“Sike!” – Psyche, 2016

In the late hours of the night – or very early hours of the morning, depending on how you view it – it’s not uncommon for our minds to wander… Or wonder. It is in this state of curious, undisturbed tranquillity that we find ourselves pondering the strangest of thoughts, for no apparent reason.

As of late, my nights have been spent in bed, consumed by questions and notions as deep as the darkness that obsoletes the world outside my window. I’m no literary artist, but a poetic analogy can go a long way.

Now I’m not going to lecture, or rant, but merely propose the same thoughts that have crossed and, to be frank, shredded my mind over the past few weeks. I have unintentionally grown a fascination with Psychology and Philosophy, in particular the theories and paradigms that are rooted in their sciences. Shit’s about to get real: You’ve been warned.

What is the meaning of life?

Possibly the ultimate philosophical question there is, to answer the true reason we exist as we think we do. After all, many would argue that we are slaves to our societies, our own upbringing and our genetic moulds, or even that existence as we perceive it could be in itself, deceiving. Descartes’ Meditations give an interesting insight into the possibility that we as individuals experience life subjectively when our realities are in fact illusive…

Personally, I don’t believe in a mystical or significant purpose to life, I find that life simply is. All life, insects to plants, kittens to humans, all are intricately designed and impressively coordinated organic machines that have learnt over millions of years to coexist and have evolved, adapted, to the ever-changing world, as evident in the proof of science. The expansion of human understanding has allowed us as a species to claim the top of the food chain, and intellectually progress so that we can question everything that is, was, will be, and isn’t. 

For many people, Philosophy does not provide answers to satisfy questions and is regarded irrelevant. I on the other hand admire the process of deconstructing and unravelling the fabric of reality, and what we collectively agree is normality. There are no real answers, merely concepts, perceptions. Aristotle – Supposedly – famously said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”.

Are emotions real?

It is this question that brought me into the study of psychology, and boy was this field large. 3 hours later and a number of Freudian theories embedded in my mind, I began questioning everything about myself.

The beauty of psychology is that answers do exist, and yet they rarely affect us. I found through various professional ideas and conclusions of my own that emotions are, essentially, chemical reactionscaused by external stimuli and sometimes conscious psychological activity. Love, is not real as we believe we feel it. Our brain is evolutionarily designed to access a primitive hard drive of instincts and impulses, in order to feel an attraction towards a suitable partner, and what is suitable for us as individuals is an accumulation of data collected over the years we spend interacting with each other. It’s a very deep subject, I won’t delve too far.

Sigmund Freud, who I have grown to respect significantly, also believed that due to our pre-programmed minds’ generic function being to keep us alive and healthy, our capacity to understand that we are virtually robots doesn’t increase our chance of going insane, as you would argue it very well could. We are able to accept that we are biological computers, and still experience life as a human does without questioning our day-to-day pursuits.

What is the point of this blog?..

I’ll be honest, this really has nothing to do with anything. I’m just briefly venting my thoughts through text. I suppose that in order to end it off, I could explain what my thoughts are on the true meaning of life, or rather, our purpose as individuals.

To survive.

As I mentioned, no mysticism, no spiritual aspiration or motivational farce, just the pure and basic necessity to live life. If you’re ever in a situation like myself where I once questioned the point of everything I’d ever done and all that I will do… Don’t! We all end up the same way, with everything we brought with us into life. Sweet fuck all.

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”
Joseph Campbell

 

N.B: For anyone interested in these fields of study, I highly recommend the works of Simon Blackburn, an author and professor of philosophy and ethics in Cambridge. ‘Think’ was the first thing I read concerning my fascination, and it took my mind and tore it in half.

Proverbs Vol 2

Another collection of proverbs that have served to provoke thought on many an occasion.


“The only thing common about sense, is people’s inability to see it”

“Success cannot be compared as much as happiness cannot be mirrored”

Realism and Pessimism are too often the same… This is why we need Hope

“To believe in Destiny removes the Power of Will, and naivety becomes your Fate

“Dedicate your life to Love, and you will love to live”


 

Drugs ‘n’ Glamour

Listen up, because I’m unwilling to be overly formal about this. I’m going to cut the s**t as this is something I feel very strongly about, and I haven’t got the patience to write a witty and enthralling introduction. Drugs are bad, m’kay?

Once again, we have landed on a topic where I, someone with a remarkably convicted array of views, am completely ignorant to the concerning subject: Recreational Drugs.

In case you’re 13, or simply a brain-dead stoner, recreational drugs (RD for the purpose of this article) aren’t the ones you get prescribed from the pharmacy; They’re the ones that are used ‘leisurely’ and for the fun of getting high – Cannabis, Cocaine, Meth, Ecstasy, the list unfortunately goes on. They are mostly illegal worldwide for their dangerous and critical effects, yet are still consumed by the millions every year. Data from the World Health Organisation shows that in 2004 there were ‘250,000 deaths worldwide due to illicit drug use’, and that’s only what was documented 12 years ago. They are also severely addictive and have permanent effects on your body, physically and psychologically, so even without the fatality side of it, they’re pretty bad. Now… Pro-RD campaigners would argue that millions of people die from alcohol and cigarette abuse, which is absolutely correct. I am just as against smoking cigarettes as I am drugs, and the same goes for the consumption of alcohol at alcoholic levels. I refuse to admit however that one glass of wine is as harmful as one line of cocaine.

Look, I’ve had my fair share of nights out, and nights in for that matter, where I have consumed alcohol at an irredeemable rate, and have suffered the consequences. I’ve been sick, dizzy, flushed, tired, disoriented, experienced all of the repercussions of heavy drinking, but I know my limit, and I’m certainly not dependant on alcohol. In moderation, alcohol can be consumed safely and often socially, unlike the majority of RD’s.


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Some of the milder effects of Methamphetamine [Meth] after a year of abuse.

I do not intend on swaying the views of any substance abusers, and I frankly don’t care if they choose to do it or not. I lack any form of sympathy for those people. I think it’s a disgusting, and hedonistic habit formed on the basis of terrible choices and utter immorality. I can almost hear the voices of people saying “You have no idea what they’ve been through, the struggle, the pressure, their story“. To you, overtly liberal citizen, I say F**CK OFF. Everyone who had the choice to not use an RD but did anyway, IS idiotic and deplorable. Everyone knows what drugs can do to us, the sought effects and the side effects. There is no answer to your problems in drug abuse, you will find no salvation but false happiness and the illusion of bliss. When that hallucination passes, you will still be in the situation you were before, albeit now significantly poorer and an addicted, diseased, and mentally damaged creature that you’ve chosen to become. Addiction is involuntary, but that first line/drag/puff/shot/sniff you took wasn’t.

It sounds harsh, doesn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, as I’m perfectly aware that in the far corners of the world there are those that lack the privilege and opportunities we have and have always had, and often drug abuse is seen as a necessity. I personally cannot tolerate the illogical reasoning of such decision, but I am naive to such a circumstance. There are children that exist, addicted to drugs before they’re even born, but it’s not their fault! No, the fault lies in the completely abhorrent parents who inflicted that injustice with their own selfish choices. Nevertheless, I can somewhat condone those exemptions. My grudge lies with the ‘bad boys’, the ‘big girls’, the gangs and the simple stoners who frequently choose to use RD’s… because of the attractive facade fabricated by detrimental Personalities. Fancy sentence that. Alas, how truly loathsome they are. The smug sense of superiority for doing something that falsely empowers them due to an apparently fashionable practice of a deranged culture. The persuasive and regimented society that they impose amongst one another, fulfilled by addiction and an self-manifested status quo. As I said, it isn’t my intention to stop these and other groups from abusing drugs. Each to their own, and though it doesn’t impact anyone’s life nor have any real influence, millions of others and myself still view them as repulsive. My agenda here is to highlight the concern that influences children and adults alike, which is the wrongful glamorization of RD use.

An excellent example lies in our everyday lives. For years, the media and celebrities across the world have implemented the idea that RD’s are cool. ‘Yeah, man, it’s totally cool. Let’s get high! Oh bro that would be so sick!’. Errr… Nope? How many movies show drug abuse in a lighthearted, often appealing manner? How many songs reflect on the euphoria of getting high? In the 21st century, it appears in every other one. The respective industries of movies and music distribute icons and role models every year for lifetimes, and many of us regular folk aspire to their lifestyles, even the parts which could cause death and disease. It is irresponsible, and distorts the truth behind drug abuse.

I’ll wrap this up because I’m ranting, and that isn’t what this site is for. Morals are something that we as individuals struggle to see alternate in others, and I can respect the reality of that. I have my opinions on smelly, life-altering drugs, due to my own upbringing and past encounters, much the same as everyone else. Yes, I am 100% nescient to the experience of RD use, and happily so. Does this make me less able to produce a sensible view? Of course not. I’ve never gone fishing, but when I see a man with a hook up is his ass and the rod in the water, I know that he’s fucked up.

I implore you, reader of this rant article, to see sense in my words, however aggressive they may seem. When your health, safety and quality of life take a drug-riddled nose-dive, who else can you blame? The icons we see throwing their careers away have the money and the media attention to survive, with the exception of those that literally died. Does it make it right? No, and it should only encourage the avoidance of illicit substances. Unlike guns, they have NO beneficial use in this world, even if twitter scientists claim ‘weed cures cancer’. Grow up, don’t blaze up. Sadly, the commercial network of illegal drugs is far greater than the combined will of us who wish to see a world without them, and for as long as money, power and fear control the sense of man, we will never see unanimous rationality.

“The only thing common about sense, is in the inability of people to see it”


 

Proverbs Vol I

With little to construct an article on, today I would like to share some proverbs. Hopefully they will grant you as much food for thought as they did me.


“When seeking inspiration from another, find it not in their words and actions, but in their reasons for them.”

“To assure you don’t lose it, it is better to speak your mind, with intent to improve it”

“Experience defines a person, not always the truth.”

“A presence of thought reflects the retention of purpose”

“The ability to act virtuously doesn’t proffer an option, it provides a moral obligation”


Star-Spangled Blunder?

Eye-catching isn’t it? That gun up there, the Bushmaster Assault Rifle. Some might go as far as saying it’s appealing, reassuring… Safe. Wayne LaPierre, American activist and Gun Rights advocate, is the man behind the notorious quote, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.

This is true to an extent… but with a gun, it makes the killing A WHOLE LOT EASIER. Not to sound sarcastic, but is the primary use of a firearm not to kill an intended target? How many people have died from a bullet wound that wasn’t fired from a gun?

Before any firearm enthusiasts and NRA members groan and dispute this article, let it be known that I am completely ignorant to an environment where guns are allowed to be legally possessed. The only time I’ve ever held a gun was in my Grandads garden, shooting a spring-powered air rifle at a target. Alas, sheer minutes of fun. Thus there is an element of naivety in my logic, yet as always I welcome you to challenge it as you continue to read. As an outsider looking in, things are rarely as they seem, however this topic in particular might just blow a few holes through that circumstance.

When you look at the bare concept of a gun, it has a limited number of valid uses:

  • A means of hitting a target, for sport or a competitive display of skill
  • A frankly unnecessary way of alerting sprinters to begin their race…
  • In flare form, a gun can be used to propel a signal for assistance. Sensible.

The last – and undeniably most major – cause for gun use is to fire at and kill a living target.

Casting our minds into the history of modern weaponry, we find that firearms were used almost as long as 800 years ago, in hunting and warfare. This is the same through every passing century, from cannons to rifles, and pistols to missiles. If there is one thing humanity is capable of, it’s perfecting the way a man can kill another.

Now I’m not going to dwell on the history and demographics of firearm “habits”, but I will use the context that is the ol’ ‘Stars and Stripes’ to explain my perspective.


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A picture says a thousand words… This one screams them

US Law states that all citizens are entitled to the possession of a firearm in their homes, providing the correct regulations and procedures are carried out beforehand. This consists of various background checks and personality profiling, before a license can be permitted. The sale and purchase of guns is also allowed, providing the commerce is conducted with government approval (via a similar formula).

The reasoning behind this negligent practice? It’s a matter of self-defense, a way of comforting the public by assuring their safety IS in their own hands should the need arise. If a burglar breaks into your property and poses a threat to your well-being then you can shoot him. You can protect yourself and your loved ones by critically, and sometimes fatally wounding a trespasser, for example, with no repercussion or consequence. In some respects, it’s a barbaric response to a home invasion, and yet to many it is the right thing to do in order to shield their family. I do not fully agree with either. I do however believe that the power to withdraw the life of another human being is something that should not be awarded to all, if any. There are people that do not belong on this Earth, absolutely, but in my eyes it is the right of a select few to decide their fate. ‘Crime and Punishment’ is a tangent that is too expansive to follow in the meantime…

In my opinion, stemming from a hypothetical utopia, guns should have only ever been used by trained military personnel acting in the defence of their nation. Never to be made attainable by the police – as we know the malice they are capable of – and certainly not the public. A younger version of myself would likely argue this surreality with, “Why not get rid of all guns in the first place; stop the use of them entirely? Completely cut the risks?”

I would tell my young self to see the world for what it is. To view mankind in the harsh reality that is necessary. We are programmed to clash with one another, to be enticed into conflict, to protect and to attack. Whether it’s a neighbourly dispute, acts of terror, or international war, there will forever be the presence of threat for as long as humans co-exist, uncooperatively. All that doesn’t make it right, but it is a fact that means we must be prepared to defend, and only to defend. A strict, honest regulation of gun manufacturing solely for national military would have given a sense of security (whether an illusion or not), and reassure citizens worldwide of their protection. With no guns making their way onto the streets and into homes, the menace of domestic gun crime would be minimal, if not inexistent.

Unfortunately, the present was not paved that way, and racists and extremists are able to acquire instruments of lethality. Therefore schools are terrorised, civilians are sent into peril, and danger cannot be avoided. One may attempt to view this ethically and produce a morally sufficient answer, but there is no longer a valid solution to gun crime, and there will never be a definitive resolution for conflict.

 

ANYWAY, that’s enough philosophy for now. Let’s focus on the real issue.


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The popular LGBT venue where an alleged religious extremist shot and killed 49 people on 12/06/2016

The accessibility of firearms in the USA of 2016 is astounding. Whether achieved through exploiting the intricate black market network that has now formed an ugly head deep within the internet, or by a simple transaction at the local gun store, the streets are as far as you have to go to get a firearm nowadays.

Here’s a fact: The government cannot prevent gun crime from happening, and may never be able to, even with the ‘rules’ they impose when issuing a firearms license. Maniacs and vicious masterminds with villainous intentions can disguise their true nature, as the world has seen time and time again. For an extreme example, look at Hitler or Bin Laden. Geniuses in their own fields, Hitler a gifted politician and Bin Laden a successful university student, both were able to manipulate their followers and attain powerful control without alerting anyone to their true agenda until it was too late – Much the same in that gun customers can appear to be simply protective and conscious, not psychotic or bigoted.

This leaves us with the obvious question: “Why hasn’t the USA banned guns?”

I believe there are two answers to that, though I am certain there are more corrupt factors concerning it. To scratch the surface however, consider this:

  1. The legal trade of guns is a multi-billion dollar industry. The revenue of gun stores in the USA alone totaled $3.1bn in 2013 according to data released by the IBIS (Interagency Border Inspection System). Judging by the 10,847,742 known firearms possessed in the same year in the USA, it can be assumed that the demand for them is exceedingly high. Yet, instead of cutting off the exchange of firearms and preventing further risk, the government ‘regulate’ the supply via tax –which by these numbers must mean a very high intake of revenue for the US government. Convenient…
  2. Even if guns were banned, it’s too late. As I mentioned, the trade of weapons on the black market is rife and is something that is far too corrupt and complex to effectively tackle, in order to cease the distribution of firearms. The FBI and CIA are known to monitor online activity regarding the purchase of weaponry; nevertheless some sales are evidently slipping through the cracks. With millions of weapons already underground so to speak, there are very limited ways of efficiently retrieving them or identifying and prosecuting the suppliers. Sure, you can confiscate guns off of local thugs and gangs, imprison them, but what about their source?

The cycle’s survival is inevitable, in part due to the greed of those in power, and largely because of the mistake that America made when guns were decidedly no longer military-exclusive equipment. I don’t care how much demand there is for them, firearms need to be banned, there is no question about it, otherwise I cannot see a positive eventuality. For now, ‘Gun crime’ is a resident of the USA.

You can debate all day about whether firearms should be available, or exist at all. What cannot be contested is the fact that thousands of innocent people, from all walks of life, have met their end at the hands of someone with an agenda, and a gun, be they the minority of firearm owners or not.

 

Inhumane is the closest thing to a word that could ever depict the acts of these murderers we see on the news: Shooting kids, homosexuals, people of alternate race or faith, and it is horror that we will forever be exposed to.

Humanity either makes, or breeds, or tolerates all its afflictions” – William Arthur Ward


 

Reason vs Religion

I’m an atheist, in that I don’t believe in any form of religion or god.

The concept of religion always has and always will be incomprehensible to me, the idea of devoting your life, aspirations, actions and choices in a manner that has been paved prior to your existence by people hundreds of years ago… in the name of a supposedly omnipotent entity that is to be loved, feared, and worshipped. I find it all very illogical, to have a belief of incredible strength based simply on faith, especially when the contrasting proof is stacked against you. As someone who seeks facts, this is a basis that I cannot fathom. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand the benefits of religion – how it gives hope and comfort to those who seek it, and it gives a purpose to many people’s lives – and I accept that some people truly believe in these stories and testaments and that they genuinely worship their respective deities. Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs.

However, something I can’t accept is the millions of lives that have been and are continually taken due to the ancient conflict of these beliefs surrounding the ideals and interpretations of different texts, written and altered thousands of times. In terms of civilisation, I’d like to think that humanity has come a long way, since the Holy Crusades for example… but these (essentially pathetic) wars and countless terrorist attacks that the world has experienced over the last few decades will never come to an end, and there is no solution that will put an end to these horrific events. All because of the extreme, yet unbelievably unexplainable beliefs of people. Passion and faith cannot justify the pain and suffering of the victims and their families who have endured the effects of religious extremism.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist, an extremist, or simply a believer, the fact that this s**t happens due to mere faith is barbaric. The argument to this is often “these people are extremists, they do not account for all religious people“. That’s very true, they don’t. Then again, they are acting on an interpretation of their religion, an interpretation seen by many others also. It’s their perspective of faith, even if they are the minority.
Any ideology that has a vast spectrum of perspective that can lead to events like the Holocaust, 9/11, the Paris Attacks, and the hundreds of other malicious acts of atrocity executed over the past millennium, surely carries the vital flaw of being a formidable threat to life and peace? If the vague and already questionable aspects of religion are further clouded by the variety of ways someone can follow and act upon it, how can these wars ever be resolved? They can’t be! In a world where nations and cultures are constantly met with dissension, the means for a ‘symbiotic relationship’ will never prove possible. For as long as our recorded history will tell us – Not forgetting that history is rife with deceit – religion has been one of the primary reasons for conflict, in one way or another.

Now, many would read this and hound me for being narrow-minded, racist, ignorant or whatever else they can spew, yet they would be missing the message of this article.

Believe it or not, I’m not slandering religion, or targeting any particular faith for that matter. If people choose to believe, that is their choice and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The point behind all this is that frankly, it’s disgusting what innocent victims have gone through, because of the contentious views of select people that are based on the likely fictitious writings concerning age-old “miracles” and higher powers. As I have written before, opinions and in this case beliefs are essential to our disposition, yet when they inflict monstrous consequences and are justified only with hate and an arrogant sense of self-purpose, then they lose their coherence. Blaming murder and destruction on belief and faith cannot be warranted.

 


N.B: War is a tangent I chose not to comment on, due to its understandable depth. Perhaps in another article.


 

The Validity of Views (EU, World Peace, and Perspective)

I’ve refrained from publicly casting my views about the EU for a while now, because of how I feel about the way the campaigns and the devout followers have acted through social networking and the media, but I’ve seen so many negative and contesting posts online from across the board that I now feel the need to explain what should be so apparent in many areas of life via this article.

A referendum such as the one the UK faces on the 23rd is such a perfect example of why we, not just as a nation or continental union but as an entire species, will never experience true peace.
The world we live in is such a diverse place and the UK alone is filled with a variety of multicultural origins and made up of backgrounds with great contrast: Rich, poor, young voices and old voices, CEO’s and minimum wage workers. The orientation of a person’s life is unique, therefore experience can only determine oneself, and not the truth. The truth is something that in these situations becomes a mere concept. In this context, the truth can only exist through hindsight, and nobody can predict how long we will wait until we achieve that.
When concerning our EU Membership and given the ultimatum of “Stay or Leave”, it is impossible to not only definitively prove one side is superior than the other, but to also ask for a unanimous agreement of one set of points, whether factual or not.
Both sides have strong arguments – mixed in with misleading and incorrect information – but are built on different fundamentals, which cannot be disputed.
Due to the power of democracy, we as individuals are given the opportunity to choose our side based on our personal need and priorities, something that for as long as democracy has existed is a diplomatic and fair solution for a massively important decision such as this.
The ability to have a say is an incredible privilege, and something that should only be exploited on a personal level. It is the extreme scale of deceit, the self-righteous sense of superiority and the inability to accept different preferences and thoughts that shall always remain the issue, as mentioned – in this referendum, and throughout history.
That’s something shown on both sides. People are quick to dismiss valid points justifying the opposition, instead of accepting the result of diversity and the alternate point of view that everyone incontrovertibly has. Even voters of the same side have argued over a clash of opinion, despite seeking the same objective.
That’s why humans experience conflict. We aren’t able to reflect on the plausibility of multiple perspectives, and that’s how stubborn and arrogant opinions are formed.
There is no correct side in this referendum. There is only the side of which you feel benefits YOU, and that’s fine. Nobody can revoke your right to neither think nor act freely, and certainly not challenge the validity of your vote.
The sooner the UK population realise this, the sooner we’ll be able to conduct a fair, non-biased vote based on fact, whilst absent of scaremongering and lies.
If the world and domestic media, and the people with the power to have a publicly influential say were to understand this, put aside their own agendas and consequentially act with reason, we wouldn’t be made to feel divided and at war with one another. We may disagree on the means to achieve it, but we all share the same interest, and that is the betterment of the UK.

What more can you ask for? How can you possibly challenge the rationality of any single voice in a world that has forever grown with multiplicity? You can’t ask for more than peace and reason.