we’re going to have to torture your soul for all eternity in the depths of hell. You should’ve learned to be grateful to the almighty and given praise where praise is due”

I would hope it’s easier for my parents to reconcile that idea rather than condemn me as “dark-sided”, but it’s just the way they had been raised. I’m not certain that it’s fair to condemn people when the texts themselves all state in one way or another that only God has the power to judge us, worse still that there is no greater conceivable God than the God they follow… Yet, I’d like to offer you an example. What about a God that doesn’t want to be worshipped endlessly for what it has done, and instead looks to us as a hero does to the people they saved?

I’ve never heard of Superman or Spider-man zooming in to save the day and then stating “Now, you’d all better sing and offer up symbols of how grateful you are, otherwise I’m coming back and I’ll make sure you pay for it with your eternal soul.” Can you imagine what sort of God it must take to be so conceited or insecure that it needs to receive such constant praise for actions it committed ages ago? I’m only 30, and if anyone were to praise me for the kindness I’d served them last year alone, I’d be worried for their health. Imagine a God that wants constant recognition for the fact that it created everything at the beginning of time? Doesn’t sound like too good of an individual. This is why I don’t consider myself a part of these religions. They aren’t healthy for the individuals, and it doesn’t exactly bring comfort or joy to those involved. It’s a nice way of falling back when all is lost and saying “it will all work out somehow”.

I’d like to propose an alternative; instead of letting God be the reason you say “it will all work out somehow”, just let it all work out somehow. It always has before, better or worse. Whenever things went south and the worst came to light in the past, you kept moving forward. Why should the future be any different in that regard? Granted, you might Die. That would in fact be worse than anything that’s happened before, because that means you’re done and the story isn’t being written anymore.

I used to scare Joel back in Brooklyn when we’d smoke and talk about existence; “your window is open right now, but someday it closes. Someday that window closes and—” he’d yell at me and tell me to just enjoy myself. I was enjoying myself, and it just wasn’t the same way he always would. Sometimes the truth is terrifying, so we’d rather keep going with the lies. I like to think that I’ve done pretty well with the truth so far and can’t foresee a time when I’ll prefer lies to it. So moms, dads, and everyone else, I want you all to know now and forever, that I’m an atheist.

I don’t believe in a God, or some magical being that did it all for us. I think we’re hurtling forth through the void of all existence towards more existence, and there is no warmth waiting for us when we die. I think the tragic loss of losing loved ones is more tragic than we’ll ever be able to comprehend, definitely more so than your religions let you believe because they’ve told you that someday you’ll see them again. You’ve told yourself too. That’s too big a lie for me. I spent years distraught over my dead brother who I’ll never get to know. You were all so worried about me, but you all gave me the same lies that other people gave you, so i couldn’t trust your answers. I like the truth that you can’t stand better, because at the end of the day while it breaks my heart again and again, I’d rather have my heart broken and know that it’s mine for the 100 years I get here. I am the only Me, and I might have you to thank for that, and the pantheon (the inconceivably long list of chance happenings!) of choices that all my, your, and their, ancestors made all the way back throughout time and space, that allowed me to exist. THAT is so much greater than the cookie cutter response of “thank god”.

I believe the future is always better than the past in some small, inconceivably better way. If all the human race ends, it is because that serves all of existence better for having sacrificed humanity. ”So it goes”. We cannot let ourselves just be for our own sake, we have to live for each other. I can’t and never could live for a “God”. I love you guys, and I’m sorry if you think this is a sad moment. I’ll gladly tell you why it isn’t in another post if you want to know.

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Moving to Wisconsin/Parents/Honesty

Turns out that if you leave me to my own devices and don’t giv me a deadline the only thing that ends up happening is I drink and watch TV with the love of my life. Happiness has a problem, folks. It breeds complacency. I have to start actually looking for the things that piss me off now that life has been upgraded. Despite all the new stressors that renting a home comes with, I do firmly believe that they are all worth the struggle and by far better than the struggles of living at home with parents. While it took me quite a long while to reach this point, I do not feel I should’ve done things differently. Here at 30, I was able to undertake all the alternatives and understand what a life of parental dependency might look like, which provides the joys of this alternative: living on your own with someone you chose far outweighs the difficulties of living with the people you couldn’t choose.

I want to draw the distinction between loving my parents and not wanting them as room-mates. My parents have always held me close and kept me as their own. The difficulty with this is I couldn’t establish myself as someone who deserves a voice (let alone actually deserving a voice) in matters of the household. No one should be able to dictate what their parents do in their own household, and I can state from experience that things grow worse if you try to. Being given parental control on your parents is a terrible scenario to be in, because you will start to resent them for their shortcomings, instead of accepting them for who they are. It’s a very shitty feeling, and I don’t wish it on anyone, but I’m certain that anyone who has parents that have lived to an older age can speak to it. It becomes a very frustrating situation when you start to understand people’s behaviors better than they do. This isn’t to say my parents aren’t good people, because on their own and without my impositions, they really are. They’re fascinating individuals that give their children everything they can, and that’s all anyone can ask. There is some tragedy to that, and i’ll cover that in a bit.

It took leaving NY to understand that everyone would be okay once i stepped away and let them all get on with their lives. This is an issue i’ve always had; control is my natural setting, and Kailey might be the only person on Earth that i fully love enough to get things done. That’s a harsh statement for the people i love to read, but it’s the truth. I don’t accept my parents flaws because I’ve seen them as Gods in my childhood, thinking they’e capable of so much more than they do now. I have a perceptive flaw that leads me to believe they can do so much more, but i forget that the things they did when i was a kid were just as much happy accidents and seat-of-their-pants decision making as I do today. They didn’t let me see movies above my age-range because they were cool, they did it because they didn’t know I shouldn’t be watching any of them. They didn’t tell me what they felt about each other because they thought i should understand their internal conflicts, they did it because they were pissed and had no one to vent to. That’s a really important distinction; it made them less human in my eyes to think that they could and should share their thoughts with their loved ones. The problem there arises in how I came to understand honesty. People usually lie. People don’t often think their feelings over and give exact reasons for what they’re feeling. This means when I tell my parents how i’m feeling, they expect it’s something i’m saying to butter them up or make them feel good; It’s not. They really are amazing individuals who did their best, and I know that. The shitty thing is, that also means they have to accept that however I turned out is their “best” effort. That’s not an easy pill to swallow. I know this because i’ve undergone it to some degree, and can’t imagine what the full effect must be. 

Few things hurt worse than giving it your best and still falling short of your goals. The caveat is, if you never did it at all, you’d carry that regret your entire life through. Worse still is knowing that you can’t face the part of you that makes you do it, and knowing you’ll have that come up again and again. It is a widely used idea of hell; repeating your worst mistakes over and over without any power to correct them. 

I say this because I’m certain that moving to Wisconsin was the right choice. It wasn’t some idea I tossed around. My partner joked that I might have cold feet in the moments leading up to our moving in together. She joked because she knew there was no chance in all reality that I would. I can say for certain that I made the right move because no part of me doubted moving in with her, and it’s one of the only things i’ve ever done in my life that i can say that about. That’s what heaven really is, by the way. It’s committing acts so pure and free that no harm comes from it whatsoever. These are very rare things, I might add. In all our joys and sorrows, we should strive to commit truly harmless acts and avoid repetitious harms. Couldn’t help but plug some moral philosophy, but you’ll come to know that’s just how I work. 

To anyone reading, thanks for taking the time. I’m going to try to be more consistent with this, but for the time being I can’t guarantee my next post date. Erratic posting will be a thing for at least the next month or so, until a solid schedule becomes routine. I appreciate any and all support, and home you’re all well. Frustrations and honest attacks are welcomed. 

Memorial Day, Bon Iver

I didn’t have a whole lot to start with,

But that never stopped us

A few choice statements on foreign policy, and how to feed pups

That evolved into debates on the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York

NY, or Long Island, somewhere under a rainbow

 

That’s how I explain my fear of death to strangers willing to ask

With a thermostat set to 58 fahrenheit and a savings account

I don’t remember the last time I added bacon to breakfast,

 

It’s forever ago, with chimes we hung out front to remind you of home

I remember a time when I didn’t fear dying, and fought for that right

Now I take out the trash the day it’s picked up, as an act of rebellion

I have the world fooled that I’m so like them

But I love my wife, like my father loves his, forever and 

I only ask that people stop counting the days for their own sake

I’m not abandoning this

I’ve been writing in a physical journal for most of may, keeping on top of things for the most part since i last saw Kailey and keeping my spending to a minimum and ensuring thwart i don’t spend too much of my money. I’ve been well with my dietary habits apart from the few times i go out with friends at which point i throw caution to the wind because i don’t see the point in restricting myself when I’m trying to enjoy myself.

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with this blog and written in a public forum. I guess now that I’ve hit the two month mark for leaving NY, it feels like i should be dedicating some time to the one thing i started here that i plan on keeping consistent once i leave, moreso than i did while i was here. I’ll have so much uninterrupted time to focus on things i‘d like to do that it only makes sense to rededicate myself to writing.

What will i actually write about when i utilize this and force myself to sit down and write, though? I think that will be the fun thing to see. If my mind just wandered off onto a topic, what topics would become recurring themes? It’s going to be a bit therapeutic to actually publish things online again. That being said, i don’t intend to make longwinded posts about anything in specific. I say that now, with the full knowledge that i am going to be ranting on end about things that bother me. I’ve already experienced a couple moments this week where i accidentally dominated conversation with friends and gave life to ideas that captivated (that always really motivates me and it causes me to feel like I’m talking too much but then ends up being the fact that people are interested in what I’m saying). I’m an orator that doesn’t want to hog the spotlight, which isn’t the most effective method.

In time, I’m sure I’ll start to get a feel for what i like discussing, but to start i know I’ll be throwing video game ideas out there and shining some spotlight onto videos and articles that resonated well with me. Let’s see where this takes us, and if it makes for anything that you all enjoy, please don’t hesitate to let me know that you did. Thanks!

It’s not IV you (or Why Star Wars Episode VIII wasn’t as bad as the Internet says)

If all I knew about Star Wars was just in the movies, this pretty much follows along with everything I’ve seen before. A friend of a friend made the point that there was little to no backstory and that we needed to know more of the background on the characters. Let me ask this: did your childhood self know much about Luke in Episode IV? He was poor and lived with his aunt and uncle, and for some reason, the force calls to him. To my point, we know from VII that Rey is poor, lost her family at a young age, and the force calls out to her. In episode IV Han Solo shows up as a somewhat-douchey badass and all we know is he has a cool ship, his best friend is an alien, and he owes the universe’s fattest slug a lot of money. Princess Leia is a princess, and she leads the rebels. Man, that is some history.

I disagree there was more background story in the original trilogy. Maybe there was more character development, and I don’t remember any of it? The characters we knew were developed across three films, and while I love them, I am glad to see this new cast. We need the new blood to keep the old blood honored and appreciated. If you don’t see it that way, I have to ask: would you have gone to see this movie if your old favorites weren’t going to be in it? Why did you anticipate it would have anything to do with a history that exists apart from the films? If you’re mad at Disney for cranking out another set of over the top action films, why did you go see it in the first place? If You really didn’t like 7, why did you think 8 would be any different?

It comes down to the same argument that I have for Pokémon. How old were you when you first encountered this series? How old do you think the true target audience is? You’re at least in your late 20’s if you’re mad enough to have an opinion. Worse, you’re mad the films which brought you into a whole new world of fantasy and sci-fi aren’t growing along side you. This new trilogy was not made for you. Please try to understand with the most compassion possible I mean this: not everything is made for you. It’s made for everyone, and by that I mean you’re supposed to enjoy that there are new people opened up to this series. There are young children getting represented here and being given a hero where previously there weren’t any.

They don’t need your continued interest in the series as much as they need/want new kids and teenagers losing their minds over the series. Your nostalgia factor for IV, V, VI is because those films were introductions for you to a world which you dove into. You went into the stories after witnessing the films. I guarantee you in the next ten years, we will get comics, books, toys and D&D campaigns all revolving around the backstories that people seem to be complaining about. There is not a “HISTORY” to follow because it hasn’t yet been made. There were no comics when episode IV hit theaters. There were no backstories or books to follow, just the films. The comics came long after (they were awesome by the way). Don’t get me wrong, I loved the idea of Dark Empire. To another point, who’s to say it didn’t happen pre-Episode VII and post episode VI? All of our original cast (IV, V, VI) are much older in this film. Even if Dark Empire was thrown away entirely and declared to no longer be cannon, you are actually upset about a thing you enjoy. This is like ordering pizza outside your favorite pizza place, getting mad it didn’t taste the same, and then not wanting to eat pizza at all because of it. These films are not the same, would never be the same, could never be the same, and you’re being irrational if you demand that they would be. The prequel trilogy didn’t focus on the original trilogy, and the old goats that argued against those then, are laughing at you for what you feel now. Do you think you sound more like the excited young child that wanted to know more and fly their own X-Wing or Tie-Fighter? Or do you sound like those old grumps that are mad things changed?

Everything changes. Society changes. Batman, Star Wars, pizza, milkshakes, underwear, bedsheets, times and people change. If you cling to the past for some sort of semblance of familiarity and keeping in tradition, how are you better than those annoying elder relatives at the holidays that never give up on the “way it used to be”? If your counter-argument is anything remotely close to “this is different because….” you’re right. It is. Because this is something where no one owes you anything. It’s just a movie. They made stories and you enjoyed them. At what point did you begin to feel that you deserve control over it? Furthermore, if it means so much to you then why are you being so fickle about it? If you really could do better, by all means, do so! Don’t sit around on the Internet and complain that it wasn’t what you wanted it to be. At that point, you are the old nerd at the comic shop that made you feel like shit as a kid because you didn’t know everything about Spider-Man or Batman and wanted to buy the comics. We’ve all met that person and I sure as shit don’t intend to become them (to each their own; if you’d rather be that person then you go right on ahead).

I love those old stories, but I also understand that my little sister had never seen them before. Rogue One blew her mind and made her so incredibly excited, I could see the joy on her face. I can’t show her a movie from the late 70’s and expect her to be wowed like I was 20 years ago. You can’t show anyone anything from forty years ago and expect them to be as astonished by it as the people of that time were. Regardless of what you might think, the remastering of the originals and the hype for the prequel trilogy is what sucked us into this series. These movies are the gateway for new kids to get into the universe we did. It makes them want more like it made us want more. Don’t be mad that it wasn’t for you, try to be glad that someone else gets to enjoy what you once did. Try to remember that happy little kid in the theater that loosely understood the story and saw laser swords, space planes shooting lasers blowing up a robot planet that kills other planets, aliens upon aliens, and that incredible feeling of “this is the coolest thing I have ever seen in my entire life”. That little kid would be embarrassed of you right now, and I am too. Just try to enjoy it, and if you really can’t then just stop paying for it and don’t go. The world doesn’t need your negativity. If you genuinely didn’t like the film, I’d advise you compare it to the originals and see how you feel. The Internet seems to be overrun with “10 reasons why this movie SUCKED” but I don’t seem to see any of those people writing movies. To quote one of my favorite bands:

“we only came to disappoint you… that’s exactly what you wanted us to do. You want us to lead you on, you want us to bum you out. Then You can build us up, and you can knock us down…. You wanted to feel cheated; I guess we gave you what you needed…. If that’s what gets your d*** hard, telling people they’re bad at making art and feeling just like you’re the one in charge” –Andrew Jackson Jihad

I’ll be taking my sisters to see it again sooner than later. I hope you can all understand I mean this from a place of love and don’t want anyone to feel alienated but it’s time to accept that we aren’t kids. These things aren’t about Us anymore, they’re about the new wave coming into it and showing them how incredible it is to imagine. It’s made for the little boy holding a broomstick at the end, not the aging Jedi on the mountaintop.

WARNING BELOW IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN THE FILMS YOUVE BEEN WARNED.

SPOILERS

You must all have completely missed the moment where Luke tries to save the old way, by the book code of the Jedi. Where Yoda intentionally destroys what Luke held so dear to his heart and showed him; it’s not about rules and code, it’s about heart. Do you want to be the old grump throwing aside lightsabers? Or do you want to show up and be a badass that lets the new crowd run off into a galaxy far far away? I for one would rather leave behind dice and quote the new Wise master; “if you strike me down in anger, you’ll never be rid of me.”

Cautionary Progress

With more and more car companies adopting electric models, we’re looking at a future that phases out gasoline and diesel in the same way that these fuels phased out steam-power. We’ve fought wars for fossil-fuels. Even this past year in the United States, the Dakota Access Pipeline has brought on many civil rights groups and activism to defend the right to live free of contamination. Americans have killed thousands upon thousands in order to maintain this resource, and now we’re on the cusp of creating a world where it it’s better put to use for starting fires than it is for running cars. Many major countries are aiming to eliminate fossil-fuel-vehicles by 2040. Previously, it was only cars that could be even hybrid, let alone fully-electric. That changed this past year, when BMW unveiled that it would be building a hybrid motorcycle known as the R1200 GS xDrive Hybrid. This will be the first hybrid motorcycle to reach a consumer market (and the first I’ve heard of any company building at all). This is still a hybrid and does’t guarantee a market for the fully electric model. So what do we know of the fully electric vehicle? Well, there’s Elon Musk’s Tesla for one.

While Tesla has not been turning profits since 2013 when they had their first profitable quarter in ten years, the company is still on many investors top lists. Despite not turning any noticeable profits since then, the company has been pulling in tons of revenue and Musk is planning to have fleets of Model S’s (their new sedan) set for the $35,000 vehicle mark. Pricey, but worthwhile. In the United States we offer tax credits to people who buy Electric Vehicles, with Tesla netting you a whopping $7,500 (the maximum possible is $7,500). So what’s to stop new drivers from switching to an Electric Vehicle? Using these vehicles doesn’t mean you can just plug into any outlet in your home. Sure, you no longer need to perform oil-changes, change engine fluids, or any of the other maintenance in relation to fossil-fuel-vehicle, but you will need a charger. You’ll need to ensure you’re doing proper battery maintenance, keep your battery levels appropriate for the distances you’re traveling, and ensure that there are stations along the way for your longer trips (not to mention waiting for your vehicle to charge on said trips).

Now, I’m not attempting to advocate for fossil-fuels in any way. If anything, I’m a huge fan of what Tesla is doing and cannot wait to drive my own Tesla sedan someday (long before 2040 I hope). The problem isn’t what EV’s will be bringing to the automotive industry, but what they will be taking from it. When we move to an Exclusively-Electric-Vehicle model, the entire Gasoline and oil industry will take a severe step back (or possibly dissolve entirely). A survey covered by the guardian back in January of 2016 shows that Solar has exceeded Oil in the total number of people employed. This survey only covers the USA, so calling it globally representative would be inacurate but it does help put things in perspective. The more important thing to think of is how many nations depend on oil as a resource in order to maintain trade and revenue. In that case, what does the Fully-Electric model spell for them?

When we jump (WHEN, not IF) we’ll need to ensure we’re creating a market for all these people to be employed in. Every single gas station you’ve ever seen will eventually close down for the sake of charging stations. Every single fossil-fuel-vehicle mechanic and repair shop will be unemployed if they don’t move forward and learn these new vehicles. Every scent of gasoline and that older car smell will be a memory and people will actually grow up in a world where they don’t know what a car engine turning on sounds like. These are things that will occur that we haven’t considered, along with millions of jobs that need to be replaced in order to maintain the societal norm when we shift away from Fossil-fuel-vehicles. It’s easy to say this is the right choice, but it’s harder to do it the right way. When we do shift, we will need to ensure that most (if not all) of the gasoline/oil industries move into positions which allow them to prosper. Multiple corporations which have been long-standing will need to change not just the way they operate, but also the product and methods by which they sell. We aren’t just talking about upgrading a technology, we’re talking about actually revolutionizing human transportation on a scale we have not ever seen before. Steam did not employ people on the scale that oil does. The invention of the fossil-fuel-vehicle created new jobs, there was a creation of a market without the destruction of another.

Again, I am not calling for us to halt on Fully-Electric vehicles. This is just a call to start the conversations we need to be having if we intend to be Fully-Electric nations by 2040. It will take us another 23 years to reach that point, and we need to ensure that we do not create a vacuum of employment for the working class when we do. I can’t say I’m too sympathetic for the corporate level oil-industry, however they too will need to be employed should they not wish to retire. Try talking to your fellow car-fans about these ideas and see what comes to mind! Seek out ideas and ways that will help to bolster the solar industry and employ the fading fossil-fuel industries. Instead of creating a void in our world, we should be moving towards this as the beautiful upgrade it really is. I hope this helped you to think more on the premise of Electric Vehicles from a perspective you may not have considered. If so, please leave a comment and continue the discussion! I’ll be sure to reply and keep the conversation going with you all.