APHORISM: “On Veterans Day” / Madison S. Hughes ☮

By Madison S. Hughes (11.11.2011, revised 11.10.2013)

Veterans Day, like many if not most American holidays, is a paradoxical celebration at best, a fraud at worst, and intentionally so. Be it known to those who have not “served” in the military, that military personnel are not the heroes the media, and politicians make us out to be. We are simply economic conscripts trying to survive in an oligarchy of which most of us do not realize we are of part.

So, as one celebrates this Veterans Day, think less about the veterans themselves, and more about why we as country continue to have such an unquestioning demand for their inhumane services. For example, one may reflect upon the huge, tax evading, profit driven multinational corporations run by an oligarchy that rules the country that many mistake for a democracy.

PHILOSOPHY ESSAY: “God is Dead!” / Madison S. Hughes ☮

By Madison S. Hughes (06.05.2013)

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

God is dead!

“Being ‘a Nietzschean’ is no more possible than following someone else’s orders
to be free! After all, it was Nietzsche himself who insisted that ‘Those who
understand me, understand that I can have no disciples’” (Soccio, 477).

This essay will embrace Nietzsche’s philosophy because he proposed that God is dead, life is meaningless, and fate trumps faith. Ultimately, he provided an alternative philosophy of life that is life affirming. The philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) has many distracters, for a myriad of reasons. Undoubtedly, most of those in opposition to Nietzsche’s philosophy base their objections on a misperceived threat to their firmly indoctrinated religious beliefs. While this essay may not dissuade those distracters from their religious beliefs, for that is not its purpose, it may help clarify a few of their misperceptions. To illustrate, we begin with one of philosophy’s most contentious, yet misunderstood quotes.

God is Dead

Nietzsche first proposed that God is dead in his 1882 book The Gay Science when he declared,

‘God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.’ By this Nietzsche means that society no longer has a use for God; the belief does not in any way help the survival of the species, rather it hinders. (Jackson 56)

Clearly we cannot hold Nietzsche solely responsible for God’s death, nay; Nietzsche was more like a messenger. “Nietzsche claimed he was the first to have “discovered” the death of God. In part, he meant that the idea of God has lost its full creative force, its full power” (Soccio, 468). Recall that Nietzsche witnessed the world through the great transformation of a rural agrarian society rapidly morphing into vast urban sprawls caused by the industrial revolution. He was born less than fifty years after great minds of the scientific revolution nearly liberated humanity from the clench of the Church in the 17th and 18th centuries. While Nietzsche and other great minds of his day could see the dethronement of God before their eyes,

[t]he full extent of the dethronement of God is not yet felt by the great masses, who still believe that they believe in God. Yet if we dig deep into our own psyches, Nietzsche prophesied, we will discover that we no longer have ultimate faith in God: Our true faith is in scientific and technological progress. (468)

“And even though some of us may sense that the old religions are dead and dying, [many] remain unable to face the consequences of life without God” (469).

Life is Meaningless

While the conviction of Supernatural belief provides many with inner comfort, the external Cosmos is not privy to such conviction, and, like it or not, the universe lacks objective meaning and purpose. “Copernicus and Galileo had forever changed our sense of scale: The earth is a tiny, virtually invisible speck in a massive, purposeless universe. ‘What are we doing when we unchained the earth from the sun’” (469)? What’s more, “Darwin had forever altered our sense of ourselves as God’s special creation. The new image of merely human beings is ignoble: We are but one species among millions struggling to survive, descendants of some primordial ooze” (469). These astronomic, and evolutionary biological discoveries led many to a great sense of emptiness.

According to Nietzsche, the death of God leads to nihilism. From the Latin word for ‘nothing,’ nihilism refers to the belief that the universe lacks objective meaning and purpose. . . . Nietzsche predicted that nihilism would be the wave of the future (our present). He predicted that as more and more people perceive religious values to be empty and science as having no meaning or purpose to offer us, a sense of emptiness would initially prevail: It all amounts to nothing. Life is a cosmic accident. There is no Supernatural order; no divinely or rationally ordained goal. (470)

One must be careful not to mistake Nietzsche as a nihilist. He is saying that both Supernatural belief, and superficial values imposed by the Church have proven only to shackle humanity’s mind, and as time goes on will be shown to be fatuous. Nietzsche, like his pessimistic predecessor, Arthur Schopenhauer, had a great appreciation for the aesthetics. Many of us agree, and are quite comfortable with the fact, that the universe lacks objective meaning and purpose; however, the masses are not so content with these facts, and most require faith and external authority to get them through the human condition. Nietzsche offers a viable alternative approach to life for those seeking meaning in a postmodern world.

Fate Trumps Faith

In the infancy of humanity, the benighted masses relied on faith to provide solace for the unexplainable and uncomfortable realities of the human condition. Humankind has evolved from its insipid infancy to the adolescent age of postmodernism. However, this maturity is not without its price, for it requires that we, as individuals, now take individual responsibility for our own existence. Nietzsche expressed this transition from faith to fate when he stated:

In the absence of God . . . we must redeem ourselves with the sacred Yes to life expressed through amor fati, the love of our specific fate expressed as joyous affirmation and delight that everything is exactly as and what it is. (476)

In his 1882 comment titled “For the New Year,” Nietzsche expressed amor fati quite eloquently when he penned,

Amor fati: may that be my love from now on! I want to wage war against the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers. May looking away be my only form of negation! And, in all: I want to be at all times hereafter only an affirmer. (478)

“Nietzsche saw nihilism as a positive affirmation of life, to be freed of the burden of hope in an afterlife, in salvation. You should love your fate without the need of fictions and false securities to comfort you” (Jackson 103).

Conclusion

Since God is dead, life is meaningless, and fate trumps faith, it is clear that an alternative philosophy of life is necessary, and Nietzsche provided an alternative philosophy of life that is life affirming. Surely Nietzsche distracters have not been dissuaded from their religious beliefs; however, maybe, just maybe, a few of their misperceptions have been clarified.

“Inasmuch as at all times, as long as there have been human beings, there have
been herds of men (clans, communities, tribes, people, states, churches) and
always a great many people who obeyed, compared with the small number
of those commanding . . . it may fairly be assumed that the need for
[herding together] is now innate in the average man. . . .”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Works Cited

Jackson, Roy. Teach Yourself Nietzsche. First ed. United States: McGraw-Hill, 2008. Print.

Soccio, Douglas J. Archetypes of Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy. Seventh ed.    United States: Wadsworth, 2010. Print.

APHORISM: “On Ash Wednesday and Ass Rape” / Madison S. Hughes ☮

By Madison S. Hughes (02.22.2012)

Today the world’s oldest international organized crime syndicate, currently leading the world in its child-raping ring, the Roman Catholic Church, celebrates Ash Wednesday.

Today the willfully ignorant literalists, and child rapists, symbolically show their repentance before their imaginary celestial dictator. The willfully ignorant literalists will obediently follow each other to their tax-exempt child rape houses of worship. There the socially accepted, admired, and tolerated child raping Priests will place ceremonial ashes in the shape of a torture symbol, known as a crucifix, on their non-thinking, credulous followers heads.

As the carnival season ceases, and this first day of Lent launches, another countdown commences to Zombie Jebus day some fortyish days henceforth. In the meantime, while those of the limited and literal mind show-off their piousness to the many, and willful ignorance to few, let those few with the advanced ironic and inquiring minds, engage in some very basic mathematics:

Given:

– Number of Days in Lent = 40 (rounded for easy numbers)
– Number of Priests on Earth = 500,000 (rounded for easy numbers)

Assumption:

– The leading child-rape ring, the Roman Catholic Church, and its Priests have never been brought to justice for the atrocities of their past child-raping behavior; therefore, the child-raping behavior of Catholic Priest will remain constant for the next forty days.

Find:

1. How many innocent children will be raped by Catholic Priests between Lent and Zombie Jebus Day?

2. Of those innocent children that will be raped by Catholic Priests, what percentage of their willfully ignorant literalist parents will continue to defend the world’s oldest international organized crime syndicate, and their child-raping Priest?

3. Why are those of us with the audacity to trumpet this considered the assholes, while those that are actually violating children’s assholes considered righteous?

4. Why do you keep calling me Pollyanna?

ALWAYS QUESTION AUTHORITY 2015 IN REVIEW: “Thank You 147,000 Viewers, 379 Followers, and Top Commenter, Heisenberg, With 219 Comments” ☮

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 150,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

APHORISM: “On Veterans Day” / Madison S. Hughes

By Madison S. Hughes (11.11.2011, revised 11.10.2013)

Veterans Day, like many if not most American holidays, is a paradoxical celebration at best, a fraud at worst, and intentionally so. Be it known to those who have not “served” in the military, that military personnel are not the heroes the media, and politicians make us out to be. We are simply economic conscripts trying to survive in an oligarchy of which most of us do not realize we are of part.

So, as one celebrates this Veterans Day, think less about the veterans themselves, and more about why we as country continue to have such an unquestioning demand for their inhumane services. For example, one may reflect upon the huge, tax evading, profit driven multinational corporations run by an oligarchy that rules the country that many mistake for a democracy.

ALWAYS QUESTION AUTHORITY 2013 IN REVIEW: “Thank You 125,092 Visitors and 347 Followers”

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 120,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

EXPOSITORY ESSAY: “Atheism, Agnosticism, and Antitheism” / Madison S. Hughes

By Madison S. Hughes (06.21.2012)

Atheism, Agnosticism and Antitheism

It is by our beliefs, knowledge and values that we define ourselves, and are judged by others. Many are willing to kill, or be killed for such abstract concepts without even a rudimentary understanding of the abstraction for which they are all too willing to meet their maker. Atheism, agnosticism and antitheism are three commonly misunderstood terms that describe beliefs, knowledge and values respectively. Analytically defining each word will show a direct correlation between each term, and their respective abstract concept for which they describe. It will prove beneficial to any reader’s future conversations, correspondence, or consternations concerning atheism, agnosticism, and antitheism.

Atheism

Atheism is a term that describes one’s rejection of supernatural belief. Simply put, a theist is one with a belief in a supernatural deity, or deities; while an atheist is one without a belief in a supernatural deity, or deities. The American Atheist organization founded in 1963 by “Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the noted atheist activist, [who] as the result of her successful battle against mandatory school prayer, and Bible recitation” [was responsible for their removal from public schools] defines atheism as follows (About):

Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists, but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of, or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be. Humankind is on its own. (Atheism)

When it comes to a belief in the supernatural one must either be a theist, or an atheist, for no other alternatives are available. This is not a false dilemma. One cannot kind of, sort of believe, but not really. It would be analogous to kind of, sort of being dead; it is not possible. One is either dead or alive. Likewise, one is either a theist or an atheist. In both cases there are no other alternatives available. Atheism is concerned with belief.

Agnosticism

Often, because of the negative emotive connotations associated with the word atheist, people will incorrectly use the term agnostic to describe their lack of belief in an intellectually vain attempt to avoid being labeled the pejoratively and socially stigmatic term atheist. It is intellectually dishonest to do so, for “agnosticism is the position of believing that knowledge of the existence or non-existence of god is impossible. . . . The agnostic holds that human knowledge is limited to the natural world, that the mind is incapable of knowledge of the supernatural” (Agnosticism). Agnosticism is not an undecided position concerning belief between a theist, and an atheist. As previously shown theism, and atheism describe belief. One cannot use the term agnostic as a surrogate to describe one’s belief. Agnosticism is concerned with knowledge.

Antitheism

“Antitheism is active opposition to theism. . . . it typically refers to direct opposition to organized religion, or to the belief in any deity” (Antitheism). An antitheist values truth over unity, while it is observable that theists value unity over truth. For example, an antitheist will overtly, and without reservation, claim that anyone who believes in the story of a talking snake is irrational. Conversely, the theists would not concern themselves with the antitheist’s claimed irrationality of a talking snake so long as the unity of their cult, church, or community is maintained.

Most antitheists are so because they “take the view that theism is dangerous or destructive” (Antitheism). Many antitheists are strident in their opposition to theism. The late Christopher Hitchens who in his 2001 book Letters to a Young Contrarian, wrote, “I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful” (Antitheism). Antitheists look at the negative effect of religious belief on society. They believe that the influence of the churches is unnecessary for positive effects to be made in society. Secular institutions such as the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, PlanUSA, etc. do so demonstratively with neither a need for the promise of salvation, nor the fear of damnation. Antitheism is concerned with values.

The metaphysical misunderstanding of abstract concepts such as belief, knowledge and values need not continue to thrive in a culture of intolerance. A simple analytical understanding of the definitions of atheism, agnosticism, and antitheism clearly shows their respective correlation to belief, knowledge and values respectively.

Atheism is concerned with belief.
Agnosticism is concerned with knowledge.
Antitheism is concerned with values.

Works Cited

“About.” American Atheists. Ed. Admin. American Atheists, 15 Feb. 2012. Web. 18 June 2012.

“Agnosticism.” The Skeptic’s Dictionary. Ed. Robert T. Carroll. The Skeptic’s    Dictionary,  19 May 2012. Web. 19 June 2012.

“Antitheism.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 07 June 2012. Web. 19 June 2012.

“Atheism.” American Atheists. Ed. Admin. American Atheists, 15 Feb. 2012. Web. 18 June 2012.

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