Do You Realize?

Do you realize
That you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize
We’re floating in space?
Do you realize
That happiness makes you cry?

Do you realize
That everyone you know someday will die?
And instead of saying all of your good-byes
Let them know you realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.

Do you realize?

– The Flaming Lips, Do You Realize?


Ocean Breathes Salty

Your body may be gone, I’m gonna carry you in.
In my head, in my heart, in my soul.
And maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll both live again.
Well I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. Don’t think so.

The ocean breathes salty, won’t you carry it in?
In your head, in your mouth, in your soul.
And maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll both grow old.
Well I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I hope so.

Well that is that and this is this.
Will you tell me what you saw and I’ll tell you what you missed,
when the ocean met the sky.
You missed when time and life shook hands and said goodbye.
When the earth folded on itself.
And said “Good luck, for your sake I hope heaven and hell
are really there, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.”
You wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste death?
You wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste death?

– Modest Mouse, Ocean Breathes Salty


Hang on!

I get very frustrated with people who are stubborn. I stubbornly insist that people should be a certain way I guess. What really bothers me is when people do not (will not) do things that are good for them. This could be as simple as people not eating many things. I know more than a few people who won’t eat any vegetables. That is just plain wrong. I know plenty of people who will not eat anything they have not already had. I mean come on do these people think they have tried all that is good to eat in the world?

I also get frustrated when people cannot see the merit of a book or movie that I really love. It could be a need for me to validate my own feelings but I really do think I need that validation and I am pretty “confident” in my ability to assess things like that.

I am not sure why I get so angry/frustrated/saddened at minor things like this – I just do. But that (along with some recent correspondences) got me thinking how frustrating it must be for “people of faith” who believe whole-heartedly in their own religious view, not to be able to convince someone of the right way to live and what to believe. I imagine it might feel like grabbing someone

Creating god

“They would have told me that in an important sense God was a product of the creative imagination, like the poetry and music that I found so inspiring. A few highly respected monotheists would have told me quietly and firmly that God did not really exist – and yet that ‘he’ was the most important reality in the world.”

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I gots to get me one of these. [link now requires subscription]]

Jason posted a link to a NY Times article on the origins and evolution of religion, which fit in nicely with the book I am reading: A History of God, by Karen Armstrong. In this book Armstrong puts down the results of her research of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as, and to a lesser extent, a few other religions and ideologies.

“The human idea of God has a history, since it has always meant something slightly different to each group of people who have used it at various points of time. The idea of God formed in one generation by one set of human beings could be meaningless in another. Indeed, the statement ‘I believe in God’ has no objective meaning, as such, but like and other statement only means something in context, when proclaimed by a particular community. Consequently there is no one unchanging idea contained in the word ‘God’; instead, the word contains a whole spectrum of meanings, some of which are contradictory or even mutually exclusive.”

She takes a pretty pragmatic approach at looking at how religious beliefs have formed and changed throughout history. It seems that humans may have always had religious feelings – an idea that may even be central to how we became human. This sense of spirit or connection with something larger than us has always driven us to wonder, create, sing, fear, and ultimately evolve our society into what it has become today.

It seems too, that religion is highly pragmatic. “…it is far more important for a particular idea of God to work than for it to be ideologically or scientifically sound.” The last quote brings to a point the problems I have always had with religion. I have always been very interested in proving that an idea was thoroughly sound before “putting my stock” in it. Much less important to me is how a particular view could make my life better, a way of living that could help me achieve greater piece. Maybe what religious folks call faith is actually just the ability to give up on finding proof and just selecting a set of rules that you can live with – perhaps not the perfect set of rules – without flaws, but a set that will no doubt lead to greater satisfaction.

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I have always thought of video games as more or less consumable goods. Some people would obviously disagree, ahem, Brent

Just because I happen to be packing my home office up in preparation for yet another move in a month or so, and I am going through all my computer games and game boxes, I decided to make this list of my 10 favorite games (ranked primarily by number of hours spent playing them). I have lumped like games together for ease and clarity. Here goes:

  1. Pool of Radiance
  2. Diablo I & II
  3. Tetris
  4. Myst, Riven
  5. Pirates, Pirates Gold
  6. Baldur’s Gate (and subsequent spin-offs and expansions)
  7. Sim City, 2000, 3000
  8. Ultima Online
  9. Madden Football (all the versions)
  10. Civilization I, II, & III

Honorable Mention: Neverwinter Nights and three old Apple IIgs games: Ultima IV, Defender of the Crown, and King of Chicago.

Please not that this list is based upon the hours I have played each game. I may, at some point, come out with a list based on what I think are the “best” games ever at some point soon.

What’s the deal with altruism?

I feel that my motivations for how I want to live and who I vote for tend to be pretty altruistic. My thoughts about the future and preserving the planet for future generations must come from somewhere – and this is coming from someone who never plans to have kids of his own.

Al”tru*ism, n. – 1. Regard for others, both natural and moral; devotion to the interests of others; brotherly kindness; — opposed to egoism or selfishness. 2. Zoology. Instinctive cooperative behavior that is detrimental to the individual, but contributes to the survival of the species.

I really thought everyone was like me. Everyone really thought that this was the right way to live – maybe they didn’t always see fit to live like they thought, but they knew they should. In steps Ayn Rand. I had The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged on a list of books to read for going on ten years now. When I finally got around to them, I was sorely disappointed to find Objectivism at the heart of her ideas. Objectivism is nearly the only formulated way of thinking that denies altruism and claims self reward as the only goal of life. I think it was Cam that told me that Rand’s books are the romance novels for Capitalists – and so they seem to me – Capitalists and Republicans too!

However good I feel claiming to be altruistic (or bad since the associated guilt can be bothersome) I still can not explain why I might feel this way. Why should I care? I am not going to have offspring filling the earth. I do not believe that I am going to have to reckon for my sins when my life ends. Why do I care? No really, I am sincerely asking because I don’t know. Here is some reading I have been doing:

Why Altruism?, Altruism: A Scientific Perspective, Ayn Rand dot org, The Fallacies of Egoism and Altruism, and the Fundamental Principle of Morality, Capitalism vs. Altruism and the “Achievements” of the Soviet Empire, The Evolution of Altruism

Weblog conversations

I think Mark and I are having a conversation here. Though I am not sure if he knows it. In his post on April 23rd, Mark gave a quote by Richard Dawkins that I mentioned far less eloquently in my post on the 20th. Here is the quote:

“Out of all of the [religious] sects in the world, we notice an uncanny coincidence: the overwhelming majority just happen to choose the one that their parents belong to. Not the sect that has the best evidence in its favour, the best miracles, the best moral code, the best cathedral, the best stained glass, the best music: when it comes to choosing from the smorgasbord of available religions, their potential virtues seem to count for nothing, compared to the matter of heredity. This is an unmistakable fact; nobody could seriously deny it. Yet people with full knowledge of the arbitrary nature of this heredity, somehow manage to go on believing in their religion, often with such fanaticism that they are prepared to murder people who follow a different one.”

– Richard Dawkins

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Fun Friday time killer:

If you haven’t heard these Budweiser Real American Heroes Radio Spots you should go there now. Favorites? Mr. Really Bad Toupee Wearer, Mr. Pickled Pig’s Feet Eater, Mr. Driving Range Ball Picker Upper, and of course Mr. Garden Gnome Maker.